Former nuclear weapons inspector believes nuclear weapons are still a threat

Dr. David Kay, a former nuclear weapons inspector in Iraq, presented his lecture, “Nuclear Weapons: What is the Threat?” in the Madeline Suite Tuesday, March 2. The event was sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

We may not practice “duck and cover” drills anymore as seen in black-and-white films from the 1950s, but according to Kay, nuclear weapons are still very much a threat.

According to a Feb. 19 press release, “Kay served as the International Atomic Energy Agency/United Nations Special Commission Chief Nuclear Weapons Inspector, leading numerous inspections into Iraq following the end of the Gulf War. In 2003, the CIA appointed Kay to lead the hunt for ‘weapons of mass destruction’ (WMDs) in Iraq. Kay resigned his position after reporting his conclusion that there had been no stockpiles of WMDs in Iraq at the time of the war. He is now a senior fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies and a consultant focusing on counterterrorism and weapons proliferation.”

“I thought the lecture was terrific,” said Karel Dutton, director of continuing studies. “It was very genuine on Dr. Kay’s part. He acknowledged that the message of no weapons of mass destruction to the president was not received happily.”

According to Kay, there is now less pressure for other countries to refrain from producing nuclear weapons. Increasing capabilities of technology have made the threat of nuclear warfare an even greater possibility than ever before. Communication intercepts are becoming more difficult to perform, and we have underestimated the capabilities of many of the world’s countries, particularly when it comes to their capability to make nuclear weapons.

These changes are not limited to rapidly advancing technology. According to Kay, the political and social climate has changed a great deal as well. Prior to the fall of the Soviet Union, it was generally accepted that nuclear weapons should be limited to the world’s two largest super powers. Since then, this notion has been called to question and challenged by many.

“We would be better off without nuclear weapons,” said Kay.

According to Kay, the current generation of students will be responsible for determining policies used in the future when dealing with world conflicts. They will be dealing with a different set of issues that will have a greater impact on society and the world as a whole.

“I think the members of the audience thought he was very prescient and excellent,” said Dutton. “From my point of view, the students looked quite interested. Perhaps this was an eye opener for UNCW students, as well as other members of the audience.”