U.S.-Russia Cooperation Needed to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism
On the radar: Time to work with Russia; Michael Douglas on Hiroshima; NDAA highlights nuclear costs; Making the Iran Deal work for Iran; Iran hearing is political theater; and Asian MIRVs pose strategic challenge
Russia could be partner in nonproliferation - “A quantity of HEU [highly enriched uranium] the size of a basketball would be sufficient to make an improvised nuclear bomb that had the explosive power of the Hiroshima bomb and was small enough to fit into a delivery van. Such a bomb, delivered by van (or fishing boat) and detonated in one of our cities, could essentially destroy that city, causing hundreds of thousands of casualties, as well as major social, political, and economic disruptions,” write former Secretary of Defense William Perry and Governor Jerry Brown for The Huffington Post.
--“The U.S. and Russia, the nations that possess 90 percent of the world’s fissile material, should work closely together, including cooperation in intelligence about terror groups, to ensure that a terror group never obtains enough material to destroy one of their cities. After all, these two nations not only possess most of the fissile material, they are also the prime targets for a terror attack. Moscow and St. Petersburg are in as great a danger as Washington, D.C. and New York City.” Full piece here. http://huff.to/1T8GpGV
Michael Douglas’s advice for Obama - “Hollywood actor Michael Douglas, a U.N. ‘messenger for peace’, wants President Barack Obama to issue a strong message against nuclear weapons when he visits Hiroshima in Japan later this month. Douglas told reporters at the United Nations in Geneva, where nuclear negotiations have been stuck for 20 years, that the nuclear danger was greater than during the Cold War, largely due to a ‘huge escalation’ in U.S.-Russia tensions and increasing recklessness in their close-quarter contacts,” writes Tom Miles for Reuters.
--“Standing beside Joseph Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund, a global security organization, Douglas recalled Obama's 2009 speech in Prague, where the president promised concrete steps towards a nuclear-free world. ‘I think we could say he's been a disappointment because there's not been follow through, and I do hope now for his legacy as he begins to leave office, that he's going to have something strong to say at Hiroshima.’” Full piece here. http://reut.rs/24QAI7U
See also - “Hiroshima to open up its horrors to Barack Obama during historic visit,” by Justin McCurry for the Guardian. http://bit.ly/1ZNJeB7
Tweet - @RepGaramendi: The Subcommittee is right: a new generation of nuclear weapons creates an "enormous affordability challenge."
Protecting the Iran Deal - “Since a landmark nuclear deal went into effect January 16, Iranians are increasingly frustrated that while they have fulfilled their part of the bargain, they have yet to see significant economic benefits… Remaining restrictions — particularly on banking and dollar transactions — as well as foreign fears of new sanctions under the next US administration, are keeping many memorandums of understanding from being implemented,” writes Barbara Slavin for the Atlantic Council.
--“Iran has carried out its obligations to slash the number of operating centrifuges, cap enrichment, preclude plutonium production and permit more intrusive international monitoring of its program. The growing perception in Tehran that Iran is not getting what it was promised in return risks sabotaging the nuclear agreement and bolstering the very forces in the Iranian political system that are carrying out policies critics abhor.” Full article here. http://bit.ly/1srDgfa
Political PR favors deal opponents - The witness list for a Congressional panel on the White House’s support for the Iran Deal shows “the intentions of the Republicans orchestrating the panel aren’t exactly part of ‘a serious, non-partisan, on-the-level project,’” writes Ali Gharib for LobeLog. All five of the hearing’s “supposed experts on nuclear diplomacy with Iran… favor a much more hawkish course, either an official US policy of regime change or actually going to war.” Full article here. http://bit.ly/1XiJf0W
Hill update - With the imminent vote on NDAA LobeLog and Lara Friedman have provided an excellent list of Congressional efforts to undermine the Iran Deal. Find it here. http://bit.ly/1Xx0Gvg
See also - “Congress Must Stop Stonewalling Obama's IAEA Envoy,” by J. Robert Barnes, John Castellaw and Dirk Jameson for The National Interest. http://bit.ly/1NwK3gT
Coming soon to Asia: MIRVs - The Pentagon claims China’s DF-5B missile indicates the emergence of multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles in Asia. The good news is that “China has systematically carried out strategic modernization programs at an extraordinarily slow pace,” writes Michael Krepon for Arms Control Wonk. “The bad news is that any additional source of incremental stockpile growth will cause perturbations in Asia.”
