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: Spies, Think Tanks, and Stuxnet Realities

by Micah Zenko
funeral convoy carrying bodies of four Islamist militants killed by an air strike A funeral convoy carrying the bodies of four Islamist militants killed by an air strike that their comrades said had been done by an Israeli drone but which state media said was the work of an Egyptian army helicopter, in the north of the Sinai peninsula on August 10, 2013. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Gregory D. Johnsen, “Did an 8-Year-Old Spy for America?The Atlantic, August 14, 2013.

At the time of the meeting, the boy didn’t know that the United States had decided to kill a man named Adnan al-Qadhi, and had turned to its allies in Yemen for assistance. Now the Yemeni government needed the child’s help. The Republican Guard officers told him what they wanted him to do: plant tiny electronic chips on the man he had come to think of as a surrogate father. The boy knew and trusted the officers; they were his biological father’s friends. He told them he would try. He would be their spy. Read more »

You Might Have Missed: Conflict Prevention, Cyber War, and Conspiracy Theories

by Micah Zenko
A South Korean soldier looks to the north near the demilitarized zone. (Kim Hong-Ji/Courtesy Reuters). A South Korean soldier looks to the north near the demilitarized zone. (Kim Hong-Ji/Courtesy Reuters).

Claudette Roulo, “Dempsey Arrives in Afghanistan to Assess Progress,” American Forces Press Service, April 6, 2013.

Any conflict in history, when it is resolved, is resolved through some form of reconciliation,” [Gen. Martin Dempsey chairman of the joint chiefs of staff] said. “I support the effort to try … through the Afghans to encourage them to take reconciliation as an important line of effort.” Read more »

Chuck Hagel Hearing and the Iran Nuclear Dilemma

by Micah Zenko
Former U.S. senator Chuck Hagel testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination to be defense secretary on January 31, 2013 (Kevin Lemarque/Courtesy Reuters). Former U.S. senator Chuck Hagel testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination to be defense secretary on January 31, 2013 (Kevin Lemarque/Courtesy Reuters).

Senator Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee was a protracted, repetitive, and disappointing affair. Rather than discuss the decisions for which the secretary of defense is empowered by U.S. law to make and implement as the “principal assistant to the President in all matters relating to the Department of Defense,” the hearing focused instead on forcing the former Nebraska senator to defend or deny his previous statements and positions. Read more »

Ten Whats With…Gregory D. Johnsen

by Micah Zenko
A view is seen of the historic city of Thula in Yemen (Mohamed Al-Sayaghi/Courtesy Reuters). A view is seen of the historic city of Thula in Yemen (Mohamed Al-Sayaghi/Courtesy Reuters).

Gregory D. Johnsen is a former Fulbright fellow in Yemen and currently a PhD candidate in Near Eastern studies at Princeton University. He is the author of The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America’s War in Arabia and writes the blog Waq al-Waq. Read more »

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 »