Nuclear Policy News – June 7, 2019

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Top News

Trump’s Twists on Confronting Iran Confound Allies in Europe
New York Times

A Dangerous Plan to Limit U.S. Nukes
Wall Street Journal – Mike Turner

Lessons from North Korean Denuclearization: Implications for Nonproliferation, Arms Control and the Nuclear Taboo
38 North – Mason Richey

East Asia

Kim’s Worst Nightmare: An Attack by South Korea’s Air Force?
The National Interest6/6/19
The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) is the most powerful air force on the Korean Peninsula, with a capability far greater than its northern rival, providing air cover and support to ground forces defending south of the thirty-eighth parallel. Recently, the air force has taken on a new task as Seoul shapes a conventional force to deter North Korea’s nuclear weapons.

Under North Korea Threat, US Sticks to Its Denuclearization Demand
Ahead of the first anniversary of the US-Singapore summit on June 12, North Korea is threatening not to honor their agreements from the summit.

Explainer: Why is Japan’s Abe going to Iran? What can he accomplish?
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is due to visit Iran next week in an apparent mediation mission to ease tension between Iran and the United States.

Middle East

Putin Says Iran’s Nuclear and Missile Programs Are Separate Issues
Radio Farda6/6/19
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Iran has fully complied with the world’s atomic watchdog and its nuclear issue is separate from its missile program.

U.S. commander says Iran threat very real, imminent
The top commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East says the Iranian regime poses an “imminent threat” and could carry out an attack basically at any time.

Mike Pompeo: U.S. not pushing for regime change in Iran
The Washington Times6/7/19
The U.S. is not pursuing a policy regime change in Iran, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who says the Trump administration is committed to a strategy of applying economic pressure to get the Islamic republic’s existing leadership to “behave like a normal nation.”


Trump’s Twists on Confronting Iran Confound Allies in Europe
New York Times6/7/19
President Trump and his aides have sent a dizzying, seemingly conflicting set of messages to Iran in recent weeks, ordering more troops to the Middle East and a carrier to the Arabian Sea as military threats even while declaring that Washington is seeking new negotiations, not war. European allies, still trying to save a 2015 deal to restrain Iran’s nuclear program that Mr. Trump abandoned a year ago, are trying to make sense of the administration’s strategy.

Multilateral Arms Control

Russian President Says U.S. Is Shunning Negotiations on Nuclear Arms Treaty
Democracy Now6/7/19
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Thursday of a “global catastrophe” if the Trump administration abandons talks on extending the New START nuclear arms treaty.

U.S. Nuclear Policy

The Trump Administration is downgrading toxic nuclear weapons waste to cut disposal costs- should we be worried?
The Trump administration announced on Wednesday that it is moving forward with plans to reclassify toxic nuclear waste from Cold War weapons research, downgrading some of it from the highest level, in order to cut costs and quicken the disposal process.

Ellis to Succeed Retiring Douglass as Deputy Director of Sandia
Exchange Monitor6/6/19
National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia appointed D.E. “Dori” Ellis deputy director of the nation’s nuclear-weapons-technology lab, the Honeywell-owned lab-manager announced Wednesday.

Opinion and Analysis

A Dangerous Plan to Limit U.S. Nukes
Wall Street Journal – Mike Turner6/6/19
If Congress bans low-yield weapons, it would hand an advantage to Moscow and make war more likely.

Lessons from North Korean Denuclearization: Implications for Nonproliferation, Arms Control and the Nuclear Taboo
38 North – Mason Richey6/6/19
Under the Trump administration, Washington is not acting in conformity with what should be the most obvious conclusion drawn from denuclearization negotiations with Pyongyang: avoid incentivizing more North Koreas. Instead, it is setting the conditions for additional proliferation headaches at a time of great fragility of nonproliferation and arms control regimes.

As I See It: Finish Ike and JFK’s dream of nuclear test ban
Worcester Telegram – William Lambers6/7/19
News that Russia allegedly conducted low yield nuclear tests should be a wakeup call to get arms control back in action. Since President Trump took office we have been sliding backwards on nuclear diplomacy, including withdrawing from the INF Treaty with Russia and exiting the Iran nuclear deal. Trump has also failed to extend the new START Treaty with Russia reducing strategic nuclear warheads.

A ‘P5+4’ summit could break the nuclear deadlock
The Strategist – Ramesh Thakur6/7/19
In April, US President Donald Trump directed White House officials to identify pathways to new arms control agreements with Russia and China. If he’s looking for a big and bold new idea, here’s one: a ‘P5+4’ nuclear summit of the leaders of the nine countries that have the bomb.

How to Navigate the Fog of War on Iran
The Atlantic – Mike Giglio6/6/19
The question of how to read U.S. intelligence on Iranian threats—and how to respond to them—is at the center of a debate over military escalation.

How Trump Could Restart the Nuclear Arms Race
Slate – Fred Kaplan6/6/19
If President Donald Trump doesn’t act quickly, the nuclear arms race, which has been fairly dormant for decades, might break into a gallop.

The no-nuke ‘80s creep back
AEI Ideas – Giselle Donnelly6/7/19
To say that traditional national security and defense issues pass under the parapets of today’s partisan political fields of fire is an understatement, with two notable exceptions. The first is the overall level of military spending, but that’s just a matter of quibbling; the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives reduced the defense budget by just $20 billion or so from the $750 billion requested by the Trump administration. The second issue, and one that’s very likely to loom large in the presidential campaign, is the matter of nuclear weapons, treaties and, particularly, modernization programs.

Special Interest

Why HBO’s “Chernobyl” Gets Nuclear So Wrong
In the end, HBO’s “Chernobyl” gets nuclear wrong for the same reason humankind as a whole has been getting it wrong for over 60 years, which is that we’ve displaced our fears of nuclear weapons onto nuclear power plants.

‘Atomic Veterans’ Can Apply For Defense Secretary’s Honor Certificate
EIN Newsdesk6/7/19
Veterans who were exposed to radiation in the military between 1945 and 1992 are eligible to apply for the newly created Atomic Veterans Service Certificate signed by Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan.

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