Nuclear Policy News

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Nuclear Policy News - October 16, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – October 16, 2017

TOP NEWS

North Korea Lawmaker: Need Nukes Because of US Threat
New York Times

Nobody will trust U.S. to engage in long-term negotiation: Zarif
Tehran Times

U.S. officials try to ease concerns Trump may quit Iran deal
Reuters

Tillerson: US prefers diplomacy with NKorea, but has options
Associated Press

EAST ASIA

North Korea not ready to meet with South Korea in Russia: agencies
Reuters
10/15/17
Politicians from North and South Korea will not hold direct talks in Russia on Monday about Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile program despite attending the same event and being urged to do so by Moscow, Russian news agencies said on Sunday.

North Korea Lawmaker: Need Nukes Because of US Threat
New York Times
10/15/17
A high-ranking North Korean official says the country's development of nuclear weapons is necessary because of the threat posed by the United States and contends the nuclear program is for deterrence.

S. Korean military eyes new operation plan against N.K. threats
Yonhap News Agency
10/16/17
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) chairman said Monday that the military is considering a new operational plan to counter "advanced" threats from North Korea.

N.K. unlikely to talk until securing ICBM capability that levels playing field
Yonhap News Agency
10/16/17
Former U.S. nuclear negotiator Robert Gallucci said Monday that North Korea might not be interested in talks on its nuclear and missile programs until it secures an intercontinental ballistic missile capability that levels the playing field with the U.S.

MIDDLE EAST

Rouhani says U.S. cannot decertify nuclear deal “unilaterally”
Xinhua
10/14/17
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Friday that U.S. President Donald Trump cannot decertify Iran's international nuclear deal "unilaterally." "Iran's nuclear deal is a multilateral deal and cannot be removed by the president of one country," Rouhani said in the live broadcast of the state TV, following Trump's aggressive remarks on Iran on Friday.

Larijani calls Trump’s nuclear argument ‘childish’
Tehran Times
10/15/17
Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani on Sunday described Donald Trump’s rhetoric about the nuclear agreement as “childish.”

Nobody will trust U.S. to engage in long-term negotiation: Zarif
Tehran Times
10/15/17
“Nobody else will trust any U.S. administration to engage in any long-term negotiation because the length of any commitment, the duration of any commitment from now on with any U.S. administration would be the remainder of the term of that president,” he told CBS News in an interview published on Saturday.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

EU defends Iran deal despite Trump, appeals to U.S. Congress
Reuters
10/16/17
The European Union on Monday reaffirmed its support for a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers despite sharp criticism of the accord by President Donald Trump, and it urged U.S. lawmakers not to reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

Russia condemns North Korea nuclear tests: agencies
Reuters
10/16/17
Moscow condemns North Korea’s nuclear tests and calls on North Korea and the international community to comply with all U.N. resolutions, Russian news agencies quoted the speaker of the Russian parliament’s upper house as saying on Monday.

German FM warns against military escalation over Iranian nuclear accord dispute
Xinhua
10/16/17
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) has warned on Monday against a military escalation as a consequence of the U.S. withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear accord.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

U.S. officials try to ease concerns Trump may quit Iran deal
Reuters
10/15/17
Senior Trump administration officials said on Sunday that the United States was committed to remaining part of the Iran nuclear accord for now, despite President Donald Trump’s criticisms of the deal and his warnings that he might pull out.

U.S. Officials Back Trump’s Stance on Iran Nuclear Accord
Wall Street Journal
10/15/17
U.S. officials defended President Donald Trump’s refusal to certify the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, saying the country threatens global stability even while technically complying with the accord itself.

Trump in Asia will call for increased pressure on NKorea
Associated Press
10/16/17
President Donald Trump will ask U.S. allies to pressure North Korea on its nuclear program in an upcoming trip to the Asia-Pacific region.

Tillerson: US prefers diplomacy with NKorea, but has options
Associated Press
10/16/17
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving the North Korean crisis “will continue until the first bomb drops.”

U.S. not recertifying Iran deal sends a ‘perfect message’ to N. Korea: Haley
Yonhap News Agency
10/15/17
U.S. President Donald Trump's decision not to recertify a nuclear deal with Iran sends the "perfect message" to North Korea about its own nuclear program, Washington's top envoy to the United Nations said Sunday. 

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

Deadly Overconfidence: Trump Thinks Missile Defenses Work Against North Korea, and That Should Scare You
War on the Rocks, Ankit Panda and Vipin Narang
10/16/17
If Trump believes U.S. missile defenses work this effectively, he might actually think a first strike attempt to disarm North Korea of its missile and nuclear forces would successfully spare U.S. cities from North Korean nuclear retaliation. They probably wouldn’t.

AP Analysis: Iran angered by Trump, but needs nuclear deal
Associated Press, Jon Gambrell
10/15/17
Brinksmanship aside, Iran needs to sell its oil on the international market as allowed by the atomic accord. And politically, Trump’s speech helps the same hard-liners America’s president says he wants to target, offering them a convenient punching bag as many Iranians took his words as a personal insult.

The Risks of Pakistan’s Sea-Based Nuclear Weapons
The Diplomat, Ankit Panda
10/13/17
The Babur-3‘s introduction presents a classic at-sea deterrent dilemma for Pakistan. It can choose to have its presumed second-strike capability either totally secure or readily usable in wartime. For a range of reasons, Pakistan can be expected to opt for the latter option. This will require real compromises on nuclear weapons security that expose Pakistan’s sea-based deterrent to theft and unauthorized use. Combined with the crisis stability implications and the more mundane concerns rising from costs, a sea-based leg to Pakistan’s nuclear forces appears to be, on balance, a net negative for its overall security.

Act I: The Iran Deal Begins to Unravel
Arms Control Wonk, Michael Krepon
10/14/17
We are headed toward a world of greatly increased nuclear dangers amidst U.S. diplomatic impotence, the hollowing out of alliances and the shearing of what’s left of the nuclear safety net woven by previous generations. Trump’s specialty is to make a mess and then pass the baton to Capitol Hill. If members of Congress can’t agree on cleaning up the mess, they are to blame for screwing up.

If Trump doesn’t want a nuclear war with North Korea, a ‘No First Use’ pledge might work better than threats
Washington Post, Steven J. Brams
10/16/17
An alternative might be for the United States to draw a bright line, requiring verifiable information that a nuclear attack has occurred, before nuclear weapons would be used. Such a policy of No First Use, or NFU, of nuclear weapons has long been advocated by many prominent government officials and foreign policy analysts, both during and after the Cold War.

Here’s How to Fix But Not Nix the Iran Deal
The Atlantic, Robert Satloff
10/13/17
Achieving this outcome won’t be easy but it’s doable. Here are three core problems of the original Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and how President Trump could correct them, without requiring Iran to renegotiate any terms of the deal.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - October 6, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – October 6, 2017

TOP NEWS

EU Commission says all sides should stick to Iran deal terms
Reuters

Pakistan warns India against targeting its nuclear installations
The Economic Times

Trump to Force Congress to Act on Iran Nuclear Deal
New York Times

EAST ASIA

N. Korean committee calls for end to U.S. domination in S.K.
Yonhap News Agency
10/6/17
The South Korean people cannot evade the tragedy of a nuclear war as long as the U.S. military occupation of South Korea continues, given that the three-year Korean War ended in a ceasefire in 1953, not a peace treaty, it said. 

MIDDLE EAST

Iran warns nuclear deal “not renegotiable”
Xinhua
10/6/17
Iran's atomic chief said on Thursday that the nuclear deal reached between Iran and the world powers in 2015 is not renegotiable, Press TV reported.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Iran nuclear deal should be preserved: Russia
Reuters
10/6/17
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday he hoped U.S. President Donald Trump would make a “balanced” decision on whether to remain engaged in the international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

EU Commission says all sides should stick to Iran deal terms
Reuters
10/6/17
The European Commission said on Friday that an international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program struck in 2015 was working and all sides should stick to their commitments.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan warns India against targeting its nuclear installations
The Economic Times
10/6/17
Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif has warned that if India launched a surgical strike on the country’s nuclear installations, nobody should expect restraint from Islamabad either, the media reported on Friday. 

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2017
The Nobel Prize
10/6/17
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). The organization is receiving the award for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.

Nobel Peace Prize Goes to Group Opposing Nuclear Weapons
New York Times
10/6/17
In a year when threats from nuclear weapons seemed to draw closer, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on Friday to an advocacy group behind the first treaty to prohibit them. The group, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a Geneva-based coalition of disarmament activists, was honored for its efforts to advance the negotiations that led to the treaty, which was reached in July at the United Nations.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Trump to Force Congress to Act on Iran Nuclear Deal
New York Times
10/5/17
By declining to certify Iran’s compliance, Mr. Trump would essentially kick it to Congress to decide whether to reimpose punitive economic sanctions. Even among Republicans, there appears to be little appetite to do that, at least for now.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

The world can’t afford a nuclear Iran. Keep the current deal
Boston Globe, Ernest J. Moniz
10/4/17
When the Iran nuclear agreement was concluded more than two years ago, many questioned whether Tehran would live up to its terms. Incredibly, now it’s our continued compliance that’s in question. If the president pulls the United States out — either by failing to certify Iranian compliance without clear evidence of violations or by making a clean withdrawal — he will trigger a crisis that will significantly increase nuclear dangers.

Jimmy Carter: What I’ve learned from North Korea’s leaders
Washington Post, Jimmy Carter
10/4/17
The next step should be for the United States to offer to send a high-level delegation to Pyongyang for peace talks or to support an international conference including North and South Korea, the United States and China, at a mutually acceptable site.

Analysis: Nobel says to Korea nuke players: We are watching
Associated Press, Ted Anthony
10/6/17
But the granting of the Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons opened itself to a clear interpretation across Asia: When it comes to the nuclear-saturated war of words on the Korean Peninsula, attention must be paid and treaties must be signed. And it must be done in a preventative way, at top speed, before something happens that can’t be undone.

Trump’s decision on Iran nuclear deal could cause major breach with allies in Europe
Washington Post, Karen DeYoung and Carol Morello
10/5/17
More than any other issue that has threatened transatlantic cohesion this year, President Trump’s decision to decertify Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal could start a chain of events that would sharply divide the United States from its closest traditional allies in the world.

North Korea Is Testing Not Just Bombs, But the Entire Global Nuclear Monitoring System
Defense One, Trevor Findlay
10/5/17
As a member of the Australian delegation, I observed the complex preparatory scientific talks on the system at the Committee on Disarmament in Geneva in the early 1980s. It is a miracle of statecraft and science that this collaborative international infrastructure has actually come into being.

The case for brinksmanship with North Korea
Washington Post, Michael Hirsh
10/6/17
Despite its belligerence and seeming wackiness, the nearly 70-year-old Pyongyang regime has demonstrated a consistently rational strand in its strategy: preventing its own extinction. If Beijing makes clear to its neighbor — backed by a combined threat from America, South Korea and Japan — that North Korea simply will not be permitted to survive as an intercontinental nuclear threat (even if Pyongyang gets to retain some of its nuclear weapons), it could prove to be a new chapter in the history of successful brinkmanship. All we can say conclusively is that, to date, nothing else has worked.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - October 5, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – October 5, 2017

TOP NEWS

Nuke deal hangs in balance as Trump plans Iran policy speech
Associated Press

More than 180 Dems sign letter pushing Trump to re-certify Iran nuclear deal
The Hill

Trump and Japan’s Abe agree to keep pressure on North Korea
Reuters

Exclusive: European envoys take fight for Iran nuclear deal to U.S. Congress
Reuters

EAST ASIA

Trump and Japan’s Abe agree to keep pressure on North Korea
Reuters
10/4/17
U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed in a telephone conversation on Wednesday that pressure should be maintained on North Korea, a senior Japanese government official told reporters.

N. Korean nuclear attack on Seoul, Tokyo could claim more than 2 million lives: report
Yonhap News Agency
10/5/17
A hypothetical North Korean nuclear attack on Seoul and Tokyo could claim more than 2 million lives, a U.S. website monitoring Pyongyang said Thursday.

MIDDLE EAST

Aide to Iran’s Nuclear Team Is Imprisoned on Spying Conviction
New York Times
10/4/17
A Canadian-Iranian accountant who helped advise Iran’s negotiation team in talks that led to the 2015 nuclear agreement with the United States and other big powers has been sentenced to five years in prison for spying.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Exclusive: European envoys take fight for Iran nuclear deal to U.S. Congress
Reuters
10/4/17
As Congress faces a possible fight over the future of the Iran nuclear agreement, European ambassadors and officials from President Barack Obama’s administration are making their case for preserving the pact directly to U.S. lawmakers.

Putin says military strike against North Korea not sure to succeed
Reuters
10/4/17
President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that a military strike against North Korea designed to destroy its nuclear and missile program might not succeed because Pyongyang could have hidden military facilities that nobody knows about.

Revealed: Russia’s New Experimental ICBM Warheads
The Diplomat
10/4/17
According to a U.S. government source with knowledge of a recent U.S. intelligence assessment of Russian ballistic missile testing who spoke to the Diplomat, Russia’s strategic missile force recently tested an independent post-boost vehicle (IPBV) configuration for a three-warhead version of its solid-fuel, road-mobile RS-24 Yars ICBM.

SOUTH ASIA

Indian Air Force capable of striking nuke, other targets in Pakistan: IAF Chief
The Economic Times
10/5/17
"We have a draft nuclear doctrine. It is answered in that -- what happens when the enemy decides to use nuclear weapons on us. As far as IAF is concerned, it has the ability to locate, fix and strike and that is not only for tactical nuclear weapons but for other targets across the border (as well)," he said. 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Nuke deal hangs in balance as Trump plans Iran policy speech
Associated Press
10/5/17
President Donald Trump could announce his secret decision on the future of the Iran nuclear deal next week. U.S. officials familiar with the president’s planning said Wednesday he is preparing to deliver an Iran policy speech in which he is expected to declare the landmark 2015 agreement contrary to America’s national security interests.

More than 180 Dems sign letter pushing Trump to re-certify Iran nuclear deal
The Hill
10/4/17
A group of over 180 Democrats led by Reps. Ted Deutch (Fla.) and David Price (N.C.) sent a letter to President Trump on Wednesday urging him to re-certify the Iran nuclear accord to Congress ahead of the Oct. 15 deadline.

CIA says North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un is not crazy, but ‘very rational’
The Washington Times
10/4/17
A top CIA official called North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un a “very rational actor” who doesn’t want a war with the United States, despite a string of provocations that has sent tensions soaring across East Asia.

