Gregory D. Koblentz

 

On his book Living Weapons: Biological Warfare and International Security

Cover Interview of November 23, 2009

Lastly

In his announcement in 1969 that the United States was terminating its offensive biological weapons program, President Richard Nixon stated, “Mankind already carries in its own hands too many of the seeds of its own destruction.”  Over the past sixty years, the world has avoided the worst consequences of biological warfare.  World War II ended before the United States perfected its ability to mass-produce bombs filled with anthrax spores for use against Japan.  The revolution in biology and biotechnology blossomed in the United States free of any military interest or influence because the country had already abandoned its offensive program.  The Soviet Union, which aggressively sought to apply advances in biotechnology to biological warfare, collapsed before it was able to significantly achieve this objective.  Will the world be so lucky at the next turning point?  Maximizing the benefits that can be derived from advances in biotechnology and biomedical research while minimizing the risk of these advances being misused for hostile purposes will be one of this century’s most enduring challenges.


© 2009 Gregory Koblentz