Nuclear Policy News – April 12, 2019

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Europeans Warn Trump That Nuclear Sanctions Could Force Iran’s Hand
McClatchy DC Bureau

Dragons, nuclear weapons, and Game of Thrones
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists – Timothy Westmyer

It ‘Isn’t the Right Time’ to Make Economic Deals with North Korea, Trump Says

U.S. Nuclear Policy

Will Congress Let Trump Build More Nuclear Weapons?
Foreign Policy4/11/2019
President Donald Trump’s plan to expand America’s nuclear arsenal is encountering sharp opposition in the Democratic House of Representatives, with critics saying the administration is creating unnecessary risks to world peace—particularly by adding new tactical nuclear weapons that can be used in a conventional war.

Middle East

Europeans Warn Trump That Nuclear Sanctions Could Force Iran’s Hand
McClatchy DC Bureau4/11/2019
European officials warned the White House in recent days that Iran might walk from its nuclear deal with world powers unless President Donald Trump extends sanctions waivers on nuclear cooperation, sources familiar with the talks told McClatchy this week.


Russia’s Most Powerful Nuclear Missile is in Final Testing Stage and These Other Weapons Are Also on Their Way
At a promotion and award ceremony for senior officers on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed recent achievements of his military, especially in forwarding ambitious plans to develop weapons said to be capable of overcoming existing and even prospective defense systems. “The Avangard missile system with a boost-glide vehicle—our hypersonic intercontinental system—will considerably enhance the power of the Strategic Missile Forces. The final tests involving the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile have been a success,” Putin told those in attendance.

East Asia

It ‘Isn’t the Right Time’ to Make Economic Deals with North Korea, Trump Says
Donald Trump said Thursday it’s not “the right time” to make economic deals with North Korea, including the reopening of a joint industrial park shuttered by international sanctions — a signal nuclear talks haven’t advanced since the president walked out of a February summit.

In meeting with South Korea’s Moon, Trump signals openness to smaller deal with North Korea in nuclear talks
Washington Post4/11/2019
President Trump on Thursday signaled he remains open to an incremental deal with North Korea that would help further the negotiations over nuclear disarmament, but he emphasized his administration remains focused on “the big deal.”

South Asia

As Indian Elections Begin, Pakistan Fears Tensions Could Worsen with Its Nuclear Rival
Washington Post4/11/2019
Last weekend, Pakistan’s foreign minister said there was “reliable evidence” that India might attack Pakistan in the next two weeks, and that it might “stage” another bombing in the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir to justify such military action. Indian officials dismissed the claim as “preposterous” and “aimed at whipping up war hysteria.”

Opinion and Analysis

The Trump Administration’s Iran Policy Is A Mess
War on the Rocks – Aaron Stein4/12/2019
The Trump administration’s policy of ending the inducements given to Iran for its decision to allow for more robust inspections and a pledge of peaceful nuclear intent could have a negative effect on regional nonproliferation norms. Beyond this, it is unlikely the unprecedented move to label an element of the Iranian government a terrorist group would bring about the collapse of the Iranian regime — the intended end-goal of the current American policy.

Nuclear Weapons in the Reiwa Era
Union of Concerned Scientists – Gregory Kulacki4/11/2019
Japan will soon have a new emperor and a new dynastic name to mark the traditional Japanese calender: Reiwa (令和). Interminable commentary on the significance of the name is just beginning, but in the end it will be defined not by words but by deeds. One of the most important acts the Japanese people may be compelled to take as the new era begins is to decide whether to allow their government to introduce US nuclear weapons into Japan.

Special Interest

Dragons, nuclear weapons, and Game of Thrones
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists – Timothy WestmyerApril 11, 2019
On the surface, Game of Thrones is merely another cable television series with the requisite battles, backstabbing court intrigue, and scantily clad (or unclad) characters. One parallel, however, has escaped analysis: dragons as living, fire-breathing metaphors for nuclear weapons. Despite the fantasy setting, the story teaches a great deal about the inherent dangers that come with managing these game-changing agents, their propensity for accidents, the relative benefits they grant their masters, and the strain these weapons impose upon those wielding them. “Dragons are the nuclear deterrent, and only [Daenerys Targaryen, one of the series’ heroines] has them, which in some ways makes her the most powerful person in the world,” George R.R. Martin said in 2011.

US Presidential Hopefuls and Their Nuclear Weapons Policies
RUSI – Jamie Kwong4/9/2019
In 1999, 57% of the US population claimed that a candidate’s position on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) would be a ‘very important’ factor in making their 2000 presidential election decision. In 2015, 60% of those who opposed the Iran nuclear deal found it ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ important that the 2016 presidential winner held the same position, indicating yet again the apparent salience of nuclear issues in US presidential campaigns. But now, amidst the demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and an impasse in US–North Korea nuclear diplomacy, what role will nuclear issues play in the forthcoming race for the White House?

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