Trump to Chart Hawkish Course on Iran
Foreign Policy
10/4/17
The move would put both Iran and European allies on notice that the Trump administration will insist on a new agreement with Tehran to address what it sees as shortcomings in the original 2015 deal, especially the fact that key restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will end in 10 years, sources familiar with the administration’s deliberations told Foreign Policy.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

Countdown to zero: The case for the Iran deal
The Hill, Rep. Gerry Connolly
10/5/17
Additionally, I have introduced the bipartisan Commission to Verify Iranian Nuclear Compliance Act (H.R. 3810) with Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.). This legislation would establish a Congressional-Executive Commission with bipartisan-appointed staff to oversee the implementation of the JCPOA and verify Iran’s compliance with its obligations under the deal. Congress should act immediately to advance one of the rare proposals on Capitol Hill that has garnered support from both sides of the heated JCPOA debate.

Implement the JCPOA
Arms Control Wonk, Mark Hibbs
10/4/17
The JCPOA is an additional instrument that should permit the IAEA to provide greater assurance that Iran is in compliance with its safeguards agreement and to confirm the completeness of Iran’s nuclear declaration. Besides the AP, the JCPOA includes a raft of other complementary verification provisions. The sum total affords the IAEA a level of information about Iran’s nuclear program that exceeds all other nuclear programs subject to safeguards.

The Uses and Misuses of Historical Analogy for North Korea
The Atlantic, Richard Fontaine and Vance Serchuk
10/3/17
That danger is especially pronounced in the case of North Korea today, because it does not have any strong historical antecedents but its own. Despite all the attempts to draw assorted comparisons to explain the crisis, the best guide for it is to be found not through the close study of Khrushchev or the Kaiser, but of the Kim family.

Inside North Korea, and Feeling the Drums of War
New York Times, Nicholas Kristof
10/5/17
Far more than when I previously visited, North Korea is galvanizing its people to expect a nuclear war with the United States. High school students march in the streets in military uniform every day to denounce America. Posters and billboards along the public roads show missiles destroying the U.S. Capitol and shredding the American flag. In fact, images of missiles are everywhere — in a kindergarten playground, at a dolphin show, on state television. This military mobilization is accompanied by the ubiquitous assumption that North Korea could not only survive a nuclear conflict, but also win it.

Why Tactical Nuclear Weapons Are Still A Thing
Defense One, Albert J. Mauroni
10/4/17
Here are some thoughts as to why tactical nuclear weapons are being advanced as a valid, contemporary — and necessary — defense capability.

SPECIAL INTEREST

NKorean workers prep seafood going to US stores, restaurants
Associated Press
10/5/17
At a time when North Korea faces sanctions on many exports, the government is sending tens of thousands of workers worldwide, bringing in revenue estimated at anywhere from $200 million to $500 million a year. That could account for a sizable portion of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs, which South Korea says have cost more than $1 billion.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - October 4, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – October 4, 2017

TOP NEWS

Japan nuclear panel plans reduction in plutonium stockpile, but details remain unclear
Japan Times

U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis suggests sticking with Iran nuclear deal
Reuters

Trump prepares to wound Iran deal – and then save it
Politico

EAST ASIA

S. Korea urges N.K. to take steps toward peace on anniversary of summit agreement
Yonhap News Agency
10/4/17
South Korea on Wednesday urged North Korea to honor all inter-Korean agreements and take steps toward peace on the Korean Peninsula as it marked the 10th anniversary of an agreement reached during the second-ever summit between the two sides. 

Japan nuclear panel plans reduction in plutonium stockpile, but details remain unclear
Japan Times
10/4/17
The plan was outlined in a document issued by the Japan Atomic Energy Commission aimed at highlighting the country’s principle of not possessing plutonium without a specified purpose. Japan is the only non-nuclear weapons state in the world that is proceeding with a commercial spent fuel reprocessing project.

Senior N.K. diplomat to meet with ex-top US officials on margins of Moscow conference: report
Yonhap News Agency
10/4/17
A senior North Korean diplomat is expected to meet with former U.S. government officials when she attends an international nonproliferation conference to be held in Moscow later this month, a news report said Wednesday. 

North Korea seen seeking direct U.S. talks as EU diplomatic back channel with Pyongyang goes cold
Japan Times
10/4/17
While European powers France and Britain are lobbying Washington to cool tensions since North Korea’s most powerful nuclear test a month ago, EU nations with embassies in Pyongyang are directly pressing the North Koreans.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran sentences member of nuclear negotiating team to 5 years in jail: Tasnim
Reuters
10/4/17
Iranian authorities sentenced a member of the country’s nuclear negotiating team to five years in jail, Tasnim news agency reported on Wednesday. The agency did not name a source for the information and gave no further details.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Europe will do everything to preserve Iran nuclear deal: EU diplomat
Reuters
10/4/17
“This is not a bilateral agreement, it’s a multilateral agreement. As Europeans, we will do everything to make sure it stays,” Helga Schmid, secretary general of the EU’s foreign policy service, told an Iranian investment conference in Switzerland’s financial capital.

Putin: Russia will support Iran nuclear deal even if US withdraws
Financial Times
10/4/17
Russia’s president Vladimir Putin will continue to support the Iran nuclear deal, despite suggestions that Donald Trump’s White House may withdraw its support.

Russian military holds massive missile drills
Associated Press
10/4/17
The Defense Ministry said Tuesday in a statement carried by the Interfax news agency that the maneuvers involve over 60 Topol, Topol-M and Yars missile launchers.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis suggests sticking with Iran nuclear deal
Reuters
10/3/17
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Tuesday the United States should consider staying in the Iran nuclear deal unless it were proven Tehran that was not abiding by the agreement or that it was not in the U.S. national interest to do so.

Trump prepares to wound Iran deal – and then save it
Politico
10/3/17
Trump’s team plans to work with Congress and European allies to apply new pressure on the Iranian regime, according to a strategy developed in an Iran policy review led by national security adviser H.R. McMaster. But the strategy assumes the nuclear deal will remain intact for now.

Mattis: Pentagon ‘supports fully’ diplomatic solution to N. Korea
Yonhap News Agency
10/4/17
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday that the Pentagon "supports fully" a diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear standoff amid mixed messages from Washington.

Bipartisan bill would toughen North Korea sanctions, require Trump’s strategy
The Hill
10/3/17
A bipartisan duo in the Senate has introduced legislation that would require the Trump administration to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea and provide Congress with a strategy for curbing that country's nuclear and missile programs.

Trump slam on Tillerson raises more questions about North Korea policy
The Hill
10/3/17
President Trump muddled his North Korea strategy further over the weekend when he appeared to undercut his own secretary of State, driving more concerns from experts that the administration has no clear strategy.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

Trump’s generals thwart him on the Iran deal
Washington Post, Ishaan Tharoor
10/4/17
But there's a crucial constituency that may not be on the same page as Trump: “his” generals. On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a retired Marine general, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee and fielded questions on the administration's thinking regarding the Iran deal.

More than Paper: How Nuclear Ban-Treaty Advocates Can Really Advance Disarmament
War on the Rocks, Jon Wolfsthal
10/4/17
If states truly want to help eliminate nuclear weapons, here are a few concrete steps they can take – steps that are more meaningful and address more urgent threats to the cause of global disarmament.

Understanding the New Nuclear Weapons Ban
Nuclear Threat Initiative, Andrea Berger
10/2/17
It has been called everything from “the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons”  and a “historic achievement,” to a “shotgun treaty”  and an “ineffective”  and “counterproductive” disarmament measure. On September 20th, a controversial treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons opened for signature. This Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, or, as some refer to it, Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, will enter into force 90 days after the 50th country’s ratification.

How North Korea Uses Front Companies to Help Evade Sanctions
Frontline, Nicole Einbinder
10/3/17
The North’s ability to finance itself, despite growing international sanctions, can be credited to a broad range of illicit activity that spans the world, according to experts. For example, schemes employed by the regime to garner profits include currency and cigarette counterfeiting, insurance fraud, illicit drug production and trafficking, weapon sales and even wildlife and human trafficking, according to U.N. and Congressional reports.

Donald Trump Threatened North Korea After Completely Imaginary Negotiations
Foreign Policy, Jeffrey Lewis
10/3/17
This particular episode in the months-long twitzkrieg between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump is a parable about how bad reporting can create its own facts, leading gullible readers to act out of false information or contrived narratives. And if one of those gullible readers happens to be the president of the United States, watch out.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - October 3, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – October 3, 2017

TOP NEWS

Republicans might block Trump from killing Iran nuke deal
Politico

White House again rejects talks with North Korea on nuclear issue
Reuters

North Korea Called Me a ‘War Maniac.’ I Ignored Them, and Trump Should Too.
Politico, William J. Perry

EAST ASIA

Political polarization hampers efforts to counter N.K. threats
Yonhap News Agency
10/2/17
Rival parties' stark divergence on security is posing yet another nettlesome challenge to the South Korean government's efforts to cope with an increasingly provocative North Korea, observers said Monday. 

Fostering peace on Korean peninsula biggest contribution to mankind: PM Lee
Arirang
10/3/17
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon says fostering peace on the Korean peninsula is the biggest contribution Korea can make to mankind.

North Korea tension sidelines South’s Unification Ministry
Asahi Shimbun
10/3/17
As North Korea steps up its nuclear weapons tests and threats, the Unification Ministry, dedicated to improving relations with the North and eventual peaceful reunification, faces an almost existential crisis.

MIDDLE EAST

Ex-Netanyahu national security adviser urges US to keep Iran deal
Al-Monitor
10/2/17
“Doing away with the agreement is no real option,” said Arad, who served as national security adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during 2009-2011. “It simply removes from existence something that had been established, that presented certain assets and certain things that are tangible — and replacing that [with] nothing.”

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Putin lambasts war hysteria over North Korea
TASS
10/3/17
Russian President Vladimir Putin is certain that soaring military rhetoric over North Korea is harmful, but at the same time Moscow is critical of North Korea’s violations of UN Security Council resolutions.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Republicans might block Trump from killing Iran nuke deal
Politico
10/3/17
Even a few defections would make a difference in the Senate, where Republicans hold a narrow 52-seat majority. Democratic senators, even those who opposed the nuclear agreement two years ago, want the deal to remain in place. As it stands now, enough Republicans are undecided that GOP leaders would struggle to corral the votes needed to reimpose sanctions.

White House again rejects talks with North Korea on nuclear issue
Reuters
10/2/17
The White House on Monday ruled out talks with North Korea except to discuss the fate of Americans held there, again appearing to rebuke Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who said Washington was directly communicating with Pyongyang on its nuclear and missile programs.

A Nuclear Deal With North Korea May Be Tillerson’s Mission Impossible
New York Times
10/2/17
Apart from conflicting messages from President Trump and his aides about their willingness to enter negotiations, the hurdles to a meaningful dialogue with North Korea are high, and it will be even more difficult to reach a deal with the North than it was with Iran, analysts said.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

North Korea Called Me a ‘War Maniac.’ I Ignored Them, and Trump Should Too.
Politico, William J. Perry
10/3/17
A quarter-century of close involvement with the challenge of nuclear deterrence in North Korea leaves me confident that a different approach holds vastly more promise. This approach would rely on diplomacy carried out in unambiguous but calm and measured language, backed by a thoroughly credible threat of punitive measures up to and including military force. The strategy would start with a clear appraisal of the risks we are trying to mitigate.

Why Pakistan must be like North Korea: Dawn columnist
The Straits Times, Munir Akram
10/3/17
Pakistan's ability to resist Indian diktat and to disagree with America's strategic design flows from one principal source: its nuclear and missile capabilities. Without this, Pakistan would have been attacked like Iraq or sanctioned like Iran. On the other hand, North Korea, despite its isolation, has been able to thumb its nose at America because of its demonstrated nuclear and missile prowess.

Analysis: Are Trump, Tillerson doing ‘good cop, bad cop’?
Associated Press, Matthew Pennington and Matthew Lee
10/3/17
If President Donald Trump and his top diplomat are playing “good cop, bad cop” with North Korea, it doesn’t appear to be working: Entreaties of diplomacy aren’t yielding meaningful talks, and military threats aren’t scaring Pyongyang into halting its nuclear advance.

The Iranian Nuclear Deal’s Sunset Clauses
Foreign Affairs, Ali Vaez
10/3/17
Undermining the Iran nuclear deal out of fear of its sunset provisions will only achieve one thing: it will bring that sunset far closer, without a realistic and achievable alternative to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

North Korea Benefits From Nuclear Weapons. Get Used To It.
War on the Rocks, Mark S. Bell
10/2/17
War with North Korea should now be off the table and the denuclearization of North Korea is similarly unrealistic. If the United States wants to tamp down the current crisis, it needs to get used to North Korean nuclear weapons and the constraints they impose on U.S. foreign policy.

Abandoning Iranian Nuclear Deal Could Lead to New Wave of Cyberattacks
Foreign Policy, Kate Brannen
10/2/17
It remains uncertain which approach Trump will take, but whichever way he decides to go, his decision on the nuclear deal will not be made in a vacuum. There could be unintended consequences, particularly in the cyber domain, involving U.S. financial and corporate interests.

The Folly of Tactical Nuclear Weapons
Defense One, Michael Krepon
10/2/17
The arguments for adding another low-yield warhead design to the current U.S. stockpile don’t add up. We already have three warhead types whose yields can be dialed down (or up). They would be delivered by air, not by forces in the field, because the U.S. Army reached the conclusion that it’s folly to use tactical nuclear weapons in a land battle. However delivered, tactical nuclear weapons get in the way of U.S. soldiers.

The Middle Eastern Roots of Nuclear Alarmism Over North Korea
War on the Rocks, Rebecca Friedman Lissner
10/3/17
Why have foreign policy elites been so reluctant to reconceptualize the North Korea crisis accordingly? The answer lies with the legacy of the First Gulf War. Coming at the dawn of the post-Cold War Era, the conduct and after-action analysis of Operation Desert Storm shaped Washington’s threat assessments in enduring ways. The war highlighted the danger posed by regional powers’ nuclear proliferation, and America’s insufficient tools to counter the spread of the world’s deadliest weapons. As such, it inaugurated the post-Cold War preoccupation with nuclear proliferation as the primary threat to the United States in the unipolar era — a preoccupation that only compounded over time, as Washington grew increasingly accustomed to unfettered military dominance.

If the U.S. Reimposes Sanctions on Iran, Allies Will Follow
Foreign Policy, Richard Goldberg
10/2/17
Trump should decertify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement and hold a sanctions Sword of Damocles over the Iranian economy: change your behavior or risk total economic collapse before you could ever reach the point of a nuclear weapon. Cry as they might along the way, no European or Asian corporation is going to choose a terrorist regime over access to the U.S. dollar.

Scuttling Der Weinerplan
Arms Control Wonk Podcast, Jeffrey Lewis and Aaron Stein
10/3/17
Aaron and Jeffrey talk about the prospects for Trump to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal, why that would be a bad idea, why the "section T" talking point is tendentious nonsense, and why its time to make peace with the fact that the future of nonproliferation is mostly about persuading countries to take a pass on the bomb.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - October 2, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – October 2, 2017

TOP NEWS

Iran’s Foreign Minister Has Some Things He Wants to Say to Donald Trump
Politico

Trump to top U.S. diplomat: Don’t bother talking to North Korea
Reuters

U.S. directly communicating with North Korea, seeks dialogue
Reuters

Sir Michael Fallon defends nuclear deterrent amid heightened North Korea threat
Sky News

EAST ASIA

N. Korea urges halt to U.S. hostile policy in talks with Russia: report
Yonhap News Agency
9/30/17
North Korea has called for an end to what it claimed to be a hostile U.S. policy toward the communist regime in bilateral talks with Russia, the North's official media reported Saturday. 

