Nuclear Optics

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North Korea apparently detonated a third nuclear device overnight. On Tuesday night, President Obama is slated to propose a cut from in the deployed U.S. nuclear stockpile from its current 1,700 warheads down to as few as 1,000.

Just like in stand-up comedy, timing in nuclear-weapons matters – from ignition to negotiation — is everything.

The timing of the NoKo test couldn’t be worse for Obama’s initiative. All the usual suspects, including China, have protested what Obama called North Korea’s “highly provocative act.”

Of course, there’s basically no linkage between a third successful test by Pyongyang, and a U.S. effort to bring its A-stockpile down substantially. But that won’t stop arsenal-huggers from maintaining that any U.S. reduction is tantamount to unilateral disarmament, which is second cousin to national suicide.

It just seems strange that the quest by some American politicians to hang on to as many nuclear weapons as possible isn’t that different from Kim Jong-un’s push to prove he has them.