Tag Archives: nuclear proliferation

Is Iran the new North Korea?

American Enterprise Institute (AEI) hosted about 40 participants on April 1st in their downtown Washington, D.C. building. Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton; ASI’s resident scholar, Michael Rubin; and George Perkovich, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, led a discussion titled “Is Iran the new North Korea?” AEI’s Nicholas Eberstadt moderated the event that compared and contrasted the current undergoing nuclear deal with Iran to North Korea.

Rubin started off the discussion by explaining that he is paid to “predict the past” as a 19th century Iranian historian and certain patterns jump out when comparing North Korea to Iran. During the development of the nuclear agreement with the Asian country, the 1994 South Korean president Kim Young Sam, he explained, criticized the logic of the United States’ engagement with allowing North Korea to have nuclear weapons. This, in the eyes of the South Korean president, would bring more harm than good to the world. Rubin labeled Kim Young Sam as the Ben Netanyahu of that deal because of his advocate against the deal. But Rubin stated that, in regards to both deals, the U.S. “will never let allies get in our way because it won’t harm a good agreement.”

Perkovich highlighted the differences. He drew attention to the different amount of materials that both Iran and North Korea had at the beginning of their respected negotiations. Iran does not have sufficient material to develop one single nuclear weapon. North Korea had enough to build two nuclear weapons before the agreement was finalized. But Perkovich noted a few similarities, which include that both countries feared that the U.S.’s motives included destroying their regimes.

Bolton took his turn to discuss the economic sanctions side of the nuclear weapons. In order for the economic sanctions to be effective, it must be enforced by the military. North Korea’s sanctions were largely American unilateral but American unilateral sanctions are not enough because North Korea has been able to continue testing missiles. American unilateral sanctions are easy to avoid. The Iranian sanctions placed are not comprehensive enough, according to Bolton. In Iran, the economic sanctions have caused pain but there is no evidence that it has slowed down nuclear production.

During a question and answer portion, Rubin was asked if the Iranian people are open to nuclear weapons. Rubin stated that most polls show that people are in favor of the weapons but one company, which released a poll against the weapons, was later closed down. Bolton responded to his question on the constitutionality of the nuclear deal that President Obama is acting within the right of executive action. He also added that the outcry from Congress is a divergent from what the deal truly is.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion greatly. It was very intriguing to hear these three great minds share their knowledge and opinion of the topic. I am surprised by how little they did speak about the North Korea deal.

Nuclear Nonproliferation

On February 27, I attend a State Department classroom presented by Acting Under Secretary Rose Gottemoeller There were a number of other students in attendance, we all sat inside a lecture hall in front of a large screen. As the lecture progressed pictures began to be displayed across the screen. These ranged from past world leaders to weapons facilities. Acting Under Secretary Rose Gottemoeller was very passionate about this topic and it was easy to see that she was driven and determined to get her message across.

As Gottemoeller opened up the classroom she began by explaining the beginning of nuclear weaponry in the United States as well as in other countries. She explained to us that as the years have gone on not only  the weapons improved but so have our defenses. The United States is one of the countries with a nuclear arsenal, but as Mrs. Gottemoeller described the weapons aren’t harmless just because they aren’t engaged to fire. As time goes on the material housed inside of the nuclear weapons can begin to leak out of the weapons and into the areas they are contained in. In addition to the weapons growing in age the areas they are contained in are only deemed safe for a period time. All across the world these containing areas have begun to age and a rapidly approaching the age in which they will need to be repaired and replaced.Instead of spending the large amounts of money to repair these areas  she is calling for nuclear proliferation. She explained nuclear nonproliferation as the effort to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. She told us that stopping the spread of nuclear weapons was going to be essential in the future. Nuclear warfare would be devastating. There have been steps taken in order to begin the process of nonproliferation but she believes that more must be done

The presentation lasted only about 45 minutes and then we were given a time for a question and answer session. The questions asked came from a wide range. Some asked about previous positions she has held while others asked more recent questions. There were a few that she was unable to answer due to their nature and topic.

Overall my experience here was a good one. I was disappointed that the weren’t many people their but in the end that added to the intimate setting and allowed for the students to get plenty of time for their questions. The topic of nuclear weapons has always interested me and I believe that as a whole more people should take a look into this topic.