123 Agreements in the Works

U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation Vann H. Van Diepen briefs the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade on the current state of various Section 123 Agreements and other U.S. initiatives toward international nuclear cooperation. Diepen highlights talks with Vietnam for a 123 Agreement and a recent proposed arrangement with Delhi that would require India to put in place safeguards for handling U.S. reprocessed nuclear material.

Iran’s alleged clandestine pursuit of a nuclear-weapon capability dominated the headlines last week during the ongoing Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference. However, beyond the theatrics of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s verbal exchange, it is important to remember, and ultimately to address, the root cause of the Iranian nuclear problem — namely, the spread of dual-use technologies such as uranium enrichment to countries outside the ring of first-order world powers. The problem with uranium enrichment is its ambiguity: It is a vital component of the civilian nuclear power industry, yet it can also be […]

Wired magazine’s May cover presents Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, while the accompanying article salutes the “hacker culture” that “conquered the world.” Amid the political paralysis we now witness in Washington, it’s a timely reminder of how all the top talent of the Boomer generation went into business and technology, while the dregs went into politics. Don’t believe me? Try to imagine a politics-oriented magazine offering a similar cover: You couldn’t get more than half of America to agree upon a single Boomer politician of Gates’ historic stature. Boomer business leaders and technologists rebooted the world, playing seminal roles in […]

The Vatican Addresses its Middle East Problem

When Pope Benedict XVI goes to Cyprus on June 4-6, at stake will be the future of Christianity in the Middle East. The Cyprus visit will be the occasion for a preliminary meeting of bishops and patriarchs from the Coptic, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Catholic, and other churches affiliated with Rome in the Middle Eastern area. They will receive from Pope Benedict the instrumentum laboris, or working agenda, for a forthcoming Episcopal Synod in Rome in October to discuss the problems facing Christians in the Middle East. Synods have become a standard way of dealing with church problems, including regional problems. […]

Rights Coalition Pushes for Binding Convention

In the six decades since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), rights advocates have made great strides at establishing many rights issues as mainstream concepts. But although governments, corporations and military commanders are routinely taken to task over abuses in the court of public opinion, binding rights principles — and the means to enforce them — on the national and international levels remain a gaping hole in the effort to guarantee the rights of every individual around the globe. Now, a diverse group of academics, corporate leaders, universities and non-governmental organizations have joined […]

Gates Sets His Sights on Navy

In case you missed it, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently gave a speech to announce that he’s now set his sights on the Navy as next up for an overhaul to bring it into the 21st century. The question, though, is just what a 21st-century navy should look like. Gates cited the U.S. Navy’s 11 carrier groups, at a time when no other country has more than one, as a particular area in need of rationalization. That prompted Robert Haddick, at SWJ, to question such straight-up comparisons as a criterion for judgment, while offering some thought-provoking reasons for concern […]

Risk, Resilience and the Case for Optimism

Following up on my exasperation at the urge to find a scapegoat for what is in essence a systemic problem, I want to flag this beautifully written, if melancholy piece by Walter Russell Mead, which struck a chord for me: For the last generation, we have been acting on the assumption that the great problems have been solved, the great questions answered, and that all that remains is the application of our correct general principles to particular cases. In other words, we have assumed that we are living in an Age of Technique. I think that is wrong. I think […]

This World Politics Review special report is a compilation of World Politics Review’s top articles on the global nuclear agenda from July 2009 through April 2010. The report includes articles on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. Below are links to each article, which subscribers can read in full. Subscribers can also download a pdf version of the report. Not a subscriber? Subscribe now, or try our subscription service for free. Disarmament Movement Needs Youth Involvement to Counter Cynicism By Johan Bergen√§sJuly 30, 2009Moving Past STARTBy Richard WeitzAugust 4, 2009Obama’s Challenging NPT AgendaBy Miles A. PomperAugust 4, 2009Keeping Swords, Building PlowsharesBy […]

WPR on France 24: The World Last Week

I once again had the pleasure of appearing on France 24’s week-in-review program last Friday, “The World This Week,” along with IHT Executive Editor Alison Smales, RFI’s Philip Turle and the Sunday Telegraph’s Anne-Elizabeth Moutet. The subjects were the U.K. election, the Greek Debt Crisis, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to China. Part one can be found here. Part two can be found here. I’ll also, once again, take the opportunity to add some subsequent thoughts that the discussion triggered. With regard to the British elections, I can’t make any predictions […]

Rights Advocates Mark World Press Freedom Day

Rights advocates marked World Press Freedom Day yesterday, emphasizing the ways in which media freedom remains a contentious issue in many parts of the world, as journalists continue to risk their liberty and lives in the pursuit of their profession. Even as the Internet has increased the ability of individuals to sidestep official controls and disseminate information to a wider audience, harassment and attacks on the media continue worldwide. In releasing its annual “Predators of Press Freedom” list, Reporters Without Borders added the names of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and […]

In recent weeks, the members of the Obama administration have developed a comprehensive strategy for the Eighth Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which began yesterday. The administration’s declared position is to use the conference and other opportunities to strengthen all three of the treaty’s core objectives or “pillars”: disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. U.S. officials have stressed their support for the fundamental trilateral bargain behind the NPT: Countries with nuclear weapons will move towards eliminating them; states without nuclear weapons will not seek to obtain them; and all countries will enjoy access to peaceful […]

The recent global financial crisis has birthed a slew of books proclaiming the superiority of state capitalism — or, alternatively, authoritarian capitalism — over free markets. China, we are led to believe, will not merely own this century, but will also likely win the bulk of the world over to its “unique” and “unprecedented” model of development. Stunningly, even though no serious thinker still believes in the efficacy of command economies, we are now encouraged to quake before state-directed economies, as if a bunch of power-fixated politicos sitting around a table will somehow manage to outsmart, out-predict, and outperform the […]

President Barack Obama’s multipronged approach to minimizing nuclear risks — embodied in the simultaneous roll out of the Nuclear Posture Review, the START follow-on treaty with Russia, and the Nuclear Security Summit — is nothing if not ambitious. Taken together, these steps mark a potential turning-point for U.S. nuclear strategy by reducing the role of nuclear weapons and by prioritizing efforts to lock down weapons-usable material, clamping down on nuclear terrorism, and strengthening international rules against proliferation. As the Nuclear Posture Review puts it, “Changes in the nuclear threat environment have altered the hierarchy of our nuclear concerns and strategic […]

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