Tag Archives: nuclear proliferation

US Unwittingly Encouraging North Korea’s Nuclear Program

While encouraging nuclear proliferation is one of the last things we want to do, we couldn’t be doing a better job if we tried. Every time we engage in regime change, we give would-be proliferators one more reason to seek nuclear weapons of their own. What other way do they have of deterring our much more powerful military from toppling them at some future date? Continue reading

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Are We Encouraging a Japanese Nuclear Weapons Program?

One of the last things we should do is empower those in Japan who would like to develop their own nuclear weapons. Yet, we are doing that because we have not thought through the long term consequences of our actions. Continue reading

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War Games and Nuclear Risk

One way to apply risk analysis to a potential failure of nuclear deterrence is to decompose a catastrophic failure into four steps and estimate the risk of each step: Continue reading

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How Logical is Nuclear Deterrence? Part 2

Deterrence’s demand for irrationality is spelled out clearly in a 1995 USSTRATCOM report, “Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence”: Because of the value that comes from the ambiguity of what the US may do to an adversary if the acts we … Continue reading

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North Korea’s Nuclear Deterrent

In a recent interview, former Director of Los Alamos Siegfried Hecker made an important observation about North Korea’s nuclear weapons: “I do not believe that North Korea’s leadership has any plans to bomb the United States, its assets or allies. However, it wants to hold U.S. interests at risk of a nuclear attack to deter us from regime change and to create international leverage and diplomatic maneuvering room.” Continue reading

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Ex-Spymaster on Iranian Nuclear Threat

In a recent interview, retired four-star admiral and former head of the super-secret NSA, Adm. Bobby Inman, portrays a very different Iranian threat from the usual – and a very different approach for dealing with Iran successfully. Continue reading

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North Korean Delusions

Reading the mainstream media, you’d be forgiven if you thought the only problems with North Korea’s nuclear weapons program were a direct result of that rogue nation’s “nut job” leaders. The most recent example is the coverage of a talk on nuclear proliferation given my friend and colleague, Dr. Siegfried Hecker. While he’s now a professor here at Stanford, in his former life, he was Director of Los Alamos from 1986 to 1997, so “when Sig talks, people listen.” Continue reading

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Libyan Delusions

Back in March, as NATO attacks on Libya moved into full swing, I wrote three related blog posts (“Libyan Blowback?”, “More on Libya,” and “Let’s Make a Deal!”) that illuminated the nuclear proliferation aspects of our attacks. But, humanitarian concerns trumped nonproliferation considerations, and we attacked anyway. Or did we fool ourselves? Today’s Wall Street Journal has an article “Revenge Feeds Instability in Libya” on page A7 which suggests that we suffered at least some self-delusion: Continue reading

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British Duplicity on Iraq’s WMDs

Yesterday’s edition of the British newspaper, The Guardian, cited documents obtained under a Freedom of Information Act to write:

The senior intelligence official responsible for Tony Blair’s notorious dossier on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction proposed using the document to mislead the public about the significance of Iraq’s banned weapons. Sir John Scarlett, who as head of the Joint Intelligence Committee was placed “in charge” of writing the September 2002 dossier, sent a memo to Blair’s foreign affairs adviser referring to “the benefit of obscuring the fact that in terms of WMD Iraq is not that exceptional”. Continue reading

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Let’s Make a Deal!

Hey, remember when Bush Administration officials tried to convince Kim Jong Il that he could get the same denuclearization deal Bush gave Qadhafi? Yeah, the last couple of days might explain why Kim didn’t think it was such a great idea. Continue reading

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