Watch (12:08)

Is the United States At Greater Risk For Nuclear War Now Than Ever Before?

Our nuclear landscape may be more dangerous today than it was during the Cold War. According to Valerie Plame, a former covert CIA Operations Officer who specialized in nuclear weapons proliferation, Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) kept the world safe during the Cold War. Today, with terrorists and rogue nations attempting to build, buy and steal nuclear weapons, MAD no longer works.

Plame believes nuclear security and climate change are the two most existential threats facing humanity today.

“If a nuclear weapon were to go off in any city in the world at any time, the consequences would be devastating,” Plame said. “People would be calling for martial law. And here in the United States, the things that we take for granted—the Bill of Rights, our Constitution—would all be set on the shelf because people would want to feel that they would be safe from another attack.”

Erika Gregory, director of N Square, said that while funding and awareness of nuclear security issues are at an all-time low, after hearing the ideas of our roundtable participants she is hopeful that 21st-century technology and forward thinking can be harnessed to effect positive change.

“We are absolutely capable of inventing our way out of this nuclear era,” Gregory said. “And we’re certainly capable of developing the innovations we need right now to make sure we don’t have a catastrophe on our watch.”