America's New Plans for its Nuclear Arsenal

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A classified Pentagon report leaked over the weekend has several nations accusing the United States of having a hypocritical approach to its nuclear weapons.

As America talks of military intervention if nations like Iraq develop weapons of mass destruction, the Pentagon report recommends that the U.S. military develop new nuclear weapons that would be able to strike such "rogue nations" as Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

The report also argues that the U.S. may need to resume nuclear testing. Rather than just discussing nuclear weapons as a deterrent, the report specifically gives examples when nuclear weapons might be used, such as if there was "an Iraqi attack on Israel or its neighbors, or a North Korean attack on South Korea or a military confrontation over the status of Taiwan."

Military officials are backing away slightly from the leaked report, saying it is not an operational guide but that it merely represents the first step towards reconsidering the role of nuclear weapons to deter the nation's new threats. Critics argue that the Bush administration is seeking a new role for nuclear weapons after decades of disarmament.

Is the Nuclear Posture Review a step backward for world peace? Or is it a necessary step to deter America's new threats?


Loren Thompson, Director of the Lexington Institute, and Professor of Security Studies at Georgetown University

Paul Rogers, Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University. His latest book, "Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st Century"

George Lopez, Chairman of the board of directors for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

This program aired on March 14, 2002.


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