As sanctions bite, N. Korean workers leave Chinese border
Asahi Shimbun
10/2/17
North Korean workers have begun to leave the Chinese border city of Dandong, following the latest round of sanctions seeking to restrict Pyongyang's ability to earn foreign currency income, local businesses and traders say.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran’s Foreign Minister Has Some Things He Wants to Say to Donald Trump
Politico
10/2/17
Despite President Donald Trump’s threats to blow it up, the Iran nuclear deal still has a “better than 50” percent chance of surviving the next year, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif told POLITICO in an extensive interview detailing how his country will—and won’t—respond to Trump’s extraordinary campaign against the agreement the American president calls “an embarrassment to the United States.”

Zarif: Nuclear renegotiation is a ‘myth’
Tehran Times
10/1/17
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday essentially ruled out renegotiating or launching follow-up talks to a landmark nuclear accord that President Donald Trump is threatening to dismantle, saying rewriting the multilateral pact is a “myth”.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Sir Michael Fallon defends nuclear deterrent amid heightened North Korea threat
Sky News
9/29/17
Sir Michael Fallon's defence of Britain's nuclear deterrent comes as he hosts NATO's Secretary General at the nuclear submarine base in Scotland…. Standing in front of HMS Vengeance, both men reaffirmed that NATO is a nuclear alliance and committed to collective defence.

Match North Korea overture with Iran offer, Germany tells U.S.
Reuters
10/1/17
Germany welcomed U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s announcement that he was “probing” opportunities for dialogue with North Korea about its nuclear weapons program and called for Washington to take a similar step with Iran.

Italy decides to order N.K’s amb. to leave, increasing Pyongyang’s diplomatic isolation
Yonhap News Agency
10/1/17
Italy has decided to order North Korea's newly designated ambassador to leave the country in an apparent bid to join the global drive to punish the North for its continued missile and nuclear provocations, a local media report showed Sunday. 

Russia rejects U.S. claim on Iran, IAEA
Tehran Times
10/1/17
A senior Russian official has dismissed a recent U.S. claim that Moscow is trying to “shield” Iran from inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which Washington has been pushing to widen to Iran’s military sites.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Trump to top U.S. diplomat: Don’t bother talking to North Korea
Reuters
10/1/17
U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday dismissed the prospect of talks with North Korea as a waste of time a day after his own secretary of state said the United States was maintaining open lines of communication with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

U.S. directly communicating with North Korea, seeks dialogue
Reuters
9/29/17
The United States said on Saturday it was directly communicating with North Korea on its nuclear and missile programs but Pyongyang had shown no interest in dialogue.

Pyongyang shows no interest in talks: State Department
Reuters
9/30/17
North Korea has shown no interest in pursuing talks on its nuclear and missile programs, the U.S. State Department said on Saturday after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged the United States was communicating directly with Pyongyang.

Lawmakers look to bypass Trump on North Korea sanctions
The Hill
10/1/17
Senators from both parties increasingly worried about North Korea's nuclear weapons program are talking about bypassing President Trump and hitting the country with sanctions on their own.

U.S. senior diplomat to visit S. Korea for talks on N. Korea
Yonhap News Agency
10/2/17
The United States' No. 2 diplomat will visit South Korea later this month for talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, diplomatic sources said Monday. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan will travel to South Korea in mid-October, the sources said, amid high tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

The Iran deal is working. Here’s how we know.
Washington Post, John F. Kerry
9/29/17
Having cast dozens of arms-control votes as a senator — judging not whether they were perfect, but whether we were better off with them — I want to take those who may soon cast a similar vote “into the negotiating room” to explain the product we negotiated to close Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon, and why it is so important to keep the agreement in place.

One Very Big Reason Not to Scrap the Iranian Nuclear Deal
New York Times, Jeremy Bernstein
10/2/17
If the Trump administration does not recertify the agreement when it comes around in just a few weeks, the rest of the signers may attempt to maintain the treaty. But without the United States, the Iranians have suggested that they will consider the provisions no longer binding. Shouldn’t the dire situation in North Korea be enough of a headache already that we do not want to deal with another nuclear armed country? 

Keep the Iran Deal, Attack the Regime
Foreign Policy, Max Boot
10/2/17
I would not recommend pulling out of the deal now — not when the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose inspectors monitor 27 separate sites, has certified that Iran is in compliance. Instead of nuking the nuclear deal, the United States should take other steps to check the growth of Iranian influence.

The Korean Peninsula: On the knife’s edge of a crisis
The Hill, Bruce Klingner
10/2/17
The situation on the Korean Peninsula is always on the knife’s edge of a crisis. But personifying the standoff between two leaders, each of whom has threatened to destroy the other’s country, escalates the risk of triggering a major military conflict.

It’s Time to Reckon With What It Would Really take to Deter North Korea
Foreign Policy, Daniel Blumenthal
9/29/17
There is a new piece of conventional wisdom on North Korea in Washington: The idea that the United States should “recognize” North Korea as a nuclear state and move toward a policy of containment and deterrence. To be sure, this may be the only option left, but many who are advocating the policy don’t seem to be thinking through its military requirements and possible regional consequences.

Secret talks can cool tensions between US and North Korea
The Hill, Paul B. Stares
10/1/17
Secret talks are unlikely to resolve the underlying conflict, but they could establish some basic ground rules and emergency procedures to avert a catastrophe.

SPECIAL INTEREST

A North Korean ship was seized off Egypt with a huge cache of weapons destined for a surprising buyer
Washington Post
10/1/17
Armed with this tip, customs agents were waiting when the ship entered Egyptian waters. They swarmed the vessel and discovered, concealed under bins of iron ore, a cache of more than 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades. It was, as a United Nations report later concluded, the “largest seizure of ammunition in the history of sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - September 29, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – September 29, 2017

TOP NEWS

Japan’s defense chief warns of possible North Korea provocation on October 10
Reuters

Russia and North Korea to discuss nuclear crisis in Moscow
Reuters

Senators Question Strategy for Halting NKorea’s Nuke Program
Associated Press

EAST ASIA

Japan’s defense chief warns of possible North Korea provocation on October 10
Reuters
9/29/17
Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera urged caution on Friday because more provocation was possible from North Korea on Oct. 10, when the start of lower house election campaigns in Japan coincides with one of the North’s main anniversaries.

China Support for North Korea clampdown growing: U.S. official
CNBC
9/28/17
China is making progress in enforcing sanctions imposed on North Korea, a U.S. State Department official said on Thursday, and urged skeptical members of Congress not to rush to enact new ones before giving Beijing’s efforts a chance to take effect.

IAEA says North Korea’s rapid weapons progress poses new, global threat
Reuters
9/28/17
The United Nations nuclear watchdog’s chief said on Friday North Korea’s sixth nuclear test conducted on Sept. 3 showed the isolated country has made rapid progress on weapons development that posed a new, global threat.

MIDDLE EAST

Amano: Iran’s nuclear program different from North Korea
Tehran Times
9/28/17
Yukiya Amano, chief of the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency, said on Tuesday that Iran’s nuclear program is different from situation in North Korea, noting “in the JCPOA’s case, diplomacy worked.”

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia and North Korea to discuss nuclear crisis in Moscow
Reuters
9/28/17
Russian and North Korean officials will meet in Moscow on Friday to discuss the North Korea crisis, a move welcomed by the United States, which has been locked in am increasingly heated war of words with Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Senators Question Strategy for Halting NKorea’s Nuke Program
Associated Press
9/29/17
A senior State Department official acknowledged Thursday that U.S. intelligence agencies don’t believe North Korea will ever pull the plug on its nuclear program, raising concerns among lawmakers over the Trump administration’s strategy for bringing a mounting crisis to a peaceful close.

Trump keeps Europe guessing on Iran nuclear deal
Financial Times
9/28/17
It is unclear [if] a US attempt to force renegotiation or new sanctions would see the agreement survive. 

US presses for more Iran nuclear inspections
Daily Mail
9/28/17
The United States pressed Thursday for the International Atomic Energy Agency to carry out more nuclear inspections in Iran, warning that failure to do so would make the nuclear deal with Tehran "an empty promise."

Former NATO military chief: there’s a 10% chance of nuclear war with North Korea
Vox
9/28/17
And that’s precisely what makes his assessment of the escalating standoff with North Korea so jarring. Stavridis believes there’s at least a 10 percent chance of a nuclear war between the US and North Korea, and a 20 to 30 percent chance of a conventional, but still bloody, conflict.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

The road to diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula
CNN, Ernest J. Moniz and Sam Nunn
9/29/17
It is imperative that we focus now on steps to reduce these risks, including first and foremost the risk of use of nuclear weapons, but also of devastating conventional forces on both sides of the 38th parallel. Unlike with Iran, where it made sense to keep the talks confined to the nuclear program in order to prevent nuclear weapons development, North Korea negotiations must address broader issues.

Brookes: Trump stockpiles reasons to blow up Iran nuke deal
Boston Herald, Peter Brookes
9/28/17
Trump also said he’d made up his mind about what to do about it — though he didn’t tip his hand as to what exactly that was. If I had to bet, it isn’t a continuation of the status quo. Considering the deal’s shortcomings, that’s understandable.

On North Korea, Is Trump Flunking Crisis Management 101?
USA Today, Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky
9/28/17
We give President Trump high marks for putting the North Korea nuclear challenge at the top of the international agenda, and injecting urgency into coping with a serious threat that has defied the efforts of three previous administrations. Let’s call it “strategic impatience,” the opposite of the Obama administration’s policy of strategic patience. But on almost every other aspect of Crisis Management 101, Trump is failing the course — and the consequences could be deadly. 

How to Tell If North Korea and America Are Actually Headed to War
The Atlantic, Uri Friedman
9/28/17
But while words matter, they aren’t all that matter. Actions may be a better indicator of where the crisis stands and what could come next. And the governments of the alleged dotard and Rocket Man have been taking actions that tell a different story than the apocalyptic rhetoric does.

Trump Goes Rogue on Iran
Bloomberg, Nick Wadhams
9/29/17
Yet after a week of speeches, backroom negotiations, and top diplomatic meetings, the U.S. appears more isolated and its allies more united around the importance of the agreement. The week also exposed the administration’s internal division over Iran—and disdain for the details of the accord.

There’s a way out on North Korea
Washington Post, Fareed Zakaria
9/28/17
There is no good — let alone perfect — policy for the North Korean problem. But the Trump administration needs to stop the insults, get serious and try to find some way to stabilize the situation. Otherwise, we are on a road that will force Washington to either go to war or tacitly admit defeat to the Little Rocket Man.

Prepare for the Worst With North Korea
Real Clear Defense, Matthew R. Costlow
9/28/17
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have pledged to hold North Korea accountable for its actions, using all the diplomatic and military means at their disposal. The world wishes them the best. But lest they become too reliant on hoping for the best, they should also prepare for the worst.

SPECIAL INTEREST

North Korea Continues Work on Second Barge Used for SLBM Testing
38 North
9/28/17
Recent commercial satellite imagery from September 1 and 21, indicates that North Korea continues to work on its second submersible ballistic missile test stand barge at the Nampo Navy Shipyard on the country’s west coast. The intentions in acquiring this second barge and the purpose of the ongoing work are unclear, but there are several possibilities, none of which are mutually exclusive.

Two North Korean Spies, a Ukrainian Jail and a Murky Tale
New York Times
9/28/17
The North Korean spy, posing as a member of his country’s trade delegation in Belarus, thought he was photographing a secret scientific report on missile technology as he snapped away with a small camera in a dingy garage in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro, the home of Ukraine’s Soviet-era rocket industry.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - September 28, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – September 28, 2017

TOP NEWS

South Korea expects more provocative acts by North Korea in mid-October
Reuters

Dunford: North Korea has not changed military posture despite rhetoric
The Hill

Trump’s Top General Says Iran Honoring Nuke Deal
Foreign Policy

EAST ASIA

China says military means not an option to resolve Korea situation
Reuters
9/27/17
China said on Wednesday the North Korean nuclear issue should be resolved through dialogue, and that military means were not an option, after U.S. President Donald Trump warned North Korea that any U.S. military option would be “devastating.”

China orders N.K. firms to close down
Yonhap News Agency
9/28/17
China has ordered North Korean companies in the country to close down within 120 days of the United Nations Security Council's passage of the latest of sanctions on Sept. 12, according to China's commerce ministry on Thursday.

South Korea is Speeding Up Arms Buildup to Counter North, Its Leader Says
New York Times
9/28/17
President Moon Jae-in said on Wednesday that South Korea’s military would speed up efforts to strengthen its pre-emptive strike, missile defense and retaliatory capabilities against North Korea, and he renewed his call for the armed forces to become more independent of America’s.

South Korea expects more provocative acts by North Korea in mid-October
Reuters
9/27/17
South Korea expects more provocative acts by North Korea next month, to coincide with the anniversary of the founding of the North Korean communist party and China’s all-important Communist Party Congress.

MIDDLE EAST

IAEA chief calls for clarity on disputed section of Iran nuclear deal
Reuters
9/26/17
The U.N. nuclear watchdog’s chief urged major powers on Tuesday to clarify a part of their nuclear deal with Iran dealing with technology that could be used to develop an atom bomb, an area Russia said the agency should leave alone.

Elimination of nuclear weapons is ‘moral responsibility,’ Iran says
Tehran Times
9/28/17
Abbas Araqchi, Iranian deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs, said on Tuesday that total elimination of nuclear weapons is a “legal, political and moral responsibility.”

Iran points at US and warns of new nuclear arms race
Associated Press
9/27/17
Iran’s deputy foreign minister pointed at the United States in warning on Tuesday that a new nuclear arms race and new competition to modernize nuclear weapons are starting. Abbas Araghchi made the comments during a high-level meeting of the U.N. General Assembly to promote International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, calling that goal “a legal, political and moral responsibility.”

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

France Says Trump Method Not Best Way to Tackle North Korea Crisis
Reuters
9/27/17
France’s foreign minister said on Wednesday that Donald Trump’s verbal jousting with North Korea was perhaps not the best method to handle the nuclear crisis and urged the U.S. president to focus his attention on raising diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang.

Moscow fails to grasp reason why US claims that it ‘violated’ INF pact – diplomat
TASS
9/27/17
Washington has not so far provided any evidence substantiating its claims that Moscow violates the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters on Wednesday.

