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Author Topic: Nuclear War, WMD issues  (Read 72493 times)
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #300 on: May 11, 2014, 10:27:34 AM »

Thanks for that GM, EMP may well be the cutting edge of coming conflicts.  Certainly we are woefully unprepared and such an attack could be quite devastating.
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« Reply #301 on: May 11, 2014, 11:48:14 AM »

Thanks for that GM, EMP may well be the cutting edge of coming conflicts.  Certainly we are woefully unprepared and such an attack could be quite devastating.

Our grid is woefully vulnerable and without it, the loss of life incredible.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #302 on: May 22, 2014, 07:57:38 PM »

http://www.blog.standforisrael.org/articles/russia-may-build-more-nuclear-reactors-for-iran?sm=Blog&s_src=FB&s_subsrc=NFS1400XXEXXX
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #303 on: May 24, 2014, 09:28:47 AM »

Iran Is Providing Information on Its Detonators, Atomic Agency Says
By DAVID E. SANGER and WILLIAM J. BROADMAY 23, 2014


WASHINGTON — For six years, international nuclear inspectors have been demanding that Iran turn over evidence of experiments that they suspect could have been part of a secret effort to solve the complex science of detonating a nuclear weapon.

On Friday, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the monitoring arm of the United Nations, said that it was finally beginning to see the information it had long sought — but that Iran insisted that the detonators were for non-nuclear purposes.

The disclosure was buried in a report by the atomic agency that detailed major progress Iran had made in diluting most of its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, nuclear fuel that the West has long feared could be converted relatively quickly into weapons-grade material. Getting Iran to dilute that uranium was perhaps the biggest single accomplishment of the interim deal struck last year, creating room for the current negotiations, which hit their first major roadblock last week.

While there were no details in the report about what data Iran had supplied on what are called “exploding bridge wire detonators,” the disclosure that a substantive discussion had begun with the agency suggested a significant change in tactics in Tehran. For years Iranian officials have refused to answer questions about what the agency blandly calls “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s program. The Iranians have claimed the queries are based on what they call Western fabrications of evidence and lies propagated by the C.I.A.


But inside American and European intelligence agencies, the detonator issue is just one of many questions about a suspected secret weapons-design program buried inside university laboratories and institutes. The suspicions were heightened nearly a decade ago, when evidence emerged from a laptop computer smuggled out of the country by an Iranian scientist recruited by Western intelligence agencies. The data he provided included diagrams, videos and other results that appeared to strongly suggest interest in weapons design.

While much of the work ended in 2003, there are disagreements in the intelligence agencies of different countries about whether, and how intensely, it was resumed. The negotiations over the evidence of weapons work have been taking place on a separate track from the talks between Iran and the major powers about its nuclear enrichment program. While the atomic agency inspectors are permitted to visit fuel production areas daily, the Iranians continue to block access to the scientist that the United States, Israel and others say ran many of the main weapons-research operations, Mohsen Fakrizadeh.

Some other Iranian researchers believed involved in the program have been assassinated in recent years, in operations that have been attributed to Israel. Israeli officials have never confirmed or denied responsibility.

The atomic agency’s report was issued at a moment when negotiators have reached a roadblock with Iran over how much it is willing to dismantle its nuclear fuel-making infrastructure. American officials want Iran to reduce the number of centrifuges — the machines that purify uranium — to around 4,000 from the current 19,000. The Iranians want to expand the number, over time, to roughly 50,000, saying they need such capacity to produce fuel for civilian reactors yet to be built.

In the meantime, though, Iran is complying with all the elements of its interim agreement. The report of the atomic agency, issued from its Vienna headquarters to member states, showed that Iran had “halted nuclear activities in the areas of greatest proliferation concern and rolled back its program in other key areas,” said an analysis from the Arms Control Association, an advocacy group in Washington.

The detonators that Iran began discussing with the atomic agency were invented during the Manhattan Project, the American-led effort to build the first atomic bomb during World War II. The detonators are similar to blasting caps: an electric current fires them off. But they use a much higher voltage and the timing of the explosion can be far more precise, allowing a number to fire more or less simultaneously.

While they are used in nuclear devices, they are also essential in mining and rocketry, as well as explosive welding and metal forming. The atomic agency said that at a May 20 meeting Iran had provided “additional information and explanations,” including documents, to substantiate its claim that it had tested the detonators for “a civilian application.”

The detonators are one of seven different technologies the atomic agency said, in a 2011 report, that Iran was believed to have investigated.

