Iran and North Korea: A Status Report

Sold Out!

December 4, 2017

Arvid Lundy and Cheryl Rofer

Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs have been much in the news lately, with continuing testing of missiles and, in North Korea’s case, a nuclear explosive. President Donald Trump has responded with threatening tweets, stoking fears of nuclear war. The two countries’ histories are very different, but both feel they have reason to fear the United States. One response is to develop nuclear weapons, deliverable by missile. Iran’s progress toward nuclear weapons was stopped by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, negotiated in 2015. North Korea currently moves ahead without restriction.

We’ll discuss the motivations of both countries, where they are now, the response from the United States, and what the future might bring.

Cheryl Rofer was a chemist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory for 35 years. She now writes scientific and political commentary for the web publications Nuclear Diner and Balloon Juice. She has over 9000 followers on Twitter. She regularly provides background information on nuclear topics to reporters and has been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Vox. Her work at Los Alamos included projects in fossil fuels, laser development, and the nuclear fuel cycle. She is past president of the Los Alamos Committee on Arms Control and International Security and a founding member of SFWAF. She has published in scientific and political science journals and edited a book. She holds an A.B. from Ripon College and an M.S. from the University of California at Berkeley.

Arvid Lundy has extensive experience in nuclear export controls, nuclear proliferation intelligence, electronic instrumentation design, and clinical medical physics. Arvid spent thirty one years at Los Alamos National Laboratory as project engineer, group leader, and program manager. His career included over 100 foreign trips for the US government on nuclear issues, especially international nuclear export control.
This program will be in the Santa Fe Community College Board Room (room #223).

Past Programs

Africa’s Petroleum Boom: Blessing or Curse?

February 26, 2016 

Mark L. Asquino: US Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, 2012-15

Several Sub-Saharan African nations have been experiencing an unprecedented influx of riches as a result of the exportation abroad of their oil and gas.  Equatorial Guinea, where Mark Asquino was Ambassador until October, is the third largest petroleum Sub-Saharan producer today.  On the other side of the continent, the Sudan – where Ambassador Asquino previously served, is another.  The two top producers, however, are Nigeria and Angola which he will also discuss.  On the one hand, the riches accrued from petroleum exports have made these countries far wealthier than their wildest dreams.  On the other, money isn’t everything.  What are the pluses and minuses of Africa’s petroleum gold mine, who benefits, who loses and how best can these countries cope?

Categories: Africa, Economics|Tags: |

The Iran Nuclear Deal: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and Its Potential Ramifications

November 20, 2015

Cheryl Rofer, Former President of the Los Alamos Committee on Arms Control and International Security

On July 14, Iran signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with the P5+1 (or E3+3) – the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany. The agreement imposes strict controls on Iran’s nuclear program in return for relief from sanctions imposed on Iran. Implementation of the agreement is proceeding; Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency are working through the question of what work related to nuclear weapon development Iran may have done, to be capped by a United Nations Security Council resolution on December 15. Both Iran and the United States have completed their internal legislative processes related to the agreement, and October 18 was Adoption Day, when the agreement goes into effect. The next steps are for the P5+1 to develop conditional waivers to the sanctions and for Iran to meet a list of requirements for those waivers to go into effect. This is likely to be completed by spring or summer 2016. The talk will cover the basics of the agreement and major objections to it.

Categories: Middle East, Non-Proliferation|Tags: |

History, Identity, Democracy: A Framework for Understanding Israeli Politics

October 30, 2015

 Eytan Gilboa, Chair and Academic Director, The Israel Public Diplomacy Forum

What are the key characteristics of Israeli society that have affected the formation of the Israeli political system and political culture?  Professor Gilboa will offer insights into the Israeli political arena exploring such elements as political parties, elections, coalition government and representation for religious and ethnic minorities.  He will also address relations between the Israeli government, society, the Supreme Court and the mass media and explore the difficult issues that come from the delicate balance of power between them.

Categories: Democracy, Middle East|Tags: |

The Migration Crisis in the Mediterranean: Reasons and Repercussions

September 17, 2015

 Panayotis J. Tsakonas, Professor of International Relations, Security Studies and Foreign Policy Analysis at the Department of Mediterranean Studies, University of the Aegean, Rhodes, Greece.

What are the repercussions of migration for the EU and in particular South European states? How has illegal migration unfolded in the broader Mediterranean region during the last decade and why has it reached crisis proportions?  How is the huge influx of migrants from war torn areas in the Middle East and Africa being perceived and dealt with by the European Union and its members, particularly those hardest hit—Greece, Italy, and Hungary—as well as their neighbors.  What is driving the huge increase, how is Europe coping, how are these unprecedented waves of human migration affecting European security and what can be done to deal with the influx?

Categories: Africa, Europe & Russia, Human Rights, Middle East|Tags: |

How China’s Banks Work: A Prism for Understanding China

September 3, 2015

Jim Stent, Independent Director of China Minsheng Bank and China Everbright Bank

Americans have difficulty comprehending how and why China works the way it does, giving rise to increasing friction between the two countries. This lack of understanding extends to China’s banking system, which is a microcosm of China’s political economy. Contrary to much media reporting, China’s banks have been transformed over the past 15 years into modern financial institutions. At the same time, shaped by centuries of Chinese institutions and values, and deeply embedded in the Chinese market socialist political economy, Chinese banks fundamentally differ from Western banks. Chinese banks play a dual role– provide shareholders with return on investment (the market role) and support the party-state’s national development agenda (the socialist role).

Categories: China|Tags: |

US-Cuba Relations, the Hemispheric Consequences and the OAS

August 17, 2015

Jane Thery, Director, Department of International Affairs of the OAS

The reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba after more than fifty years is expected to reverberate throughout the Western Hemisphere and impact relationships within the Organization of American States. How far will this new development take us and how open will Cuba be to development, private investment, greater freedoms and fundamental changes to its long held ideologies and political system?

Categories: Latin America, US foreign policy|Tags: |
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