SOUTH ASIA

India Calls for Building Trust, Confidence Among Nuclear Weapon States
NDTV
9/27/17
India has called for a meaningful dialogue among all states possessing nuclear weapons to build trust and confidence and for reducing the salience of atomic weapons in international affairs.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL

Senior Russian diplomat calls nuclear arms prohibition treaty “mistake”
TASS
9/27/17
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, opened for signing on September 20, is a mistake that creates a serious threat to the non-proliferation regime, Russia’s deputy UN envoy said on Tuesday.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Dunford: North Korea has not changed military posture despite rhetoric
The Hill
9/26/17
“While the political space is clearly very charged right now, we haven’t seen a change in the posture of North Korean forces and we watch that very closely,” Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday. “What we haven’t seen is military activity that would be reflective of the charged political environment.”

Trump’s Top General Says Iran Honoring Nuke Deal
Foreign Policy
9/26/17
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Tuesday joined other members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet in confirming that Iran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal that has put a temporary halt to its nuclear weapons program.  

U.S. sending more ‘strategic’ military assets to South Korea to deter the North, Seoul says
Washington Post
9/28/17
[Chung Eui-young, national security adviser to President Moon Jae-in] did not define “strategic assets,” but South Korean officials usually use the term to refer to B-52 bombers, stealth warplanes, nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers.

Poll: Nearly half support US military action against North Korea
Stars and Stripes
9/27/17
Almost half of the respondents either strongly supported or somewhat supported the notion of the U.S. taking military action against North Korea in an effort to end that country’s nuclear program. Thirty-three percent either somewhat opposed or strongly opposed such action with 19 percent reporting no opinion.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

With Zapad Over, Is It Time for Conventional Arms Control in Europe?
War on the Rocks, Ulrich Kühn
9/27/17
Because NATO also decided at its 2016 Warsaw Summit to remain open to dialogue with Russia, and since Germany, in particular, has only recently made a renewed push for conventional arms control in Europe, it makes sense to ask whether a novel conventional arms control arrangement could provide for more security in addition to NATO’s deterrence and assurance approach. At the same time, to add a much-needed reality check, we must ask whether the political level of U.S.-Russian relations allows for a new approach.

The Myth of a ‘Better’ Iran Deal
Foreign Policy, Colin Kahl
9/26/17
Trump is undoubtedly attracted to the notion of tearing down yet another pillar of former President Barack Obama’s legacy, but it remains unlikely that he will just walk away from the JCPOA. Instead, the administration seems to be considering two other options meant to raise the heat on both Tehran and the international community to address the deal’s alleged shortcomings.

North Korea’s rhetoric is the same. It’s Trump’s reaction that makes this different
Washington Post, Anna Fifield and Emily Rauhala
9/27/17
Although the threats are colorful — on both sides — experts on North Korea say they are in keeping with North Korea’s history of bluster and do not signal a significant change in North Korea’s thinking. 

Trump stands at the edge of a cliff with Kim Jong Un. Time to start dealing.
Washington Post, David Ignatius
9/26/17
The first steps away from confrontation will have to be small. Trump’s rhetoric has probably torched the big bargain, for now. An initial statement to reduce tensions could be followed by other confidence-building measures, and then, eventually, by talks about de-nuclearization and reduction of U.S. forces in the region.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - September 26, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – September 26, 2017

TOP NEWS

North Korea Calls Trump’s Comments a ‘Declaration of War’
New York Times

Russia has no plans to quit INF treaty – diplomat
TASS

European Diplomats Speak Out Against Trump’s Opposition to Iran Deal
New York Times

Mattis: US wants to resolve N. Korea standoff diplomatically
Associated Press

EAST ASIA

North Korea Calls Trump’s Comments a ‘Declaration of War’
New York Times
9/25/17
North Korea’s foreign minister escalated tensions with the United States on Monday, saying that President Trump’s threatening comments about the country and its leadership were “a declaration of war” and that North Korea had the right to shoot down American warplanes, even if they are not in North Korean air space.

North Korea bolsters defenses after flight by U.S. bombers as rhetoric escalates
Reuters
9/25/17
North Korea has boosted defenses on its east coast, a South Korean lawmaker said on Tuesday, after the North said U.S. President Donald Trump had declared war and that it would shoot down U.S. bombers flying near the peninsula.

Experts: NKorea lacks ability, intent to attack US planes
Associated Press
9/26/17
It’s also unclear whether North Korea would be able to even see the advanced U.S. warplanes when they come. South Korea’s National Intelligence Service told lawmakers in a closed-door briefing on Tuesday that the North’s inadequate radar systems failed to detect the B-1B bombers as they flew east of North Korea.

S. Korean leader says N. Korea still has chance for peaceful resolution
Yonhap News Agency
9/26/17
South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged North Korea to come to the dialogue table Tuesday, saying the communist state still had a chance for a peaceful end to its nuclear ambition.

MIDDLE EAST

US sees ‘no indication’ Iran launched a ballistic missile, despite Trump tweet
CNN
9/26/17
US intelligence radars and sensors "picked up no indication" of an Iranian ballistic missile launch in the days surrounding a reported test, according to a Trump administration official familiar with the latest US assessment.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

European Diplomats Speak Out Against Trump’s Opposition to Iran Deal
New York Times
9/25/17
After months of quietly urging the Trump administration to preserve the Iran nuclear deal, European diplomats have begun an aggressive defense of it, warning of serious consequences if the United States ignores their concerns.

Russia has no plans to quit INF treaty – diplomat
TASS
9/26/17
Russia has not violated the intermediate nuclear force (INF) treaty and it has no intention of quitting it, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s non-proliferation and weapons control department, Mikhail UIyanov, told a news conference on Tuesday.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Mattis: US wants to resolve N. Korea standoff diplomatically
Associated Press
9/26/17
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Tuesday that the United States wants to resolve the standoff with North Korea diplomatically and is focused on denuclearizing Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

US says it’s not pushing for regime change in North Korea
Military Times
9/25/17
The Trump administration said Monday it’s not seeking to overthrow North Korea’s government after the president tweeted that Kim Jong Un “won’t be around much longer” and called Pyongyang’s assertion absurd that Donald Trump’s comment amounted to a declaration of war.

White House: ‘We have not declared war on North Korea’
Politico
9/25/17
[White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee] Sanders rejected North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho’s assertion that President Donald Trump had essentially declared war through his forceful rhetoric against Pyongyang last week.

California is Already Preparing for a North Korean Nuclear Attack
Foreign Policy
9/25/17
Noting the heightened North Korean threat, the Los Angeles-area Joint Regional Intelligence Center issued a bulletin last month warning that a nuclear attack on Southern California would be “catastrophic” and urged officials in the region to shore up their nuclear attack response plans.  

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

Trump Needs a Diplomatic Surge for North Korea
Foreign Policy, Sen. Ben Cardin
9/22/17
We cannot accept policy options that result in only war or recognizing North Korea’s nuclear status; there is a lot of space between conflict and capitulation on the Korean Peninsula.

No joke: When Donald Trump hurls insults, North Korea thinks about war
USA Today, Jon Wolfsthal
9/26/17
The president and his advisers need to do everything they can to ensure that the United States and South Korea can repel a North Korean attack, and at the same time they must avoid statements that increase the chance North Korea will misinterpret these steps as a prelude to an attack.  

Would North Korea Shoot Down a US B-1B Bomber? Yes. Could It?
The Diplomat, Ankit Panda
9/26/17
Without a better sense of the exact constellation of North Korea’s KN06 placements around the country and its ISR capabilities, it’s impossible to say just how realistic a bomber shoot-down would be, but it’s not inconceivable that North Korea would attempt some kind of new provocation at the conventional level.

North Korea proved allowing the Iran deal to collapse could lead to proliferation
The Hill, John Bird and Stephen Rademaker
9/26/17
Though it is tempting to believe that while our nonproliferation policies failed in North Korea, they are succeeding in Iran, that would be the wrong conclusion to draw. If anything, North Korea is a cautionary tale of what Iran’s future might hold. 

SPECIAL INTEREST

My time with Stanislav Petrov: No cog in the machine
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Bruce G. Blair
9/25/17
In later years I had a chance to engage in extensive conversations with Petrov—at the United Nations, where he received a World Citizen Award, and in my home, where we spent a day in front of a film crew. Petrov and I crossed the cultural divide and quickly bonded, and we trolled the 1983 incident for insights and lessons.

No country has opted out of PyeongChang Olympics for security reasons: Seoul
Yonhap News Agency
9/26/17
Not a single country has officially decided not to join the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics so far despite tension over North Korea's provocations, the foreign ministry here said Tuesday, vowing to ensure the safety of the global sports event.

Rare Footage Shows Russia Detonating Nuclear Weapon to Create a New Lake
Forbes
9/25/17
This rare footage from the former Soviet Union shows the detonation of a nuclear bomb to create what is now called the "Atomic Lake." The Soviet nuclear test, called Chagan, was conducted in January 1965 at the Semipalatinsk Test Site in Kazakhstan.

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - September 25, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – September 25, 2017

TOP NEWS

If North Korea Attacks Guam, U.S. Holds Open Option for NATO Mutual Defense
Wall Street Journal

NKorea: Trump insult makes attack on US ‘more inevitable’
Associated Press

US flies mission north of DMZ, sends message to North Korea
Military Times

EAST ASIA

NKorea: Trump insult makes attack on US ‘more inevitable’
Associated Press
9/24/17
Ri Yong Ho called the American president “a mentally deranged person full of megalomania and complacency” with his finger on the “nuclear button.” And he said Trump’s “reckless and violent words” had provoked “the supreme dignity” of North Korea and “rendered this sacred U.N. arena tainted.”

China urges restraint amid war of words between Trump and North Korea
Reuters
9/25/17
China on Monday called for all sides in the North Korea missile crisis to show restraint and not “add oil to the flames” amid an exchange of increasingly bellicose rhetoric between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Japanese PM Abe says election won’t distract him from tackling North Korea
Reuters
9/25/17
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday said his decision to call a snap election would not distract his government from responding to North Korean threats, pledging to increase pressure if Pyongyang failed to halt its missile and nuclear weapons development.

President urges bipartisan efforts to peacefully resolve N. Korean nukes
Yonhap News Agency
9/25/17
President Moon Jae-in called for bipartisan efforts Monday to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue peacefully, noting the country was now facing what he called an "unprecedented" security crisis.

MIDDLE EAST

Zarif warns Iran could walk away from nuclear deal
Tehran Times
9/24/17
“Iran has a number of options which include walking away from the deal and going back with great speed with its nuclear program which will remain peaceful, but we will not accept the limitations that we voluntarily accepted on our nuclear program,” he told CNN in an interview aired on Sunday.

Iran tests new ballistic missile hours after showing it off at military parade
CNN
9/23/17
Iran unveiled the ballistic missile Friday at a military parade in Tehran and successfully tested it the same day, Press TV reported. It said Iran released footage of the test-launch. Called the Khorramshahr missile, the weapon has a range of 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) and can carry multiple warheads, according to Press TV.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

If North Korea Attacks Guam, U.S. Holds Open Option for NATO Mutual Defense
Wall Street Journal
9/22/17
The U.S. could seek a declaration of the NATO mutual defense clause should North Korea attack Guam or another U.S. territory in the Pacific, according to the new U.S. ambassador to the military alliance.

Putin, Rouhani discuss Iran’s nuclear program
TASS
9/25/17
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in a phone conversation underlined the importance of full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Kremlin press service said.

Lavrov believes US will not attack North Korea
TASS
9/24/17
The United States would not deliver a strike on the DPRK, as they are confident Pyongyang has nuclear weapon, which may be used in response, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with the NTV weekly program on Sunday.

SOUTH ASIA

Pak nukes hidden at nine places, at risk of being stolen by terrorists
The Times of India
9/25/17
According to a recent report by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), Pakistan has stored its nuclear forces at nine different locations across the country.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Trump points to Iran missile test in criticizing nuke deal
Associated Press
9/24/17
President Donald Trump on Saturday pointed to a reported missile test by Iran to renew his criticism of the nuclear agreement it reached with the U.S. and other nations.

US flies mission north of DMZ, sends message to North Korea
Military Times
9/24/17
In a show of American military might to North Korea, U.S. bombers and fighter escorts flew on Saturday to the farthest point north of the border between North and South Korea by any such American aircraft this century.

Former top CIA official: US ‘running out of options’ on NK
The Hill
9/24/17
Former chief of operations for the CIA counterintelligence center, Lon Augustenborg, warned on Sunday that the U.S. is quickly running out of options on North Korea as the war of words between President Trump and Kim Jong Un escalates.  

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

Sweden’s Choice: NATO or the Nuclear Ban?
RUSI, Emil Dall
9/22/17
Sweden's latest military exercises indicate that Stockholm is getting closer to NATO. At the same time, however, the temptation to become party to a new nuclear prohibition treaty may scupper Sweden’s security aspirations.

Will North Korea sell its nuclear technology?
The Conversation, Daniel Salisbury
9/25/17
In other words, it’s unclear who – if anyone – would buy North Korean nuclear technology. However, the nightmare scenario of North Korea selling it to the highest bidder merits consideration.

Ignatius: Options abound on North Korea
Boston Herald, David Ignatius
9/24/17
President Kennedy famously solved the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 by thinking outside the box. Similar creative thinking is badly needed now on North Korea.

The nuclear threat can be contained by diplomacy
Financial Times, John Sawers
9/24/17
We must not lose sight of the one issue that could upend the international order and destroy our way of life.

The Meaning of Kim Jong Un’s Rebuttal to Trump
The Atlantic, Adam Mount
9/22/17
To prevent the launch, the Trump administration must evolve beyond the failed policy of its first nine months, issue a credible deterrent response to a North Korean threat, and propose a tenable deal to reduce tensions.

Nuclear Deterrence and the Revenge of Geography
Arms Control Wonk, Joshua Pollack
9/24/17
With the President overriding his advisers to deliver insulting remarks and empty threats at the UN and Kim Jong Un responding personally and at some length, one really wonders where all this ends.

Let U.S. Deterrence Fail on the Korean Peninsula
The National Interest, Stefan Soesanto
9/24/17
The U.S.-ROK alliance has successfully deterred North Korea for sixty-four years and will continue to do so for as long as the peninsula remains divided along the thirty-eighth parallel. But deterrence is neither fool-proof nor a timeless solution to contain Pyongyang’s rapidly evolving and expanding nuclear and missile program.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - September 22, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – September 22, 2017

TOP NEWS

North Korea Hits New Level of Brinksmanship in Reacting to Trump
New York Times

Defying Trump, Iran says will boost missile capabilities
Reuters

US Urges All Nations to Stop the Spread of Nuclear Weapons
US News and World Report

EAST ASIA

North Korea Hits New Level of Brinksmanship in Reacting to Trump
New York Times
9/22/17
North Korea has long cultivated an image of defiant belligerence, punctuating its propaganda and diplomacy with colorful threats, insults and bluffs. But Kim Jong-un’s personal statement released on Friday, and his foreign minister’s threat to test a nuclear weapon over the Pacific Ocean, represent a new level of brinkmanship by the government.

