Jeffrey Lewis

Kim Jong Un's Thermonuclear Dreams

What does it mean when North Korea announces it has a "new form" of nuclear testing coming soon?

In late March, when the U.N. Security Council condemned North Korea for test firing two medium-range missiles into the Sea of Japan, Pyongyang shot back, warning of "next-stage steps, which the enemy can hardly imagine" -- including "a new form of nuclear test for bolstering up its nuclear deterrence."

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Cheap and Dirty Bombs

Could these creepy chest packs be North Korea's way of threatening radiological war?

During North Korea's July 2013 "Victory Day" parade, spectators were treated to a curious sight: a truckload of soldiers, each strapped into a chest pack festooned with the black and yellow radiation symbol. A few months later, the art world preserved the spectacle. British tour operator Simon Cockerell found oil paintings at a Pyongyang tourist shop depicting a North Korean commando team parachuting into enemy territory carrying the enigmatic satchels. 

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Why Did Saudi Arabia Buy Chinese Missiles?

The real question is why are we only hearing about it now.

Jeff Stein of Newsweek has reported that "a well-placed intelligence source" has confirmed that Saudi Arabia purchased Chinese-made DF-21 ballistic missiles in 2007 -- apparently with the approval of the George W. Bush administration.

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Our Last, Best Chance

If we can't ease sanctions in exchange for concessions, what was the point of pressuring Iran?

Seven thoughts about the Iran deal, in no particular order.

First, let's be clear that the package agreed to in Geneva is an interim deal -- a six-month slowdown in Iran's nuclear programs in exchange for a largely temporary easing of sanctions. The Geneva agreement will ultimately be judged on whether the parties can agree to something more comprehensive before it's all said and done. The document does outline some of the parameters of a final deal, but they are general in nature.

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