Sunday, April 11, 2010

In which nearly all of us will agree with President Obama 

AP reports on President Obama's remarks before the beginning of the summit in Washington, D.C., centered on securing the world's nuclear stockpile.
"The single biggest threat to U.S. security, both short-term, medium-term and long-term, would be the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon," Obama said. "This is something that could change the security landscape in this country and around the world for years to come."

"If there was ever a detonation in New York City, or London, or Johannesburg, the ramifications economically, politically and from a security perspective would be devastating," the president said.

"We know that organizations like al-Qaida are in the process of trying to secure nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, and would have no compunction at using them," Obama said.
President Obama almost sounds like his predecessor in those remarks, or maybe he has just really gotten into the FOX TV show "24" as it winds down its final season. Now that we can all agree that Islamic terrorists would like to have a nuclear weapon, and would use it if they had it, what should be done about that problem?

Recall that there were more than a few people in 2001 (a good number of whom, in 2007-2008, became part of Senator Obama's base) who did not want military action taken against al-Qaida in Afghanistan, because many innocent Afghans would be killed. These concerned citizens forwarded what became a famous article by Afghan-American Tamim Ansary in a viral email, stating, essentially, please don't bomb and please don't invade with ground troops. President Obama must stay mindful of that part of his base, particularly in the present domestic political climate, with his overall approval ratings down.

Yes, securing nuclear stockpiles (particularly those from the former U.S.S.R.) is a critical element of a policy aimed at preventing terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons. Stopping rogue states (cough. Iran, cough) from developing new weapons is another policy element. Having a forward-leaning military and political strategy which creates a great deal of operational friction for al-Qaida and its allies might be the most important leg of of the policy, and it is there that the Obama Administration is being criticized by Fouad Ajami in Friday's Wall Street Journal, who perceives that U.S. power is "receding" and not leaning forward:
All this plays out under the gaze of an Islamic world that is coming to a consensus that a discernible American retreat in the region is in the works. America's enemies are increasingly brazen, its friends unnerved. Witness the hapless Lebanese, once wards of U.S. power, now making pilgrimages, one leader at a time, to Damascus. They, too, can read the wind: If Washington is out to "engage" that terrible lot in Syria, they better scurry there to secure reasonable terms of surrender.

The shadow of American power is receding; the rogues are emboldened. The world has a way of calling the bluff of leaders and nations summoned to difficult endeavors. Would that our biggest source of worry in that arc of trouble was the intemperate outburst of our ally in Kabul.
It is good that there is a consensus with respect to defining the problem -- keeping nukes out of the hands of terrorists -- and it would be even better if there could be a consensus regarding the best policies to address the problem.


By Blogger Kinuachdrach, at Sun Apr 11, 11:00:00 PM:

No. I for one don't agree with Obama. He can say whatever he wants -- but all he is saying is "Wouldn't it be terrible ..."

The reason why the people that matter around the world have decided Obama & his Democrats are weak is because of what they do, not what they say.

Obama has eliminated the F-22, has eliminated anti-missile defenses, has committed not to build any new nuclear weapons. He dithered for months over Afghanistan, and did nothing to help people in Iran who were being persecuted by their own government.

Obama's actions speak so loud that they drown out his empty words. He is a Chamberlain for our era. Obama's weakness will result in the deaths of millions of human beings.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Sun Apr 11, 11:25:00 PM:

Either by foul intent, incompetence...or both...the US is removing itself from the position of Cultural Watchdog.

If Obama has a policy, which is doubtful, it is to offend no one who can potentially harm us.

I suspect poor Barack spent much of his youth willingly handing over his lunch money to bullies in the school playgounds.

If the United States is to have a sane nuclear policy, it will have to await the resumption of control of the White House by adults in 2012.

Hopefully, we will not suffer in the interim.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Apr 12, 09:41:00 AM:

"...the problem -- keeping nukes out of the hands of terrorists..."
The solution is obvious! We simply prohibit use of the word "terrorists," and, once having done so, the problem goes away.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Mon Apr 12, 11:35:00 AM:

A finely milled plutonium dispersal device (aka "dirty bomb") is much worse than a nuke detonation, much easier to fabricate, and requires much less material to be effective.

6 ounces or so of milled plutonium widely dispersed would would be an effective "area denial" weapon lasting for hundreds of years that could cover several square miles.  

By Anonymous Just Because, at Mon Apr 12, 07:20:00 PM:

"6 ounces or so ..."

Thank you Jack Bauer  

By Blogger Georg Felis, at Tue Apr 13, 01:33:00 AM:


Somehow I can't see a bunch of terrorists sitting around a table saying "Well, it looks like the most critical place we can punch The Great Satan is this town in South Africa...."

Admittedly it is the gateway for a great number of critical raw materials for the world economy, but...  

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