Nuclear Policy News – March 1, 2018

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U.S. Banks on Diplomacy With North Korea, but Moves Ahead on Military Plans
New York Times

Putin boasts of new Russian nuclear weapons
ABC News3/1/18

EU, U.S. officials plan Berlin talks on Iran nuclear deal: source


U.S. Banks on Diplomacy With North Korea, but Moves Ahead on Military Plans
New York Times2/28/18
A classified military exercise last week examined how American troops would mobilize and strike if ordered into a potential war on the Korean Peninsula, even as diplomatic overtures between the North and the Trump administration continue.

North Korea reportedly promotes diplomat in charge of ties with U.S.
Japan Times2/28/18
Choe Son Hui, director general of the North American department at the North Korean Foreign Ministry, has been promoted to a vice ministerial position, a U.S.-based news site reported Wednesday.

DPRK media rejects accusation of forcible reunification attempt through nukes
Official media of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Wednesday rejected accusations by U.S. officials that the DPRK is seeking to achieve a forcible reunification with South Korea with its own system by means of nuclear arms.

China tells Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un to start talking
A senior Chinese official said the governments of the U.S. and North Korea must begin direct, bilateral talks as soon as possible if the security issues on the Korean Peninsula are ever to be resolved.

How North Korea uses bitcoin to get around US sanctions
The US keeps imposing new sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear program but they’re not changing Kim Jong Un’s behavior — and for a surprising reason: Pyongyang’s skill at using cryptocurrencies.

To measure the prowess of North Korean missiles, researchers spy with open-source clues
As North Korean missiles fly farther and more frequently under Kim Jong-un, the outside world watches warily, using a network of early-warning radar, sensors and satellites that track the test weapons in real time. In the third installment of our Nuclear North series, science correspondent Miles O’Brien takes a final look at how their bombs might be delivered.

Russia says U.S. war with North Korea could kill ‘millions” of innocent people
Russia’s top diplomat has warned about the massive loss of life and humanitarian crisis that would occur if the U.S. took military action against nuclear-armed North Korea.


EU, U.S. officials plan Berlin talks on Iran nuclear deal: source
European and U.S. officials are planning to meet in Berlin in March for talks on Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, a German Foreign Ministry source said on Wednesday.


Putin boasts of new Russian nuclear weapons
ABC News3/1/18
Russia has tested an array of new strategic nuclear weapons that can’t be intercepted, President Vladimir Putin announced Thursday, marking a technological breakthrough that could dramatically increase Russia’s military capability, boost the Kremlin’s global position and also raise Western concerns about a potential renewed arms race in the 21st century.

Nuclear Weapons and Economic Woes: The Highlights of Putin’s Federal Assembly Address
Moscow Times3/1/18
In an unexpected move, the president devoted nearly thirty minutes of his two-hour long speech to discussing — and showing off in a series of videos — Russia’s newly improved nuclear missile capabilities.

Top US nuclear commander: Russia is ‘the only existential threat to the country right now’
“Russia is the most significant threat just because they pose the only existential threat to the country right now. So we have to look at that from that perspective,” Air Force Gen. John Hyten said.


Will the US Navy’s High-Tech Destroyer Be Armed With Nuke Cruise Missiles?
The Diplomat2/28/18
U.S. Strategic Command may seek to deploy low-yield nuclear weapons aboard Zumwalt-class warships, the U.S. Navy’s largest and technologically most advanced class of guided-missile destroyers, according to the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, General John Hyten.


Escalating to De-escalate
Arms Control WonkMichael Krepon
Do Russian nuclear doctrine and military exercises indicate an “escalate-to-de-escalate” posture?

The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First
Wall Street JournalJohn Bolton
Does the necessity of self-defense leave ‘no choice of means, and no moment of deliberation’?

How the unlucky Lucky Dragon birthed an era of nuclear fear
Bulletin of Atomic ScientistsDavid Ropeik
The Lucky Dragon incident helped spread widespread fear of nuclear radiation into popular culture.

Trump’s Iran approach is every bit as weak as Obama’s was
Washington PostJennifer Rubin
If President Barack Obama was fixated on a nuclear deal, then President Trump can fairly be said to be fixated on reversing it — with no success and to the detriment of other issues, which we might arguably be able to address with a coherent policy approach.

Dr. Strangelove in the Pentagon
War is Boring3/1/18
Lowering the nuclear threshold and other follies of the new Nuclear Posture Review

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