Missile Defense Gives False Sense of Security in Europe

The false security of U.S. missiles in Europe - “It is no secret that Russian President Vladimir Putin favored Trump in the election. But a Putin-Trump bromance and shared business interests can only take this so far. To transform relations, Trump will have to address Russia’s deep concerns about U.S.missile defense in Europe,” write Ploughshares Fund president Joe Cirincione and fellow Tytti Erästö for Defense One. “Some of the systems designed to shoot down short-range weapons, such as Scuds, work well in tests. But despite hundreds of billions of dollars spent on various long-range interceptor concepts over the past 30 years, the U.S. has little to show for the effort.”

--“The original rationale for NATO’s anti-missile system was defense against long-range, nuclear-armed missiles Iran might develop.” In reality, “Iran’s missiles remain limited to medium-range, and there is no indication of its intention to extend their reach… In short, there is no security rationale behind NATO’s current missile defense policy. Most Europeans do not care, because it has always been the Russian bear rather than the Iran scare that drives their anti-missile enthusiasm. Countries like Poland want to host missile defense components because a U.S. military presence eases their anxieties about Russia. Unfortunately, missile defenses provide a false sense of security, as they invite more tensions with Russia.” Full story here. http://bit.ly/2gFhQX3

Tweet - @GlobalZero: India has a small nuke arsenal, #NoFirstUse policy, & maintains credibility. Lesson to be learned for other nations. http://huff.to/2gt2e8E

Safeguarding the Iran deal - “The U.S. and its Western allies are pressing Iran to take steps to sharply cut the amount of radioactive material it holds in a bid to shore up last year’s nuclear deal and discourage the incoming Trump administration from abandoning it,” writes Laurence Norman for The Wall Street Journal. “The discussions about reducing Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium started months ago, officials said, and are among a number of measures the Obama administration has been examining to fortify the accord in its final months in office. But the initiative has taken on new urgency since the election of President-elect Donald Trump created fresh uncertainty around the deal.”

--“If agreed upon, the plan could reduce the odds of a sudden flashpoint between the U.S. and Iran over Tehran’s implementation of the deal once Mr. Trump takes office, Western officials say, by reducing its enriched-uranium stockpile well below the cap agreed to in the 2015 accord. Officials say the plan would also lengthen, for a while, Iran’s so-called breakout time—the amount of time it would take the country to accumulate enough material for one nuclear weapon were it to quit or violate the deal—though it is unclear by how much… The enriched-uranium initiative is one of several by the U.S. administration to bolster the agreement before President Barack Obama leaves office.” Full story here. http://on.wsj.com/2gmsrs7

World must protect JCPOA - “There are not many issues on which Europe, Russia and China all agree, but there is one: ensuring that President-elect Donald J. Trump does not undermine the Iran nuclear deal,” writes Ellie Geranmayeh for The New York Times. “As Mr. Trump decides in what direction he will take his Iran policy, countries that have until now partnered with the United States on Iran must draw a line. They should firmly tell the president-elect that as long as Iran continues to meet its obligations under the deal, they will do so as well.”

--“Mr. Trump’s immediate position on the Iran deal will be one of the first critical tests for his presidency. It will also test the legitimacy of the United Nations Security Council. The American public, like international leaders, should make clear to the president-elect that they do not want to become entangled in yet another military crisis in the Middle East, especially one that the world has already worked so hard to avoid.” Full piece here. http://nyti.ms/2gyta9S

See also - “President Trump and the Art of the Iran Nuclear Deal,” by International Crisis Group for LobeLog. http://bit.ly/2gEXAUn

Tweet - @ArmsControlNow: Next month, the #UNGA will approve negotiations to ban nuclear weapons, reports @KingstonAReif in #ArmsControlToday http://bit.ly/2gF2yk2

Briefing Trump on nuclear weapons - “Sometime in the next few weeks, Donald Trump will sit down for one of the most consequential briefings of his transition, when military commanders will train him on the procedures for launching a nuclear attack or counterattack and go over potential targets,” writes Tim Johnson for McClatchy DC. “If history is any indication, the briefings will mark the moment when Trump feels the momentous weight of the presidency on his shoulders. Whether these nuclear briefings will sharpen Trump’s focus on nuclear issues is unclear.”

--“While the system is designed with overlapping triggers that ensure that nuclear weapons are not launched by mistake, it is also designed for a president to make a snap decision. According to Peter Feaver, conflict and security expert at Duke University, “It’s a very short period of time, measured in minutes.” Furthermore, Johnson writes that, “in theory, no one stands in the way of the commander in chief and a nuclear launch. ‘We have a system that is very top-down, and we rely on the prudent judgment of an American president to make the right call with respect to crises and potential conflicts,’ said Scott D. Sagan, a senior fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation… Trump’s position on nuclear issues zigzagged during the campaign, and experts are divided on whether that’s because his views are not well-formed or simply because he wants to appear unpredictable.” Full story here. http://bit.ly/2gRYkJP

See also - “Donald Trump and the nuclear danger,” by Gideon Rachman for Financial Times. http://on.ft.com/2gETrzO

Tweet - @Livableworld: The strange story of Russia and China's #ColdWar #nuclearweapons break-up: http://bit.ly/2gEVeoe

UN to sanction North Korea - “The United Nations Security Council is set to vote on Wednesday to impose new sanctions on North Korea for its fifth and largest nuclear test, slashing Pyongyang's export earnings by some $800 million,” writes Michelle Nichols for Reuters. “Diplomats said the council's five veto-wielding powers - the United States, China, Britain, Russia and France - had agreed to new measures, seen by Reuters on Friday, that largely target the hermit Asian state's coal export earnings.”

