TOP NEWS Russian fighter jets and bombers intercepted off Alaska for second day in a row CBS News A North Korean Coal Tanker Is Blocking Talks on Nuclear Disarmament Newsweek Nuclear war risk highest since WWII, UN arms research chief warns Al Jazeera U.S. Nuclear News Russian fighter jets and bombers intercepted off Alaska for second day in a row CBS News5/22/2019 U.S. warplanes intercepted Russian bombers and fighter jets off the Alaskan coast for the second day in a row on Tuesday, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) confirmed early Wednesday morning. New Donald Trump Sanctions Target the Shadowy Chinese Weapons Dealer in China-Iran Ballistic Missile Deals Newsweek5/22/2019 The Donald Trump administration took double-barrelled aim at China and Iran on Wednesday, sanctioning a shadowy Chinese weapons merchant for illegally supplying the Islamic Republic with advanced ballistic missile components. Mattis cautions against war with Iran in first public remarks since leaving the Pentagon Task & Purpose5/23/2019 Indeed, Mattis was generally in favor of engaging with Iran over President Barack Obama’s landmark nuclear accord, a position that put him at odds with Trump. Raytheon Says Laser Weapon Will Blast Nuclear Missiles from Sky Futurism5/21/2019 Military technology company Raytheon is teasing plans to build a powerful laser weapon capable of shooting down hypersonic nuclear missiles. East Asia A North Korean Coal Tanker Is Blocking Talks on Nuclear Disarmament Newsweek5/23/2019 North Korea is refusing to re-engage with stalled disarmament talks until the U.S. returns a seized container ship accused of violating international sanctions. The vessel was detained by Indonesia with two dozen crew members on board. ‘This is a meme’: Pundits don’t understand Korea strategy, says top US commander ArmyTimes5/22/2019 Before, large-scale exercises were held for two primary reasons: a high-profile deterrence campaign, and to maintain core wartime competencies, Abrams said. Both of those needs will still be met, he added, but with a “lower profile in the information space or reduced volume.” United Nations Nuclear war risk highest since WWII, UN arms research chief warns Al Jazeera5/21/2019 Senior UN security expert says all states with nuclear weapons have nuclear modernisation programmes under way. Speaking to reporters in the Swiss city of Geneva on Tuesday, Renata Dwan, director of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), said the arms-control landscape was changing – partly due to strategic competition between the United States and China South Asia Pakistan says wants peace with India, conducts missile test Economic Times5/23/2019 Pakistan has signaled a willingness to open peace talks with India as Prime Minister Narendra Modi appears set to return to power in New Delhi after an election fought in the shadow of renewed confrontation between the nuclear-armed enemies. But in a possible warning to India, Pakistan also announced that it has conducted a training launch of a Shaheen II, surface-to-surface ballistic missile. Opinion/Analysis/Commentary Why nuclear diplomacy needs more women Washington Post – Elena Souris5/23/2019 The story of women in nuclear security reflects many of the broader lessons we’ve learned about gender and politics: that women’s contributions have often been ignored or excluded, risking policies that lack key perspectives, nuance and debate. With today’s high stakes, we need national security policy that includes all of the best ideas. For that, history suggests we focus now on innovation, not preserving historical hierarchies. What John Bolton’s Iranian Regime Change Looks Like The New York Observer – Davis Richardson5/22/2019 As the Pentagon explores the possibility of deploying 120,000 troops to Iran, with President Donald Trump threatening the mullahs’ regime over Twitter, Bolton has a unique opportunity to imprint his own vision on the region. European Security and Strategic Stability Valdai Discussion Club – Sergei Oznobishchev5/20/2019 Right now, it is vitally important to restore stability of the negotiating process itself, seeking not only to revive dialogue but also to upgrade it in such a way as to make its sudden interruption by one of the sides all but impossible. This alone will be a crucial contribution to maintaining and consolidating strategic stability.