Armas nucleares

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The globe’s nuclear safety net is fraying badly. Dangers of nuclear confrontations are growing not only in Europe, with decisions by the presidents of both nuclear superpowers, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, to withdraw from a treaty banning intermediate-range missiles; they are suddenly rising, too, in Asia, where India and Pakistan — both nuclear powers — have carried out conventional airstrikes across the Kashmir divide. Elsewhere in Asia, negotiations between Mr. Trump and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, to begin a denuclearization process have abruptly ended.

The thickest, weight-bearing strands of this safety net are treaties that have been cast aside without being replaced.…  Seguir leyendo » “The New Age of Nuclear Confrontation Will Not End Well”

En el año 1971, un amplio abanico de mandatarios mundiales se congregaron en la ciudad iraní de Persépolis, la antigua capital del Imperio persa. Entre ellos, se encontraban personalidades tan destacadas y variopintas como Josip Broz Tito de Yugoslavia, Raniero y Grace Kelly de Mónaco, el vicepresidente estadounidense Spiro Agnew y el presidente de la Unión Soviética Nikolái Podgorni. La ocasión era una suntuosa fiesta convocada por el sah de Irán, Reza Pahleví, con motivo de los 2500 años de la fundación del Estado imperial de Irán.

Según el parecer del ayatolá Ruhollah Jomeini, que ocho años después se convertiría en el líder supremo iraní, lo que tuvo lugar en Persépolis fue nada menos que “el festival del diablo”.…  Seguir leyendo » “Cuarenta años de hostilidad”

A second U.S.-North Korea summit

There are reasons for concern about a second U.S.-North Korea summit. If there is no tangible movement on denuclearization, public support for dialogue with North Korea will erode quickly, with the potential for a return to a policy of “maximum pressure.” If this were to happen, it would be a major diplomatic failure with far reaching consequences.

In 2017, when North Korea had 18 ballistic missile launches, to include two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) launches capable of reaching the United States, and a test of a thermonuclear warhead, the prospect of military conflict with North Korea was real.

Fortunately, Kim Jong-un quickly pivoted, in his January 2018 New Year’s address, to an appeal for better relations with South Korea and the United States, stating that a nuclear North Korea could now focus exclusively on economic development.…  Seguir leyendo » “A second U.S.-North Korea summit”

La existencia del arma atómica ha venido condicionando las relaciones internacionales desde que en 1945 los Estados Unidos hicieron explotar sus primeras muestras sobre Hiroshima y Nagasaki. Con la generalización de su propiedad, cualquier confrontación bélica generalizada posterior podría conducir a la eliminación de la humanidad, idea contenida en la noción de la «destrucción mutua asegurada», que bajo las siglas inglesas correspondientes -«mutual assured destruction»- reflejaba la literalidad de la expresión y su significado alternativo: MAD, loco, locura.

Pero al mismo tiempo, la brutal constatación tuvo un beneficioso efecto durante la Guerra Fría: las dos grandes potencias mundiales, la URSS y los Estados Unidos, se vieron forzados a practicar el arte de la contención.…  Seguir leyendo » “(Des)control nuclear”

Uno de los pilares del control de las armas nucleares pasó a ser historia el 2 de febrero, cuando expiró el plazo de 60 días que Estados Unidos le había dado a Rusia para salvar el Tratado de Fuerzas Nucleares de Alcance Intermedio (INF por su sigla en inglés) de 1987. Rusia alegremente dejó pasar el plazo. Pero también lo hizo la Unión Europea, a instancias de Alemania. Europa hoy está entrando en un período potencialmente peligroso y debe jugar un rol mucho más activo en el debate sobre las armas nucleares.

El Tratado INF prohíbe el despliegue de misiles nucleares de alcance intermedio en Europa.…  Seguir leyendo » “Europa y la nueva carrera de armas nucleares”

Enforcing nuclear nonproliferation in North Korea and Iran

During the 74-year nuclear era, the world has struggled ceaselessly to find a way to keep nuclear weapons under control. This now appears to be within reach — if America has the vision to seize it.

Nukes are not the ultimate evil, as some would have us believe. They’re tools, like others man has created, from dynamite to poisonous medications, which can be used for good or bad.

Consider the history of nuclear weapons. First the good side:

In WWII nukes saved a million U.S. servicemen’s lives, and 10 million Japanese lives, by preventing the invasion of Japan.

The landmark Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1970 has been immensely effective in controlling proliferation of nukes.…  Seguir leyendo » “Enforcing nuclear nonproliferation in North Korea and Iran”

By pulling the U.S. out of the nuclear agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA) between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (the P5+1), the Trump administration has brought the U.S. relationship with Iran back to an earlier, more confrontational, era. The two states have been locked in an adversarial logic ever since the 1979 Islamic revolution (though popular grievances that fuelled the Shah’s removal date back to 1953, when the CIA helped depose Iran’s popular prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh). The fall of the U.S.-backed guardian in the Gulf, followed by the embassy hostage crisis, launched almost four decades of unremitting enmity, which only the JCPOA began to thaw.…  Seguir leyendo » “The Iran Nuclear Deal and the U.S.-Iran Standoff”

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei looks through binoculars during the test firing of short- and medium-range missiles, on 18 September 2004. AFP PHOTO/Str

The re-imposition of U.S. sanctions against Iran’s banking and energy sectors on 5 November is a key element of Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May presaged a more ambitious strategic objective: to substantially recast not only Tehran’s nuclear activities, but its domestic and regional policies as well. The result arguably is one of the most audacious U.S. policy plays toward Iran since the 1979 revolution, playing out across a fractured and fragile region.