North Korea may consider H-bomb test in Pacific, Kim calls Trump “deranged”
Reuters
9/21/17
Kim did not specify what action he would take against the United States or Trump, whom he called a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” in the latest bout of insults the two leaders have traded in recent weeks.

China urges North Korea not to go further in a ‘dangerous direction’
Reuters
9/21/17
China’s foreign minister on Thursday called on North Korea not to go further in a “dangerous direction” with its nuclear program and said negotiations were the only way out of the crisis over Pyongyang’s weapons development.

Abe urges U.N. states to wage blockade against North, time for dialogue is over
Japan Times
9/21/17
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged all U.N. member states Wednesday to block North Korea’s access to “the goods, funds, people and technology” necessary for its nuclear arms and missile programs.

Seoul’s new nuke envoy vows to supplement U.N. sanctions on N.K.
Yonhap News Agency
9/22/17
South Korea's new chief envoy on the North Korean nuclear issue said Friday that his government will consider its own measures to supplement the United Nations Security Council's sanctions resolutions against North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. 

MIDDLE EAST

Defying Trump, Iran says will boost missile capabilities
Reuters
9/22/17
Iran will strengthen its missile capabilities and will not seek any country’s permission, President Hassan Rouhani said on Friday in a snub to demands from U.S. President Donald Trump.

Exclusive: Faulty devices help keep Iran in nuclear deal limits – report
Reuters
9/21/17
Frequent breakdowns of advanced uranium enrichment devices have inadvertently helped Iran comply with restrictions in the international agreement curbing its nuclear program, according to a new report by a Washington-based think tank.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

German FM defends Iran nuclear deal
Xinhua
9/22/17
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Thursday stressed the importance of preserving the international agreement on Iran's nuclear program, warning that its crumble would have spillover effects on non-proliferation and disarmament.

Russian lawmakers slams US claims of INF Treaty violation as groundless
TASS
9/22/17
Washington groundlessly accuses Moscow of violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), Chairman of the Russian State Duma… Defense Committee Vladimir Shamanov said.

Lavrov: Nuclear-free world goal only pushed further away if present-day realities ignored
TASS
9/22/17
"The attempts to 'outlaw' the nuclear weapons without taking into account modern realities and turning a blind eye to all the factors that impact the strategic stability today only make this common goal more distant and undermine the consensus regimes of NPT and CTBT," [Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov] told the general debate of the 72nd UN General Assembly.

SOUTH ASIA

India walks a fine line as U.S., Iran spar over nuclear deal
The Hindu
9/22/17
While on one hand, the government is strengthening its ties with the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia-led Sunni Arab states, on the other, Infrastructure Minister Nitin Gadkari gives a firm commitment on completing the Chabahar development project in Iran in 2018, and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj affirms India’s support for the Palestinian cause, calling it a “reference point” of India’s foreign policy.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Amid new sanctions, Trump calls North Korea’s leader ‘madman’ whose regime will face new tests
Washington Post
9/22/17
President Trump lashed back Friday at North Korea's leader, calling Kim Jong Un a “madman” whose regime will be “tested like never before” amid new U. S-imposed financial sanctions.

US Urges All Nations to Stop the Spread of Nuclear Weapons
US News and World Report
9/22/17
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appealed to the international community, especially Russia and China, to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, calling North Korea a case study of the failure to prevent rogue states from obtaining weapons of mass destruction.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

Why Donald Trump Wants His Nukes to Be Smaller
Foreign Policy, Jeffrey Lewis
9/21/17
But here’s the weird thing: We already have low-yield nuclear weapons. And Obama was developing new ones, no matter what his pretty little Nuclear Posture Review said. The debate in the press isn’t really about tiny nuclear weapons; it is about tiny nuclear weapons in Trump’s tiny hands.

The debate over the Iran deal is utterly perplexing
Washington Post, Adam J. Szubin
9/21/17
I find the debate over the 2015 Iran deal somewhat baffling. Iran and its proxies are threatening our allies and interests across the Middle East, from Syria to Lebanon and Yemen to Iraq. Why would we risk letting Iran out of its nuclear shackles now?

The New US Sanctions: Moving From Sanctions to Economic War
38 North, Joseph DeThomas
9/22/17
President Trump’s new Executive Order on North Korea sanctions is a unilateral declaration of economic warfare designed to bring the North to its knees through the aggressive use of secondary sanctions against any country that trades with or finances trade with North Korea. Rather than bring North Korea closer to the negotiating table for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, they are likely to hasten war and even the collapse of the regime if effectively enforced.

Analysis: Kim Jong Un, taking on Trump, makes it personal
Associated Press, Foster Klug
9/22/17
Put aside for a moment the name-calling — “Rocket Man” from Donald Trump earlier this week, “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” from Kim Jong Un in comments released Friday. What really stands out is the overall tone of Kim’s first-person response — the first of its kind from the North, Seoul says.

Does India Need Thermonuclear Weapons
Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, Sanjay Badri-Maharaj
9/22/17
Since India’s deterrent requirements will evolve with time, it behoves a country with limited resources to maintain as flexible a deterrent as possible. To this end, thermonuclear weapons, offering variable yields and light-weight warheads that use less fissile material, should be an essential component in India’s arsenal.   

 

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - September 21, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – September 21, 2017

TOP NEWS

NKorea minister calls Trump’s threat ‘sound of dog barking’
Associated Press

Watchdog: nuclear warheads still building up in 4 countries
ABC News

Trump announces executive order to crack down on trade with North Korea
Politico

The Smart Way to Get Tough With Iran
New York Times, William J. Burns and Jake Sullivan

 

EAST ASIA

NKorea minister calls Trump’s threat ‘sound of dog barking’
Associated Press
9/21/17
The North’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters in New York late Wednesday that “It would be a dog’s dream if he intended to scare us with the sound of a dog barking.”

China to Trump: That speech on North Korea was really unhelpful
Washington Post
9/20/17
China rebuked President Trump on Wednesday after he threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if necessary, a warning that may have undermined the chances­ of peace but also gave Beijing an easy opportunity to seize the moral high ground.

Moon urges to U.N. to play greater role in ending N. Korea nuclear standoff
Yonhap News Agency
9/21/17
South Korean President Moon Jae-in called on the United Nations on Thursday to play a greater role in peacefully resolving the North Korean nuclear issue, calling it the most urgent challenge facing the world body.

MIDDLE EAST

Critics Fear Trump’s Attacks on Iran Could Backfire
New York Times
9/20/17
President Trump’s bombastic attacks on Iran over the nuclear deal may have created an unanticipated outcome: sympathy for the Iranian government.

Iran nuclear deal cannot be renegotiated: Rouhani
Reuters
9/21/17
Iran’s president said on Thursday its nuclear accord with world powers cannot be renegotiated, after the Trump administration warned it was weighing whether the deal signed by its predecessor served U.S. security interests.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Germany will strive to save Iran nuclear deal: Gabriel
Reuters
9/21/17
Germany will do all it can to persuade the United States not to abandon the Iranian nuclear agreement, whatever the outcome of German elections on Sunday, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Thursday.

EU’s Mogherini says all parties complying with Iran nuclear deal
Reuters
9/20/17
The European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Wednesday that all parties to the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers were complying with the agreement.

US strike on North Korea may trigger serious consequences, Russian diplomat says
TASS
9/21/17
Any US military measures against Pyongyang will lead to disastrous consequences for the region and all international relations, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said in an interview with TASS commenting on Donald Trump’s statement on "totally destroying" North Korea.

SOUTH ASIA

Short-range nuclear weapons to counter India’s ‘cold start doctrine’: Pakistan PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
Hindustan Times
9/21/17
Pakistan prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Thursday his country has developed short-range nuclear weapons to counter the ‘cold start doctrine’ adopted by the Indian Army.

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL

Dozens of states sign nuclear weapons ban treaty at United Nations
Reuters
9/20/17
Dozens of countries signed a treaty to ban nuclear weapons on Wednesday amid tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, although the United States, Britain, France and others boycotted the event at the annual United Nations gathering of world leaders.

Watchdog: nuclear warheads still building up in 4 countries
ABC News
9/21/17
SIPRI says that as of January 2017 the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea together had about 14,935 nuclear weapons, down from 15,395 a year earlier.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Trump announces executive order to crack down on trade with North Korea
Politico
9/21/17
President Donald Trump on Thursday announced a new executive order that he said would expand authorities to go after individuals, companies and banks involved in trade with North Korea, amid heightened tensions as that country continues ramping up its missile testing.

U.S. Strategic Command chief: Iran adhering to nuclear deal
The Hill
9/20/17
Iran is adhering to the landmark nuclear deal, the top general of U.S. Strategic Command said Wednesday, hours after President Trump claimed he’s made a decision about whether to withdraw from the agreement.

Trump Pushes to Revisit Iran Nuclear Deal, and Asks Allies to Help
New York Times
9/20/17
President Trump is seeking to revisit the nuclear agreement with Iran to toughen its provisions rather than scrap it right away as he has threatened, enlisting allies to pressure Tehran to return to the negotiating table, administration officials said Wednesday.

Trump Leaning Toward Decertifying Iran Deal, Sources Say
NBC News
9/20/17
President Donald Trump is leaning toward decertifying the Iran nuclear deal and putting the decision of whether the United States withdraw from the accord in the hands of Congress, according to four sources — including a senior administration official — familiar with the White House deliberations.

Hawaii prepares for nuclear attack, trying not to scare the daylights out of residents and tourists
Washington Post
9/21/17
As North Korean missiles soar over the Pacific and seismographs keep vigil for tremors in the vicinity of Pyongyang, officials in Hawaii are doing what they must: preparing for the possibility of a nuclear attack.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

Does the Iran Nuclear Deal Have a Future?
Foreign Affairs, Ariane M. Tabatabai
9/20/17
The Europeans are becoming increasingly proactive in voicing their commitment to and support for the nuclear deal. But they must do more. Until mid-October, they must double their efforts to convince the Trump administration and Congress to keep the deal alive while thinking about the possibility of implementing the agreement without the United States. This is uncharted territory with many complexities, including the intricate sanctions regime, and Europe must assess it and plan for the deal after a U.S. exit.

The Smart Way to Get Tough With Iran
New York Times, William J. Burns and Jake Sullivan
9/21/17
The smart way to proceed would be to keep the world’s powers united and the burden of proof on Iran. That means working with partners on relentless enforcement; enhancing sanctions that punish Iran’s non-nuclear misbehavior, including its missile program and sponsorship of terrorism; working closely with Arab partners to deter Iran’s meddling in their internal affairs; and making plain our concerns with Iran’s domestic human rights abuses.

The Contradiction Buried in Trump’s Iran and North Korea Policies
New York Times, David Sanger
9/20/17
President Trump is now fully engaged in two nuclear confrontations, one with Iran over a nuclear accord he finds an “embarrassment” and the other with North Korea that is forcing the Pentagon to contemplate for the first time in decades what a resumption of the Korean War might look like.

Do South Koreans Really Want U.S. Tactical Nukes Back on the Korean Peninsula?
The National Interest, Se Young Jang
9/19/17
It is hard to disregard the fact that there are some pro-nuclear-weapons sentiments in South Korea amid growing nuclear threats from the North. However, we should not equally disregard another fact that public opinion on complicated security issues can be easily misguided by biased or insufficient information. 

The Calculated Logic Behind North Korea’s Missile Tests
The Diplomat, Ankit Panda
9/21/17
While North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile tests may appear to be brazen provocations from an unstable and irascible leader, nothing could be further from the truth. Kim Jong-un’s actions, while provocative, are both rational and win him and his scientists important technical insights and improve the credibility of North Korea’s strategic deterrent.

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - September 20, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – September 20, 2017

TOP NEWS

Jitters and surprise in South Korea and Japan over Trump’s speech to the U.N.
Washington Post

‘No One Will Trust’ U.S. if Trump Ends Nuclear Deal, Iran’s President Says
NBC News

Nations start signing nuke ban treaty opposed by big powers
Washington Post

Trump made decision on Iran nuclear deal but does not reveal it
Reuters

EAST ASIA

Jitters and surprise in South Korea and Japan over Trump’s speech to the U.N.
Washington Post
9/19/17
The United States’ closest allies in Asia seemed blindsided by President Trump’s latest outburst against North Korea, in which he threatened not just to act against Kim Jong Un’s regime, but also to destroy an entire country of 25 million people.

Trump’s North Korea threats leaves Asia struggling to explain
Stars and Stripes
9/20/17
Officials and pundits across Asia struggled Wednesday to parse Donald Trump's vow Tuesday at the U.N. General Assembly to "totally destroy North Korea" if provoked.

South Korea says Trump’s warning to North Korea ‘firm and specific’
Reuters
9/20/17
U.S. President Donald Trump’s speech to the United Nations, where he warned he would “totally destroy” North Korea if threatened, reinforced the need for Pyongyang to realize it must give up its nuclear weapons, South Korea said on Wednesday.

North Korea is likely to fire more missiles after Trump’s speech, experts say
Washington Post
9/20/17
If Trump’s words are aimed at calling Kim’s bluff and forcing him to stand down, they will almost certainly backfire. “His speech could give Pyongyang an excuse or incentive to redouble its nuclear and missile development, which means more testing,” said Duyeon Kim, visiting senior fellow at Korean Peninsula Future Forum in Seoul.

 

MIDDLE EAST

U.S. must suffer ‘painful responses’ from Iran after Trump speech: Guards chief
Reuters
9/20/17
The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday that the United States should experience “painful responses” following President Donald Trump’s harsh criticism of Tehran at the United Nations.

‘No One Will Trust’ U.S. if Trump Ends Nuclear Deal, Iran’s President Says
NBC News
9/19/17
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran said Tuesday that if President Donald Trump backs out of the 2015 nuclear deal, "no one will trust America again" and his country could then resume work on expanding its nuclear capabilities.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Citing North Korea, Macron calls on Trump to honor Iran nuclear deal
CNN
9/19/17
French President Emmanuel Macron firmly rejected any military solution to the North Korean crisis and warned against scrapping the nuclear agreement with Iran, in an exclusive interview Tuesday with CNN.

Russia rebukes Trump over Iran, North Korea, accuses U.S. of missile treaty breach
Reuters
9/20/17
Lavrov’s comments, made to Russian reporters at the United Nations in New York and published by his ministry on Wednesday, illustrate how deeply Moscow and Washington are at odds over an array of issues and suggest any attempts to improve already battered relations face an uphill struggle.

 

MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL

Nations start signing nuke ban treaty opposed by big powers
Washington Post
9/20/17
Nations on Wednesday began signing the first treaty to ban nuclear weapons, a pact backed by over 100 countries but spurned by those with nuclear arms. The U.N. treaty office said 51 countries are expected to attach their names on the opening day for signatures. Brazilian President Michel Temer was first to sign.