--“The prospects for negotiating a ban or serious constraints on MIRVing in Asia are as poor as during the first nuclear age. At present, there are no meaningful conversations on nuclear risk-reduction between China and India or between India and Pakistan. Bilateral or trilateral treaties are not in the cards… The second coming of MIRVs in Asia – in addition to new ballistic and cruise missiles – places a greater obligation on national leaders to exercise strategic restraint and to take steps to reduce nuclear dangers.” http://bit.ly/1VVJhMZ
--“Department of Defense Appropriations Bill, 2017: Committee Print of the Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House of Representatives.” http://1.usa.gov/1smFTOQ
--“The ’80s Film About Nuclear War That Just Appeared on The Americans Is Still Terrifying to Watch,” by Sam Adams for Slate. http://slate.me/1qgkuVW
--“Cold War Theater,” by Fred Kaplan for Slate. http://slate.me/1WvghfK
--“New North Korean foreign minister was its disarmament negotiator,” by Tony Munroe and Ju-Min Park for Reuters. http://reut.rs/1V7tGsK
--“Replacing Trident will cost at least £205bn, campaigners say,” by Richard Norton-Taylor for The Guardian. http://bit.ly/1TRdXvo
--“U.S. Build-Up in Europe Serves No Purpose,” by Leonid Bershidsky for Bloomberg. http://bloom.bg/25aCDYs
--“Nuclear Weapons Are Scary — But We Can Do Something About Them,” by Susi Snyder for The Huffington Post. http://huff.to/1VVuiCN
--“Iran Hard-Liners Hate Foreign Investment, So You Shouldn't,” by Marc Champion for Bloomberg. http://bloom.bg/1WBoZJz
--Review of Dan Zak’s Almighty: Courage, Resistance, and Existential Peril in the Nuclear Age, by Kirkus Review. http://bit.ly/201PFkg
--“Catholic Nuclear Weapon Abolition Webinar,” with Joan Chittister, Pax Christi USA; Fr. Drew Christiansen, S.J.; Daryl Kimball, Arms Control Association; and Marie Dennis, Pax Christi International. May 17 at 4:00 p.m. Webcast on Pax Christi USA. RSVP by email. http://bit.ly/23V82IE
--“The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty at 20: Prospects for Ratification and the Enduring Risks of Nuclear Testing,” with Daryl Kimball, Arms Control Association; Scott Kemp, MIT; Gary Samore, Harvard University. Sponsored by the Arms Control Association and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. May 19 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at 136 Irving St., Cambridge, MA. RSVP here. http://bit.ly/21zQan7
--“The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty at 20: Prospects for Ratification and the Enduring Risks of Nuclear Testing,” with Rose Gottemoeller, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security; Siegfried Hecker, Stanford University; Arun Rath, WGBH and NPR; Robert Rosner University of Chicago; and Lassina Zerbo, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization. May 19 at 6:00 p.m. Livestream at James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, 1400 K St. NW, Suite 1225, Washington. RSVP online. http://bit.ly/1UBws9q
--“Budget Futures: Some Assessment of the Nuclear Enterprise and Missile Defense,” with Todd Harrison, Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Evan Montgomery, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment. Part of the Huessy Congressional Breakfast Series. May 26 at 8:00 a.m. at the Capitol Hill Club, 300 First St. SE, Washington. RSVP online. http://conta.cc/25ULZFH
--“Global Nuclear Challenges and Solutions for the Next U.S. President,” with Benjamin Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor to the President, and Setsuko Thurlow, Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor, and seven other speakers. June 6 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Carnegie Endowment, Root Room, 1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington. RSVP online. http://bit.ly/23rIEK8