November, 2010

  • Nov 30, 2010

    Join us tonight for a debate on the ratification of New START with Mort Halperin, Senior Advisor at the Open Society Institute, and Paula DeSutter, former Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance.

    For more on the event go here.

    Event Details:

    Date and Time: Tonight, Tuesday, November 30, 6:00 - 8:00 pm

    Location: CSIS B1 conference center (1800 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20006)

    RSVP to Chris Jones at


  • Nov 30, 2010


    Now North Korea boasts advances in nuclear programme
    Reuters by Jeremy Laurence

    Blast 'kills top Iran nuclear scientist,' Israel blamed
    AFP by Hiedeh Farmani

    Iran a focal point of documents
    Politico by Laura Rozen

    Democrats press Republicans on START ratification
    Reuters by David Alexander

    Fallout from a US treaty failure
    Boston Globe by James Carroll

  • Nov 29, 2010


    China calls for urgent talks on North Korea

    N.Korea Boosts Coastal Defenses as Allied War Games Start
    Chosun Ilbo

    NATO Sets Basis for Tactical Nuclear Cutbacks, But Path Remains Uncertain
    Global Security Newswire

    Arms-Control Arguments Heat Up
    Wall Street Journal by Jonathan Weisman

    Y-12 project's cost rises
    Knox News by Frank Munger

  • Nov 24, 2010


    The Case for Ratifying New Start
    Wall Street Journal by Joe Biden

    Obama ♥ Nukes
    The New Republic by Henry Sokolski

    How to Respond to North Korea
    New York Times

    Why North Korea attack is not a crisis
    CNN by Joe Cirincione and Paul Caroll

    North Korea's consistent message to the U.S.
    The Washington Post by Jimmy Carter

  • Nov 23, 2010

    By Terrence P. Smith

    Freshly back from the Lisbon Summit, the U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Ivo Daalder, referred to the event as a “huge success.” At an event yesterday at the Brookings Institute, Ambassador Daalder claimed the U.S. “got everything they wanted” from the Summit. He outlined the three main objectives of the Summit as: revitalizing the Alliance and preparing it to respond to 21st century threats, recommitting the Alliance to Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan, and increasing cooperation with Russia. The Summit addressed a wide range of issues in a brief 24 hour period. Below are the nuclear related tidbits as described by Ambassador Daalder.

  • Nov 23, 2010


    Due to an unforeseen scheduling change, PONI has had to move the upcoming New START debate back to a 6:00 pm start time.   Here are all of the details:

    Date and Time: Tuesday, November 30, 6:00 - 8:00 pm (it was originally slated to begin at 5:30 pm)

    Location: CSIS B1 conference center (1800 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20006)

    Topic: Ratification of the New START Treaty

    Speakers: Paula DeSutter and Mort Halperin

    RSVP: E-mail Chris Jones


    Look forward to seeing everyone there.



  • Nov 23, 2010


    North, South Korea exchange fire; 2 marines killed

    Technical problems have hit Iran atom work – diplomats

    White House Escalates Showdown with Kyl over New START Agreement
    Global Security Newswire by Elaine Grossman

    More Promises, More Problems for NATO
    World Politics Review by Alan Dowd

    Analysis: N.Korea enrichment "worst nightmare" for U.S. intel

    by Phil Stewart

  • Nov 22, 2010


    S. Korea might consider reintroducing U.S. tactical nuclear arms

    No evidence of Myanmar atom bomb aim - ex-IAEA aide
    Reuters By Miral Fahmy

    US defense chiefs warns LatAm nations on Iran cooperation

    U.S. open to North Korea talks despite nuclear advances
    Reuters By Jeremy Laurence

    Iran to hike atomic output despite possible talks

  • Nov 19, 2010

    By Terrence P. Smith

    The Lisbon Summit is upon us. Alongside the French-German skirmish, Turkey is one of the most dramatic stories leading up to the NATO meeting. With the future of the missile defense system marked as a major point of discussion, Turkey has been living in the spotlight. Turkey has been using their central position (for more, see this PONI post) in the debate to make a list of demands, most of them being fairly reasonable. Its latest request from Monday, however, is a little off the deep end.

