What’s next on nonproliferation and international security, in Washington and around the globe.
— August 12: Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to meet with his new Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, in a meeting in Tehran. The tet-a-tet comes just as President Obama has spurned a planned summit with Putin but might be entertaining the idea of an eventual sit-down with Rouhani — if conditions evolve sufficiently to allow it. Meantime, top-of-the-agenda items for the Putin-Rouhani confab can be expected to include the prospects for multilateral talks about Iran’s contested nuclear program and the ongoing civil war in Syria.
— August 12-16: The Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, will play host to a five-day “Meeting of Experts” on the Biological Weapons Convention, sponsored by the BWC Implementation Support Unit. The event, to be chaired by Judit Körömi of Hungary, is to consider ways to strengthen cooperation and assistance; review new developments in BWC-related science and technology; and discuss how to enable greater participation in confidence-building measures.
— August 13: How important are the perceptions of leading decision-makers when it comes to setting national policy agendas? Jung Joo Kwon, a Korea Foundation junior scholar at the Wilson Center, will use game theory to help assess perceptions and misperceptions swirling around North Korea’s third nuclear crisis. James Person of the center’s History and Public Policy Program will chair the Washington session and offer remarks on Kwon’s analysis.
— August 13-15: Six United Nations specialists on sanctions against North Korea are to visit Panama for an inquiry on the recent discovery of an undisclosed shipment of weapon systems from Cuba to Pyongyang, as cargo vessel passed through the iconic Central American canal. The investigators are to follow up the trip with an initial report — and, later, a fuller exposition — on their findings.
— August 13-15: Cho Tae-yong, South Korea’s lead negotiator in the six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing the North, is to meet with his Russian equivalent, Igor Vladimirovich Morgulov, and other government officials in Moscow to discuss latest developments and coordinate on policy.
— August 15: Focusing more on the southern end of the Korean Peninsula, Congressional Research Service policy analyst Mark Holt will discuss “challenges for congressional action” in extending the U.S.-South Korea nuclear trade agreement. Washington and Seoul decided earlier this year to seek a simple two-year extension of their soon-to-expire existing cooperation pact, as a negotiated agreement about the terms of a renewal accord has thus far eluded them. The U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies has partnered with the Global America Business Institute to sponsor the event in Washington.
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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."