Arms Control Wonk

The nuclear weapons, arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation podcast. Companion to the popular Arms Control Wonk blog ( Hosted by Jeffrey Lewis & Aaron Stein.



      South Korea's Missile Arsenal Expands

      The US and South Korea agreed to revise the missile guidelines that have limited South Korea’s missile programs since the 1970s.

      Aaron and Jeffrey discuss the origin of those limits, their evolution, and the impact of missile proliferation on the Korean Peninsula.


      Links of Note:

      Arms Control Wonk article about South Korea's Anheung Proving Grounds, where the missile tests occur.

      Our last podcast on the Hyunmoo-2C, South Korea's latest publicly di...



      Missiles over the Middle East

      Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, recently stated that Iran has no need to extend the range of its missiles beyond 2,000 km. With debates about Iran's missile program affecting the debate about the Iran nuclear deal, Aaron and Jeffrey take a survey of regional missile proliferation from Egypt to Iran.

      Special bonus, Jeffrey tries not to giggle uncontrollably every time Aaron mentions the Hague Code of Conduct, aka the H-COC.




      KCN-eh? October's Other North Korean Developments

      A Canadian reviews the month's North Korea news with a special guest. For October, Andrea talks to Adam Cathcart -- a lecturer at Leeds University and editor of the website Sino-NK. 

      They dig into the events of the 19th Party Congress in China, talk about the dodgy stuff the Egyptians have been buying from Pyongyang, and try to figure out what's in the water (or maple syrup) up North. 

      Links of Note:

      Adam Cathcart's China Brief article on Chinese PLA troop movements n...



      Our Source was the New York Times

      The New York Times has a splashy interactive editorial, "Trump’s Nuclear Arsenal." It's good, but gets a few things wrong -- things that matter like Mutual Assured Destruction, Robert McNamara's famous thought experiment on sizing US nuclear forces, and how the US targets nuclear weapons. Also, they misuse decimate.   Aaron and Jeffrey talk through the problems with US nuclear policy and Jeffrey's proposal to state that the US will not use nuclear weapon against a target if a conventional one...



      97% Invincible

      President Trump said each of the missile defense interceptors at the Ground-based Midcourse Defense site in Alaska has a 97% chance of shooting down a North Korean missile and that two would have a 100% chance.

      Statistics don't work like that, at least that's not how it was taught where Jeffrey and Aaron went to school. We discuss how to think about missile defenses and statistical risk, while Scott joins us to explain the online calculator he built for just such a problem.




      Uranium Fever

      No, Hilary Clinton did not sell America's uranium to Russia.

      Aaron and Jeffrey attempt to patiently discuss the Uranium One purchase of Willow Creek uranium mine, the US firm that bribed Russian officials to win trucking contracts, and why this particular conspiracy theory is so prevalent in American political discourse.


      Links of Note:

      The Washington Post article fact checking the President's claim.

      The 2015 New York Times article that set the ...



      Decertification Day

      Donald Trump announced a new "strategy"  -- loosely defined -- for confronting Iran. Trump also will refuse to certify that Iran is implementing its commitments under the Iran nuclear deal, aka the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), throwing the issue back to Congress and (possibly) starting a second nuclear crisis. 

      Jeffrey and Aaron discuss why Congress created the requirement to certify the Iran nuclear deal, why Trump hates it, and what happens now.

      Links of Note:  ...



      ICAN wins the Nobel Peace Prize

      ICAN won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its work on "for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons."

      Jeffrey and Aaron discuss the prize, the treaty to ban nuclear weapons, and efforts to promote disarmament

      Links of Note:

      NTI's fact page on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

      Our episodes on the...



      Scuttling Der Wienerplan

      Donald Trump told the United Nations that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (aka the Iran nuclear deal aka the Vienna Plan aka der Weinerplan) between Iran and the so-called E3/U-3 "Is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don't think you've heard the last of it -- believe me."

      Aaron and Jeffrey talk about the prospects for Trump to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal, why that would be a bad idea, why the "section T" talking point is tendentious nonsense, and why its...



      KCN-eh? September's Other North Korean Developments

      A Canadian reviews the month's North Korea news with a special guest. For September, Andrea talks to Alison Evans -- deputy head of Asia-Pacific country risk at IHS Markit.

      They revisit UN General Assembly drama, developments in alliance politics, and North Korea's stunning victory at Disney puns.