Top News: Russia optimistic that Joe Biden will extend New START nuclear weapons deal Newsweek ‘The world’s on fire’ and other takeaways from Biden’s secretary of state nominee confirmation hearing USA Today Blinken says U.S. plans full review of approach to North Korea Reuters United States ‘The world’s on fire’ and other takeaways from Biden’s secretary of state nominee confirmation hearing USA Today1/19/21 Blinken faced bipartisan skepticism from the committee about Biden’s pledge to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal. OPINION: Dangers nuclear policy idea number 1: Unconditionally extending New START for five years Heritage FoundationPatty-Jane Geller 1/19/21 The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) between the United States and Russia expires on February 5, 2021, leaving the Biden Administration just two weeks to decide whether to extend the treaty for up to five years. East Asia China to field more nuclear weapons that can target the United States Janes1/20/21 China’s missile force is expanding, with the number of nuclear warheads capable of reaching the United States on intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) potentially increasing to “well over 200” within the next five years, according to a report by the US Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC). Blinken says U.S. plans full review of approach to North Korea Reuters1/19/21 President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Tuesday the incoming administration planned a full review of the U.S. approach to North Korea to look at ways to increase pressure on the country to come to the negotiating table over its nuclear weapons. ANALYSIS: Top conflicts to watch in 2021: A North Korea crisis Council on Foreign RelationsScott Snyder 1/19/21 As we turn the calendar on 2020 and embark on 2021, the incoming Joe Biden administration faces no shortage of challenges. ANALYSIS: North Korea’s choice of a nuclear strategy: A dynamic approach Defense and Security AnalysisManseok Lee, Sangmin Lee 1/20/21 This study presents an analytical framework for predicting the conditions under which North Korea would choose a particular nuclear strategy. Middle East ‘Ball in US court’: Iran’s Rouhani serves Biden on nuclear deal Al Jazeera1/20/21 Opposing messages by Iran and new US administration promise difficult road ahead for the 2015 nuclear deal. U.S. is some ways from decision on resuming Iran nuclear deal: Blinken Reuters1/19/21 The United States does not face a quick decision on whether to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal abandoned by U.S. President Donald Trump, two of President-elect Joe Biden’s top national security nominees said on Tuesday. OPINION: Biden doesn’t need to rush back into the Iran nuclear deal to defuse tensions Washington PostDennis Ross 1/19/21 Iran has resumed enriching uranium to 20 percent in its secretive Fordow facility, which is literally built inside a mountain. Russia and Europe Russia optimistic that Joe Biden will extend New START nuclear weapons deal Newsweek1/20/21 The Kremlin has welcomed the suggestion by the incoming U.S. administration that it wants to extend the bilateral arms control treaty that expires within days of Joe Biden taking office.