APLN Newsletter (31 August 2020)
APLN Newsletter

APLN Newsletter (31 August 2020)

APLN’s Activities

The APLN’s Corner on the Korea Times

On August 26, 2020, Steven Andreasen’s column, “U.S. Nuclear Policy and Posture: Bending Toward Asia” was featured on the APLN’s Corner of the Korea Times. Andreasen discusses the nuclear dynamics between the U.S. and Asia with China and North Korea as nuclear adversaries. With China’s growing military and nuclear modernization programs, Andreasen suggest different ways to build confidence to mitigate American nuclear competition with Asia. The author recommends the extension of the U.S.-Russia New START Treaty, clear commitments to the CTBT, a bilateral “No First Use” policy between the U.S. and China, American commitment too not deploy intermediate-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific region, and a transparent data exchange on strategic forces. learn more

The APLN Policy Brief No. 65: “What the Bolton Memoir Tells Us about the Future of North Korean Nuclear Negotiations” by Van Jackson

On August 19, 2020, the APLN published Van Jackson’s policy brief on “What the Bolton Memoir Tells Us about the Future of North Korean Nuclear Negotiations.” Jackson uses Ambassador John Bolton’s recent memoir, The Room Where It Happened, to examine American policies formed by those with cynical and selective views of North Korea. In doing so, Jackson clarifies some “Boltonist” misconceptions made about North Korea, concessions, and alliances. learn more

The APLN Policy Brief No. 66: “Managing the post-INF Treaty Arms Competition in the Asia-Pacific Region: A Japanese Perspective” by Nobuyasu Abe

On August 24, 2020, the APLN published Nobuyasu Abe’s policy brief on “Managing the post-INF Treaty Arms Competiton in the Asia-Pacific Region: A Japanese Perspective.” Abe discusses China’s increasing military capacities and how that impacts Japan. Abe elaborates on the INF treaty, the public’s general opposition to American deployment of missile defense, and considerations of alternative methods made by the government. learn more

The APLN Policy Brief No. 67: “Assessing the 50th Anniversary of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty” by John Carlson

On August 27, 2020, the APLN published John Carlson’s “Assessing the 50th Anniversary of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.” Carlson analyzes the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and addresses growing concerns due to the lack of progress on nuclear disarmament. Despite the NPT obligation, there have been neither multilateral negotiations on nuclear arms reduction nor discussions to achieve nuclear disarmament. Calrson makes suggestions at the end of the policy brief, recommending the extension of the New START, a multilateral negotiation process, and more. learn more

The APLN-Korea Times Essay Contest

The APLN is continuing to accept submissions for its Essay Contest with the Korea Times on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament issues in the Asia-Pacific region. Looking to engage with youth and foster fresh perspectives, this essay contest is for both undergraduate and graduate students from all over the world until Friday, September 18, 2020. Please find more information regarding the contest on our website. learn more

Recent Activities and Updates

Email us about your recent activities! The APLN Secretariat asks members and colleagues to send us your recent activities, references, or changes in post from your respective countries to share with all those involved. Please send us any updates or resources to our email address at apln@apln.network.


Members’ Activities

Tong Zhao: “At a Crossroads? China-India Nuclear Relations After the Border Clash”

On August 19, 2020, “At a Crossroads? China-India Nuclear Relations After the Border Clash” written by Tong Zhao and Toby Dalton was published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Amidst continued tensions between China and India, the two authors question why nuclear weapons have not played a more important role. Zhao and Dalton fill the gap in Chinese thinking about China and India’s nuclear relations with available Chinese scholarship and discussions with Chinese experts. Interesting findings are presented about the discrepancy on Chinese and Indian thoughts of one another regarding nuclear capabilities. The risk of nuclear escalations in conflicts with India are undermined. China’s conflicts with India arise as competition intensifies between the U.S. and China. Zhao and Dalton state that Beijing is aware of how New Delhi’s defense technology cooperation with Washington, D.C. might bring changes to the geopolitical landscape in the Indo-Pacific region. learn more

Manpreet Sethi: “Never Again: 75 Years After Hiroshima and Nagasaki”

On August 24, 2020, Manpreet Sethi’s “Never Again: 75 Years After Hiroshima and Nagasaki” was published by the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. Sethi elaborates on two important nuclear risks: proliferation and use. She states that there are growing debates about acquiring nuclear weapons in response to DPRK’s nuclear program and difficult relations with China. In addition, uses of nuclear weapons can vary. They can be pre-meditated or deliberate, accidental, or inadvertently escalated as a result of miscalculation or misperception. Political, technological, and doctrinal factors play significant roles in exacerbating nuclear risk, placing greater need to address the risks. Sethi states that bringing nuclear risks into the public imagination through creative media could transform indifference. learn more

