The Islamic State “has an apocalyptic ideology and believes there is going to be a final war with the United States,” expects to win that war and “would need very powerful weapons to do so . . . if they ever did turn to nuclear weapons, they have more people, more money and more territory under their control and more ability to recruit experts globally than Al Qaeda at its best ever had.” ~ Professor Matthew Bunn of Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
I have sometimes disagreed with Matthew Bunn – mostly on missile defense issues. But I applaud his apt summary description of essential aspects of the existential threat posed by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS). ISIS is my preferred label rather that the “Islamic State,” whose operatives reportedly are now present in at least 20 countries around the world, including the United States, and seek to extend globally their intended Caliphate in Iraq and Syria.
Bunn’s quotation was buried in an important March 25, 2016 New York Times article, “Belgium Fears Nuclear Plants are Vulnerable.” As my regular readers know, I am seeking to assure that our nuclear reactors remain viable following a major electric grid shutdown. So, I find this concern to be valid, and not only in Belgium. Indeed, the reported attacks on nuclear reactors in Belgium are clear warning of possible ISIS interest in carrying out such an attack more generally – including here in America.
The nuclear power plant in Doel, Belgium.
Before elaborating this point, let’s reflect on the conditional aspect of Bunn’s warning of the existential threat that ISIS will pose “if” they turn to nuclear weapons. Surely they will turn to nuclear weapons if they can.