Digests and Blog

By Daryl G. Kimball Once-upon-a-time presidential candidate, Mitt Romney has once again urged the Senate to "Stop New START." Once again he shows he's getting some bad advice. Romney's latest column in The Boston Globe is full of misrepresentations, factual errors, and it ignores the very obvious benefits of re-establishing verifiable limits on Russia's strategic nuclear arsenal. As a public service, here is a reality-check on Mr. Romney's assertions. You can find more in our New START guide, "The Case for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty," available online here: http://www.armscontrol…

By Alfred Nurja As the U.S. and others prepare to restart negotiations with Iran this Monday, the Wikileaks revelations on the alleged bellicosity of Arab views toward Iran provide some interesting insights about the viability of the current international strategy for resolving the Iranian nuclear puzzle. (Marc Lynch provided some useful context this week - see here and here - on what to make of these revelations.) The international community has been pursuing a dual track strategy of sanctions and engagement with Iran ever since the IAEA first reported Iran's nuclear file to the UN Security…

By Daryl G. Kimball The Washington Times is running a misleading story this morning that mischaracterizes the discussions between the United States and Russia on potential cooperation on missile defense, implying that these "secret" talks could "limit" missile defense, and suggesting that Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary of Defense Gates denied that the United States and Russia were discussing the issue of missile defense cooperation. In reality: 1. The Obama administration has been open about its efforts to discuss cooperative efforts with Russia on missile defense, just as the…

By Greg Thielmann Bilateral interagency discussions about Iranian and North Korean missiles with a Russian delegation in Washington on December 22, 2009, revealed significant differences between U.S. and Russian assessments of the threat, according to a SECRET State Department cable released by Wikileaks. The substance of the detailed discussions challenged some of the missile threat estimate timelines most commonly heard in U.S. political circles. The cable also revealed a highly professional and courteous exchange of views, which suggests future potential for narrowing of differences…

By Alfred Nurja The Arms Control Association has just put up the full transcript and slides from our November 22 event "The Status of Iran's Nuclear and Missile Program," part of ACA's Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle Project. Stay tuned for ACA's upcoming Iran briefing on "Pathways Towards a Diplomatic Solution" in early January. To read the full transcript please click here: http://www.armscontrol.org/events/IranNuclearStatus For a link to the PowerPoint presentation by Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow at Harvard's Belfer Center and former Deputy Director General of the IAEA, click here:…

By Daryl G. Kimball In his latest attempt to delay New START in order to 'earmark' still more funding for the well-funded weapons labs, Senators Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) have sent a 5-page letter (PDF) to fellow Republican Senators outlining their remaining (minor) "concerns" and peculiar interpretation of reality regarding the updated version of the Obama administration's so-called "Section 1251 Plan" on maintaining and upgrading the National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) programs to maintain the shrinking number of U.S. nuclear weapons over the coming decade.…

By Alfred Nurja The Arms Control Association hosted a briefing on the Status of Iranian Nuclear and Missile Program yesterday at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. This was the first in a series of four briefings designed to analyze the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear program and explore ways to deal with it. The highlights from the session that appear below are based on notes and are not direct quotations. Stay tuned for the release of the full transcript. Olli Heinonen, former IAEA Deputy Director General and head of the Safeguards Division, oversaw the Agency's efforts to…

By Daryl G. Kimball Like his predecessors, President Barack Obama is learning the hard way that the only thing worse than negotiating with North Korea is not negotiating with North Korea. North Korea has violated nearly every nonproliferation rule on the books and then some. ACA's October 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Report Card gave North Korea a grade of "F," but as we cautioned, Washington and other capitals need to resume the stalled Six-Party denuclearization process to prevent the North Korean situation from worsening still further. Indeed, with former Los Alamos Lab Director…

By Jeff Abramson F35s in flight. Source Lockheed Martin It looks like the next step in Middle East peace includes an offer of 20 F-35 fighter jets if Israel will agree to a 90-day freeze on new construction activities in disputed areas. That's one next-generation combat aircraft per 4.5 days. From the Israeli perspective, that's a deal likely too good to pass up. Sadly, it's difficult to be optimistic that the roughly $3-billion bribe will lead to agreement on borders, but let us hope so. This kind of arms-for-peace approach continues to raise questions about the Obama (and previous)…

By Alfred Nurja The Washington Post reports November 16 that Iran and the world powers have agreed on a date for starting talks on Iran's nuclear program. Optimism about chances for success in the upcoming round of talks appears to be in short supply, and a number of notable Middle East policy experts have rushed to offer their best advice on dealing with Iran. Click here and here for outlines of recent recommendations, as well as evidence of the strong feelings that disagreeing experts share on the issue. A vigorous debate about the Iranian nuclear program is currently underway, but a…