President Trump’s hostility to the JCPOA was evident on the campaign trail, and his administration adopted a hard stance against Iran from its early days: National Security Adviser Michael Flynn put Iran “on notice” in February 2017, and Trump himself castigated Iran during his May 2017 visit to Saudi Arabia.…  Seguir leyendo » “Regional Risks of Rising U.S.-Iran Rivalry”

Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan shake hands after signing the INF Treaty in 1987. Photo: Getty Images.

Although the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is a bilateral agreement between the US and Russia, the recent threat from the US to withdraw from the long-standing, highly successful agreement is not an issue that should be decided only between the two countries.

We are all affected by the US–Russia relationship in its highs and its lows. Their security dialogue is a global security discussion. US nuclear weapons systems are part of NATO’s weapons systems and nuclear arms control agreements between the two states affect everyone in the world. Most significantly, any use of nuclear weapons that resulted from a conflict between them would have disastrous impacts for the whole planet.…  Seguir leyendo » “Pulling Out of the INF Treaty Is a Mistake That Will Affect Us All”

Illustration by Delcan & Company; Photograph by Dennis Cook, via Associated Press

Over 30 years ago, President Ronald Reagan and I signed in Washington the United States-Soviet Treaty on the elimination of intermediate- and shorter-range missiles. For the first time in history, two classes of nuclear weapons were to be eliminated and destroyed.

This was a first step. It was followed in 1991 by the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which the Soviet Union signed with President George H.W. Bush, our agreement on radical cuts in tactical nuclear arms, and the New Start Treaty, signed by the presidents of Russia and the United States in 2010.

There are still too many nuclear weapons in the world, but the American and Russian arsenals are now a fraction of what they were during the Cold War.…  Seguir leyendo » “Mikhail Gorbachev: A New Nuclear Arms Race Has Begun”

Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan signing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty at the White House in 1987.CreditCreditUniversal History Archive/UIG, via Getty Images

Nuclear weapons are a threat to the world. Any large-scale nuclear exchange would have globally catastrophic consequences. Conscious of this reality, President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the leader of the Soviet Union, worked in the 1980s to reduce the number of nuclear weapons, with the ultimate goal of getting rid of them.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, signed in 1987, was a major step toward this goal, eliminating a large class of nuclear weapons that were viewed as particularly destabilizing. The treaty is still in force, although both the Obama and Trump administrations have said that Russia is in violation.…  Seguir leyendo » “George Shultz: We Must Preserve This Nuclear Treaty”

Major Gen. Kim Do-gyun of South Korea, center, shaking hands with a North Korean officer as he crossed the military demarcation line in June.CreditCreditSouth Korean Defense Ministry, via Getty Images

South Korea and North Korea recently announced plans for a third summit meeting between their two leaders, to take place in Pyongyang in September. From family reunions to fielding a joint sports team in the upcoming Asian Games, the two Koreas are moving forward with steps to further détente on the peninsula.

By contrast, the United States has done very little in the two months since the Singapore summit between President Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, to advance the relationship.

The United States appears to be waiting for the North to take the next step. But the Trump administration is ignoring the reality that to reach a final deal on the eventual denuclearization of North Korea, the United States must give something substantial in return.…  Seguir leyendo » “Why Should North Korea Give Up Its Nuclear Weapons?”

Igual que en el ajedrez, hay jugadas geopolíticas con las que un país puede encerrarse a sí mismo sin darse cuenta. Iniciar un debate sobre el desarrollo alemán de armas nucleares es una de esas jugadas. Pero es exactamente lo que algunos alemanes propusieron hace poco. Los partidarios de nuclearizar a Alemania sostienen que la protección nuclear de la OTAN perdió toda credibilidad con las declaraciones del presidente estadounidense Donald Trump.

Hay al menos tres buenas razones por las que considerar la opción nuclear es una idea temeraria. Para empezar, Alemania renunció a ello en reiteradas ocasiones, primero en 1969 al firmar (y luego ratificar) el Tratado de No Proliferación de Armas Nucleares (TNP), y después en 1990 al firmar el Tratado “Dos más cuatro”, que sentó las bases de la reunificación alemana.…  Seguir leyendo » “El peligroso coqueteo de Alemania con las armas nucleares”

El ginkgo echa hojas en otoño. Varios de estos árboles sobrevivieron la bomba atómica de 1945 gracias a sus raíces. Credit MiaZeus/Getty Images

El 6 de agosto de 1945 Akihiro Takahashi, un estudiante de 14 años, se encontraba en el patio de su colegio en Hiroshima cuando, de repente, se vio envuelto por una luz cegadora y un ruido infernal que lo dejaron inconsciente. Al recobrar los sentidos, se dio cuenta de que había sido arrojado contra un muro a varios metros de distancia: fue por la fuerza de la bomba atómica lanzada contra su ciudad. Sobrevivió solamente gracias a que su escuela estaba a casi dos kilómetros del epicentro.

