United States Security and Terrorism Essay

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Q1) Can nuclear superiority provides a meaningful deterrent against terrorism? Why or why not?

1-The Eagle Rules? Chapter 13, Weapons, Proliferation and Missile Defense, pages 282-298
2-Going Critical, Witt, Poneman and Gallucci, all
3-Law vs. War: Approaches to fighting terrorism, Boyne, German and Pillar, pages 1-24
4-The Global Century: Proliferation of Advanced Weaponry, Chapter 37, pages 785-807
5-Strategic Assessment 1999: Chapter 14, Rogue States & Proliferation: How serious a threat? Pages 219-228
6-Add any new ref. related to the subject.

Q2- (85 words ) Read the following comments and write your opinion ( Why you agree with this comments or why not ACCORDING TO the references presented above in the first question. “Your comments must be substantive, meaning that you are adding something new and thoughtful to the discussion. It’s not sufficient to say you agree or disagree. Explain why.”

-1) What mechanisms are available to the international community to control the spread of WMD? 

-2) Can nuclear superiority provide a meaningful deterrent against terrorism? Why or why not?

-3) Where should controlling the spread of WMD be on the list of US priorities? Why?

I would really like to answer all three of these questions. Really in the international spectrum the only feasible way to really control WMD is to destroy all means. Take The NPT is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote co-operation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. The NPT represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States. However this treaty just has no substance to prevent the spread. Terrorist cells and rouge governments have the funds and means to produce these weapons or at least acquire them. We as a country really do need to try to control the spread to WMD to rogue states and terrorist groups. These cells or terrorist groups/rogue states are becoming increasingly likely to use weapons of mass destruction against the United States. And we in turn are not prepared to defeat or limit the damage of a domestic nuclear, biological, or chemical attack. I think the best defense against nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons use is mainly in preventing terrorist acquisition of these weapons. The largest sources of supply are in the former Soviet Union, particularly in Russia\’s vast stockpiles of insecure nuclear weapons and materials. Fissile material, the essential ingredient of nuclear weapons, is quite difficult to produce, and thus controlling access to such material is the highest-leverage way to prevent nuclear terrorism. Most of the materials and equipment needed for chemical and biological weapons, by contrast, are widely available and very difficult to control, but post-attack disaster response, if timely and effective, could save most of the victims of such an attack and is therefore a high-leverage area for increased attention (Nuclear Security, 2004). We need to strengthened U.S. programs to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of rogue states or terrorist groups. While some earlier programs have made remarkable progress, most nuclear, chemical, and biological materials in the former Soviet Union still have no effective security systems; no verification of weapons dismantlement and materials controls is in place; none of the key states yet has any effective ability to interdict smuggling of mass-destruction materials; conversion of Russia’s three remaining plutonium-production reactors has not yet been achieved; no effective plan has yet been put in place to eliminate Russia’s huge existing excess plutonium stockpiles; and the incentives for Russia’s mass-destruction experts to sell their talents to others continue to worsen(Export). Programs to address these urgent dangers are not foreign aid, but critical investments in U.S. security. Poorly guarded nuclear bomb materials pose a particularly urgent threat, creating the possibility that a rogue state or terrorist group could acquire a nuclear capability virtually without warning. Fortunately, a major cooperative program is underway to install modern safeguards and security systems for these facilities as rapidly as practicable. The most dangerous aspect of terrorists having these capabilities is the biological concern. Biological weapons kill over a period of days, making it possible to bring national resources to bear in response, but only if the attack is detected when the first victims get sick, or sooner (Nuclear Security, 2004). Early detection is crucial because the illnesses caused by the most important biological warfare agents become impossible to treat after their early stages. Preparedness for biological weapons terrorism requires awareness at the local level to detect an attack, combined with regional and national medical response assets to provide medical care for the victims. American cities are not well prepared to detect the early signs of a biological attack. Even if an attack is detected, national resources, including both the ability to deploy large number of doctors to care for victims and the necessary stockpiles of medicines and supplies, are grossly inadequate to treat the thousands of victims likely from a biological warfare attack. Look at the “swine flu” outbreak, we as a country lacked enough supplies to treat everyone here imagine a large scale biological attack. The programs now under way will do little to remedy these shortfalls. Effective action to prevent terrorist attacks depends on timely warning, but the United States is poorly prepared to detect signs of biological and chemical weapons acquisition, or to detect weapons being imported into the United States. Law-enforcement agencies could significantly improve the chances of early warning of a terrorist attack by promoting self-policing efforts in key industries. Suppliers of key dual-use equipment and supplies usable in nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons acquisition should be encouraged to report unusual purchases for possible investigation, and the government should systematically monitor this information for signs of suspicious activity. Basically The United States has used four key policy instruments to combat the proliferation of WMD; international treaties, multilateral export control arrangements, U.S. export controls, and security assistance to other countries. While all these components and policies are important to the collective framework for preventing the transfer of weapons of mass destruction and associated technologies to terrorists or rogue states, it just isn’t going to stop the problem.

