Subscribe to this feedOp-Eds
by Jonathan Granoff
March 11, 2013
Following the latest heightened, bellicose threats from North Korea, the UN Security Council unanimously passed a new round of sanctions on the already isolated country, aimed primarily at starving their growing missile program.
However, increased sanctions are unlikely to create a positive change in North Korean conduct. Their perception is based on both weaknesses and fears, both real and exaggerated. While North Korea is not an existential threat to the United States, the reverse is not true; Pyongyang responds accordingly.
If North Korea is as irrational as characterized, then we should be concerned and find a way out of the current conundrum, quickly. The claim that they only become a nuclear threat once they have a long-range missile capacity is not very assuring. A tugboat in the harbor of any city, particularly one with a major financial center, could do enormous global damage.
The situation on the Korean peninsula highlights the urgency of pursuing non-discriminatory, cooperative approaches to the global nuclear challenges.
Firstly, their increasingly successful nuclear tests and the way in which nuclear weapons are "used" to threaten and cajole underscore the urgency of pursuing the universal elimination of nuclear weapons as an international priority. The possession and threat of use of nuclear weapons by any country only undermines efforts to stem proliferation and move toward elimination. One such step in the right direction could be for the United States to declare a policy of no first use of nuclear weapons.
Another obvious step towards a cooperative approach to disarmament and security would be the universal ratification of the already negotiated treaty prohibiting nuclear tests, a global covenant that is impressively verified through a worldwide International Monitoring System that can detect even small nuclear tests, anywhere on the planet. Keep in mind that North Korea has conducted three tests -- less than the fingers on one hand -- while their existential enemies have conducted upwards of two thousand. We need one standard for all -- nuclear weapons are unworthy of civilization and no country should be brandishing them.
Secondly, talks at all levels should be pursued -- direct, indirect, multilateral. North Korea must be assured that neither the United States or our allies have any intention to attack it. This is not rewarding bad conduct but pursuing a course of conduct designed to change it. This assurance could come in the form of a comprehensive peace agreement to replace the entirely insufficient 1953 Armistice Agreement. A cease-fire, after all, is not a sufficient end to the Korean War.
Thirdly, a mutual cessation of provocative military exercises would immediately ratchet down tensions. We know that our ships, missiles, air forces, submarines, and troop deployments could destroy North Korea rapidly. We do not need military exercises to demonstrate that we are poised and ready to deter aggression.
And lastly, proposals for a Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone encompassing both North and South Korea and Japan, replete with security assurances from nuclear-armed China, Russia, and the United States, should be advanced, on the parliamentary and diplomatic levels. This sort of rational approach has already succeeded in Latin America, Central Asia, the South Pacific, Africa, and South Asia, including thereby over 112 countries in nuclear weapon-free zones. Parliaments in Japan and South Korea, as well as civil society groups and some diplomats, have been exploring this proposal and should continue to do so.
Sanctions have failed to change Pyongyang's behavior, position, or rhetoric. More of the same will similarly fail. It is time for a new approach, a comprehensive approach that doesn't simply aim to "defuse" the crisis du jour, but rather to build a sustainable security, for Asia and the world.
Alyn Ware writes for InDepth News--
February 21, 2013
A meteor blasting into the atmosphere over Siberia (on February 15), injuring about 1000 people with debris, provided a graphic warning of the risk of a larger meteor, or even an asteroid, hitting earth. About the same time that the 10 ton meteor entered the earth’s atmosphere, an asteroid 15,000 times larger whizzed past planet earth. If the asteroid instead of the meteor had hit us, it could have wiped out civilization just as an asteroid hitting the earth 65 million years ago created climatic consequences that wiped out the dinosaurs.
Read the entire op-ed here
by Jonanthan Granoff and Pavel Palazhchenko
May 31, 2012
NATO's Heads of State and Government met in Chicago on May 20 and 21. A few weeks earlier, April 23-25, the Nobel Peace Laureates gathered there for their annual summit. A city that could carry the messages of both of these gatherings was aptly described by Carl Sandburg when he called Chicago "the City of the Big Shoulders."
by Rhianna Tyson Kreger
May 18, 2012
Iran's presumed quest for nuclear weapons isn't just about nuclear weapons.
It is also about prestige, and it is also about respect, both of which Iran believes it is entitled to, and neither of which it feels it sufficiently has.
By Jonathan Granoff
March 21, 2012
We hear a great deal of bravado on the best way to respond to the international security threat posed by Iran. The mantra of having "all options on the table" should include the many options beyond just increased sanctions and military force.
By Thomas Graham
March 15, 2012
Iran has been pursuing a nuclear program for nearly four decades. It began when the Shah was in power, was initially not continued by the Islamic Republic but by the late 1980’s was resumed again in earnest. Iran has been a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) since 1970. It was publically revealed in 2002 that for many years Iran, contrary to its NPT Safeguards Agreement, had been clandestinely importing centrifuge enrichment technology purchased from the Pakistani rogue nuclear proliferator A.Q. Khan and was secretly constructing a large uranium enrichment facility at Natanz along with a plutonium-producing heavy water reactor at Arak. Natanz has been in active production now for a half a dozen years and has produced sufficient nuclear power reactor fuel which if over time upgraded to weapons level could fuel perhaps several crude weapons.
by James Goodby and Nathan Pyles
November 21, 2011
The world recently marked the 25th anniversary of the historic Reykjavik summit, when President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev met in a simple clapboard house in Iceland to candidly explore an idea: Was it possible, within their lifetimes, to eliminate nuclear weapons from the face of this earth?
by Rev. Tyler Wigg-Stevenson
Review of Faith & International Affairs
Nuclear weapons are devices; a means to a variety of ends. Ethical analysis must have compelling moral ends as the primary point of reference. By morally examining a society's practice of security, one can develop a descriptive explanation of what that society believes it means to be a human person. Just war theory can be used in a case study of moral reasoning about nuclear weapons. Three criteria of just war theory in particular are irreconcilable with the use of nuclear weapons: discrimination, proportionality, and macro-proportionality. Further, even nuclear deterrence cannot claim moral legitimacy today, because it does not deter in our post-Cold War, post-9/11, globalized context.