Nuclear Policy News

Nuclear Policy News - August 21, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – August 21, 2017


PACOM chief Harris arrives in South Korea as North likens joint war game to ‘pouring gasoline on fire’
Japan Times

Iran: Top priority to protect nuclear deal from US
Al Jazeera

Talk of ‘Preventative War’ rises in White House over North Korea
New York Times



PACOM chief Harris arrives in South Korea as North likens joint war game to ‘pouring gasoline on fire’
Japan Times
The head of the U.S. military’s Pacific Command (PACOM) arrived in Seoul on Sunday, the South Korean Defense Ministry said as the two allies readied for the start of an annual large-scale military exercise Monday amid soaring tensions with nuclear-armed North Korea.

How North Korea might respond to the US-South Korea war games
Associated Press
The war games set to begin Monday may hold more potential to provoke than ever, given President Donald Trump’s “fire and fury” threats and Pyongyang’s as-yet-unpursued plan to launch missiles close to Guam. Will the allies keep it low-key, or focus on projecting strength?

Japan faces obstacles to deploying new missile defense
Asian Review
Japan is readying its Ground Self-Defense Force for the planned deployment of a new U.S. missile defense system, despite logistical speed bumps and criticism from opposition parties.



Iran: Top priority to protect nuclear deal from US
Al Jazeera
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said the top foreign policy priority for his new government was to protect the nuclear deal from being torn up by the United States. "The most important job of our foreign minister is first to stand behind the JCPOA and not to allow the US and other enemies to succeed," Rouhani told parliament on Sunday, using the technical name for the 2015 agreement that eased sanctions in exchange for curbs to Iran's nuclear programme.



Russian ambassador: Iran in full compliance with nuclear deal
Tehran Times
Russian Ambassador to Tehran Levan Dzhagaryan has said that Iran has acted fully in compliance with its commitments under the nuclear agreement, noting that the U.S. should not complain in this regard. “We will insist on our stance when talking with the Americans,” Dzhagaryan said in an interview with ISNA, stressing that the nuclear agreement must be fully implemented.


Russia hopeful US won’t scrap nuclear deal with Iran unilaterally
First Post
Moscow hopes the US will refrain from unilateral steps leading to the collapse of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. "I hope that the US will not violate the obligations it has assumed," Xinhua news agency quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Wednesday.



Talk of ‘Preventative War’ rises in White House over North Korea
New York Times
Like its predecessors, the Trump administration is trying to pressure North Korea through sanctions to dismantle its nuclear program. But both President Trump and his national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, have talked openly about a last-resort option if diplomacy fails and the nuclear threat mounts: what General McMaster describes as “preventive war.”


Mattis: Reduction in U.S. troops in S. Korea exercises was not caused by N.K. tensions
"The numbers (of troops) are by design to achieve the exercise objectives and you always pick what you want to emphasize," Mattis told reporters en route to Jordan, according to a transcript released by his office. "Right now there is a heavy emphasis on command post operations, so the integration of all the different efforts."


At 7 years old, CYBERCOM becomes a full combatant Command
Defense One
An order by President Trump triggered its elevation from U.S. Strategic Command, which has been in the works for months.



Kono seeks early CTBT ratification
Japan News
Foreign Minister Taro Kono requested Thursday the United States’ early ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, or CTBT. “We hope the United States will take a positive approach such as an early ratification,” Kono said in talks with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.



How to get rid of nuclear weapons
Sharon Squassoni, Teen Vogue
Fiery rhetoric and nuclear weapons are not a winning combination. North Korea’s recent threats to retaliate against increasingly tighter global sanctions have been met with speculation that the United States could preempt a North Korean nuclear attack. This state of affairs forces one to wonder how we ever got to this point. If nuclear weapons are so bad, why can’t we get rid of them?


North Korea could unleash the unthinkable: nuclear war between Russia and America
Dave Majumdar, The National Interest
In the event that North Korea tests another Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) or potentially launches an attack on the United States, the Pentagon could try to intercept those missiles with the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system. However, as many analysts have pointed out, the interceptors that miss their target could reenter the Earth’s atmosphere inside Russian airspace. Such an eventuality could prove to be a serious problem unless steps are taken to address the issue now.


How North Korea makes its missiles
Joshua Pollack, NK News
The basis for the intelligence community’s assessment has not been shared, but it is still possible to sketch out how North Korea makes its liquid-fueled rocket engines using open sources. It also is apparent why North Korea’s liquid-fueled engines have a Soviet technological heritage.


Escalating tensions with North Korea could prompt Trump to make a dangerous decision
Daniel L. Davis, The National Interest
In response to North Korea leader Kim Jong-un’s threat to target Guam with missiles, President Trump said that North Korea had better “get their act together or they’re gonna be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble in this world.” What military actions he had in mind are uncertain. Though U.S. conventional forces are considered a given by most of America’s foreign-policy elite, what is uncertain is how effective those forces would be if called upon to fight a major regional contingency in Korea. It’s not the slam-dunk scenario that you might think.


Here are 5 takeaways from Trump’s startling nuclear threats against North Korea
Mira Rapp-Hooper, Washington Post
Presidential and other high-level statements on nuclear policy help to deter adversaries and assure treaty allies of the United States’ commitment to their security. Recently, however, some of the most basic tenets of international nuclear signaling were scorched by President Trump’s threats of “fire and fury” toward North Korea. Here are five lessons from his war of words with Kim Jong Un.


Everything you need to know: How Japan could get nuclear weapons
Kyle Mizokami, The National Interest
It is perhaps China’s and even North Korea's greatest nightmare: a nuclear-armed Japan. Permanently anchored off the Asian mainland, bristling with nuclear weapons, a nuclear Japan would make China’s security situation much more complex than it is now, and force China to revise both its nuclear doctrine and increase its nuclear arsenal.


How Pakistan and Kashmir complicate India-China standoff over Doklam
Michael Krepon, India Today
The nuclear crisis between the US and North Korea could result in war, by choice or miscalculation. If Donald Trump truly means what he says - that he will not accept a relationship of mutual deterrence with Kim Jong-un - then a US war of choice might follow. A war by miscalculation is possible because Kim Jong-un is as much of a wild card as Trump. And as bad as this crisis is, another one could arise, with India in the middle of it.



Russia’s biggest submarine ever was armed with 200 nuclear weapons (more than North Korea)
The National Interest
The largest submarines ever built were not built in American shipyards, but Soviet ones. Named after sharks, these Cold War leviathans could devastate up to two hundred targets with warheads six times as powerful as those that exploded over Hiroshima. The Akula-class submarines were some of the most terrifying weapons ever created.


Fact: Russian cosmonauts carried a shotgun into space
The National Interest
To this day, the Russian Federal Space Agency refuses to talk about the weapon—though it’s an open secret. Astronauts heading to the International Space Station have trained with it, and some have even talked about it. And in case there’s any doubt about its existence, there’s one on display in a Russian museum.

Friday's Top Nuclear Policy News


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

Defying Trump, Iran says will boost missile capabilities

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

Receive Daily Nuclear Policy News

Subscribe to receive the Nuclear Policy News daily in your inbox!

Or subscribe to the Nuclear Policy News RSS Feed.