Arms Control Wonk

7 months! Really? 7 Months! Is it over?

After the recent extension of the JPOA, Jeffrey and Aaron felt it necessary to hold an emergency podcast (Jeffrey is speaking from an undisclosed parking lot in Northern California) to discuss the future of the Iranian nuclear negotiations. Tune in to hear our take on the future of the JPOA and the threat posed by new US sanctions and Iran’s IR-5.

The Iran Nuke Extension Is a Death Sentence - Jeffrey’s article in Foreign Policy

Direct download: ACW_25_Nov_14.mp3
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After sitting poolside for two weeks, Arms Control Wonk podcast co-host Aaron Stein returns to talk with Jeffrey and Shashank Joshi about the P5+1’s negotiations with Iran. In it, we discuss the current state of the negotiations, the prospects for an extension to the JPOA, Iranian centrifuge research, and conclude, as always, on a positive note.

Direct download: ACW_22_Nov_14.mp3
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How does Jeffrey find time to podcast? He has super talented staff to do the real work! Jeffrey talks with Melissa Hanham and Catherine Dill, research associates at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, about their latest work modeling North Korean missiles and eyeballing Chinese military bases.

A collection of missile models produced by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies

Direct download: ACW_12_Nov.mp3
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How can open source information help verify arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation agreements? Jeffrey and Aaron talk with the NTI’s Corey Hinderstein. In the 1990s, Corey was one of the first nonproliferation experts to use commercial satellite images and other open source tools to peek into foreign nuclear programs. Here is Corey way back in 1999.

Today Corey is Vice President, International Programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative and author, along with Kelsey Hartigan and Andrew Newsman, of Innovating Verification: New Tools & New Actors to Reduce Nuclear Risks.

Direct download: ACW_6_Nov_14.mp3
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Aaron and Jeffrey talk with Theresa Hitchens, the Director of UNIDIR, about life in Geneva, space, and emerging technologies. The podcast begins with some useful tips for cheese lovers and Jeffrey’s advice for finding the perfect sausage, before moving on to a discussion about difficulties in defining a “space weapon,” the Russian and Chinese approaches to space issues, cyber threats, and the need for the US to craft a more comprehensive policy to address future proliferation threats.

