Archive: Nuclear Weapons

The Iran Consensus Grows More Dangerous

As I've noted, the three candidates share a consensus, backed by the national security community, that Iran is the new strategic threat. It is radical, anti-American, anti-Israel, terrorist-supporting, nuclear-armed and provocative. But just because this is the consensus view does...

By William M. Arkin | May 7, 2008; 12:15 PM ET | Comments (35)

Syria's Nuclear Weapon: What to Do

The "news" that North Korea and Syria were cooperating in the development of nuclear weapons, a "charge" the Bush administration made yesterday, is not news to anyone who has been closely following the September incident in which Israel mysteriously attacked...

By William M. Arkin | April 25, 2008; 11:40 AM ET | Comments (80)

Obama's Missile Defenses

His position is more complicated than it seems.

By William M. Arkin | March 11, 2008; 12:55 PM ET | Comments (54)

Getting the Military Out of the Nuclear Business

The Department of Energy or even corporate contractors can handle the job.

By William M. Arkin | February 13, 2008; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (26)

The Special Relationship

The National Intelligence Estimate on Iran is shaping up to have profound effects on U.S.-Israeli relations.

By William M. Arkin | December 7, 2007; 08:12 AM ET | Comments (36)

Iran's Intentions are Still the Great Unknown

The reassurances that can be inferred from the new national intelligence estimate are being vastly overstated.

By William M. Arkin | December 5, 2007; 08:22 AM ET | Comments (63)

Iran Waits

The Iran-war scare is over for now and the World War III camp has been sharply rebuked. But everything could change in the next administration.

By William M. Arkin | December 4, 2007; 07:38 AM ET | Comments (32)

The Sun In Their Eyes Strategy

One could focus on recent Chinese snubs and provocative Russian flights as harbingers of confrontation. But making excuses for them is more productive than gunboat diplomacy.

By William M. Arkin | November 28, 2007; 08:29 AM ET | Comments (29)

Don't Let Nukes Become Musharraf's Excuse

Loose nukes in the hands of terrorists would be a catastrophe. But it's wrong to suggest that the Pakistani government crackdown was in any way justified.

By William M. Arkin | November 14, 2007; 09:05 AM ET | Comments (50)

Bush Is Stuck on Iran

The president has to stop talking about how Tehran will spark World War III.

By William M. Arkin | November 8, 2007; 08:24 AM ET | Comments (68)

The Nuclear Effect

With Musharraf's declaration of martial law, the world has woken up to the potentially disastrous results of benign neglect.

By William M. Arkin | November 7, 2007; 06:22 AM ET | Comments (20)

What's In Those Syria Satellite Shots?

We still don't know whether that facility was a target in Israel's supposed Sept. 6 air raid and whether it was a nuclear reactor.

By William M. Arkin | October 29, 2007; 08:26 AM ET | Comments (33)

What Did Israel Bomb?

Why did Israeli aircraft fly into Syria in early September? And what, if anything, did they bomb? Six weeks later, those questions remain unanswered.

By William M. Arkin | October 22, 2007; 07:43 AM ET | Comments (20)

The World Conflict Risk of the Week

A Turkish attack on Kurds in Iraq could have a dangerous domino effect.

By William M. Arkin | October 18, 2007; 07:47 AM ET | Comments (17)

Israel Attacks Syria and Everyone Wins

Two weeks ago, by many accounts, Israeli aircraft penetrated deep into Syrian airspace and bombed a target. What's surprising is the calm that's followed.

By William M. Arkin | September 19, 2007; 09:17 AM ET | Comments (33)

Bombs Not To Get Worked Up About

Russia's new "father of all bombs" and recent bomber missions over the Pacific are best seen as bids for attention.

By William M. Arkin | September 17, 2007; 07:11 AM ET | Comments (21)

A Counterterrorism Celebration

While this week's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting has gained a lot of press, another Asian confab, celebrating cooperation of a different sort, has gone under the radar.