    According to Turkey's state-funded news agency and again reported by the Wall-street journal,

    Turkey would demand that NATO assign a Turkish commander to oversee the shield, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday. "Especially if this is to be placed on our soil, [command] definitely should be given to us—otherwise it is not possible to accept.

    First question: Should the request be taken at face value?

  • Nov 19, 2010

    By Chris Jones

    The AP’s “fact check” produced today is a useful idea.  The acrimonious debate about the New START Treaty has been subject to more than a few red herrings and false claims. It is worth pointing out, however, that the “fact check” is not quite right about missile defense. It says:

    THE CLAIM: Opponents of the treaty, known as New START, say it will limit U.S. options for future missile defense. "New START could hamper our ability to improve our missile-defense system — leaving us unable to destroy more than a handful of missiles at a time and vulnerable to attacks from around the globe," Republican Sen. Jim DeMint wrote in the National Review in July.
    THE FACTS: The treaty itself does not place any constraints on missile defense. The document's preamble, which is not legally binding, acknowledges an interrelationship between nuclear weapons and missile defense, an assertion that was accepted by George W. Bush's administration and is self-evident: The point of missile defense is to counteract nuclear-tipped missiles.
    Opponents also point to Russia's assertion in a signing statement that it reserves the right to withdraw from the treaty if the United States significantly boosts its missile defenses. In fact, both sides have the right to withdraw from the treaty for any reason they believe is in their national interest.
    The Soviet Union made a similar assertion when leaders signed the original 1991 START treaty, warning the country might withdraw if the United States did not respect the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. But when President George W. Bush withdrew from the ABM treaty in 2001, Russia did not pull out of START. The START treaty held together for the same reason it was signed: It was in both countries' national interest.


    The treaty itself actually does have a limit on missile defense in Article 5. It states:

    Each Party shall not convert and shall not use ICBM launchers and SLBM launchers for placement of missile defense interceptors therein. Each Party further shall not convert and shall not use launchers of missile defense interceptors for placement of ICBMs and SLBMs therein. This provision shall not apply to ICBM launchers that were converted prior to signature of this Treaty for placement of missile defense interceptors therein.

    Is this an important limit on U.S. missile defense plans? No. Secretary Clinton explains 

    The treaty does contain language prohibiting the conversion or use of offensive missile launchers for missile defense interceptors and vice versa. But as General O’Reilly, our Missile Defense Director, has said, it is actually cheaper to build smaller, tailor-made missile defense silos than to convert offensive launchers. And the treaty does not restrict us from building new missile defense launchers, 14 of which we’re currently constructing in Alaska.

    For more analysis of the Article 5 limit, see here, here, here, and here. The New START treaty itself does have a limit on missile defense. It is just not one that interferes with U.S. missile defense plans in a meaningful way. 

  • Nov 19, 2010


    Obama: Biden will work “day and night” on New START
    Foreign Policy by Josh Rogin

    Why give Iran a reason not to fear a military attack?
    The Washington Post

    Arms control: Clarity in the Senate
    Politico by John Podesta

    A New NATO for a New World
    Huffington Post by Anders Fogh Rasmussen

    Satellite images support North Korea reactor claim
    Reuters by Jeremy Laurence

  • Nov 18, 2010

    By Mark Jansson and Anna Newby
    On Tuesday, November 16, the Stimson Center and the United States Institute of Peace released a joint report entitled “Engagement, Coercion, and Iran’s Nuclear Challenge.” The report is a product of a joint study group on U.S.-Iran policy and was written by the Stimson Center’s Barry Blechman and USIP’s Daniel Brumberg, with contributions from USIP’s Steven Heydemann. What’s unique about this study is that it integrates perspectives of a strategic studies-focused expert (Blechman) with those from the field of comparative politics (Brumberg and Heydemann) – a sensible approach given the importance of understanding the relationship between Iran’s regional strategy and its domestic politics. The project was split into three working groups: one focused on Iran’s internal politics and foreign policy, another looked at Iran’s regional and global relations, and a third turned to U.S. policy options on Iran.