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Direct download: ACW_27Oct14.mp3
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The Iraq Survey Group did a poor job. How did the ISG miss so many pre-1991 chemical weapons? Did Donald Rumsfeld do anything right? Why did US soldiers receive poor medical care in Iraq and then after they came home? Why wasn't the Pentagon prepared to find poorly disposed of chemical weapons in Iraq? And, finally, what should the US do about it? Today, Aaron and Jeffrey discuss C.J. Chivers' latest piece in the New York Times, The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons.
Direct download: hipcast-12056-u-392781-s-1.audio.mp3
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Where is Kim Jong-Un? Is he sick? Has there been a coup? Or is North Korea simply trolling DPRK watchers? Today, Jeffrey and Aaron speak with Andrea Berger, a Research Fellow at RUSI, about North Korea, Kim Jong-Un's whereabouts, the DPRK's nuclear doctrine, and whether or not North Korea wants to be seen as a responsible nuclear state.
Direct download: hipcast-12056-u-392219-s-1.mp3
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What are the regional perceptions of Iran's nuclear program? Are the Gulf States obsessed with breakout times and the Arak reactor, or are their concerns more political in nature? Is the United States doing enough to reassure its Gulf Allies about the nuclear negotiations with Iran? Do the Gulfees actually have an Iran nuclear strategy? Today, Aaron and Jeffrey speak with Dina Esfandiary, a research associate in the Nonproliferation and Disarmament program at the International Institute of International Studies, about the regional perceptions of Iran's nuclear program.
Direct download: hipcast-12056-u-391140-s-1.audio.mp3
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Jeffrey Lewis interviews Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBO). They discuss the CTBTO's monitoring system and the future of the CTBT.
Direct download: hipcast-12056-u-390125-s-1.audio.mp3
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Jeffrey Lewis interviews Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBO). They discuss the CTBTO's monitoring system and the future of the CTBT.
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How will the West verify a nuclear deal with Iran? Jeffrey Lewis talks to the Christopher Bidwell of the Federation of American Scientists, about a new report entitled "Verification Requirements for A Nuclear Agreement with Iran." Jeffrey and Chris discuss how much Iran should disclose up front about its past nuclear activities.
Direct download: hipcast-12056-u-389659-s-1.audio.mp3
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Did Vladimir Putin just threaten the West with nuclear weapons? Could nuclear weapons be used in Europe? What is Russia's nuclear doctrine? Does a nuclear balance make the world safe for conventional war? That is to say, if two states have nuclear weapons, might they feel safe enough to fight low-level conflicts more often? Today, Aaron and Jeffrey talk about Russia's nuclear weapons and the recent chatter about them in Moscow.
Direct download: hipcast-12056-u-388312-s-1.audio.mp3
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What is the status of China's and the United States' hypersonic weapons programs? What can open source tell us about China's most recent rest? What happened at Zodiak Island? And why were Jeffrey and James searching for resorts in Mongolia? Today, Jeffrey and Aaron speak with James Acton, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment, about hypersonic weapons.
Direct download: hipcast-12056-u-387811-s-1.mp3
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Are NATO based nuclear weapons an advantage in a dangerous world? Or are they an expensive and obsolete weapon that undermine NATO burden sharing? Is NATO divided about US nuclear weapons in Europe? Are the weapons secure? Are Euro-Hippies a threat to world peace? Today, Jeffrey and Aaron discuss Brent Scowcroft, Stephen Hadley, and Frank Miller's recent op-ed in the Washington Post about US nuclear weapons based in Europe.
Direct download: hipcast-12056-u-387079-s-1.audio.mp3
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What are the implications of the spread of hit-to-kill? What are the differences between ground based missile defense interceptors and anti-satellite weapons? Why is China continuing to develop ground based anti-satellite weapons? Why did the US feel the need to shoot down its own satellite, USA-193, in February 2008? And what are the implications of the spread of hit-to-kill for space security? Today, Aaron and Jeffrey talk about anti-satellite weapons, the spread of hit-to-kill, and the need for a general code of conduct for ASATs.
Direct download: hipcast-12056-u-386340-s-1.audio.mp3
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What should we make of the United States' conclusion that Russia has violated the INF? What do we know about the violation? What is the substance of the State Department's arms control compliance report finding? What do we know about the supposed ground launched cruise missile alleged to have violated the Treaty? How does the GLCM differ from the RS-26? Does this have anything to do with Ukraine? And what should the United States do about the alleged violation? Today, Aaron and Jeffrey talk Russian missiles, the INF, and Obama's policy options.
Direct download: hipcast-12056-u-385025-s-1.audio.mp3
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What open source information is out there about the MH17 shootdown? Do the rebels have the Buk missile system that reportedly downed the aircraft? How has open source analysis helped analysts fact check the Kremlin's claims about the shooting down of MH17? And what does all of this have to do with a billboard? Today, Aaron and Jeffrey talk all things open source and the downing of MH17.
