NORTH KOREA WARNS OF ‘CHRISTMAS GIFT’ AS END-OF-YEAR DEADLINE RAPIDLY APPROACHES
North Korea warned in early December that it will give the United States a “Christmas gift” of its own choosing this year, depending on how denuclearization negotiations have gone by North Korea’s own ambiguous, year-end deadline. It’s unclear what this gift could be, though it is likely to be another long-range missile test. It is clear, however, that leader Kim Jong-un has grown tired of President Donald Trump’s tactics. As Senior Policy Director Alexandra Bell told North Korea News: “For North Korea, ‘economic development’ and integration ‘into the international community’ are not nearly as important as security guarantees for the regime. Until the Trump administration is ready to put those on the table, the situation will continue to deteriorate.”
IRAN MOVING BACK TO THE BRINK
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has threatened Iran with a “decisive U.S. response” to continued attacks on Iraqi bases housing American troops. These attacks are one recent example of Iran’s “maximum resistance” to the United States’ “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign, which is making the world less safe. The results of Iran’s sanctions are being felt across the region; Iran is moving ballistic missiles into Iraq within striking range of Israel, and has transferred rockets to non-state actors in Iraq. The United States must create a climate for conversation before we inch closer to another war in the region.
NEW START EXPIRES IN 13.5 MONTHS
In February, there will be only one year left on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) if the United States and Russia fail to extend it five years through 2026. If the treaty is not extended, there will no longer be caps on Russia’s (or the United States’) strategic nuclear arsenal. We are working fervently to inform lawmakers and the public about the necessity of the treaty and maintaining limits on the world’s two biggest nuclear arsenals, especially given that Washington and Moscow seem headed toward an arms race. The United States recently tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile that would have been prohibited under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which collapsed in August.
TRUMP SIGNS $738 BILLION DEFENSE BILL INTO LAW
On December 20, Trump signed a $738 billion defense spending bill into law. As a whole, this bill does not advance the security interests of the United States. Nevertheless, it was supported overwhelmingly in the House and Senate. This new bill gives President Trump a new nuclear capability; allows for the production of more nuclear weapons cores; further funds a missile defense system that has a failing test record; unnecessarily restricts reducing the number of nuclear weapons that can be put on alert and fired in moments; refuses to bar using military force in Iran; and much, much more. Executive Director John Tierney urged his former colleagues to oppose the bill, calling it “devoid of any redeeming feature that would justify spending $738 billion other than as an early Christmas present to the military industrial complex. In the end, the final version of the FY2020 NDAA is a capitulation to the forces that would keep this nation at war forever.”
NEW NUKES OF HAZARD PODCAST EPISODE OUT: END-OF-YEAR MAILBAG
You asked and we answered! Thank you for submitting great questions about how nuclear weapons are made, the efforts to reach zero nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia, North Korea and more. Listen to our podcast online now or access all Nukes of Hazard episodes via iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher.
WE BET YOU’LL BOMB THIS QUIZ ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS
Well, maybe not you, because you are smart enough to subscribe to our newsletter! The Center put together an online quiz for the website BuzzFeed, which is popular among teens and young adults. This is just one of many ways we try to engage those don’t remember or didn’t live through the Cold War. Take the quiz for yourself and see how you do — then share the link with others!
USE FACEBOOK TO DONATE TO THE CENTER
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HELP OUR CANDIDATES REACH THEIR QUARTERLY GOALS
The end of the year marks the end of a fundraising cycle for Congressional candidates. You can see our full list of candidates below, who would each love to head into 2020 with the strongest possible fundraising numbers against their opponents! Donate to our House candidates | Donate to our Senate candidates
NUKEVOTE2020 FOR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES
Where do the 2020 presidential candidates stand on our issues? Unfortunately, you won’t find out much about that on the debate stage or even on campaign websites. But because the person sworn in on January 20, 2021 will be in charge of an active arsenal of about 4,000 nuclear weapons, it matters immensely what potential future presidents think about nuclear weapons policy issues. We have reached out to every Republican and Democratic candidate to ask them 10 questions on various nuclear policy issues, and have heard back from a few front-runners including former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren. Check out the full website, or sort answers by candidate or issue.