Nuclear Policy News

Nuclear Policy News - August 9, 2017

Nuclear Policy News – August 9, 2017


Trump Threatens ‘Fire and Fury’ Against North Korea if It Endangers U.S.
The New York Times

Iranian Drone Buzzes U.S. Fighter Jet Over Persian Gulf
The New York Times

McCain takes exception to Trump remarks
The Hill


Trump Threatens ‘Fire and Fury’ Against North Korea if It Endangers U.S.
The New York Times
President Trump threatened on Tuesday to unleash “fire and fury” against North Korea if it endangered the United States, as tensions with the isolated and impoverished nuclear-armed state escalated into perhaps the most serious foreign policy challenge yet of his administration.

North Korea now making missile-ready nuclear weapons, U.S. analysts say
The Washington Post
North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a confidential assessment.

North Korea says it’s studying a plan to attack Guam
North Korea says it is examining its operational plans for attacking Guam to contain U.S. bases there. The army said in a statement distributed Wednesday by the state-run news agency that it is studying a plan to create an “enveloping fire” in areas around Guam with medium- to long-range ballistic missiles. The U.S. territory is home to Andersen Air Force Base.

North Korea’s Alarmed Neighbors Consider Deploying Deadlier Weapons
The New York Times
North Korea’s rapidly advancing nuclear program has prompted politicians in Japan and South Korea to push for the deployment of more powerful weapons, in what could lead to a regional arms race. Some of the new capabilities under consideration in Tokyo and Seoul, Washington’s closest Asian allies, are politically contentious. Adopting them would break with decades of precedent and could require delicate diplomatic finessing. Other military options are already being rolled out or will be soon.


Iranian Drone Buzzes U.S. Fighter Jet Over Persian Gulf
The New York Times
An unarmed Iranian drone buzzed an American Super Hornet fighter jet as it circled an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, Defense Department officials said on Tuesday. Tensions between the United States and Iran, which had seemed to be easing after the recent nuclear agreement, now seem to be back on the rise.


Talks are only way for India, China to end standoff, Dalai Lama says
India and China will have to resolve their prolonged military standoff in a remote Himalayan region through talks, the Dalai Lama said on Wednesday, ruling out the chance of war because it would be destructive to both parties.


Hyten: Focus on adversary, not domain
Defense News
The U.S. cannot fall into the trap of focusing on warfighting domains when debating responses to an adversary, Gen. John Hyten, the head of United States Strategic Command, said Tuesday. Speaking at the annual Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Ala., Hyten also called for a change in how the U.S. conducts missile defense tests, which he believes needs to emphasize lessons learned over pure tactical success.

McCain takes exception to Trump remarks
The Hill
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took exception to President Trump's remarks Tuesday that further provocation by North Korea will be met "with fire and fury like the world has never seen." McCain argued the tough rhetoric is unlikely to help as tensions rise between the United States and North Korea over the latter's nuclear program.

GOP senator: Trump needs Congress to approve strike on North Korea
The Hill
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) on Tuesday said President Trump needs Congress to approve a preemptive strike against North Korea. "[I]f one of the military options that the administration is looking at is a preemptive war on the Korean peninsula launched by the United States, that would require the authorization of Congress," Sullivan said on Fox News's "The Story." "Article I of the U.S. Constitution is very clear about that," he added.

Trump’s Harsh Language on North Korea Has Little Precedent, Experts Say
The New York Times
President Trump’s warning on Tuesday that North Korea would experience “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it continued threatening the United States was a remarkable escalation of military rhetoric with little precedent in the modern era, historians and analysts said.

Trump: America’s nuclear arsenal is ‘more powerful than ever before’
With the threat of a nuclear armed North Korea looming over the Pacific, President Donald Trump on Wednesday claimed to have made the U.S. nuclear arsenal “far stronger and more powerful than ever before” during his first few months in office. Despite Trump’s tweet, the nuclear arsenal takes decades, not months, to modernize. Much of the modernization going on now, like procurement of a new Air Force bomber or the Navy’s Columbia-class submarine, started under former President Barack Obama.


America Is Not Ready for a War in North Korea
The Atlantic, Eliot Cohen
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s plaintive words about the United States not being North Korea’s enemy (August 1st), or his reassurance that the military option has not drawn closer (August 9th), not do not count much, partly because he does not count much in American foreign policy these days, and partly because in this administration above all, only the president counts. They do, however, confuse the message of an already chaotic administration.

North Korea is fast approaching Trump’s red line
The Washington Post, Aaron Blake
One of the biggest questions about President Trump is how he would respond to a crisis. Thus far, his presidency has been marked by controversies and stubborn politics, yes, but also by a strong economy and no natural disasters, major domestic terrorist attacks or new large-scale foreign conflicts.

Trump’s North Korea strategy: A lot like Obama’s
Politico, Jacqueline Klimas
President Donald Trump has vowed a "very severe" response to North Korea's escalating development of missiles and nuclear weapons. But behind closed doors, the Trump administration is pursuing a strategy that's not all that different from President Barack Obama's approach.

Right and Left React to the Tensions With North Korea
The New York Times, Anna Dubenko
President Trump warned that North Korea would “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it continued to threaten the United States. What follows is a collection of partisan writing from across the political spectrum in response to the developments.

North Korea just called Trump’s bluff. So what happens now?
The Washington Post
If the U.S. cares about its credibility, then it only wants to make threats that it will deliver on. Now, North Korea has effectively called Trump’s bluff. If the U.S. responds as Trump has promised, it will mark a very dangerous escalation. If the U.S. does not respond, then Trump’s credibility — and perhaps U.S. credibility — will be damaged.

Deterring North Korea: The Next Nuclear-Tailoring Agenda
War on the Rocks, David Santoro
In response to Pyongyang’s provocations, Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo should strengthen their deterrence and defense capabilities, postures, and policies. That requires heavy-lifting at the conventional level, but also adapting the nuclear posture, or “nuclear tailoring.”

Friday's Top Nuclear Policy News


Having nuclear weapons ‘matter of life and death’ for North Korea: RIA

Ending Iran nuclear deal would worsen North Korea situation: Kerry

North Korea writes open letter to Parliament urging Australia to move away from Trump administration
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Russia’s Lavrov warns one-sided changes could sink Iran deal
Associated Press

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