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The world’s nuclear arsenals – state of play

Nuclear Weapons, Bloomberg,By Jonathan Tironem October 24, 2018 Half a century after world powers agreed to thwart the spread of nuclear weapons and reduce their own arsenals, both those projects are under strain. Under the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty, only five nations — China, France, Russia, the U.K. and U.S. — can possess nuclear arms, and all have promised to reduce their stockpiles eventually to zero. But Israel, India and Pakistan all developed the bomb after the treaty emerged. More recently, the goal of curbing atomic arms has been challenged by North Korea’s entryinto the nuclear club, by the U.S. withdrawal from an international deal curbing Iran’s nuclear program, and by threats by the leaders of the U.S. and Russia to augment their arsenals rather than continue to pare them down.

U.S. President Donald Trump said in October that he planned to pull the U.S. out of a landmark 1987 treaty with Russia that rolled back ground-launched intermediate-range missiles in and aimed at Western Europe. The U.S. says Russia’s recently developed 9M729 missile falls within the range covered by the pact, which NATO agrees has been violated, a charge Russia denies. Termination of the agreement could revive the nuclear arms race in Europe. It could also spur one in Asia, as it would free the U.S. to deploy mid-range nuclear weapons to counter China’s deployment of such arms, which is not bound by the 1987 treaty. Trump has said that in general the U.S. “must greatly strengthenand expand its nuclear capability.” Russian President Vladimir Putin has boasted of his country’s work on next-generation nuclear-weapons systems. Under Trump, the U.S. has already withdrawn from a 2015 accord setting limits on Iran’s nuclear program and has begun re-imposing sanctions that were lifted under the deal. Iran’s government has said it would continue to abide by the pact. The risk, though, is that as U.S. sanctions bite, hardliners in Iran will insist on re-accelerating the nuclear program. Before the deal, Iran possessed enough enriched uranium for multiple bombs and was thought to be capable of refining it to the level needed for weapons in just a few months. North Korea declared its nuclear force “complete” in late 2017. Dictator Kim Jong Un said this year that he’s open to giving up his nuclear weapons. It’s not clear what his conditions are. And many analysts are skeptical he’d ever relinquish the arms, for fear of losing his means of deterring a military intervention meant to topple him.

Dictator Kim Jong Un said this year that he’s open to giving up his nuclear weapons. It’s not clear what his conditions are. And many analysts are skeptical he’d ever relinquish the arms, for fear of losing his means of deterring a military intervention meant to topple him……… https://www.bloomberg.com/quicktake/nuclear-weapons

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October 27, 2018 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war

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