Saturday, December 8, 2007

Michael Levi's "On Nuclear Terrorism"

Michael A. Levi is a Fellow for Science and Technology and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations.

He applied the "Page 99 Test" to his new book On Nuclear Terrorism, and reported the following:
A good defense against nuclear terrorism is like a good baseball team – no single player can win a game alone, but a strong group that works together makes for a powerhouse club. If I’m scouting a baseball team, it doesn’t matter what position I start with, so long as I eventually look at the whole group. The same applies to nuclear terrorism. There’s no starting or ending point to nuclear defenses and nuclear plots – and that means that page 99 is as good as any other page to begin reading my book.

By the time I get there, I’ve already taken the reader through a tour inside nuclear terrorism, exploring the challenges and choices a terrorist group would face, and in the process I’ve identified a host of ways they could fail. Page 99 starts to pull the pieces together. If Pakistan, today in a state of crisis, collapses, what should our response be? If a terrorist group steals plutonium from a Russian facility, how should the rest of our defense react? Should we blanket the borders with radiation detectors? Should we deploy masses of coast guard cutters to stop nuclear smugglers at sea?

Just like a shortstop needs to react when the ball comes off the bat, a defense against nuclear terrorism needs to be ready to respond to developing terrorist plots. Start reading from page 99 and you’ll begin to understand how to do that.
Learn more about On Nuclear Terrorism at the Harvard University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue