Foreign Policy Blogs

Arms Control and Proliferation

What Can Washington Do About North Korea’s Nuclear Ambitions?

What Can Washington Do About North Korea’s Nuclear Ambitions?

This week, military tensions and international concerns reached an unprecedented level in the Korean Peninsula after the United States deployed a B-52 bomber in response to North Korea’s recent nuclear test. 

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Did Iran Ever Actually Violate The Nonproliferation Treaty? Does It Matter?

Did Iran Ever Actually Violate The Nonproliferation Treaty? Does It Matter?

The IAEA’s final report left many observers dissatisfied: reactions to it tended to reflect people’s preexisting attitudes toward the issue.

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Russia’s S-400 Missile and Putin’s Iron Dome

Russia’s S-400 Missile and Putin’s Iron Dome

In the aftermath of the incident with Turkey, the next generation of Russian surface-to-air missile that concerned U.S. officials for so many years is now being deployed in Syria.

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The Iran Deal: Not Trusting, Verifying

The Iran Deal: Not Trusting, Verifying

There has been considerable opposition to the Iran Deal. One of the most curious assertions being made, however, is that we cannot negotiate with the Iranians because they cannot be trusted. This simply defies logic. If we trusted them, we would not need to negotiate an agreement.

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The Iran Deal: Three Unfounded Lines of Attack

The Iran Deal: Three Unfounded Lines of Attack

A great deal has been written about the agreement negotiated between Iran and the P5+1 countries. A lot of the commentary has been nonsense. Here I would like to address three unfounded lines of attack.

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U.S. Senate Approves Guns to Syria: ‘Designated Terrorists’ Still on OFAC List

U.S. Senate Approves Guns to Syria: ‘Designated Terrorists’ Still on OFAC List

The fact that the end users, the Free Syrian Army, to whom the US government has decided to send ‘lethal aid,’ is closely affiliated with individuals and organizations still listed on the Department of Treasury’s ‘SDN’ List, people and groups the Office of Financial Assets Control (OFAC) has banned as importers or recipients of US goods (especially weapons), doesn’t seem to bother the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Perhaps the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is confused? Unaware that a transfer of weapons from the US, directly or through an intermediate buyer, to any organization or individual listed on OFAC’s list would constitute an illegal arms sale?

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Obama and Syria: Red Lines Redeemed?

Obama and Syria: Red Lines Redeemed?

I’ve contended in previous posts (herehere and here) that President Obama’s failure to enforce his numerous threats against the use of chemical weapons by the Bashir al-Assad regime in Damascus is a significant reason to doubt the credibility of his repeated vows to use military force …

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Obama’s NDU Speech: Implications for Tehran

Obama’s NDU Speech: Implications for Tehran


The major speech on counter-terrorism policy President Obama delivered last week at the National Defense University has generated a great deal of commentary about its implications for drone strikes and Guantanamo detainees. Little noticed, however, is the underlying message it sends to Iran’s leaders.
Mr. Obama has made …

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Red Line Blues: North Korea, Iran and Syria

Red Line Blues: North Korea, Iran and Syria

A defining moment for Mr. Obama’s foreign policy legacy is fast approaching
From the Levant and the Persian Gulf to the Korean peninsula, events in recent weeks have offered a clinic in the difficulty of enforcing red lines on rogue regimes and their weapons of mass destruction, as well as how …

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Iran: Cutting the Gordian Knots

Iran: Cutting the Gordian Knots

The good news in nuclear arms control this last week was of course China’s rather surprising decision to join in international sanctions against North Korea. The single most important thing about sanctions, almost always, is not their material effect but, rather, when the sanctions are universal,  the moral and political …

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The Four Statesmen Return to the Rostrum: Take Action on Proliferation Risks Now

The Four Statesmen Return to the Rostrum:  Take Action on Proliferation Risks Now

In what seems to be a response to the Corker/Inhofe op-ed in the Wall Street Journal of last week, elder statesmen George Shultz, Bill Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn reiterated their call for more urgent progress on reducing nuclear risks, particularly proliferation.  This is their fifth article since …

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Old Thinking, New Realities

Old Thinking, New Realities

In an OpEd in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, Senators Bob Corker, currently Ranking Member on the Foreign Relations Committee, and James Inhofe, well-known global warming skeptic and Ranking Member on the Armed Services Committee, opined about how the administration’s commitment to eliminating nuclear weapons was 1) dangerous, 2) likely …

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North Korean Nuclear Test: What Is the Nature of the Threat?

North Korean Nuclear Test: What Is the Nature of the Threat?

 
From a global perspective, any new entry into the “nuclear club” is high undesirable as such: With every new entrant, there is an exponential increase in the political complexity of achieving total nuclear disarmament — or, to put it more simply, there is an additional obstacle in the way of …

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Nuclear Weapons Accomplishments in the Chu Years

Nuclear Weapons Accomplishments in the Chu Years

Departing Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s farewell letter is not the usual five paragraphs consisting of gradiose claims and bromides for the ages. At more than 3,750 words, it is the length of a college term paper or a magazine feature article. As interesting for what …

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Nuke Brain Drain in the Senate

Nuke Brain Drain in the Senate

With the retirement of Senator Jon Kyl and defeat of Senator Richard Lugar — of the unprecedented Nunn-Lugar initiative — Congress’s 113th session will see a significant lacunae in arms control and nuclear nonproliferation expertise.  While I am hard-pressed to call Kyl an “expert” — someone who repeatedly questioned the …

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