FYRP: Keep Calm and Carry On

Another installment of your new favorite post!

National Journal | It’s starting to feel like Fall 2001 all over again, says George Condon, Jr., what with terrorism and all in the USA. I may be young, George, but it’s really nothing like then.

Korea Herald | North Korea is not poised to attack the South, says senior U.S. military official, notwithstanding all the sound and fury. Also, more on missiles and nukes from DNI James Clapper. Remember this missile-test footage?

Taiwan Focus | China has not yet deployed either the JL-2 SLBM or the DF-41 road-mobile, multi-warhead ICBM, says senior Taiwan military official. (h/t Global Security Newswire)

Xinhua | China has released a new defense white paper about “peacetime employment of armed forces.” This is the full document.

Global Security Newswire | Arab League foreign ministries might not boycott the 2013 NPT PrepCom after all, Elaine Grossman reports.

Associated Press | Iran installs more IR-2m centrifuges. This should spark some debate.

The Times | Porton Down scientists allegedly find evidence of Syria CW use… not otherwise specified. (Teaser only for non-subscribers. Here’s the gist.) The Syrian government is preventing further investigation.

RIA Novosti | Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin says that U.S. BMD “poses no military threat” to Russia. Apparently, the asteroid threat takes precedence. We should call in these guys.

We hope that this news dose can last until the next FYRP.


  1. SQ (History)

    James Acton observes that the new Chinese white paper omits the term “no first use of nuclear weapons.”

    He writes, cogently:

    “A candid, high-level dialogue regarding nuclear deterrence has been needed for some time. The new white paper and Mr. Xi’s speech have made the need urgent.

    “While the probability of nuclear escalation is low, the consequences would be catastrophic. The risk of nuclear use is already unacceptably high and, for that reason alone, mutual confidence-building is necessary. In addition, mutual suspicion in the nuclear domain spills over into the conventional domain, complicating efforts to reduce the chance of any kind of conflict.”


  2. Magpie (History)

    Poor Geaorge Condon. He’s going to get beaten over the head with that article for years. Haha.

  3. George William Herbert (History)

    The timing on the new Chinese white paper is unfortunate.

    It is the sort of logical response one can expect from stronger US missile defenses. But it is destabilizing for them to call it out publicly at the moment.

    Specifically, the US missile defense boost was not planned or aimed at China, it’s transparently due to NK aggression. Which also has prompted new rounds of missile defense proliferation discussions among our allies, and rumblings from South Korea of considering nuclear weapons of their own.

    Which could spread to Japan, but haven’t yet.

    China moving away *right now* from no-first-use is either remarkably clumsy, something that was in the works for a while but they didn’t hold off on in the current crisis, or is them signalling something very ugly.

    And potentially scary.

    South Korea being more explicitly threatened by China, too, seems more likely to get them onto a weapons program path. Not less.

    If this was an attempt to signal they aren’t abandoning NK yet, its specifics were unfortunate. If it was generic to the US NMD buildup and not related to the crisis, they should have held off making it public; perhalps floating it privately to the US for discussion after NK cools down.

    • SQ (History)

      What’s transparent to some may not be to others. For that matter, the reasons for this shift in declaratory policy are not so transparent, at least to me, at least not yet.

      The rest of the text on the purposes of the nuclear and conventional missile forces is essentially the same as before, so it’s not clear that any large change is truly afoot. TBD.

    • Anon2 (History)

      The Chinese first use policy might be partially in response to threats from the DPRK.

      I.e, DPRK, don’t even think about threatening China.

  4. j_kies (History)

    WOW !!! Nevermind the other stories –
    “… The missile shield is nothing for us, it’s a bluff. It poses no military threat, but remains a political and economic problem,” Now that we eliminate EPAA phase IV (that wasn’t capable against Iranian ICBM’s in Russian or NAS/NRC analysis) suddenly US BMD plans are not the sticking point they used to be.

    It might be that the Russians assumed that phase IV had some nefarious purpose against their deterrent when their vector arithmetic indicated that it wasn’t really capable against the claimed threat. Who knows – is this not cause for high-fives for both arms control people and those Pentagon staffers behind the decision?

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