When the end of the Cold War largely eliminated the likelihood of a global thermonuclear war, policymakers turned their attention to the very real danger that weapons of mass destruction could be used in smaller, but still horrifically deadly numbers. Ballistic missiles garnered the most of the attention, though they are only one-and perhaps the most difficult-method of delivery of these weapons.
Increasing oil production in Iraq will not alleviate the potential problems in other important oil producing regions, including West Africa, Latin America, and new producers in the Caspian region. The United States must anticipate energy security threats from these regions and prepare for them in advance.
The Bush administration's new "National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)," announced in December, is wise in some places, in need of small fixes in other places, and dangerously radical in still others.
Multiple sources now confirm that Iran has an operational uranium-enrichment facility located in Nantanz, 200 miles south of Tehran. In late February, Mohammed ElBaradei, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency visited this facility, which will be placed under international inspection. The plant is currently equipped with 160 new gas centrifuges, with parts reportedly in place for an additional 1,000 machines. Iran has plans to eventually operate the plant with a total of 5,000 centrifuges. According to the Washington Post, when this plant is completed in 2005, Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium for several bombs a year.
A seminar by Dipankar Banerjee, Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, and Dmitri Trenin, Deputy Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center.
Moves by North Korea to restart its nuclear reactor program and by Iran to build advanced nuclear facilities to produce weapons-grade materials, threaten to blow the lid off long-standing nonproliferation efforts. The developments show that the approach being pursued by the current administration for preventing the spread of nuclear arms has failed and needs immediate adjustment.