Russia’s Shady Reliance on Dual-Use Deterrent

Russia looks to conventional forces as a deterrent - “Russia will continue to see the development of its nuclear forces as a top priority, but the military will rely increasingly on conventional weapons to deter any aggression, the Russian Defense Minister said Tuesday,” writes Vladimir Isachenkov for Associated Press. “Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday that weapons such as the long-range Kalibr cruise missiles carried by navy ships, long-range cruise missiles carried by Russian strategic bombers and the land-based short-range Iskander missiles will play an increasingly important role as a non-nuclear deterrent. Those missiles can carry nuclear or conventional warheads.”

--“‘The development of strategic nuclear forces will remain an unconditional priority,’ Shoigu said in remarks carried by Russian news agencies. ‘Russian nuclear weapons ensure the guaranteed deterrence of aggression by any foreign power.’ At the same time, he added, ‘the role of nuclear weapons in deterring a potential aggressor will diminish, primarily thanks to the development of precision weapons.’” Full story here.

Tweet - @globalzero: .@realDonaldTrump has a real chance to work w. Russia & reduce global nuclear dangers says @Cirincione.

Take action - Ready to restore checks and balances to the nuclear codes? Inspired by the legislation proposed by Rep. Ted Liu and Sen. Ed Markey, Ploughshares Fund, along with fifteen other public interest groups, have created a new petition urging Congress to keep America safe by preventing any U.S. President from unilaterally launching a nuclear weapon. Sign and share the petition today.

New policy needed on North Korea - “On February 12, the North Koreans fired what experts said was an intermediate-range ballistic missile known as the Musudan. It flew about 300 miles before falling into the Sea of Japan,” writes Barbara Slavin for Voice of America. “The test... elicited only a pro forma reaffirmation from [President Trump] ‘that the United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent.’ A strategy is urgently needed to stop or slow the program before North Korea develops intercontinental ballistic missiles that can hit the western United States and masters the technology to marry the missiles to nuclear warheads.”

--“Judging from the successful negotiations that led to the Iran nuclear agreement of 2015, a policy of both sanctions and incentives is required to have any chance of getting North Korea to curb its nuclear program... At this point, it is unrealistic to demand that North Korea agree to give up its nuclear weapons as the price for admission to new negotiations. A freeze is probably the best that can be obtained in the short run and in return, there will have to be incentives that include some calibrated sanctions relief.” Full article here.

Tweet - @Livableworld: Can @POTUS strike a deal with #NorthKorea to freeze its #nuclear and missile programs?

China puts pressure on the U.S. - “For years, the United States and others have pressed China’s leaders to suspend imports of coal from North Korea to push the reclusive state to abandon its nuclear weapons program. For years,... [China] resisted — until Saturday, when it suddenly announced in a terse statement that it would do just that,” writes Jane Perlez for The New York Times. “But if Beijing was sending a message to North Korea, it was also directing one at President Trump, who has complained that China was not putting enough pressure on North Korea. Now President Xi Jinping of China has essentially said: We have done our part in enforcing sanctions. Over to you, Mr. Trump.”

--“For weeks now, plans have been afoot for a North Korean government delegation to meet in New York in early March with a group of former United States officials who have long been involved in North Korea policy… The planned meeting,... falls far short of talks between the two governments and has been designed as an initial sounding board... The gathering would be the first of its type in New York in five years because the Obama administration opposed holding even informal talks on American soil given North Korea’s expansion of its nuclear weapons program. That North Korea is holding two Americans hostage was another impediment.” Full story here.

See also - “North Korea Offers an Opportunity for China and the U.S.,” by Junheng Li for Bloomberg.

Trump surrogates keep calm(er) on Iran - “It’s in the nature of American power that no matter whether the president is present in a gathering, his thinking and his policy statements dominate the global discourse. Nowhere was this more evident than at the Munich Security Conference,” writes Bruce Jones for Brookings. “During the campaign, candidate Trump denounced the JCPOA as ‘the worst deal ever’ and promised to renegotiate it. So far, President Trump has let his foreign policy surrogates signal a different approach, one of retaining the agreement but bolstering pressure on Iran for implementation and upping the ante in terms of curbing Tehran’s regional misbehaviors.” Full article here.

Tweet - @CFR_org: What should the new administration consider for the future of the Iran deal? Watch experts discuss today at 1pm ET:

Quick Hits:

--“Nuclear Posture Review,” Defense News’ Aaron Mehta discusses U.S. nuclear strategy and Nuclear Posture Review with Rebecca Hersman, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Kingston Reif, of the Arms Control Association.

--“The art of the North Korean deal,” by Yoon Young-Kwan for The Japan Times.

--“The CTBT & North Korea discussed at Munich Security Conference,”published by the CTBTO Preparatory Commission.

--“OPINION: A moment of truth arrives for a nuclear weapons ban,” by Tillman Ruff for Kyodo News.

--“Now China Wants All Subs in the South China Sea to Ask Permission, Surface, Show Flag,” by Steve Mollman for Defense One.

--“Pakistan, India extend accord aimed at reducing risk of nuclear accidents,” published by Dawn.

--“N. Korea poses serious proliferation risks: ex-deputy CIA chief,” published by The Korea Herald.

--“Why America can’t spot dirty bombs,” by Jana Winter for The Daily Beast.

--“UN hopeful Iran nuclear deal will not unravel despite Trump attack,” by Daniel Dombey and Andrew England for Financial Times.

--“Talks with N. Korea would give Trump same old lesson Pyongyang isn't interested in disarming: ex-official,” by Chang Jae-soon for Yonhap News Agency.

--“Disarmament while the chance remains,” by Mustafa Kibaroglu for Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

--“What Does North Korea Want?” by Isaac Chotiner for Slate.


--“Defending Our Values, Fighting For Our Future,” J Street’s 2017 National Conference, from February 25 to 28, 2017. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mt. Vernon Place NW, Washington. More information here.

--“US-Russia Nuclear Policy in the Trump Era,” a discussion with Col. Guy B. Roberts, USMC (Ret), Consensus for American Security, Olga Oliker, Senior Adviser and Director, CSIS and Anya Loukianova Fink, Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow, RAND Corporation. The event is hosted by American Security Project on February 28, 2017 from 12:00pm to 1:30pm at 1100 New York Avenue NW, Suite 710 West, Washington DC. Find more information here.

--“Nuclear Deterrence Summit,” an event hosted by the Exchange Monitor from February 28 to March 2, 2017 at the Capitol Hilton in Washington, D.C. Details here.

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