Until the events of September 11 and the anthrax attacks of 2001, biological weapons had never been a major public concern in the United States. Today, the possibility of their use by terrorists against Western states looms large as an international security concern. In Biological Weapons, Jeanne Guillemin provides a highly accessible and compelling account of the circumstances under which scientists, soldiers, and statesmen were able to mobilize resources for extensive biological weapons programs and analyzes why such weapons, targeted against civilians, were never used in a major conflict.
This book is essential for understanding the relevance of the historical restraints placed on the use of biological weapons for today’s world. It serves as an excellent introduction to the problems biological weapons pose for contemporary policymakers and public officials, particularly in the United States. How can we best deter the use of such weapons? What are the resulting policies of the Department of Homeland Security? How can we constrain proliferation? Jeanne Guillemin wisely points out that these are vitally important questions for all Americans to consider and investigate—all the more so because the development of these weapons has been carried out under a veil of secrecy, with their frightening potential open to exploitation by the media and government. Public awareness through education can help calm fears in today’s tension-filled climate and promote constructive political action to cut the risks of a biological weapons catastrophe.
Biological Weapons is required reading for every concerned citizen, government policymaker, public health official, and national security analyst who wants to understand this complex and timely issue. Continue Reading
For those that follow global news you should know that there is a major treaty going through Congress in its “Lame Duck” session. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (or better known as START) is a series of treaties between the United States and the Former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics/Current Russian Federation. In a brief history, START I talks began in 1982 between Reagan and Gorbachev but was signed in 1991. Basically this series of treaties (START I and II, the failed START III, and the now “New” START), is an agreement between the US and Russia to reduce the number of strategic nuclear warheads placing a cap at 6,000 ICBM and SLBMs. It also eventually banned the use of MIRVs on ICBMs. This new treaty is set to 1,550 stockpile and reduce the deployed nuclear figure to 800. At the moment, this is a hotly debated treaty in Congress (especially during a “Lame Duck” session). Both sides I feel bring up two great issues with this treaty and its signing. The Republicans bring up that the language of the bill (even with President Obama’s statement on the language, which legally is not the binding document) expresses that Russia has the ability to build a Missile Defense system, but not specifically stating that the US does. This would not be that big of an issue to change the language, except that Russia vowed not to sign the treaty if anything was changed in it. The Democrats and some Republicans too have expressed the second issue, which is that if the treaty is not signed the US would lose the strategic advantage to monitor Russian facilities. There for I leave you with a poll for my first true blog on WordPress. I also want you to read the treaty itself and think for yourself on this one before you answer the poll.