Category Archives: Nuclear

Report: U.S. Must Modernize, Update Nuclear Strategy for New Century | Washington Free Beacon

America must change its policies regarding its nuclear weapons arsenal if it wishes to remain safe in the coming century, according to a new study from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Clark Murdock, an expert in strategic planning and defense at CSIS, writes in the study, ‘Project Atom,’ that the effects of global nuclear proliferation will dominate American foreign policy between 2025-2050 if the United States does not revamp its policies today, including modernizing its nuclear weapons and seeking enhanced tactical nuclear capabilities.

“The value of nuclear weapons as a ‘trump card’ for negating U.S. conventional power was enhanced by the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 to prevent Saddam Hussein from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Murdock writes. “If the United States apparently believes that it can be deterred by an adversary’s nuclear weapons, why wouldn’t a nonnuclear ‘regional rogue’ want one?”

Report: U.S. Must Modernize, Update Nuclear Strategy for New Century | Washington Free Beacon

“America must change its policies regarding its nuclear weapons arsenal if it wishes to remain safe in the coming century”

Yes, it needs some kind of policy that is not centered around cutting and entirely eliminating its nuclear arsenal.

North Korea’s Serious New Nuclear Missile Threat

  • China continues transfer through its own territory, nuclear weapons technology involving both North Korea and Iran.
  • In April, North Korea launched a ballistic missile from a submerged platform. The North Korean underwater launch test was closely related to the further development of a missile-firing submarine capable of hitting the U.S. — “a first step,” according to Uzi Rubin, “in achieving a very serious and dangerous new military capability… it will take many years to build up the missile defenses, so we had better use the time wisely.”
  • Although the Chinese profess to be against nuclear proliferation, documented evidence illustrates just the opposite — as a means of asserting Chinese hegemony, complicating American security policy and undermining American influence.
  • Unfortunately, no matter how attractive a strategy of diplomatically ending North Korea’s nuclear program might look, it is painfully at odds with China’s established record of supporting nuclear proliferation with such collapsed or rogue states as Iran, Syria, Pakistan, North Korea and Libya.
  • China’s nuclear assistance to Pakistan did not stay just in Pakistan.

It is not as if Chinese nuclear proliferation is a recent development or a “one of a kind” activity. As far back as 1982, China gave nuclear warhead blueprints to Pakistan, according to Reed. These findings indicate that China’s nuclear weapons proliferation activities are over three decades old.[9]

[1] The Washington Post, May 20, 2015, Anna Fifield, “North Korea says it has technology to make mini-nuclear weapons“; and Admiral Bill Gortney, US NORAD Commander, quoted in “NORAD commander: North Korean KN-08 Missile Operational“, by Jon Harper, in “Stars and Stripes”, of April 7, 2015; the Admiral said: “Our assessment is that they have the ability to put a nuclear weapon on a KN-08 and shoot it at the homeland.” He said “Yes sir” when asked if the U.S. thinks North Korea has succeeded in the complicated task of miniaturizing a warhead for use on such a missile. North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests since 2006.

North Korea’s Serious New Nuclear Missile Threat

Book Review of ‘The Nuclear Express’ – WSJ

Ranging widely over the subject, Messrs. Reed and Stillman assemble a mass of details, technical and political, to tell us how the world reached this parlous state. Both are retired designers of thermonuclear weapons, the former from Livermore National Laboratory, the latter Los Alamos. Two themes predominate in their account. First, the technological know-how to build nuclear weapons has become impossible to contain. The nuclear express, they say, is a train that long ago left the station and is now hurtling down the tracks without an engineer at the throttle. On one of his visits to his counterparts in China, Mr. Stillman tells us, he observed American-educated Chinese engineers and physicists laboring away on every aspect of weapons design. As “The Nuclear Express” makes clear, the Chinese — assiduous students of American achievements — have been improving on our best techniques and then, in turn, disseminating this technological know-how to clients abroad.

