Reversing ProliferationIssue: Fall 2004
Of the three interwoven threats to America--terrorists, rogue states and the proliferation of WMD--the third has provoked the least public debate since 9/11. This is curious, since the invasion of Iraq was intended as an exercise in counter-proliferation and the administration has announced a major program to deal with other cases of the spread of WMD. But public debate has focused on the prudence of pre-emptive war and unilateralism, and on whether Iraq had stockpiled WMD in the first place, not on the ways the momentum can be and is being used to overcome further WMD threats in Libya and Pakistan and to strengthen the anti-proliferation regime more generally. The Bush Administration's ongoing program has received little serious attention outside of expert circles, despite eye-catching measures such as the Proliferation Security Initiative, which empowers the United States to board ships suspected of carrying WMD contraband.