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U.S. President Barack Obama chairs a U.N. Security Council meeting in New York on Sept. 24, 2009. The council unanimously adopted a U.S.-sponsored resolution seeking to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and promote nuclear disarmament.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Foreign Affairs

Nuclear Disorder: Surveying Atomic Threats

| January/February 2010

The current global nuclear order is extremely fragile, and the three most urgent challenges to it are North Korea, Iran, and Pakistan. If North Korea and Iran become established nuclear weapons states over the next several years, the nonproliferation regime will have been hollowed out. If Pakistan were to lose control of even one nuclear weapon that was ultimately used by terrorists, that would change the world. It would transform life in cities, shrink what are now regarded as essential civil liberties, and alter conceptions of a viable nuclear order.

In this June 12, 2010 file photo, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi talks during a ceremony to mark the 40th anniversary of the evacuation of the American military bases in the country, in Tripoli, Libya (AP Photo/ Abdel Magid Al Fergany, File).

AP Photo/ Abdel Magid Al Fergany, File

Journal Article - Studies in Intelligence

Cooperation in the Libya WMD Disarmament Case

| Vol. 61, No. 4

Muammar al-Qadhafi’s induced renunciation of Libya’s nuclear, chemical, and longer-range ballistic weapons programs was a signal accomplishment for US and British nonproliferation policy. Thus, the case holds particular interest for those studying how the intelligence and policy communities work together to prevent nuclear proliferation. Yet, Libya’s decision evolved fitfully and during a dark period for efforts to curb the spread of atomic weapons. In early 2003, Washington was still traumatized by the September 11th terrorist attacks, and anguished that al Qaeda was plotting even more gruesome assaults. The Iraq War was unleashed, in part, out of dread that nuclear weapons could be fused with terrorism. As then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice explained, “given what we have experienced on September 11, I don’t think anyone wants to wait for the 100-percent surety that he has a weapon of mass destruction that can reach the United States, because the only time we may be 100-percent sure is when something lands on our territory. We can’t afford to wait.”2 Worse still, from the US perspective, a nuclear proliferation tsunami appeared to be cresting, not only from Iraq, but also in Iran, North Korea, Libya, and elsewhere. These broad perceptions and fears by nonproliferation policymakers and intelligence officers informed their approach to the Libya case.