By William M. Arkin | September 7, 2007; 06:59 AM ET | Comments (9)

Six of Our Nukes Went Missing -- But Don't Worry

A B-52 bomber's nuclear joyride raises more questions about competence than about policy.

By William M. Arkin | September 6, 2007; 07:18 AM ET | Comments (68)

The Man Who Won't Be (But Should Be) King

On foreign policy, Bill Richardson makes more sense than any of the other candidates. Too bad he doesn't have a prayer of becoming the next president.

By William M. Arkin | August 17, 2007; 08:14 AM ET | Comments (24)

Obama and Clinton Go Nuclear

Senators Clinton and Obama had another spat last week, this time over U.S. nuclear weapons policy. In her zeal to sound presidential, however, Clinton promoted the wrong option.

By William M. Arkin | August 13, 2007; 07:28 AM ET | Comments (36)

The Government's FAQ on WMD and NBC Terrorism

It has a sober subject (terrorism and nuclear weapons) and an excess of acronyms, but a new report is basically a plea for more government money.

By William M. Arkin | August 10, 2007; 07:29 AM ET | Comments (15)

Pakistan's Nukes: Worry or Excuse?

How is it that the government of nuclear-armed, military-ruled, non-democratic Pakistan has acquired a bipartisan troupe of Washington apologists?

By William M. Arkin | August 8, 2007; 07:46 AM ET | Comments (52)

Opening the Nuclear Front

The Bush administration opened a nuclear front in its various wars this week, firing a paper at Congress arguing that nuclear weapons are at a "critical juncture" and continue to be essential for U.S. national security. The statement -- all...

By William M. Arkin | July 25, 2007; 08:11 AM ET | Comments (25)

More Subs, Fewer Boots on the Ground

When I wrote about the Navy's reconfigured Trident submarines, I heard from an active-duty officer serving on one of them. And he has prompted some further thoughts on the value of the gigantic in the war against terror. My basic...

By William M. Arkin | June 26, 2007; 07:56 AM ET | Comments (34)

Playing Putin's Game

Russian President Vladimir Putin -- like President Bush, I'll call him Vladimir -- pulled a rabbit out of a hat yesterday, suggesting that the United States and Russia build a joint missile defense system in the former Soviet republic of...

By William M. Arkin | June 8, 2007; 07:37 AM ET | Comments (94)

Live by the Cold War, Die by the Cold War

Just because Russia is against something doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea. And placing missile defenses in Eastern Europe to defend ourselves against Iran, which Russia opposes, is a bad idea -- not because it offends Russia or could...

By William M. Arkin | June 5, 2007; 08:28 AM ET | Comments (61)

Preemption Shenanigans in Seoul

The South Korean government and the top U.S. military officer in South Korea, commander of the combined U.S.-South Korean Combined Forces Command (CFC), say neither country intends to strike North Korea preemptively. Seoul's Foreign Ministry released a statement calling my...

By William M. Arkin | October 31, 2006; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (24)

Ambulance Chasers of the Apocalypse

North Korea threatens to test again, speaks of war and we are to swallow a storyline of a communist government, straight out of central casting. It's "going nuclear," attacking the South or transferring nuclear weapons to terrorists, jeapordizing life as...

By William M. Arkin | October 18, 2006; 09:30 AM ET | Comments (47)

North Korea Exposes Our Paper Arsenal

Long before North Korea's nuclear test, Bush administration types were pointing fingers at the Clinton camp for "failures" of diplomacy, Democratic weaknesses around the globe and the naiveté of diplomacy: Whether the "threat" was Iraq or North Korea, the new...

By William M. Arkin | October 12, 2006; 10:09 AM ET | Comments (35)

The Truth Behind Military Inaction in North Korea

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday assured the world that the United States does not intend to attack North Korea."The United States, somehow, in a provocative way, trying to invade North Korea?" Rice scoffed. "It's just not the case."Rice sounds...

