TOP NEWS China to US: Don’t use us as an excuse to alter your nuclear strategy Defense News Iran says we do not want nuclear weapons, there is no sunset clause in nuclear deal Reuters Out of Moscow: Washington got the basics of Russian nuclear strategy all wrong Defense News What if Kim Jong Un decides to bloody America’s nose first? War on the Rocks EAST ASIA An Envoy Who Can Rival ‘North Korea’s Ivanka’ New York Times2/21/18 The question is whether Ms. Trump, with her fashion industry glamour, can counter the news media narrative set by a mysterious North Korean woman, Kim Yo-jong, who is a director of her totalitarian government’s propaganda and agitation department. The science of measuring North Korea’s destructive nuclear power from afar PBS News2/21/18 The Trump administration considers North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs the top threat to American national security. How much do we really know about their nuclear devices? China to US: Don’t use us as an excuse to alter your nuclear strategy Defense News2/21/18 The response to the recently-released U.S. Nuclear Posture Review or NPR from Asia’s major powers has been predictable, with regional allies welcoming it while China and North Korea have both come out against the document. The Koreas Take Control The Atlantic2/21/18 Outside powers have been central to the nuclear crisis—but for a few peculiar weeks in February. N. Korea seeks nukes to reunify peninsula under its control: Bolton Yonhap News2/22/18 North Korea is pursuing nuclear weapons as a means to reunify the Korean Peninsula under its control, not just for self-defense, John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Wednesday. China probing possible violation of UN sanctions on N. Korea Washington Post2/22/18 China is “highly concerned” about a reported ship-to-ship transfer on the high seas that could violate U.N. sanctions on North Korea and has launched an investigation, the foreign ministry said Thursday. MIDDLE EAST Iran says may withdraw from nuclear deal if banks continue to stay away Reuters2/22/18 Iran will withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal if there is no economic benefit and major banks continue to shun the Islamic Republic, its deputy foreign minister said on Thursday. Full transcript of BBC interview with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi BBC News2/22/18 Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi spoke exclusively to the BBC’s Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet in London about a wide-range of diplomatic issues. Iran says we do not want nuclear weapons, there is no sunset clause in nuclear deal Reuters2/22/18 Iran’s commitment to not seek nuclear weapons is permanent and there is no so-called sunset clause in the Iran nuclear deal, the country’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on Thursday. Iran’s UN envoy calls nuclear deal example of patient diplomacy’ Tehran Times2/21/18 The JCPOA can serve as a model for “successful negotiation”, Gholamali Khoshroo said during a session of the UN Charter committee. RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE Out of Moscow: Washington got the basics of Russian nuclear strategy all wrong Defense News2/21/18 The core of NPR’s proposed footing vis-a-vis Russia rests on an understanding of Russian nuclear doctrine as offensive, rather defensive. Moscow’s Defender: Russia Tests Modernized Ballistic Missile Popular Mechanics2/21/18 Russia conducted a new test of its anti-ballistic missile system. The test, conducted on the winter steppes of Kazakhstan, was uploaded to YouTube by the Russian Defense Ministry. The system is part of a missile defense network that protects Moscow from nuclear attack. SOUTH ASIA India Tests 4th Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missile This Month The Diplomat2/22/18 For the fourth time this month, India’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) test launched a nuclear capable ballistic missile as part of its annual training cycle to test the combat readiness of the Indian Army’s missile forces. U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY Former LLNL Worker Will Lead Major Nuclear Agency The Independent2/22/18 Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, a former health physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, was confirmed unanimously last week by the U.S. Senate to be head of the National Nuclear Security Administration. Hyten: US nuclear policy must ‘deal with the world the way it is’ Defense News2/21/18 Gen. John Hyten, speaking at the National Defense University Feb. 16, brought up China’s growing capabilities as an example of why the Pentagon had to make adjustments to America’s nuclear strategy, outlined in the Nuclear Posture Review. OPINION AND ANALYSIS What if Kim Jong Un decides to bloody America’s nose first? War on the RocksMichael Dempsey Given the temporary lull in tensions, it’s a good time to consider an alternative to the U.S. first strike scenario that has received far less attention — one in which Kim believes he has no choice but to act first because he feels Washington is threatening his regime’s survival. Justice and the Bomb Arms Control WonkMichael Krepon 2/21/18 Debates over justice and the Bomb have long been embedded in debates over nuclear deterrence. North Korea Is Not a Case of Intelligence Failure The DiplomatWilliam Denn and Kevin Ryan 2/22/18 Sanger and Broad imply through their argument that the public evaluate intelligence as if it were capable of being all-knowing, which fails to acknowledge the inherent ambiguity of intelligence. Furthermore, their indictment of the intelligence community lacks historical accountability and requires a greater burden of proof. ‘Low-Yield’ Nukes Are a Very High Threat BloombergJames Stavridis 2/21/18 Forces from a century ago are back in play. But the stakes are much higher.