September 14, 2017

Time to Accept Reality and Manage a Nuclear-Armed North Korea

Michael Swaine

Anyone following the growing crisis on the Korean Peninsula in recent weeks has been treated to an endless parade of op-eds on what to do about it, written from almost every conceivable angle. Despite the variation among these perspectives, most such proposals remain focused on how to get Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, this objective appears less and less viable with every new North Korean (DPRK) missile and nuclear test. This suggests the need for policymakers in the United States, China, South Korea, and Japan to adopt a more realistic approach focused on deterrence, containment, and an array of crisis management measures. 

No Nuclear Weapons in South Korea, Says President Moon

Paula Hancocks and James Griffiths | CNN

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has dismissed the possibility of deploying nuclear weapons in his country, warning it could "lead to a nuclear arms race in northeast Asia." "I do not agree that South Korea needs to develop our own nuclear weapons or relocate tactical nuclear weapons in the face of North Korea's nuclear threat," he told CNN Thursday in his first televised interview since North Korea's sixth nuclear test.

U.S. Weighs Sanctions Relief While Bemoaning Iran’s Behavior

Matthew Lee | AP

The Trump administration is poised to extend sanctions relief to Iran, avoiding imminent action that could implode the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, even as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday accused Tehran of not respecting the entire agreement. The administration’s next move in its monthslong review of its Iran policy was expected later Thursday, when President Donald Trump faced a deadline to decide on extending waivers that allow Iran to conduct much of its international commerce.

What to Expect if Trump Undoes the Iran Nuclear Deal

Seyed Hossein Mousavian | Los Angeles Times

In the midst of major global crises, from North Korean missile tests to the continuing fight against Islamic State, President Trump is seemingly obsessed with one foreign policy goal: undoing the July 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which eased international sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program. While Trump has long expressed his disdain for the multilateral deal — between Iran and six world powers including the United States — the latest development is that his U.N. ambassador last week laid out a spurious case for U.S. withdrawal. Conveniently, the self-defeating plan involves punting responsibility for sabotaging the agreement to Congress.

Exclusive: Saudi Arabia Plans to Launch Nuclear Power Tender Next Month - Sources

Reem Shamseddine and Jane Chung | Reuters

Saudi Arabia is expected to launch a tender process for its first nuclear reactors as early as next month and will reach out to potential vendors from countries including South Korea, France and China, industry sources said. The world’s top oil exporter wants to start construction next year on two plants with a total capacity of up to 2.8 gigawatts, three industry sources said, as it follows Gulf neighbor the United Arab Emirates in seeking atomic energy.

Under Trump, Future of U.S. Nuclear Arsenal Slowly Taking Shape

Phil Stewart | Reuters

About 70 feet (21 m) below ground, in a shielded military capsule that can launch nuclear missiles, 23-year-old 2nd Lieutenant Tia Hewuse is concerned that Americans have the mistaken impression that her mission is a gloomy one.  “America doesn’t understand what we do,” says Hewuse, whose post sits below a tiny U.S. base surrounded by vast expanses of windswept North Dakota farmland.