Thursday Headlines

Time To Rethink Basing Nukes In South Korea?
As North Korea exhibits more aggressive actions and continues the development of its nuclear weapons program, some in South Korea have called for a reexamination of the nation’s nuclear stance, including restoring nuclear arms to Seoul. The US, however, said this week it is willing to deploy strategic assets to the region, but asserted it was not necessary to return nuclear weapons to South Korea.

President George H.W. Bush decided in 1991 to remove weapons from the South Korea.

Van Jackson of the Center for a New American Security asserts the US does not need them in Asia because of its conventional military superiority over every other nation. In addition, he argues that one of the reasons for not deploying nuclear weapons to South Korea “will generate needless friction and increase the stakes of lower salience disputes.”

Rather than having a deterrent effect, it would escalate disputes and allow China and North Korea to characterize the United States as the aggressor.

“North Korea routinely makes nuclear threats, but as my forthcoming book discusses, it never does anything to suggest they’re serious about acting on them.  If the United States brings tactical nuclear weapons back to Asia, it will rationalize others doing so as well, locking in an elevated state of competition.  And the United States risks being seen by the region—not just China—as the aggravating party,” he adds.

Jordan’s King Says Islam Is Fighting A Civil War
Although Jordan’s King Abdullah II did not go to the White House to meet with President Barack Obama, he sat down with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer for an interview.

Asked whether he disagreed with Obama that the fight against ISIS is not akin to World War Three, King Abdullah asserted that the international community is standing alongside moderates in the civil war inside of Islam.

“This is a global struggle that brings, as I have said many times, Muslims, Christians, Jews, other religions, fighting alongside us as we fight our civil war inside of Islam,” he told CNN.

He noted that ISIS is not the only “outlaw of Islam,” a point made tragically clear as Boko Haram militants killed as many as 12 in a suicide attack on a mosque in Cameroon.

Obama and King Abdullah met briefly as both were departing Washington, but have agreed to meet some time next month, according to the Jordan Times. He also met with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California).

Putin Steering Russia Toward Collapse
It is evident that the Russian economy is not in good health, but Carnegie Moscow Center’s Dmitri Trenin contends that if Vladimir Putin does not dramatically alter course, Russia “could share the fate of the Romanov regime in World War I.”

“Russia needs to unambiguously prioritize domestic development—not just for the sake of having an international role, but to give itself any kind of future. Russia’s current political and economic order, if it persists, will sooner or later doom it to a tragic failure as a state,” he argues.

He adds that current US-Russian relations hold “parallels with the way World War I brought about the collapse of old imperial Russia—except that this time the challenge to the Russian regime is more economic than political.”


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