Monday, April 12, 2010

Nuclear summit in Washington DC focuses on "asymmetry" but deliberately omits India v Paksitan problem

The media in the Washington DC are covering the global summit at the Washington Convention Center Monday and Tuesday, April 12 and 13, regarding nuclear security. The local media (like have covered the traffic issues and local street security, requiring residents in the area to show id’s.

The main issue, as the president said, is to prevent terrorist organizations or even clever but unstable individuals from acquiring nuclear material. One problem is that neither North Korea nor Iran are at the summit, and their behavior has often been described by conservatives as potentially the most dangerous of any countries, even unstable Pakistan. Not only is the conventional threat of nuclear explosions possible, so are the issues of radiological dispersion devices and EMP.

Eli Lake and Ashish Kumar Sen have a detailed front page story in the Washington Times Monday morning here

The New York Times, Monday morning, however, offered a different slant in a story by David E. Sanger and William J. Broad, “Agenda of Nuclear Talks Leaves out a New Threat: Growing arms race in Pakistan and India shows limits of negotiatios”, link here. As the article explains, the tension between Pakistan and India and control of their material was deliberately left out of the agenda. The Bush administration had helped India end its nuclear moratorium, so Pakistan insists if must follow suit. Considering the instability of the Pakastani military in some areas (as in the Frontline program “Obama’s War”) this sounds like a deadly problem.

Former Senator Sam Nunn (perhaps a millstone in 1993 on "don't ask don't tell") has led the efforts to bring attention to the need to control the leftovers of nuclear material with his “Nuclear Threat Initiative” organization and his film “The Last Best Chance” (2005, dir. Ben Goddard, 45 min).

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