President Barack Obama on Nuclear Weapons
High Stakes for Barack Obama on Nuclear Weapons
In the first term of the new administration, the biggest test could present itself for Barack Obama on nuclear weapons-their proliferation to rogue states and the threat of their use by terrorists. Two former U.S. senators who headed a congressional commission on weapons of mass destruction (WMD), make the chilling prediction that some time in the next five years a WMD is more than likely to be used somewhere in the world.
Their report urges that steps be taken to halt nuclear weapons development by Iran and North Korea in particular and to stop nuclear trafficking in general by seriously beefing up the International Atomic Energy Agency. It singles out Pakistan as the likeliest source of future terrorist attacks against the United States or an ally. The Obama administration must induce Pakistan to remove terrorist safe havens, secure nuclear and biological materials, defeat extremist ideology and "constrain the budding nuclear-arms race in Asia."
Even a 10-kiloton nuclear weapon-tiny by today's standards-could be devastating if detonated in a high-density population area. In mid-town Manhattan upwards of a half million people would die in a half-mile radius, while many thousands of others would be killed from collapsing buildings, fire and fallout.
President Bush's first year in office saw the 9/11 attacks on New York City and Washington. If anything, the stakes are even higher now for Barack Obama on nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.
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