Book Review of ‘The Nuclear Express’ – WSJ

The Saudis are ready to go nuclear – Telegraph

In the past two years, it has beaten Britain into fourth place in the world’s military spending league with a defence budget of around £37?billion (compared with the UK at around £34?billion). The military offensive in Yemen has seen Saudi Arabia deploy an estimated 150,000 troops – nearly twice the size of the British Army – while Saudi fighter jets, many of them British-made, have flown thousands of sorties.

Now the Saudis have raised the alarming prospect of the Middle East becoming embroiled in a nuclear arms race after the country’s blunt warning that “all options are on the table” if Iran fails to resolve the international stand-off over its nuclear programme.

Prince Mohammed bin Nawwaf bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s long-serving ambassador to London, says that for many years the kingdom upheld the policy established by the late King Fahd that Riyadh would not pursue a policy of developing nuclear weapons. “Then it became known that Iran was pursuing a policy that could be shifted to a weapons-of-mass-destruction programme,” Prince Mohammed explained in an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph. “This has changed the whole outlook in the region.”

The Saudis are ready to go nuclear – Telegraph

US is weighing a range of aggressive responses to Russia’s alleged violation of a Cold War-era nuclear treaty

The Obama administration is weighing a range of aggressive responses to Russia’s alleged violation of a Cold War-era nuclear treaty, including deploying land-based missiles in Europe that could pre-emptively destroy the Russian weapons.

This “counterforce” option is among possibilities the administration is considering as it reviews its entire policy toward Russia in light of Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine, its annexation of Crimea and other actions the U.S. deems confrontational in Europe and beyond.

The options go so far as one implied — but not stated explicitly — that would improve the ability of U.S. nuclear weapons to destroy military targets on Russian territory.

One of Carter’s nuclear policy aides, Robert Scher, testified in April that “counterforce” means “we could go about and actually attack that missile where it is in Russia.” Another Pentagon official, Brian McKeon, testified in December that this option involved potential deployment in Europe of ground-launched cruise missiles.

Scher said another option would involve “not simply attacking” the Russian missile but seeing “what things we can hold at risk within Russia itself.” Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert at the Federation of American Scientists, said this could mean further improving the ability of U.S. nuclear or conventional forces to destroy Russian military targets in addition to missiles deemed to violate the INF treaty.

Kristensen said the public discussion of these options amounts to “one hell of a gamble” that Putin will back down on INF.

The Obama administration is getting impatient with Russia – Business Insider

NATO Needs a Nuclear Strategy Update – WSJ

North Atlantic Treaty Organization ministers meeting in Antalya, Turkey earlier this month heard from the alliance’s supreme military commander that Russia is using threatening rhetoric about nuclear weapons to intimidate the West. It’s designed “to give pause to NATO’s decision making,” said Gen. Philip Breedlove. This has included not only general references to Russia’s nuclear arsenal, the general pointed out, but also Moscow referring specifically to “the possibility of moving nukes into certain areas or employing nukes if something had not gone correctly in Crimea.”

This is part of a pattern in which Moscow has in recent years sharply increased and intensified deployments of nuclear platforms, singled out countries like Denmark for nuclear threats and signaled a readiness to employ nuclear weapons to try to force NATO to back down in the event of war. And to put credibility into its chilling threats, Russia has conducted exercises specifically practicing its ability to use nuclear weapons against NATO—exercises that have, for instance, included simulated nuclear attacks on Poland.

At the same time, the alliance has spent the past 20 years largely relegating nuclear planning to the basement. Most NATO discussions on nuclear weapons in recent years have focused on whether the alliance should get rid of them. But now there are indications that the alliance is rethinking its nuclear-deterrent doctrine.

NATO Needs a Nuclear Strategy Update – WSJ

Saudi Arabia Promises to Match Iran in Nuclear Capability – NYTimes.com

When President Obama began making the case for a deal with Iran that would delay its ability to assemble an atomic weapon, his first argument was that a nuclear-armed Iran would set off a “free-for-all” of proliferation in the Arab world. “It is almost certain that other players in the region would feel it necessary to get their own nuclear weapons,” he said in 2012.

