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New York Times, USA,
20 September 2004

A World of Nuclear Dangers

The cold war generation grew up worrying about the bomb, the Russians and World War III. Today`s nuclear nightmares are more varied, but no less scary. The list of nuclear-armed states is lengthening alarmingly, and each new entry increases the chances that some nasty regional war could turn nuclear. Nuclear terrorism has emerged as a terrifying new threat. Russia has huge, poorly guarded stockpiles of nuclear bomb fuel and there is a small but increasing possibility that its decaying early warning system could trigger an accidental launch.

President Bush often says he means to halt the nuclear arms programs of North Korea and Iran, although he has yet to produce any workable plans for doing so. In February, he rightly called for tighter controls over nuclear fuel processing, used by several countries to produce bomb ingredients.

As a senator and a candidate, John Kerry has offered constructive proposals addressing almost every aspect of current nuclear dangers. While Mr. Bush has tended to focus narrowly on rogue states like North Korea and Iran, Mr. Kerry wisely favors a more comprehensive approach that would combine crisis diplomacy on these two priority cases with accelerated efforts to protect Russian stockpiles. The North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs are at the top of the nation`s agenda. But it is disingenuous to ignore the fact that 95 percent of the nuclear bombs and most of the nuclear weapons fuel are in the hands of Russia and the United States.

Mr. Kerry would also break with Bush policies that unintentionally encourage nuclear proliferation, like the Strangelovian plans for research on unneeded new nuclear weapons.

India and Pakistan tested their first nuclear bombs in 1998. North Korea is close, if not already there. Iran is not very far behind. In the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and the Korean peninsula, an escalation of conventional conflict into nuclear war has to be treated as a realistic possibility.

The steady spread of these weapons also increases the risks of backdoor sales of nuclear technology, as the worldwide arms bazaar run by A. Q. Khan of Pakistan so chillingly demonstrated. This creeping proliferation has meant the dispersal of nuclear bomb ingredients like highly enriched uranium and plutonium into countries with poor governance, uncertain stability and corrupt officials. That makes it easier for terrorists to acquire such material and try to fashion usable nuclear bombs.

Mr. Bush once lumped Iraq, Iran and North Korea together as an "axis of evil." But his decision to invade Iraq limited the diplomatic and military tools left available to influence North Korea and Iran - which were undoubtedly taught by the Iraq experience that the best protection against a pre-emptive strike is a nuclear arsenal.

In both cases, precious time has been lost while the administration has followed largely unproductive diplomatic strategies. Mr. Bush now wants to ask the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran. But many Council members, including major European allies, are not ready to do so. On North Korea, the administration has insisted on discussions including Russia, China, Japan and South Korea as well as North Korea and the United States. These have made no discernible progress, in part because Washington waited until this summer to put its first serious negotiating proposal on the table. With the talks stalled, North Korea has all the time it needs to reprocess its plutonium into several nuclear bombs.

Mr. Kerry would try to jump-start the North Korea talks with a comprehensive new American proposal. He would, like Mr. Bush, insist that Iran renounce all domestic processing of nuclear fuel while promising that it could count on access to reliable imported supplies of civilian reactor fuel in return. Any distinction between the two candidates on Iran rests on Mr. Kerry`s contention that he could better line up European support.

If there is still time to dissuade these two countries from going nuclear, there isn`t much. North Korea may already have assembled test devices. Iran may soon have all the technology and raw materials needed to proceed. Still, the international community should explore every avenue to persuade both countries that it is not in their best interest to build nuclear weapons. In exchange for a verifiable dismantling of their nuclear programs, Washington and other governments ought to be willing to offer substantial economic, diplomatic and security concessions. If that fails to produce results, international pressure will have to be substantially ratcheted up. Further months of stalemate while nuclear fuel processing work continues is not an acceptable option.

There is nothing secret anymore about how to process uranium or plutonium to the purity needed for bomb-making, nor is it all that hard to acquire the raw ingredients. And every nuclear wannabe has now learned how to disguise the early phases of a nuclear weapons effort as part of a civilian nuclear energy program, a trick pioneered decades ago by India and most recently employed by Iran. Unfortunately, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty was explicitly intended to encourage such power programs, making it much harder to fend off the emergence of new nuclear weapons states. Obviously, the treaty needs to be toughened.

Mr. Bush has rightly called on other countries to deny nuclear-related exports to any nation that refuses to forgo such fuel processing plants. He should accelerate the process by calling on the four other main nuclear exporting countries to join Washington in an immediate ban.

