Rather Than a New Arms Race, a Race to Disarmament
On the radar: Archbishop Tutu’s disarmament race proposal; Mogherini confident that U.S. will stick with Iran Deal; Ploughshares’ 2017 Gala recap; North Korea is Mattis' top threat; Kim jabs at Trump’s tough-talking tweets; Moon willing to “help” if North Korea commits to denuclearization; North Korea close to successful re-entry vehicle
Archbishop Tutu urges disarmament - “With sabres rattling and the specter of nuclear war looming large, the imperative to abolish man’s most evil creation—before it abolishes us—is as urgent as ever. Further arms races and provocations will lead us inexorably to catastrophe,” writes Archbishop Desmond Tutu for The Nation. “For too long, the nuclear powers have failed us terribly. Instead of disarming—as they are duty-bound to do—they have squandered precious resources on programs to bolster their nuclear forces.”
--“Every nation will be better off in a world without these ‘terrible and terrifying weapons of mass destruction,’ as Mandela so aptly described them to the UN General Assembly in 1998. Disarmament was a cause dear to his heart. He saw racism, injustice, and the bomb as inextricably linked, and he knew that the arms race, if not curtailed, could only end in oblivion. What we need now is a disarmament race.” Full article here.
Mogherini confident in Iran Deal - “European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Tuesday she was confident the United States would stick to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, despite its protestations to the contrary, as the deal is working,” writes Gwladys Fouche for Reuters. “‘I am confident that the review in the United States will bring to wise decisions, which means keeping something that is working… In any case the European Union will guarantee that the deal keeps, that we stick to that… and that our policy of engagement with Iran continues.’” Article here.
Chain Reaction Gala 2017 - Chain Reaction Gala with John Kerry – featured speakers John Kerry, Barbara Hall, Joe Cirincione, and Meredith Horowski talked climate change and nuclear security at Ploughshares’ Gala in San Francisco last week. Secretary Kerry defended the Iran Deal, cautioned against new sanctions on Iran, reiterated his stance on climate change as a “weapon of mass destruction” and urged President Trump to listen to the “good people” in his administration. Read more here.
See also - “An Abandoned US Nuclear Base in Greenland Could Start Leaking Toxic Waste Because of Global Warming” by Benjamin Powers for Mother Jones here.
Mattis: NK top threat to U.S. - “Defense Secretary Jim Mattis declared North Korea the ‘most urgent and dangerous threat to peace and security,’ before the House Armed Services Committee on Monday night, moving Kim Jong Un’s regime past Russia as the No. 1 threat that the United States faces,” writes Dan Lamothe for The Washington Post. “But Mattis still identified Russia as a threat, along with China, Iran and terrorist organizations.”
--“Mattis, asked Monday about the threat posed by ballistic missiles, said that the threat is growing but that existing missile-defense systems stationed at Fort Greely in Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California pose an adequate amount of protection as the Pentagon examines long-term options. Among them is adding a missile-defense site somewhere on the East Coast, he added.” Full article here.
See also - “Activity around N. Korean test site may foretell 6th nuclear test” by Yoshihiro Makino for The Asahi Shimbun here.
Kim’s belated response to Trump tweets - “According to the database of tests compiled by my colleagues, North Korea has been popping off a missile launch about once a week,” writes Jeffrey Lewis for Foreign Policy. They now claim, in an explicit response to Trump’s bellicose January tweets that their ICBMs are capable of reaching New York City: “‘The DPRK is about 10,400 km far away from New York. But this is just not a long distance for its strike today.’”
--“Tough talk like that is easy from behind the safety of a smartphone and an ocean. And that is why Kim wants an ICBM — to reach beyond the ocean and hit the hand tweeting out blustery threats. Surely Trump will continue to bloviate, but his threats will ring hollow once North Korea can threaten New York. With apologies to Gen. De Gaulle, would Donald Trump trade Trump Tower for Seoul or Tokyo?” Article here.
New Ploughshares Fund Report - Ploughshares Fund released a new report recommending that the United States rethink its strategy to buy new missile interceptors for Europe. Rather than field a new anti-missile system in Poland to counter Iranian intermediate-range missiles that do not exist, the report finds that the United States should put these plans on hold. “The expansion of U.S. anti-missile systems is Europe should be paused,” said report author Dr. Tytti Erästö, the Roger L. Hale Fellow at Ploughshares Fund. “This would pose no risk to NATO security, as there is no nuclear missile threat from Iran to justify the new defenses,” she said.
ROK offers carrot and stick to North - “South Korean President Moon Jae-in vowed to work with Japanese and American leaders in completely ridding North Korea of nuclear weapons on Monday, calling it a way to ensure peace in the region and also his country's survival,” reports Yonhap News Agency. “‘While keeping up our pressure and sanctions, we also need to send a message at the same time that we will help once the North gives up nukes,’ Moon said. ‘North Korea's denuclearization is needed to ensure peace in the world and Northeast Asia, but for South Korea, it is a matter of survival.’” Full article here.
