Why do some countries not want weapons of mass destruction?


The threat of terrorism with weapons of mass destruction cannot be neglected. However, it should be viewed in a differentiated manner. A model for risk assessment is necessary for this.


It is only a matter of time before the first terrorist group develops weapons of mass destruction and carries out an attack of unimagined proportions. This frequently heard assessment is as true as it is empty, because it cannot be refuted. It is true that the first threshold was exceeded with the poison gas attacks by the Japanese Aum sect in the Tokyo subway in 1995. And the attacks in New York and Washington in September 2001 showed that the Islamic terrorist group al Qaeda increasingly intended to kill many people. But whether it can be inferred from this that terrorist attacks with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) will be inevitable in the future is questionable. How great is the risk of WMD terrorism really?

So far, assessments have fluctuated considerably. On the one hand, it warns against exaggerating the threat. The production of chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons is more difficult than generally assumed. In addition, terrorists would prefer conventional weapons, because their goal is "that many people look, not that many people die" [1]. States should not be guided by their fear and should not concentrate their security policy on a risk that is relatively low. [2] On the other hand, it is argued that the probability of a terrorist attack with weapons of mass destruction is significantly higher than previously assumed. [3] On the one hand, the technical problems are no longer insurmountable today and, on the other hand, the assumption that terrorists shy away from mass murder has proven to be an illusion. States should therefore no longer suppress the threat posed by WMD terrorism.

Correspondingly, the measures taken to counter WMD terrorism vary between inaction and overreaction. When warnings against nuclear terrorism were issued in the seventies and eighties and the strengthening of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and increased efforts towards nuclear disarmament were demanded, this met with little response. It was only after the end of the Cold War and under the influence of the Tokyo attacks that the Clinton administration made preventing MVM terrorism a political priority: "Terrorists procuring weapons of mass destruction is unacceptable, and there is no higher priority than procurement to prevent such materials / weapons or to deprive these terrorist groups of such capabilities. "[4] This argument was used by the Bush administration to justify the war of aggression against Iraq, which was claimed to seek weapons of mass destruction and to pass them on to terrorist groups. Even the first use of nuclear weapons is currently being considered to deter states and terrorist groups from acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction. [5]

How can you tell whether such strategies are appropriate or excessive? What criteria are there to judge whether a policy does justice to the WMD terrorism problem or not? The scientific parameters for risk assessment and an integrated methodology that allows a distinction to be made between appropriate and inadequate policies are still lacking.