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Which nuclear threats should we worry most about?
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Arms Control NOW

Authored by Greg Thielmann on February 21, 2017

This op-ed originally appeared in The Des Moines Register.

During his 24-day reign as national security adviser, Michael Flynn put non-nuclear Iran “on notice” after it conducted a medium-range ballistic missile test in late January. Flynn directed no comparable warning to nuclear North Korea after it conducted a more significant missile test two weeks later. Meanwhile, no one had apparently put Flynn “on notice” about his multiple conversations with the Russian government concerning U.S. sanctions in the wake of Moscow’s interference in the U.S. elections.

Between the internal politics of the Trump White House, the political maneuverings of foreign governments, and the arcane technical details of nuclear missile programs, it is difficult to make sense of it all. But it is important for us to try, because our reactions to this news may make the difference between war and peace.

Of the world’s nine nuclear weapons states, three are potential adversaries; two can destroy our country in short order: Russia and China. If either decided to launch an all-out nuclear attack, there is nothing — including our missile defenses — that could spare us from nuclear annihilation. Fortunately, the Russians and Chinese know that such an attack would result in their own countries being destroyed in response.

For the complete article, visit The Des Moines Register.

Greg Thielmann