• Mar 4, 2010


    By Chris Jones

    Picking up on a post earlier this week about grading the NPR, Jeffrey Lewis further clarified his statment about the declaratory options in the NPR being the choice between the plague and cholera.  For the most part, I take his point.  The difference between "sole" and "sole goal" is fairly significant in that there is an arguably limitless number of items that can be snuck under the goal umbrella.   Part of it very well may have been my misreading but I will note that Borger's wording of the "sole goal" is rather confusing:

    The US goal is to the deterrence of nuclear attack the "sole purpose" of its arsenal

    I think that may have intended to read "The US goal is to make the deterrence.." but as currently written could have goal referring more to deterrence than "sole purpose."

    Regardless, Lewis' point about the declaratory policy options reportedly being included in the NPR not doing much to reduce the role of nuclear weapons is entirely fair.  That said, the much larger point from Tuesday's post still holds true: the entirety of the NPR needs to be graded in the context of the entirety of the Prague speech.  Declaratory policy appears to be one of the areas where the NPR will come up shortest from the left's view but that does not meant the NPR should therefore be considered all for naught.



  • Mar 4, 2010

    NATO allies want U.S. nuclear weapons out of Europe
    Stars and Stripes by Kent Harris

    Delayed U.S. Nuclear Review Likely To Call For Cuts
    NPR by Mike Shuster

    The feeling on Iran? Watch NAM
    Reuters by Sylvia Westall

    Isolated China will need payback for Iran sanctions
    AFP by D'Arcy Doran

  • Mar 3, 2010

    By Chris Jones

    According to Laura Rozen at POLITICO, don’t expect a new START treaty anytime soon. Concerns about whether the treaty has a chance to pass the Senate this year are still up for debate but there is yet another wrench in getting a new START treaty signed: domestic politics fueling Russian intransigence. Rozen explains:

    But now sources in and out of the administration are saying Russia may not feel it needs to sign a new agreement soon. And perhaps not in time for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty review conference that the Obama administration is hosting in New York in May. There are a number of issues holding up a new treaty but the primary overarching concern is that Russia may not feel it needs to sign a new agreement, a Washington nonproliferation hand who asked for anonymity said. As the U.S. has its domestic political dimension to START in terms of ratification, so too does Moscow. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir “Putin may not be so eager for [President Dmitry] Medvedev to achieve a foreign policy success,” the foreign policy hand said. “They are haggling, fighting internally, and trying to figure out how to get more water out of a stone,” a former senior U.S. official knowledgeable about Russia told POLITICO. “Also, wondering when the next shoe will drop -- i.e., what country will announce that it is also a site for US missiles/interceptors. Also, thinking that the President is weak and may not be able to get this damn treaty thru Congress, so there is no rush to agree -- especially if it's not likely to get thru before the NPT Review Conference” in May.

  • Mar 3, 2010

    U.N. council ready to tackle Iran nuclear issue
    Reuters by Louis Charbonneau

    India, Pakistan to attend US nuclear summit

    Dead or alive? Top senators weigh in on nuke treaty's chances
    The Cable by Josh Rogin

    American Envoys in Beijing to Mend Relations
    NYT by Michael Wines

  • Mar 2, 2010

    By Chris Jones

    The NPR received some considerable press attention in the past week, for nuclear issues anyway. Laura Rozen discussed the NPR in the context of Vice President Biden’s speech at NDU while Josh Rogin reported the further delay to late March/early April which appears to be due in large part to figuring out the fundamental role of nuclear weapons. These pieces were followed up by a Sunday NYT article by David Sanger and Thom Shanker that provided some of the most in-depth previews to date about where the NPR will come down on a number of issues. What to make of all this? Depends who you ask. As Plutonium Pages notes, “the pundits, wonks, and national security reporters are all trying to read the tea leaves regarding these delays.” While the final grade for the NPR can’t be given until the document is actually released, criticisms about what a failure the NPR is shaping up to be should be taken with a grain of salt. For example, consider Jeffrey Lewis’ take on the NPR. Despite this skepticism about what a disappointment the NPR will be, there a few things to keep in mind.

  • Mar 2, 2010

    New Momentum for Iran Sanctions
    WSJ by David Crawford

    NKorea vows to bolster nuclear deterrent
    AP by Kwang-Tae Kim

    Obama Team Might Speed Up Disassembly of Older Nuclear Warheads
    GSN by Elaine M. Grossman

    India moves on U.S. nuclear deal with new law
    Reuters by Krittivas Mukherjee

  • Mar 1, 2010


  • Mar 1, 2010

    White House Is Rethinking Nuclear Policy
    NYT by David E. Sanger and Thom Shanker

    US, Russian nuclear negotiators meet again March 9
    AP by Bradley S. Klabber

    Iran moves enriched uranium stock back underground
    Reuters by Mark Heinrich and Sylvia Westall

    IAEA says citing "facts" on Iran, cooperation urgent
    Reuters by Mark Heinrich

  • Feb 26, 2010

    Experts Pessimistic on North Korea’s Willingness to Give Up Nukes
    GSN by Stephanie Palla

    Despite Pressure, China Still Resists Iran Sanctions
    NYT by Mark Landler

    Russia fumes at US missile defense plan
    AP by Aladimir Isachenkov

    What to do about tactical nuclear weapons
    Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists by Pavel Podvig

  • Feb 25, 2010

    By John K. Warden

    In Prague last April, President Obama announced “a new international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years.”

    Now almost a year later, Obama’s commitment will be tested.  The FY11 budget increases for nuclear security in the Department of Defense, Department of State, and Department of Energy budgets.  However, there’s still more that can be done.

    Kenneth Luongo, president and founder of the Partnership for Global Security, wrote a policy brief in November 2009 that included a number of good recommendations, many which have not yet been adopted.

    For example:

    • Provide all relevant programs with “notwithstanding authority” for 10 percent of their total yearly budgets for contingency purposes.
    • Ensure that all relevant programs have the authority to receive contributions from foreign governments, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations for specific nonproliferation objectives.
    • Allow for accelerated transfer authority among agencies to meet unforeseen challenges quickly.

    Luongo also argues that the United States should extend and expand the G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, and, in a more recent article, proposes an agenda for a successful nuclear security summit in April.

    Continued U.S. support, including adequate funding, will is essential to any effort to secure nuclear material.  However, a potentially more difficult obstacle to overcome will be securing partner country cooperation.

    In a 2008 article suggesting priorities for U.S. nuclear security efforts, Matthew Bunn, Associate Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School, highlights the difficulty in building relationships around securing sensitive materials:

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