The report said the agency was assessing Iran’s information. “It is important,” the report added, “that Iran continues to engage with the agency to resolve all outstanding issues” related to the nuclear program.
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bigdog
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« Reply #304 on: August 04, 2014, 07:41:59 AM »

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2014/0801/Is-US-vulnerable-to-EMP-attack-A-doomsday-warning-and-its-skeptics-video
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #305 on: August 04, 2014, 11:36:37 AM »

Thanks for that BD.   This is a subject that deserves our attention IMHO.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #306 on: August 13, 2014, 07:23:44 AM »

The Growing Threat From an EMP Attack
A nuclear device detonated above the U.S. could kill millions, and we've done almost nothing to prepare.
By R. James Woolsey And Peter Vincent Pry
Aug. 12, 2014 7:14 p.m. ET
WSJ

In a recent letter to investors, billionaire hedge-fund manager Paul Singer warned that an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, is "the most significant threat" to the U.S. and our allies in the world. He's right. Our food and water supplies, communications, banking, hospitals, law enforcement, etc., all depend on the electric grid. Yet until recently little attention has been paid to the ease of generating EMPs by detonating a nuclear weapon in orbit above the U.S., and thus bringing our civilization to a cold, dark halt.

Recent declassification of EMP studies by the U.S. government has begun to draw attention to this dire threat. Rogue nations such as North Korea (and possibly Iran) will soon match Russia and China and have the primary ingredients for an EMP attack: simple ballistic missiles such as Scuds that could be launched from a freighter near our shores; space-launch vehicles able to loft low-earth-orbit satellites; and simple low-yield nuclear weapons that can generate gamma rays and fireballs.

The much neglected 2004 and 2008 reports by the congressional EMP Commission—only now garnering increased public attention—warn that "terrorists or state actors that possess relatively unsophisticated missiles armed with nuclear weapons may well calculate that, instead of destroying a city or a military base, they may gain the greatest political-military utility from one or a few such weapons by using them—or threatening their use—in an EMP attack."
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Bloomberg

The EMP Commission reports that: "China and Russia have considered limited nuclear-attack options that, unlike their Cold War plans, employ EMP as the primary or sole means of attack." The report further warns that: "designs for variants of such weapons may have been illicitly trafficked for a quarter-century."

During the Cold War, Russia designed an orbiting nuclear warhead resembling a satellite and peaceful space-launch vehicle called a Fractional Orbital Bombardment System. It would use a trajectory that does not approach the U.S. from the north, where our sensors and few modest ballistic-missile defenses are located, but rather from the south. The nuclear weapon would be detonated in orbit, perhaps during its first orbit, destroying much of the U.S. electric grid with a single explosion high above North America.

In 2004, the EMP Commission met with senior Russian military personnel who warned that Russian scientists had been recruited by North Korea to help develop its nuclear arsenal as well as EMP-attack capabilities. In December 2012, the North Koreans successfully orbited a satellite, the KSM-3, compatible with the size and weight of a small nuclear warhead. The trajectory of the KSM-3 had the characteristics for delivery of a surprise nuclear EMP attack against the U.S.

What would a successful EMP attack look like? The EMP Commission, in 2008, estimated that within 12 months of a nationwide blackout, up to 90% of the U.S. population could possibly perish from starvation, disease and societal breakdown.

In 2009 the congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, whose co-chairmen were former Secretaries of Defense William Perry and James Schlesinger, concurred with the findings of the EMP Commission and urged immediate action to protect the electric grid. Studies by the National Academy of Sciences, the Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the National Intelligence Council reached similar conclusions.

What to do?

Surge arrestors, faraday cages and other devices that prevent EMP from damaging electronics, as well micro-grids that are inherently less susceptible to EMP, have been used by the Defense Department for more than 50 years to protect crucial military installations and strategic forces. These can be adapted to protect civilian infrastructure as well. The cost of protecting the national electric grid, according to a 2008 EMP Commission estimate, would be about $2 billion—roughly what the U.S. gives each year in foreign aid to Pakistan.

Last year President Obama signed an executive order to guard critical infrastructure against cyberattacks. But so far this administration doesn't seem to grasp the urgency of the EMP threat. However, in a rare display of bipartisanship, Congress is addressing the threat. In June 2013, Rep. Trent Franks (R., Ariz.) and Rep. Yvette Clark (D., N.Y.) introduced the Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage, or Shield, Act. Unfortunately, the legislation is stalled in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

In October 2013, Rep. Franks and Rep. Pete Sessions (R., Texas) introduced the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act. CIPA directs the Department of Homeland Security to adopt a new National Planning Scenario focused on federal, state and local emergency planning, training and resource allocation for survival and recovery from an EMP catastrophe. Yet this important legislation hasn't come to a vote either.

