Friday, April 22, 2016

There's some moderation in conservative speculation about ISIS interest in WMD's

There have been recent reports, especially from European and British journals, that experts fear ISIS will try to use a radioactive or nuclear weapon somewhere in Europe or especially Russia soon.

There are voices of moderation, however, pointing out how difficult it is to make a weapon that would really contaminate property,  But the psychological fear of even slight contamination could make some property uninhabitable or unsellable, driving some of the “bourgeoisie” into poverty, bringing them low, so the radical thinking goes. Inverse has a temperate article by Ben Guarino March 22 here. Global Risk Insights has a slightly more sobering assessment here.

Could ISIS really pull off an EMP attack?  Mike Pearl has a reasonably balanced perspective from May 2015 in Vice.

I have reported about Ted Cruz talking about EMP, but Philip Bump reports in The Fix Blog in the Washington Post January 15 that Rick  Santorum and Ben Carson had talked about it (as has Newt Gingrich). Bump reports that the device is much harder to pull off than the scaremongerers say (like in the movie “One Second After”) but agrees it is conceivable.  The pulse comes in three phases.  Bump says that a major solar storm from the Sun is a much more likely event (which we barely missed in 2012).

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