While the "threat of a nuclear attack by terrorists has never been greater," the U.S. government has yet to make prevention the highest priority, says a new Council on Foreign Relations report that outlines ways to reduce the possibility of nuclear terrorism.
The UN Security Council is debating how to restrict Iran's nuclear program. Western states seek a firm statement and the threat of eventual sanctions if Iran does not suspend its uranium enrichment work. But Russia and China oppose sanctions, leading to talk about economic penalties outside the United Nations' authority.
Diplomacy over how to handle Iran's nuclear program is stalled in the UN Security Council because of Russian and Chinese concerns that sanctions may be invoked. There are growing calls to avoid a divisive debate over sanctions and circumvent the UN by using economic levers against Iran.
The threat of a nuclear attack—especially a nuclear detonation—by terrorists has never been greater. The United States and the international community must do more to prevent terrorists from buying, stealing, or building nuclear weapons. This report identifies where efforts have fallen short in securing and eliminating nuclear weapons and weapons-usable nuclear materials, and it offers realistic recommendations to plug these gaps in the U.S. and international response.
Iran, emboldened by the situation in Iraq and soaring oil prices, and animated by a combination of insecurity and assertive nationalism, insists on its right to develop full nuclear fuel cycle capability, including the ability to enrich uranium. Two possible scenarios remain, however, for a negotiated compromise. The first, and unquestionably more attractive for the international community, is a "zero enrichment" option. The second is the "delayed limited enrichment" plan spelt out in this report.
Aaron L. Friedberg, an East Asian expert and former deputy national security adviser for Vice President Dick Cheney, says the U.S. program of cracking down on North Korean counterfeiting and other illicit activities is the only way to hope for a breakthrough in the stalled disarmament talks.
Iran's decision to restart uranium enrichment raised the nuclear stakes again this week as conflicting statements from Tehran on its willingness to remain bound by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty raised new questions.
A military operation against Iran would not be a short-term matter but would set in motion a complex and long-lasting confrontation. It follows that military action should be firmly ruled out and alternative strategies developed.
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Iran's statements minimizing the significance of its actions divert attention from its renewed effort to enrich uranium and build a centrifuge plant able to make enriched uranium for power reactors or for nuclear weapons.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
Ashley's War tells the poignant and gripping story of a groundbreaking team of female American warriors who served alongside Special Operations soldiers in Afghanistan. More
Smith's insightful book explores the policy issues testing the Japanese government as it tries to navigate its relationship with an advancing China. More
This revolutionary new look at volatility and crisis in oil markets explores the conditions in which oil supply fears arise, gain popularity, and eventually wane. More
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass.
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