Steps to Armageddon

7 May, 2008

Arms control wonk has a great graph that summarises the debate about terrorists and nuclear weapons. Basically the consensus view if that if terrorist get hold of nukes they will use them and that is a view that I share.

The implications of that are significant in foreign policy terms because the international community is going to have to work together in dealing with all nuclear , chemical and biological powers to make sure that their systems are secure against against a variety of terrorist threats from theft to corruption.

What this debate avoids however is the ingenuity of necessity. Bin Laden didn’t nuke New York, he used planes instead. Other tactics I think are serious possibilities are dirty bombs, attacks on nuclear power stations, gas attacks on underground systems, biological warfare, truck and ship bombs and dam sabotage to name but a few.

With such a wide range of attack methods the reality is that we cannot stop every single attack on a military basis and anti terrorism policy has to encompass soft power as very much a key weapon in the armoury.

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