It is also vital to extend the reach of the nonproliferation treaty with a proposed new fissile materials agreement. Senator Kerry strongly supports this and President Bush says he supports it too, but his administration recently undermined the treaty talks by announcing, perversely, that Washington would insist that the agreement contain no provisions for verification or inspections.

Although the United States and Russia have deactivated thousands of nuclear warheads since the end of the cold war, tens of thousands remain activated or sitting in stockpiles where they can be quickly reassembled. The arms reduction agreement signed by President Bush and President Vladimir Putin in 2002 calls for most of these warheads to be deactivated by 2012, but no reductions are required sooner than that and many of the deactivated warheads will still be retained in stockpiles. America`s stored and deactivated weapons are well secured, but many of Russia`s are not. In addition, Russia`s poorly maintained launch command and early warning systems may be dangerously degrading. At some point, they might conceivably become vulnerable to terrorists. Well over a thousand warheads on each side remain on hair-trigger alert.

Washington is helping Russia upgrade its storage security, but at such a slow rate that hundreds of tons of highly enriched uranium and plutonium will be lying around for many years. Every ton of highly enriched uranium can be used to make more than 100 nuclear bombs. A ton of plutonium can go even further.

The answer is to sharply increase funding for the broad range of American programs intended to secure this material and reduce or eliminate other threats from cold war weapons. This is the most cost-effective defense spending in the federal budget. A bipartisan commission in 2001 recommended tripling spending for these programs, but the Bush administration has failed to follow through. Senator Kerry proposes a significant increase aimed at securing all of Russia`s loose bomb fuel in four years.

While Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry seem to agree on many nuclear proliferation issues, the difference lies in their approach to international problems. Voters will have to decide whether Mr. Kerry`s emphasis on diplomacy and international cooperation is the best way to keep a lid on these nuclear threats, or whether Mr. Bush`s more unilateral approach to foreign affairs is better. There is no graver subject for their consideration this election year.


Your opinion (comments to the article)?


Jordan Odom, 19.10.2004 3:31:48

president Bush is absolutley ruing our country. he spends all his money Iraq and never even thought about poverty in our country. I am never going to vote for him unless he gets on his knees and asks for forgivness.


laela, 06.03.2005 0:09:18

bush is making thouseds of people go to Iraq to fight because he was to dumb so he did this its his proublem now


W, 05.04.2005 17:51:54

laela, you are a terrible bitch!


Noman , 18.04.2005
J, 10.05.2005
J, 10.05.2005
service oriented architecture vulnerability threat attack, 21.05.2005 8:14:35 Van Binsbergen
remorseful one, 22.10.2005 3:27:47

I am so ashamed that I wasted my vote on george war bush. What was I thinking? Why did I let my right wing extremist, neo-conservative, neo-evangelical thinking get in the way of exercising sound personal judgment? Growing up, I was led to believe that the republican party was a grass roots party of the people & for the people. In retrospect, it is clear that the last 3 presidents produced by the republican party were nothing more then the rich mans rich man hiding under the disguise of the overly misused term, conservative. The economic dark ages of reagonomics fleeced the middle and lower classes of this county simply to benefit the rich and wealthy. George warmonger bush has quietly shifted this country back to those economic dark ages. Bush inherited a strong economy and squandered that real quick. And even though 9 -11 did happen, none of bushs reckless decisions are in any way justified by that day in history. It is clear that he never had any real salient foreign & domestic policies when he became president in 2000. Now we have 4 more years of neoconservative republican lies and a growing body count overseas


lister, 25.10.2005 22:47:33

nuclear war is good!!!!!!! it protects many dont listen to junk that says it isnt good becuz its ausome!!~


o, 25.10.2005 22:48:38

oh nuclear war is good help make nuclear war better by making a site.....dont use nuclear war in real life...period.


o and lister, 25.10.2005 22:49:43

dude nuclear war is good only in games lol wat i ssaid bfore is a joke real life nuclear war is nerdy!


sevhead, 21.11.2005 23:53:13

all nuclear weapons should be replaced with even more devastating weapons but made with natural energies that we harness and compact to blow things up


godess, 21.11.2005 23:57:11

bush wants nothing more than to have his name in our childrens history text books. he is desperate to have a war under his name. he is out to avenge his father. selfish bastard. his name will go down in history as confederate obsessive psycho.