North Atlantic Council Statement on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
NATO Press Release
9/20/17
We call on our partners and all countries who are considering supporting this treaty to seriously reflect on its implications for international peace and security, including on the NPT.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Trump made decision on Iran nuclear deal but does not reveal it
Reuters
9/20/17
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he had made his decision on whether the United States will remain in the 2015 Iran nuclear pact but declined to reveal it as Iran vowed not to be the first to violate the accord.

U.S. Demands Changes to Iran Nuclear Deal, Tillerson Says
Wall Street Journal
9/20/17
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. would remain a part of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement only if it is modified, a position that could heighten tension at a planned meeting Wednesday of countries that are part of the accord including Iran.

Anxious world lobbies Trump on Iran nuclear deal
Politico
9/19/17
In public, in private, and with few exceptions, world leaders gathered at the United Nations this week are urging President Donald Trump not to follow through on his threat to derail the Iran nuclear deal. But so far, Trump shows no sign of listening to them. And some diplomats and supporters of the agreement even worry the efforts could backfire by triggering Trump’s defiantly contrarian instincts.

At U.N., Trump Threatens to ‘Totally Destroy’ North Korea
Foreign Policy
9/19/17
U. S. President Donald Trump delivered a fiery, combative speech to the United Nations General Assembly, threatening to “totally destroy” North Korea, denouncing the Iran nuclear deal as an “embarrassment” to the United States, and hinting that he might be willing to break with much of the world and walk away from the agreement.

After Trump Speech, Mattis Says North Korea Crisis Still ‘Diplomatic Effort’
Foreign Policy
9/20/17
One day after President Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea during his first speech to the United Nations, Defense Secretary James Mattis insisted that Washington is still looking for a diplomatic solution.

New nuclear cruise missile program appears safe going forward
Defense News
9/19/17
Gen. Robin Rand, the head of U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command, told reporters Sept. 19 that he is “very confident” the long-range standoff weapon, or LRSO, will be supported when the department’s Nuclear Posture Review is completed, adding that he sees widespread support in Congress for the weapon.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

What Total Destruction of North Korea Means
The Atlantic, Kori Schake
9/19/17
The reckless language out of the White House, both from the president and the national security advisor, is making a situation with little margin for error even more brittle. It’s deeply unsatisfying to choose to live with a nuclear-armed North Korea. But it’s a better choice than the alternatives.

Why China Won’t Pressure North Korea As Much As Trump Wants
The New Yorker, Evan Osnos
9/19/17
At the center of the North Korean nuclear crisis is a pivotal question: How much is China really willing to pressure and punish its longtime ally in Pyongyang? Recent conversations in Beijing and Washington suggest that Chinese leaders have decided to increase pressure substantially but are not—and probably never will be—willing to help President Trump strangle North Korea into submission. China doesn’t trust Kim Jong Un—but it trusts Trump even less.

Did Trump’s UN Speech Make the North Korea Crisis Worse? A Chinese Perspective
The Diplomat, Charlotte Gao
9/20/17
The speech was made a day after Trump had a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping in which both leaders promised to handle the Korean crisis “through vigorous enforcement of United Nations Security Council resolutions.” Undoubtedly, from the Chinese perspective, Trump’s striking remarks have made the North Korea issue worse.

A Presidential Misunderstanding of Deterrence
The Atlantic, Ankit Panda
9/20/17
If Trump wanted to reinforce deterrence with North Korea at the General Assembly podium, all he need to do was succinctly communicate that any use of nuclear weapons would elicit the standard “effective and overwhelming” U.S. response. We know what that means; North Korea does, too. And so do U.S. allies. Instead, Trump delivered another round of inelegant and potentially destabilizing messaging that will only harden Kim’s resolve to continue apace with his ballistic missile and nuclear weapons development, and heighten the prospects for catastrophic miscalculation.

Trump is Trying to Hoodwink Us into War with Iran
Defense One, Rep. Mark Pocan and Kate Gould
9/19/17
We’ve seen this movie before, complete with trumped-up charges of WMD. Americans must speak out now to head off another disastrous military adventure.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - September 19, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – September 19, 2017

TOP NEWS

U.N. chief seeks to avoid war with North Korea, takes digs at Trump
Reuters

Spain becomes fourth country to expel North Korean envoy over nuclear program
Washington Post

Trump lashes out at North Korea: ‘Rocket man is on a suicide mission’
Politico

EAST ASIA

US and China agree to ‘maximise pressure’ on North Korea
The Guardian
9/19/17
Trump and Xi held the latest in a series of phone conversations about North Korea on Monday as American and South Korean warplanes responded to Pyongyang’s most recent missile launch with a show of force near the heavily-armed border separating the two Koreas.

U.N. chief seeks to avoid war with North Korea, takes digs at Trump
Reuters
9/19/17
In his first address to the annual gathering of world leaders at the 193-member U.N. General Assembly since taking office in January, Guterres said the North Korea crisis must be solved through a political process.

Six-party talks “efficient platform” to address Korean Peninsula nuclear issue: Chinese FM
Xinhua
9/19/17
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang made the remarks at a routine press briefing, saying China is open to all efforts that are conducive to solving the issue peacefully via political and diplomatic means.

MIDDLE EAST

US and Iran argue over inspections at nuclear watchdog meeting
The Daily Star
9/18/17
The United States and Iran quarreled over how Tehran's nuclear activities should be policed at a meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Monday, in a row sparked last month by Washington's call for wider inspections.

IAEA’s Amano: Iran subject to most robust nuclear verification regime
Tehran Times
9/18/17
“The nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented. Iran is now subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime,” [Yukiya Amano] said in his statement to sixty-first regular session of IAEA general conference.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Spain becomes fourth country to expel North Korean envoy over nuclear program
Washington Post
9/18/17
Spain has given the North Korean ambassador assigned to Madrid until the end of September to leave, becoming the fourth country this month to expel Pyongyang’s representative in the wake of the regime’s sixth nuclear test.

France defends Iran nuclear deal, which Trump calls deeply flawed
Reuters
9/18/17
France made a new plea on Monday for the United States to preserve the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and suggested its provisions expiring after a decade could be strengthened, as U.S. President Donald Trump again criticized the agreement as “deeply flawed.”

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

In first speech at U.N., Trump to single out North Korea, Iran
Reuters
9/19/17
U.S. President Donald Trump will urge United Nations member states on Tuesday to turn up the pressure on North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, using his maiden speech to the world body to address what he considers the top global challenge.

Trump lashes out at North Korea: ‘Rocket man is on a suicide mission’
Politico
9/19/17
President Donald Trump mockingly referred to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as "Rocket Man" during his first United Nations speech, warning that the U.S. “will have no choice but to totally destroy” the country if it continues to build up its nuclear arsenal.

Pentagon chief says he was asked about reintroducing tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea
Washington Post
9/18/17
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis acknowledged Monday that his South Korean counterpart inquired recently about reintroducing tactical nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, a move that could take tensions with North Korea to a new high.

Feinstein pushes back on Trump’s N. Korea policy
The Hill
9/17/17
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) pushed back Sunday on President Trump's tough talk about squashing North Korea's nuclear missile program without open lines to have diplomatic dialogue, calling it the wrong approach to a grave issue.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

Why a freeze deal, despite its flaws, is the only remedy for N. Korea’s nukes
NK News, Andrei Lankov
9/19/17
However, if denuclearization is a dead end and this sad reality is increasingly understood in Washington, what is the alternative? The answer is simple but rather disconcerting: the only alternative is a freeze of the North Korean nuclear program.

What’s the U.S.’s Best Chance With North Korea? Russia
New York Times, Dmitri Trenin
9/18/17
Russia, in other words, is not simply the spoiler it has often been described as in recent years. It plays its hand with Washington much more subtly than that — often adopting an adversarial pose, especially of late, but sometimes a cooperative one. And it has good reason to help with North Korea.

Memorandum to President Trump on the Iran Nuclear Deal
Defense One, Christopher J. Bolan
9/18/17
Here's what the U.S. president should know going into his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who wants to scuttle the agreement.

Pyrrhic Victories and Draws
Arms Control Wonk, Michael Krepon
9/18/17
What would the world be like without the norms of not testing or using nuclear weapons on battlefields? You don’t want to know. It would be like starting from scratch after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

SPECIAL INTEREST

No nuclear weapon is safe from cyberattacks
Wired Security
9/18/17
Any vulnerability in a nuclear weapon system could be potentially catastrophic, says Beyza Unal, who researchers nuclear weapons and cybersecurity for the UK-based think tank Chatham House. The risk isn’t limited to the possibility of hackers launching a missile remotely, she says. Cyberattackers could tamper with a system so it thinks it’s being attacked, or gives humans misleading information about the status of its nuclear weapons, reducing their ability to use those weapons effectively if they needed to.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - September 18, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – September 18, 2017

TOP NEWS

U.S. Ambassador Haley: U.N. has exhausted options on North Korea
Reuters

The Rare, Potent Fuel Powering North Korea’s Weapons
New York Times

Iran’s supreme leader warns U.S. against making a ‘wrong move’ on the nuclear deal
Los Angeles Times

Stanislav Petrov, Soviet Officer Who Helped Avert Nuclear War, Is Dead at 77
New York Times

EAST ASIA

The Rare, Potent Fuel Powering North Korea’s Weapons
New York Times
9/17/17
Intelligence officials believe that the North’s program has advanced to the point where it is no longer as reliant on outside suppliers, and that it may itself be making the potent fuel, known as UDMH. Despite a long record of intelligence warnings that the North was acquiring both forceful missile engines and the fuel to power them, there is no evidence that Washington has ever moved with urgency to cut off Pyongyang’s access to the rare propellant.

After missile test, Moon says dialogue with Pyongyang is ‘impossible’
Korea JoongAng Daily
9/15/17
Stung by the Kim Jong-un regime’s firing of another ballistic missile over Japan just hours after his offer of humanitarian aid, President Moon Jae-in declared Friday that dialogue with North Korea is impossible – and warned that the South has the power to destroy it beyond recovery. 

Defiant N. Korea Leader Says He Will Complete Nuke Program
Associated Press
9/16/17
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country is nearing its goal of "equilibrium" in military force with the United States, as the United Nations Security Council strongly condemned the North's "highly provocative" ballistic missile launch over Japan on Friday.

More nuke, missile tests by N. Korea possible: ministry
Yonhap News Agency
9/18/17
North Korea may conduct another nuclear or missile test going forward as it aims to advance its defense capabilities through nuclear armament, Seoul's defense ministry said Monday.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran’s supreme leader warns U.S. against making a ‘wrong move’ on the nuclear deal
Los Angeles Times
9/17/17
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned Sunday that Iran would respond strongly to “any wrong move” by the United States on the multilateral nuclear deal struck in 2015.

Trump: Fate of Iran Nuclear Deal Hangs on Tough UN Policing
Associated Press
9/18/17
U.S. President Donald Trump warned Monday that Washington will walk away from a nuclear deal it agreed to with Iran and five other nations if it deems that the International Atomic Energy Agency is not tough enough in monitoring it.

Rouhani: Nuclear deal benefits entire world
Tehran Times
9/17/17
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran said on Sunday that there is an international consensus that the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and great powers is beneficial to the “security”, “stability” and “development” of the entire world.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia to call on US to refrain from pulling out of Iran nuclear deal, says ambassador
TASS
9/16/17
Russia plans to call on the U.S. to refrain from pulling out of the agreement on Iran's nuclear program when the P5+1 countries five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany meet with Iran next Wednesday in New York, Russia's Ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya told reporters on Friday.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Sen. Warren: Don’t rush to develop new nuclear missile
Los Angeles Times
9/12/17
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is introducing legislation aimed at preventing the development of a new intermediate-range missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

U.S. Ambassador Haley: U.N. has exhausted options on North Korea
Reuters
9/17/17
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Sunday the U.N. Security Council has run out of options on containing North Korea’s nuclear program and the United States may have to turn the matter over to the Pentagon.

McMaster: We have to move with ‘great deal of urgency’ on North Korea
The Hill
9/17/17
President Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said on Sunday the U.S. needs to move "with a great deal of urgency" in response to the North Korean threat.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

Shinzo Abe: Solidarity Against the North Korean Threat
New York Times, Shinzo Abe
9/17/17
They are an important step, but the leadership in Pyongyang has consistently ignored previous resolutions. The international community must stay united and enforce the sanctions.

Twitter Man vs. Rocket Man
Global Politico, Susan B. Glasser
9/18/17
All of which means that, whether he calls it one or not, Trump now has a red line – a move that a number of U.S. national security hands I’ve spoken with recently consider to be a serious and even “self-inflicted” escalation of what has become a genuine crisis with North Korea.

What North Korea Means – and Doesn’t – for Nuclear Deterrence
The Diplomat, John Borrie, Tim Caughley, and Wilfred Wan
9/15/17
Rather than underscoring the enduring logic of nuclear deterrence, the case of North Korea highlights its flimsiness.

What to expect if Trump undoes the Iran nuclear deal
Los Angeles Times, Seyed Hossein Mousavian
9/14/17
If the United States scuttles the deal, the consequences will be drastic, not least for the cause of nuclear nonproliferation and America’s global credibility. As I learned in meetings with Iranian political figures during a trip to Iran last month, an about-face will also lead to a shift in that country’s foreign policy.

The right question to ask about the Iran nuclear deal
Washington Post, David Ignatius
9/14/17
The right question to ask is the same one as when the deal was being negotiated: Does this agreement, with all its flaws, make the United States and its allies safer than they would be with no agreement? This security metric, it seems to me, still favors keeping the deal.

NY meeting golden opportunity for Iran-US de-escalation
Al-Monitor, Mohammad Ali Shabani
9/15/17
After months of escalating hostile rhetoric about the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is set to sit down next week for his first face-to-face encounter with Mohammad Javad Zarif, his Iranian counterpart. The two sides will meet in New York Sept. 20 at a ministerial-level meeting of the Joint Commission, the body established by the nuclear deal to resolve disputes among its signatories.

ELN Group Statement: Sustaining the Iran Nuclear Deal
European Leadership Network
9/18/17
The statement’s signatories, who include George Robertson, former British Defence Secretary and former NATO Secretary General, Wolfgang Ischinger, Chair of the Munich Security Conference, Javier Solana, former EU High Representative and NATO Secretary General, and Igor Ivanov, former Russian Foreign Minister, argue that not certifying Iran’s compliance on spurious grounds would damage not only US interests but also US international standing. They express their support for the nuclear deal arguing that it has improved global and European security and losing it would be particularly damaging to Europe.

Cooperative Threat Reduction or: How I Stopped Worrying and Got Rid of the Bomb
Nukes of Hazard Podcast
9/15/17
When the Cold War ended, four separate countries suddenly inherited the former Soviet nuclear arsenal. Destroying and removing those weapons was a herculean effort, and it couldn’t have been done without the bipartisan leadership of two U.S. Senators. We tell the story with Senators Nunn and Lugar, as well as former Assistant Secretary of Defense Andrew Weber.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Stanislav Petrov, Soviet Officer Who Helped Avert Nuclear War, Is Dead at 77
New York Times
9/18/17
Early on the morning of Sept. 26, 1983, Stanislav Petrov helped to prevent the outbreak of nuclear war. A 44-year-old lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Air Defense Forces, he had begun his shift as the duty officer at Serpukhov-15, the secret command center outside Moscow where the Soviet military monitored its early-warning satellites over the United States, when alarms went off.

