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Arms Control Wonk

Jeffrey Lewis & Aaron Stein

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The nuclear weapons, arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation podcast. Companion to the popular Arms Control Wonk blog (www.armscontrolwonk.com). Hosted by Jeffrey Lewis & Aaron Stein.
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Far too often, governments behave like toddlers. They’re fickle. They don’t like to share. And good luck getting them to pay attention to any problem that isn’t directly in front of them. They like to push each other to the brink, and often do. But when they don’t, it’s usually because other people enter the proverbial room. Private citizens who step up and play peacemaker when their governments won’t or can’t. People who strive for collaboration and understanding, and sometimes end up findi ...
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BASIC is the only peace and security non-governmental organization that is British-American in composition and focus. With programs that address diplomacy and decision-making around nuclear weapons, we work on both sides of the Atlantic to encourage sustainable transatlantic security policies and to develop the strategies that can achieve them. We have charitable status in the United Kingdom and in the United States. We operate with offices in London and Washington, a small but committed sta ...
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A democratic republic. A revolutionary constitution for its time and place. Nuclear weapons. Religious and cultural diversity. Centuries of oppression. Polarized politics. Terrorism. An aversion to China's ascent. Divisive leadership. Are you thinking of India or the United States? As the title suggests, the world's largest democracies have a lot in common. Using comparative law methods, we examine legal and policy issues that affect India and the United States. We interview experts on both ...
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Road trip to Vegas. As part of an NGO transparency visit, NNSA opened up the Nevada Test Site to a group of international nuclear weapons experts, including one Dr. Jeffrey Lewis. Jeffrey goes through what he saw: P Tunnel, The BEEF, and the crown jewel, U1a. This was an NNSA exercise in transparency, aimed at showing the community and world that t…
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Shoigu went shopping. Russia is buying KN-23 and KN-25 missiles from North Korea and launching them in support of its invasion of Ukraine. Imagery from on the ground clearly shows North Korean style solid-propellant missiles. Jeffrey and Aaron talk about what this means for global ballistic missile proliferation, possible South Korean responses, an…
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North Korea finally got a reconnaissance satellite into orbit, after several failed prior attempts! While it is a little rough around the edges, every program has to start somewhere. Jeffrey and Aaron talk through the implications of the DPRK's reconnaissance satellite, the relationship of the DPRK missile and space programs, and the importance of …
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The United States Library of Congress selected Dr. Strangelove as one of the first 25 films in the National Film Registry. As we approach the 60th anniversary of Dr. Strangelove (in Jan 2024), our live podcast panel takes a critical look at the dark comedy and reveals how the satire is uncomfortably realistic, even to this day. Using dialogue from …
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Some questions fall far outside the scope of what governments are designed to answer. How will we explain ourselves to extraterrestrials? What can we say to warn humans 10,000 years in the future about the nuclear waste we’re leaving behind? Assuming we develop the proper technology, would it be beneficial to breed glowing cats? Two decades after N…
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Fishermen dying mysteriously off the coast of Japan. Entire populations of sea animals disappearing. Despite decades of work by the international community, the high seas remain law enforcement’s biggest blind spot, and the site of environmental crimes whose effects reach around the world. But some people are attempting to stop these crimes: We fol…
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Take a listen to the latest season of Jeffrey Lewis's podcast, The Reason We're All Still Here Far too often, governments behave like toddlers. They’re fickle. They don’t like to share. And good luck getting them to pay attention to any problem that isn’t directly in front of them. They like to push each other to the brink, and often do. But when t…
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Looks like everyone is preparing for a party. Between Russia's potential un-signing of a nuclear test treaty, threats to test "if the United States does," and refurbishments at Novaya Zemlya, things aren't looking great for the longevity of nuclear test ban norms. China and the U.S. have been modernizing too, though the U.S. has offered to allow mo…
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In February 2020, an elite group of biosecurity experts, worried about the threat of pandemics, plays a bizarrely prescient role-playing game. They run into an age-old pattern of secrecy and mistrust, one that thwarts their efforts to ‘beat’ the game. We travel back to a (real-life) period when dozens of mysterious deaths occurred in a closed Sovie…
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There are no international laws against littering in space, which is a shame, because individual governments love to blow things up in low-Earth orbit. The result? A crisis of ricocheting debris that goes on forever. As private industry sends an unprecedented number of satellites into orbit, security experts find themselves in a race against the cl…
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An arms-control advocate accepts an invitation to the dacha of a hard-partying North Korean power broker. There, through a haze of smoke and propaganda, they identify some common ground and set out to test a hypothesis: That it’s possible for Americans and North Koreans to work together toward peace. The result is a tense but extraordinary moment i…
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As the Cold War draws to a close, a group of American scientists hatches a plan to board a Soviet warship with a nuclear weapons detector to prove to their own government that the USSR is open to nuclear arms verification. Meet the guys who brought a slug of depleted uranium through security at LaGuardia Airport, sat atop a Soviet nuclear device in…