What is lacking in Washington is a sense of urgency. Lawmakers and the administration need to move rapidly to build resilience into our electric grid and defend against an EMP attack that could deliver a devastating blow to the U.S. economy and the American people. Congress should pass and the president should sign into law the Shield Act and CIPA as soon as possible. Literally millions of American lives could depend on it.

Mr. Woolsey is chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former director of the CIA.Mr. Pry served on the EMP Commission, in the CIA, and is the author of "Electric Armageddon" (CreateSpace, 2013).
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #307 on: September 10, 2014, 10:52:50 AM »

http://online.wsj.com/articles/watchdog-says-chlorine-gas-used-as-a-chemical-weapon-in-syria-1410362440
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #308 on: September 24, 2014, 02:39:37 PM »



http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/22/us/us-ramping-up-major-renewal-in-nuclear-arms.html?emc=edit_th_20140922&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=49641193
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #309 on: February 07, 2015, 03:38:08 PM »



The Senate and Iran’s Bomb
Obama rejects a role for Congress that it has long played on arms control.
Feb. 6, 2015 6:47 p.m. ET

The ghost of Scoop Jackson is hovering over the Obama Administration’s troubles with the Senate and its nuclear negotiations with Iran. Senator Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson, a respected national-security Democrat from Washington state, was often a thorn in the side of Presidents who were negotiating arms-control agreements with the Soviet Union in the 1970s. President Obama wishes Senate critics such as Democrat Robert Menendez and Republican Bob Corker would simply get their noses out of the deal. This President needs a history lesson: Senate involvement in arms-control agreements goes back at least 50 years.

Threatening vetoes of anything the Senate sends him on Iran, President Obama seems to think his job is to negotiate nuclear arms agreements unilaterally, while the Senate’s job is to keep its mouth shut.

It was never thus.

The idea of nuclear-arms agreements negotiated by an Administration with little or no input from Congress is a relatively recent phenomenon. The Clinton Administration unilaterally negotiated the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea to stop its construction of nuclear reactors. The George W. Bush Administration followed, producing five sets of Six-Party Talks with North Korea. They all fell apart because the North Koreans cheated by continuing to test nuclear devices and develop missiles capable of delivering a bomb.

The Obama negotiation with Iran is called P5+1, which asks everyone to believe that the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany, can be trusted to put Iran’s nuclear genie to sleep. That arms-control model may appeal to the Nobel Peace Prize committee, but it should not impress U.S. Senators.

The Senate’s experience with nuclear-arms control dates at least to the Kennedy Presidency in 1963 and the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which emerged after eight years of negotiations with the Soviet Union. Like virtually all Soviet-era arms agreements, that deal was a formal treaty and subject to the Constitution’s treaty-making process: The President may commit the U.S. to a treaty with the advice and consent of two-thirds of the Senate. The Senate ratified the Kennedy test ban 80-19.

With a few exceptions, that public process was followed for decades. The agreements were openly debated by Senators with input, pro and con, by national-security specialists from inside and outside the government.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was negotiated during the Johnson Presidency and ratified under Richard Nixon in 1969. Nixon then undertook negotiations for the first Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I). That produced the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which the Senate ratified 88-2. SALT I never became a formal, permanent treaty. It was a temporary deal, lasting five years, and Nixon submitted it to Congress for approval by votes in both the Senate and House.

President Obama’s Iran deal sounds like Nixon’s temporary interim SALT accord. But while Nixon understood the need to get Congress’s formal approval, the Obama White House refuses to note even the existence of Mr. Corker’s proposed up-or-down vote on an Iran deal.

When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and amid the Iranian hostage crisis, President Carter withdrew the SALT II treaty with the Soviets, knowing the Senate would never ratify it. During the Reagan years, Senators were preoccupied with nuclear verification and compliance. How, the Senators asked, would we know if the Soviets were cheating, and what would we do about it if they did cheat?

As the Reagan team pressed in 1987 for ratification of the INF treaty on medium-range nuclear weapons, Senator Sam Nunn, then the Democratic chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said, “We are going to have a major debate on verification, in the context of both this agreement and the next one.” Leading national-security figures testified in hearings, all of it covered and debated in major newspapers and television. It was a valuable exercise in American governance. The Senate ratified INF in May 1988, 93-5.

