Nuclear Policy News – January 8, 2018

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How U.S. Intelligence Agencies Underestimated North Korea
New York Times

China’s Hypersonic Weapon Ambitions March Ahead
The Diplomat

Is Trump Stuck With an Iran Deal He Loathes?

Trump is about to put his mark on the US nuclear arsenal


How U.S. Intelligence Agencies Underestimated North Korea
New York Times 1/6/201
Senior intelligence officials said they began investing more heavily in acquiring information on North Korea’s weapons program in 2012, reaping benefits over the past two years. But they acknowledged they made two key assumptions that proved wrong.

North Korea may suddenly want talks because of how powerful it has become
CNBC 1/8/201
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ignored recent peace overtures from Seoul but he’s due on Tuesday to hold a formal dialogue with his southern neighbor for the first time in more than two years. The sudden interest in talks may have something to do with Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal.

China’s Hypersonic Weapon Ambitions March Ahead
The Diplomat 1/8/201
China is leading in pack in hypersonic weaponry, with potentially destabilizing consequences for the military balance in the Pacific.

A new Korean war would kill more U.S. military personnel than you might think
The Washington Post 1/8/2018
[War with North Korea] would put the tens of thousands of U.S. military personnel stationed in South Korea in harm’s way, with much higher human costs — and many more fatalities — than the United States has seen in its recent military conflicts.


Is Trump Stuck With an Iran Deal He Loathes?
Politico 1/8/2018
As a new year’s wave of street protests rocks Iran, the demonstrations put President Trump in an awkward bind—right as he faces a new deadline to decide whether to continue on with the Iran nuclear deal he loathes.


Gorbachev urges Putin and Trump to uphold nuclear arms pact that set the stage for end of Cold War
Japan Times 1/7/2018
Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has urged the Russian and U.S. leaders to resolve a dispute over a nuclear arms control treaty he signed with Washington 30 years ago, warning that a breakdown of the landmark pact could lead the entire international disarmament framework to “collapse.”


Pope Francis Calls For Ban On Nuclear Weapons
Huffington Post 1/8/2018
Pope Francis called on Monday for all nations to support dialog to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and to work for a legally binding ban on nuclear weapons.


Trump is about to put his mark on the US nuclear arsenal
CNN 1/7/2018
The Pentagon is putting the finishing touches on the first comprehensive review of US nuclear forces in nearly eight years. It’s shaping up as President Donald Trump’s signature nuclear weapons initiative in the face of a growing North Korean nuclear threat.

At Camp David, Trump Outlines Vision On North Korea, Welfare, Immigration For 2018
NPR 1/6/2018
In a wide-ranging press conference, Trump touched on his hopes for passing bipartisan legislation to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws and national welfare programs, repeated claims his campaign did not collude with the Russians who attacked the 2016 presidential election and signaled a willingness to start a dialogue with North Korea, just a week after its leader announced there’s a button to launch a nuclear attack sitting on his desk.

Tillerson says Korea talks show U.S. strategy is working
NBC News 1/6/2018
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday that rare talks planned for next week between North and South Korea are a sign that the U.S.-led campaign to isolate the North is working.


How the U.S. and North Korea could stumble into World War III
Politico Bryan Bender and Jacqueline Klimas
U.S. military planners are increasingly concerned that tensions on the Korean peninsula could unintentionally trigger a wider war as Trump and Kim Jong Un hurl unusually personal attacks online.

Russia and the United States are wrecking a landmark treaty
The Washington Post Editorial Board
The United States and Russia seem to be returning to an arms race they halted a generation ago. Both sides claim they do not want this even as they let it happen.

Trump Is Bluffing On North Korea
The Daily Beast  Jeffrey Lewis
I do not believe that the President’s belligerent tweets reflect a malign intent to attack North Korea.  On the contrary, I believe they reflect a stupid man who has no idea what to do, watches cable news, and tweets stupid things.

Reactors for Saudi Arabia are bad business and dangerous diplomacy
The Hill Victor Gilinsky and Henry Sokolski
The last thing the Middle East needs is more nuclear technology. But a coterie of Washington “experts,” recently assembled on behalf of Saudi Arabia, argues otherwise and seem to have the ear of the Trump administration.

Navigating the challenges of alliance management in Korea
The Hill Daniel Sneider
We are at a dangerous moment in the Korean peninsula. The immediate threat does not come from North Korea, though that peril remains. Rather, it comes from our allies in South Korea, who are determined to pursue engagement with the North.

 President Trump’s Threats Against North Korea Put the World in Danger
Time Ted Lieu and Bill Wieninger
We’re only a few days into the new year, and two contradictory developments have occurred with regard to North Korea: Kim Jong Un indicated a willingness to meet with South Korea for the first time in nearly three years, and President Trump threatened the use of force once again.

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