Nuclear proliferation increases the risk of nuclear terrorism; preventing it solves
Richard Maass, PhD candidate whose primary research interests concern international security, IR theory, US foreign policy, and qualitative and mixed-method research, Spring 2010 (“Nuclear Proliferation and Declining U.S. Hegemony,” Hamilton College, Accessed online at http://www.hamilton.edu/documents//levitt-center/Maass_article.pdf, Accessed on 7/19/11)
Increasing radicalism and militant insurgency makes securing and ensuring the stability of existing nuclear arsenals absolutely imperative.Terrorism poses the single largest threat to U.S. hegemony. Believing acts of mass destruction can create the global conflict they seek, modern terrorist groups fuel fear in a global audience. Scholars Charles Ferguson and William Potter note the following in their 2004 study The Four Faces of Nuclear Terrorism: Today’s terrorism is often fueled by extremist religious ideologies that rationalize destruction, vengeance, and punishment as both necessary ends in themselves and as tools to achieve a better world (Ferguson and Potter, 2004, pg. 190). Several Islamist terrorist groups currently seek to obtain nuclear arms as a means to achieve their political and social objectives; existing stockpiles with deteriorating safeguards present a prime source for these groups’ proliferation. Should one such group eventually obtain a nuclear weapon, the U.S. would be hard-pressed to take any sort of action to prevent a nuclear attack. Terrorists possess neither physical assets to protect nor a home address, and are thus extremely difficult to deter. Securing both developing and existing stockpiles needs to become a security imperative if the U.S. wishes to avert nuclear catastrophe. Terrorist organizations need not seize a nuclear weapon, however. Weapon-grade plutonium would suffice for the construction of a nuclear device (Ferguson and Potter, 1989, pg. 190). A terrorist organization need only steal or purchase either twenty-five kilograms of highly enriched uranium, or HEU, or eight kilograms of plutonium, to construct a gun assembly type bomb, similar to the one dropped on Hiroshima in World War II. Though only eight states currently possess nuclear arms (North Korea is excluded as its weapons total is uncertain), fifty states have access to highly enriched weapon-grade uranium, or HEU. As of 2003, conservative estimates place the global stock of weapon-grade plutonium and highly enriched uranium at 3,730 metric tons, with a bomb equivalent of 304,800 (Cirincione, 2007, pg. 190). Allison claims that the science for bomb construction is in the public domain, meaning an organized and well-funded group could feasibly construct a bomb within five years of obtaining fissile material (Allison, 2004, pg. 12). Ultimately, a dedicated and devoted organization will inevitably obtain a nuclear weapon and be able to use it “without fear of retaliation” (Trachtenberg, 2002, pg. 146). Allison states the following in his book regarding the likelihood of a nuclear terrorist attack: Given the number of actors with serious intent, the accessibility of weapons or nuclear materials from which elementary weapons could be constructed, and the almost limitless ways in which terrorists could smuggle a weapon through American borders…a nuclear terrorist attack on America in the decade ahead is more likely than not (Allison, 2004, pg. 15). Should a militant group gain control of a nuclear weapon, either through construction or seizure, deterring its use would be extremely difficult, if not impossible. A nuclear terrorist attack on U.S. soil will be inevitable if the current non-proliferation policies are maintained. Counteraction and Reformation of Policy The threat of nuclear terrorism is currently on the rise; however, preemptive measures can be taken to prevent such a catastrophe. As the sole international hegemon, the U.S. needs to rethink its role as an advocate and enforcer of non-proliferation. A bipolar power structure no longer exists in world politics; the U.S. sits alone atop global hierarchy. The United States needs to take an active role in non-proliferation and change the way it conducts international political discourse in the second nuclear age. “Today, the nuclear threat posed by other nuclear-armed states is being eclipsed by a new threat, that of nuclear instruments in the hands of non-state, terrorist organizations” (Ferguson and Potter, 2004, pg. 318). Terrorism comprises the greatest threat to U.S. primacy; Washington needs to adapt its policies in a manner that allows it to maintain and resolve diplomatic relations with irrational political actors. It would be impossible for the U.S. to monitor all nuclear arsenals and prevent proliferation on a state-by-state case. Regulating fissile materials at the source would be the simplest and most inexpensive means to prohibit nuclear terrorism. Obtaining fissile materials, or an actual weapon, poses the greatest problem for terrorist groups seeking to gain possession of a nuclear weapon. Restricting the flow and spread of fissile materials means terrorists can neither purchase nor steal a nuclear weapon. In addition, Graham Allison asserts that in order to fully prevent nuclear terrorism and regulate the flow of fissile materials, the United States must adopt a policy of “three no’s”; no loose nuclear weapons, no nascent nuclear weapons and no new nuclear weapons states. The international community must agree to secure existing arsenals to a sufficient standard to prevent theft. Secondly, states cannot be allowed to construct enrichment facilities capable of creating HEU. Third, other states cannot develop nuclear weapons.
