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2002-06-03

The Sum of All Fears: As India and Pakistan Poise for War, a Look at the Level of Destruction a Nuclear Blast Could Cause

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is heading international efforts to arrange a face-to-face meeting between the leaders of India and Pakistan at a regional security conference in Kazakhstan. Russia is a major supplier of arms to India.

Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf says he wants dialogue, but India has flatly ruled out talks at any level until Pakistan stops incursions into the Indian-controlled Kashmir.

In one hopeful sign, a senior Indian government official is quoted in today’s press as saying India has intercepted communications from militant groups which suggest they have received an order from Pakistan to halt infiltration into Kashmir.

But India’s war secretary said over the weekend that his army has a "moral and legal right" to attack Pakistan. He said the Indian government is actively considering so-called "surgical strikes" and said the army could strike at three hours’ notice.

The Bush administration urged the 60,000 Americans now in India to leave immediately. Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France, Belgium, Israel and South Korea have also issued similar warning, and the United Nations is evacuating the families of its staff.

Guest:

  • Dr. Mary-Wynne Ashford, MD. Ph.D., Co-President of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). Dr. Ashford took on an active role in nuclear disarmament in 1984 and became President of IPPNW’s Canadian affiliate in the late 1980s. She has written and spoken extensively on disarmament issues in North America, Europe, the former Soviet Union, Japan, Australia, India, and Pakistan. She is the recipient of the Governor General’s Medal for the 125 Anniversary of Canadian Confederation and the Simon Fraser University Gandhi Award.

Fears of a nuclear attack are also rising here in the US. War Secretary Donald Rumsfeld helped set off panic when he warned recently that terrorists will soon obtain nuclear weapons and use them against the U.S. Three days later, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a warning, telling more than 100 nuclear power plants to 'be alert' for 'possible terrorist attacks' by small planes.

Then came 'The Sum of All Fears', a Hollywood blockbuster in which neo-Nazi terrorists detonate a nuclear bomb during the super bowl.

The bomb comes from the buried wreckage of an Israeli fighter jet, shot down in 1973. Nomadic Bedouin discover the bomb in the desert nearly three decades later. They sell the bomb to the neo-Nazis who arrange to smuggle it into Baltimore Harbor in a cigarette vending machine.

The blast decimates Baltimore and sets in motion a misunderstanding between the US and Russia that builds towards nuclear war. It is up to one man to clear up the confusion before the two sides hurdle into World War III. The movie debuted at number one this weekend.

Tape:

  • "The Sum of All Fears" movie trailer

Guest:

  • Jonathan Parfry, executive director, Physicians for Social Responsibility. He also co-chairs the Southern California Environmental Executives Roundtable.

Related link:

Music:

  • War–Edwin Starr, The Very Best of ... (Motown CD.

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