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mattbrowne's avatar

How likely is the intentional, hostile deployment of a significant nuclear device within the next 20 years?

Asked by mattbrowne (31458 points ) March 1st, 2010

Deployed by a state, a terrorist group, or other individuals.

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22 Answers

CMaz's avatar

As likely as today.

Especially with this type of crap going on.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Quite likely, I’m afraid. Most likely by a terrorist group acting as proxy for a rogue state. Likely to be smuggled to the target rather than launched or dropped. Ship or cargo aicraft with a suicide crew. Nuclear devices have a characteristic “fingerprint” of isotopes upon detonation that would lead back to state of origin, so retribution would be the order of the day.

New York or San Francisco would be traded for Teheran or Pyonyang. A nuclear device used against the US would provoke a knee-jerk automatic counterstrike within days. Any political figure opposing such would be shouted down and career over, like Jeanette Rankin after Pearl Harbor or Patricia Schroeder after 9/11.

ragingloli's avatar

“Nuclear devices have a characteristic “fingerprint” of isotopes upon detonation that would lead back to state of origin, so retribution would be the order of the day.”
That is also the biggest argument against a rogue state supplying terrorists with nuclear weapons.

kevbo's avatar

Meh. Earthquakes and weather are the new doomsday devices.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@ragingloli I hope that they understand this, as well as the principle of mutually assured destruction. A radical faction in a rogue state might not take that into consideration though. Some of these groups “martyrdom” concepts are rather bizarre.

dpworkin's avatar

@ragingloli We won’t need a rogue state if Pakistan becomes a failed State. The Jihadists will just walk in and take over the armory, and won’t care if they are “fingerprinted”. Remember- they all go to heaven and get Houris if we retaliate.

davidbetterman's avatar

Same alarmist nonsense put forth since we were told that getting under the school desk would save us in the event of an atomic bomb (Yes, they actually called them Atomic Bombs back then)

Let ‘em nuke away. Then we would see who grows from crises!

CMaz's avatar

@stratman37 – No kidding! More the reason and the need to have Militia in our country.

mammal's avatar

the Daniel Pearl beheading was a repugnant spiteful act of stupidity.

davidbetterman's avatar

What does Daniel Pearl have to do with this question?

PacificRimjob's avatar

Less likely if we start electing Presidents who understand the value of action over talk.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@dpworkin Or 72 raisins if Salman Rushdies translation is correct.

CMaz's avatar

“if we start electing Presidents who understand the value of action over talk.”

Those days are over. Puppets that take direction from the World Bank from now on.

jca's avatar

After 9/11 Osama bin Laden stated that his goal is to kill millions of Americans, including women and children. you don’t kill millions of Americans by flying planes into buildings.

mattbrowne's avatar

Here’s my own opinion: I think the likelihood is rather small, perhaps 5%. The reason is this: why hasn’t it happened till now? Knowledge is widespread. Material is there. Black markets are in place. Hostility is there. Plenty of targets around.

Tom Clancy created a 1991 nuclear scenario in his book ‘The Sum of all Fears’. Well, worryingly he also created the airplane-skyscraper attacks in this book ‘Debt of Honor’ in 1994. Then 911 really happened 7 years later.

kevbo's avatar

@mattbrowne, that’s impossible because George W. Bush said that neither his administration nor the previous administration could have imagined using airplanes as missles on such a massive scale. ;-)

buck19delta's avatar

if we dont do something SIGNIFICANT to iran very soon, its 100% guaranteed to happen.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Irans nuclear enrichment program is aimed at generating an external threat that the leadership can rally the population around. The ayatollahs are very unpopular with the urban population. The world reaction to their enrichment activity is something the leaders can point to and say that the West is threatening the “Islamic Revolution”. This of course doesn’t mean that they don’t intend to build a fission bomb. Once you have the enriched uranium, the rest is cookbook if you have the resources.

buck19delta's avatar

the biggest problem with iran…. is the people in charge, actually believe all the propaganda they tell the people. they would not hesitate to give a nuke to a terriorist group, such as hamas, to destroy israel…

mattbrowne's avatar

It’s a shame that Iran is a theocracy. They really got good schools and universities and the students are so fed up by being run by fossilized cavemen. Maybe in 2020 Iran will be like Jordan with their version of queen Rania moving the country towards a better future.

PacificRimjob's avatar

Significanly less likely if we have an animatronic Reagan sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office.

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