Now, as he gathered Arab leaders over dinner at the White House on Wednesday and prepared to meet with them at Camp David on Thursday, he faced a perverse consequence: Saudi Arabia and many of the smaller Arab states are now vowing to match whatever nuclear enrichment capability Iran is permitted to retain.

Saudi Arabia Promises to Match Iran in Nuclear Capability – NYTimes.com

Showdown: US Slams Russia over Nuclear War Threats | The National Interest Blog

Gottemoeller’s comments come on the heels of another report that former Russian military officials have told their American counterparts that Moscow would consider using nuclear weapons over disputes involving Ukraine and the Baltics.

Specifically, The London Times reported that during a “high-level meeting” between former U.S. and Russia security chiefs last month, the Russian side said that Putin would consider “a spectrum of responses from nuclear to non-military” if NATO continues to build-up its forces in the Baltic states. They also said there was three flashpoints that could lead to a possible nuclear showdown between the former Cold War adversaries: Crimea, Eastern Ukraine and the Baltic States. According to the report, the former security chiefs had been briefed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov before the meeting.

Showdown: US Slams Russia over Nuclear War Threats | The National Interest Blog

China’s Nuclear Warning – WSJ

“Twenty years after an Iran-style deal, North Korea has 20 bombs.”

Even China is now raising flags about nuclear proliferation. Beijing helped Pakistan get the bomb in the 1980s and has been North Korea’s patron from one Dear Leader to the next. But in February Chinese officials warned a group of Americans that Pyongyang has many more nuclear warheads than previously believed: up to 20 already, perhaps 40 by next year.

The new Chinese assessment, reported Thursday by the Journal, is based on updated intelligence concerning North Korea’s ability to enrich uranium. The North Koreans had no such capability when they signed the 1994 Agreed Framework with the Clinton Administration, which required them to stop their nuclear-weapons efforts.

But Pyongyang cheated on that deal, not least by developing a uranium-enrichment program first acknowledged to the Bush Administration in 2002. The North Koreans tested their first bomb in 2006 and were later discovered to be building a secret nuclear facility in the Syrian desert, which was destroyed by Israeli warplanes in 2007. The Bush Administration rewarded this behavior with a new nuclear deal—which Pyongyang again violated by testing bombs in 2009 and 2013.

China’s Nuclear Warning – WSJ

China to Build New Nuke Plants in Iran | Washington Free Beacon

Iran announced that China has agreed to assist in the building of five new nuclear plants across the country, according to Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI).

Iran plans to enlist the Chinese in the construction of five new nuclear plants similar in size and scope to the plant currently operating near Bushehr.

Iran’s insistence on building more nuclear power plants has become a key concern for critics of the Obama administration’s diplomacy with the Islamic Republic, as these nuclear structures could potentially be used to assist its nuclear weapons program.

The Obama administration has said in the past that the construction of light water reactors such as the one in Bushehr does not violate existing United Nations restrictions or the interim accord struck with the country in 2013.

China to Build New Nuke Plants in Iran | Washington Free Beacon

Fight Over Ukraine Darkens Future of Russia-U.S. Nuclear Arms Control | Business | The Moscow Times

Dr. Mark Schneider, an arms control negotiator who worked on New START, said engaging the Russians on further nuclear cuts is completely out of the question.

“The focus must be on deterrence, or we run the risk of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s first use of nuclear weapons with potential catastrophic consequences,” he said.

“I can’t read Putin’s mind, but I can read what he says and that scares me.”

According to Dr. Eugene Miasnikov, director of the Moscow-based Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies, “Russia always considered the New START treaty a valuable instrument” since it does limit U.S. nuclear arms.

Russia isn’t interested in further cuts. Last month, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov, who was part of the Russian New START negotiation team, said Russia “is satisfied with the current situation” with regard to strategic arms limitations.

Still, Moscow has problems with the treaty, namely that it doesn’t limit U.S. missile defense or prompt global strike weapons — a U.S. program to develop a new class of hypersonic non-nuclear missiles capable of destroying any target on the globe in under an hour.

Fight Over Ukraine Darkens Future of Russia-U.S. Nuclear Arms Control | Business | The Moscow Times