Council: Front and Center: November 16, 2019

The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation is the Council’s affiliated 501(c)(3) research organization. 

When it comes to dealing with the proliferation challenges from Iran and North Korea, the Trump Administration continues to spin its wheels. North Korea announced this week that it would reject a reported offer to continue vaguely-framed denuclearization talks with the United States, saying it was not interested in more talks aimed at “appeasing” them. Pyongyang had set an end-of-year deadline for Washington to treat the negotiations “more seriously.” It’s clear that the United States must prioritize working-level talks focused on substantive steps forward or risk derailing diplomacy with North Korea altogether. 

The Trump Administration continues to sanction various Iranian industries purportedly as a way to “reduce proliferation risks, constrain Iran’s ability to shorten its ‘breakout time’ to a nuclear weapon, and prevent the regime from reconstituting sites for proliferation-sensitive purposes.” The folly of abandoning the Iran nuclear deal aside, this strategy is problematic because it does not bring us any closer to a new agreement to constrain Iran’s nuclear program. Sanctions can be a valuable tool, but the goal should be to get Iranian leaders back to the negotiating table. 

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is on shaky ground. If the United States and Russia fail to extend the agreement, as allowed in the treaty text, there will no longer be any controls on the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals. We are working fervently to inform lawmakers and the public about the necessity of the treaty.  At the same time, we are working to educate people on the importance of the latest agreement in the Trump Administration’s crosshairs – the Open Skies Treaty. This agreement allows the United States and the other 33 member countries, including Russia, unprecedented transparency into each country’s military capabilities. As Senior Policy Director Alexandra Bell wrote in Just Security, abandoning this treaty would be squandering more of America’s security inheritance.

The Council is hosting a Virtual Town Hall Tuesday, November 19, at 6 pm. ET. While it will air live on Facebook, you can also watch the video later if you can’t watch it live. This is a great opportunity for you to ask any questions about who the Council is endorsing in 2020, the latest on national security bills in Congress, and what the Council hopes to accomplish in 2020. Submit a question and RSVP on Facebook to share with your friends!

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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 the person sworn in on January 20, 2021 will be in charge of an active arsenal of about 4,000 nuclear weapons. That is why 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.

We now have 16 total with more to come by the end of this year! Learn more about and donate to our other endorsed House and Senate candidates from our website.