Articles by: Sean Howard

Syria: War, Law and Empire

Syria: War, Law and Empire

May 9, 2018 at 11:34 am

Part I: Sham Success and Ersatz Humanitarianism   On April 14 the US, UK and France launched missile and air strikes on three suspected chemical weapons (CW) facilities in Syria. The action was taken in response to an alleged chlorine and sarin nerve gas attack by government forces on AprilRead More

John Bolton (Photo by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (John Bolton) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Trump’s Over-the-Top National Security Team

April 4, 2018 at 12:14 pm

On March 22, President Trump tweet-sacked National Security Adviser (NSA) Lieutenant-General H.R. McMaster, naming as his replacement John Bolton, one of the most hawkish, controversial and unpopular officials in the trigger-happy administration of George W. Bush. Bolton learned the news while appearing on the Fox ‘News’ Channel, his soapbox inRead More

President Donald J. Trump addresses service members during a Troop Talk at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Nov. 5, 2017. During his talk, Trump highlighted the importance of the U.S. – Japan alliance in the Indo-Asia Pacific region. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Juan Torres

Trump’s Nuclear Posturing: More Weapons, Less Control

March 7, 2018 at 12:34 pm

On February 2, the United States released its first Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) since the 2010 study commissioned by then-President Barack Obama. The Obama NPR disappointed many disarmament advocates in its doctrinal timidity – it failed to declare the US would never use nuclear weapons first, and only ever use themRead More

Opening remarks during the summit  concerning the security and stability on the Korean Peninsula, held at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Vancouver Vaudeville: Much Ado about Nothing?

February 7, 2018 at 11:49 am

At times of heightened international tension the first duty of diplomacy is simple to define, harder to practice: providing a venue for the meeting of otherwise warring minds. In co-hosting, with the United States, the ‘Vancouver Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Security and Stability on the Korean Peninsula’ on January 16,Read More

Women Versus the Bomb

Women Versus the Bomb

January 3, 2018 at 12:06 pm

In 1729, the Irish satirist Jonathan Swift made “A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick.” There was, Swift’s imperialist Protestant persona reasoned, a “fair, cheap and easy method”Read More

The Lost Art of Nuclear Arms Control

The Lost Art of Nuclear Arms Control

November 29, 2017 at 1:40 pm

On 8 December 1987, US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty eliminating all ground-based ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of 500-5,500 kilometers. As the leaders shook hands in Washington, 2,692 such missiles were deployed across Europe, each armed withRead More

Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of ICAN, with the signed UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, 7 July 2017.
(Photo: Clare Conboy)

Will Canada Follow Where ICAN Leads?

November 8, 2017 at 12:08 pm

As was noted in Fast and Curious on October 6, the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize is the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), recognized for its “work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts toRead More

The USS Bainbridge shown conducting a missile exercise. (US Navy photo, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Canada and the Great Missile Defense Temptation

October 4, 2017 at 1:40 pm

The recent dramatic spike in tensions on the Korean Peninsula has sparked fresh calls for Canada to join the American Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system. Proponents of the system claim it can either intercept and destroy a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of striking North America – a dreadRead More

Kim Jong-un briefed by generals. (Image released by North Korean state news agency)

High Noon on the Korean Peninsula?

September 13, 2017 at 11:40 am

At noon local time, September 3, North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test, an estimated 100-120 kiloton detonation – seven or eight times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima – of what it claimed was a two-stage (fission-fusion) thermonuclear hydrogen warhead small enough to fit in the coneRead More

North Korea and the Bankruptcy of Brinksmanship

North Korea and the Bankruptcy of Brinksmanship

September 6, 2017 at 12:09 pm

Editor’s Note: In light of fast-moving developments, notably North Korea’s apparent hydrogen-bomb test on September 3, an update to this analysis will be provided shortly.   On Nagasaki Day 2017, hours after the city’s mayor, Tomihasa Taue, stated that “a strong sense of anxiety is spreading across the globe thatRead More