Nuclear Policy News – February 15, 2019

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Munich Security Conference: A Masterclass in Backroom Diplomacy
Deutsche Welle

Goals for Any Arms Control Proposal with North Korea
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Five Ways to Save INF’s Legacy
Valdai Discussion Club – Ulrich Kuhn

Multilateral Arms Control

Munich Security Conference: A Masterclass in Backroom Diplomacy
Deutsche Welle2/15/2019
In interviews, Munich Security Conference chief Wolfgang Ischinger likes to cite the New START negotiations as an example of what the MSC can yield. Former US-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, also signed the instrument of ratification on the sidelines of the Munich conference.

What Is the Munich Security Conference, and Why Does It Matter?
New York Times2/15/2019
On the agenda for the 2019 conference are discussions of the future of the European Union; trade and international security; arms control; and the implications of power struggles between the United States, China and Russia. Senior officials from all of those countries will attend.


Five Ways to Save INF’s Legacy
Valdai Discussion Club – Ulrich Kuhn2/13/2019
Ulrich Kuhn argues that there are at least five underexplored arms control options that could save the legacy of INF.

In Germany, a Cold War Deal to Host U.S. Nuclear Weapons Is Now in Question
Wall Street Journal2/12/2019
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling partners are reconsidering their support for a decadesold arrangement that puts Germany under the U.S. nuclear shield, a development that could further undermine the country’s already-tense relationship with the Trump administration.

East Asia

Goals for Any Arms Control Proposal with North Korea
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists2/13/2019
With no realistic prospect for immediate North Korean disarmament or a fall of the Kim regime, the United States should—with appropriate sobriety—shift to a strategy that aims to manage North Korea through a combination of deterrence, pressure, and targeted engagement.

Kim Ready to Accept Inspection of Nuclear Plant, Adviser Says
Bloomberg News2/15/2019
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was ready to accept the dismantlement and inspection of a high-profile nuclear plant, a South Korean presidential adviser said, suggesting a possible point of compromise in upcoming talks with President Donald Trump.

Middle East

Pence Urges Europe To Quit Iran Deal, Stop Busting Sanctions
The Trump administration lashed out at some of America’s closest traditional allies Thursday, accusing Britain, France and Germany of trying to bust U.S. sanctions against Iran and calling on European nations to join the United States in withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear deal.

Pompeo Calls Iran More Destabilizing Than N. Korea
France 242/14/2019
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo underlined the need for different foreign policy approaches to Iran and North Korea in comments published Thursday, describing Tehran as more “destabilizing” than Pyongyang.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

Why Withdrawing from the INF Treaty Might Be Unconstitutional
Defense One2/14/2019
Russia’s violations of the INF Treaty are real and should be of serious concern. But this narrative obscures the exceptional nature of the response that the Trump administration is pursuing by not only suspending U.S. compliance with the INF Treaty but leaving it altogether.

Is There A Way to Save The ‘Fraying’ Nuclear Consensus in Congress?
“That consensus is fragile, and I think it’s fraying a little bit. It’s fraying on Capitol Hill,” Christopher Hanson, a staffer with the Democratic minority on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s energy and water development panel, said Feb. 12 at the annual Nuclear Deterrence Summit. That subcommittee oversees the funding of the nuclear weapons enterprise.

Whither Nuclear Command, Control & Communications?
Breaking Defense2/14/2019
Most of the system that allows the president to launch nuclear weapons and to know what the enemy is doing with theirs is ancient. No one yet agrees what it must replaced with. And no one knows how much it will cost, although late last month the Congressional Budget Office issued an estimate of $77 billion.

Opinion and Analysis

Mikhail Gorbachev: A Nuclear Arms Race Will Produce No Winners (Op-ed)
The Moscow Times2/14/2019
Gorbachev writes: “Politics, not weapons is the key to solving security problems. Although the disturbing events of recent weeks leave no room for complacency, we should not panic yet. We need to understand the situation as it develops and, most importantly, take action to prevent the world from sliding into an arms race, confrontation, and ultimately hostility. Despite everything, I believe it is still in our power.”

What the Death of the INF Treaty Means for Kyiv
Atlantic Council – Steven Pifer2/14/2019
With the United States and Russia no longer subject to the INF Treaty’s limits, it would be hard to argue that Ukraine and the other states should remain constrained by the agreement. If Kyiv chooses, it can invoke the same treaty right to withdraw that Washington exercised two weeks ago.

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