Proliferation risks nuclear terrorism
Cimbala 5 – Professor of Political Science at Pennsylvania State University, author of books and articles in professional journals on topics related to national security, he has served as a consultant on arms control to the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, US Department of State, and private defense contractors (Stephen J., The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, “East Wind Deadly: Nuclear Proliferation in Asia,” vol. 18, issue 4, 2005, http://dl2af5jf3e.search.serialssolutions.com.proxy.lib.umich.edu/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8&rfr_id=info:sid/summon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:journal&rft.genre=article&rft.atitle=East+Wind+Deadly%3A+Nuclear+Proliferation+in+Asia&rft.jtitle=The+Journal+of+Slavic+Military+Studies&rft.au=Cimbala%2C+Stephen&rft.date=2005-12-01&rft.issn=1351-8046&rft.volume=18&rft.issue=4&rft.spage=535&rft.epage=558&rft_id=info:doi/10.1080%2F13518040500341809&rft.externalDBID=FSMS&rft.externalDocID=976978281 mr)
Events since the end of the Cold War have challenged U.S. reliance on the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and other measures of nuclear arms control as the principal bulwark against nuclear weapons spread. Briefly put, the NPT has been extended legally beyond the international circumstances that gave weight to its ambitions. The bipolar international system of the Cold War allowed the Americans and Soviets to keep their respective blocs and allies within a security umbrella that discouraged states from acquiring their own WMD. In a very different and evolving international system since the end of the Cold War, available technology has combined with new ambitions and opportunities to bring nuclear capabilities within reach of more states. At the same time, U.S. and allied intelligence have been challenged to follow the flows of money, of weapons-grade material, of scientific expertise, and of shadow networks creating new linkages between rising demand for WMD and eager suppliers. The difficulties in containing the spread of nuclear weapons and delivery systems among states are only compounded by the possibility that materials or technology could find its way into the hands of terrorists, to deadly effect. Reportedly, al-Qaeda has tried to obtain weapons grade material (enriched uranium and plutonium) and assistance in assembling both true nuclear weapons and radiological bombs (conventional explosives that scatter radioactive debris). Nuclear weapons are in a class by themselves as weapons of “mass destruction”: thus, a miniature nuclear weapon exploded in an urban area could cause much more death and destruction than either biological or chemical weapons similarly located.
Proliferation will increase terrorist theft of nuclear materials which escalates to an arms race.
Mozley ’98 (Robert, Prof. Physics and Arms Control Export – Stanford U., “The Politics and Technology of Nuclear Proliferation”, p. 220)
The theft and subsequent sale of nuclear material expands the dangers associated with nuclear proliferation. It allows shortcutting the elaborate and expensive procedures necessary to produce fissile material. Present procedures have made it very difficult for an underdeveloped nation to build nuclear weapons, and have made it impossible for terrorist groups, even those as highly organized s the Japanese Aum Shrinrikyo, to build one. The availability of weapon-grade uranium, however, would make it possible for a medium-sized group to build a Hiroshima type of weapon. All that would be needed is about 100 lbs. of highly enriched uranium, some neutron-reflecting material, a gun barrel measuring a few inches in diameter, and some high explosive. Some understanding of metals, of nuclear physics, and of the action of explosives would complete the list. The calculations for designing the Hiroshima bomb were so straightforward that it was not thought necessary to test a prototype in 1945. Past efforts, which have concentrated on preventing nations from developing or purchasing the technology to build nuclear weapons, have been remarkably effective. But the availability of stolen nuclear material from the former Soviet Union may now be allowing terrorist groups and maverick nations to circumvent all of the controls and to buy nuclear materials for a small fraction of what they would otherwise cost. The great success of the previous effort was that nations generally have been made to feel they will be more secure without nuclear weapons than with. Almost all of the developed nations are able to build their own weapons, some needing only a few month’s time. Most have relied on the shield provided by the deterrent nuclear strength of one of the nuclear powers. But the deterrent shield (i.e., the threat of retaliation) is lost when the enemy is a terrorist group. If terrorist groups, or countries such as Libya, Iraq, or North Korea, are known to have nuclear weapons, an obvious reaction might be a rush by all nations to arm themselves.
