The use of nuclear weapons by terrorists against urban targets is generally agreed to be the most formidable threat faced by the United States today. Yet, there is remarkably little discussion of the threat in the presidential campaigns, and for good reason: one doesn't win elections by frightening the voters – better to concentrate on domestic issues such as the economy or medical insurance or ethanol. Nonetheless, the populace is entitled to know what the candidates intend to do to protect the country from so formidable a threat. Insight can be found by studying the writings of key advisors on the general issue and applying their thoughts to programs that must be considered by the next administration, whether Republican or Democrat. In this case, modernization of the nuclear arsenal and ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty provide touchstones that separate the philosophical differences on these issues.
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