WHAT A BIDEN WIN MEANS FOR NATIONAL SECURITY AND NUCLEAR ISSUES
Senior Policy Director Alexandra Bell writes on behalf of the Center’s affiliated political organization, Council for a Livable World, that there are four steps President-elect Joe Biden must take to reset the nuclear agenda: address the immediate crises with Russia, Iran and North Korea; build a stronger, more diverse team of experts; clearly communicate with the public and allies; and, finally, ignore the cynics who oppose diplomacy and cooperation. “There is no doubt that Biden will face a slew of arms control and nonproliferation challenges, but few presidents have been better prepared for the task,” Bell writes.
Meanwhile, Senior Fellow John Isaacs writes for the Council that there are many national security-related actions Biden can take without Congressional approval, including extending the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia, reentering the Iran nuclear deal, establishing deterrence as the sole purpose of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and canceling plans to develop needless new weapons.
TRUMP CONTINUES TO TRY TO CAUSE TROUBLE IN IRAN
The New York Times reports that on November 12, President Donald Trump asked about his options to strike Iran’s primary nuclear facility at Natanz. His few remaining advisors, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a few others, dissuaded him on the grounds that it could spark a military confrontation in the waning days of his presidency. Still, the threat of conflict will remain until January 20, as the Trump administration also works to tie President-elect Biden’s hands on Iran via new sanctions. These bad-faith efforts will heighten concerns in Tehran that any nuclear deal can survive domestic U.S. politics.
However, in his most clear statement yet, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran would fully implement its obligations under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal if Biden lifts sanctions on Tehran. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported last week that Iran continued to accumulate low-enriched uranium but at a slightly lower rate than in previous terms. There remain IAEA queries about samples taken at the atomic warehouse in Tehran, but Iran continues to cooperate with IAEA investigations. Biden has made clear that he would return to the nuclear deal if Iran began to faithfully implement its obligations again. Here’s what Iran would need to do to return to compliance.
DEFENSE SPENDING NEGOTIATIONS UNDERWAY
Negotiations on a nearly $700 billion defense spending package are underway on Capitol Hill. Here’s a look at how the Senate Appropriations Committee hopes to allocate that money and here are select comparisons between the House and Senate authorization bills. The authorization and appropriations bills are separate but work in tandem to finalize annual defense spending.
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Lessons from the Roosevelt: A Call for Improving the U.S. Navy’s Preparedness for Biological Threats, co-authored by Gregory Koblentz
Nuclear Weapons Will Soon Be Banned Under International Law, with a quote from Alexandra Bell
Trump Should Act Against Russia’s Use of Chemical Weapons, co-authored by Gregory Koblentz