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If you’re reading this, and you’re not in some sort of irradiated, post-apocalyptic hellscape… well, you can thank our host Jeffrey Lewis. He studies nukes—who has them, who wants them, and how to prevent them from going off—so that we’re less likely to die in a nuclear war. The thing is, lots of people have jobs like this. They’re not celebrities …
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With the Iran nuclear deal dead as a doorknob, Jeffrey Lewis set out to make a new podcast, one that tells stories of scientists, journalists and maybe a vigilante or two... private citizens who are working to solve diplomatic problems and prevent the next global catastrophe. Yes this podcast is about saving the world – one arduous, unlikely, under…
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Sam Lair joins the podcast to talk about Kim Jong Un's recent whirlwind tour of the North Korean Defense Industrial Base with Jeffrey and Scott. If you're into missiles, geolocation, and machine tools (and, if you listen to this podcast, you probably are), you're going to want to tune in. Sam and Jeffrey have been mapping out the DPRK DIB, includin…
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Jeffrey is joined by the illustrious Kelsey Atherton to discuss Christopher Nolan's film Oppenheimer, as well as the history and legacy of the titular man himself. Kelsey and Jeffrey dive into the choice to focus on Oppenheimer's own security legacy and bypass the direct and indirect horrors affected upon the Congolese miners, New Mexicans, and Jap…
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Jeffrey is back from Hiroshima, where he participated in a Track 2 nuclear dialogue. The outlook for near-term arms control is still grim. Jeffrey and Aaron unpack the G7 statements on disarmament that the Japanese representatives wanted to re-affirm, the tacit condemnation of Russian and Chinese contained within, and the global theater around narr…
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Germany has a gap that needs to be filled in the face of Russian threats. But this time it isn't Fulda, it is....the exoatmospheric layer of ballistic missile defenses? Jeffrey and Aaron try to understand Germany's decision to buy the very fancy Israeli/American Arrow-3 exoatmospheric BMD system, in absense of a specific Russian missile system and …
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Jeffrey is back from Japan and North Korea's satellite-turned-submarine is back from the bottom of the ocean! North Korea's failed Chollima-1 space launcher and its payload, the Malligyong-1, failed to reach space on May 30. Jeffrey and Aaron talk about the Japanese response to the launch, the North Korean reponse to the failure, and whether or not…
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The Office of the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) most recent Special 301 report continued to identify India as “one of the world’s most challenging major economies with respect to protection and enforcement of IP.” The USTR has long argued that India fails to provide adequate patent protection and enforcement. What exactly are the USTR…
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Ukraine is getting the SCALP-EG/Storm Shadow cruise missile, and that's raising a whole lot of questions about MTCR guidelines Jeffrey and Aaron talk about the history of the Missile Technology Control Regime, what it was meant to originally address, and the whole host of problems associated with figuring out what a destabilizing cruise missile rea…
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FINALLY. After almost a decade of hinting and teasing and parading fake empty canisters, North Korea has debuted its long-awated solid propellant ICBM. And the team have some questions about where the construction and testing sites were... Jeffrey, Scott, and Dave descend upon the CNS DC offices for a rare in-person podcast to commemorate the event…
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The IAEA is doing a great job with the s**t we're handing them. A very jetlagged Jeffrey joins Aaron to talk about the IAEA and the very positive role that Director General Rafael Grossi has played in trying to hold together the nuclear situation with Iran. JCPOA-holdover cameras, discontinuity in footage, and a bunch of suddenly friendliness from …
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New START has been in peril for years. The first episode of the pod was about the INF Treaty being in danger, and here we are, 8 years later, with almost no arms control treaties left. Maybe it is time to rename the pod Arms Race Wonk, because the next few years are going to be scary. Jeffrey and Aaron talk through the Era Without (Bilateral) Arms …
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Jeffrey, Aaron, and Scott say the unthinkable: we're a little tired of the parades. But we're glad the youthes are still ordering pizza and crowding around the computer to watch. North Korea paraded at least 15 ICBMs, including 4 that were clearly meant to look like solid-propellent ICBMs. We've been down this road before, they've played with our h…
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Both plan on going first, but... President Yoon Suk-yeol of South Korea is being piled on for discussing South Korean pursuits of nuclear weapons (although what he said *exactly* was distorted a little). In the face of increasing pressure to respond to North Korea's nuclear posture, South Korea is realistically pursuing capabilities for rapid, prec…
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Tyler Nighswander and Mike Nute have developed an incredible tool for detecting long-range missile and space launches by processing and visualizing ionospheric disturbances in GPS data. In one of the most fascinating and technically complex episodes of the ACW pod, Tyler and Mike join Jeffrey to talk about their wild new open-source intelligence to…
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Jeeze that was a big missile. North Korea has tested another large ICBM, and this one was (another) doozy. Jeffrey and Aaron talk through modelling this missile, the potential theft of missile tech from Ukraine, Kim Jong Un's Bring Your Daughter to Work Day, and the incredible Missile Launch Detection tool that @tylerni7 and @michaelnute have spear…
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