Arms Control Wonk

“Liddle Bob Corker” and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the President’s authority to use nuclear weapons. A bipartisan panel testified that “it’s fine.”

But is it?

Aaron and Jeffrey discuss Trump, the bomb, and the President’s War Powers.

 

Links of Note:

C-SPAN video of the entire Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Nuclear Weapons Authority.

Direct download: 69.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:23am EST

The US and South Korea agreed to revise the missile guidelines that have limited South Korea’s missile programs since the 1970s.

Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the origin of those limits, their evolution, and the impact of missile proliferation on the Korean Peninsula.

 

Links of Note:

Arms Control Wonk article about South Korea's Anheung Proving Grounds, where the missile tests occur.

Our last podcast on the Hyunmoo-2C, South Korea's latest publicly displayed missile.

Direct download: 68.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:42am EST

Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, recently stated that Iran has no need to extend the range of its missiles beyond 2,000 km. With debates about Iran's missile program affecting the debate about the Iran nuclear deal, Aaron and Jeffrey take a survey of regional missile proliferation from Egypt to Iran.

Special bonus, Jeffrey tries not to giggle uncontrollably every time Aaron mentions the Hague Code of Conduct, aka the H-COC.

 

Links of Note:

IRGC says that Iran's missiles are capped at 2000km by the Supreme Leader.

Shea Cotton's Iranian Missile Launch Database at NTI.

Sponsored Link:

Douglass Alchemy kindly provided Jeffrey, Aaron, and Scott with a wide variety of quality cocktail bitters.

ACW Podcast listeners can use the promo code ACW to get 20% off any orders. Perfect for keeping you warm while missile-watching this winter.

Direct download: 67.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:34pm EST

A Canadian reviews the month's North Korea news with a special guest. For October, Andrea talks to Adam Cathcart -- a lecturer at Leeds University and editor of the website Sino-NK

They dig into the events of the 19th Party Congress in China, talk about the dodgy stuff the Egyptians have been buying from Pyongyang, and try to figure out what's in the water (or maple syrup) up North. 

Links of Note:

Adam Cathcart's China Brief article on Chinese PLA troop movements near the border with North Korea.

Joby Warrick's Washington Post article on the Jie Shun.

Andrea Berger and Matt Korda's Canadian International Council article on Canada's Ballistic Missile Defense Debate.

Direct download: 66.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:29am EST

The New York Times has a splashy interactive editorial, "Trump’s Nuclear Arsenal." It's good, but gets a few things wrong --
things that matter like Mutual Assured Destruction, Robert McNamara's famous thought experiment on sizing US nuclear forces, and how the US targets nuclear weapons. Also, they misuse decimate.
 
Aaron and Jeffrey talk through the problems with US nuclear policy and Jeffrey's proposal to state that the US will not use nuclear weapon against a target if a conventional one will do.
 
Links of Note:
 
 
Jeffrey and Scott Sagan's article, and its shorter, op-ed version in the Washington Post.
 
 Aaron's recently revived podcast, Turkey Wonk.
 
Direct download: 65.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:20pm EST

President Trump said each of the missile defense interceptors at the
Ground-based Midcourse Defense site in Alaska has a 97% chance of shooting down a North Korean missile and that two would have a 100% chance.

Statistics don't work like that, at least that's not
how it was taught where Jeffrey and Aaron went to school. We discuss
how to think about missile defenses and statistical risk, while Scott
joins us to explain the online calculator he built for just such a
problem.

 

Links of Note:

Mostly Missile Defense's List of Claims about GMD Effectiveness.

The Washington Post's Fact Check on President Trump's 97% claim.

Joshua Pollack's article on the 97% claim on Defense One.

Scott's been fiddling with missile defense calculators and put together a few helpful tools:

The Simple Model (pulled from Wilkening's work), but without radar/sensor probabilities. This calculator is used to estimate the probability of a multilayer missile defense architecture intercepting X number of incoming warheads.

Another Simple Model based calculator, but with a very basic estimation for sensors and tracking probabilities, also based on Wilkening's writings.

Scott's under-construction experimental tool for sticking these probabilities on a map (with examples!).

 

 

 

 

Direct download: 64.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:11am EST

No, Hilary Clinton did not sell America's uranium to Russia.

Aaron and Jeffrey attempt to patiently discuss the Uranium One purchase of Willow Creek uranium mine, the US firm that bribed Russian officials to win trucking contracts, and why this particular conspiracy theory is so prevalent in American political discourse.

 

Links of Note:

The Washington Post article fact checking the President's claim.

The 2015 New York Times article that set the conspiracy theorizing in motion.

A 2010 article from the Washington Times claiming that the sale of Uranium One would hurt the U.S. (it didn't).

Direct download: 63.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54pm EST

Donald Trump announced a new "strategy"  -- loosely defined -- for confronting Iran. Trump also will refuse to certify that Iran is implementing its commitments under the Iran nuclear deal, aka the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), throwing the issue back to Congress and (possibly) starting a second nuclear crisis. 

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss why Congress created the requirement to certify the Iran nuclear deal, why Trump hates it, and what happens now.

Links of Note:
 
NPR full video and transcript of Trump's Iran speech.

Main and addendum text of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
 
Text of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (INARA).
 
Jeffrey and Aaron can also be seen talking about this issue on Vice News Tonight (Season 2, Episode 4, October 16). 
Direct download: 62.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:04am EST

ICAN won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its work on "for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons."

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss the prize, the treaty to ban nuclear weapons, and efforts to promote disarmament

Links of Note:

NTI's fact page on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Our episodes on the ban treaty negotiations, Banning the Bomb:

Part I

Part II

Part IIIA (with Beatrice Fihn herself!)

Part IIIB (with Beatrice Fihn herself!)

 

Direct download: 61.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:40pm EST

Donald Trump told the United Nations that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (aka the Iran nuclear deal aka the Vienna Plan aka der Weinerplan) between Iran and the so-called E3/U-3 "Is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don't think you've heard the last of it -- believe me."

Aaron and Jeffrey talk about the prospects for Trump to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal, why that would be a bad idea, why the "section T" talking point is tendentious nonsense, and why its time to make peace with the fact that the future of nonproliferation is mostly about persuading countries to take a pass on the bomb.

Links of Note:

Full text of President Trump's United Nations General Assembly Speech.

Section T of Annex 1 of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Direct download: 60.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:07am EST