--“China is believed to be the only country that now buys North Korean coal and under the U.S.-drafted U.N. resolution likely to be adopted on Wednesday it would cut its imports by some 60 percent, or $700 million on 2015 sales, diplomats said... Coal is one of North Korea's only sources of hard currency and its largest single export item. The draft U.N. resolution would also ban exports of copper, nickel, silver and zinc, which the U.S. official said is worth about $100 million a year.” Full article here. http://reut.rs/2gFiROW

Canada’s changing role in DPRK - “As the threat from North Korea grows over the coming months and years... we can expect that Ottawa will further elaborate its North Korea policy for two main reasons,” writes Andrea Berger for 38 North. “First, it can help shape thinking in other capitals with a similar view of the North Korea issue. Second, the sanctions and human rights agendas targeting Pyongyang have clearly demonstrated that the near-term situation requires greater multilateral cooperation than ever before. While other nations may be more central to the conversation over North Korea, countries like Canada can and should be a constructive part of it as well.”

--“[Canada] should help maintain momentum in international efforts to improve implementation of relevant frameworks, such as UN Security Council Resolution 2270. In coordination with like-minded partners, Canada’s diplomatic voice and its technical and regulatory expertise can be put to good use in service of the nonproliferation objectives those frameworks support. One year into the new Prime Minister’s tenure, as the North Korean nuclear and missile programs achieve rapid advancements, there has never been a better time for Canada to get more involved.” Full piece here. http://bit.ly/2gFma8K

The President-elect, China and Kim Jong-un - As President-elect Trump acknowledged during his campaign, North Korea presents a real national security problem for the United States. “Any solution to that problem must involve China, North Korea’s patron, American and Chinese officials agree. Mr. Trump acknowledged as much during the campaign, saying on one occasion that China should do more to bear down on the North,” writes Jane Perlez for The New York Times.

--“[Yang Xiyu, a former Chinese official who oversaw the so-called six-party talks on the North’s nuclear program that collapsed in 2008] said the Trump administration must take into account Beijing’s worst fear, where the North is concerned: a collapse of [Kim Jong-un’s] totalitarian regime, followed by refugees from the North pouring into China and a unified Korean Peninsula under the protection of the American military. As president, Mr. Trump must understand that Mr. Kim’s government has to stay... ‘Remove the bombs, not the regime, is the key to a peaceful solution,’ Mr. Yang said. If the United States shares that goal, he said, ‘we can cooperate sincerely and substantively.’” Full article here. http://nyti.ms/2gFlLDc

Quick Hits:

--“How Iran Hopes the Nuclear Deal Will Revive Its Economy,” by Farhad Rezaei for The National Interest. http://bit.ly/2fMXv3m

--“The Strange Story of Russia and China's Cold War Nuclear Weapons Break-Up,” by WarisBoring for The National Interest. http://bit.ly/2gEVeoe

--“Fidel Castro once asked the leader of the Soviet Union to annihilate the US with nuclear weapons,” by Michelle Mark for Business Insider. http://read.bi/2gt36Kh

--“The Next Scary Military Acronym You Need to Know: IND (Improvised Nuclear Device),” by Michael Peck for The National Interest. http://bit.ly/2gCaJBg

--“Trump Won; Four Global Realities He Faces,” by Daniel Depetris for Breaking Defense. http://bit.ly/2gChZgl

--“Documents Reveal Just How Freaked Out America Was Over Israel Building Nuclear Weapons,” by Robert Beckhusen for The National Interest. http://bit.ly/2fN1cGl

--“Presidential Command and Control in the Age of Trump,” by Joshua Pollack for Arms Control Wonk. http://bit.ly/2g1UUjA

--“OPLAN 2045: Preparing for nuclear disarmament,” by James Doyle Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. http://bit.ly/2fMZaWp

--“Washington’s Manhattan Project park celebrates first year” by Nicolas Geranios for The Washington Post. http://wapo.st/2gt3RTP


--“Nuclear Policy Talk with Dr. Lassina Zerbo,” a discussion on ‘Advancing Verification Science to Monitor for Nuclear Explosions: The Contribution of the CTBT,’ hosted by George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs. November 29 from 4-6pm, The George Washington University - Lindner Commons, 6th Floor of the Elliott School 1957 E St, NW, Washington, DC. Details here. http://bit.ly/2ge36R3

--“The Future of the Command and Control of Our Nuclear Weapons,” by Ploughshares Fund, featuring Eric Schlosser, author of Command and Control and Joe Cirincione, President of Plowshares Fund. At Four Seasons Hotel Seattle, 99 Union St., Seattle, WA on November 29, 2016 from 6:00 to 9:00pm. Details and registration here. http://bit.ly/2frpJT9

--“Should We Fear Russia?” a launch for Dmitri Trenin’s new book of the same name, hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace featuring William Burns and Andrew Weiss. November 30, 2016 from 10:30am-12pm at The Carnegie Endowment, 1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20036-2103. Details here. http://ceip.org/2giitWc

--“Nuclear Explosion Monitoring: 60 Years of Science and Innovation,” by Departments of State and Energy on November 30, 2016 from 1:00pm to 6:15pm. The event is held at Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 106, First St NE, Washington, DC 20002. Details and RSVP here. http://bit.ly/2fBOnMt

--“Global Security Forum 2016,” by Center for Strategic and International Studies on December 1, 2016 from 8:00am to 4:00pm. The forum will be held at CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036. List of panelists and registration here. http://bit.ly/2ft9fbj

--“Report Launch: Russia Policy for the Trump Administration,” by Center on Global Interest on December 1, 2016 from 5:30pm to 8:00pm. The report launch will be held at City Club of Washington, 555 13th Street Northwest, Lincoln Room, Washington, DC 20004. Register here. http://bit.ly/2gCnWtL

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