Export Controls: System for Controlling Exports of High Performance Computing is Ineffective (GAO- 
01-10, Dec. 18, 2000); Export Controls: Inadequate Justification for Relaxation of Computer Controls 
Demonstrates Need for Comprehensive Study (GAO-01-534T, Mar. 15, 2001). 
Nuclear Security. (2004, March). Retrieved August 5, 2009, from Department of Energy: http://www.energy.gov/nationalsecurity/wmd.htm 

Q3- (65 words ) Read the following comments and write your opinion ( Why you agree with this comments or why not ACCORDING TO the references presented above in the first question. “Your comments must be substantive, meaning that you are adding something new and thoughtful to the discussion. It’s not sufficient to say you agree or disagree. Explain why.”

Where should controlling the spread of WMD be on the list of US priorities? Why? 

Controlling the spread of WMD should be at the top of the list of US national security priorities. No other threat has the potential to catastrophically alter the political, military, and economic landscape to the degree that WMD can. Not only does the actual employment of WMD pose a grave threat to the security of the US, but also the threat of employment can have similar implications. In terms of threats, WMD represents only one side. For a threat to be credible there must be capability and intention. In some instances, a country can possess WMD without becoming a threat to the national security of the US. In this case, a country who has no intention of employing WMD against US interests would not necessarily pose a threat. An example would be a country such as Israel, who may or may not possess WMD. If such a country did possess WMD, then they would not be a threat to the US due to the lack of any intentions of compromising the national security of the US. Conversely, a country that has every intention to endanger US interests would not necessarily be a credible threat if they did not possess the capability to actually carry out their intentions. Countries such as Cuba who maintain a very antagonistic approach to the US are not a major threat due to the lack of capability to carry out their rhetoric. North Korea, on the other hand, not only has the intentions of compromising the national security of the US, but is also pursuing the means in order to act on those intentions. The US has already started implementing measures to ensure that North Korea does not become a nuclear threat. The Six Party Talks have met with mixed reviews, but the continued emphasis on engaging North Korea on its nuclear development highlights the importance stemming the proliferation of WMD. “Beijing understood both its own leverage as well as the grave consequences of a North Korean nuclear program and repeatedly, but quietly, nudged Pyongyang toward compliance with its nonproliferation commitments.”(Galluci) This is precisely why WMD is a top priority. A nuclear armed North Korea would give it the leverage it needed to carry out its agenda that it would not otherwise been able to do. North Korea’s economy and military are in ill shape to contend with the US and the surrounding nations, but the possession of WMD would give them the asymmetrical advantage that would negate the need for a robust military or successful economy. 

Gallucci, Robert; Poneman, Dan & Wit, Joel. “Lessons Learned: The Road Ahead \” from Going Critical: The First North Korean Nuclear Crisis”. June 2004.

Q4- (65 words ) Read the following comments and write your opinion ( Why you agree with this comments or why not ACCORDING TO the references presented above in the first question. “Your comments must be substantive, meaning that you are adding something new and thoughtful to the discussion. It’s not sufficient to say you agree or disagree. Explain why.”

What mechanisms are available to the international community to control the spread of WMD?

There are not many mechanisms available to control the spread of weapons of mass destruction however; there are many nations that contribute to international arms control. US top priority is keeping rogue states from obtaining Weapons of mass destruction. Nations like Korea pose a big threat to the international realm. With the US constantly forming legislation and engaging in several community talks with other nations, nuclear weapons will decrease dramatically. Nuclear weapons and the rise of them have been and will continue to be a major problem for national security. Despite US\’s leading role in controlling the arms race, Russia, Japan, China and South Korea too have contributed to discussions with North Korea to absolve and resolve their potential nuclear arsenal. The Six Parties Talk have been key in attempts to forward the international goal of ending North Koreas\’ supposed weapons of mass destruction while also providing ground for each party involved to satisfy its own country\’s concerns. This mechanism has been influential since 2003. These series of discussions may lead to a resolution to denuclearize and bring a sense of security back amongst the parties involved. 
The Six party talks is a community of nations that come together and discuss implications of North Korea’s nuclear weapons. The primary purpose and intent of these talks are to denuclearize North Korea and enhance national security between the respective nations involved. The People\’s Republic of China, the Democratic People\’s Republic of Korea, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America all collaborate together in an effort to resolve the nuclear threat and implement policy for the common good of the group. Each session is geared towards meeting certain objectives by all parties. If the group continues its friendly talks; then inter-diplomacy will be strengthened and the implementation of multilateral agreements may denuclearize Korea and hopefully the region. 