Prolif risks a nuclear terrorist attack.
Graham and Talent 8—Bob Graham, a former U.S. senator from Florida, is chairman of the congressionally established Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism and the board of oversight of the Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida and the University of Miami. Jim Talent a former U.S. senator from Missouri, is vice chairman of the WMD Commission and Distinguished Fellow at the Heritage Foundation (September 15, 2008, “Nuclear proliferation endangers world stability”, http://www.heritage.org/Research/Commentary/2008/09/Nuclear-proliferation-endangers-world-stability, ZBurdette)
During the first presidential debate in 2004, President Bush and Sen. John Kerry agreed -- as stated by the president -- that "the single, largest threat to American national security today is nuclear weapons in the hands of a terrorist network." Yet despite that consensus, the subject of weapons of mass destruction proliferation has quickly disappeared from the national agenda. Few comments or questions on this issue have been posed to the presidential candidates, even though preventing WMD proliferation should be on the short list of priorities for a McCain or Obama White House. And it rarely appears on polls of the most urgent concerns of citizens. So, in 2008, after seven years in which there have been no successful terrorist attacks inside the country, why not relax? Here are the reasons: Terrorists have continued to demonstrate the intent to acquire a WMD capability. As Director of National Intelligence Admiral Michael McConnell said in his Sept. 10, 2007, testimony to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, "al Qaeda will continue to try to acquire and employ chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear material in attacks and would not hesitate to use them if it develops what it deems is sufficient capability." The potential human toll of an attack utilizing weapons of mass destruction is appalling. On a normal workday, half a million people crowd the area within a half-mile radius of Times Square. A noon detonation of a nuclear device in Midtown Manhattan would kill them all. Another attack -- particularly with WMD -- would have a devastating impact on the American and the world economies. As former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan warned, a nuclear terrorist attack would push "tens of millions of people into dire poverty," creating "a second death toll throughout the developing world." The environment for the use of nuclear and biological weapons has changed. Although Russia is doing a better job of securing its stockpiles and therefore is less of a threat, North Korea and Iran have taken its place. North Korea has gone from two bombs worth of plutonium to an estimated ten. Iran has gone from zero centrifuges spinning to more than 3,000. In what some have termed a "nuclear renaissance," many nations are now seeking commercial nuclear power capacity that will add to the inventory of nations and scientists who could extend their interest to nuclear weapons. With the nuclear surprises we've experienced in Iran, Syria and North Korea, it is clear that current nonproliferation regimes and mechanisms can no longer be certain to prevent more nuclear proliferation or the theft of bomb-usable materials. Biologists are creating synthetic DNA chains of diseases which have been considered extinct, such as the 1918 influenza virus that killed over 40 million people. The potential of using these laboratory-developed strains against an unaware and noninoculated population is ominous. There is the necessity of engaging the American people. Unlike the Cold War, which was a superpower vs. superpower confrontation, the current asymmetric threat that would be dramatically escalated if the terrorists had access to nuclear or biological weapons. The incorrect claims regarding Saddam Hussein's WMD and his collusion with al Qaeda have contributed to public skepticism. Nonetheless, there was and is a real danger that al Qaeda will get a nuclear bomb and attack an American city.
Prolif guarantees non-state actor acquisition -- extinction.
Business Recorder ‘9(“NORTH KOREA'S NUCLEAR DEFIANCE”, 5-27, L/N)
And it is getting deadlier in its fourth-generation mode. It is deadlier also because, thanks to technological upgrade, it is no more a state-exclusive weapon; there are atom bombs in suitcases and dirty nuclear devices for the non-state actors. These are the hazards that would always come with nuclear proliferation, legal or illegal. The way out of this dilemma is total, unconditional non-proliferation. By merely bringing down the tally from 36,000 to 26,000 warheads one cannot secure the world against a nuclear holocaust. All of this is cosmetic: even 26 nuclear warheads can render this planet uninhabitable. It is not our intent to justify the second test by North Korea.