By William M. Arkin | October 11, 2006; 12:47 PM ET | Comments (68)

U.S. Fails at Countering WMD

Since September 2002, the United States has had a publicly declared policy of preemption, implemented in the National Security Strategy, that it will not allow additional countries to go nuclear.  President Bush drew a red line in May 2003, declaring...

By William M. Arkin | October 10, 2006; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (27)

The Vigilant Shield 07 Exercise Scenario

Supplement to Early Warning blog posting for October 6, 2006 (From the Vigilant Shield 07 exercise scenario, taken from U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) briefing documents dated August 2006.  The material in brackets is added by the author to explain acronyms.Irmingham = IranNemazee =...

By William M. Arkin | October 6, 2006; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (44)

Russia Supports North Korea in Nuclear War

Codename of the Week: Vigilant Shield When nuclear war breaks out in December between the United States, Russia and North Korea, American taxpayers should be furious.The war is just another U.S. military exercise.But this one is particularly childish, a massive waste...

By William M. Arkin | October 6, 2006; 10:20 AM ET | Comments (68)

Behind North Korea's Latest Nuclear Gamble

At a time when North Korea has announced its intention to conduct a nuclear test, U.S. intelligence believes the country is its weakest ever militarily, and quietly draws up contingency plans to deal with a "post Kim Jong Il" state.Military...

By William M. Arkin | October 5, 2006; 08:43 AM ET | Comments (68)

Nuclear Gloom and Doom

The ultimate threat? Terrorists with weapons of mass destruction.  If such men ever get such weapons, they will almost certainly be deployed. When President Bush highlighted this near-universal truth yesterday, some complained it was merely a Republican campaign ploy....

By William M. Arkin | September 6, 2006; 09:22 AM ET | Comments (235)

The Inhumanity of Unmanned Missiles

North Korea's launch of a long-range, ballistic missile is described one week as provocative and unacceptable, and reluctantly accepted the following week. The missile itself symbolizes only the North's unpredictability.  It could hardly be taken seriously as a "threat,"...

By William M. Arkin | July 10, 2006; 09:32 AM ET | Comments (47)

Defining WMD

Only an idiot would argue that, in 2003, Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein's government surely concealed whatever it could from U.N. inspectors, including items for which Baghdad and the U.N. had failed to account following...

By William M. Arkin | June 23, 2006; 09:08 AM ET | Comments (136)

WMD Prep in Washington

Code Name(s) of the Week: Marble Challenge, Focal Point North Korea prepares to test its missile, Iran stiff-arms the West by setting the pace of nuclear negotiations, terrorists obtain enough highly enriched uranium to build a 10-kiloton nuclear device, which...

By William M. Arkin | June 22, 2006; 09:41 AM ET | Comments (62)

A Rational North Korea

The South Korean government now is saying a North Korean missile launch is not an imminent threat.  Pyongyang, meanwhile, is hinting that all it really wants is attention -- and to enter dialogue with Washington.  The North knows it...

By William M. Arkin | June 21, 2006; 08:23 AM ET | Comments (128)

North Korea's Non-Threat

Can North Korea save the day and change the subject for the Bush administration? Amidst an Iraq withdrawal debate and an Iran nuclear crisis, amidst a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan and a grave threat to the Kabul government, amidst...

By William M. Arkin | June 20, 2006; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (94)

A New Trident II is an Illusion of Defense

Two former Secretaries of Defense argue in today's Washington Post that the United States should procure conventional warheads for Trident II submarine-launched missiles, a capability, they argue, that someday could be the only defense standing between us and terrorists...

By William M. Arkin | May 22, 2006; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (22)

Disassembling, and Talking, Nuclear Junk

Is the Bush administration accelerating the retirement of old nuclear warheads in order to pave the way for a consensus to build new ones? Today's Post reports plans by the Department of Energy to dismantle a greater number of...

By William M. Arkin | May 4, 2006; 08:15 AM ET | Comments (23)

The Nuclear Option and Iran

What does "all options" mean? President Bush yesterday refused to rule out a U.S. nuclear strike to prevent Iran from developing its own nuclear weapons, saying that "all options are on the table." It is a confusing and harmful ambiguity...