Aturdido, y cubierto de quemaduras, Akihiro se dirigió al río en busca de agua fría para calmar sus heridas.…  Seguir leyendo » “El árbol que aún florece en Hiroshima”

Trump, el antiestadounidense

El encuentro entre Donald Trump y Kim Jong-un pasará a la historia como una de las páginas más siniestras del Imperio Americano. Singapur 2018, Múnich 1938: ¿cómo no comparar estas dos infamias? En Múnich, el Gobierno británico y el francés entregaron los Sudetes checos a Adolf Hitler con la esperanza, debido a su cobardía y a su incomprensión del adversario, de comprar la paz. Winston Churchill declaró entonces: «Entre la guerra y el deshonor, habéis elegido el deshonor, y tendréis la guerra». De la misma manera, Trump, aunque no lo sabe, ha sacrificado en Singapur el honor de EE.UU. y la vida del pueblo norcoreano, esclavizado por uno de los regímenes más demenciales del mundo.…  Seguir leyendo » “Trump, el antiestadounidense”

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, arriving in Singapore for a summit meeting with President Trump.CreditSingapore's Ministry of Communications and Information, via Reuters

North Korea has arrived as a nuclear power, and there is no going back. Once the reality-show theatrics of the Singapore summit meeting subside, we are left with the reality that North Korea was just recognized as a de facto nuclear weapons power.

President Trump went to the meeting with Kim Jong-un of North Korea to try to take the keys to Mr. Kim’s nuclear kingdom. Whatever the terms of the statement released at the end of the meeting, Mr. Kim has not committed to anything concrete. He is not surrendering North Korea’s nuclear weapons and has walked away the big winner.…  Seguir leyendo » “North Korea Is a Nuclear Power. Get Used to It.”

The document signed by Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un after their meeting in Singapore. Photo: Getty Images.

If success is to be defined in terms of starting a high-level negotiation process, then the summit meeting of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un was a success. But if success is defined in terms of content, then the summit has failed because it did not deliver any substance that went beyond what has been agreed previously.

President Trump did mention that North Korea will destroy a missile engine test site as a practical step – and they have already destroyed the warhead test site. But this is not necessarily an indication of long-term policy change. Neither leader made a public commitment that North Korea will halt its nuclear weapons programme – a promising indicator would have been Kim Jong-un agreeing to provide an inventory of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.…  Seguir leyendo » “US–North Korea Summit Statement Lacks Definition”

Un camino verificable al desarme nuclear

Mientras los funcionarios de Estados Unidos y Corea del Norte se preparan para la reunión cumbre del 12 de junio entre Donald Trump y Kim Jong-un, los expertos nucleares enfrentan una importante pregunta: si Kim se compromete a desmantelar su arsenal nuclear, ¿cómo puede el mundo comprobar que cumple sus promesas?

No hay dudas de que Corea del Norte plantea un desafío único al régimen de no proliferación nuclear; el contexto político para la promoción global del desarme es muy diferente. Sin embargo, los aspectos técnicos de verificar el desguace de una ojiva nuclear son los mismos en todas partes. Aunque todavía falta mucho para un consenso sobre cómo reducir los arsenales mundiales de armas nucleares, no es demasiado pronto para empezar a prepararnos para el día en el que haya que ocuparse de un desarme (en Corea del Norte u otros países).…  Seguir leyendo » “Un camino verificable al desarme nuclear”

Con el anuncio del presidente Donald Trump de que Estados Unidos volverá a imponer sanciones a Irán, la breve y extraña vida del acuerdo de 2015 sobre el programa nuclear iraní, conocido formalmente como Plan de Acción Integral Conjunto (PAIC), ha entrado en una nueva y peligrosa fase.

Trump cree que al retirarse del PAIC puede presionar a Irán para que acepte un nuevo pacto más amplio, que además del programa nuclear incluya los ensayos de misiles balísticos, la actitud provocativa de Irán en la región y las violaciones de derechos humanos. Esta visión fue confirmada por el secretario de Estado estadounidense, Mike Pompeo, una semana después de que Trump anunciara su retirada del plan.…  Seguir leyendo » “Los costes de la política de Trump hacia Irán”

Irán ha reafirmado de forma rápida y clara su voluntad de mantener el acuerdo nuclear que entró en vigor en enero de 2016. Pese a lo sucedido estos últimos días, no es una gran sorpresa. Teherán es el más interesado -y necesitado- en su continuidad. La retirada de EEUU supone un duro golpe a un acuerdo marcado ahora por el pesimismo y la incertidumbre sobre su vigencia. Para Irán, EEUU no es un socio comercial destacado y no representa una oportunidad de negocio a corto plazo, pero su presencia en el acuerdo era clave para crear un marco favorable para la reinserción internacional de Teherán.…  Seguir leyendo » “El compromiso nuclear iraní necesita a la UE”