Podcast

A nuclear weapons, arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation podcast.
 

Hosted by Jeffrey Lewis & Aaron Stein.
Produced by Scott LaFoy.
 

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Reviewing the Nuclear Posture Review

A draft of the Trump Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review has leaked — and its a doozy.  Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the history of these reviews and recommendations to develop a new sea-launched cruise missile and a variable yield warhead for the Trident D5 submarine launched ballistic missile. Links of Note: The Huffpost article that originally leaked the …

 

Tightening the Screws on the INF

The Trump Administration is naming names, confirming what Jeffrey has long said ? that the new cruise missile Russia is building in violation of the 1987 INF Treaty is the 9M729, which is known in the US as the SSC-8 Screwdriver. Aaron and Jeffrey discuss Russia’s violation of the INF Treaty, offering a deep dive …

 

The Donald and The Nuclear VI: Pushin’ My Buttons

We usually avoid chasing Trump’s tweets but when the President of the United States says his button is bigger than Kim Jong Un’s … well, we’re not made of stone. Aaron and Jeffrey talk about whether Trump is bluffing and what the disarray in the White House says about policy process issues.   Links of …

 

Up Close and Personal with Iranian Drones

Ambassador Nikki Haley gave quite the presentation a few weeks ago. Standing in front of two Qiam/Burkan-2H missile pieces, the US Ambassador the UN called out Iran for its proliferation activities in the Middle East. Two weeks, Aaron and Jeffrey talked at length about the missile. In this episode, Aaron circles back to the other …

 

Japan and JASSM

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera announced that Tokyo wants to acquire a pair of long-range cruise missiles — the 500 km-range Joint Strike Missile from Norway and the 1000 km range JASSM-ER — to arm the country’s new F-35.  Aaron and Jeffrey discussion the implications for Article 9 of Japan’s constitution and stability in the region. …

 

Up Close and Personal with the Qiam

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley gave a dog-and-pony show with debris from the recent Houthi missile strikes against Saudi Arabia. Jeffrey and Aaron go over the debris, explaining why the U.S. thinks the Yemeni Burkan-2H is actually the Iranian Qiam and asking what that means.  Links of Note: DVIDS Hub link to …

 

A Swing and a Miss in Saudi Arabia

“A shot was just taken by Iran, in my opinion, at Saudi Arabia. And our system knocked it down,” Donald Trump told reporters. “That’s how good we are. Nobody makes what we make and now we’re selling it all over the world.” Except it missed. Or maybe never even fired. Jeffrey and Aaron discuss the …

 

KCN-eh? November’s Other North Korean Developments

A Canadian reviews the month’s North Korea news with a special guest. For November, Andrea talks to John Hemmings, the Director of the Asia Studies Centre at the Henry Jackson Society. They dig into major stories about North Korean defectors and the Kim Jong Nam assassination, and consider the stunning views from Cathay Pacific flights.   Links …

 

North Korea’s Big Frickin’ Missile

North Korea tested a new ICBM called the Hwasong-15. We’ll keep these show notes brief. Its frickin’ huge. Aaron, Jeffrey, and Scott discuss the missile, the launch site, the truck that carried it, and its oh-so-roomy payload. Links of Note: Dave Schmerler compiled the KCNA imagery into one big flickr album.  

 

The Donald and the Nuclear V: The Senate Strikes Back

“Liddle Bob Corker” and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the President’s authority to use nuclear weapons. A bipartisan panel testified that “it’s fine.” But is it? Aaron and Jeffrey discuss Trump, the bomb, and President’s War Powers.   Links of Note: C-SPAN video of the entire Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing …

 

Missiles over the Middle East

Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, recently stated that Iran has no need to extend the range of its missiles beyond 2,000 km. With debates about Iran’s missile program affecting the debate about the Iran nuclear deal, Aaron and Jeffrey take a survey of regional missile proliferation from Egypt to …

 

South Korea’s Missile Arsenal Expands

The US and South Korea agreed to revise the missile guidelines that have limited South Korea’s missile programs since the 1970s. Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the origin of those limits, their evolution, and the impact of missile proliferation on the Korean Peninsula.   Links of Note: Arms Control Wonk article about South Korea’s Anheung Proving …

 

KCN-eh? September’s Other North Korean Developments

A Canadian reviews the month’s North Korea news with a special guest. For September, Andrea talks to Alison Evans — deputy head of Asia-Pacific country risk at IHS Markit. They revisit UN General Assembly drama, developments in alliance politics, and North Korea’s stunning victory at Disney puns.  

