North Korea’s Socialist Winter: Engagement or Isolation?

Kim Il-sung s Poster

Kim Il-sung s Poster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pyongyang’s recent rocket launch has placed North Korea in the cross-hairs of the international community. The current standoff with the “Hermit Kingdom” threatens to stifle very real reforms already underway, as well as peace in the region.

The world’s attention has once again focused on North Korea following its controversial missile launch on December 12th, 2012 that successfully put a satellite into orbit to study crops and weather patterns. While Pyongyang maintains its right to develop a peaceful civilian space program, the launch has wrought condemnation from the international community and its biggest ally, China, for defying UN resolutions that ban it from operating ballistic missile technology. While the launch coincides with upcoming elections in both Japan and South Korea, it is domestically perceived as the centerpiece of the North’s efforts to commemorate the year 2012 as the one-hundredth- anniversary of Kim Il-sung’s birth, the deceased nation’s founder who holds the title of “Eternal President.”

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The Nuclear Budget: What Nuclear Weapons Cost Us | Ploughshares Fund

English: Ploughshares Fund logo

The U.S. is on track to spend between $620 bilion and $661 billion on nuclear weapons and related programs over the next decade. Do we really need to be spending so much on weapons that military experts don’t believe are relevant to today’s threats?

The Nuclear Budget: What Nuclear Weapons Cost Us | Ploughshares Fund.

DOD: Strategic Stability Not Threatened Even by Greater Russian Nuclear Forces » FAS Strategic Security Blog

United States Department of Defense

A Department of Defense (DOD) report on Russian nuclear forces, conducted in coordination with the Director of National Intelligence and sent to Congress in May 2012, concludes that even the most worst-case scenario of a Russian surprise disarming first strike against the United States would have “little to no effect” on the U.S. ability to retaliate with a devastating strike against Russia

DOD: Strategic Stability Not Threatened Even by Greater Russian Nuclear Forces » FAS Strategic Security Blog.

Is Nuclear Abolition Desirable and/or Feasible?

U.S. and USSR/Russian nuclear weapons stockpil...

U.S. and USSR/Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles, 1945–2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The anti-nuclear movement argues that the abolition of nuclear weapons is ultimately both desirable and possible. The movement’s recent fortunes, however, suggest a more complicated picture, as Lawrence Wittner’s profile of the movement demonstrates.

Getting to Zero — Is Nuclear Abolition Desirable and/or Feasible?.

Israel and the WMD-free zone: Has Israel closed the door? | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

English: Flag of the International Atomic Ener...

English: Flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an organization of the United Nations Deutsch: Flagge der Internationalen Atomenergieorganisation (IAEO), eine Organisation der Vereinten Nationen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Article Highlights

With the 2012 Middle East WMD-Free Zone Conference still on the agenda in Helsinki, speculation remains whether Israel will attend.

Shaul Chorev, head of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, delivered a strongly worded speech to the IAEA general conference in Vienna earlier this month, laying out what Israel is likely to accept and not accept as far as the conference is concerned.

The time might be ripe to start thinking about a more far-reaching and radical approach that would involve rethinking the entire framework for considering WMD arms control in the Middle East.

Israel and the WMD-free zone: Has Israel closed the door? | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

A Golden Mistake: Nuclear Bombs Cost more than Their Weight in Gold | Ploughshares Fund

B61 nuclear bombs

B61 nuclear bombs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The B61 bombs are the oldest bombs in the operational arsenal – first deployed in the 1960s. The Life Extension Program is intended to update and overhaul the warheads to keep them in the arsenal for decades to come, allowing the B61 to continue serving as the last remaining tactical nuclear warhead in the arsenal. The bombs remain deployed in Europe, despite broad recognition that they have no military utility.

Unfortunately, the life extension program (LEP) for the B-61 nuclear bomb is now projected to cost $10 billion. When we first heard that, some quipped that the bomb must be gold-plated. It’s not. That would be too cheap.

A Golden Mistake: Nuclear Bombs Cost more than Their Weight in Gold | Ploughshares Fund.

A Regional Approach to WMD Nonproliferation in the Asia-Pacific | Carnegie

WMD world map

WMD world map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Asia-Pacific region epitomizes the type of proliferation challenges the international community faces. Globalization turned the region into one of the most important international trade hubs, the home to leading dual-use companies, and the anticipated site of the world’s most significant growth in nuclear energy. While those trends are beneficial, they also create new sources of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation.



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