The New Containment

Forging a U.S.-Russian alliance to prevent nuclear terrorism should be America's top priority in the post-September 11 world; here is a blueprint for one.

Issue: Fall 2002

During the Cold War, American and Russian policymakers and citizens thought long and hard about the possibility of nuclear attacks on their respective homelands. But with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disappearance of the Soviet Union, the threat of nuclear weapons catastrophe faded away from most minds. This is both ironic and potentially tragic, since the threat of a nuclear attack on the United States or Russia is certainly greater today than it was in 1989.

In the aftermath of Osama bin Laden's September 11 assault, which awakened the world to the reality of global terrorism, it is incumbent upon serious national security analysts to think again about the unthinkable. Could a nuclear terrorist attack happen today? Our considered answer is: yes, unquestionably, without any doubt. It is not only a possibility, but in fact the most urgent unaddressed national security threat to both the United States and Russia.

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