For broad policy, there are only two things that matter about the latest North Korean nuclear test: The explosion is very big and the bomb possibly small enough to fit on a North Korean missile. If it isn’t that small yet, the next model will be.
The yield measured for the test was about 150 kilotons. That’s about ten times the force of the Hiroshima bomb. It doesn’t matter whether it was 130 kilotons or 200 kilotons. It can destroy a city. The missiles now being tested can reach the United States. Read More
One of Donald Trump’s few consistencies has been his admiration of Vladimir Putin and his unwillingness to criticize Russia. Many of his other actions, like his refusal to explicitly support NATO’s Article 5, seem to be consistent with a Kremlin line.
The big question is why. From the information publicly available, this theme seems to have surfaced around the time of his trip to Russia in 1987. That was an interesting time for Russia, too. Read More
Russia has been violating the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, but the United States won’t say exactly what the violation is. The INF Treaty prohibits intermediate-range missiles with nuclear warheads. Back in the 1980s, both the US and Russia had such missiles aimed at each other in Europe. The problem with missiles like this is that there is no warning time whatsoever, and thus a heavy motive to strike the other party first. James Action suggests a strategy for getting the treaty back on track. Top photo from here: Soviet inspectors and their American escorts standing among dismantled Pershing II missiles in Colorado as other missile components are destroyed nearby under the INF Treaty, January 1989. Read More
There is a lot going on in the world beyond the United States. The problems that Donald Trump is inflicting on the country are severe, but we need to continue to be aware of the rest of the world. Read More
David Albright offers an estimate of North Korea’s nuclear weapons that is not too far from mine. As he notes, any estimates have uncertainties upon uncertainties.
President Donald Trump’s bluster at North Korea has died down, but it could start up again at any time. Since North Korea’s nuclear weapons, or the threat of them, figure in the situation, we now need the best estimates possible.
Although Albright’s estimates are only slightly higher than mine, there are other considerations that I took into account implicitly. This post makes those considerations explicit. Read More