Nuclear Policy News – February 7, 2018

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North Korea to face harshest U.S. sanctions ever, Pence vows
Washington Post

Iran pledges commitment to nuclear accord even if US withdraws
Financial Times

Mattis: Plans for new U.S. nuclear weapon could be bargaining chip with Russia
Washington Post

Nuclear Posture Review: The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same
Defense 360Rebecca Hersman


North Korea to face harshest U.S. sanctions ever, Pence vows
Washington Post2/7/18
Vice President Pence said the Trump administration plans to roll out its harshest sanctions yet against North Korea during a Wednesday news conference in Japan.

North Korea calls Trump ‘dolt-like’ and compares ‘bloody nose’ strike to Iraq War run-up
Japan Times2/6/18
Nuclear-armed North Korea unleashed a raft of insults and threats against the U.S. and its leader on Tuesday, calling Donald Trump “dolt-like” and comparing recent reports of a possible “bloody nose” limited strike against Pyongyang to the run-up to the Iraq War.

Kim Jong-un’s Influential Sister to Visit South Korea for Olympic Ceremony
New York Times2/7/18
The only sister of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, will visit South Korea this week, the first immediate member of the North’s ruling family ever to set foot in the South, officials said on Wednesday.

North Korea ‘months away’ from ability to hit U.S. with nuclear weapon: U.S. envoy
North Korea is only months away from obtaining the capability to hit U.S. territory with a nuclear weapon and must be disarmed, a U.S. envoy said on Tuesday, dismissing Pyonyang’s diplomatic thaw with South Korea as a “charm offensive” that fooled no one.

U.S. and North Korea debate whose nukes present biggest threat to the world at disarmament conference
The American and North Korean envoys to the United Nations–sponsored Conference on Disarmament debated the danger presented by the two countries’ nuclear capabilities in a lively exchange at a meeting held on Tuesday in Geneva, Switzerland.

Trump ‘seeking nuclear war’ with new posture: North Korean institute
Japan Times2/7/18
U.S. President Donald Trump is “seeking nuclear war” through a controversial new push to revamp America’s nuclear arsenal, an institute attached to North Korea’s foreign ministry said Tuesday.


Iran pledges commitment to nuclear accord even if US withdraws
Financial Times2/6/18
Hassan Rouhani said Iran would remain committed to its nuclear accord with world powers even if the Trump administration pulled out of deal.


Don’t Worry Where Russia Deploys Nuclear Missiles, Says Kremlin
Moscow Times2/6/18
Other countries should not concern themselves with where Russia deploys weapons on its territory, the Kremlin has said after neighboring Lithuania raised flags over Moscow placing nuclear-capable Iskander missiles near its borders.


India Tests Nuclear Capable Short-Range Ballistic Missile
The Diplomat2/7/18
India’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) test fired an Agni-I short-range nuclear capable ballistic missile from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at the Dr Abdul Kalam Island in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Odisha on February 6.


Mattis: There Is No Such Thing as a ‘Tactical’ Nuke
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said there is “no such thing” as a tactical nuclear weapon in the context of strategies that consider the use of so-called “low yield” weapons to avert all-out nuclear war.

Mattis: Plans for new U.S. nuclear weapon could be bargaining chip with Russia
Washington Post2/6/17
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis offered a justification for the Pentagon’s amped-up nuclear weapons policy, saying that at least one of two new nuclear arms the U.S. military wants to introduce could be used as a bargaining chip with the Russians.

Will the US trade its new sub-launched cruise missile for Russian arms treaty compliance?
Defense News2/6/18
Under the recently released Nuclear Posture Review, the U.S. intends to produce a new sea-launched nuclear cruise missile ― part of a plan to directly put pressure on Russia’s nuclear forces. But could it be part of a broader diplomatic effort to bring Russia in line with the existing Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty? U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis appears hopeful it can.


Nuclear Posture Review: The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same
Defense 360Rebecca Hersman
If the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review reflected a slightly left-of-center compromise perspective, which probably fell to the right of President Obama’s preferences and those of many Democratic congressional leaders, the 2018 NPR is a slightly right-of-center policy that falls to the left of statements from President Trump and his allies on Capitol Hill.

Continuity and Change in U.S. Nuclear Policy
Real Clear DefenseJohn Harvey, Franklin Miller, Keith Payne, and Bradley Roberts
Each of us considers the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) recently issued by Secretary of Defense Mattis to be clearly in the mainstream of U.S. nuclear policy as it has evolved through nearly eight decades of the nuclear age.

Winter Olympics thaw won’t warm young South Koreans to unity
ReutersAndray Abrahamian
Pyongyang’s charm offensives on the South will longer work; younger South Koreans just don’t care that much about unification.

Is Trump talking himself into a hot war with Iran and North Korea?
NewsweekJohn Glaser
On the two most arresting national security issues at the top of Trump’s agenda—Iran and North Korea—his approach is plain: aggressive confrontation is good; diplomacy is bad.

The World Doesn’t Need Any More Nuclear Strategies
Foreign PolicyStephen Walt
The Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review answers questions nobody should be asking.

Trump’s plan for nuclear weapons makes sense
USATodayMichael O’Hanlon
The Trump administration is stepping up to Russia’s nuclear developments, but it overestimates how much it will cost.

Trump nuclear posture outlines reasoned steps to ensure deterrence after years of neglect
The HillRobert Joseph
Following the State of the Union speech, in which President Trump announced his intention to “modernize and rebuild” the U.S. nuclear deterrent, the administration released its much-anticipated Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), providing the underlying rationale and nuclear-force posture recommendations to ensure a credible nuclear deterrent against a broad range of strategic threats that face our nation.

Only a weapons lab can find a weapons lab
Albuquerque JournalNancy Jo Nicholas
When North Korea tested its sixth nuclear weapon in September 2017, instruments all over the world and in orbit lit up, gathering vast streams of data that scientists used to characterize the blast.

Geostrategic nuclear exports: the competition for influence in Saudi Arabia
War on the RocksNicholas Miller and Tristan Volpe
If Washington cedes the nuclear supply game at this early stage of development in Saudi Arabia, Moscow or Beijing will become the primary stewards of Riyadh’s nuclear ambitions.

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