Sanctions Alone Won’t Solve North Korea Crisis
On the radar: North Korea gets more sanctions; But, sanctions alone cannot solve this; Hecker: we need diplomatic solutions; Missile defense is not the solution; Iran deal works – don’t withdraw; Low-yield weapons will never be the solution
Ramping up North Korea sanctions - “The United Nations Security Council on Monday ratcheted up sanctions yet again against North Korea, but they fell significantly short of the far-reaching penalties that the Trump administration had demanded just days ago,” writes Somini Sengupta for The New York Times. “It was far from clear that the additional penalties would accomplish what the Trump administration said was its goal: To force North Korea to halt its nuclear and ballistic missile tests and reopen some kind of negotiation toward eventual nuclear disarmament.”
--“Ultimately, analysts said, diplomatic success would be measured not by the strictness of sanctions, but by the ability of world powers to persuade Pyongyang to halt its nuclear and ballistic missile tests. ‘There’s no only-sanctions strategy that will bring the North Koreans to heel,’ said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, a disarmament advocacy group based in Washington. ‘It has to be paired with a pragmatic strategy of engagement. But those talks are not yet happening.’” For the full article, click here.
See also - “Breaking the cycle of escalation” Kristie Lu Staut interviewing Duyeon Kim for CNN here.
Sanctions alone ineffective - “Washington cannot achieve [a North Korean moratorium on nuclear development] by sanctioning North Korea, because China will always allow Pyongyang enough support to avoid collapse, and North Korea knows it,” writes Jon Wolfsthal for Foreign Policy. “The only way North Korea is going to slow, end, or reverse its nuclear capabilities is because it wants to, and we won’t find out if it is willing to negotiate restraints unless and until the United States and North Korea engage in some high-level discussions about the future of the North’s nuclear program and Pyongyang’s real goals on the Korean Peninsula.”
--Wolfsthal makes a number of suggestions, including shoring up alliances and emphasizing the importance of military communications: “At a minimum, the United States needs to initiate military-to-military talks with North Korea as soon as possible. North Korea is the only country on the planet with nuclear weapons that we do not engage at a military-to-military level… Not having such a proven and tested link with North Korea is now as close to security negligence as you can get.” Full article here.
See also - “Diplomacy With North Korea Has Worked Before, and Can Work Again” by Tim Shorrock for The Nation here.
Ploughshares in the news - Ploughshares president Joe Cirincione was on the Diane Rehm show on Friday talking about North Korean technological advances and understanding the North Korean threat here.
Siegfried Hecker urges diplomacy - Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Elisabeth Eaves spoke with Siegfried Hecker on the latest North Korean missile test and its implications: “what is much more important [than whether the detonation was of a fusion weapon],” he says, “is whether any nuclear bomb—fission or a fusion—can be made sufficiently small and light to mount on a missile, as well as robust enough to survive the missile’s launch, flight and atmospheric re-entry. Even a fission bomb of 25 kilotons delivered to Seoul or Los Angeles would cause horrific damage.”
--Hecker recommends diplomacy: “The US administration should dispatch a small team to talk to Kim Jong-un to establish mechanisms to avoid misunderstandings, miscalculations, or misinterpretations that could quickly send us over the cliff into nuclear war… These talks would not be negotiations—not yet. Rather, they are a necessary step toward re-establishing critical lines of communication to avoid a nuclear catastrophe.” Full article here.
See also - “Advances in North Korea’s Missile Program and What Comes Next” by Melissa Hanham and Seiyeon Ji for Arms Control Association here.
Tweet - @IISS_org: In depth: @IISS_org analyst @JosephHDempseyjoins @ArmsControlWonk for a podcast on North Korea's sub missile threat http://go.iiss.org/NKpodcast https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DJh65biXcAAAEbD.jpg
Ploughshares in the news - Ploughshares CEO Philip Yun was on CNN talking about North Korea’s July missile test here.
Missile defense unreliable, unwise - “The anti-missile interceptor systems we have today are unreliable, and while simply buying more of them may make us feel better, it could leave us worse off by emboldening President Trump’s already erratic behavior. What might Trump do if he actually believes the defenses would work?” asks Tom Collina in Defense One. Furthermore, it doesn’t work: both the Government Accountability Office and “the Pentagon’s own testing office said that the program has ‘a limited capability to defend the U.S. homeland.’”
--“The Senate should not promote irresponsible and unreliable anti-missile systems as a solution to North Korea, which will only waste money, line the pockets of defense contractors, and create greater risks later. Instead, the Senate might promote smart diplomacy by reminding the White House, as Sen. Sullivan has, that only Congress can authorize a preemptive military strike against North Korea, and back that up with a tough, ironclad legislative prohibition.” For the full article, click here.
See also - “How Would the U.S. Defend Against a North Korean Nuclear Attack?” by Chloe Whiteaker, Jeremy Scott Diamond anad Tony Capaccio for Bloomberg here.
