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John Ashley

Keep Your Friends Close: The Case for NATO

Recent NATO summits have been tense. Since his presidential campaign, President Trump has repeatedly hammered the other NATO members for not contributing adequately to the alliance. This streak of criticisms, spun as a means to get other NATO members to contribute more, has only served to drive a wedge between the United States and the other…

What Does North Korea Want?

The recently concluded meeting between Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un was most certainly a step toward peace on the peninsula. Along with the upcoming summit between Kim and President Trump, a peaceful, denuclearized Korean peninsula may be just around the corner. At least, that is the hope. There has been plenty of lofty and optimistic…

The United States and North Korea: A Brief History of Patience

The announced summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un surprised and shocked the world. The meeting between these two leaders will be historic as these two states have had almost no direct diplomatic contact since the end of the Korean War in 1953. As the meeting approaches, everyone is wondering what to expect. An inspection…

The INF Treaty Must Be Saved

The Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty has been in danger of collapsing in recent years. Russia has been developing a new ground-launched cruise missile that contravenes the treaty, and NATO has raised concerns over the deployment of Russian missile systems to the exclave of Kaliningrad. Russia asserts that it is responding to the deployment of…

Kissinger, Shultz, Armitage, and the Nuclear Posture Review

Amidst a busy week before the 2018 State of the Union, there was little coverage over a gathering of three “Cold Warriors” in Washington on January 25. Dr. Henry Kissinger, Dr. George Shultz, and Richard Armitage testified at the invitation of the Senate Armed Services Committee on the global challenges facing the United States today.…

Of Tweets and Pakistan

The relationship between the United States and Pakistan has been strained since the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. Many in the United States were indignant that the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks was hiding inside the borders of a supposed ally. Pakistanis were indignant that the United States conducted a SpecOps…

Hotlines and Deterrence: The Korean Missile Crisis

North Korea will soon become a de facto nuclear power. The U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins predicts that it will take only a few more tests of the Hwasong-15 ICBM to verify that the missile can deliver a warhead from North Korea to the continental United States. South Korea and Japan are strengthening their missile…

Fissile Materials Must Be Controlled

On September 14, 2017, the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC) hosted a panel with Japanese officials regarding the 47 metric tons of plutonium the Japanese government has stockpiled in the country. One of the panelists, a former US nuclear weapons designer, explained how, contrary to claims by the Japanese nuclear industry, this “civilian” plutonium (Pu-240)…

U.S. Nuclear Modernization will support Global Nonproliferation

Much of the conversation on the improvement of the United States’ nuclear capability centers on its financial cost, rather than the risks of ignoring modernization. The United States has ignored this process for too long. Ready to push the limits of their antiquated arsenals, Russia and China are modernizing while North Korea marches forward toward…

North Korea’s Nuclear Security Blanket

North Korea's nuclear weapons are a major hurdle in any attempt to denuclearize the Korean peninsula due to the perception that they create a security blanket for the Kim regime.

North Korea’s Belated Christmas Present

Kim Jong-un's “new strategic weapon” will be something that he hopes will throw the US and its allies off balance. The lack of diplomatic progress on denuclearization only benefits North Korea, and good faith talks must resume.

Striking a Balance on Korea

As the US continues to pursue the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, Washington must balance its priorities between appeals to Pyongyang and maintaining its valuable relationship with Seoul.

North Korea’s Submarines are not yet a Threat

North Korea does not yet have a meaningful submarine nuclear deterrent. However, that does not mean, though, that military planners should ignore it.

Enrichment and the End of the JCPOA

The JCPOA is dying a slow death. The US should try to save the JCPOA, while also thinking about a potential successor agreement based on the central tenets of the NPT and nuclear nonproliferation.

Nuclear Arms Control for US, Russia, and China

Rather than holding out hope for a tripartite agreement with China and Russia, the United States should first build up bilateral arms control relationships with China and Russia individually. This includes renewing New START.

Iran, Enrichment, and Arms Control

The NPT does not grant a right to enrich, as Iran claims. However, it does allow for verification-based access to nuclear power.

A Nuclear Global Zero is Not Yet Possible

Verified reduction and rigorous export controls are the only ways to concurrently keep nuclear weapons from proliferating, while reducing the global number of states with warheads and weapons down to a more manageable level.

Beyond the Iran Deal

The recent escalation in tensions between the United States in Iran has jeopardized the already imperiled JCPOA. It is imperative that the JCPOA continues, as it would prove to skeptical states that arms control agreements could be successful.

Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons and Deterrence

The US should deploy nonstrategic nuclear weapons to close a perceived deterrence gap and work toward arms control agreements to prevent the kind of miscalculation that could lead to global thermonuclear war.