  • Nov 18, 2010

    By: Kevin Kallmyer

    The State Department, yesterday, released their draft of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Report (QDDR) to lawmakers. The document will serve as the basis for State Department and USAID strategy and introduces potential reforms that, if implemented, may influence the future of U.S. nonproliferation policy.

  • Nov 18, 2010


    Obama enlists big guns to help save nuclear treaty
    AP by Jim Abrams

    Going to War Over a Treaty
    Slate by Fred Kaplan

    NATO needs to modernize rusty nuclear policy
    The Toronto Star by Paul Meyer

    Can New START Treaty Survive Partisan Divide in Congress?

  • Nov 18, 2010

    By Chris Jones

    Senator Lugar, who has been the key Republican voice in favor of New START, issued a scathing indictment of the GOP’s foot dragging on the treaty yesterday. Josh Rogin reports:

    In a stunning rebuke to members of his own caucus, Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking Republican Richard Lugar (R-IN) said on Wednesday that the GOP is intentionally trying to put off a vote on the New START treaty with Russia, and avoiding a serious discussion about the treaty within the caucus.

    "At the moment, the Republican caucus is tied up in a situation where people don't want to make choices," Lugar told reporters in the hallway of the Capitol building Wednesday. "No one wants to be counted. No one wants to talk about it."

    . . .

    But according to Lugar, the Republican leadership is preventing a debate on the treaty for the rest of the year because they don't want to force their rank-and-file members to take a position on the agreement.

    Kerry and Kyl continued to meet on Wednesday, ostensibly to work out a deal based on the $84 billion the administration is promising Kyl for nuclear modernization in exchange for his support of the treaty. Kyl told The Cable that negotiations were going forward "in good faith," but Lugar suggested that's all a smoke screen and that the Republican leadership is committed to avoiding completion of the treaty for the foreseeable future.

    [Also: Steve Clemmons has the video here]

  • Nov 17, 2010

    By Terrence P. Smith

    President “Barack Obama's hopes for a nuclear-free world fading fast,” reads a story run by the Guardian yesterday. New developments on the chances (or lack thereof) of New Start ratification and changes to (again, or lack thereof) the deployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, prompted the story which argues Obama’s nuclear disarmament dream stands “on the brink of failure tonight.” This tone seems a bit dramatic and a tad presumptuous, for while things certainly aren’t looking as promising as Obama and his team had wished for, there has been significant progress over the last year and there is room for more hope.

  • Nov 17, 2010


    Clinton Seeks to Save Russia Arms Treaty as Republicans Balk at Approval
    Bloomberg by Flavia Krause-Jackson and Nicole Gaouette

    Kerry and Biden: We are still going to push for New START this year
    Foreign Policy by Josh Rogin

    Ratify the New START treaty -- but wait until January to do it
    Christian Science Monitor by Kurt Volker

    Gates says Iran leadership rift over nuclear sanctions

  • Nov 16, 2010


    The Case for a NATO Missile Defense
    The New York Times by Ivo Daalder

    NATO, Nuclear Security and the Terrorist Threat
    The New York Times by Sam Nunn

    Turks Seek Control Over Shield
    Wall Street Journal by Marc Champion

    Offering Nuclear Plus-ups, White House Awaits Kyl's Word on "New START"
    Global Security Newswire by Elaine Grossman

    Iran Agrees With EU For Nuclear Talks Beginning December 5
    RTT News

  • Nov 15, 2010


    We can't delay this treaty
    The Washington Post by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Robert Gates

    Military exercises carried out near nuclear sites: Iran
    Reuters by Mitra Amiri

    Barack Obama assures Dmitry Medvedev on START nuclear weapons treaty
    The Telegraph by Toby Harnden

    Graham: Two START 'stumbling blocks' stand in way of his vote
    The Hill by Bridget Johnson 

