Foreign Policy Blogs

Arms Control and Proliferation

Africa, Nuclear Security and the 2012 Summit

Africa, Nuclear Security and the 2012 Summit

Many hold a view that the terms Africa and nuclear security have no correlation. This is a false and dangerous perception. South Africa’s Energy Minister Dipuo Peters announced on Tuesday 28 February 2012 that the country plans to use nuclear energy as part of diversified mix to help cure South Africa’s energy crisis and to […]

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Bird Flu: Important Not to Under-react . . . but Also Important Not to Over-react

Bird Flu: Important Not to Under-react . . . but Also Important Not to Over-react

To judge from reports that appeared in The New York Times and Washington Post, as well as Science magazine, it appears that the World Health Organization will recommend, over U.S. objections, full publication of the bird flu studies showing that an air-transmissible, mammal-to-mammal form of the H5N1 virus can be engineered. A Times story that […]

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Bolstering “The Gold Standard” on 123 Agreements: Pressure on the Administration Mounts

Bolstering “The Gold Standard” on 123 Agreements: Pressure on the Administration Mounts

  On the heels of the resumption of U.S.-Jordanian 123 talks, the pressure on the Obama Administration to maintain its commitment to the so-called Gold Standard is getting stronger. Indeed, the pressure is coming from across the political spectrum. In a spate of OpEds and Commentaries over the last several weeks, everyone from stalwart nonpro […]

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Of Power and Bunk

Of Power and Bunk

The estimable Robert Kagan, senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brooking Institution has a new book, The World America Made (Knopf). Because Kagan is the most formidable of the neoconservative foreign policy intellectuals, and because he reputedly has the attention of both the Obama administration and the Romney campaign, a condensed version of the […]

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Iran Ready to Talk?

Iran Ready to Talk?

U.S. diplomat Dennis Ross argues compellingly in today’s New York Times that Iran sanctions are biting hard and that Tehran may be getting in the mood for serious negotiations. In particular, Ross reports that Iran has declared its willingness to discuss the so-called Russian step-by-step plan, in which parties to the nuclear dispute take reciprocal […]

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Secret North Korean Nuke Test?

Secret North Korean Nuke Test?

The North Koreans allegedly conducted secret, nearly undetected nuclear tests in 2010. And they almost got away with it. That is, until Lars-Erik De Geer, an atmospheric scientist at the Swedish Defence Research Agency in Stockholm, took a closer look at the monitoring data from Russian and Japanese stations close to North Korea. Reporting in […]

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Iranian Diplomacy

Iranian Diplomacy

What are the prospects for a diplomatic settlement to the simmering dispute with Iran over its nuclear program, now threatening to boil over? On the positive side of the ledger, as Peter Crail spelled out in an Arms Control Association issue brief on Jan. 25, the P5 + 1 group (China, France, Germany, Russia, the […]

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Bird Flu Developments

Bird Flu Developments

Members of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, in an article posted on Science’s website on Jan. 30, explain their reasons for asking researchers to omit published details of their work, in which they manipulated the genetic composition of the N1N5 virus to make it transmissible mammal to mammal, through the air. The article […]

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DNI’s Clapper on Threats: North Korea, Iran Et Al.

DNI’s Clapper on Threats: North Korea, Iran Et Al.

Director of National Intelligence chief James Clapper testified today in front of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on intelligence community conclusions contained in the DNI’s annual Worldwide Threat Assessment. In unclassified testimony, Clapper stated that Iran is “keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons, in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better […]

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Sour Grapes? IDSA Questions NTI Nuke Materials Security Index

Sour Grapes? IDSA Questions NTI Nuke Materials Security Index

After the Nuclear Threat Initiative released its Nuclear Materials Security Index, the Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis in New Delhi posted a rebuke of sorts by Dr. Ch. Viyyanna Sastry, a Research Fellow, and Rajiv Nayan, a Senior Research Associate, both at the IDSA. In it, Sastry and Nayan allege that the NTI index […]

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Bird Flu Virus Research Moratorium

Bird Flu Virus Research Moratorium

The creation of a modified H5N1 bird flu virus that can be transmitted through the air mammal-to-mammal has aroused wide consternation; a biosecurity advisory board to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended the research findings be published only in a redacted form, so that a recipe for the hugely dangerous variant would […]

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Locking Down the Nasty Stuff: NTI Launches its Nuclear Materials Security Index

Locking Down the Nasty Stuff:  NTI Launches its Nuclear Materials Security Index

In its latest effort to highlight the danger of loose nukes – in this case, weapons-usable nuclear material – the Nuclear Threat Initiative has launched its Nuclear Materials Security Index. The intent, according to NTI co-Chairman, Chief Executive Office and public face of NTI former Senator Sam Nunn, is to provide a “country-by-country assessment of […]

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Iran: the Case for Talking

Iran: the Case for Talking

In an Arms Control Association issue brief published on January 4, Greg Thielmann ably makes the case for trying to resolve the Iranian nuclear dilemma by means of old-fashioned diplomacy. The ACA’s introduction to the piece forcefully gets across just how drastically and dangerously U.S.-Iranian relations have deteriorated in the last months: “At the end […]

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“The Scariest Story of 2011” (2)

“The Scariest Story of 2011” (2)

Evidently I’m not the only one who found the genetic manipulation of the H5N1 bird flu virus quite frightening. Last Sunday, the New York Times lead editorial was devoted to “An Engineered Doomsday.” The Times takes the view that the research should never have been done at all, suggests that nothing describing it should be […]

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Tick…Tick…Tick: Doomsday Clock Moves Closer to Midnight

Tick…Tick…Tick: Doomsday Clock Moves Closer to Midnight

It seems that the new year has begun with less of a bang and more of a whimper, as the venerable Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved its symbolic Doomsday Clock a minute closer to midnight on Tuesday. The reason for the move: inadequate progress on nuclear weapons reduction and climate change.  The clock was moved […]

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