Jeffrey Lewis

The Problem With Russia's Missiles

Why is the United States taking Moscow to task over noncompliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty?

The State Department's annual "Compliance Report" is about to drop. According to Michael Gordon at the New York Times, the State Department will accuse the Russians of cheating on the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Gordon even has the money sentence:

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The Sources of Putin's Conduct

The only way to contain Moscow is to understand that there’s still a Cold Warrior in the Kremlin.

On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell. "To fall" is an interesting choice of words. Although small portions of the wall literally came down, what really happened was that the German Democratic Republic -- East Germany -- suddenly lost the will to police what was officially called the "Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart." (Remember that monstrous lie the next time RT calls the Ukrainian government a bunch of Nazis.) Mikhail Gorbachev's Soviet Union stood by, doing nothing, while its client state collapsed in all but name.

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The Untold Story of China's Forgotten Underground Nuclear Reactor

How social media and a little sleuthing turned up a Mao-era nuclear program.

Go to a conference about China's nuclear weapons and you will hear, over and over again, that China is not very transparent when it comes to its nuclear program. That's still true at a governmental level, but it is an increasingly outdated assessment of other aspects of Chinese society, especially in the age of social media. Western analysts have more access to information on these topics than they have ever had access to before, even if much of it is in Chinese. That has led to some startling discoveries.

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If Japan Wanted to Build a Nuclear Bomb It'd Be Awesome at It

But let's all take a deep breath: Tokyo may be dumb, but it's not stupid.

So, it seems that Japan lost a little bit of plutonium. Cue the outrage! Well, not lost, exactly. The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) submits a voluntary declaration to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that documents exactly how much plutonium the nation has stockpiled. For fundamentally clerical reasons, the JAEA accidentally omitted the 640 kg plutonium contained in a load of fuel at a nuclear power plant. The material was never unsafeguarded or misplaced.

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Keep Calm and Carry Them Elsewhere

An independent Scotland would evict the United Kingdom’s nuclear force. So, then, what would Britain do with its 225 weapons?

The Scottish government has released an interim constitution in advance of the independence referendum scheduled for September. Should Scots vote for their independence, the document would govern the country until a permanent constitution was written. Deep into the draft is an unusual clause on nuclear disarmament. Section 23 to be exact -- and quite remarkable. And no, it isn't a purity law for Scotch whisky. It's about nuclear disarmament:

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