Nuclear Policy News – March 21, 2019

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Why Pentagon’s Claim on a Preemptive Nuclear Strike Right Should Not Be Exaggerated
Valdai Discussion Club

Trump Takes Increased Control Over North Korea Nuke Talks: Report
The Hill

A Nuclear Treaty the Trump Administration Can Support
Defense One – Kenneth C. Brill

U.S. Nuclear Policy

U.S. Blames Russia And China For Space ‘Arms Race,’ But Refuses Their Weapons Ban
Amid ongoing disarmament talks in Geneva, Assistant State Secretary of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Yleem Poblete asked Tuesday how the U.S. could “trust Russian arms control efforts and their seriousness about preventing an arms race in outer space when they have touted the development and completion of a broad array of counterspace capabilities.”


Trump Takes Increased Control Over North Korea Nuke Talks: Report
The Hill3/20/2019
Citing officials familiar with the matter, the news outlet reports Trump halted an endeavor by negotiator Stephen Biegun to reach the Hermit Kingdom through its United Nations mission in New York City.

The Hanoi Summit: A Blessing in Disguise but What Now? A View from Seoul
38 North3/20/2019
Some observers in Seoul, deeply troubled by the outcome of the first Trump-Kim summit in Singapore, feared that the Hanoi Summit might produce an agreement that only partially addressed North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat and that the US would provide too much compensation to North Korea in return, especially in areas affecting ROK-US combined defense posture.

Nuclear North Korea Can Keep Its Weapons
National Interest3/20/2019
Kim Jong-un may not be willing to denuclearize now, but it’s possible that his calculations could change after some trust has been established and Pyongyang’s relations with its neighbors have become more productive.


Nuclear Weapons Use Threshold Lowering Due to US Actions – Moscow
The threshold for the use of nuclear weapons is lowering due to the US actions and its new strategy, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said Thursday commenting on earlier statements by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Middle East

Nuclear Energy Is Becoming A Political Football In The Middle East, But It’s Nothing To Do With Iran
For years the greatest concern anyone had about nuclear power in the Middle East was how it might lead to Iran acquiring atomic weapons. Nowadays it is two of the region’s Arab monarchies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, that are the focus of debate.


Why Pentagon’s Claim on a Preemptive Nuclear Strike Right Should Not Be Exaggerated
Valdai Discussion Club – Pavel Zolotaryov3/21/2019
The United States believes that it must not only have the ability to repel an attack and defeat potential aggressors, but also stop any perceived foe it believes intends to attack the United States. This is how the Pentagon, in a statement, explained why the US has the right to launch a preemptive nuclear strike. This danger should not be exaggerated. It is quite obvious that here we are not talking about launching an attack against China, and certainly not Russia, writes Pavel Zolotaryov, Deputy Director at the RAS Institute of USA and Canada.

A Nuclear Treaty the Trump Administration Can Support
Defense One – Kenneth C. Brill3/20/2019
The lion’s share of recent attention to international nuclear agreements has gone toward the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Iran deal, its anticipated scuttling of the INF treaty, and the shrinking prospects for an extension to New START. But there is one area of nuclear security where the White House might be persuaded to boost its international engagement: strengthening efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism.

Back to the Nuclear Precipice
Project Syndicate – Javier Solana3/20/2019
Long a global leader in efforts to reduce nuclear-weapons stockpiles and limit nuclear proliferation, the United States is now fostering the conditions for a new global arms race. With hawks calling the shots in US President Donald Trump’s administration, a nuclear conflagration in one of the world’s hot spots is becoming more likely.

War Nightmare: Could America Fight Russia and China Simultaneously?
National Interest – Robert Farley3/20/2019
The United States can still fight and win two major wars at the same time, or at least come near enough to winning that neither Russia nor China would see much hope in the gamble. The United States can do this because it continues to maintain the world’s most formidable military, and because it stands at the head of an extremely powerful military alliance.

Who Will Be the World’s Next Nuclear Policeman?
CNN- David Andelman3/20/2019
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union three decades ago, the United States has often played a unique role as the world’s nuclear policeman. During that period, no other nation has acquired a deliverable nuclear weapon. But as Trump’s failed North Korea talks suggest, America is no longer fulfilling its traditional function effectively, leaving a dangerous vacuum with no clear player to fill the void.

Special Interest

North Korea To Host “Mass Games” Performances Again -Tour Agencies
After reviving the huge performances known as “Mass Games” last year to sell an image of international engagement and peace, North Korea will again host the event this year, foreign tour agencies said. Unlike some past shows, last year’s imagery largely avoided anti-American themes, though one part of the show compared sanctions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes to waves crashing against the country.

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