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This Essay Is About The Threat From Weapons Of Mass Destruction To The United States

1803 words - 8 pages

The most significant threat facing America today is the risk of being attacked with Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Although the Soviet Union has fallen and the threat of large-scale nuclear and chemical attacks have been diminished another threat has arisen. This threat is an attack from smaller nations that are angry with and/or have a "score to settle" with the United States. These countries are now capable of buying and/or researching nuclear weapons. Currently North Korea, Iraq, China, and numerous terrorist groups have, or are attempting to create, or buy Weapons of Mass Destruction.Atomic or nuclear weapons have only been used twice to attack another nation. The first attack came ...view middle of the document...

Deterrence is also known as a theory called MAD, or Mutually Assured Destruction. (International Relations p.222)What helps countries assure themselves that they will have a second strike capability is to have multiple means to retaliate. The United States calls this the "triad of deterrent forces."(Roskin/Berry 222) The "triad" consists of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), sea-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM), and air-launched cruise missiles (ALCM). Each missile contains multiple warheads capable of wiping out major United States cities.Now that the Soviet Union has fallen, it is possible for smaller nations and terrorist groups to obtain nuclear weapons that are currently lying dormant in a variety of Russian weapons facilities. Although these nukes may be low yield they are still capable of mass destruction. Many countries may be able to obtain nuclear missiles to gain leverage in world diplomacy.Chemical weapons have also been used many times in wars during the twentieth century. One such war was World War 1. Both sides of the war used numerous types of gases on each other. These gases included Mustard Gas, Chlorine Gas, and diphosgene. These gases created thousands of casualties on both sides. (WW1 "Gas Warfare")Currently, North Korea only has two types of ICBMs. These ICBM's are the No Dong and the Taepo Dong-2 (TD-2). North Korea also has another missile called a Taepo Dong-1 that is a two-stage missile that could not reach the United States but could attack U.S. interests in other parts of the world. The Taepo Dong-2 is a two-stage ballistic missile that can reach the western part of the United States. Including Alaska, Hawaii, California and other coastal and Rocky Mountain States, a range of 10,000km. However, if the Taepo Dong-2 is fitted with a third stage it could reach any target in North America. Currently the Taepo Dong-2 is still in the test flight phase. The No Dong is North Korea's longest-range deployed ICBM. It is capable of reaching targets as far as 1,300km away. This missile isn't capable reaching the United States but it is capable of reaching some American assets in Asia, such as American bases. (ODCI "Foreign Missile . . .")Another threatening nation is Iraq. Iraq currently is developing nuclear weapons and is predicted to have a nuclear missile ready to fir before the year 2015. However, because of United Nations sanctions the Iraqi ballistic missile program has to limit their missile ranges to 150km. (ODCI "Foreign Missile . . ."). This also depends on how long the United Nations I planning on imposing the sanctions on Iraq. It is predicted, though, that Iraq will have a Medium Range Ballistic Missile tested by 2005 and as late as 2010. The United States intelligence community believes that "once its [Iraq's] regional security concerns are being addressed, Iraq may pursue a first-generation ICBM."(ODCI "Foreign Missile . . .") Iraq is also believed to possibly follow the North Korean attempt at an ICBM...

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