29 September 2017

Redeploying U.S. Nuclear Weapons to South Korea

Recent advances in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs have led to speculations about the possible redeployment of U.S. nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. The United States deployed nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula between 1958 and 1991. The only warheads remaining in the U.S. stockpile that could be deployed on the Korean Peninsula are B61 bombs. Before redeploying these to South Korea, where they would remain under U.S. control, the United States would have to recreate the infrastructure needed to house the bombs and would also have to train and certify the personnel responsible for maintaining the weapons and operating the aircraft for the nuclear mission.

Redeployment of U.S. nuclear weapons has the following advantages :

Send a powerful deterrent message to the North and demonstrate a strong commitment to the South

Weapons could serve as a “bargaining chip” with North Korea 

Presence of nuclear weapons would allow for a more rapid nuclear response to a North Korean attack.


The weapons would present a tempting target for North Korea and might prompt an attack early in a crisis

Nuclear weapons based in the United States are sufficient for deterrence

It is not cost effective

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has advocated for more muscular defense options, but does not support the redeployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons.


Likely to view the redeployment of U.S. nuclear weapons as provocative;

Might respond by putting more pressure on North Korea to slow its programs, 

Might increase its support for North Korea in the face of a new threat and, possibly, expand its own nuclear arsenal


Reaction could also be mixed. 

Japan shares U.S. and South Korean concerns about the threat from North Korea, but given its historical aversion to nuclear weapons, Japan could oppose the presence of U.S. nuclear weapons near its territory. 

Any adjustment of the U.S. military posture on the peninsula could create additional security concerns for Tokyo.

USA is conducting a Nuclear Posture Review that is examining both the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security policy and ongoing plans to modernize the U.S. nuclear enterprise.It is considering increased deployments of U.S. nonnuclear strategic assets to South Korea, changes in military exercises and the expansion of U.S.-ROK consultation strategic consultations

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** How to Protect Yourself From Simple Terrorist Attacks

Scott Stewart
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Simple attacks by grassroots jihadists have become a fact of life in the West. Indeed, we saw three such incidents on Sept. 15: the bombing attempt against a subway train in London, a knife attack against a French soldier at a Paris subway station and a hammer attack against two women in Chalon-sur-Saone, France. These incidents are among the latest in a long string of incidents across the globe that featured attackers armed with simple weapons such as knives, vehicles and crude bombs.

** How ISIS Is Transforming

A little more than three years after the Islamic State (or ISIS) stormed onto the world stage by violently capturing large swaths of territory throughout Iraq and Syria, the campaign to counter the group has made significant progress. But predictions of the group's ultimate demise are premature. What the world is witnessing is the transition, and in many ways degeneration, from an insurgent organization with a fixed headquarters to a clandestine terrorist network dispersed throughout the region and the globe.

No garbage duties please: India must deploy its Armed Forces personnel for combat alone

Ajai Sahni

The instinctive response to the latest folly emanating from the Ministry of Defence – from Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman herself – has been outrage. On September 16, Sitharaman said that the Army would clean upthe garbage left behind by irresponsible civilians in high-altitude tourist spots.

What Were China's Objectives in the Doklam Dispute?

by Jonah Blank
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At 14,000 feet above sea level and with a perpetually harsh climate, the Doklam Plateau is an enormously difficult place to defend. Meanwhile, those launching an attack face exponentially greater challenges—and that's before the Himalayan winter sets in. This helps explain why China and India last week ended a military standoff there that had been festering since June.

Gray Zones in the Middle East

By Nicholas Heras for Center for a New American Security (CNAS)

In this article, Nicholas Heras explores how state and non-state actors in the Middle East are turning to ‘gray zone’ strategies to defeat their opponents without extensive or sustained military activity. In particular, he focuses on 1) the gray zone activities of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps expeditionary Quds Force and its proxy network forces in Syria, Iraq and Yemen; and 2) how the so-called Islamic State and al Qaeda are using gray zone strategies in the governance vacuums across the Greater Middle East to develop indefinite, state-like authority among local populations.

China's Presence in Djibouti is Not a National Security Threat—Yet

Erica S. Downs

On September 22, Chinese troops staged their first live-fire exercises at China’s first overseas military base, which opened in Djibouti on August 1. Ever since Beijing publicly acknowledged in November 2015 that China was building a logistical support facility in Djibouti, the home of the only permanent U.S. military installation in Africa, much ink has been spilt detailing China’s growing involvement in the Horn of Africa nation. The conventional wisdom holds that China has spent billions of dollars building infrastructure in Djibouti, which might prompt the government to prioritize China’s interests over those of the United States and other countries with a military presence in Djibouti. Moreover, it is suspected that China will use its military facility in Djibouti for more than just logistics, and that this facility will be the first of many overseas outposts for China’s military.



