Tuesday, July 24, 2007

FT.com loses the thread

Gideon -

I gotta say that after an entry like that YOU almost deserve to get nuked - or your editor does (only joking btw)!

Your little sketch is so simplistic it astounds me. I think the FT offices must be a little too comfortable and cosy. Your journalistic specs are misting up mate, perhaps your talents are better deployed on matters less gritty than nuclear 'terrorism'.

First of all no serious commentator thinks it likely that a fullscale nuclear device could be detonated by a group of Jihadis. As you well know the real risk is of a so called 'dirty bomb'. Now THAT is not so far outside the bounds of possibility is it?

"Niall Ferguson, a history professor at Harvard, recently wrote that nuclear terrorism in London was the one “high probability, high impact” threat that “fills me with dread”. He is of course talking about the dirty bomb scenario.

Time to rewrite your article already.

This next point might stick in the gullet a little - but I invite you to compare and contrast remarks and policy decisions of two well known political and religious extremists - Pres GWB and Pres Ahmadinejad. Having done so I defy you to be disingenuous enough to tell me there are not close similarities in general tone, levels of belligerence and intransigence as well as apparent gross stupidity between the two.

Ahmadinejad believes that the US is Satan incarnate. GWB believes in the Creation. Ahmadinejad wants to (if you believe the best known translations) wipe Israel off the map. GWB already has 'wiped' Iraq and Afghanistan off the map and may be about to put the boot in to Iran, no doubt with some kind of 'surgical' strike.

Tell me who you think is more 'unstable' or 'millenarian'. Close call isn't it.

You seem to imply that the issue of fissile material emanating from some corner of the former USSR is under control. I invite you to listen to recent World Service reportage on this very subject. That stuff is turning up in cow and pig sheds right across what used to be known as Soviet Central Asia, and some of it is definitely being trafficked - as per senior representatives of the IAEA who are trying to locate the dastardly little stashes.

As a final thought, North Korea, it is worth mentioning, has just done the Deal of the Century. They are still on the map because they have nuclear weapons already. They beat the US to the punch. They appear to have done a smart deal - they will be left alone if they stop building more. Bizarrely, Kim Jong-Il, as sane as they come according to Madeleine Albright, may be the sanest of the little trio we consider here. Scary isn't it.

Or maybe it just doesn't look that way from where you sit.

Kind regards


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