FROM Jim Walsh
Is North Korea getting ready for nuclear war? Last Friday, North Korea took the rest of the world by surprise by detonating a nuclear explosion more than twice as large as the one it tested just eight months ago. Increased economic sanctions haven't worked. The speed of development and defiance of international retaliation are giving new urgency to old questions: do the US and its allies really know what Kim Jong Un is up to? Is our understanding of this country fundamentally wrong? The consensus has been that his nuclear program was more political than military — designed for internal consumption and international show. We hear some new assessments of what's at risk for the world.
What's Next for Iran's Nuclear Program? Talks in Switzerland between Iran, the US and five other countries may go beyond tonight's midnight hour. Familiar sticking points include centrifuges, nuclear stockpiles, surprise inspections and the schedule for lifting economic sanctions. The elephants in the room are still Iran's Supreme Leader and the American Congress — dominated by Republicans under pressure from Israel. If tonight's "interim" deadline can't be met, how certain is the "final" deadline at the end of June?
Obama Attends Nuclear Security Summit President Obama followed the steps of his two most recent predecessors this weekend, with a trip to the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. He's attending a summit aimed at reducing "vulnerable nuclear material" and keeping it out of the hands of terrorists. But, with 51 world leaders present, the talks are broader than the agenda. In a tough speech today, the President warned North Korea to back down on its nuclear program. Jim Walsh is a research associate at MIT's Security Studies Program.
Obama Talks Tough on Iran; North Korea Nuclear Crisis President Obama began today's news conference by responding to complaints about lukewarm support for election protesters in Iran. Also, a discussion of North Korea, which has escalated tensions with the US and the United Nations. We look at the provocations and possible options for the US and the UN.
The North Korean Nuclear Crisis At his press conference this morning, one issue the President wasn't asked about is North Korea, which is once again vying for the world's attention. A ship reportedly loaded with banned weapons is being trailed by an American destroyer, the USS John McCain. There are reports of plans to fire a missile toward Hawaii. We look at the provocations and possible options for the United States and the United Nations.
Iran Reponds to UN Demands Iran has until the end of this month for a final response to the UN Security Council 's incentive package for halting the enrichment of uranium that could lead to building a nuclear bomb. Today, Iran met its own deadline, proposing what's described in Tehran as "a new formula," which has not as yet been released to the public. At the United Nations , where the US and other Security Council members are studying the response, US Ambassador John Bolton called the move " a significant moment ." Nevertheless, nobody thinks Tehran will stop enriching uranium. If it refuses, can the UN agree on punishment for Iran's suspected progress in building a nuclear bomb? The available options might hurt Council members as much as they hurt Iran. Is military action still "on the table?" What are the political stakes inside Iran?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.