Kim’s Missile Reveals Trump’s Policy Vacuum
On the radar: Negotiations necessary on North Korea; No military option with North Korea; American missile defense an expensive charade; New York Times urges Korea talks; Washington Post proposes sanctions; Reminder: attack on Korea would be catastrophic; New nukes still a bad idea; Nikki Haley disputes UN’s Iran report
Negotiations only option with North Korea - “North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile flew right past President Donald Trump’s boast of ‘It won’t happen!’ Guess what, boss? It’s happening. It’s bad and it’s going to get worse. And Trump has no plan for how to stop it,” writes Joe Cirincione for Defense One. “North Korea went nuclear on George W. Bush’s watch, advanced rapidly under Obama’s, and now, under Trump’s, will achieve what only two other U.S. adversaries have done in history—put America in its nuclear crosshairs. Can he be stopped? Yes, but it won’t be easy.”
--“Talks could be started to explore ‘a variation on China’s proposal, backed by Russia, that the United States and the Republic of Korea suspend joint military exercises in exchange for North Korean suspension of nuclear and missile tests,’ [Mark Fitzpatrick at IISS] says. South Korea and Japan back this idea, as do many former officials including former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry. A Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on Korea that included former Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen and Senator Sam Nunn, recommended such an approach last year.” For the full article, click here.
See also - “Living with a nuclear North Korea is a tough pill to swallow, but engaging in a cavalier military misadventure in an attempt to solve the problem would be a catastrophe for the United States and the world,” writes Geoff Wilson for War Is Boring here.
See also - “North Korea Appears to Launch Missile with 6,700 km Range” by David Wright for Union of Concerned Scientists here.
Crisis reveals flaws in Trump policy - Ploughshares Fund President Joe Cirincione was on Public Radio International yesterday talking options for North Korea: “‘The idea that somehow you can strangle the North Korean regime, or wait out this hermit kingdom, has been something that American policymakers have tried for decades,’ says Cirincione. ‘They have pursued that one way or the other. It has failed. This is an entrenched regime that shows no signs of collapse, no signs of weakening. In fact, the North Korean economy is growing. There is no way to coerce North Korea into compliance or collapse,’ he says.”
--“‘One of the things this crisis reveals is that when you take a close look at the foreign policy, the national security policy of the Trump administration, there is nothing there. There is no plan. There is no doctrine. There is no strategy. There’s a set of impulses and tweets.’” For the full interview, click here.
See also - “North Korea: Is the US being forced back to the negotiating table?” by Ben Westcott for CNN here, featuring Bill Richardson, Joe Cirincione and Adam Mount.
Ploughshares Fund in the News - Ploughshares Fund President Joe Cirincione spoke yesterday on the Bill Press Show about the recent North Korean ICBM test. He analyzed President Trump’s lack of foreign policy and use of Twitter to share his remarks on the missile test. The video of his interview can be found here.
Missile defense expensive, ineffective - “Since the 1980s, the U.S. has spent more than $200 billion on developing various missile defense systems, yet it still has no reliable method of defending the itself from an ICBM,” writes Margaret Hartmann for New York Magazine. “Even if more money is provided for missile defense, the systems can’t be improved fast enough to neutralize the threat from North Korea.”
--“‘The problem is technology is just not providing us the solutions,’” says Phil Coyle. “‘There is no technical solution. There really isn’t a military solution to North Korea. We’ve just got to engage with North Korea.’” For the full article, click here.
See also - “US missile shield not yet ready for North Korean nukes” by Jacqueline Klimas and Connor O’Brien for POLITICO here.
Ploughshares Fund in the News - Curious about the technology behind the North Korean ICBM test and what our next steps are? Ploughshares Fund President Joe Cirincione explains on WBEZ Chicago’s Worldview program. Audio of his interview can be found here.
Negotiations could work on North Korea - “President Trump seems to have absorbed at least one piece of advice from Barack Obama: North Korea’s nuclear program is a problem in urgent need of a solution,” writes The New York Times’ Editorial Board. “For Mr. Trump and other political leaders, negotiating with North Korea is anathema. It has one of the world’s worst human rights records. But sanctions have not ended the nuclear threat, and military action against the North would put millions of South Koreans, and 38,000 American troops, at risk. Negotiations, however, did lead to a deal in 1994 that froze the North’s program for nearly a decade.”
--“Some of America’s most experienced nuclear experts, like George Shultz, former secretary of state; William Perry, former defense secretary; and Siegfried Hecker, former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, recently wrote to Mr. Trump urging him to begin talks as the ‘only realistic option’ to prevent North Korea’s potential use of nuclear weapons. And 60 percent of Americans, regardless of political affiliation, agree with them. There is no indication that Mr. Trump has a better strategy.” Full article here.
See also - “Experts’ Letter to President Trump” by Robert L. Gallucci, Siegfried Hecker, Richard Lugar, William Perry, Governor Bill Richardson and George Shultz here.
See also - Ploughshares Fund President Joe Cirincione was interviewed yesterday on Australian Broadcasting Service’s Radio National program here.
Washington Post proposes stringent sanctions - “It would be difficult to overstate the danger posed by North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile potentially capable of reaching U.S. territory,” writes The Washington Post’s Editorial Board. “Against that deeply destabilizing threat, the Trump administration must now rally not only Republicans and Democrats within this badly polarized country but also the widest possible range of like-minded countries around the world. Is President Trump capable of doing that?”