By William M. Arkin | April 19, 2006; 11:45 AM ET | Comments (48)

Wild Speculation and the Nuclear Option

After Shi'ite elements in Basra declare their independence from Baghdad, Iran decides to seek protection for their religious kinsmen. No one can quite remember how Iran went from a country that had invaded no one in more than 100 years...

By William M. Arkin | April 11, 2006; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (21)

Iran Threat Rhetoric Grows

Iran tested a new torpedo!  Iran would respond to an attack with terrorist strikes in the United States!  Nuclear diplomacy in Iran is beginning to look a lot like the United Nation's inspection work in Iraq before the 2003 war. ...

By William M. Arkin | April 5, 2006; 08:45 AM ET | Comments (39)

Weapons Test or Divine Provocation?

Code Name of the Week: Divine Strake In the tricky world of deterrence, where the United States is pressuring Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program in exchange for a promise of the rule of law and implied security,...

By William M. Arkin | April 4, 2006; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (51)

Is an Iran Strike Inevitable?

"The United States is also susceptible to harm and pain," Ali Asghar Soltanieh, the Iranian delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency read from a prepared statement today, referring to American threats against his country. "So if that is the...

By William M. Arkin | March 9, 2006; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (126)

Attacking Iran Even Without Good Targets

The Cheney-Bolton threats to Iran this week have fueled speculation in the press and on the Internet that the United States (and Israel) are planning imminent military action.  The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its...

By William M. Arkin | March 8, 2006; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (65)

WMD Terrorism is A Nightmare of Different Sort

Terrorist "capabilities" to use weapons of mass destruction are "more limited" than those of states like North Korea and Iran, but the threat of terrorist attack with WMD is "more likely" than an attack by any state, top U.S. intelligence...

By William M. Arkin | March 2, 2006; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (56)

Submarine Lovers United

Seems like there's a lot of submarine lovers out there, or at least military geeks, and I've gotten loads of comments and Emails about my USS Virginia posting.  As bubblehead said, submarines don't get a lot of mention and...

By William M. Arkin | February 3, 2006; 09:30 AM ET | Comments (42)

Jose Padilla's Dirty Secret

Former "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla's criminal indictment for conspiracy to "murder, kidnap and maim," has rightly focused attention on the Bush administration's policy of denying basic rights to "enemy combatants." Padilla was arrested in May 2002 after allegedly having spent...

By William M. Arkin | November 23, 2005; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (33)

It's the WMD, Stupid

George Bush and Judy Miller will now forever be linked in the weakest argument: On Saddam Hussein's WMD, they both want us to believe that they just couldn't have done better. Speaking at Tobyhanna Army Depot on Veteran's Day, the...

By William M. Arkin | November 14, 2005; 09:08 AM ET | Comments (189)

Bombers Need Freedom, Not Inspections

Two of three U.S. bomber wings with nuclear missions have flunked their inspections in the past three years, failing to maintain security, handle nuclear weapons properly or certify their personnel and systems to come into contact with nuclear weapons. Though...

By William M. Arkin | November 1, 2005; 08:15 AM ET | Comments (17)

Nuclear War in ... Alabama

Code Name of the Week: Global Lightning  When Alabama gets the bomb... I don't know about you, but when I was growing up, Tom Lehrer's song "Who's Next" always brought a smile to my face. Next month, Alabama gets the...

By William M. Arkin | October 21, 2005; 12:26 PM ET | Comments (15)

The Real Nuclear Option on the Hill

The Joint Chiefs of Staff has quietly halted preparation of a new nuclear weapons doctrine, pre-empting Congressional protests over the document's portrayal of potential nuclear first strikes against terrorists and adversaries like Iran or North Korea. A draft Senate letter...

By William M. Arkin | October 13, 2005; 08:50 AM ET | Comments (22)


© 2007 The Washington Post Company