Nuclear Policy News – March 7, 2018

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On North Korea, Trump Finds Himself in Same Position as His Predecessors
New York Times

Kim Jong-un, a Mystery to the World, Surprises in Diplomatic Debut
New York Times

Hypersonics ‘highest technical priority’ for Pentagon R&D head
Defense News


Koreas agree to hold third summit in April, reaffirm resolve to denuclearize
Yonhap News Agency3/6/18
South Korea and North Korea have agreed to hold a summit of their leaders late next month, South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s top security adviser said Tuesday on the outcome of his trip to the communist North.

How to read North Korea’s offer of talks
The Economist3/6/18
Kim Jong Un is feeling the heat, even if he is also trying to divide America from its allies

Raising Hopes, North Korea Offers to Talk About Its Nuclear Arsenal
New York Times3/6/18
North Korea’s sudden willingness to bargain with the Trump administration over scrapping its atomic arsenal surprised the world on Tuesday, setting in motion an unpredictable diplomatic dance with the United States and South Korea, but raising hopes that one of the most dangerous confrontations of the nuclear age could be defused.

How Kim Jong Un Seized Control of the Nuclear Crisis
The Atlantic3/6/18
And slowed down talk of war in Washington

On North Korea, Trump Finds Himself in Same Position as His Predecessors
New York Times3/6/18
From the day he took office, President Trump has vowed not to repeat what he regarded as the cardinal error of his predecessors in dealing with North Korea. He would not get drawn into a lengthy negotiation in which the United States offers concessions that keep the North Korean regime alive, while the North Koreans retain the key elements of their nuclear arsenal.

Kim Jong-un, a Mystery to the World, Surprises in Diplomatic Debut
New York Times3/7/18
When senior South Korean envoys sat down this week with North Korea’s reclusive leader, Kim Jong-un, they had a series of talking points in hand for a man whose diplomatic experience was limited to meetings with officials from China, Cuba and Syria.


Israel PM takes aim at Iran, thanks US for support
Washington Post3/6/18
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took aim at Iran on Tuesday, saying the Islamic Republic is responsible for “darkness descending” on the Middle East by building an anti-Israel empire.


Hypersonics ‘highest technical priority’ for Pentagon R&D head
Defense News3/6/18
As China and Russia threaten to overtake the U.S. with new technologies, development of hypersonic capabilities is the “highest technical priority” for Michael Griffin, the Pentagon’s new undersecretary of defense for research and engineering.

Vice Chairman Highlights Importance of Nuclear Deterrence
The recent Nuclear Posture Review ensures the United States can match any nuclear threat, including that of a low-yield nuclear weapon, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.


Kim Jong Un Makes America Irrelevant
The AtlanticJon Wolfsthal
Seoul wants to try diplomacy with Pyongyang. Where does that leave Washington?

Putin’s Video Superweapons Are Just His Virtual Reality
BloombergJames Stavridis
Many of the weapons the Russian president bragged about are fantasy, but his chilling tone was a new reality.

Putin’s Exotic New Missiles Didn’t Come From Nowhere. What Can the US Do in Response?
The DiplomatLawrence Korb
The last thing the world needs is another arms race. The U.S. would do well to avoid taking Putin’s bait.

What’s Missing in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review
Real Clear DefenseVaughn Standley
The NPR is predicated on deterrence, which is about “decisively influencing an adversary’s decision calculus to prevent attack or the escalation of a conflict.” What’s missing in the NPR are substantive new information-related approaches to achieving this goal.

5 things to know about North Korea’s nuclear weapons
Washington PostJoby Warrick and Julie Vitkovskaya
South Korean officials announced Tuesday that North Korea is willing to hold talks with the United States on curbing its missile and nuclear weapons programs.

What should Kim trust more: his nuclear weapons or Trump?
CNNJonathan Cristol
It appears that major diplomatic breakthroughs have been made between Pyongyang and Seoul. But before you break out the good soju, it is worth examining what’s been reported and what it actually means.

Putin’s nuclear ambitions raise serious proliferation questions
The HillDaniel Gerstein
With manned systems, the crew serves as the security against the proliferation of the nuclear power plant. However, using unmanned systems removes this layer of security, should a deployed nuclear-powered system fall into foreign hands.

Kim Jong Un is suddenly talking about peace. Here’s why.
Washington PostDavid Von Drehle
With the announcement of a summit between North and South Korean leaders as a possible prelude to talks with the Trump administration, Kim has maneuvered within view of a victory his forefathers only dreamed of: membership in the world community, on North Korea’s terms.

America ignores Russia at its peril
Washington PostDavid Ignatius
In his chilling account of the Romanov dynasty, the British histor­ian Simon Sebag Montefiore quoted Pyotr Stolypin, who was interior minister for Nicholas II, the last of the czars: “In Russia, nothing is more dangerous than the appearance of weakness.”

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