It's Halloween, and this provides a fright for sure.
From the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists:
....a nuclear terrorist attack on the United States is more likely than not in the decade ahead.
But (!) here we have a potentially yummy candy center:
the largely unrecognized good news is that this ultimate catastrophe is, in fact, preventable. The strategic narrow in this challenge is to prevent terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons or the materials from which weapons could be made..... As a fact of physics: No HEU or plutonium, no nuclear explosion, no nuclear terrorism.
How? Graham Allison proposes the "Doctrine of Three Nos." I assume he realizes that 2 of the 3 nos, if followed as policy, will almost certainly require military intervention against North Korean, Iran, or both.
No loose nukes requires securing all nuclear weapons and weapons-usable material, as quickly as possible. The United States and Russia have proven themselves adept at locking up valuable or dangerous items: Gold is not stolen from Fort Knox, nor treasures from the Kremlin Armory.
No new nascent nukes means no new domestic capabilities to enrich uranium or reprocess plutonium. The 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) contains a loophole that allows nations to develop these capacities as civilian programs, withdraw from the NPT, utilize equipment and know-how received as a beneficiary of the NPT, and proceed to build nuclear weapons. The proposition of no new nascent nukes acknowledges what the national security community has belatedly come to realize: HEU and plutonium are bombs about to hatch.
No new nuclear weapon states unambiguously declares the nuclear club will not expand beyond its current eight members. Without endorsing the behavior of current nuclear powers, this principle recognizes that the most urgent task is to stop the bleeding before the problem gets worse. The urgent test of this principle is North Korea, which now stands three-quarters of the way across that line. In February 2006, North Korea declared itself a nuclear weapon state, but it has not yet conducted a nuclear test to gain forced entry into the group of nuclear nations. Preventing Pyongyang from becoming a "Nukes 'R' Us" for terrorists is the biggest challenge the international community faces in the Asian arena.