13 June 2018   Leave a comment

New York Magazine has published an article entitled “This Is What a Nuclear Bomb Looks Like” which examines the likely consequences of a single nuclear bomb explosion on New York City and its surrounding environs.  The article is not a technical analysis, nor does it examine the circumstances under which a bomb might explode.  But it does provide an important context for discussions of “fire and fury” which seems to be lacking in the discussions concerning Iran, North Korea, and the unprecedented nuclear arms build-up by the US, Russia, and China.


The melt rate of ice in Antarctica has tripled over the last ten years, and it is now sending 200 billion tons of ice into the ocean annually.  The research, published today in the journal Nature, is a welcome addition to the information we have about Antarctica, an area of the world about which we actually know very little. The paucity of hard information is troubling since if all the ice at the South Pole melted, it would raise sea levels by almost 100 feet, making most of the major coastal cities in the world uninhabitable.


I still remain completely uncertain about what happened in Singapore between President Trump and Leader Kim.  Some sort of agreement was reached but I am not at all  clear how it differs from previous North Korean statements about its commitment to denuclearization.  There are also a number of issues not addressed in the join communique, one of which was the process of verifying denuclearization.  This exchange between a reporter and US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, suggests that, at this point, the US does not have any idea of what it expects in the verification process:

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, I wanted to ask you about “verifiable and irreversible.”


QUESTION: You said – the day before you said it’s our only objective, our – it’s clear we want that. It’s not in the statement. Why it’s not in the statement? And the President said it will —

SECRETARY POMPEO: Mm-hmm, it’s in the statement. It’s in the statement. You’re just wrong about that.

QUESTION: How is it in the statement? And I am also —

SECRETARY POMPEO: You’re just – because “complete” encompasses verifiable and irreversible. It just – I suppose we – you could argue semantics, but let me assure you that it’s in the document.

QUESTION: And the President said it will be verified.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Of course it will.

QUESTION: Can you tell us a little bit more about —

SECRETARY POMPEO: Of course it will. I mean —

QUESTION: — what is – what discussed about how?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Just so you know, you could ask me this – I find that question insulting and ridiculous and, frankly, ludicrous. I just have to be honest with you. It’s a game and one ought not play games with serious matters like this.

President Trump tweeted “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea”, but actually nothing of substance has changed.  I remain befuddled and cannot really offer any assessment of the agreement until more details are made available.

Posted June 13, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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