October 19, 2017
Tristan Volpe and Ulrich Kühn
Only a few days after the U.S. presidential election in November 2016, a small group of pundits, scholars, journalists, as well as a senior Member of the German Bundestag began to individually debate whether Germany should, perhaps, pursue one of three nuclear options: (1) fielding an indigenous nuclear force; (2) preserving a latent nuclear hedge capacity; or (3) cooperating with the French to open an extended nuclear deterrent umbrella over Europe.
Gabriela Baczynska | Reuters
European Union leaders will on Thursday reaffirm their full commitment to the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, regardless of whether an increasingly critical United States pulls out. But the bloc, reluctant to isolate itself completely from Washington, is also looking at whether it should as a next move step up criticism of Iran’s ballistic missile programme and its role in what the West sees as fomenting instability in the Middle East, a senior EU official said.
Najmeh Bozorgmehr | Financial Times
Iran’s supreme leader said his country remained committed to the landmark nuclear deal, as he urged European states to do more to support an accord whose future has been thrown into doubt by US president Donald Trump. In his first reaction since Mr Trump refused on Friday to certify an agreement signed with six world powers in 2015, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran would continue to support the deal provided the US did the same.
Joshua Pollack | Defense News
Statements from Pentagon officials imply that four interceptorswould be fired at each attacking warhead in order to improve overall chances of success. This suggests that President Trump’s recent claim of 97% effectiveness is based on an assumption of a 60% chance of success per interceptor: a 40% chance of failure, multiplied by itself four times to represent four interceptors, declines to a failure rate of less than 3%. But as James Acton of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace points out, this calculation optimistically suggests that interceptor failures would come from various random malfunctions, and not from some common problem that could disable all four interceptors. Some difficulty that would affect all interceptors at the same time—let’s say, operating at night, during a period of unplanned maintenance at one or more key radars, or during a period of intense solar activity—could not be overcome by taking multiple shots.
Rebecca Kheel | Hill
The top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee said Monday that South Koreans are "confused" and "a little bit shaken" by President Trump's rhetoric on North Korea. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) was speaking to reporters in Washington after returning from a trip last week to South Korea and the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.
Diana Wueger | War on the Rocks
Strategic competition among China, India, and Pakistan has traditionally been land-oriented, with a focus on territorial disputes. On the conventional military front, the Chinese, Indian, and Pakistani navies have received the least attention and resources from their respective governments. Similarly, the development of air- and land-based nuclear weapons has historically taken precedence both in defense budgets and as a means of projecting power. However, as China continues its economic and military expansion across the Indian Ocean, the maritime domain is receiving increased attention, with all three states making a concurrent drive toward acquiring sea-based nuclear weapons.