Nuclear Policy News – February 26, 2019

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Nuclear-Armed India and Pakistan Face Off in Renewed Escalation

Iran’s Rouhani Stands by Moderate Ally Zarif After Surprise Resignation

The Hanoi US-North Korea Summit: Why Pyongyang’s Crippled Economy Is Central
The Diplomat

South Asia

Nuclear-Armed India and Pakistan Face Off in Renewed Escalation
It’s the biggest escalation between South Asia’s nuclear-armed rivals in decades and with a bitterly contested national election in India just weeks away, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was quick to exploit his military’s air strikes on a terrorist camp inside Pakistan Tuesday.

East Asia

The Hanoi US-North Korea Summit: Why Pyongyang’s Crippled Economy Is Central
The Diplomat2/25/2019
There is debate on whether North Korea has slowly grown inured to aid since the 1990s, or it deliberately stalled economic development to concentrate resources on its military, but there is consensus on its enduring long-term need for aid. A peace declaration seems one of the possible outcomes of the summit, yet how can North Korea and the U.S. envision peace without solving this issue?

Trump’s North Korea Summit Goal: Lock in the Steps to Denuclearization
The Wall Street Journal2/24/2019
President Trump will press North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to take his first irrevocable steps toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula when the two leaders meet this week for a second summit in less than a year.

Trump-Kim Summit in Vietnam: All the Latest Updates
Al Jazeera2/26/2019
US and North Korean leaders to meet in Hanoi for high-stakes summit, eight months after landmark meeting in Singapore.

Middle East

Iran’s Zarif says he resigned ‘to protect the integrity’ of the Foreign Ministry
Washington Post2/26/2019
ISTANBUL — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tuesday that he submitted his shock resignation to “defend the integrity” of the country’s Foreign Ministry, a move that roiled Iranian markets and has threatened to further unravel Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

Iran’s Rouhani Stands by Moderate Ally Zarif After Surprise Resignation
President Hassan Rouhani stood behind one of his highest profile allies in Iran’s moderate faction on Tuesday, holding back from accepting the resignation Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, which an ally blamed on criticism of the 2015 nuclear deal.


From the Pentagon to Camp David, Russian state TV lists US nuclear targets after Vladimir Putin’s warning to Washington
South China Morning Post2/26/2019
Russian state television has listed US military and strategic facilities that Moscow would target in the event of a nuclear strike, and said that a hypersonic missile Russia is developing would be able to hit them in less than five minutes.

Without the INF Treaty, Europe could see a new missile power (Spoiler: It’s not Russia)
Washington Post2/26/2019
More than a bilateral arrangement, the treaty also curtailed missile programs in former Soviet states, including Ukraine. The death of the INF could unshackle Ukraine’s missile program, too. Here’s what you need to know.

Opinion and Analysis

Trump, Kim And the Hanoi Summit — At Best, A Peace Mirage
Los Angeles Times – Sue Mi Terry2/25/2019
Talk of a Nobel Peace Prize for President Trump, commonplace among his supporters before his first summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has been revived in advance of their second summit, in Hanoi this week. Indeed, the Japanese news media have reported that Trump asked Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to nominate him. But will the summit produce a breakthrough for peace or merely a peace mirage?

After Terrorist Attack in Kashmir, Will India Seek Vengeance or De-Escalation?
Washington Post – Christopher Clary2/25/2019
Once begun, tit-for-tat spirals are inherently dangerous — and almost unheard of between nuclear-armed nations. The losing country has an incentive to escalate, and that makes it difficult to keep a conflict limited. As Carl von Clausewitz observed nearly two centuries ago, this pushes conflict toward extremes.

Special Interest

The Iranian Nuclear Archive: Implications and Recommendations
Institute for Science and International Security2/25/2019
An unappreciated development over the last year was Israel’s seizure in Tehran of significant portions of a “Nuclear Archive” that contained tens of thousands of files and CDs relating to Iran’s past efforts at nuclear weapon design, development, and manufacturing. It is now apparent that the archive is extremely rich in new information about Iran’s substantial, rapidly advancing nuclear weapons effort in the early 2000s.

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