Nuclear Policy News – April 5, 2013

Apr 5, 2013
As N. Korean threats intensify, first signs of jitters in the South
Washington Post, by Chico Harlan
Scotland's Salmond would consider non-nuclear NATO bases
Reuters, by Daniel Bases
Iran Says It Offers New Plan for Nuclear Program
New York Times, by David M. Herszenhorn
Roof Completion at MOX Plant Seen as Milestone or Good Place to Stop
Global Security Newswire, by Douglas P. Guarino
Obama’s nuclear vision — or illusion?
Boston Globe, by Graham Allison
As N. Korean threats intensify, first signs of jitters in the South
Washington Post, by Chico Harlan
This bustling South Korean capital has been defined for decades as a place of traffic jams and luxury shopping malls, long days of work and longer nights of drinking rice liquor. Residents rarely behaved as though their routines could be upended in minutes by the Kim regime to the north and its 10,000 artillery pieces.
N. Korea loads two medium-range missiles on mobile launchers
Yonhap, by Kim Eun-jung
North Korea has loaded two intermediate-range missiles onto mobile launchers and hidden them in an unidentified facility near the east coast, Seoul military sources said Friday, triggering speculation that the North is ready for an abrupt missile launch.
U.S. would seek regime change in North Korea if attack occurs
The Washington Times, by Rowan Scarborough
The U.S. would oust the communist regime in North Korea if it uses its nuclear weapons or launches an all-out invasion on South Korea and the 28,500 American troops stationed there, national security sources say.
North Korea lacks means for nuclear strike on U.S., experts say
Reuters, by Mark Hosenball and Phil Stewart
North Korea's explicit threats this week to strike the United States with nuclear weapons are rhetorical bluster, as the isolated nation does not yet have the means to make good on them, Western officials and security experts say.
A quieter second-act for U.S.-South Korea military drills?
Reuters, by Phil Stewart
The Obama administration, which has made military moves intended to signal to North Korea and U.S. allies that it takes Pyongyang's threats seriously, plans to switch gears and tone down public pronouncements about joint military exercises with Seoul, U.S. officials said Thursday.
Waning hopes for nuclear deal spur calls for U.S. outreach to Iranian public
Washington Post, by Joby Warrick
With hopes dimming for a diplomatic end to the Iranian nuclear stalemate in the coming months, some U.S. policy veterans are advising a novel approach to improving ties with the Islamic Republic: showing a little love for ordinary Iranians.
Canadian Government Puts On Hold Proposal To Help Secure Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenal
The idea of Canadian help to secure Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal against terrorist theft has been put into the deep freeze by the Harper government.
Scotland's Salmond would consider non-nuclear NATO bases
Reuters, by Daniel Bases
Alex Salmond wants to see an independent Scotland free of submarines laden with nuclear missiles, but he says he is open to hosting NATO bases without weapons of mass destruction.
Euro-Atlantic Nations Must Update Security Thinking, Statesmen Say
Global Security Newswire, by Rachel Oswald
More than two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the nations of the Euro-Atlantic region have failed to shed Cold-War era mindsets that are blocking further nuclear arms reductions and a compromise on missile defense, a group of prominent global statesmen said on Wednesday.
Iran Says It Offers New Plan for Nuclear Program
New York Times, by David M. Herszenhorn
As negotiations resumed here on Friday between Iran and the six world powers demanding that it curb its nuclear program, Iran said it had put forward a new “comprehensive proposal” that it hoped would “establish a new bedrock for cooperation.”
Powers seek concrete response from Iran on nuclear offer
Reuters, by Justyna Pawlak and Yeganeh Torbati
World powers urged Iran on Friday to give a "clear and concrete" response to their offer to ease some economic sanctions if Tehran stops its most sensitive nuclear work, in talks aimed at calming tensions that threaten to boil over into war.
Chemical Arms Ban States Gather With Change in Sight
Global Security Newswire, by Diane Barnes
The future of an international ban on chemical weapons will face intense scrutiny at a two-week meeting set to begin on Monday in the Netherlands.
