Washington is fixated on Iran’s nuclear program, which has not produced a single weapon, but the full-throttle competition between Pakistan and India to acquire more sophisticated nuclear weapons has gone almost unremarked. India is on the verge of joining the elite nuclear "triad" club—states with the ability to survive a first strike by an adversary and deliver a retaliatory strike by land, sea, or air. Pakistan, meanwhile, has been testing its short-range “shoot and scoot” battlefield nukes.
“Both sides speak of the possibility of a limited nuclear war. But even those who speak in these terms seem to understand that this is fantasy—that once started, a nuclear exchange would be almost impossible to limit or contain,” writes Pulitzer Center Senior Editor Tom Hundley in an article featured in Foreign Policy. "The first launch would create hysteria; communication lines would break down, and events would rapidly cascade out of control. Some of the world's most densely populated cities could find themselves under nuclear attack, and an estimated 20 million people could die almost immediately.”
Tom’s story along with new reporting from Russia by Pulitzer Center grantee Eve Conant and previous stories from the Persian Gulf by grantee Yochi Dreazen can be viewed in a new Pulitzer Center Gateway “Going Nuclear.” Here you'll find a discussion of the emerging threats of the post-9/11 era, from the alarming arms race in South Asia to the role of the U.S. and Russia as suppliers of supposedly peaceful nuclear technology to some of the world’s most dangerous neighborhoods. The reporting in this Gateway was made possible through generous support from the Stanley Foundation.
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In what has become a war without end in the North Caucasus, the Pulitzer Center’s 2012 Persephone Miel Fellow Anna Nemtsova writes about the startling willingness of some young women in Dagestan to surrender their lives to become suicide bombers. She also writes evocatively from a remote village where silversmiths carry on their timeless craft despite the rumble of Russian tanks in the distance. Anna’s stories appear in The Daily Beast.
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Until next week,