Arms Control Wonk (general)

What is going on with the Trump-Kim summit following the recent cancellation of a DPRK-ROK meeting?

Will Trump and Kim meet?

And how does John Bolton fit into all of this?

Today, Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the latest twists and turns in the run-up to the Singapore summit, and raise broader questions about denuclearization and bureaucratic politics in the United States.

 

Links of Note:

John Bolton discussing that the summit will fail.

Dig!

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Direct download: 96.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:56pm EDT

Kim Jong Un said he is closing the nuclear test site at Punggye-ri. But if outside inspectors and exports aren't allowed in, it could just be a PR stunt with no substantive contribution to "denuclearization."

Jeffrey and Aaron talk about what this means for North Korea, why inspectors and outside experts need to be allowed in, and what the upcoming Trump-Kim summit may lead to. 

Links of Note:

CNS/MIIS research on the possibility that the nuclear test site at Punggye-ri is possibly being dismantled right now. 

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Direct download: 95.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:57am EDT

A Canadian reviews the last few weeks of North Korea news with a special guest. Andrea chats with Antoine Bondaz from the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris. They dissect the optics and outcomes of the recent inter-Korean summit, analyse the responses, and look at some of the stories you may have missed amongst the flashbulbs.

Links of Note:

Full text of the Panmunjom declaration, signed by Moon Jae In and Kim Jong Un.

Rodong Sinmun’s reporting on the summit the following day. Articles herehere, and here.

Australia and Canada sending planes to monitor illicit DPRK shipping activity. UK sending ships to monitor the same.  

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Direct download: 94.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:27am EDT

Bibi showed off Iran’s bomb. And its pretty crappy. The slide show added some titillating details to what the world already knew about Iran’s nuclear weapons program and, in doing so, made the case for why the JCPOA is so important. The real news was not the documents or their provenance, but what they revealed about Iran’s nuclear weapons planning.

They wanted a few bombs in the basement. Literally.

Jeffrey and Aaron talk this week about the Iranian nuclear weapons program, how Bibi added to what we already knew about their program, and why the JCPOA is important to verify that Iran’s bomb program remains confined to dusty files in binders and CDs in a dilapidated warehouse.

Links of Note:

Netanyahu's presentation.

Jeffrey's Twitter thread walking through the presentation, step-by-step.

Joshua Pollack's Defense One article on the presentation.

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Direct download: 93.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:57pm EDT

A Canadian reviews the last few weeks of North Korea news with a special guest.

Andrea talks to Ramon Pacheco-Pardo from King’s College London about DPRK summit mania. They cover the recent high-level visits to Pyongyang, Beijing and Washington, consider North Korean pledges to refrain from certain nuclear and missile testing, and debate whether this is all a house of cards.

Links of Note:

Ramon’s take on the forthcoming inter-Korean summit, for War on the Rocks.

Yonhap on the Pompeo visit to Pyongyang, one of several ROK outlets creating an echo chamber for the Asahi Shimbun story.

The North Korean statement pledging to suspend ICBM testing and nuclear testing at the “northern” test ground.

Scott’s analysis of the recent North Korean test freeze pledge, for NK News.

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Direct download: 92.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:18pm EDT

Haaretz dropped an incredible article with new details about the 2007 Israeli air strike on the nascent Syrian nuclear reactor at Al Kibar.

So we thought it would be a good opportunity to interrupt Jeffrey's working vacation to talk about Al Kibar, the North Korean nuclear connection, and how our understanding of the event has evolved over the past decade.

Links of Note:

The Haaretz article with all the details on the strike on Al Kibar.

One reader's trip to the Syrian archaeological site near Al Kibar that should not, and we cannot emphasize this enough, ever be tried again.

The 2008 videos detailing the Al Kibar strike

Some ACW blog posts on Al Kibar:

Discussions on the details of the reactor.

Some US IC statements about Al Kibar.

Decisionmaking around the strike.

Al Kibar being overrun during the Civil War.

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Direct download: 91.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:55am EDT

A Canadian reviews the last month's North Korea news with two special guests, Jeffrey and Aaron. It's a family pod!

Andrea discusses the new UN Panel of Experts report on North Korea's illicit arms dealing, whether the DPRK is helping reconstitute the Syrian chemical weapons program, and some long awaited discussions on Myanmar's acquisition of North Korean ballistic missile systems.

 

Links of Note:

The New Panel of Experts Report!

The rest of the PoE reports, if you would like some light reading.

DPRK Foreign Ministry response to "maximum pressure" statements.

Direct download: 90.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:16am EDT

What is Russia’s nuclear doctrine? Jeffrey talks to Dr. Olga Oliker about Russian nuclear doctrine and developments. Unfortunately, she speaks Russian, which turns out to he really inconvenient for a lot of people's theories. 

Jeffrey and Olga discuss whether escalate to deescalate is a thing and Putin’s awesome new menagerie of terror weapons. 

Dr. Oliker's hosts a podcast, Russian Roulette, with Jeffrey Mankoff over at CSIS. It can be found here, go take a listen!

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Direct download: 89.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:05pm EDT

The Russian chemical weapons attack in Salisbury is, sadly, not the first assassination to take place on UK soil.

Jeffrey and Aaron spoke about Russia’s use of a Novichok nerve agent, what this act says about a return of Soviet patterns of behavior, and some policy options.

 

Links of Note:

The Stimson Center report, Chemical Weapons Disarmament in Russia: Problems and Prospects.

Direct download: 88.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:44am EDT

President Trump announced that he's going to meet with Kim Jong Un.

He seems to think that Kim Jong Un is giving up his weapons. Kim Jong Un seems to think that Trump is recognizing North Korea as a nuclear power. What could possibly go wrong? 

Jeffrey and Aaron discuss before Sarah Sanders walks this back. 

Direct download: 87.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:04pm EDT