Monday, April 30, 2018

What Does 'Denuclearization' Mean, Exactly?

Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images
The word du jour is “denuclearization.”
This is the stated goal of our forthcoming talks with North Korea. Just yesterday President Trump announced that the rogue regime had “agreed to denuclearization.”
But what precisely does the word mean?
The simplest answer is the insistence that North Korea turn over its stock of manufactured nuclear devices to a third party. This is certainly desirable but we do not even know how many devices the North Koreans possess.
We know that there are a minimum of six, because there have been six tests—the latest and most concerning on September 3, 2017. (I will come back to this later.) But we do not know the actual number of devices which have been built. I have seen estimates based on the availability of fissile material (such as enriched uranium or plutonium) of as many as eighteen. A single nuclear bomb could be stored almost anywhere. You would have to inspect the entire country to find them.
The only other country to have turned over nuclear devices it had produced was South Africa (which had six of them). Some of the former Soviet Republics gave up nuclear weapons that they had been storing; but they hadn’t build these devices. And despite the popular misconception, Libya’s Colonel Qaddafi never turned over nuclear weapons. He didn’t even have a serious program underway to construct them.
Read the rest from Jeremy Bernstein HERE.

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