Tag: Nuclear Weapons

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U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell on Iran Sanctions Snapback, America’s Energy Competition with Russia in the EU, Chancellor Merkel U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell occupies one of the most critical positions in American diplomacy, not only because Germany represents the EU’s largest economy and has disproportionate influence on the continent, but because of […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Michael Ledeen on the Potential Collapse of Iran’s Khomeinist Regime

 

For this week’s Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast, I had historian, Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, former Special Advisor to the Secretary of State and consultant to the National Security Council during the Reagan administration, author of 38 books and most pertinent to today, Iran expert, Michael Ledeen on the podcast to discuss among other things:

  • The impending collapse of the Khomeinist regime and what the U.S. can do to accelerate it
  • The false narrative about alternatives for Iran being either appeasement or war
  • The history of U.S. intelligence failures in Iran
  • How secular and liberal Iran’s dissidents actually are
  • Whether there is a wedge that can be exploited between Iran and Russia
  • What will become of Hezbollah if the Iranian regime collapses
  • The allegedly political witch hunt against Iran hawk and Israel supporter Larry Franklin as an illustration of historic anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in the foreign policy and national security establishment
  • Ledeen’s theory that Gen. Michael Flynn — with whom Ledeen co-authored the book, The Field of Fight — falsely pled guilty, and the real reason why Gen. Flynn was targeted in the first place

You can find the episode on iTunes, everywhere else podcasts are found, download the episode directly here or read the transcript here.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Why Not Proliferate?

 

I’ve been following the news about the Summit and the discussion on this thread, and there seems to be quite a difference of opinion. Not only about the wisdom and utility of the Summit and its outcome, but about our role in the region in the first place. Some of the Trumpier commenters say — and I have a certain amount of sympathy for this view — that keeping American troops in South Korea at this late date is both provocative and expensive.

It’s certainly the latter, and one of my great long-term fears is that like so many empires before us, keeping the Pax Americana over so much of the globe will eventually exhaust us financially. It is straining us now, and part of the “America first” theme on which Trump was elected was the notion that we should, first and foremost, take care of our own.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see South Korea’s president say North Korea is ready to give up nukes with no conditions, but wonder whether this is yet another ruse from Pyongyang. They also wonder why 175,000 Starbucks employees need racial sensitivity training because of a high-profile controversy at one franchise. And Jim has the perfect charity in mind for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio after tax returns show the mayor and his wife donated just $350 to charity in 2017.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America look at the possible pros and cons of President Trump meeting face-to-face with Kim Jong-Un, hoping there’s a shot at progress but realizing the North Koreans have no track record of honesty. They also fume as radio chatter from the Florida high school shooting confirms Deputy Scot Peterson knew right away that shots were being fired inside the building, a direct contradiction of his earlier explanation that he did not enter the building because he thought the shots were coming from outside. And they celebrate a robust jobs report, with over 300,000 new jobs added in February.

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America very warily approach the reports of North Korea supposedly being willing to scrap its nuclear program in exchange for security guarantees. While fully aware that Kim Jong-Un may only be looking to bait us or stall for time, they are hopeful that the tougher approach from the Trump administration is starting to pay off. They also wince as Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri emerges in a new video urging jihadists to stop fighting with each other and focus on a common enemy. And they react with bemusement and concern as former Trump campaign official Sam Nunberg appears on several cable news shows to announce he is defying the subpoena from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, only to later admit he will probably cooperate.

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This post contains spoilers for the entire first season of Star Trek: Discovery, and especially about the season finale. The picture in the middle may itself be considered a spoiler too. The finale is kind of a letdown but if you still want to see it without being spoiled, you should stop reading now. The […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are very cautiously optimistic about tax reform getting done after the Senate Budget Committee approved the Senate bill and several of the likely holdouts now seem ready to pass it. They’re also concerned following the latest North Korean missile test, which seems to indicate the communist regime could hit the U.S. mainland with a nuclear-armed ICBM. And they react to NBC firing longtime “Today” host Matt Lauer over sexually inappropriate actions.

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Recorded on September 26, 2017

After nearly a quarter of a century of the same approach—diplomacy, sanctions, and concessions—the United States seems out of policy options other than a military solution with regard to North Korea . Michael Auslin, Hoover’s inaugural Williams-Griffis Fellow in Contemporary Asia, discusses what scenarios may unfold on the Korean peninsula as well as the possibility of nuclear engagement and nuclear accidents.

