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inFOCUS Quarterly

Summer 2015

inFocus Examines Asia

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Articles by the JPC

Does Iran Already Have Nuclear Weapons?

by Stephen Bryen and Shoshana Bryen
July 31, 2015 | American Thinker

Both Iran and North Korea were part of the A.Q. Kahn proliferation network, and bilateral trade in oil and weapons has continued despite UN resolutions designed to stop it. Ballistic missile cooperation is documented, and nuclear cooperation has been an unspoken theme in Washington. Pyongyang helped Damascus, Iran's ally, build a secret reactor. There are reports that North Korean experts visited Iran in May to help Iran with its missile program. Pressed by reporters on the subject of North Korea-Iran nuclear cooperation a few weeks ago, even the State Department acknowledged that it takes reports of such cooperation seriously.

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The Iran Deal Isn't Anything Like Nixon Going to China

by Gabriel Scheinmann and Michael Green
July 27, 2015 | Foreign Policy

Analogies, Sigmund Freud once wrote, decide nothing, but they can make one feel more at home. President Obama is explicitly comparing his diplomatic triumph with Iran to President Nixon's opening to China in 1972. Nixon, the president explained in a July 14 interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, "understood there was the prospect, the possibility, that China could take a different path" of "very important strategic benefit to the United States" — a point repeated in supportive commentary by Fareed Zakaria, and others. Meanwhile, former Obama National Security Council official Phil Gordon has cast the president's breakthrough with Iran as a noble contrast to the George W. Bush administration's alleged rejection of diplomacy with North Korea, claiming that Pyongyang developed nuclear weapons because Bush refused to implement a similar disarmament framework with North Korea negotiated by President Bill Clinton.

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The Iran Deal: Making War More Likely?

by Stephen Bryen and Shoshana Bryen
July 17, 2015 | American Thinker

The deal is done. Iran has sort-of promised it won't build nuclear weapons, but even the promise has serious caveats: Iran can continue to build weapons platforms to deliver the non-existent weapons; it can cooperate with friendly countries to acquire enhancements to weapons delivery technology; and it can prevent entry to requested facilities by international inspectors for 24 days per request; it need not account for prior military activity. And Iran will be vastly richer.

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Israel: Security Asset for the United States

by Shoshana Bryen
July 16, 2015 | Gatestone

Perhaps you think the war is over. Perhaps you think that if Iran becomes a "friend" of the United States and the possibility of an American-led war against the Islamic Republic recedes, the need for a militarily capable ally such as Israel also recedes. Maybe the U.S. doesn't want to associate with the "militaristic" Jewish State. That's quite possible from the vantage point of July 2015 and if you think the only reason to befriend anyone is for the military advantages it brings to the relationship.

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Supporting the Iran Nuclear Deal Requires a Lot of Faith

by Gabriel Scheinmann
July 16, 2015 | Time

The recently concluded Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding Iran's nuclear program is indeed historic. Proponents believe that it will prevent an Iranian bomb and make "the world and the region—including Israel—more secure." Critics think that it is a catastrophe that legitimizes Iran's nuclear program, shreds global non-proliferation standards, menaces the security of our allies, and emboldens Iranian aggression. Obama administration officials concede that no one "believes it is an ideal solution," but President Barack Obama maintains that this deal "is our best option by far." What must proponents believe in order to support this deal?

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Statement on Nuclear Agreement

July 14, 2015 | Jewish Policy Center

Washington, D.C. – The Jewish Policy Center expresses grave reservations over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed to by the United States, acting for the P5+1, and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran had three goals:

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Pristine War and Zero Casualties

by Shoshana Bryen
July 9, 2015 | American Thinker

The president -- Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces -- does not have to be a military man. Or maybe should not be a military man; a civilian perspective on issues of war is essential. But that being so, the civilian CinC should be wary of inventing military doctrine.

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Congress Knows Everything the Administration Knows

by Shoshana Bryen
June 30, 2015 | American Thinker

What can be so important that everything we know about Iran is overlooked for a piece of paper outlining the terms of a deal that - if history is our guide - doesn't accurately reflect Iran's capabilities and on which Iran is prepared to cheat? If a deal is signed, Congress must find its unified voice to stop it, voting a resolution of disapproval with more than 60 votes. Because Congress knows everything the Administration knows.

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A Middle East 'Complete Strategy'? To What End?

by Shoshana Bryen
June 16, 2015 | American Thinker

"Strategy" is the summer watchword in Washington -- strategy for handling ISIS, strategy for Syria, strategy for Middle East peace. The President says, "We don't have, yet, a complete strategy" for ISIS, but presumably one will emerge. In this atmosphere, the debate over sending more American troops to Iraq, and in what capacity, flows in a vacuum -- not a vacuum of strategy, but the vacuum produced by the absence of articulated goals to which strategy can be applied. What is the American goal? What is our national interest? Is it:

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The Government Fails to Protect Sensitive Personal Information

by Stephen Bryen and Shoshana Bryen
June 12, 2015 | American Thinker

While most people were watching the debate over the NSA's "metadata" collection program, a potentially more serious event occurred. Under the rules of metadata, personal information, including the contents of phone calls, is inaccessible; only the general outlines of phone numbers and duration are available. That, one might say, is bad enough – and U.S. courts, backed by Congress, agreed.

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France, Iran and the Peace Process

by Shoshana Bryen
June 10, 2015 | Gatestone Institute

Sometimes, if you smash two stories together, you end up with something interesting; sometimes you get something worrisome. This is one of the latter.

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Iran: The Backdoor to Enrichment

by Stephen Bryen and Shoshana Bryen
May 21, 2015 | American Thinker

It would seem that Iran holds the cards in the nuclear negotiation with the P5+1, primarily because the U.S. is the overeager suitor. The Framework agreement, the basis for the final deal, does not prevent Iran from designing nuclear warheads or building delivery systems. There is also increasing evidence that the language has been configured so Iran could also either enrich uranium or produce plutonium for weapons – even without cheating.

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A Tale of Two Sadats

by Gabriel Scheinmann
May 17, 2015 | Foreign Affairs

With varying degrees of vehemence, the United States' Middle East allies all oppose the budding U.S.-Iranian détente. At the head of the pack, of course, is Israel, followed closely by Saudi Arabia. But when the calendar strikes June 30, the Pickett's Charge will come to an end and they will have to reluctantly pivot from accord prevention to accord mitigation. As one senior Gulf official said, "We're not going to do a Netanyahu. We are not wasting time confronting that agreement. . . . Instead we are bracing ourselves for the post-agreement world." In such a world, Israel could decide to strike Iranian nuclear facilities, and Saudi Arabia could decide to acquire its own bomb, but both states, cognizant of how costly these actions might be, will likely consider other options first.

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