Nuclear Policy News – January 29, 2018

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North Korea, Under Sanctions Strain, Dials Back Military Exercises
Wall Street Journal

Olympic Dreams of a United Korea? Many in South Say, ‘No, Thanks’
New York Times

Tillerson says Washington, Europe start work on Iran nuclear deal

Is Russia helping North Korea? Moscow hits back at reports it violates U.N. sanctions


‘The Military Has Seen the Writing on the Wall’
The Atlantic1/28/18
When Senator Tammy Duckworth returned from a recent trip to South Korea and Japan, she brought back a sobering message: “Americans simply are not in touch with just how close we are to war on the Korean peninsula.”

North Korea, Under Sanctions Strain, Dials Back Military Exercises
Wall Street Journal1/29/18
North Korea’s armed forces have scaled back their annual winter military exercises this year, U.S. officials said, a development they believe reflects growing pressure from international sanctions on the isolated nation’s economy and its military preparedness.

Poll: North Korea is top issue for Republican voters in 2018 midterms
The Hill1/27/18
Republican voters are most interested in hearing from congressional candidates running in this year’s midterm elections about provocations by North Korea, according to a new survey.

U.S.’s Mattis: Diplomacy should impose reason on North Korea’s Kim
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stressed diplomacy as the way to deal with the North Korean crisis on Friday during talks with his South Korean counterpart in Hawaii, a day after Seoul’s top diplomat said a military solution would be unacceptable.

Olympic Dreams of a United Korea? Many in South Say, ‘No, Thanks’
New York Times1/28/18
South Koreans, especially younger ones, are far less interested in reconciliation, to say nothing of reunification.

What To Make Of North Korea’s Olympic Overtures
NPR’s Scott Simon talks to Jung Pak at the Brookings Institution’s Center for East Asia Policy Studies about North Korea’s military and diplomatic goals ahead of the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in takes hit in polls with North Korea overture
The Washington Times1/26/18
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has taken a significant hit to his popularity in the wake of his diplomatic overture promising warmer ties with North Korea, a new poll shows.

Kim Jong Un’s slush fund running out of fuel after numerous missile, nuclear tests, report says
Fox News1/26/18
Kim Jong Un’s trigger-happy antics have nearly depleted a critical slush fund the North Korean despot uses to run his isolated country — and the Hermit Kingdom’s participation in the upcoming Winter Olympics is merely a scheme to refill his coffers, according to a report.

South Korean defense chief skeptical of North nuclear threats, says tactical nukes won’t be reintroduced to peninsula
Japan Times1/29/18
Seoul’s defense chief on Monday cast doubt on Pyongyang’s threats to strike the United States or South Korea with nuclear weapons, saying that such a move would result in the country being “literally wiped off the face of the Earth.”


Tillerson says Washington, Europe start work on Iran nuclear deal
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Saturday that working groups on fixing what the U.S. sees as flaws in the Iranian nuclear deal have already begun to meet, trying to determine the scope of what is needed and how much Iran needs to be engaged in it.


Is Russia helping North Korea? Moscow hits back at reports it violates U.N. sanctions
Moscow is neither buying coal from North Korea, nor helping the regime by acting as a middleman for coal exports to other countries, the Russian Embassy in Pyongyang has declared.


The Other NPR: Nuclear Posture Review
The Trump administration is working on a new military weapons policy. NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro speaks to Alexandra Bell of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.


A total ban on nuclear weapons is the only path to global security
The HillBeatrice Fihn
Rather than trying to “de-nuke” North Korea by threatening to make more nuclear weapons and make it more likely to use them, the best way Trump can make sure North Korea does not have nuclear weapons is to join the global treaty to ban them.

We are on the cusp of a new arms race
Washington Post1/26/18
To keep the peace, a balance of power among strategic rivals is a wise objective for any nation. But unless partnership on matters of mutual interest, for example climate change or nuclear non-proliferation, is an integral part of calculating that balance, a metric of military might alone tends toward the risk of war — each side will seek advantage over the other in the name of defense.

What should you do if a nuclear bomb is heading your way?
Washington Post1/26/18
On Jan. 13, the state of Hawaii spent 38 minutes in terror after a text alert mistakenly warned of an incoming nuclear missile attack. If you heard about the mistake and wondered what you would or should do if you learned a nuclear bomb was heading your way, you’re not alone.

The Fog of Peace and Limited Strikes on North Korea
The DiplomatFranz-Stefan Gady
When debating possible limited strikes on North Korea, let us not forget the inherent unpredictability of war.

Shrugging Toward Doomsday
The AtlanticRobinson Meyer
Experts warn that the world is now as dangerous as it was at the height of the Cold War. Many Americans already know it.

Only Trump can restore America’s ability to win a nuclear war
The HillRobert Monroe
When the Cold War ended in 1991, America made an unwise decision. No enemies were in sight, so our leaders — with the strong concurrence of the American people — decided it was safe to dismantle much of the superb nuclear weapons capability that had won that half-century of poised armageddon.

Is a Better American Nuclear Arsenal Good for the Asia-Pacific?
The DiplomatKim Mu Kwan
U.S. modernization efforts risk sparking a nuclear arms race with China.

Attacking North Korea Is Unthinkable. Or Is It?
If radical concessions like pulling troops off the peninsula won’t work, the U.S. will have to take out Kim’s nukes and artillery from the air.

This is how nuclear war with North Korea would unfold – step by step
The IndependentJeffrey Lewis
With the Doomsday Clock set at two minutes to midnight, it is not unreasonable to consider the all-too-plausible worst-case scenario of nuclear war, when millions die from a couple of mistakes and a tweet

Should the U.S. try to deter cyberattacks by promising nuclear retaliation?
Washington PostSarah Kreps and Jacquelyn Schneider
Nuclear retaliation for a cyberattack would be a new — and controversial — solution to a problem that the United States has grappled with for years: How can the United States deter adversaries from launching large-scale attacks against a civilian infrastructure that is both digitally dependent and tremendously vulnerable to attack?


Worst case scenario: the ‘preppers’ gearing up for disaster
The Guardian1/28/18
A growing number of people around the UK – preppers or survivalists, in the parlance – are quietly gearing up for the worst.

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