Nuclear Policy News - May 9, 2012

May 9, 2012
TOP NEWS
 
Experts say even if North Korea performs 3rd nuke test, a useable weapon may still be far off
 
Middle East nuclear talks thrown into doubt
 
New Israel Partner Offers Moderate Voice on Iran
 
The Asian Arms Race That Wasn't
M. Taylor Fravel and Vipin Narang
 
EAST ASIA
 
Experts say even if North Korea performs 3rd nuke test, a useable weapon may still be far off
 
If getting international attention is North Korea’s goal, then there is nothing quite like detonating a nuclear device to make your adversaries sit up and take notice. But experts say North Korea probably has a long way to go before it will be able to actually deploy a nuclear weapon.
 
MIDDLE EAST
 
Middle East nuclear talks thrown into doubt
 
Talks on ridding the Middle East of nuclear weapons looked in doubt on Tuesday as the Western official organizing them said he had yet to secure the needed attendance of all countries in the region.
 
Mideast nuclear conference in jeopardy
 
Hopes dimmed Tuesday for staging major nuclear talks later this year between Israel and its Muslim rivals, as Iran and Arab countries at a 189-nation conference accused Israel of being the greatest threat to peace in the region and Egypt warned that Arab states might rethink their opposition to atomic arms.
 
New Israel Partner Offers Moderate Voice on Iran
 
Less than two weeks ago, Yuval Diskin, the recently retired chief of Israel’s internal security agency, carried out a blistering verbal assault on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, questioning their judgment in handling what they regard as an Iranian nuclear threat and accusing them of making decisions “based on messianic feelings.”
 
Reversing Course, Journalist Says Israel Attack Unikely This Year
 
An Israeli military strike “is not imminent,” and highly unlikely to take place in the next six months, according to Ronen Bergman, the high-profile Israeli journalist whose New York Times Magazine cover story, “Will Israel Attack Iran?” (Jan. 25), concluded otherwise.
 
SOUTH ASIA
 
Pakistan's rogue scientist eyes polls
 
Controversial Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan has said he wants to contest the country's next general election.

RUSSIA/FSU/EUROPE
 
Russia to Adopt New Liquid Heavy ICBM after 2022 - Expert
 
Russia will only be able to adopt a new 100-ton liquid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) intended to penetrate the US missile defense system by 2022, the manufacturer said on Tuesday.
Russian military mentioned the possibility of the new ICBMs in 2009 but the official decision to launch development of the new silo-based missile designed to replace the Voyevoda R-36M2 Satan ICBM was only announced late last year.
 
MULTILATERAL ARMS CONTROL AND NONPROLIFERATION
 
Israeli, Iranian Attendance at WMD-Free Zone Meeting Uncertain
 
It remains unclear whether Israel and Iran will attend a key regional meeting this December on outlawing nuclear weapons and other unconventional arms in the Middle East, the event "facilitator" was quoted by Deutsche Presse-Agentur as suggesting on Tuesday (see GSN, April 24).
 
Nuclear Inspector Dies in Iran Crash
 
A South Korean nuclear inspector on a mission for the United Nations was killed, and a Slovakian inspector was injured, when their car overturned on Tuesday near a nuclear site southwest of Tehran, semiofficial Iranian media reported.
 
U.S. NUCLEAR POLICY
 
House Panel Urges Competition for Conventional Prompt-Strike Weapons
 
The House Armed Services Committee this week is expected to mark up a defense spending bill that encourages competition in the Defense Department’s “conventional prompt global strike” mission arena, among other initiatives (see GSN, June 24, 2011).
 
Sam Nunn on Richard Lugar’s defeat in Indiana
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Blogs (Political Insider with Jim Galloway)
 
Voters in Indiana on Tuesday ended the U.S. Senate career of Richard Lugar, a Republican who nurtured the foreign policy views of Barack Obama of Illinois and served as the long-time policy partner of Sam Nunn, the Democrat from Georgia.
 
U.S. to lose respected foreign policy voice in Lugar
 
Senator Richard Lugar, defeated in the Indiana Republican primary on Tuesday, was a quiet and respected voice on foreign policy during more than three decades of service that focused on stemming the worldwide spread of nuclear weapons.
 
OPINIONS
 
Foriegn Policy: Lugar's Defeat Doesn't Matter
Jacob Heilbrunn
 
This year, a new book by John T. Shaw appeared about Sen. Richard G. Lugar, who lost his primary to Tea Party candidate and Indiana state treasurer Richard Mourdock. Like Lugar, its tone is steady, reassuring, and unexciting. The tome is called Statesman of the Senate: Crafting Foreign Policy from Capitol Hill. It has received blurbs from everyone from former senior Clinton administration official and Brookings Institution President Strobe Talbott — "a trenchant study of statesmanship as practiced from the legislative branch of our government" — to former Sen. Sam Nunn — "A close-up look at the dedication, effectiveness, and outstanding public service of Senator Dick Lugar."
 
The Asian Arms Race That Wasn't
M. Taylor Fravel and Vipin Narang
 
Are we in the middle of a missile race in Asia? On April 25, Pakistan conducted the first test of its Shaheen 1-A intermediate-range ballistic missile. The Pakistan military said that the missile, which is capable of delivering a nuclear warhead against targets in India, successfully hit its intended location in the Indian Ocean.
 
Don't forget India's nukes
Jane Harman
 
"We urge all nuclear-capable states to exercise restraint regarding nuclear capabilities," a State Department spokesman said last month after India successfully blasted its new long-range Agni 5 missile into the Bay of Bengal. But he quickly softened the admonishment: "That said, India has a solid nonproliferation record."