The shifting U.S.-China nuclear balance
Tom Mahnken, Foreign Policy – October 1, 2012
Recent years have seen growing attention to China’s fielding of so-called anti-access/area denial systems, including an increasing number of accurate conventional ballistic missiles to strike airbases and other facilities in the Western Pacific and anti-ship ballistic missiles to target mobile power projection forces like carrier strike groups. To date, however, the nuclear dimension of Chinese military modernization has received less attention. Still, in recent months, China’s military has reportedly tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the DF-41, which is reportedly equipped with multiple, independently-targeted re-entry vehicles, or MIRVs, as well as its new JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
North Korea’s Next Provocation: What Will They Do and When Will It Happen?
Scott Snyder, Council on Foreign Relations – October 2, 2012
Recent forays by North Korean fishing vessels across the disputed Northern Limit Line and DPRK Vice Minister Park Kil-yon’s statement that a “spark” could set off nuclear war on the Korean peninsula are again raising questions about what North Korea will do next and when.
Study: Thousands Would Die in an Attack on Iran’s Nuclear Sites
Golnaz Esfandiari, The Atlantic – October 3, 2012
Experts believe the Isfahan uranium-conversion facility — which contains an estimated 371 metric tons of uranium hexafluoride — is one of the four Iranian sites likely to be targeted if Israel or the United States were to decide to take military action in an effort to delay or cripple Iran’s nuclear program. The University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics and the NGO Omid for Iran teamed up to produce a study that concludes that a military strike on the facility could have tragic consequences for Maryam and thousands of other residents of her centrally located city, which has a population of 2 million.
Schram: Mitt Romney doesn’t have the answer to Iran’s nuclear program
Martin Schram, Newsday – October 2, 2012
Now it is our civic duty to pause and reflect. Especially when it comes to the most potentially incendiary international controversy of Campaign 2012: Iran’s apparent determination to build a nuclear bomb, Israel’s determination to prevent it and Republican Mitt Romney’s contention that President Barack Obama has thrown Israel “under the bus” by not sounding militarily tough enough and relying too much on diplomatic channels to halt Iran’s nuclear quest.
Iran’s economy is hurting – yet sanctions are not a nuclear deterrent
Hassan Hakimian, The Guardian – October 3, 2012
Analysis of Iran’s economic policy is also complicated by intense factional politics and an intricate labyrinth of decision-making, ratification and oversight. Moreover, a veneer of official probity and populist jargon sits oddly with widespread patronage, a spate of banking scandals, record non-performing loans and a highly skewed concentration of wealth. It is no wonder that both rival factions and the public at large blame the economic plight of the country squarely on president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration.
Is the U.S. Admitting Defeat in Afghanistan?
Tony Karon, Time – October 3, 2012
Still, as late as 2009, the U.S. had hoped to set the terms of that compromise, and force the Taliban to find a place for themselves in the constitutional order created by the NATO invasion and accept a Karzai government it has long dismissed as “puppets.” This was the logic behind President Obama’s “surge,” which sent an additional 30,000 U.S. troops into the Taliban’s heartland, with the express purpose of bloodying the insurgents to the point that their leaders would sue for peace on Washington’s terms. But the surge ended last month with the Taliban less inclined than ever to accept U.S. terms as the 2014 departure date for U.S. forces looms.
‘Fiscal cliff’ may threaten US Iron Dome assistance
Hilary Leila Kreiger, Jerusalem Post – October 3, 2012
A former Congressional staffer warned Tuesday that US assistance for Iron Dome and other Israeli military expenditures would likely be reduced should expected draconian cuts to the US budget go into effect. “Iron Dome will be cut,” Randy Jennings, a former Congressional aide on defense issues and now a defense industry consultant, said at an event on Israel’s short-range rocket defense system held at The Heritage Foundation.