November 14th, 2013
12:09 PM ET

What I'm reading

By Fareed Zakaria

“It is hard to imagine any legitimate reason for not converting the Arak reactor into a light water reactor. The Iranians have enough enriched uranium fuel to power such a reactor, and surely it would be worth the while of the countries that are now negotiating with Iran to offer to help in this endeavor. If the IR-40 became a light water reactor, this would end all the suspicions about it,” argues Jeremy Benstein in the New York Review of Books.

“By going ahead with a heavy water reactor, Iran seems to be saying it is determined to have the capacity to produce plutonium—and leave open a path to making a bomb.”

Moving Syria’s chemicals “for destruction elsewhere is the only real answer. But where? Neither the U.S. nor Russia makes sense. U.S. laws make the import and transport of chemical warfare agents problematic. If that could be finessed, vocal groups representing residents near the demilitarization sites would certainly raise objections,” says Dan Kaszeta for Bloomberg.

“…One country, however, seems to have a ready-built facility that could be used for this purpose: Albania. In late 2002, well after it signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, Albania made the embarrassing discovery that it had 16 tons of chemical warfare agents squirreled away in a bunker from the era of Communist dictator Enver Hoxha. In subsequent years, the U.S. government, through its Defense Threat Reduction Agency, spent about $45 million building an incineration plant, which was eventually moved to Qafemolle, Albania, to dispose of the stores.”

“Many features of the Japanese economy that are commonly attributed to culture are, in fact, the result of Japan trying to run a modern economy without neoliberal reform: powerful but inefficient corporations, little job mobility, low unemployment, a relatively equal income distribution, and a job market that is heavily rigged against women,” writes Noah Smith in Foreign Affairs. “Taiwan, which is probably the closest country to Japan in cultural terms, has much higher inequality, greater labor mobility, more gender equality, and a higher per capita GDP than Japan. Taiwan, of course, is a low-tax, low-regulation country that is heavily exposed to trade with China.


soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    Albania will not allow the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons on its soil. It's tired of being dubbed as the West's toxic trash dump. No destination for the stockpile was mentioned. However, France and Belgium have been named as possible alternative locations.
    Norway has pledged to send a civilian cargo ship and a navy frigate to Syrian ports to pick up the weapons and carry them elsewhere for destruction. However it could not destroy the weapons on its own soil because it lacked the expertise.

    November 17, 2013 at 11:49 am | Reply
  2. ✠RZ✠

    Aren't chemical weapons typically blown when weapon depots are strategically bombed? So why the big deal this time? Just put them out in the middle of nowhere and bomb the heck out of them.

    November 17, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Reply

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