October 24, 2017

The JCPOA Will Not Kill Grandma With Cancer

Jeffrey Lewis | Arms Control Wonk

The debate over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) can be pretty tiresome. Its not even a debate, so much as it is an exercise in political mobilization.  For the most part, opponents trying whip up opposition are content to repeat the same falsehoods over and over again, which work well enough to rile up a base that believes the Affordable Care Act provides for death panels and that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. So believe you me, it is a rare and beautiful thing when opponents invent a totally novel falsehood!  The Wall Street Journal has published an op-ed is that is the blue-footed booby of calumnies against the deal.

Moon Shows Flexibility on Nuclear Issue

JoongAng Daily

President Moon Jae-in vowed to swiftly resume construction of two nuclear reactors on Sunday in response to a panel’s recommendation to reject Moon’s campaign pledge to scrap the $7.5 billion-worth project. The administration, however, will push ahead with its initiative to phase out nuclear power by halting plans to build any new plants and advocating for renewable, eco-friendly energy.

No Nuke Bombers On Call 24/7, But Alert Centers Being Upgraded 

Colin Clark | Breaking Defense

The Air Force Chief of Staff appeared to be talking about putting nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour alert, but the man who’d make the decision, the head of Strategic Command, wasn’t. After my colleague Marcus Weisgerber reported that Gen. David Goldfein said the Air Force was considering putting bombers back on alert, I checked with Strategic Command, since they are the ones who make operational decisions about the use of nuclear weapons systems.

Russia Reportedly Plans to Conduct 2 Sarmat ICBM Drop Tests

Spuntik News

The Russian Defense Ministry is planning to conduct two drop tests of the heavy liquid-fueled RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (referred to by NATO as SS-X-30 Satan 2) at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome before the end of 2017, local media reported Monday, citing sources close to the ministry. The missile is capable of carrying 10-15 warheads and flying at supersonic speed. According to the Russian Kommersant newspaper, the tests have been postponed several times, since the launching silo and the missile itself were not finished. The problems have now been solved and if the first test is successful, the second one will be also conducted this year, the media outlet added.

(Yonhap Interview) Seoul's Top Diplomat Says N.K. Quickly Approaching Completion of Nuke Armament

Yonhap News

South Korea's top diplomat has said North Korea is quickly reaching the stage of possessing complete nuclear capabilities, as she visited Europe to seek international cooperation on the issue. In an interview with Yonhap News Agency in Brussels on Saturday, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha also said North Korea is prepared to carry out additional provocations at any time.

Tracking the German Nuclear Debate

Tristan Volpe, Ulrich Kühn and Bert Thompson

Days after the 2016 U.S. election, a small group of German experts began to publicly debate whether Berlin should pursue one of three nuclear options. A new open source data base documents this short-lived nuclear debate from October 2016 until September 2017, and suggests that the discussion was not a chimeric response to an impeding threat or an ill-designed attempt to signal concerns to either Washington or Moscow. Instead, as several primary sources indicate, the debate appears to have been crafted to familiarize the German public with strategic nuclear policy issues.