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The Terrorist Threat to World Nuclear Programs

Bruce G. Blair and Garry D. Brewer
The Journal of Conflict Resolution
Vol. 21, No. 3 (Sep., 1977), pp. 379-403
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/173808
Page Count: 25
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The Terrorist Threat to World Nuclear Programs
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Abstract

Terrorism in the global setting has become the predominant form of confrontation between differing subcategories of societies that seek to overcome each other, regardless of size. In the case of nuclear terrorism, the consequences of failure are potentially catastrophic. While the logic of our strategic nuclear policy is clear, the same clarity does not hold for policies directed at nuclear terrorism. In the former case, a prevailing view is that the risk of nuclear war is low because the United States responds vigilantly to nuclear threats posed by other nations. In the latter case, there is no terrorist prevention doctrine, nor is there an institutional focus for preventing terrorism that is even remotely commensurate with that which exists for deterring nuclear war. We here consider the dimensions of the nuclear terrorism problem, discuss these with respect to the Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile system, consider the capabilities and objectives of potential terrorist groups, and formulate some basic recommendations for improving the current state of affairs.

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