Sorting Real from Phony Nuclear Proliferation Threats

(Wall Street Journal) Editorial - Nuclear material in the hands of well-run democracies that play by international rules isn't likely to fall into the hands of terrorists. However, were Iran to develop an atomic bomb and the means to deliver a warhead, the danger automatically rises that the world's leading sponsor of terrorism might share it with its friends in Hizbullah or Hamas. Or imagine a North Korea hard up for cash and willing to sell a device to al-Qaeda. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled plans to attend the nuclear summit in Washington after Turkey and Egypt declared their intention to turn the spotlight on Israel's presumed nuclear arsenal. Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently declared the Jewish state "the principal threat to peace in the region today." But Israel's nukes aren't prompting him or the Saudis or Egyptians to kick-start their atomic programs; an Israeli bomb poses no threat to them. An Iranian bomb would. In our view, "the single biggest threat to American security" would be to allow Iran to defy years of effort by the world's leading nations and become a nuclear power. That would unleash a new age of proliferation that would swamp this week's attempts at controlling nuclear materials. Prevent an Iranian breakout, and the risk of an al-Qaeda nuclear attack falls sharply.

2010-04-14 08:23:00

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