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May 16, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | Leave a comment

Women poorly represented in, and disparaged by, the nuclear security “priesthood”

The Nuclear Weapons Sisterhood,  It’s hard for women to be hired, promoted or taken seriously in the national security establishment. NYT, By Carol Giacomo, Ms. Giacomo is a member of the editorial board, May 15, 2019 In the mid-1990s, Laura Holgate, then a senior Defense Department official, was in Moscow leading a delegation to discuss ways the United States could help the Russians secure plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons.

image – New York Times

After a male Russian official gave a confusing explanation about the Kremlin’s storage plans, she sought clarification. The Russian, his voice dripping with sarcasm, offered to “put this in terms a woman would understand” and then described loading plutonium into a “cooking pot and putting a lid on it.”

……. For women, people of color and transgender people, sexism, discrimination and harassment are often barriers to being hired, promoted or taken seriously in the national security bureaucracy — overseas and at home.

…….Women are particularly underrepresented in senior positions dealing with nuclear issues, according to a study by New America, part of a growing effort involving various groups and individuals to make the fields more welcoming to women.

Part of the problem is the discipline itself, the study found. Policies involving the building, deployment, targeting and use of nuclear weapons have long been the province of an insular, innovation-averse group of men. Discussions by this “priesthood” conflate national security and manliness with sexualized jargon about vertical erector launchers and thrust-to-weight ratios. The demand for nuclear orthodoxy has excluded outsiders, particularly women, placing them in a “consensual straitjacket” of conformity in a male-dominated world.

Just consider Donald Regan, the former White House chief of staff, who before President Ronald Reagan’s summit with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 said women were “not going to understand throw-weights” or other national security issues raised at the meeting.

The numbers show how this order became so entrenched. From the 1970s to 2019, the study found, women held 11 of 68 of senior positions dealing with nuclear weapons, arms control and nonproliferation at the State Department, 13 of 109 of these jobs at the now-defunct Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, five of 63 at the Defense Department, five of 36 at the Energy Department and two of 21 national security adviser positions. ……

To be successful in these posts so critical to national security, women pay a “gender tax,” performing “the constant mental and emotional calculus that comes with implicit sexism; explicit sexism and discrimination; gender and sexual harassment; and gendered expectations,” according to the New America study, based on interviews with 23 women who held senior government positions.

Nearly all of the 23 said they were harassed or saw others harassed, and when a foreign official was involved, the stress was magnified because it could cause an international incident.

During a round-table discussion with Global Politico in 2017, Laura Rosenberger, who spent 11 years at the State Department and the National Security Council, talked about wearing more pantsuits and baggier tops as a defense mechanism “to make myself seem less attractive in the workplace.”


Mieke Eoyang,
 who served 12 years as a staff member on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Intelligence Committee, has described how she would walk into a meeting and be asked to get coffee or how a committee chairman cornered her at a reception to discuss his sexual prowess. ….

To encourage progress, Pamela Hamamoto, who served as United States ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, began a program called Gender Champions to identify international leaders committed to advancing women, and Ms. Holgate, a former United States ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna, replicated it in the United States. …..https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/15/opinion/women-national-security.html

May 16, 2019 Posted by | USA, Women | Leave a comment

Iran officially ends some of its nuclear deal commitments, local media reports

CNBC, MAY 15 2019    Natasha Turak@NATASHATURAKA “program has been launched” to end some of Iran’s obligations to the 2015 nuclear deal on orders from the country’s Supreme National Security Council, the Iranian Students’ News Agency reported…… https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/15/iran-officially-ends-some-of-its-nuclear-deal-commitments-isna.html

May 16, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Distress in Pacific Island governments, over climate change, and Australia’s inaction on this

UN secretary-general meets Pacific leaders to discuss ‘global catastrophe’ of climate change ABC By foreign affairs reporter Stephen Dziedzic , 15 May 19

  • UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said the Pacific is on the “front line of climate change”
  • Pacific leaders have voiced frustration over Australia’s failure to curb its emissions
  • Australian politicians say rapidly cutting emissions would be “ruinous” for Australia

Regional heavyweights had gathered at an historic climate change summit convened with the UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres.

Mr Guterres is intent on building global momentum for sharper cuts to emissions, arguing that drastic action is necessary to stave off ecological disaster.

The Pacific is on the “front line of climate change”, Mr Guterres told the meeting.

“It has a unique moral authority to speak out. It’s time for the world to listen.”

Senior Australian officials at the meeting could do little else; sent in the place of Prime Minister Scott Morrison only days before the federal election, they were bound to observer status by the caretaker conventions.

As a result, Australia did not sign up to the final statement by Pacific leaders, which declared climate change a “global catastrophe” and called for “transformative action” to stop it……

while Pacific leaders have praised New Zealand’s announcement that it wants to go carbon neutral by 2050, many are frustrated that Australia has failed to curb its emissions.

One Pacific official told the ABC the meeting’s call for radical action on climate change “really was aimed at the whole globe” but “for those in the room [it] was a message for one country”.

“Of course no-one said Australia. No-one needed to say Australia,” the official said. “What other country in the room could we be referring to?”

The outspoken Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele, went much further, wading straight into Australia’s election campaign during the post-summit press conference…….

decision makers in Canberra also know that the Pacific is increasingly impatient about Australia’s long and painful debate on climate policy.

The argument will flare up again in only months when regional leaders gather for the Pacific Islands Forum on tiny Tuvalu, which has long been a vocal champion for drastic climate action.

And this time, Australia will not be sitting on the sidelines. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-16/guterres-antonio-un-pacific-meeting-climate-change/11115816

May 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, OCEANIA, politics international | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby pushing for tax-payer funds, pretending that nuclear power is “clean”

May 16, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

Chinese public’s trust in government means that nuclear power better able to go ahead in China

May 16, 2019 Posted by | China, public opinion | 2 Comments