Despite Chill, Cooperation between US and Russia
Lara Jakes and Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press – March 26, 2014
The month-long crisis over Ukraine that led to Russia annexing Crimea has certainly created a newfound bitterness between Washington and Moscow. It’s too soon to say what will happen—whether relations will fully freeze over—but at this point, the U.S. and Russia are still working together, for now. (See why the U.S. is NOT in a new cold war with Russia at this point in time here). For now, both Russia and the U.S. have been clear on working together on the Iran nuclear crisis, dismantlement of Syrian chemical weapons, military cooperation (joint exercises, etc.), assistance in Afghanistan, space exploration cooperation, agriculture/trade, and resources for oil/gas.
GOP Senators introduce a resolution regarding Russian violation of INF Treaty
Diane Barnes and Elaine M. Grossman, Global Security Newswire – March 26, 2014
Six GOP senators introduced a resolution expressing concern over an alleged Russian breach of a 1987 arms control treaty (also known as the INF Treaty). The resolution argues that President Obama should hold the Russian Federation accountable for being in material breach of its obligations of the INF Treaty and that the U.S. should not engage in further nuclear arms reduction negotiations with Russia until the Kremlin follows through on its commitment. “Fresh off the invasion of a sovereign state, Russian cheating cannot be interpreted in anything but the most sinister terms, “said Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). The senators argued that there is simply no point in having treaties unless both sides treat them with the utmost fidelity and are advancing complementary legislation on this matter.
Japan Defends Maintaining Large Stockpile of Plutonium
Global Security Newswire – March 26, 2014
Earlier this week at the Nuclear Security Summit, Tokyo offered a “gift-basket” which promised it would send hundreds of pounds of weapons-grade enriched-uranium and plutonium back to the U.S. where the material could be converted into a proliferation-resistant form. Although non-proliferation supporters commended the effort, the amount of material represents less than 1% of Japan’s worldwide stockpile. Arms control advocates pushed the Japanese to eliminate more of this type of material, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe rejected arguments saying that his country does not have a plan for utilizing all of the plutonium it possesses and defended retaining the larger part of its stockpile.
Urgent U.N. Security Council Meeting on North Korea missile launches
Louis Charbonneau, Reuters – March 27, 2014
The U.N. Security Council was supposed to hold closed-consultations this afternoon to discuss a possible condemnation of North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launches. The special session on North Korea came from a request by the United States, and council diplomats say that Washington is expected to condemn the firings but it remains to be seen whether China—the North’s ally—would be willing to support the statement. China said on Thursday that “all related parties should dedicate themselves to maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.”
Jonathan Schell, nuclear abolitionist, passed away
Adam Bernstein, Washington Post – March 26, 2014
This “What We’re Reading Now” post is dedicated to Jonathan Schell, author of “The Fate of the Earth” and staunch advocate of nuclear non-proliferation, who passed away on Tuesday. Schell was widely credited with helping rally ordinary citizens around the world to the cause of nuclear disarmament. His book outlines the likely aftermath of a nuclear war and deconstructs the United States’ long-held rationale for nuclear buildup as a deterrent. “Usually, people wait for things to occur before trying to describe them,” Schell wrote in the book’s opening section. Thank you for your hard work, Dr. Schell, you truly were an inspiration to many. To read his obituary, see more here.