NEW PODCAST ALERT: CHINA’S NUCLEAR BUILDUP AND THE CASE FOR DIALOGUE
There is a rising clamor among top U.S. policymakers pushing for more military spending to confront China. Recent discoveries of new nuclear missile silos being built in China have only added fuel to the fire. But will China’s actions really change the nuclear balance of power? And what does it mean for global arms control and non-proliferation efforts? Host Geoff Wilson sits down with Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists, who helped uncover some of China’s new nuclear developments, to get some answers for the latest episode of the Nukes of Hazard podcast.
A STALEMATE IN IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS
Iran’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi, was sworn in on August 5, but there has been no sign of when the parties of the Iran nuclear deal (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and Iran, with the United States conferring through intermediaries) will return to Vienna. The delay can in part be ascribed to the need for Iran’s parliament to approve Raisi’s cabinet.
In the meantime, however, Iran’s nuclear program has marched forward, accumulating more highly enriched uranium and the International Atomic Energy Agency has just confirmed that Iran has now produced 200 grams of uranium metal enriched up to 20%; up from 3.6 grams in February. Writing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, research analyst Samuel Hickey examines how the Iran nuclear deal continues to effectively block Tehran’s ability to collect plutonium for a nuclear bomb, arguing, “U.S. policymakers and political pundits should not lose sight of some of [the deal’s] lower profile achievements that have undoubtedly made the world safer.” Senior Policy Director John Erath wrote last month in the Nukes of Hazard blog that no matter who’s to blame for the delay in talks, Iran’s responsibilities are the same.
ENDING THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN
The photos and videos of the crisis in Afghanistan are shocking, and will be seared into the hearts and minds of many Americans for years to come. As the humanitarian crises continue to be addressed, it’s important to acknowledge that what’s happening in Afghanistan is evidence that continuing to throw money at a bad situation does not necessarily fix it.
DODGING A $50 BILLION ADD-ON FOR DEFENSE
A Richard Shelby (R-AL) amendment to add $50.2 billion to the defense budget went down to defeat 46 to 53. Thanks in part to the Council’s efforts, all Democrats and three Republicans, Rand Paul (KY), Mike Lee (UT) and Mike Braun (IN), opposed the amendment. This was an important step to preventing additional unnecessary defense spending that had not even been marked for a particular strategy.
GRIDLOCK AHEAD: DEADLINES LOOM FOR SPENDING BILLS
Looming ahead at the end of September are congressional deadlines for passage of appropriations bills before the new fiscal year begins on October 1 with a debt ceiling increase.
NUCLEAR POWER WON’T FIX IRAQ’S ENERGY CRISIS
On June 29, Iran halted gas and electricity exports to Iraq over nonpayment of fees. The move left milions of Iraqis without power as temperatures soared to more than 120 degrees, turning cities into ovens and launching yet another political firestorm. While the Iranian move was clearly designed to increase Tehran’s influence over its neighbor, it also raises questions about Iraq’s proposal last month to restart the country’s civilian nuclear program, once the subject of proliferation concern, writes Policy Intern Nils Holst.
LOSS OF A MAJOR FUNDER
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has recently decided to stop funding nuclear arms control issues. This represents the discontinuation of a $335,000 per year grant to the Council’s sister organization, the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. As the Center continues to look for ways to cover the funding gap long-term, we welcome your generosity as an individual donor. Make a tax-deductible donation to the Center today!
On Afghanistan and Deterrence, by Senior Policy Director John Erath
China Is Still Not the New Soviet Union: Top U.S. Military Leaders Affirm U.S. Lead Over China, by Senior Fellow John Isaacs
Members of Congress Pressure Biden to Reverse Trump Landmine Policy, by Policy Intern Nils Holst
Fact Sheet: U.S. Plutonium Pit Production
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