Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Fighting Proliferation with Intelligence

Fighting Proliferation with Intelligence

Prior to Desert Storm, U.S. policy toward the proliferation of strategic weapons technology was to delay or prevent it through a policy of nonproliferation–export controls, customs interdictions, end-use checks, diplomatic demarches, nonproliferation pledges, regional arms control talks, and the safeguarding of sensitive nuclear activities. Desert Storm changed all that. SCUD missiles were targeted and intercepted. Coalition forces were inoculated against possible Iraqi use of biological weapons. Iraq’s missile, nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons facilities were bombed. Finally, these and related facilities were ferreted out and dismantled as part of the United Nations’s cease-fire plan. In short, with Desert Storm, the United States and its allies moved beyond preventing proliferation to fighting it.

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