How to Counter WMD

Carter, Ashton B.
September 2004
Foreign Affairs;Sep/Oct2004, Vol. 83 Issue 5, p72
The article offers a look at how to counter the threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). United States President George W. Bush has rightly proclaimed that keeping the worst weapons out of the hands of the worst people is Washington's highest national security priority. But so far, the United States has attacked the people much more vigorously than the weapons. The war on terrorism that Washington is fighting and the war on WMD that it needs to fight are related but not identical. The primary focus of counterproliferation policy should be nuclear and biological weapons. Reforms should aim to eliminate the threat of nuclear terrorism entirely by denying fissile materials to nonstate actors and should prepare to contain the scale of the most likely forms of bioterrorism to minor outbreaks. They should revamp outdated arms control agreements, expand counterproliferation programs in the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security, and improve the way intelligence on WMD is collected and analyzed. They should favor countering WMD with non-nuclear rather than nuclear measures. And they should at last develop coherent strategies for heading off the two most pressing nuclear proliferation threats: those emanating from Iran and North Korea.


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