By Michael D. Mosettig, former Foreign Editor of PBS NewsHour

Some times great historical transformations come bundled in  packages of small statistics.

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The Dirty and Dangerous Details of Nuclear Technology Smuggling

Peddling Peril

By David Albright alt

Free Press, 2010, 254 Pages

Reviewed by Kurt Moss

This account of the global clandestine traffic of nuclear-weapons technology is written by David Albright (no relation to Madeline), one of the most knowledgeable American experts on proliferation. Albright minces no words about his conviction that the most dangerous threat today to international security is the threat of nuclear weapons falling into “the wrong hands:” terrorists, criminals or irresponsible governments. He is equally clear about what needs to be done in self-defense against this threat. Western democracies and their allies should not rely on pre-emptive military action as their first line of defense against nuclear-armed rogues. Instead, Albright argues that Western democracies and other responsible governments should make it a security imperative to combat the global nuclear smuggling that is spreading this weapons technology amid comparative indifference to this particular dangerous threat.

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Transatlantic Press Review: Pentagon Slammed for Poor Management

The collapse of the joint tanker bid by Northrop Grumman and EADS triggered extensive and strongly worded media criticism on both sides of the Atlantic of the Obama administration’s handling of the bidding process by the Pentagon. These commentaries are echoed in private by many U.S. and European officials, who say that it further dims hopes for reversing a declining trend in transatlantic defense relations, starting with defense-industrial cooperation.

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The decision of U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to set aside the award of the U.S. Air Force’s gigantic new air tanker contract to the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) and its American partner Northrop Grumman dealt a body-blow to the principles of free trade and mutual cooperation in defense procurement in the Atlantic Alliance. But major European defense contractors should not despair: To a much greater degree than most people realize there remains a wide spectrum of opportunities for the Europeans to boost their exports to the United States and thereby simultaneously strengthen defense capabilities on both sides of the Atlantic.

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“We in [Britain] are supporting you on your Joint Strike Fighter. Why are you not supporting us on the tanker?” This simple question, posed by Prince Andrew – the Duke of York and a man deeply involved in British industrial exports – to the representative of a major U.S. defense contractor at the 2008 Farnborough International Air Show last July in Britain, bares the frustration many Europeans in the defense industry have felt as of late. In other words, if the United States wants expanding international cooperation on warplanes in order to field stronger, more affordable modern Western air forces, is it helpful for Europe to see so many chauvinistic-sounding complaints in the U.S., especially in Congress, about the choice of a new in-flight refueling tanker for the U.S. Air Force? After a major competition for that important, long-running contract, the Pentagon chose a plane to be built by an international team involving Northrop Grumman-EADS, the European consortium that owns Airbus. The losing design came from Boeing, the U.S. aerospace giant that traditionally has been the sole supplier of in-flight refueling aircraft to the U.S. Air Force.

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