A lot is happening in the world of nuclear weapons; here’s a quick rundown of some articles, videos, and reports that may be of interest:
At The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Kaveh L. Afrasiabi sets out guidelines for a possible endgame in the Iranian nuclear saga. On the list: considering Iran to be more of a potential Brazil or Japan rather than a potential North Korea, getting rid of the untenable push to stop Iranian uranium enrichment entirely, and having both countries focus on common interests (regional security, anyone?) rather than divergences in ideology and policy.
On a more specific level, an ISIS report claiming that an Iranian company attempted to by ring-shaped magnets for centrifuges has earned some scrutiny. Jeffrey Lewis and Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress at Arms Control Wonk write that certain details about the magnets make them a possible fit for some of Iran’s first-generation centrifuges, while Yousaf Butt at The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists decries the report as technically questionable and misleading. (After you’re done reading both of these pieces, make sure to read the comments on the Arms Control Wonk piece, where the two analyses interact.)
Nuclear Deterrence: A Myth?
Also at Arms Control Wonk, there have been a series of guests posts by Ward Wilson on the myth of nuclear deterrence. The four posts breakdown key events in nuclear deterrence (e.g. the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Falklands Islands Wars) and explain why they were failures of deterrence rather than successes. The posts are a taste of the subject matter of Wilson’s new book, Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons.
Here are the posts in question: 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Along a similar vein, an exchange between Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Bruce Blair, the co-founder of Global Zero, at a hearing at the House Strategic Forces Subcommittee lead to claims that nuclear deterrence is the reason behind lower numbers of casualties in wars since World War II. While Bruce Blair expresses disagreement about the claim, Kingston Reif goes further and posts two articles that go into more detail about the nuances of nuclear deterrence, one at The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and another at the journal Survival. (Note: The latter article is available for free access.)
Gearing Up for NSS 2014
The third (and perhaps last) Nuclear Security Summit is less than a year away. That means the policy community should be hard at work developing a cohesive nuclear security regime that does for preventing nuclear terrorism what the current safeguards regime does for preventing nuclear meltdowns and the like. To get a brief but potent introduction to the specifics of nuclear terrorism, check out this New York Times piece written by Kenneth Brill and Kenneth Luongo. And for a better understanding of what some professionals and organizations are doing to prep for the 2014 NSS in The Netherlands, check out this video from Press TV (and these reports from the NSGEG).