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In my “Michael In the Morning” podcast today I interview Joshua Stanton of One Free Korea blog. He’s advised Congress in the past on North Korea strategy and, most interesting to me, he’s the first person I’ve heard propose a serious and realistic plan to oust the Kim regime. More

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America focus on North Korea today, in light of the recent news that the isolated nation now has the technology to put a nuclear warhead inside one of its missiles and is now threatening a strike on Guam. With such a development, Jim says, we may have to begin looking at the the possibility of accepting North Korea as a nuclear power, Jim and Greg discuss the unpalatable downsides to that. They examine the statements President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson regarding North Korea, as Trump promises “fury and fire” and Tillerson says that’s the only language that Kim Jong-Un understands. Jim also delves into the history of the past three presidential administrations and their failures to keep North Korea fee of nukes.

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Victor Davis Hanson describes the Trump Administration’s challenges with Russia, North Korea, and China. He also weighs in on the recent debate between Rex Tillerson and John McCain over the proper balance between advancing America’s national security interests and advocating for human rights abroad.

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I learned something recently which I find very worrisome. North Korea has submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Now, the US has very sophisticated anti-sub defenses. Doctrine says an aircraft carrier battle group is impenetrable by subs. Nonetheless, a Chinese sub managed to surface quite unexpectedly, within torpedo range of the USS Kitty Hawk. The possibility that a […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Will New Nuclear Cruise Missiles Make Us Safer?

 

From Bloomberg’s editorial board:

For a president who famously advocated for a world without nuclear weapons, Barack Obama has done a lot to keep the U.S. nuclear arsenal intact. That’s not a criticism — it was his promise that was naive, not his policy — but in one respect, his strategy is unnecessarily destabilizing.

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In this special Sunday edition of MaxEd Out, Max and Ed talk about the rainbow trout that Ed caught on lake Winnipesaukee (and that Max ate), and about what Max characterizes as an anti-Semitic letter to their local newspaper, and about the Iran nuclear agreement in general.The long range gun that Ed was talking about […]

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I am rather curious how many Ricochet members were even aware this occurred yesterday: NEW YORK — Thousands of protesters packed into Times Square Wednesday evening to demand that Congress vote down the proposed nuclear deal with Iran.As the crowd loomed behind police barricades, chants of “Kill the deal!” could be heard for blocks, CBS […]

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Maybe he really is a better policy than his policy wonks. h/t Washington Free Beacon via Power Line More

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Unreality and Nihilism

 

shutterstock_273465104George Kennan’s classic 1947 “X” article, published anonymously in Foreign Affairs under the title The Sources of Soviet Conduct, laid the foundation for more than 40 years of American Cold War policy toward its Soviet adversary. Kennan’s article is a model of analytical clarity and grand-strategic vision, best known for formulating the strategy of “containment”. But while containment was Kennan’s famous – and famously successful – policy prescription for the challenge facing the United States in 1947, what is often forgotten is his thesis, which is hiding in plain sight within the article’s title: if you want to prevail over your adversary, you must first understand what motivates him. What are the sources of his conduct? What is his “political personality”?

In the case of the Soviet Union, Kennan identifies the basic source in Marxist-Leninist ideology, and in particular, two of its key postulates: the innate and irreconcilable antagonism between capitalism and socialism; and the infallibility of Soviet political leadership. All Soviet conduct in foreign affairs flows from these two elements. In light of which, Kennan deduces that “Soviet pressure against the free institutions of the Western world is something that can be contained by the adroit and vigilant application of counterforce at a series of constantly shifting geographical and political points, corresponding to the shifts and maneuvers of Soviet policy, but which cannot be charmed or talked out of existence.”

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Saturday Night Science: Plutonium Production

 

Ring of refined plutonium metal, 5.3 kg massA previous installment of Saturday Night Science explored uranium enrichment, a dual-use technology which can be used either to enrich natural uranium for use in civil nuclear power reactors or, through further enrichment, for use in nuclear weapons. This week we’ll explore the other path to the bomb: the production of plutonium from natural uranium by irradiation in a nuclear reactor and chemical separation. Let’s begin with some basics.

If you want to build a nuclear fission weapon (either for use by itself or as the trigger for a thermonuclear weapon), you need a critical mass of fissile material which is kept in a sub-critical configuration until the weapon is to be detonated, then rapidly assembled into a critical configuration where the nuclear chain reaction can run away, producing an explosive yield. A variety of elements and isotopes can theoretically be used in nuclear fission weapons, but since the start of the nuclear age, only two have ever actually been employed: uranium-235 (U-235) and plutonium-239 (Pu-239). Uranium exists in nature, but only 0.711% of natural uranium is U-235, so in order to build a bomb the costly and difficult process of enrichment must be performed to separate the U-235 from the 99.284% of U-238, which cannot sustain the fast chain reaction required in a weapon.

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Listening to the recent jab by President Obama at Governor Scott Walker about his lack of knowledge in foreign affairs, I came across this nugget that no one seems to have noticed: “Keep in mind, Steve, that there is long precedent for a whole host of international agreements in which there’s not a formal treaty […]

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