Consensus is essential for the group when it comes to policy formation regarding North Korea however, each respective nation have their own interest they wish to satisfy. South Korea and Japan share the same interest in regards to their security because they face the same dangers. North Korea sought out several times to create friction between the US, Japan, and South Korea. If North Korea obtains nuclear weapons then an arms race may occur in the region. 
Japan and South Korea may be provoked to build nuclear weapons to protect their security. If this happens the US will be forced to deal with three more Nation with nukes. South Korea has been in conflict with the north since the end of WWI. Their primary goal is to reunify the Korean peninsula. Japan is highly concerned about the rise of North Koreas nuclear arsenal because they have missiles that could easily reach inside Japans borders. This is a big threat for their national security. Both Japan and South Korea are worried about a sudden regime change because they fear a large influx of refugees across their borders. Nuclear weapons cause serious problems within the international community. It is important for everyone to be actively involved in an effort to have positive control of who obtains nuclear arms. 
The goal and objective of the US is to see North Korea’s nuclear facility shutdown. A nuclear Korea creates a grave threat to US interest and the US seeks to resolve this matter peacefully and multilaterally. The US is concerned about rogue states getting their hands on weapons of mass destruction produced by Korea. North Korea’s objective is to receive aid and more aid from whatever country that will contribute. 

If North Korea continues to receive economic aid from the six participating nations Korea has vowed to end all nuclear progression. If North Korea does not receive aid then it will continue to use nuclear deterrence as a national security strategy. Russia and the United State together have implemented a new mechanism to control the spread of nukes. The two countries just recently signed a treaty to cut American and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals by at least one-quarter. This was done in an effort to decrease weapons drastically and to prevent their further spread to unstable regions. This treaty also outlines American plans to build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe, which Washington describes as a hedge against an Iranian nuclear system. 
All nations engaged in these political talks share a common interest- regional stability and security; and a denuclearized North Korea. As long as talks continue members of the table will not diverge from their respective and primary goals. Keeping the lines of communication will undoubtedly create cooperation and negotiation and will eventually lead to implementation of policy halting North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. Proper diplomacy allows for achievement. Due to the several party talk sessions, the US has achieved many objectives: more rounds of talks with the North, reconfirming the commitment to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, stressing specification of the scope and time, and method of verification. The parties involved contributed and reinforced the intent behind the talks. The Arms Reduction Treaty between Russia and the US is constantly being worked. This mechanism has put the two countries in the fore front of battling the nuclear arms threat in the international community. Fighting the proliferation of nuclear weapons in places like Iran and North Korea will take some time but if all nations continue to work together and talk; global security will inevitably come to pass. 


1. Bajoria, J. & Zissis, Carin. (2009). The Six-Party Talks on North Korea\’s Nuclear Program. Council on Foreign Relations. Backgrounders. 

2. Hayes, Peter. “South Koreas Power Play at the Six Party Talks.” East Asia Science and Security Collaborative Special Report. A report by the Nautilus Institute, http://www.nautilus.org/napsnet/sr/2005/0560ROK_Energy_Aid.pdf July 21 2005, 2 Aug 09 

3. Six-Party Talks: Beijing, China, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People\’s Republic of China. Joint Statement of the Fourth Round of the Six-Party Talks 
Beijing 19 September 2005, 6 Aug 09 

4. Van, Peter, “Stick to the Six Party Talks on North Korea, June 23 2009, 4 Aug 09 http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2009/06/23/stick-to-the-six-party-talks-on-north-korea/

Q5- (65 words ) Read the following comments and write your opinion ( Why you agree with this comments or why not ACCORDING TO the references presented above in the first question. “Your comments must be substantive, meaning that you are adding something new and thoughtful to the discussion. It’s not sufficient to say you agree or disagree. Explain why.”

The nuclear deterrence of the cold war takes on a different meaning when the threat is terrorism. Mutually assured destruction prevented the United States and the Soviet Union from decimating each other during the Cold War. Today the massive amounts of nuclear warheads that Russia and the United States still have little deterring effect on terrorists. The deterrence theory is based on the Rational Actor Theory. During the Cold War the rational actors were the United States and the Soviet Union. Terrorists are not rational actors and should not be regarded as such. For example, terrorism often kills not only the attacked, but also kills the attacker. This is not a rational actor. In order for traditional nuclear deterrence to be effective each actor had designated target areas. Terrorists live in small cells and are often difficult to locate. Nuclear weapons would not help in this case. Conventional weapons can do the same job without the international backlash of using a nuclear weapon. 
Smaller more tactile nuclear weapons may provide deterrence to terrorism, but they would have to be used at some point to provide this deterrence. Again, the collateral damage from a nuclear weapon could create international tensions. 
The US armament of nuclear weapons cannot be totally eradicated. There will always be some type of threat from another nation and the US does need its nuclear deterrence capability to thwart this type of attack. Against terrorism, nuclear weapons could be used and would create a massive amount of damage, and the US would have to have an exceptional target in order to use a tactical nuclear weapon against terrorists. If successful the US could have a great deterrent in tactical nuclear weapons. If unsuccessful, the US could be inciting further terrorism against itself. 


Kampmark, Binoy. \”America\’s Nuclear Deterrance in the Age of Terrorism.\” Contemporary Review, 2003. 

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