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TOPIC: nuclear weapons

In The News

Iran Executes Protester, Peru President Ousted, Most Googled Word

👋 སྐུ་གཟུགས་བཟང་པོ།*

Welcome to Thursday, where Peru gets its first female president after Pedro Castillo is impeached and arrested, the trial of Germany's biggest fraud case opens and we know Google’s most-searched item of the year. Meanwhile, Persian-language media Kayhan-London looks at the prosecutions of demonstrators in Iran, just as the government announces the first publicly known execution related to the ongoing protests.

[*Kuzu zangpo la, Dzongkha - Bhutan]

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North Korea And Nukes: Why The World Is Obliged To Try To Negotiate

How to handle a nuclear armed pariah state is not a simple question.

The recent claim by Kim Jong Un that North Korea plans to develop the world’s most powerful nuclear force may well have been more bravado than credible threat. But that doesn’t mean it can be ignored.

The best guess is that North Korea now has sufficient fissile material to build 45 to 55 nuclear weapons, three decades after beginning its program. The warheads would mostly have yields of around 10 to 20 kilotons, similar to the 15 kiloton bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

But North Korea has the capacity to make devices ten times bigger. Its missile delivery systems are also advancing in leaps and bounds. The technological advance is matched in rhetoric and increasingly reckless acts, including test-firing missiles over Japan in violation of all international norms, provoking terror and risking accidental war.

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South Korea To South America, Putin’s Threats May Push New Countries To Go Nuclear

Beyond the already existing nuclear powers, at least eight countries could be poised to discard non-proliferation status quo and arm themselves with nuclear arsenals.

KYIV — Vladimir Putin's nuclear threats fundamentally undermine the basic principles of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction developed in the post-War period. Indeed, signs show that several nations have recently been intensifying activities around acquiring a nuclear arsenal for national security.

As a non-nuclear power invaded by nuclear-armed Russia, Ukraine stands as an example to other countries around the world of the vulnerability inherent in not having an atomic arsenal.

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But if Russia actually uses nuclear weapons, the risk of new countries seeking these weapons of mass destruction for the first time may quickly accelerate.

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The Escalation Trap: How Putin Is Painting Himself Into A Nuclear Corner

The missile attacks this week on Ukrainian cities will not scare Kyiv into submission. It’s the latest and gravest sign that Vladimir Putin may be bound to face an even grimmer tactical choice: the nuclear option.

-Analysis-

For the third day in a row, Kyiv is being shelled, missiles are whizzing in from the Caspian Sea, kamikaze drones are crashing in from the occupied territories. Zaporizhzhya, home to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, is under fire for the third day in a row. Kharkiv has been under constant shelling for seven months.

To say that the Russian army escalated in response to the explosions on the Crimean bridge is not quite right. Since Feb. 24, the shelling has never stopped. Indeed, British and Ukrainian sources cite intelligence that this latest new flurry of attacks on Ukrainian cities has been planned even before the attack on the bridge.

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Ukraine is bleeding but not panicking: this is not our first day of the war. Not the first house destroyed, not the first hospital bombed. And no, not the first child killed either.

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Geopolitics
Hamed Mohammadi

The West Must Face Reality: Iran's Nuclear Program Can't Be Stopped

The West is insisting on reviving a nuclear pact with Iran. However, this will only postpone the inevitable moment when the regime declares it has a nuclear bomb. The only solution is regime change.

-OpEd-

Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear inspectorate, declared on Sept. 7 that Iran already had more than enough uranium for an atomic bomb. He said the IAEA could no longer confirm that the Islamic Republic has a strictly peaceful nuclear program as it has always claimed because the agency could not properly inspect sites inside Iran.

The Islamic Republic may have shown flexibility in some of its demands in the talks to renew the 2015 nuclear pact with world powers, a preliminary framework reached between Iran and the P5+1 (the U.S., the U.K., China, Russia, France and Germany). For example, it no longer insists that the West delist its Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization. But it has kept its crucial promise that unless Western powers lift all economic sanctions, the regime will boost its uranium reserves and their level of enrichment, as well as restrict the IAEA's access to installations.

