By Valerie Insinna and Dan Parsons
The number of nuclear weapons in circulation worldwide has been slowly but steadily declining in recent years because the United States and Russia are scaling back their nuclear arsenals.
Though fewer state-owned strategic warheads exist and the risk of global nuclear war is much more remote than it was during the Cold War, the U.S. nuclear employment strategy acknowledged an increased risk of nuclear attack.
“Today’s most immediate and extreme danger remains nuclear terrorism,” the strategy, published June 19, stated. “Al-Qaida and their extremist allies are seeking nuclear weapons. We must assume they would use such weapons if they managed to obtain them.”
“Today’s other pressing threat is nuclear proliferation, in particular Iran and North Korea. The United States wants to keep nuclear weapons from Iranian hands and disavows the legitimacy of North Korea’s nuclear arms,” the strategy said.
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