Top News Iran says it recently tested a ballistic missile Reuters Is nuclear disarmament set to self-destruct? BBC EU’s top diplomat: EU-Iran trade vehicle could be ready by year-end Reuters Trump changes his mind again on military spending, now wants a big boost next year Defense News East Asia U.S. sanctions three North Korean officials for alleged rights abuses Reuters12/10/18 The United States said on Monday it had sanctioned three North Korean officials, including a top aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, for serious human rights abuses and censorship. The U.S. Treasury named the men as Ryong Hae Choe, an aide close to Kim who leads the Workers’ Party of Korea Organization and Guidance Department; State Security Minister Kyong Thaek Jong; and Propaganda and Agitation Department head Kwang Ho Pak. Middle East Iran says it recently tested a ballistic missile Reuters12/11/18 A senior Revolutionary Guards commander said on Tuesday that Iran had recently carried out a ballistic missile test but he did not specify what kind of missile had been tested, according to Fars News. The comment appeared to confirm a report by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who said early this month that Iran had test-fired “a medium range ballistic missile that is capable of carrying multiple warheads.” The missile could hit all of the Middle East and parts of Europe, Pompeo said. EU’s top diplomat: EU-Iran trade vehicle could be ready by year-end Reuters12/10/18 The European Union’s foreign policy chief said on Monday a system to facilitate non-dollar trade with Iran and circumvent U.S. sanctions could be in place by year’s end. The European Union wants the so-called Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to help preserve the economic benefits for Iran deriving from the curbs it placed on its nuclear program under a 2015 deal with world powers, from which President Donald Trump withdrew the United States in May. Russia/FSU/Europe US-Russian spat over bombers landing in Venezuela BBC12/11/18 Russian and US officials have been involved in a spat over the landing in Venezuela of two Russian bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons. The two Tu-160 bombers landed in Venezuela on Monday in a Russian show of support for the government of socialist President Nicolás Maduro. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it amounted to “two corrupt governments squandering public funds”. Is nuclear disarmament set to self-destruct? BBC12/11/18 Never has the future of nuclear arms control seemed so uncertain. At risk is not just the collapse of existing treaties, but a whole manner of interaction between Russia and the United States that has been crucial to maintaining stability over decades. U.S. Nuclear Policy US Navy, Missile Defense Agency shoot down an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile in space Defense News12/11/18 The U.S. Navy and Missile Defense Agency continued a hot streak Tuesday with a successful shoot-down of an intermediate range ballistic missile target in space from its Hawaii-based AEGIS Ashore facility. The test marked the second consecutive successful intercept for the SM-3 Block IIA missile in development. Trump changes his mind again on military spending, now wants a big boost next year Defense News12/10/18 President Donald Trump this week is expected to announce plans for a dramatic boost in military spending next fiscal year, reversing course on previous pledges of a trimmed down defense budget, according to multiple news sources. The move comes after intense lobbying from congressional Republicans and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who argued Trump’s announced $700 billion military spending plan for fiscal 2020 was not only contrary to the administration’s national security build-up but potentially dangerous for the nation. Opinion and Analysis How the India-Pakistan Conflict Leaves Great Powers Powerless Foreign PolicyMoeed Yusuf 12/10/18 [T]he United States and other great powers with influence in South Asia must remain prepared to mediate a future crisis. Their success in doing so will depend on their ability to isolate their larger competition from the overbearing need to ensure the absence of an India-Pakistan nuclear war—a decidedly more difficult task now than it was a decade ago. Here’s Why U.S. Tactical Nukes Are a Bad Idea. The National InterestKristin Ven Bruusgaard 12/10/18 New American low-yield nuclear warheads is a strategic response based on not the most likely, but the most dangerous possible interpretation of Russian strategy, one directly at odds with Russian declaratory nuclear strategy. Russia does not have a doctrine of nuclear preemption, and it remains uncertain about the efficiency of escalating to de-escalate. But Russia will consider using nuclear weapons earlier than America in a conflict when its existence is at stake.