At this crucial point in the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State, as it hemorrhages territory across Syria and Iraq, the latest analytical fad in the study of this movement may be leading policymakers to repeat the mistakes of a mere decade ago. The term “virtual caliphate” has grown in popularity as a way to describe the future trajectory of the Islamic State. More than just a catchy sound bite, it has emerged as a way to conceptualize how the Islamic State will recalibrate.:

100 Days and Counting of Pointless Arab Self-Destruction

By Anthony Cordesman

No American can criticize Arab states without first acknowledging that the United States has made a host of mistakes of its own in dealing with nations like Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. The fact remains, however, that the word "Arab" has come to be a synonym for disunity, dysfunctional, and self-destructive. Regardless of issuing of one ambitious "Arab" plan for new coalitions after another, the reality is failed internal leadership and development, pointless feuding between Arab states, and an inability to cooperate and coordinate when common action is most needed.

What Total Destruction of North Korea Means


As Trump considers military options, he’s drawing unenforceable red lines.

North Koreans watch news report showing North Korea's Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile launch on an electronic screen at Pyongyang station in Pyongyang, North Korea, on September 16, 2017.Kyodo via Reuters

The World That Awaits The Next German Leader

Now that the 2017 German elections have wrapped up, the process of forming a government and determining exactly who will lead the country is underway. Negotiations to determine the members of the governing coalition could take weeks or even months, but to some extent, it doesn't matter who is named chancellor in the end. The challenges that the next leader of Europe's largest economy must tackle will broadly be the same, whether Angela Merkel returns to the chancellery or not. The country's next government will have to satisfy the same set of national imperatives while dealing with the same outside pressures that shape its options in setting a national strategy. To understand the strategy, it's first necessary to explore these imperatives and surroundings.

SIPRI Yearbook 2017

This text summarizes the findings of SIPRI’s Yearbook 2017. As in the past, the Yearbook provides original data on world military expenditures, international arms transfers, arms production rates, the size and composition of nuclear forces, armed conflicts and multilateral peace operations. The volume also offers insight on the latest trends in arms control and disarmament, the UN’s sustaining peace framework, the links between climate change and violent conflicts, and more.

The Problem with 'the Best of Intentions' Foreign Policy

Robert D. Kaplan

The tragedy of American foreign policy is seen when the intention to improve human rights 

The nineteenth-century Germans focused so much on philosophy partly in order not to compete with the protean genius of Goethe, who had dominated all the other literary genres in Germany for so long. And so we have Hegel, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer defining, among other things, the concept of tragedy. But it is Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel who concerns me here, because he formulated some concepts apt to our foreign policy debates regarding armed intervention, particularly in the Middle East.

Hypersonic Missile Nonproliferation

by Richard H. Speier, George Nacouzi, Carrie Lee, Richard M. Moore
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What are the implications of the proliferation of hypersonic missiles to additional nations? That is, why should the United States and the rest of the world be concerned with such proliferation, and why should it be addressed now?

What are the possible measures to hinder such proliferation? That is, is it feasible to hinder the spread of this technology, and who should buy into such an objective and with what measures?

Poland Challenges the European Identity

By George Friedman

I am writing this from a hotel room in Warsaw, surrounded by memorials to Frederic Chopin, the great Polish composer and champion of self-determination for the Polish people. This is a particularly appropriate time to be here, since Poland is locked in a battle with the European Union over the question of Polish national self-determination – more than two centuries after Chopin was born.


At different historical periods, weapons emerged that changed how armies fought. Four millennia ago on the flat plains of Mesopotamia, the Assyrians employed the chariot—predecessor of the tank—to dominate all opposing tribes.1 In the twelfth century A.D., Genghis Khan’s horsemen swept out of Mongolia, employing highly mobile firepower—superb riders equipped with short bows—to terrify the more civilized peoples living along the western edges of Europe. World War II brought the ultimate destructive weapon—nuclear bombs—along with massive air power. Just as the Assyrians and Mongols applied their weapons to the slaughter of both warriors and innocent civilians, so too did Germany, Italy, the Soviet Union, England, and America employ aerial bombing.

Navy Returns to Compasses and Pencils to Help Avoid Collisions at Sea


Urgent new orders went out earlier this month for United States Navy warships that have been plagued by deadly mishaps this year.

More sleep and no more 100-hour workweeks for sailors. Ships steaming in crowded waters like those near Singapore and Tokyo will now broadcast their positions as do other vessels. And ships whose crews lack basic seamanship certification will probably stay in port until the problems are fixed.