  • Nov 12, 2010


    Report Reveals N.Korea's Flourishing Arms Trade

    Western Officials Reaffirm Call for Nuclear Talks With Iran
    Global Security Newswire

    UN watchdog may struggle to cope with atom revival
    Reuters By Fredrik Dahl

    S.Africa turns apartheid-era nukes into medicine
    AFP By Benjamin Humphrey

    More Nuclear Material Removed From Livermore Lab
    Global Security Newswire

  • Nov 11, 2010


    Previewing Obama's European Trip #1: The NATO Summit in Lisbon, November 19-20, 2010
    Brookings Institute by Steven Pifer and Justin Vaisse

    Why Senate Republicans should pass the New START treaty
    The Washington Post by Robert Kagan

    Dishonest, Devious, and Dangerous
    Slate by Fred Kaplan

    Could Terrorists Launch America's Nuclear Missiles?
    TIME by Bruce Blair

    NATO's Missile Defense Challenge
    World Politics Review by Richard Weitz

    Controlling Tactical Nuclear Weapons
    ISN by Micah Zenko

  • Nov 10, 2010


    It has been awhile since PONI has hosted a live debate.  We are pleased to announce the next debate will feature Mort Halperin, Senior Advisor at the Open Society Institute, and Paula DeSutter, former Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance, discussing the New START treaty. Here are the details:

    Date: Tuesday, November 30
    Time: 5:30 – 7:30 pm
    Location: CSIS (1800 K St. NW), B1 conference center

    To RSVP for the event, please contact Chris Jones.


  • Nov 10, 2010


    U.S., allies spar with Iran over nuclear talks venue
    CNN by Elise Labott

    'Prompt Global Strike' Weapons Still Years Away
    National Defense Magazine

    Warren Mishap No Bar To START
    DOD Buzz by Colin Clark

    Don't Stall on New START
    Huffington Post by William Hartung

    Why Rush to Cut Nukes?
    New York Times by John Bolton and John Yoo

  • Nov 9, 2010

    By: Kevin Kallmyer

    On November 8, the Project on Nuclear Issues, in conjunction with the United States Institute of Peace and the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, co-hosted The Future of Nuclear Weapons and Missile Defense in NATO Security. The event featured a rich discussion and debate on the role that tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs) and missile defense should play within NATO security policy.

  • Nov 9, 2010


    By Terrence P. Smith

    On October 31, it was revealed that United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense was discreetly considering an offer from a consortium of private companies – led by American defense giant Lockheed Martin – to assume the management of the Royal Navy’s Coulport nuclear arms depot in Scotland. As Britain grapples with a budget that is seriously strapped for cash, the move is designed to cut costs for the MoD. However, although Britain is faced with many tough budgeting choices, serious examination must be given to the wisdom of allowing private companies a greater role in the management of what is nothing short of the holy grail of weapons.

  • Nov 9, 2010

    (The destroyed Al Kibar site)


    By Anna Newby
    After obtaining a copy of former President George W. Bush’s memoirs, titled “Decision Points,” before its release today, Reuters reported last week that Bush had considered a U.S. military strike against Syria’s suspected nuclear facility at Al Kibar. Then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, according to Bush’s account, approached the president saying “George, I’m asking you to bomb the compound.” In September 2007, it was an Israeli airstrike that destroyed the facility. Although Israel and the U.S. both stayed quiet about it, Major General Aharon Zeevi Farkash, Israel’s former chief of military intelligence, called it “logical” that Tel Aviv would target a Syrian nuclear reactor. The Syrians, meanwhile, claimed that the building was an unused military facility, and President Bashar Assad has stated that “Syria is fundamentally opposed to the proliferation of nuclear weapons.”
  • Nov 9, 2010


    U.S. START delay risks Russia ties: State Dept

    Iran offers date for nuclear talks
    AP by Nasser Karimi

    Netanyahu: U.S. Threat to Use Force Can Deter Iran
    National Journal by Sara Sorcher