 

Our Source was the New York Times

The New York Times has a splashy interactive editorial, “Trump’s Nuclear Arsenal.” It’s good, but gets a few things wrong — things that matter like Mutual Assured Destruction, Robert McNamara’s famous thought experiment on sizing US nuclear forces, and how the US targets nuclear weapons. Also, they misuse decimate. Aaron and Jeffrey talk through the problems with …

 

97% Invincible

President Trump said each of the missile defense interceptors at the Ground-based Midcourse Defense site in Alaska has a 97% chance of shooting down a North Korean missile and that two would have a 100% chance. Statistics don’t work like that, at least that’s not how it was taught where Jeffrey and Aaron went to school. We …

 

Uranium Fever

No, Hilary Clinton did not sell America’s uranium to Russia. Aaron and Jeffrey attempt to patiently discuss the Uranium One purchase of Willow Creek uranium mine, the US firm that bribed Russian officials to win trucking contracts, and why this particular conspiracy theory is so prevalent in American political discourse.   Links of Note: The …

 

Decertification Day

Donald Trump announced a new “strategy”  — loosely defined — for confronting Iran. Trump also will refuse to certify that Iran is implementing its commitments under the Iran nuclear deal, aka the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), throwing the issue back to Congress and (possibly) starting a second nuclear crisis.  Jeffrey and Aaron discuss why …

 

ICAN wins the Nobel Peace Prize

ICAN won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its work on “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.” Jeffrey and Aaron discuss the prize, the treaty to ban nuclear weapons, and efforts …

 

Scuttling Der Weinerplan

Donald Trump told the United Nations that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (aka the Iran nuclear deal aka the Vienna Plan aka der Weinerplan) between Iran and the so-called E3/U-3 “Is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it — believe me.” Aaron and Jeffrey talk …

 

Banks and the Bomb

Proliferators not only need to move goods around the world to support their WMD and missile programs, they need to move money too.   How do they get into the international financial system undetected? Can banks do more to stop them? Who is leading the global charge on countering proliferation finance? Andrea talks to Tom Keatinge, a …

 

Tiny Nukes for Tiny Hands

The Trump Administration is reportedly mulling the development of new “low yield” nuclear weapons in its Nuclear Posture Review. But is this really new? Or is it that we just don’t trust the Trump Administration with sharp objects, let alone the bomb.   Jeffrey and Aaron discuss the recent history of proposals for new nuclear weapons, including …

 

North Korea’s Missile Submarine(s): Part 2

In addition to a new ICBM and thermonuclear weapon, North Korea is also developing new class of solid-fueled missiles.   Joseph Dempsey from the International Institute of Strategic Studies joins Jeffrey in a special three part episode to discuss the Pukguksong-1 submarine launched ballistic missile, the land-based Pukguksong-2 medium range ballistic missile, and Kim Jong Un’s visit to …

 

North Korea’s Missile Submarine(s): Part 3

The final part in our three part series! Episode 1 can be found here. Episode 2 is here. This addendum episode includes discussion on new developments, the DPRK’s ‘Site B’ for SLBMs, and the Golf submarines. In addition to a new ICBM and thermonuclear weapon, North Korea is also developing new class of solid-fueled missiles. …

 

North Korea’s Missile Submarine(s): Part 1

  In addition to a new ICBM and thermonuclear weapon, North Korea is also developing new class of solid-fueled missiles.   Joseph Dempsey from the International Institute of Strategic Studies joins Jeffrey in a special two part episode to discuss the Pukguksong-1 submarine launched ballistic missile, the land-based Pukguksong-2 medium range ballistic missile, and Kim Jong Un’s visit …

 

North Korea Tests an H-bomb

Jeffrey was lounging at the beach with his phone off. You know what the means: NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR TEST TIME! North Korea released images of Kim Jong Un inspecting what looked like a two-stage thermonuclear weapon and then, before analysts could pretend it was just a pinata, kablooie! North Korea detonated its largest nuclear explosive …

 

An Era Without Arms Control?