Don’t doubt DPRK capabilities - “Building a nuclear warhead and a re-entry vehicle durable enough to withstand the extreme heat during a missile's re-entry into the atmosphere is the last-remaining major question North Korea faces in developing a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile, a U.S. expert said,” reports Yonhap News Agency. “Jeffrey Lewis, a top expert on North Korean missiles, also said in an article in the Foreign Affairs magazine that the North's Hwasong-12 missile, test-fired last month, showed that its warhead experienced heat loads similar to those of an ICBM and survived.”
--“Lewis also warned against downplaying the North's capabilities. ‘The warhead fitted to the Hwasong-12 experienced heat loads similar to those of an ICBM (although for a shorter period of time) and survived. Separately, North Korea has published images of an apparently successful ground test of a re-entry vehicle last year,’ he said. ‘Similar doubts were expressed about China's nuclear warheads in the 1960s, prompting China's leaders to arm a missile with a live nuclear weapon and launch it across the country to dispel any lingering doubts. Fortunately, North Korea has not chosen to take such a step.’” For the full article, click here.
See also - “China Edging North Korea Closer to Arms Talks with U.S., South Korea” by Yun Sun for The Cipher Brief here.
--“On Nuclear Waste, Finland Shows U.S. How It Can Be Done” by Henry Fountain for The New York Times here.
--“India seeks a place at the other nuclear table” by Sabena Siddiqui for Asia Times here.
--“A Defense Budget Increase is No More Needed in 2018 than It Was Last Year” by Lawrence J. Korb for Defense One here.
--“Our Nuclear Future” by Jeffrey Lewis for The American Scholar here.
--“America Can’t Fix Its Problems With New Nukes” by Jon Wolfsthal for Foreign Policy here.
--“The Ugly: Post #3 on the NNSA’s FY2018 Budget Request” by Stephen Young for Union of Concerned Scientists here.
--“Forget Missile Defense. Diplomacy is What Stops Nuclear War.” by Brendan McGuire for Global Zero here.
--“Off-Ramps to War: Paths to Building Peace with North Korea.” Featuring William Perry and Bruce Cumings. Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 9:00a.m.-4:00p.m. Lindner Commons at George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20052. Details and RSVP here.
--“Review of the FY2018 Budget Request for the National Nuclear Security Administration” Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 2:30p.m. Dirksen Senate Office Building 138. Details and live stream of hearing here.
--“New Administrations and the U.S.-R.O.K. Alliance: Challenges and Way Forward” Hosted by the Wilson Center. Featuring Chung-in Moon, Special Adviser to the ROK President for Unification and Nationals Security Affairs and more. Friday, June 16, 2017, 10:00a.m.-4:30p.m. Wilson Center, One Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20004. Details here.
--“North Korea: Time for a New Approach” Hosted by the Institute of World Politics. Featuring John R. Sano, Former Deputy Director, National Clandestine Service, CIA. Friday June 16, 2017, 5:00p.m. The Institute of World Politics, 1521 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20036. Details and registration here.
--“The Women’s March to Ban the Bomb.” Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Saturday, June 17, 2017, 12:00p.m.-4:00p.m. Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, Greenmarket, 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10017. Details here.
--“Losing an Enemy: Can the Iran Nuclear Deal Survive Trump?" Hosted by the Atlantic Council. Featuring Trita Parsi, National Iranian American Council. Monday, June 19, 2017, 12:00p.m. Atlantic Council, 1030 15th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20005. Details here.
--“Debate: North Korea’s Nuclear Program.” Co-hosted by Ploughshares Fund and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The third in a debate series on a range of nuclear challenges and policy decisions the Trump administration will face in 2017. Tuesday, June 20, 2017 8:30p.m.-11:00p.m. EST (5:30p.m.-8:00p.m. local PST). David Brower Center, Goldman Theater, 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94704. Details here.
--“PONI 2017 Summer Conference.” Hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 11:30a.m.-Thursday, June 22, 2017 8:30p.m. EST (8:30a.m. June 21 - 5:30p.m. June 22 local PST). Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Center for Global Security Research. Details here.
--An Analysis of U.S. Missile Defense. Hosted by the Center for National Interest. Featuring Joe Cirincione, Tom Cotton and others. Monday, June 26, 2017, 12:00p.m. Center for National Interest, 1025 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20036. Details to come.
--“Debate: U.S. Nuclear Weapons Modernization.” Co-hosted by Ploughshares Fund and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The fourth in a debate series on a range of nuclear challenges and policy decisions the Trump administration will face in 2017. Thursday, June 29, 2017, 4:30p.m.-7:00p.m. CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20036. Details here.