    Turkey expects to host Iran nuclear talks: Gul
    Reuters by Anna Yukhananov

    In a first, India, U.S. for dialogue of all nuclear weapon states
    The Hindu by Siddharth Varadarajan

  • Nov 8, 2010

    Iran pushes for nuclear talks in Turkey
    LA Times by Borzou Daragahi

    Gates: Sanctions are impacting Iran

    Nuclear-arms treaty will test Obama, GOP
    Philadelphia Inquirer by Joe Cirincione

    U.S. Vote Could Derail Russia Ties
    NY Times by Peter Baker

    Nuclear smuggling: The expert view
    The Guardian by Matthew Bunn

  • Nov 5, 2010


    France, China Say Launching 'Strategic' Nuclear Cooperation
    Radio Free Europe

    Big-Power Diplomats Confer on Iran Nuclear Talks
    VOA News

    Top official confirms: US to lift hi-tech nuclear sanctions
    Hindustan Times by Yashwant Raj

    NATO Proposes Missile Defense Terms to Russia
    Global Security Newswire

    Clinton Urges Lame-Duck Senate Vote On START

  • Nov 4, 2010

    By: Kevin Kallmyer

    North Korea is in the process of a power transition from the 68 year-old leader Kim Jong-il, to his 27 year-old grandson, Kim Jong-un. While this succession is incredibly significant for North Korean domestic politics, it is unlikely to have a significant impact on their nuclear program, or U.S. North Korean policy.

  • Nov 4, 2010


    Republicans' gains in U.S. midterm elections may affect nuclear disarmament policies
    The Mainichi Daily News by Kazuhiko Kusano

    Clinton sees votes to pass U.S.-Russia arms treaty

    More Nuke Funding Might be Needed, Biden Says
    Global Security Newswire

    Will the Elections Change Obama's Iran Policy?
    TIME by Tony Karon

    Obama’s Hopeless Iran Strategy

    The Diplomat

  • Nov 3, 2010


    The World With a Nuclear Iran
    The Wall Street Journal by Moshe Kantor

    Reform not on young Kim's menu
    Asia Times by Sunny Lee

    Iran Rejects New Uranium Exchange Terms
    Global Security Newswire

    What is Israel really doing about Iran?
    Haaretz by Amos Harel

    World watches US election and speculates on impact
    Real Clear World by Tini Tran

  • Nov 2, 2010

    By Terrence P. Smith

    The fate of two of the more significant nuclear weapons related issues facing the United States – establishing missile defense systems in Europe and preventing Iranian proliferation – will be heavily influenced by the decisions of the Turkish government. It has yet to be seen if Turkey’s position as a pivotal player in the outcome of these two issues will prove to be a headache or a relief for U.S. policy and defense planners.

  • Nov 2, 2010

    By: Kevin Kallmyer

    On October 27, PONI hosted its annual Capstone Conference at Strategic Command at Offutt AFB, Nebraska. The Conference featured the best and most intriguing presentations from the past year of PONI conferences. Presentations covered a wide range of topics, including U.S. nuclear strategy, U.S.-Russian arms control, nuclear proliferation and terrorism, and technical challenges facing the nuclear arsenal.

  • Nov 2, 2010


    Russian Lawmakers Could Reconsider "New START"
    Global Security Newswire

    The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty: the greatest legacy we could leave future generations
    The Daily Star by Sergio Duarte and Tibor Toth

    Iran envoy dismisses tougher terms for atom fuel swap
    Reuters by Frederik Dahl

    Atom bomb would be strategic mistake: Iran envoy
    Reuters by Frederik Dahl

    N Korea seeks to develop smaller nuclear warheads: minister
    The AFP

  • Nov 1, 2010


    Iran Agrees to Resume Negotiations on Nuclear Program After Yearlong Break
    Bloomberg News by Ladane Nasseri

    Burma’s Pursuit of Nuclear Weapons
    Epoch Times by James Burkey

    Turkey Says It Won't Block NATO Plan
    Wall Street Journal by Marc Champion

    Hugo Chavez's nuke push is a problem the US needs to face
    China Post by Peter Brookes