The relationship between the United States and Russia is in the toilet.  The FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act contains a number of provisions that call into question the viability of the INF and New START treaties, as well as the future of the entire bilateral arms control process. Jeffrey and Aaron discuss Russian nuclear …

 

North Korean Sanctions and Shellfish

In all the squinting at shiny missile bits, the bigger picture on North Korea has gotten a bit lost. Jeffrey and Andrea talk about some of the less pointy topics like new sanctions on North Korea, mollusks, and the reaction in Japan and South Korea.    Links of Note U.S. Fact Sheet on Resolution 2371 …

 

The Donald and The Nuclear Goblet of Fire (And Fury)

The fourth part in our The Donald and The Nuclear series. The crazy lunatic with the odd hair style and long-range nuclear weapons is talking about “fire and fury”.  So naturally North Korea’s Kim Jong Un threatened to fire four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range  ballistic missiles into the waters around Guam, saying that Donald Trump was “bereft …

 

Iranian Space Launch and the JCPOA

Amidst all the hoopla surrounding North Korea’s ICBM, Iran launched a Simorgh, a rocket designed to put a satellite into space. Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the Iran’s space launch program, how it relates to the nuclear program. And, of course, the Dudes from the SHIG. Links of Note: Detailed video of the Simorgh and the NTI …

 

Hot Launch Hot Take

The DPRK just launched a looooong range missile. According to podfriend Ankit Panda, it went farther, higher, and farther than the July 4th Hwasong-14 launch (with a data refresher here, courtesy of noted seersucker suit aficionado Shea Cotton) Jeffrey and Aaron knock out a snap episode with very first reactions to a launch that literally happened while we were …

 

Banning the Bomb III: Subsection B

The second half of yesterday’s Banning the Bomb III. Make sure to listen to that one first.    122 countries just adopted the Treaty banning nuclear weapons, in the same week that North Korea tested an ICBM.    Andrea, Gaukhar, and Beatrice Fihn from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons continue their discussion of the Treaty on …

 

Banning the Bomb III: Subsection A

122 countries just adopted a treaty banning nuclear weapons, in the same week that North Korea tested an ICBM. Andrea, Gaukhar, and Beatrice Fihn from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons talk about what made the cut for the final treaty, debate some of the implications, and evaluate whether diplomats are most like a …

 

North Korea’s New Missiles

No one has better sources in the U.S. government when it comes to North Korea’s missile program than the Diplomat’s Ankit Panda.  He joins Jeffrey and Scott to discuss the Hwasong-12, Hwasong-14, a very strange North Korean concert, and Ankit shares some never-before-released data on the Hwasong-12 and some KN designations.  This podcast is a …

 

North Korea’s ICBM: Hwasong-14

  Test a missile, get a pod. North Korea tested a missile. The big one. An ICBM. To discuss recent events, Aaron, Jeffrey, and Scott talk about the KN-20/Hwasong-14, how we got here, and what we know about the missile. Links of Note: The pod about the Hwasong-12, the immediate precursor to the Hwasong-14, including …

 

The Hyunmoo-2C: South Korea’s 800km Missile

  South Korea tested the 800km Hyunmoo-2C ballistic missile … from a barge! New President Moon Jae-in was in attendance, resulting in some geolocation goodies. Aaron and Jeffrey talk about using open source information to track the interesting, but under-studied, South Korean missile program.   Links of Note: A series of various twitter threads from …

 

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