Micah Zenko

Politics, Power, and Preventive Action

Zenko covers the U.S. national security debate and offers insight on developments in international security and conflict prevention.

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Showing posts for "Nuclear Weapons"

You Might Have Missed: Iran, Red Lines, Drones, and Dieting

by Micah Zenko
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu draws a red line as he addresses the sixty-seventh UN General Assembly in New York (Keith Bedford/Courtesy Reuters). Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu draws a red line as he addresses the sixty-seventh UN General Assembly in New York (Keith Bedford/Courtesy Reuters).

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “I believe that, faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down.” (September 27, 2012) Read more »

UN Security Council Vows No Nuclear Attack on Mongolia

by Micah Zenko
Representatives at the UN Security Council vote in New York (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters). Representatives at the UN Security Council vote in New York (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters).

On Monday, the five permanent members (P5) of the UN Security Council reaffirmed their promise not to attack Mongolia with nuclear weapons. In 1995, each of the P5 pledged not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear weapons states that signed and ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT); this was solidified when the Security Council voted 15-0 to pass Resolution 984.  In October 2000, the P5 specifically extended this “negative security assurance” to Mongolia when it declared its nuclear weapons-free status. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: National Security Threats, Terrorism, and Gun Violence

by Micah Zenko
Handgun

Saxby Chambliss, “The Threat From Within to Our National Security,” Macon Telegraph, August 3, 2012.

Our nation and our military are about to confront one of the biggest threats since World War II. It does not come in the form of a shadowy terrorist organization or a well-armed foreign foe. Instead, it is looming in the form of indiscriminate budget cuts that will strike on Jan. 1, 2013. Read more »

Would We Know if Iran Decides to Build a Bomb?

by Micah Zenko
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at a meeting in Tehran (Handout/Courtesy Reuters). Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at a meeting in Tehran (Handout/Courtesy Reuters).

The most important unanswered question about the heightened U.S.-Israel confrontation with Iran over its nuclear program is whether Iran’s political leadership will decide to pursue a nuclear weapon. The key judgments in the last declassified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on the Iranian nuclear program found with “high confidence” that “Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program” in the fall of 2003, and this conviction remained with “moderate confidence” through mid-2007. Read more »

A U.S.-Iran Naval Clash Is Not Inevitable

by Micah Zenko
U.S. Navy handout photo of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln (Courtesy Reuters). U.S. Navy handout photo of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln (Courtesy Reuters).

The headline of today’s Washington Post reads, “Iran Expands Ability to Strike U.S. Navy in Gulf.” The piece describes Persian Gulf war games, paranoid comments by regional officials, and hollow threats from Iranian officials. Read more »

Guest Post: Iran’s Nuclear Program: The Unintended Consequences of Nuclear Exports

by Guest Blogger for Micah Zenko
A general view of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, located under one thousand miles south of Tehran, Iran (Stringer Iran/Courtesy Reuters). A general view of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, located under one thousand miles south of Tehran, Iran (Stringer Iran/Courtesy Reuters).

Matthew Fuhrmann is assistant professor of political science at Texas A&M University and a former Stanton nuclear security fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of Atomic Assistance: How “Atoms for Peace” Programs Cause Nuclear Insecurity. Read more »

How the Obama Administration Justifies Targeted Killings

by Micah Zenko
U.S. attorney general Holder delivers a speech at Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago on March 5, 2012 (Jeff Haynes/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. attorney general Holder delivers a speech at Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago on March 5, 2012 (Jeff Haynes/Courtesy Reuters).

Despite almost ten years of operations and nearly four hundred airstrikes that killed an estimated three thousand people (both militants and civilians), both the Bush and Obama administrations have provided limited information about U.S. targeted killings policies. The scope and intensity of the strikes represent an undeclared Third War beyond Afghanistan and Iraq, for which policymakers offer adjectives (“surgical,” “discriminate,” targeted,” and “precise”) but refuse to directly address any questions. According to White House spokesperson Jay Carney in February, “I’m not going to discuss broadly or specifically supposed covert programs.” Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Drones, Targeted Killings, and Nuclear Weapons

by Micah Zenko
The logo of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is shown in the lobby of the CIA headquarters in Langley (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters). The logo of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is shown in the lobby of the CIA headquarters in Langley (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters).

Government Accountability Office, State and DOD Face Challenges in Finalizing Support and Security Capabilities, June 28, 2012.

The Departments of State (State) and Defense (DOD) planned for a civilian-led presence in Iraq consisting of more than 16,000 personnel at 14 sites in fiscal year 2012. As of May 2012, State and DOD were reassessing the Mission Iraq presence, and State had a plan to reduce the presence to 11,500 personnel at 11 sites by the end of fiscal year 2013. Even with the reductions, Mission Iraq would remain the largest U.S. diplomatic presence in the world. State and DOD allocated an estimated $4 billion for the civilian-led presence for fiscal year 2012, 93 percent of which was for security and support costs. In addition, State requested $1.9 billion in police and military assistance and $471 million in other foreign assistance for fiscal year 2012. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Drones, Israel’s Nuclear Weapons, and “Big Boy Pants”

by Micah Zenko
U.S. soldiers with patrol the Zharay district in southern Afghanistan on April 24, 2012 (Courtesy Reuters/Baz Ratner). U.S. soldiers with patrol the Zharay district in southern Afghanistan on April 24, 2012 (Courtesy Reuters/Baz Ratner).

Nick Paumgarten, “The World of Surveillance,” The New Yorker, May 14, 2012.

Patrick Egan, president of the Silicon Valley chapter of the Association for Unmanned Systems International: “The first time a drone Tases the wrong dude at a Phish concert, you’re going to have problems.” Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Drones, Threat Inflation, and Corruption

by Micah Zenko
Joseph Kony. Joseph Kony.

The CIA is seeking authority to expand its covert drone campaign in Yemen by launching strikes against terrorism suspects even when it does not know the identities of those who could be killed, U.S. officials said. Read more »