Direct download: hipcast-12056-u-384447-s-1.audio.mp3
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Has the focus on the unlikely possibility of a nuclear-armed Japan distracted from more important policy challenges that threaten the shared interests of the United States and Japan in arms control, disarmament, and nonproliferation? Should policymakers take Japanese "nut-jobs" seriously? How has the domino theory of proliferation hindered more serious discussions about nuclear issues in allied states? And finally, how do Aaron and Jeffrey manage to live "glamorous jet-setting life-styles" while working as wonk (and thereby receiving "wonk style" salaries)? Tune in to find out.
Direct download: hipcast-12056-u-383727-s-1.audio.mp3
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Why did North Korea just test two Scud missiles? Was North Korea responding to the US-South Korean military exercise? Does the pairing of conventional and unconventional missiles pose a unique challenge for military planners in the future? Today, Jeffrey and Aaron talk North Korea's missile tests, the Dear Leader's burlesque style approach to propaganda pictures, and the stability/instability paradox.
Direct download: hipcast-12056-u-382965-s-1.audio.mp3
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Are cruise missiles proliferating? Are the North Koreans in the cruise missile business? Are cruise missiles proliferating? And do we need more blimps to protect cities? Today, Jeffrey and Aaron discuss North Korea's latest youtube sensation, Dennis Gormley's Missile Contagion, and the likelihood of cruise missile proliferation.
Direct download: 52cf48f7-6008-dd37-6c82-d9f63c54a567.mp3
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How has open source impacted arms control and nonproliferation research? How has work done by the likes of Eliot Higgins impacted our understanding of the conflict in Syria? How have other scholars used open source to enhance their research? Today, Jeffrey and Aaron discuss open source, their own work with satellite imagery, and how that has helped advance their own research interests in Asia, Turkey, and the Middle East.
Direct download: ac40256d-0f41-5b90-9570-868ee28bd1f9.mp3
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Tension boiled over at the Shangri La Dialogue last week. Are the tensions a cause for concern in the arms control community? Is China ready for primetime? And how should the US react, should one its allies in the region decide to leave the NPT? This week, Jeffrey and Aaron discuss the United States' pivot to Asia and how the Shangri La brouhaha could impact arms control and nonproliferation.
Direct download: d3150ad2-702e-4bfd-0968-d2f459abad82.mp3
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It's budget time in the United States! And what's on the agenda - nuclear weapons. Today, Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the plans to replace the Triad. Can the United States afford to replace all three legs of the Triad? Should it? And what signal would a mismanaged modernization program send to US allies who count on US nuclear weapons for deterrence? Tune in and find out what we have to say about these issues.
Direct download: 5b7cdb89-ade3-81a6-f5af-17200c80d392.mp3
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Is there a sensor gap? Today, Jeffrey and Aaron discuss the Treaty on Open Skies, Russia's new spy plane, compliance concerns, and the "taxi" option. The conversation begins with a general discussion about the Russian spy plane, before pivoting to a more general discussion about the continued value of the Treaty.
Direct download: a1816599-33e0-430a-0ad2-9d64ae8a182e.mp3
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What is Burma building in the jungle? In this week's podcast, Jeffrey and Aaron discuss Jeffrey's and Catherine Dill's two recent pieces on Burma's very large - and very suspicious - facility in Pauk. The conversation begins with a discussion about the facility and then pivots to the Obama administration's outreach to the Burmese government. The conversation concludes with a discussion about ongoing human rights abuses against the Rohingya muslims and the difficulties of democratization.
Direct download: 970eb58c-1096-3894-5cb9-44a7869dcdf0.mp3
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Jeffrey and Aaron discuss Ken Pollack's latest oped in the New York Times and ask whether the international community should focus more on inspections or "breakout" times. The discussion includes our thoughts on Iranian nuclear decision-making, the potential for post-deal "spoilers", and finishes with a plea from Aaron for a visa to visit the Islamic Republic.
Direct download: 45e82b17-dad0-1c17-ec01-3aa8c3cbd32b.mp3
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Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the Saudi decision to unveil the Kingdom's DF-3 missiles.
Direct download: 8cfc1ce9-27e8-e167-d5e2-4069bc67c70d.mp3
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Is North Korea about to test (another) nuclear weapon? Or perhaps more than one? Jeffrey Lewis and Aaron Stein discuss the possibilities.
Direct download: 125ea1da-e832-52a3-840f-11deb556560d.mp3
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Is Russia cheating on the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty? Jeffrey Lewis and Aaron Stein discuss the allegations and what the United States might do about it. (ACW1)
Direct download: b9b03d61-fb27-b316-797a-582dc30f0812.mp3
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