FYRP: Between Two Stools

We know you’ve missed your favorite post!

New York Times | Is anybody happy with President Obama’s Berlin speech? The NYT Ed Board wishes he had the nerve to endorse unilateral nuclear arms cuts rather than wait on Russia. Eric Edelman and Robert Joseph, observing that he hasn’t completely ruled it out, predict that Obama will end up going unilateral. Does it surprise you that they can’t stomach the idea, at least with this guy in office?

The Foundry | But that’s nothing. Joshua Holdenried at Heritage seems to think that simply announcing the goal of arms reductions is tantamount to unilateral disarmament.

Washington Times | Kim Holmes, also of Heritage, says “Nuclear weapons are not animated objects in control of their own fate.” Does no one remember Buster and pals?

Foreign Policy | Jeffrey Lewis of ACW, MIIS, and the beach decodes the nuclear warhead numbers. He also points out that force-modernization plans look pretty much unaffordable, regardless of the numbers we say we want.

More after the jump!

U.S. Department of Energy | FY2014 Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan.

Nukes of Hazard | Keary Iarussi, among others, contends that President-Elect Rohani offers the West a rare opportunity to negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program. Iranians also remain hopeful following the election, according to VOA.  Nevertheless, it seems that some Iranian officials only ever want more.

Knoxville News Sentinel | The B61 bomb, Usha Sahay and Jacob Bennett argue, is outdated, costly, and irrelevant.  So why update it? (Nice local angle, guys.) Some, like Ira Lechner, feel almost the same way about the entire nuclear weapons program.

The Economist | The Economist takes a stab at describing the state of the Iranian nuclear program.  The only unsettling part of its analysis is the last three lines.

The Nation (Lahore, Pakistan) | Shams-uz-Zaman defends the good name of nuclear-armed Pakistan… adding that Michael Krepon is right about the wisdom of capping the arsenal.

New York Times | China and South Korea make nice? Shinzo Abe’s worst nightmare! Also Kim Jong-un’s! So you might think. But Bruce Klingner is skeptical about what China will do about North Korea.  The Wall Street Journal thinks that Park and Xi diverge on the denuclearization question.

38 North | New tunneling activity at the North Korean nuclear test site.  Anonymous might know about it.  Or not.  Whoops.

We hope you enjoyed this edition of FYRP.


  1. Rene (History)

    I can’t believe that the Economist published such a disastrous article in order to “explain” Iran’s nuclear programme. I can’t believe that you included the article for ACW weekly feed. And I can’t believe that you take its ‘only unsettling part’ to be the last three sentences!

    • Anon2 (History)


      Other than the title (which is part of the Economist’s cheeky style) “How close is Iran to having a nuclear bomb?” and the always polarizing David Albright, what part of the article is disastrous or even misleading? It seems to this reader that the article is just the conventional analysis of the IAEA data as applied to breakout capability.

    • Rene (History)

      Dear Anon2,

      At the basic level, I think the article is too short and too broad to serve as an “explanation” of the programme, and I don’t understand why it deserves to be broadcast in a wonky blog like this. More concretely, I think the first three sentences are as inaccurate, disastrous, and leading as the last three. Iran has been willing to accept a deal that limits its nuclear program (or so she says, at least), but in all fairness it hasn’t been offered a good deal to accept. Iran hasn’t “developed the capacity to enrich far more uranium than it needs for generating nuclear power,” because its current dismal capacity is almost a tenth of what’s needed for feeding the one and only Bushire reactor. And it’s outgoing president has NOT “talked about wanting to wipe Israel off the map” (emphasis on “wanting”). He has simply predicted that “Israel will vanish from the page of history” due to the “unjust” nature of the Israeli polity.

    • Anon2 (History)


      I agree with your view on the West not offering Iran a fair deal on its own nuclear enrichment (at 5%) for electric generation purposes. It is my hope that something will be offered shortly to President Elect Rohani.

      With regard to Ahmadinejad’s comments, the translation from the New York Times as quoted on the Wikipedia page is “Wiped off the map” and is a direct existential threat by the outgoing President:

      “On 30 October, The New York Times published a full transcript of the speech in which Ahmadinejad was quoted:

      Our dear Imam (referring to Ayatollah Khomeini) said that the occupying regime must be wiped off the map and this was a very wise statement. We cannot compromise over the issue of Palestine. Is it possible to create a new front in the heart of an old front. This would be a defeat and whoever accepts the legitimacy of this regime has in fact, signed the defeat of the Islamic world. Our dear Imam targeted the heart of the world oppressor in his struggle, meaning the occupying regime. I have no doubt that the new wave that has started in Palestine, and we witness it in the Islamic world too, will eliminate this disgraceful stain from the Islamic world.[77]”

      I don’t read Persian, but everything that I have read indicates that it was a public threat.

      It is my wish for peace and that President Rohani will refrain from such rhetoric.

    • Rene (History)


      Thanks for providing a translation of the infamous remarks. The NYT translation is inaccurate and incomplete (see below). Here’s the original Persian, in case you want to show it to an expert for verification of my translation: http://www.ensani.ir/fa/content/122143/default.aspx.

      Throughout his speech in the conference World Without Zionism, Ahmadinejad is criticizing the moves made by some Islamic states (without naming them) toward recognizing Israel. He considers Israel to be the root of many ME problems, and accuses the West of intentionally creating the state of Israel as a means for domination over and subjugation of Muslims. He claims that Zionism, though seemingly very strong, is a transitory phenomenon. In this vein, he refers to the past collapse of several strong ‘regimes’ (which is obviously different from military annihilation). For instance, he says “Before the victory of [Iran’s] revolution, a cruel and anti-people regime was ruling … but the dear Imam came and said ‘This government must go and the government should be of the people’; many said ‘how could this happen? This is impossible’ … but our nation stood/resisted. Thank be to God, it is 27 years that we are living without a government dependent on America, and [therefore] that [saying of the Imam] materialized.” He then refers to the collapse of the Soviet Union and Saddam’s government as other ‘true’ predictions of Khomeini. Then comes the crucial piece, which is wrong/incomplete at several points in the NYT piece you quoted. Here is my translation: ‘our dear Imam said that ‘this regime that is occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of history,’ and this statement is very wise. … I have no doubt that the new wave that has started in Palestine and the wave of awakening that exists today in the Islamic world and the wave of spirituality in the entire [world of] Islam wipe this stigma off the clean skirt of Islam.’ See how the NYT piece doesn’t include the ‘wave of awakening’ and ‘wave of spirituality’ in the last sentence, and without providing the context (which is the collapse of regimes) imparts the sense that Ahmadinejad is speaking of a military operation.

      About this controversy, you may find this article informative: http://www.mohammadmossadegh.com/news/rumor-of-the-century/

  2. SQ (History)

    Yeah, that one was a stinker. But there’s worse out there on this subject.

    The article in “The Nation,” though… that’s very interesting.