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Nuclear Threats, at Home and Abroad

by Robert Jensen

As politicians jockey for position on the Iran nuclear deal, the political and media conversations assume that Iran poses an existential threat that requires an international response led by the United States. Nuclear weapons surely pose a threat not only to peace but to our existence, but what nations pose the greatest threats?

With his characteristic bluntness, Noam Chomsky reviews the relevant history to highlight why the United States retains the title of “The Prime Rogue State” while supporting other dangerous rogues. In “’The Iranian Threat’: Who Is the Gravest Danger to World Peace?” Chomsky reminds us that

Israel, of course, is one of the three nuclear powers, along with India and Pakistan, whose weapons programs have been abetted by the United States and that refuse to sign the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

and that the United States continues to undermine the worldwide support for a nuclear-weapons-free Middle East.

One of the best analysts on nuclear weapons is Zia Mian, who directs the Project on Peace and Security in South Asia at Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security. In this 2014 C-SPAN interview, Mian reviews crucial history and science necessary—including the fact that the United States and Russia hold the vast majority of the world’s nuclear weapons and are in violation of the NPT’s call for disarmament—to understand the issue in the context of international affairs.

Another reliable source on these questions is the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, where Suvrat Raju also speaks of the larger context for true security in the article “The unlearned lessons of 1945”:

In the nuclear era, the survival of humanity is closely tied to the abolition of war; this much has long been clear. But lasting peace is possible only in a just international order—where aggression by powerful countries isn’t tolerated, international relations are guided by equality instead of by exceptionalism, and science is guided by social rather than military objectives.