Talks to renew the 2015 pact have been going on for 16 months. European diplomacy has resolved most differences between the sides, but some crucial sticking points remain.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Cameron Manley

After Major Setback In Ukraine, 7 Options For What Putin Could Do Next

Negotiate? Stall? Double down? The Russian leader suddenly finds himself in front of a situation that offers no obvious good choices. Doing nothing, however, is not an option.

In just one week, the war in Ukraine has made a full about-turn. Ukraine’s armed forces went from an apparent slow ceding of land to launching two hugely successful counter offensives around Kharkiv in the nation’s east, and in the south near the Russian-occupied city of Kherson.

As of Friday, Kyiv claims to have recaptured some 8,000 square kilometers of its territory, taking back in a matter of days what it took Russia months to originally conquer.

By now, there is no doubt that Russia is in serious trouble. President Vladimir Putin’s tentative encounter this week with Chinese President Xi Jinping, his most important potential international ally, only confirms that his options for reversing the recent battlefield defeats may be rapidly shrinking.

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Geopolitics
Luis Rubio

Is Mexico's President Pushing For "Mexit" From Trade Pact?

In irking Mexico's chief trading partners with decisions affecting energy firms, the country's leftist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is tinkering with the free-trade pact that is the very engine and ballast of Mexico's vast, and vulnerable, economy.

-OpEd-

MEXICO CITY — The key to having a nuclear bomb is to never use it. Its fundamental value is in its deterrence of other powers wielding the bomb. The same applies to negotiations between governments in areas like investments or trade. Clearly the risk is inferior, as the country will not face physical destruction, which may be why Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) sees no risk at all in raising the stakes in his spat over energy with the United States and Canada — the country's paramount free-trade partners.

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Geopolitics
Juan Gabriel Tokatilan

Russia Is Triggering A Domino Effect Of Worldwide Conflict

Russia's attack on Ukraine has exacerbated tensions not only in its neighborhood, but around the planet, making the world's hotspots even hotter.

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES - Tensions seemed to be easing at the start of 2022. Even though we didn't know how much damage the pandemic had done, we at least knew that we had gotten through the most disruptive phase of COVID.

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In The News
Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, Joel Silvestri and Anne-Sophie Goninet

The Battle For Severodonetsk, Iran Raises Nuclear Eyebrows, Paula Rego Dies

👋 Aniin!*

Welcome to Thursday, where heavy fighting and shelling rock eastern Ukraine, Germany calls out Iran for its nuclear ambitions, and the art world mourns the passing of “visceral” painter Paula Rego. Meanwhile, our This Happened video format explores one of the most iconic photographs of the Vietnam War, which just turned 50.

[*Ojibwe - Canada]

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Geopolitics
Yves Bourdillon

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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Geopolitics
Peter Huth

How Millennials And Boomers See Putin's Nuclear Threats Differently

Baby boomers who grew up under the threat of nuclear armageddon warn against a nuclear escalation of the war in Ukraine. But the younger generations are not cowed by Putin's blackmail. And that’s a very good thing.

-Analysis-

BERLIN — It is a sentence that no German Chancellor had ever had to utter before. “I am doing everything I can to prevent an escalation that would lead to World War III. There must not be a nuclear war,” said Olaf Scholz.

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In The News
Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Russia & Finland, North Korea’s First Lockdown, Aramco v. Apple

👋 ሰላም*

Welcome to Thursday, where Finland moves toward NATO membership, North Korea reports its first COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown and Barbie gets hearing aids. Meanwhile, Spanish independent magazine La Marea meets with Turkish Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk to discuss his latest book, the pandemic and freedom of expression in Turkey.

[*Selam, Amharic - Ethiopia]

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