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Friday
Nov052010

Dr. John Mueller: Nuclear terror threat is overblown

Last night's symposium presentation by Ohio State University's Dr. John Mueller was controversial, funny, and a sobering analysis of how we, the American public, understand threats to national security.

Mueller's main point:  Nuclear non-proliferation should not be a high foreign policy priority.  Why?  Because the chances of dying from a nuclear attack are miniscule.  Instead, the government should "spend more energy avoiding policies that lead to the death of tens of thousands of people."  Take a second to think about that one....

Presenting a whirlwind of quotes from public figures-- Robert Oppenheimer, John F. Kennedy, George Tenet, John Negroponte, Walter Laqueur-- and then providing solid historical evidence to refute these people's pronouncements of the severity of the nuclear threat, Mueller argued that we end up wasting prodigious amounts of government resources on security and threat prevention.

Prof. Mueller's new book is called Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism from Hiroshima to Al-Qaeda.  A recent piece on this topic in Foreign Policy is  here.  (Access the full version through the JHU library's website).  And event pics are here.

 

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