Nuclear Threat Worse than Ever

Published on February 22nd, 2012

The United States still has 5,000 nuclear missiles and bombs, all ready to be deployed, according to Philip Taubman in his new book, The Partnership: Five Cold Warriors and Their Quest to Ban the Bomb.

The former bureau chief in Washington and Moscow for The New York Times, Taubman tells us Russia has more. North Korea, which Taubman has called “one of the most dangerous nations on earth,” has nuclear weapons, and Iran is poised to build them. Identified as a country for potential rapid and sudden collapse by the United States military in 2008 and currently in crisis and government collapse mode amidst corruption allegations, Pakistan is perhaps the scariest country of all with its nuclear weapons arsenal.

I heard Taubman speak this week and am frightened by the dangers posed by the large amount of nuclear weapons around the world.

But, what has this to do with population growth in the United States and our concerns here at CAPS?

It’s a national security issue for the U.S., which is linked to our failure to enforce our borders and our immigration laws.

Our borders are porous, and we continue failing to commit the necessary resources to track down and remove the high number of legal and illegal immigrants in the U.S. who are here on false pretenses with false documents. We also are failing in following up with those who have overstayed their visas. It’s worth remembering that the 9-11 terrorists were in this visa overstay category.

Hold those thoughts from our current situation while I go back in time to the Eisenhower administration.

Under President Eisenhower and the Atoms for Peace program, it was thought that nuclear knowledge should be shared by poor and rich countries alike for development of energy and non-weapons purposes. In the 50s and early 60s, both the Soviet Union and the U.S. provided enriched uranium to dozens of countries, including Albania, Poland and Zaire. The U.S. alone exported more than 25 metric tons of highly enriched uranium in a 30-year period to more than 30 countries.

For reasons ranging from political instability to government collapse, all of this material has not always been secured. There is an ongoing risk that material can be stolen or sold. Additionally, more enriched uranium is produced daily at facilities around the world to fuel nuclear reactors.

Taubman explains that “a simple but powerful nuclear weapon can be fabricated with just a small amount of highly enriched uranium.” He says that “a small, savvy group of engineers with some basic laboratory equipment could construct a fission bomb in a garage.

So, when you add the real potential of terrorists entering our country through lax immigration enforcement to the potential availability of highly enriched uranium to build a bomb, there’s opportunity for a nuclear event on U.S. soil. Taubman believes that a terrorist attack with nuclear weapons is the most dangerous security issue that the U.S. now faces and that we are more vulnerable than we realize.

At CAPS, we believe in defending our borders – that’s part of what a nation does for its citizens to protect them from harm. If, through unchecked immigration, we do not even know who is in our country, how can we defend against possible terrorist activity – a potential nuclear bomb?

For more about The Partnership, go to http://www.philiptaubman.com.

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