Iran Pushes Back On Nuclear Talks
Wall Street Journal, by Laurence Norman
Negotiators are looking for a substantive response from Iran that signals it is willing to allay concerns about its nuclear ambitions, as talks resume here on Friday—though Iranian officials tried to deflect that pressure on Thursday.
Roof Completion at MOX Plant Seen as Milestone or Good Place to Stop
Global Security Newswire, by Douglas P. Guarino
A federal contractor announced Thursday that it had finished installing the roof on a controversial facility intended to convert weapon-grade material into nuclear fuel, prompting opponents of the project to declare that it is a perfect time to mothball the site.
Pentagon seeking 'rules of engagement' for cyber-war
USA Today, by Jim Michaels
The Pentagon is putting the finishing touches on rules that will give military commanders clearer authority if they have to respond to an enemy cyber-attack, military officials and cyber-security experts say.
Obama’s nuclear vision — or illusion?
Boston Globe, by Graham Allison
FOUR YEARS ago today, President Obama gave his first speech abroad. In Prague, he announced a bold vision for a “world without nuclear weapons.” Four years on, it is fair to ask: How is that working out? Assessing all the positives, and all the negatives, are we closer to the president’s aspiration — or further from it?
Trident renewal: nations with nuclear options
The Guardian, Editorial
It remains an open question where North Korea's belligerence towards South Korea and the United States is actually leading. Experience still suggests that the regime's principal aims are concessions over trade, aid and the regional military balance rather than outright war. Yet Pyongyang has unmistakably upped the stakes. Its rhetoric is fiercer than before. And the declared readiness to play the nuclear weapons card is shameless. Bombastic orders to prepare missile strikes on America, followed by Thursday's missile manoeuvres, add up to threats that cannot simply be dismissed as posturing. The sooner China and the UN can bring Kim Jong-un down off his dais and back round the table the better for us all.
North Korea plays a weak hand to advantage
Los Angeles Times, by Barbara Demick
North Korea is sometimes mocked as the mouse that roared, one of the poorest countries in the world threatening two economic and military giants, the United States and South Korea.
Understanding Kim Jong Un’s Tantrums
Bloomberg, by William Pesek
Can the world just take a long, deep breath about North Korea? This isn’t a trick question, but a plea for a moment of sobriety amid Kim Jong Un’s tantrums.
North Korea analysis: hot-headed gamble could lead to war no side wants
The Telegraph, by David Blair
Despite everything, this crisis will almost certainly not peak with North Korea deciding to launch a full-scale war. Instead, the big risk is that a small incident could trigger an escalation that runs out of control.
The North Korea conundrum
The Obama administration is reacting responsibly to a series of provocations from North Korea, shoring up defenses while seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis. But even if North Korea is deterred from attacking South Korea or U.S. forces for the foreseeable future, the defiance it has demonstrated in the last several weeks renders more elusive than ever achievement of the administration's ultimate goal: a Korean peninsula without nuclear weapons.
Pyongyang Is Not Our Only Nuclear Worry
National Review Online, by Henry Sokolski
As President Obama struggles to halt North Korea’s and Iran’s further “peaceful” production of nuclear explosive materials, he needs to take care that he doesn’t stimulate the nuclear-fuel-making aspirations of two American allies — Japan and South Korea.
Crisis Management in the Pacific: Nuclear and Maritime Confrontations
Huffington Post, by William Bradley
Don't look now, but a country with actual nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, as well as one of the world's largest militaries, is threatening not only one of America's closest allies but the U.S. itself. And it's not named Iran.
The Ayatollah in His Labyrinth
Foreign Policy, by Abbas Milani
At the heart of Iranian politics there is an irreconcilable tension, rooted in the democratic nature of the 1979 revolution and the undemocratic power structure that emerged afterwards. On the one hand, there is the country's quasi-republican institutions and regular, albeit controlled elections; on the other is the state's guiding concept of god as the sole sovereign, and the Supreme Leader as the unimpeachable manifestation of this divine authority.