APLN’s Selections

Hypersonic Technology: An Evolution in Nuclear Weapons?
Written by: Nathan B. Terry and Page Price Cone

In the summer 2020 edition of the the Strategic Studies Quarterly, Air Force physicist Lt. Col. Nathan B. Terry and Air War College assistant professor Paige Price Cone published an article, titled “Hypersonic Technology: An Evolution in Nuclear Weapons?” The article analyzes the future of nuclear armed hypersonic weapons (NAHWs) and their impact on deterrence thinking. By benchmarking the progress of hypersonic technology to existing nuclear systems including intercontinential ballistic missiles (ICBMs), cruise missiles, and missile defense systems, Terry and Cone demonstrate the evolutionary nature of NAHWs. Drawing from this historical and technical investigation, the paper reflects on the U.S. deterrence policy implications of NAHWs, such as their restricted ability to prevent nuclear retaliation by Russia or China as well as the limited mitigation of reprisal risks for tactical nuclear strikes. The marginal advantages in speed, range, and advocacy lead the authors to posit that there is very little advantage to upgrading the existing U.S. nuclear arsenal to include hypersonic delivery systems. pay wall

“Cyber-Weapons in Nuclear Counter-Proliferation”
Written by: Doreen Horschig

On July 20, 2020, Doreen Horschig released an article in the Defense and Strategic Analysis journal on “Cyber-Weapons in Nuclear Counter-Proliferation.” This paper offers valuable insight for national security decision-makers when debating the role cyber-operations shoudl play in nculear counter-prolfieration. Horschig thoroughly analyzes the effectiveness of cyber-attacks through a comaprative case study of Stuxnet, Operation Orchard, and the more recent “Left-of-Launch” operations employed by the U.S. in intercepting missile launches from North Korea. Based on these three cases, Horschig argues that cyber-weapons have a limited effect on obstructing nuclear programs that are in the alter stages of their development; they can only temporarily prevent, not halt nuclear prolfieration all together. pay wall

“The North Korea Problem: Perspectives on Nuclear Debate, Economic Reforms and Beyond”
Written by: Jihyun Kim

On August 5, 2020, Jihyun Kim published a review article in the Journal of Contemporary Asia, titled “The North Korea Problem: Perspectives on Nuclear Debate, Economic Reforms and Beyond.” The article examines three volumes that were released at a critical juncture in the decades-long nuclear debate: Glyn Ford’s Talking to North Korea: Ending the Nuclear Standoff (2018), Van Jackson’s On the Brink: Trump, Kim, and the Threat of Nuclear War (2018), and William Overholt’s collection North Korea: Peace? Nuclear War? (2019). In spite of the authors’ varying analytical appraoches and recommendations, Kim notes that these three works converge in their messaging by tackling the North Korea problem “without resorting to either senseless demonization or premature optimism.” Apart from articulating the need to seriously adress the grave risk of nuclear war, she highlights Pyongyang’s security-development paradox with a particular focus on Kim Jong-un’s promotion of Byungjin and the strategic utility of sanctions. Ultimately, Kim concludes that clear and consistent multilateral dialogue is imperative to overcome the deeply-rooted mutual distrust between North Korea and outside powers, moving away from acute tensions and closer to a path towards peace. pay wall

Book Review Roundtable: Tempting Fate
Contributed by: Rupal N. Mehta, Ariel F.W. Petrovics, Alexander Lanoszka, Reid Pauly

On August 17, 2020, Ariel F.W. Petrovics, Alexander Lanoszka, Reid Pauly, chaired by Rupal N. Mehta, engaged in a roundtable discussion on Paul Avey’s literature: Tempting Fate. It was published in the Texas National Security Review. Avey’s Tempting Fate overturns the conventional wisdom that nuclear arms always give a state the upper hand. He asserts that a non-nuclear state can enter into conflict with a nuclear state if it controls the escalation to remain under the nuclear threshold, the point at which a nuclear state may resort to a nuclear attack. While the scholars comment on the uniqueness of Avey’s case studies, they praise the novelty of the overall argument as they explore the implications of his theory and provide further points of research, such as a counter-effect of a nuclear monopoly. learn more