Black Dog, 23.11.2005 11:50:45

Bomb All The Countries That Are A Threat


ablabla, 19.01.2006 1:16:02

bush. nobody really needs to use nuclear bombs, unless they threaten us, and besides if you were to bomb one of those countries, would be more than likely to kill more innocent people rather than the people you wnated to. which would cause them to want to do something back to us, and everything would go back and fourth


black horse , 07.02.2006 12:41:15

a nuclear bombe is very powerful. anly one mm can distroy the entir Marocco for example


george , 09.02.2006 9:25:18

nukes help us so we should be proud we have them


Annamalai Nagarathinam, A 18 Sipcot Housing Colony, Hosur 635 126 , Tamil Nadu. India. E mail naga_gtc@yahoo.de. , 11.02.2006 20:39:47

We all together in this world abount nuclear of old and new nuclear fear in this world. What we can together for our new-clear thoughts to have peace with nuclear and peace with each other in this world of brothers and sisters family life in this world to live peace and peacefully without nuclear thoughts with fear of every day life of today. Yesterday we forget it for tomorrow what we together all?


trevor, 12.05.2006 20:06:11

Bush is just tryin to protect the Hole World by suspecting possible countries that have them, North Korea is testing long range MIssiles that can carry nuclear war heads. Some of those Missiles CAN REACH CALIFORNIA. Get that through your thick heads, somthings has to be done with North Korea, IM 9th grader and i more sense than some of u


An American, 12.05.2006 20:09:43

I agree with black dog, if they are a threat hit them hard and fast with precise bombing to choke them into submission


locke, 12.05.2006 20:14:22

nuclear war should never happen, so we need to take out the countries that have communist governments ability to attack us or an ally before they get nukes and kill thousands or even millions


Demothenes, 12.05.2006 20:17:24

Dont trust any communist governments, that may have the ability to achieve nuclear weapons, with that tons of nations that are communist hate us americans. Does that mean that there is a possibility to be attacked by nuclear bombs? I ASk u


Shitforbrains, 16.08.2006 6:32:02

Nuke everything, then there will be nothing left to fight over


dbkzm, 04.12.2006 7:16:30

wow all you ppl who say that the nuclear war is good are friken stupid. havent you ever heard of " nuclear winter" or mutually assured distruction? the world can only take so much more and the nukes will kill that tolerance


biggusdickus, 28.12.2006 21:57:00

Why are republicans constantly screwing up the world? History has proven that republicans are consistently the most corrupt group of reptiles that the USA have ever produced. They all hide behind a lie of conservative values and jingoistic patriotism while creating law and policies that consistently screw over the middle and lower classes to make the rich even richer. Then they use Christianity as a shield to ward off criticism anytime their corruption is exposed.


biggusdickus, 28.12.2006 21:57:17

Why are republicans constantly screwing up the world? History has proven that republicans are consistently the most corrupt group of reptiles that the USA have ever produced. They all hide behind a lie of conservative values and jingoistic patriotism while creating law and policies that consistently screw over the middle and lower classes to make the rich even richer. Then they use Christianity as a shield to ward off criticism anytime their corruption is exposed.


Ayaz Hussain Soomro from Pakistan dss_ayaz110@yahoo.com, 24.03.2007 15:53:11

world going in very dangers era because of Nuclear. So Nuclear Strategy is very important this time thanks by Strategist Ayaz Hussain


ALI ZAIN , 24.03.2007 16:00:53

Bush want won to hole world


Annamalai Nagarathinam, 12.03.2008 18:14:14

World today in 12.03.2008 in IST time Indian Hosur 08.39 PM. The world in one today all-in-one today the world in one in world in one with no more world divided humanity in. Makes us in no more world in nuclear world fear in our world in back clash world in no more in back fire world. NEED IN NAGA PEACE INDIAN NONVIOLENCE GOD WILL WITH GERMANY, ENGLAND,RUSSIA,AMERICA AND INDIA WITH ONE WORLD TALKS IN PEACE MAKES ONE WORLD NUCLEAR AGREEMENTS. IT MAKES WORLD IN ONE NUCLEAR WORLD IN PEACE.


Cwek, 05.09.2012 9:03:51

How does math, software and links all tie into SEO? Well Google`s Algorithm is cpelletmoy based on math, a very high level mix of calculus, statistics, and some geometry I think while the software is the program that drives it all and the links are the physical representation of the mathematical calculations. Make any sense? I`m not sure it if does or not but Math is the underlying structure to online marketing


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