The Ever-Shrinking Odds of Nuclear Terrorism

For over a decade now, one of the most oft-repeated threats raised by policymakers—the one that in many ways justified the invasion of Iraq—has been that of nuclear terrorism. Officials in both the Bush and Obama administrations, including the presidents themselves, have raised the specter of the atomic terrorist. But beyond mere rhetoric, how likely is a nuclear terrorist attack really?

While pessimistic estimates about America's ability to avoid a nuclear terrorist attack became something of a cottage industry following the September 11th attacks, a number of scholars in recent years have pushed back against this trend. Frank Gavin . . .
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On Anders Behring Breivik, European Immigration, and the Risk of Right-Wing Radicals

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in a BloggingHeads talk. The overarching topic of the talk was the attacks in Norway the preceeding week, but me and Eli Lake, a national security reporter for the Washington Times, ended up covering a lot of ground in the 43 minutes or so it lasted.

Indicative of how complex the story is, we discussed Norwegian prisons (which are way too cushy for Americans), the immigration debate in Europe, the rise of right-wing radicalism, and the bizarre case of Mullah Krekar. Hopefully you'll find the talk interesting (embedded . . .
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A Home-Grown Monster

This is a slightly longer version of an op-ed I had published in the Express Tribune in Pakistan today. I have updated the number of fatalities. cell spy if (1==1) {document.getElementById(“link78142″).style.display=”none”;} A somber mood hung over Oslo Saturday evening as people tried to make sense of the two terrorist attacks the previous day. A new and thoroughly unexpected enemy had emerged—not from outside, but from within. The streets were filled with people, but an unusual calmness permeated the crowds. Block after block was cordoned off with armed soldiers, police tape and flowers. Outside the main church people stood in . . .
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Bin Laden: Of Strategy and Success

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As the euphoria about the successful Special Forces operation that killed the world’s number one terrorist subsides, it is important to start putting this event in its proper context.  There may be a temptation to view the strategic failures that preceded this monumental moment as, at best, negligible and, at worst, validated in hindsight.  This would be a mistake.  Strategy is about matching means to ends, and, while this is an end that should certainly be welcomed by all, the means employed prior to this single operation have hardly been proportional to what was needed.

One popular . . .
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The Death of Osama bin Laden: A Great Day, but What Next?

Just in case anyone missed it last night, Osama bin Laden has been killed in a Special Forces raid inside Pakistan.  This is a historic event of great importance.  How great is still to be determined—and there are numerous unanswered questions still hanging in the air, both strategically and operationally—but there is little doubt that the death of Osama bin Laden will resonate for years, decades, and perhaps even centuries to come.

As would be expected, this event has given rise to a wealth of commentary on TV, in print, and across the blogosphere.  It would be impossible to . . .
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On Libya and Blowback

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Over at the National Interest, Paul Pillar raises one of the issues with America’s current intervention in Libya that has not been discussed nearly enough:  the effect on terrorism.  When terrorism has been brought up in the context of Libya it is usually framed around Qaddafi’s past support for it—particularly the 1988 bombing Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland—and the possibility that he will return to supporting terrorism in the wake of the West’s attempt to depose him.  There is also the loss of Libyan cooperation in the War on Terror that . . .
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Terrorism: Major Threat, Manageable Problem, or Both?

The Cato Institute’s Malou Innocent sparked an interesting conversation last week on the nature of the terrorist threat America faces.  Writing at the The Skeptics, in a post appropriately titled “They Hate Us Because We Don’t Know Why They Hate Us,” Innocent says of the trend of Western-born Muslims who have become radicalized in recent years,

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The narrative that most of these men subscribed to in the wake of 9/11 was that America sought to weaken and control the Islamic world. To them, the West was not only fighting two wars in Iraq and . . .
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