--“Mr. Trump is an unlikely orchestrator of a multilateral approach, given both his erratic conduct and his off-putting rhetoric about ‘America first.’ Still, other countries might yet be induced to follow his lead if he can convince them both that he has a credible plan and that the alternative might be far worse — war in Northeast Asia. The third way between more fruitless talks and a catastrophically risky preemptive war would be to impose on the North, for the first time, truly stringent economic sanctions, comparable to the ones that brought Iran to the nuclear bargaining table.” For the full article, click here.
See also - “Perry, Markey Urge Talks with North Korea to Halt and Reverse Its Dangerous Nuclear and Missile Programs” -- Press Release by the Arms Control Association here.
Any strike on DPRK catastrophic - “The standoff over North Korea’s nuclear program has long been shaped by the view that the United States has no viable military option to destroy it,” writes Motoko Rich for The New York Times. “Any attempt to do so, many say, would provoke a brutal counterattack against South Korea too bloody and damaging to risk.”
--“Even the most limited strike risks staggering casualties, because North Korea could retaliate with the thousands of artillery pieces it has positioned along its border with the South. Though the arsenal is of limited range and could be destroyed in days, the United States defense secretary, Jim Mattis, recently warned that if North Korea used it, it ‘would be probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes.’” For the full article, click here.
See also - “If We Want to Stop Kim, We Have to Trust Each Other” by Patricia Kim for Foreign Policy here.
The least bad option for DPRK - “North Korea’s 4 July launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) strengthens the imperative for major nations to coalesce on a strategy to forestall further destabilising missile and nuclear tests,” writes Mark Fitzpatrick for the International Institute for Strategic Studies. “The stakes call for irresistible pressure combined with a diplomatic gambit should leader Kim Jong-un choose a peaceful path. The least of the bad options may be a variation on China’s proposal, backed by Russia, that the United States and the Republic of Korea suspend joint military exercises in exchange for North Korean suspension of nuclear and missile tests.” For the full article, click here.
See also - “North Korea isn’t crazy. It’s insecure, poor, and extremely dangerous.” by Zack Beauchamp for Vox here.
New nukes not the answer - “Voices in the United States are once again calling for new and better nuclear weapons,” writes Hans M. Kristensen for the Federation of American Scientists. “The claim is that adversaries somehow would no longer be deterred by existing capabilities and that new or significantly modified weapons are needed to better match the adversaries and more efficiently destroy targets with lower yield to reduce radioactive fallout.”
--“General Hyden’s description of the flexibility of the current capabilities and the many options they provide to the president contradicts the EUCOM commander’s claim that there is “a mismatch in escalatory options” the claim by some that the United States needs to build new nuclear weapons, including low-yield nuclear weapons. Advocates of additional nuclear capabilities seem too fixated on weapon types and don’t seem to understand or appreciate the flexibility of the current capabilities. Yes there are serious challenges in Russia and North Korea, but those challenges can be address with the considerable capabilities in the current nuclear arsenal.” For the full article, click here.
See also - “Review of NASIC Report 2017: Nuclear Force Developments” by Hans M. Kristensen for the Federation of American Scientists here.
See also - “Learning from Labour: What nuclear disarmament can borrow from Jeremy Corbyn,” by John Carl Baker for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists here.
Nikki Haley condemns Iran missile activity - “The United Nations said Thursday that Tehran is in compliance with its obligations under an international nuclear deal, but U.S. envoy Nikki Haley disputed that,” writes Margaret Besheer for VOA. ‘Iran's destructive and destabilizing role in the Middle East goes far beyond its illicit missile launches,’ Haley said. ‘The United States is now undertaking a comprehensive review of this policy. Until that review is completed, we will comply with our JCPOA commitments and we expect Iran to do the same.’” Full article here.
--“At Trump-Putin Meeting, Start with New START” by Kingston Reif and Maggie Tennis for Defense One here.
--“Clapper: North Korea is now a nuclear power” by Lee Sung-Eun for Korea JoongAng Daily here.
--“U.S. Vows Tougher Action on North Korea After Missile Test” by Rick Gladstone and Choe Sang-Hun for The New York Times here.
--“North Korea Finally Tests an ICBM” by John Schilling for 38 North here.
--“As concern about North Korea deepens, the U.S. and China are at odds” by Emily Rauhala for The Washington Post here.
--“Donald Trump Is a Walking, Talking Argument for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons” by Stephen Merkley for Paste Magazine here.
--“India adds 10 more nuclear warheads to its arsenal, develops tech for strike-back: SIPRI report” for Firstpost here.
--“2nd tunnel at Hanford at high risk for collapse” by Nicholas Geranios for The Associated Press here.
--“Let's not test the explosion of a 21st century nuclear arms race” by Kathy Crandall Robinson for The Hill here.
--“Regime Change in Iran Is Neither Necessary Nor Prudent” by Bonnie Kristian for Reason Foundation here.
--“US nuclear inspection results now concealed” by Robert Burns for The Associated Press here.
--“Here’s Why The Government Won’t Release Nuclear Inspection Reports” by Thomas Phippen for The Daily Caller here.
--“Nine People Have The Power To Reduce The World To Pulp” by Scott Ludlam for HuffPost here.
--Breaking Barriers: Women in Nuclear Security. Hosted by CRDF Global. Thursday, July 13, 2017. 8:00a.m.-10:30a.m. CRDF Global, 1776 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22209. Details and registration here.
--Regime Change in Iran: From the 1953 Coup to the Trump Policy Review. Hosted by the Atlantic Council. Moderated by Barbara Slavin; featuring Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini, Malcolm Byrne and Bruce Riedel. Thursday, July 13, 2017. 12:00p.m. Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20005. Details here.