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - September 15, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – September 15, 2017

TOP NEWS

U.S. nuclear commander says assuming North Korea tested hydrogen bomb
Reuters

North Korea fires missile over Japan in longest-ever flight
Associated Press

Mattis’ message: US is not intimated by North Korea
Associated Press

Iran says nuclear deal “not renegotiable"
Xinhua

EAST ASIA

North Korea fires missile over Japan in longest-ever flight
Associated Press
9/15/17
The growing frequency, power and confidence displayed by these tests seem to confirm what governments and outside experts have long feared: North Korea is closer than ever to its goal of building a military arsenal that can viably target both U.S. troops in Asia and the U.S. homeland. This, in turn, is meant to allow North Korea greater military freedom in the region by raising doubts in Seoul and Tokyo that Washington would risk the annihilation of a U.S. city to protect its Asian allies.

North Korea Launches Another Missile, Escalating Crisis
New York Times
9/14/17
North Korea fired another ballistic missile over Japan on Friday, a direct challenge to the United States and China just days after a new sanctions resolution adopted by the United Nations Security Council that was intended to force the country to halt its accelerating nuclear and missile tests.

Nuke envoys of S. Korea, U.S., Japan vow strong response to N.K. missile test
Yonhap News Agency
9/15/17
Kim Hong-kyun, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, held emergency telephone talks respectively with his American and Japanese counterparts, Joseph Yun and Kenji Kanasugi, to discuss countermeasures to North Korea's missile launch earlier in the day, according the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

DPRK accuses U.S. of planning to redeploy tactical nuclear weapons in S. Korea
Xinhua
9/15/17
The spokesman for the Institute of American Studies at the DPRK's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the Trump Administration is publicizing through the media the "possibility of redeploying tactical nuclear weapons" into South Korea and developing an up-to-date miniaturized nuclear bomb.

MIDDLE EAST

Iran says nuclear deal “not renegotiable"
Xinhua
9/15/17
"The #JCPOA is not (re)negotiable. A 'better' deal is pure fantasy," [Iranian Foreign Minister Javad] Zarif tweeted on Thursday, adding that it was time for the U.S. to "stop spinning and begin complying, just like Iran."

Zarif, Putin meet to discuss nuclear deal, Syria
Al-Monitor
9/14/17
“In consideration of America’s policies with regard to the nuclear deal, coordination between Russian and Iran is needed,” Zarif told reporters upon arriving at Putin’s summer residence in Sochi near the Black Sea. “We have had good coordination in the past on this issue, and the two countries have supported each other’s positions at international organizations, and Russia has supported Iran well in the discussions on the nuclear deal.”

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Putin discusses N. Korean missile test with his security council – agencies
Reuters
9/15/17
President Vladimir Putin has discussed North Korea’s latest missile launch with Russia’s security council, Russian news agencies reported on Friday.

British PM May outraged at North Korea’s ‘reckless provocation’: spokesman
Reuters
9/15/17
Prime Minister Theresa May is “outraged” by North Korea’s firing of a missile that flew over northern Japan on Friday and Britain will keep pressing China to increase the pressure on the state, her spokesman said.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

U.S. nuclear commander says assuming North Korea tested hydrogen bomb
Reuters
9/14/17
Air Force General John Hyten, head of the U.S. military’s Strategic Command, however, said he had a responsibility, as a military officer responsible for responding to the test, to assume that it was a hydrogen bomb, based on the size of the blast.

Mattis’ message: US is not intimated by North Korea
Associated Press
9/15/17
A subtle, unspoken message of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ visit to this nuclear weapons base Wednesday was that America is a mature nuclear power not intimidated by threats from an upstart North Korean leader who flaunts his emerging nuclear muscle.

U.S. extends Iran sanctions relief while bemoaning behavior
USA Today
9/14/17
The extensions of the waivers on nuclear sanctions, first issued by the Obama administration, were accompanied by new penalties imposed against 11 Iranian people and companies accused of supporting Iran’s ballistic missile program or involvement in cyberattacks against the U.S. financial system.

U.S. wants to see North Korea sanctions bite, no options ruled out
Reuters
9/15/17
The United States wants to exhaust every diplomatic option on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and wants to see loopholes in the North Korean sanctions regime closed, U.S. disarmament ambassador Robert Wood said on Friday.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

Command and Control in North Korea: What a Nuclear Launch Might Look Like
War on the Rocks, Vipin Narang and Ankit Panda
9/15/17
As the mountain of dust settles after North Korea’s purported thermonuclear bomb, intermediate-range ballistic missile, and intercontinental-range ballistic missile (ICBM) tests this summer and it becomes an increasingly operational nuclear state, one of the many deadly serious challenges it faces is how it manages its nuclear forces, or what command and control arrangement it erects. 

Can America Live With a Nuclear North Korea?
The Atlantic, Uri Friedman
9/14/17
The Trump administration claims “all options are on the table” for dealing with North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program—from using military force, to pressuring China to punish its North Korean ally, to Donald Trump negotiating directly with Kim Jong Un. But what do those options look like? And what consequences could they have? This series explores these questions, option by option by option.

North Korea’s Sept. 15 Missile Launch over Japan
Union of Concerned Scientists, David Wright
9/14/17
North Korea conducted another missile test at 6:30 am September 15 Korean time (early evening on September 14 in the US). Like the August 28 test, this test appears to have been a Hwasong-12 missile launched from a site near the Pyongyang airport. The missile followed a standard trajectory—rather than the highly lofted trajectories North Korea used earlier this year—and it flew over part of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

How Russia Sees a Nuclear North Korea
National Public Radio, Rachel Martin and Andrei Lankov
9/15/17
Seoul-based Korea expert Andrei Lankov tells NPR's Rachel Martin why Russia fears an unstable North Korea more than it fears a nuclear North Korea.

SPECIAL INTEREST

‘Is There Something Going On?’: Onscene at STRATCOM As North Korea Launches Missile
Defense One
9/15/17
Late on Thursday afternoon, Gen. John Hyten was sitting at the head of a conference table talking to reporters who had accompanied Defense Secretary James Mattis to the headquarters of U.S. Strategic Command. Eight minutes into the discussion, an aide interrupted the STRATCOM commander. “Is there something going on?” Hyten asked.

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - September 14, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – September 14, 2017

TOP NEWS

No nuclear weapons in South Korea, says President Moon
CNN

May stressed importance of Iran nuclear deal to Tillerson – spokesman
Reuters

US set to extend Iran sanctions relief under nuclear deal
ABC News

2017 UK PONI Papers
UK PONI and RUSI

 

EAST ASIA

No nuclear weapons in South Korea, says President Moon
CNN
9/14/17
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has dismissed the possibility of deploying nuclear weapons in his country, warning it could "lead to a nuclear arms race in northeast Asia."

North Korea threatens to ‘sink’ Japan, reduce U.S. to ‘ashes and darkness’
Reuters
9/14/17
The Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, which handles the North’s external ties and propaganda, also called for the breakup of the Security Council, which it called “a tool of evil” made up of “money-bribed” countries that move at the order of the United States.

China appeals for response to its proposals on Korean Peninsula nuclear issue
Xinhua
9/14/17
China on Thursday appealed for consideration and a response to its proposals of "suspension for suspension" and "dual track approach" to solve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.

North Korea Resumes Work at Nuclear Test Site, Analysts Say
New York Times
9/13/17
North Korea has resumed work at its underground nuclear testing site, defense analysts said, as the country vowed to keep expanding its nuclear arsenal despite the latest United Nations sanctions.

 

MIDDLE EAST

Washington will be isolated if it quits nuclear deal: Iran
Tehran Times
9/13/17
Government spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht on Tuesday warned the U.S. government of the consequences of quitting the nuclear deal, saying by doing so, Washington would isolate itself.

 

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

May stressed importance of Iran nuclear deal to Tillerson – spokesman
Reuters
9/14/17
British Prime Minister Theresa May stressed the importance of a 2015 international agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday during a brief meeting at her London office.

Moscow confirms fulfilment by Teheran of its nuclear program obligations
TASS
9/13/17
Moscow states full execution by Iran of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for its nuclear program, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.

 

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

US set to extend Iran sanctions relief under nuclear deal
ABC News
9/14/17
The Trump administration is poised to extend sanctions relief to Iran, avoiding imminent action that could implode the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. But the move expected Thursday comes as the White House seeks ways to find that Tehran is not complying with the agreement.

RPT – Under Trump, future of U.S. nuclear arsenal slowly taking shape
Reuters
9/14/17
But in the latest sign that places like Hewuse’s Cold War-era missile alert facility will be around for years to come, Mattis said on Wednesday he believed all three portions of the triad were vital.

 

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

2017 UK PONI Papers
UK PONI and RUSI
9/14/17
The 2017 UK PONI Papers examine contemporary civil and military nuclear issues and are written by emerging experts from academia, government and industry who presented at the 2017 UK Project on Nuclear Issues (UK PONI) Annual Conference.

Saving the INF Treaty – but not by repeating history
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Thomas Graham Jr. and Bernadette Stadler
9/13/17
But even if the United States retraced all the steps it took during the initial INF Treaty negotiations—including the deployment of intermediate-range missiles in Europe—it could not recreate the underlying conditions that allowed the negotiations to succeed in the first place. Only a clear understanding of today’s underlying conditions can shape an effective response to Moscow’s treaty violation.

SAR Image of Punggye-Ri
Arms Control Wonk, Jeffrey Lewis
9/13/17
While seismic signals can tell us about the size of the explosion, determining the location of the explosion is much more difficult.  It is, however, possible to use Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites to observe environmental changes as a result of this explosion and to locate where the explosion may have occurred. 

Breaking the Impasse with North Korea
Lawfare, James Davis
9/13/17
But if the question confronting the international community in the Iranian deal was determining the price at which Tehran was no longer willing to pay to acquire nuclear weapons, the problem in North Korea is establishing a price for which Pyongyang would be willing to relinquish an existing nuclear arsenal. And all other things being equal, the price demanded will be higher than North Korea would have accepted to forgo the program in the first place. Because of the endowment effect, North Korea values the weapons it now has more than it did the prospect of acquiring them.

Verifying the nuclear ban: Lessons from South Africa
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Hassan Elbahtimy and Christopher Eldridge
9/13/17
Several key lessons about the design and implementation of a verification regime can be drawn from the example of South African disarmament.

Does Trump have an Option B ready for Iran?
Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin
9/11/17
What is the administration’s plan if it were to walk away from the JCPOA? You got me. The administration hasn’t, to our knowledge, being laying the groundwork with the other negotiating partners. It hasn’t produced evidence of any material breach. And, as critics of the JCPOA have pointed out, Iran has gotten sanctions relief upfront, so ending the deal would only mean that Iran reaped the benefits of the deal and got rid of the restrictions the JCPOA imposes.

IAEA Inspections in Iran under the JCPOA
Foundation for Defense of Democracy, Olli Heinonen
9/14/17
Advocates of the JCPOA have interpreted this new statistic as evidence consistent with President Barack Obama’s statement that the agreement would entail “the most comprehensive and intrusive inspection and verification regime ever negotiated.” However, a closer examination of the new data suggests there may be aspects of the inspection program that have become less comprehensive and less intrusive since the implementation of the JCPOA.

Netanyahu maintains battle against Iran deal ahead of UN meeting
Al-Monitor, Ben Caspit
9/13/17
Katz's speech, Netanyahu's comments and the Reuters quotes reveal a sharp disagreement between Israel's political and military leadership over the Iranian issue. It is not a strategic argument, either. The top brass of the IDF, Military Intelligence and Mossad all realize that the Iranians have not shelved their ambition to become a nuclear power, nor will they. The difference is that the defense establishment has accepted the nuclear deal as a fact and managed to find certain positive opportunities in it.

 

SPECIAL INTEREST

23 years old, and responsible for the nation’s nukes
Military Times
9/14/17
It’s just one of the many unusual tasks that the men and women of the 91st Missile Wing take on. Above ground, the security forces teams here could help move snow; helicopter squadrons providing protection of the silos from overhead may also provide an overwatch of a maintenance technician when the weather gets threatening, to make sure they get back inside safely.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - September 13, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – September 13, 2017

TOP NEWS

North Korea defiant over U.N. sanctions as Trump says tougher steps needed
Reuters

Arms Control Experts Urge Trump to Honor Nuclear Deal
New York Times

Russia, US start consultations on extending START treaty – diplomat
TASS

Mattis: US to keep nuclear triad for deterrence
Military Times

EAST ASIA

North Korea defiant over U.N. sanctions as Trump says tougher steps needed
Reuters
9/12/17
North Korea showed trademark defiance on Wednesday over new U.N. sanctions imposed after its sixth and largest nuclear test, vowing to redouble efforts to fight off what it said was the threat of a U.S. invasion.

South Korea confirms traces of radioactive gas from North Korea’s nuclear test
Reuters
9/12/17
The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) said its land-based xenon detector in the northeastern part of the country found traces of xenon-133 isotope on nine occasions, while its mobile equipment off the country’s east coast detected traces of the isotope four times


MIDDLE EAST

Arms Control Experts Urge Trump to Honor Nuclear Deal
New York Times
9/13/17
Alarmed that President Trump may soon take steps that could unravel the international nuclear agreement with Iran, more than 80 disarmament experts urged him on Wednesday to reconsider and said the accord was working.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia, US start consultations on extending START treaty – diplomat
TASS
9/12/17
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said the issue of extending the START-III treaty was discussed at his consultations with US Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon.

Moscow envoy says talks with US counterpart not without disputes on issues like INF
TASS
9/11/17
Russia and the United States remain divided over the Intermediate Nuclear Force Treaty, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told the media after two days of consultations with US Under-Secretary of State Thomas Shannon.


U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

Mattis: US to keep nuclear triad for deterrence
Military Times
9/13/17
The nation’s nuclear deterrent posture will remain triad-based, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday in his strongest support to date of the vast modernization spending underway to develop next-generation nuclear submarines, bombers and ground-based nuclear missiles.

The U.S. Is Testing Support for Extending Iran Nuclear Limits
Bloomberg Politics
9/13/17
U.S. diplomats have approached European officials to see if they would join in demanding an extension to limits on Iran’s uranium enrichment that are set to expire in 2025 and 2030 under the nuclear accord reached in 2015, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Trump officials call out China, Russia for helping N. Korea evade sanctions
The Hill
9/12/17
The Trump administration on Tuesday called out Russia and China for helping North Korea evade international sanctions, publicly detailing how the two countries help Pyongyang smuggle coal.

