July 13, 2016

Moshe Kantor: Threat of nuclear terrorism is real

Thirty years on from Reykjavík, dialogue and cooperation between key states remain the best remedy to countering the nuclear threats we face, says Moshe Kantor.

We live in uncertain and troubling times. We are rightly on red alert against the threat of what has now become conventional terrorist acts of indiscriminate suicide bombings, gun and knife attacks. But we are seemingly blind to the much more catastrophic and all too real threat of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) and other terrorist groups.

It is hard for us to imagine, but terror groups are alarmingly close to acquiring nuclear weapons. Security experts believe the Jihadi brothers Khalid and Ibrahim el-Bakraoui were plotting to make a radioactive bomb by kidnapping Belgium’s nuclear programme chief in order to force him to let them into one of Belgium’s two atomic facilities to steal nuclear material.

Nuclear proliferation, either by terrorist groups such as Isil or state actors like North Korea, mean we are living in a world confronted with a threat level the likes of which we have not seen since the Cold War.

It is worth noting then that this year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the 1986 Reykjavík Summit on nuclear arms reduction. Although the talks between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev collapsed at the last minute, the progress achieved during the negotiations proved seminal in curbing the arms race between the two sides, and paving the way for the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty the following year. That agreement saw both sides agree to eliminate their respective stockpiles of intermediate and shorter-range nuclear missiles.

Since Reykjavik, further progress on nuclear-arms reduction and non-proliferation has been made. In 2010 President Obama signed a strategic-arms-control-treaty (New Start) with Russia, which, together with the establishment of a new inspection and verification regime, will see the number of strategic nuclear missile launchers reduced by half. More significantly, last July saw a deal reached to constrain Iran’s nascent nuclear programme. The accord will keep Iran from producing enough material for a nuclear weapon for at least ten years and impose new provisions for inspections of Iranian facilities, including military sites.

Despite these achievements, it is frustrating greater progress on nuclear arms reduction has not been achieved. As the attacks on Brussels demonstrate, the threat of nuclear proliferation remains very real. North Korea, long a belligerent regional player, already has the capacity to launch a nuclear attack on Seoul and Tokyo. Experts predict that within the next decade they will have the ability to strike at the heart of the US. Meanwhile, tensions between Pakistan and India, both nuclear armed states, remain high.

As former US Defence Secretary Robert McNamara explained, unlike the application of traditional forms of military power, there can be no learning period with nuclear weapons. One mistake can destroy nations.

Furthermore, fissile material stored in ailing research facilities in the former Soviet Union, combined with an ever-growing contingent of disaffected young men and women hell-bent on perpetrating mass murder in the name of misguided ideological beliefs, mean the threat of a so-called “dirty bomb” attack in the heart of Europe is greater than ever.

It is for precisely these reasons that the  International Luxembourg Forum On Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe, of which I am president, convened last month. Established in 2007, the Luxembourg Forum aims to promote international peace and security by developing practical policy solutions aimed at limiting nuclear arms and countering the threat of nuclear terrorism. The two-day conference involved a host of participating experts developing a credible blueprint of recommendations to be presented to and hopefully implemented by the world’s major nuclear powers – US, Russia, China, UK and France.

Irrespective of the outcome of November’s US Presidential election, it is vital that the victor takes heed of these recommendations and picks up the mantle of tackling the threats posed by nuclear armed rogue states and extremist groups.  The current stalemate in discussions between the super powers cannot be allowed to continue.

As former President Gorbachev explained in his address to the Luxembourg Forum earlier this year:

“[Thirty years on from Reykjavík] we cannot be satisfied with the current situation.  The window to a nuclear-free world, first opened in Reykjavik, is being shut and locked before our eyes. New types of nuclear weapons are being created.  Missile defence systems are being deployed.  The nuclear powers’ military doctrines have been changed for the worse.”

He is right – the threat of nuclear terrorism and proliferation is greater than ever. But as we have seen from Reykjavík and subsequent summits, dialogue and cooperation between key states, together with effective leadership, remain the best remedy to countering the nuclear threats we face.

This article first appeared on The Telegraph website on 8 June, 2016 and was syndicated with the kind permission of Moshe Kantor. 

4.50 avg. rating (89% score) - 8 votes
Moshe Kantor
Moshe Kantor is President of the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe; European Jewish Congress; European Council on Tolerance & Reconciliation.
  • Shadow Warrior

    Hammond is continuity Brown. He is a hand-wringing lefty looking for clever wheezes to raise more tax in ways that people don’t immediately notice.

  • captainslugwash

    I predict the Budget will attempt to show the Left how caring the Tories are, and it will be funded by screwing over the working man.
    If Corp Tax comes down, I bet Divi tax will be going up.
    I would love to be wrong.