The Iran Deal works - “In a speech last week at the American Enterprise Institute, a neoconservative think tank in Washington, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said President Donald Trump ‘has grounds’ to decertify the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, if he so chooses,” writes Murtaza Hussain for The Intercept. “Experts on U.S.-Iran relations and nuclear non-proliferation say that a unilateral American attempt to destroy the deal would be a potential disaster. Not only would it undermine long-held U.S. interests in preventing non-proliferation, it would also open the door to a major conflict with Iran.”
--“‘This deal works. It has rolled back and frozen Iran’s nuclear program, and it is going to last for at least 15 years and even longer if we negotiate a follow-on agreement,’ said Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund. ‘There is no compelling national security rationale for pulling out of this agreement. Even the Saudis and Israeli military and intelligence officials are saying that we should keep it — it’s only blind ideology behind the push to end it.’” Full article here.
See also - “Don’t Abandon the Iran Nuclear Deal” by Daryl G. Kimball for Arms Control Association’s Arms Control Today here.
Low-yield weapons just as dangerous - “The Trump administration is considering proposing smaller, more tactical nuclear weapons that would cause less damage than traditional thermonuclear bombs — a move that would give military commanders more options but could also make the use of atomic arms more likely,” writes Bryan Bender for POLITICO.
--“‘If the U.S. moves now to develop a new nuclear weapon, it will send exactly the wrong signal at a time when international efforts to discourage the spread of nuclear weapons are under severe challenge,’ said Steven Andreasen, a [former State Department official]. Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund... also took issue with the argument for more nuclear options. ‘This is an insane proposal,’ he said. ‘It would lower the threshold for nuclear use. It would make nuclear war more likely. It comes from the illusion that you could use a nuclear weapon and end a conflict on favorable terms. Once you cross the nuclear threshold, you are inviting a nuclear response.’” For the full article, click here.
--“Why Kim Jong Un wouldn’t be irrational to use a nuclear bomb first” by Vipin Narang for The Washington Post here.
--“There's no great answer for nuclear waste, but almost anything is better than perching it on the Pacific” by the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board here.
--“Decoupling is Back in Asia: A 1960s Playbook Won’t Solve These Problems” by Mira Rapp-Hooper for War on the Rocks here.
--“S. Korea not considering tactical nuclear armament” for Yonhap News Agency here.
--“End the 67-year war” by Robert Alvarez for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists here.
--“Can North Korea Drag the US and China Into War?” by Graham Allison for Defense One here.
--“This chart shows what a war with North Korea could do to the global economy” by Will Martin for Business Insider here.
--“The Case Against the Iranian Nuclear Deal Is One Big Lie” by Stephen M. Walt for Foreign Policy here.
--“US-Iran exchanges hang in the balance as Trump weighs decision on nuclear deal” by Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor here.
--“Time to Restrict the President’s Power to Wage Nuclear War” by Jeffrey Bader and Jonathan D. Pollack for The New York Times here.
--“Verifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” hosted by the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation and the Vienna Chapter of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management. Dr. Thomas E. Shea, Senior Adjunct Fellow at the Federation of American Scientists will be discussing the Ban Treaty, as well as his recent report, “The Nonproliferation and Disarmament Challenges of Naval Nuclear Propulsion”. His report can be found here. The event is Wednesday, September 13, 2017. 12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, Donau-City-Strasse 6, Andromeda Tower, Floor 13, Vienna, Austria. Details for the event here.
--“Losing an Enemy -- Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy.” Hosted by the University of Maryland Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland and cosponsored by the UMD Roshan Institute for Persian Studies. Featuring Trita Parsi. Thursday, September 14, 2017. 12:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland, 1203 Van Munching Hall College Park, MD 20742. Details here.
--“Weighing Bad Options: Past Diplomacy with North Korea and Alliance Options Today” Hosted by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, moderated by Jim Schoff. Featuring Christopher Hill, Mitoji Yabunaka, Keiji Nakatsuji and Douglas H. Paal. Monday, September 18, 2017. 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20036. Details here.
--“How Europe and Iran’s Neighbors View the Nuclear Deal Future.” Hosted by Atlantic Council, moderated by Barbara Slavin. Featuring David O’Sullivan, Sir Kim Darroch, Hussein Ibish, and more. Monday, September 25, 2017. 12:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Atlantic Council, 1030 15th St NW, 12th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20005. Details here.
--“Debate: Future of the INF Treaty.” Hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, co-sponsored by Ploughshares Fund. Featuring Thomas Countryman, Alexandra Bell, Franklin C. Miller and Rebeccah Heinrichs. Wednesday, September 27, 2017. 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20036. Details here.
--“How Do You Solve a Problem Like North Korea?” Hosted by CATO Institute. Speakers include: Joe Cirincione, Bill Richardson, Suzanne DiMaggio, Joshua Pollack, John Glaser and more. Monday, November 6, 2017. 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Hayek Auditorium, Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20001. Details and registration here.