U.S. lawmakers want ‘supercharged’ response to North Korea nuclear tests
Reuters
9/12/17
Frustrated U.S. lawmakers called on Tuesday for a high-powered response to North Korea’s nuclear tests, saying Washington should act alone if necessary to stiffen sanctions on companies from China, Russia and any country doing business with Pyongyang.

Amid NKorea crisis, Mattis focuses on US doomsday arsenal
Washington Post
9/13/17
On Wednesday he is dropping in on ground zero of American nuclear firepower: Minot Air Force base in North Dakota, home to more than 100 land-based nuclear missiles as well as nuclear bomb-toting aircraft. He also will receive briefings at Strategic Command, whose top officer would command nuclear forces in war.

Navy’s nuclear fleet shipyards in bad shape, report finds
Navy Times
9/12/17
The naval shipyards in Norfolk, Virginia, and Portsmouth, Maine, and the shipyard and intermediate maintenance facilities at Puget Sound, Washington, and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, are vital to maintaining the nuclear fleet, the Government Accountability Office report states. But while they are critical to maintaining the Navy’s nuclear-powered fleet — 10 carriers and 70 boats — “their overall condition remains poor,” according to the report.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

More Than 80 Nuclear Nonproliferation Experts Reaffirm Support for the Iran Nuclear Deal
Arms Control Association
9/13/17
The statement is endorsed by former U.S. nuclear negotiators, former senior U.S. nonproliferation and intelligence officials, a former director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a former member of the UN Panel of Experts on Iran, and leading nuclear specialists from the United States and around the globe.

The Case Against the Iranian Nuclear Deal is One Big Lie
Foreign Policy, Stephen M. Walt
9/11/17
When facts and logic fail them, opponents of the JCPOA resurrect the myth of a “better deal.” Having failed to stop Obama’s original negotiation, they now claim decertifying the deal is the first step to persuading Iran and the other members of JCPOA to agree to major revisions or new restrictions.

More than ever, South Koreans want their own nuclear weapons
Washington Post, Michelle Ye Hee Lee
9/13/17
It seemed like a fringe idea not too long ago, but the proposal for South Korea to have its own nuclear arms is gaining steam here.

We should worry more about Pakistan than North Korea
The Hill, former Sen. Larry Pressler
9/13/17
North Korea’s brazen and defiant nuclear tests last week have been keeping our leadership up at night, and for good reason. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s unsecured nuclear weapons program is even more dangerous and should keep all of us up at night.

The ABCs of Deterring North Korea
War on the Rocks, Joshua Rovner
9/13/17
For now, there is bad news and good news. Unfortunately, it will be very hard to deter North Korea from expanding its arsenal, as the last decade has shown. It will also be difficult, though not impossible, to deter North Korea from selling its nuclear knowledge. The good news is that it is much easier to deter the things we fear most: the use of nuclear weapons as cover for conventional aggression and the use of nuclear weapons in war.

SPECIAL INTEREST

Strengthening the Counter-Illicit Nuclear Trade Regime in the Face of New Threats: A Two-Year Review of Proliferation Threats Associated with the Middle East
Institute for Science and International Security
9/12/17
The review found that U.S. policy goals should include strong efforts to restrict the flow of sensitive technologies to the Middle East where proliferation and security concerns are currently high. This includes examining its own export control reforms and repairing new or ongoing deficiencies that contribute to the spread of sensitive military or other technologies.

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - September 12, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – September 12, 2017

TOP NEWS

Oil will keep flowing, but UN sanctions hit North Korea hard
Associated Press

N. Korea condemns sanctions, warns U.S. of ‘greatest pain’
Yonhap News Agency

Amano says Iran is implementing nuclear deal
Tehran Times

How Russia quietly undercuts sanctions intended to stop North Korea’s nuclear program
Washington Post

EAST ASIA

Oil will keep flowing, but UN sanctions hit North Korea hard
Associated Press
9/12/17
Though the United States had proposed a complete ban, the sanctions by the U.N. Security Council to punish North Korea for its sixth nuclear test cap Pyongyang’s annual imports of crude oil at the same level they have been for the past 12 months: an estimated 4 million barrels. Exports of North Korean textiles are prohibited, and other nations are barred from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers, putting a squeeze on two key sources of hard currency.

N. Korea condemns sanctions, warns U.S. of ‘greatest pain’
Yonhap News Agency
9/12/17
North Korea on Tuesday condemned the U.N. Security Council's new sanctions resolution and warned the United States that it will face the "greatest pain" for leading the action, according to a news report.

Japan, S Korea welcome new UN sanctions on North Korea, China calls for dialogue
Hindustan Times
9/12/17
Japan and South Korea said after the passage of the US-drafted Security Council resolution they were prepared to apply more pressure if Pyongyang refused to end its aggressive development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

IAEA says indications show DPRK’s nuclear reactor could be operating
Xinhua
9/11/17
In a statement to the board [of] governors meeting in Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it was concerned over the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s latest nuclear test. "There were indications at the Yongbyon Experimental Nuclear Power Plant suggesting that the reactor was being operated. At the Yongbyon Nuclear Fuel Rod Fabrication Plant, there were indications consistent with the use of the reported centrifuge enrichment facility," said Yukiya Amano, head of IAEA.

MIDDLE EAST

Egypt unwavering to US pressure over North Korea
Al-Monitor
9/11/17
The ongoing cooperation between Egypt and North Korea under Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has led Washington to reiterate calls on Egypt to freeze such ties. This comes amid leaks that the US State Department's suspension of military aid to the Egyptian government was not linked to Egypt’s human rights record as stated, but to these specific ties, especially at the military level, as Pyongyang failed to respond to US pressure not to conduct a long-range missile test. 

Amano says Iran is implementing nuclear deal
Tehran Times
9/11/17
Yukiya Amano, chief of the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency, reconfirmed on Monday that Iran is honoring its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

How Russia quietly undercuts sanctions intended to stop North Korea’s nuclear program
Washington Post
9/11/17
Russian smugglers are scurrying to the aid of North Korea with shipments of petroleum and other vital supplies that could help that country weather harsh new economic sanctions, U.S. officials say in an assessment that casts further doubt on whether financial measures alone can force dictator Kim Jong Un to abandon his nuclear weapons program.

Schroeder: S. Korea should keep door open for dialogue with N. Korea
Yonhap News Agency
9/12/17
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder advised South Korea Tuesday to continue efforts to bring North Korea to dialogue and resolve the nuclear issues peacefully and diplomatically.

SOUTH ASIA

India’s second indigenous nuclear submarine to be launched soon
Economic Times
9/12/17
India's second indigenous nuclear submarine is likely to be launched in less than a month's time, towards the end of September or the beginning of October, government sources said.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

U.S. House committee to hold hearing on N. Korea
Yonhap News Agency
9/12/17
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will convene a hearing at 10 a.m. Tuesday to discuss "Sanctions, Diplomacy, and Information: Pressuring North Korea." The hearing will be attended by Susan Thornton, acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Marshall Billingslea, assistant secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

What the Iran Deal Can Teach America About North Korea
Defense One, Ariane Tabatabai
9/11/17
The United States shouldn’t make military or diplomatic decisions based solely on what will maintain its credibility. After all, credibility should be a means, not an end in itself. But the United States can’t continue to lead international processes designed to sanction countries and bring them to the table—and thereby avoid using force—without it.

Trump playing a risky game on Iran nuclear deal
CNN, Thomas Countryman
9/11/17
But the Trump administration's approach to Iran is dangerous. Good American foreign policy is not made with alternative facts, but that is all they offer when it comes to rationalizing their approach to Iran -- as we heard Tuesday from Ambassador Haley, who tried to build a case against staying in the deal by citing violations that didn't happen, implying that there are hundreds of suspicious sites left uninspected when there aren't, and brushing off the security concerns of our allies.

Iran deal devotees vain to save a sinking ship
The Hill, John Bolton
9/11/17
Staying in a bad agreement sends confusing signals to the Europeans, who are confused enough already on this issue, about how America intends to address the Iran threat. Similarly, it shows weakness and indecisiveness to Russia and China at precisely the point when President Trump should project clear-eyed resolve.

Time to Accept Reality and Manage a Nuclear-Armed North Korea
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Michael D. Swaine
9/11/17
[P]olicymakers should aim to develop a less urgent, long-term strategy designed to minimize North Korea’s capacity and willingness to utilize those weapons and related technologies in threatening ways, while also continuing to work toward eventual denuclearization. In particular, the United States, China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia must focus not only on deterring and containing Pyongyang through clear, strong, consistent, and common diplomatic and military signals. 

Commentary: The North Korean nuclear ‘crisis’ is an illusion
Reuters, John Mecklin
9/11/17
But even if the North acquires those technical capabilities, the likelihood it might attack the United States with a nuclear missile will remain exceedingly low, for one overriding reason: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is, as former Obama administration arms control director Jon Wolfsthal has explained in authoritative detail, neither crazy nor suicidal. 

North Korea’s nuclear progress isn’t the only bad news
Japan Times, Ramesh Thakur
9/12/17
Before the revisionists blame it all on the new U.N. treaty banning nuclear weapons, it is worth emphasizing that this crisis point has been reached from entirely within the NPT. The logic of proliferation cascade is built into the logic of nuclear deterrence that evades calls for abolition. For decades some of us have insisted that without disarmament, proliferation is inevitable. Instead of conceding how right we have been proven, already those on the other side claim that North Korea’s nuclearization proves how naive we have been in calling for controlled disarmament. Go figure.

Time to Restrict the President’s Power to Wage Nuclear War
New York Times, Jeffrey Bader and Jonathan D. Pollack
9/12/17
Congress should therefore amend the War Powers Act to cover the possibility of preventive or pre-emptive nuclear strikes. This would ensure that the president could not simply provide the codes to his military aide carrying the nuclear “football” and launch such an attack on his own authority.

These Women Are the Last Thing Standing Between You and Nuclear War
Marie Claire, Danielle McNally
9/8/17
At any given moment, 90 missileers are sitting on alert, or "pulling crew," as it's known in Air Force parlance. Though women are notoriously underrepresented in the U.S. Military, the Air Force is better at gender equality than the other branches—there's a disproportionally high number of women in this role. By March 2016, the Air Force had enough of them to schedule an all-female alert.

North Korea: In Deterrence We Trust
The Diplomat, James Acton
9/12/17
The right question is not whether North Korea can be deterred, but rather how the risks of trying to do so compare to the risks of the alternative – a preventative war. When these risks are weighed up, deterrence turns out to be the less dangerous option.

 

Read more…

Nuclear Policy News - August 31, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – August 31, 2017

TOP NEWS

US nuclear bombers, Japan and South Korea fighter jets stage show of force days after Pyongyang launched missile
The Straits Times

U.S. pressure or not, U.N. nuclear watchdog sees no need to check Iran military sites
Reuters

U.S. Test Successfully Intercepts Ballistic Missile
The New York Times

After Missile Tests, North and South Korea Wage War of Pictures
The New York Times

EAST ASIA

US nuclear bombers, Japan and South Korea fighter jets stage show of force days after Pyongyang launched missile
The Straits Times
Japanese and South Korean fighter jets conducted separate drills with US nuclear-capable bombers and F-35 stealth fighters in skies south of the Korean peninsula, two days after North Korea launched a ballistic missile over northern Japan.

Japan Defense Ministry Seeks missile interceptors in budget
The Washington Post
Japan’s Defense Ministry is seeking a record-high budget to add missile interceptors and other equipment to defend the country from more North Korean weapons launches.

US lines up North Korea expert as ambassador to Seoul
The Guardian
An academic expert on North Korea is reported to be Donald Trump’s pick for US ambassador to Seoul in what could be a sign the White House believes further pressure on China is the best diplomatic route to prevent a nuclear conflagration in the region.

MIDDLE EAST

U.S. pressure or not, U.N. nuclear watchdog sees no need to check Iran military sites
Reuters
The United States is pushing U.N. nuclear inspectors to check military sites in Iran to verify it is not breaching its nuclear deal with world powers. But for this to happen, inspectors must believe such checks are necessary and so far they do not, officials say.

France sees talks on post-Iran nuclear deal, ballistic missile use
Reuters
France suggested on Wednesday that the nuclear deal Iran struck with world powers in 2015 could be supplemented through “future consultations” to include the post-2025 period and tackle Iran’s development of ballistic missiles.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE

Russia Opposes Hitting North Korea With More Sanctions, Military Action
Radio Free Europe
In a telephone call with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged the United States to refrain from military action or pursuing further sanctions in the wake of North Korea's launch this week of a ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead over Japan's island of Hokkaido, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Theresa May arrives in Japan to allay Brexit fears and show solidarity against North nuclear threat
Japan Times
On Theresa May’s first official visit to Japan starting Wednesday, the British prime minister is expected to provide words of encouragement to dispel investors’ doubts about headwinds caused by Brexit and condemnation against North Korea’s missile launches and nuclear tests.

SOUTH ASIA

What China Learned About India at Doklam
The Diplomat
The months-long border standoff between China and India on the Doklam plateau, an obscure patch of disputed land near Bhutan in the Himalayas, came to a sudden close in the final days of August – days before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Xiamen BRICS nations summit.

Pakistan National Assembly condemns Trump’s ‘hostile’ comments
Reuters
Pakistan’s National Assembly passed a resolution on Wednesday condemning U.S. President Donald Trump’s accusations that Islamabad was prolonging the war in Afghanistan, denouncing them as “hostile” and “threatening”.

U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY

U.S. Test Successfully Intercepts Ballistic Missile
The New York Times
The United States conducted a missile-defense test on Wednesday off the coast of Hawaii and intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile, just days after North Korea’s bold missile test over Japan.

Lockheed will not protest U.S. decision on ICBM replacement contract
Reuters
Lockheed Martin Corp said on Wednesday it would not protest the U.S. Air Force’s decision to eliminate the weapons maker from competition for a contract to replace the aging Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system.

OPINION AND ANALYSIS

The Quite Rational Basis for North Korea’s Japan Overfly
The Atlantic, Ankit Panda
Every North Korean ballistic missile test is provocative and illegal. The overfly was certainly both, but for North Korea, it was about far more than theatrical provocation.

Trump’s Next Self-Inflicted Crisis Is a Nuclear Iran
Foreign Policy, Jeffrey Lewis
Oct. 15, 2017. Put it in your calendar. By that date, President Donald Trump must yet again certify that Iran is in compliance with the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

SPECIAL INTEREST

After Missile Tests, North and South Korea Wage War of Pictures
The New York Times
Tit-for-tat tension on the Korean Peninsula is often described as “a war of words,” but just as frequently it is a war of pictures, too.

Read more…

Monday's Top Nuclear Policy News

TOP NEWS

North Korea Lawmaker: Need Nukes Because of US Threat
New York Times

Nobody will trust U.S. to engage in long-term negotiation: Zarif
Tehran Times

U.S. officials try to ease concerns Trump may quit Iran deal
Reuters

Tillerson: US prefers diplomacy with NKorea, but has options
Associated Press

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