  • skynine

    We really need to look at tax credits, in particular in work tax credits that encourage people to work part time to preserve the benefits. 45% of women work part time and I would hazard a guess that tax credits are the main cause. This leads to low pay, low skill work in supermarkets and the retail sector including coffee shops. The government needs to get back to the employer paying people to do a job for economic reasons rather than to get onto the tax credit ladder. Like all government benefits it distorts the market and diverts government expenditure into non productive areas.
    The refrain that the government has cut expenditure is not true, it increases every year as more and more goes into welfare.

  • MrVeryAngry

    fat chance

  • MrSauce

    So, when wouldn’t we want a ‘budget for growth’?

  • Rob

    I note that the UK Government has just slapped on a 25% tax charge for anyone moving abroad and wishing to move out their private pension from the UK.

  • SonofBoudica

    The Remoaners will do their utmost to sabotage the Government’s negotiating position. They do not want a successful outcome; they want a failure. They want to be able to scream “Told you so!” from the rooftops.

  • EnglandLaments

    Thank goodness for Andrew Neil, the one media hack who scares the pants off the established politicians. He was spot on with Heidi Allen!

  • joshuafalken

    I had a very long, hard, studied and considered look at the hope, care and aspirations of all Europeans, before I voted to get the UK out of the toxic grasp of Brussels.

    The European Union and it’s charge of “ever closer union” has borrowed and spent its way to oblivion, whilst enslaving the working and middle classes in debt.

    The central control mantra of the unaccountable Brussels ruling elite, delivered through a mixture of socialism, globalism and corporatism is entirely responsible for the populist revolt by the millions of “Just About Managings” across Europe.

    We must remember the ultimate goal of socialists, globalists and corporatists is control, not prosperity. see https://mises.org/blog/goal-socialists-socialism-—-not-prosperity.

    Social equality and economic growth always fail under central control and fighting against the Brussels doctrine on behalf of all Europeans is why I voted for Brexit.

    Britain has a long history of helping Europeans depose tyrants and Brussels is just the latest incarnation.

    Britain is the most racially advanced and accepting society on the planet. We welcome those in need and those that can help us with open arms and a smile; that will not change.

    We are also one of the most innovative, talented and open societies in the world, which why everyone wants to live here. However, we cannot fit everyone in, so we have to have clear, balanced and fair immigration policy which is where the arguments start between the monetarists and humanists will never be reconciled.

    I thought long and hard before coming to the conclusion that leaving the EU was in the best interest of all Europeans, as Brussels is toxic and cannot be reformed from within.

    Also, I find it insulting that people who voted Remain have insufficient faith in British ingenuity, compassion and skill to get a good deal for us and see the Europe that we love get a better deal from Brussels and the reform that European people deserve. https://mishtalk.com/2017/03/29/bad-brexit-deal-better-than-no-deal-mathematical-idiocy-odds-of-no-deal/ and https://www.worldheadlines.info/2017/03/after-brexit-9-reasons-to-be-bullish-on-great-britain/

    The politics of left verses right are dead because neither have delivered the promised economic growth and social mobility for anyone, but themselves. The populists are not selfish per-se, they just want to take back control of their own destiny that left/right politicians have freely given away and/or exploited for their own ends. In my constituency, the local residents group are taking over the councils as politicians ignore voters, so Westminster should beware of the well-organised, local resident independents at the next election. This is a peoples revolution which should be shouted from the rooftops, but liberals remained deafened by the socialist, globalist and corporatist “vested interests” that have spectacularly failed us and are obediently crying foul and fake.

    There will be an initial unpalatable inflationary cost to fighting globalism and rolling back central control that few appear to have factored in, but dismantling failed left/right vested interests should eventually free libertarian socially-conservative capitalism from the shackles of TBTF corporatism to feed economic growth and social mobility.

  • agdpa

    The EU usually makes the wrong decision – on immigration, on freedom of movement, on the euro, on the Ukraine, etc. etc. Little hope it will get Brexit right.

  • brownowl

    Eh? Reference please!

  • Neil2

    Sod caring. Screw the spongers and breeders. Kill HS2. Stop all “green” subsidies. Slash “foreign aid” and walk away from the EUSSR with immediate effect.

  • Rob
  • John C

    What a confused article. It conflates surveillance by the security services with poor defences against fraud.

  • John C

    Err, it’s the UK that’s leaving the EU, not vice versa.

  • John C

    Me, now. ‘Growth’ is a manic obsession.

  • La Face Nord

    Mr Redwood – are you aware of the Biased BBC website? It’s been exposing their agenda for a long time, but I imagine you’ve been well aware of the BBC’s agenda for quite some time…

  • Contact Rvtech

    The post is great

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