Ukraine: Should it have eliminated its Cold War nukes?
Elaine Grossman, Global Security Newswire – March 3, 2014
With Russian troops now occupying Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, some have wondered whether it was a smart move for Kiev to eliminate its nuclear stockpile after the collapse of the Soviet Union. A professor from University of Chicago said, “I think they should have kept their nukes…if Ukraine had a nuclear deterrent, the Russians would not be threatening to invade.” But it’s hard to determine what Russia would have done if Ukraine had kept its nuclear weapons. Executive Director of Council for Livable World, John Isaacs, said “Ukraine with nuclear weapons is one heck of a dangerous idea. There is already in the mix eastern Ukraine vs. western Ukraine, east vs. west cold war overtones, U.S. vs. Russian interventionism. It would be like tossing a package of lighted matches into a vat of flammable fluids.”
Congress wants a say in Iran talk
Julian Pecquet, The Hill – March 3, 2014
Congress is demanding a say in whatever final nuclear deal the Obama Administration ends up resolving with Iran. House and Senate members wrote and sent letters to President Obama this weekend at AIPAC’s (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) annual conference, saying that an acceptable and final agreement needs to be approved by Congress in order to implement further legislation (such as longer term sanctions relief). Writing the letters was a “face-saving” act by AIPAC after the pro-Israel (and most powerful lobby in the U.S.) failed getting the Senate to pass the Menendez-Kirk sanctions bill.
Netanyahu pushes against Obama diplomacy
Jeffrey Heller & Matt Spetalnick, Reuters – March 3, 2014
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told President Obama on Monday at a White House visit that he would “never compromise on Israel’s security” even though Obama reassured him on Iranian nuclear diplomacy and pressure towards Middle East peace talks. Obama told Netanyahu of his “absolute commitment” to preventing Iran from developing atomic weapons, despite Israeli skepticism over U.S.-led efforts to reach a final deal to curb Tehran’s program. Both leaders had stark differences and after nearly three hours of talking, there was no immediate sign of progress.
John Kerry at AIPAC: “We have no illusions”
Edward-Isaac Dovere, Politico – March 3, 2014
Speaking on Monday night in Washington during AIPAC’s annual conference, Secretary of State John Kerry urged support for efforts to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and to get Iran to agree to abandon its nuclear program. Kerry emphasized on Iran that “no deal is better than a bad deal…we are committed to a deal that gets the job done” and tried to quell the push for new sanctions while talks proceed.
Senate vote on Gottemoeller
Douglas P. Guarino, Global Security Newswire – March 3, 2014
The Senate is expected to hold a long-awaited vote this week on President Obama’s pick for Rose Gottemoeller to be undersecretary of State for arms control and international security. Gottemoeller was nominated last year and has been acting in the position since 2012, though the issue to vote has not made it to the floor. Senator Mark Rubio (R-FL), unsatisfied with the administrations claims that it would not pursue additional U.S. nuclear reductions without comparable Russian reductions, has placed a hold on her nomination. Executive Director of Council for Livable World, John Isaacs, said “Senators Rubio, Cornyn and Risch…made it clear they oppose the Obama administration’s control policies long before Ukraine blew up and long before there were allegations about Russian potential violations of the INF Treaty.”
New solutions to Los Alamos plutonium problem
John Fleck, Albuquerque Journal – March 4, 2014
In 1983, the federal government decided that its old Chemistry and Metallurgy Research building at Los Alamos where plutonium work is done, was aging beyond its safe and useful life and needed to be replaced. It is now 2014, and we are still waiting for the replacement. The problem being unsolved, Congressional Research Service analyst Jonathan Medalia produced a new 90-page report to help solve the issue. Medalia outlines different options to alleviate the risk without the complication of constructing entirely new buildings. To read his full report, go here.