Nuclear Policy News – April 17, 2019

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North Korea nuclear site shows signs of activity
The Guardian

Did India shoot down a Pakistani F-16 in February? This just became a big deal.
Washington Post

Reassuring Allies and Strengthening Strategic Stability: An Approach to Nuclear Modernization for Democrats
War on the Rocks

East Asia

North Korea nuclear site shows signs of activity
The Guardian4/16/2019
Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies said satellite imagery of North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear site from 12 April showed five specialised railcars near its uranium enrichment facility and radiochemistry laboratory. Jenny Town, a North Korea expert at the Stimson Center thinktank, said that if reprocessing was taking place it would be a significant development given US-North Korean talks in the past year and the failure to reach an agreement on the future of Yongbyon in Hanoi.

Satellite images may show reprocessing activity at North Korea nuclear site: U.S. researchers
Satellite images from last week show movement at North Korea’s main nuclear site that could be associated with the reprocessing of radioactive material into bomb fuel, a U.S. think tank said on Tuesday.

South Asia

Did India shoot down a Pakistani F-16 in February? This just became a big deal.
Washington Post4/17/2019
With voting underway in India’s general election, February’s Kashmir conflict is likely to weigh on the minds of voters, especially given last week’s social media uproar over the reported downing of a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet during the crisis. The informational conflict is the latest outcome of February’s India-Pakistan crisis, which threatened to escalate to all-out war. After a Feb. 14 terrorist attack attributed to Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad killed 40 paramilitaries in Indian-administered Kashmir, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced powerful domestic political incentives to follow through on his promise for vengeance against Pakistan.


Joint efforts of Russia, Arab states crucial for eradicating terrorism, Lavrov says
TASS Russian News Agency4/16/2019
Joint efforts of Russia and Arab states are vital for quashing terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa and also for establishing peace and security there, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a ministerial session of the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum on Tuesday. Lavrov said “Today the discussions will focus on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, including such pressing issues as the Palestinian-Israeli settlement, crises in Syria, Libya, Yemen, anti-terror fight and the tasks of nuclear non-proliferation.”

Opinion and Analysis

Reassuring Allies and Strengthening Strategic Stability: An Approach to Nuclear Modernization for Democrats
War on the Rocks – Frank Rose and Benjamin Bahney4/16/2019
In 1985, during the height of the Reagan defense buildup, Rep. Les Aspin (D-Wisc.), then-chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, was struggling to figure out how Democrats should approach nuclear policy. On the one hand, he wanted to oppose what he called the Reagan administration’s “almost casual view of the threat of nuclear war.” On the other, he was also concerned that “the left fears nuclear war and is too casual about Soviet goals.” Instead, Aspin urged Democrats to pursue a middle approach to nuclear policy that had “a healthy respect for the dangers of nuclear war, and a healthy respect for the dangers posed by Soviet ambitions.” Today, we again find a deep skepticism among Democrats about the need for nuclear weapons as well as the prospective costs of modernizing these weapons, in spite of the growing threats from China and Russia.

To Deter Russia, the U.S. Army Must Be Permanently Based in Poland
RealClear Defense – Dan Goure4/16/2019
For deterrence of Russia to work, as the former head of U.S. Army forces in Europe, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, observed, “you have to have real capability — the capability to compel or to defeat.” The outgoing Supreme Allied Commander, General Curtis Scaparrotti, stated that the deployment of additional U.S. troops and airborne ISR platforms in Europe “would help me do a better job of deterring Russia and set us in a better place to understand how Russia operates.”

The Trump administration is eager to sell nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia. But why?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – Aileen Murphy, M. V. Ramana4/16/2019
The contrast between Saudi Arabia’s solar potential and its focus on nuclear power raises a question: Why is the Trump administration so eager to provide nuclear technology to such a questionable partner? We offer some tentative answers to this question and argue that it would be best for the United States to stop trying to sell nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia, and to use its considerable diplomatic capacity to encourage other countries to do the same.

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