George H.W. Bush concluded the START treaty on longer-range nuclear weapons in 1991, which the Senate also ratified, as it did START II in 1996 under Bill Clinton.

Barack Obama’s Iran project is the outlier in the history of arms control. His insistence that no one may interfere in his negotiations has only increased misgivings in Congress about the details. If Mr. Obama were pursuing the traditional route to gain approval of an Iran agreement, exposing it to formal public debate and a vote, there would have been no need for Speaker John Boehner to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress.

Details matter. The Defense Intelligence Agency in its annual threat assessment last February said, “In addition to its growing missile and rocket inventories, Iran is seeking to enhance lethality and effectiveness of existing systems with improvements in accuracy and warhead designs.”

Missile delivery systems and warhead design were make-or-break issues during arms agreements with the Soviet Union. In Mr. Obama’s negotiations with Iran, they are virtually non-subjects.
***

Senators Menendez, Corker and Mark Kirk have led the effort for more accountability on an Iranian arms deal. President Obama’s response is a threat to veto any advice or consent the Senate may enact that doesn’t simply assent to whatever he signs. What an irony that his unilateral point man is former Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry .

This new Senate needs to re-establish its traditional role in letting the American people know what is in—and what is not in—these deals with the next generation of nations seeking nuclear bombs.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #310 on: February 15, 2015, 10:11:59 AM »

http://pamelageller.com/2015/02/washpost-exposes-obamas-disastrous-iran-nuclear-weapons-deal-point-by-horrible-point.html/
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« Reply #311 on: February 24, 2015, 11:27:46 AM »

GENEVA—The U.S. and Iran are exploring a nuclear deal that would keep Tehran from amassing enough material to make a bomb for at least a decade, but could then allow it to gradually build up its capabilities again.

Such a deal would represent a significant compromise by the U.S., which had sought to restrain Tehran’s nuclear activities for as long as 20 years. Tehran has insisted on no more than a 10-year freeze.

The possible compromise on the table appears closer to Tehran’s timeline. While it would add some years in which the Iranian nuclear program continues to be closely monitored and constrained, Iran would be able to increase its capacity to enrich uranium, and thus get closer to bomb-making capability again.

Critics in Congress and in Israel quickly attacked the prospect of a 10-year time frame as inadequate.

After four days of talks in Geneva, a senior U.S. official on Monday said there had been welcome progress toward a deal, while giving no specifics about its timeline.

The U.S. has been pushing for a freeze that would establish a period of time during which Iran would remain at least 12 months away from being able to fuel an atomic bomb—a so-called breakout period. Asked if Iran must accept that breakout period through the lifetime of an accord, the person signaled that may not be necessary.

“We have always said that we would have a one-year breakout time for a double-digit number of years and that remains the case,” the official said.

That suggests a period of as little as 10 years. When pressed, the official declined to elaborate.  Such a compromise could allow Iran to portray the major restrictions on its nuclear program at home as lasting only 10 years—an upper limit Iranian officials have mentioned before. Iran says its nuclear program is a purely civilian, peaceful one.  
It also could break the impasse over how many centrifuges—machines for enriching uranium—Tehran would be allowed under a deal. If Iran can expand its activities, it could start with fewer centrifuges and then be allowed to operate more over time.  The U.S. and its global partners could argue that Tehran’s activities will remain under significant international oversight and with some constraints for much longer.

U.S. lawmakers have said they’re going to closely scrutinize any agreement with Tehran and try to force a vote in Congress on it. A deal that allows Tehran to maintain a sizable capacity to enrich uranium, and to eventually be freed to pursue a broader nuclear program, is expected to face fierce opposition.  The Obama administration maintains that it doesn’t need congressional approval for the deal because it isn’t a treaty, although Congress would have to vote to lift some of the sanctions it has imposed on Iran over the years.

Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) said in an interview that a 10-year time frame wasn’t long enough to truly curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

“If you’re going to do all of this and then just end up with a 10-year agreement, you just really haven’t accomplished near what people had hoped,” said Mr. Corker, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Such a time frame would be “very concerning,” he added. “About the time they’re beginning to do what they should be doing, they’d be out from under the regime.”

The Israeli government has been a leading critic of the talks, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday warned were destined to end in a “dangerous” deal.
On Monday, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said Israel considers the negotiations “totally unsatisfactory” because it would allow Iran to be “extremely close” to a “dangerous breakout program.”  Referring to the latest suggested compromise, he said, “for a 10-year delay [in Iran’s nuclear program] you are sacrificing the future of Israel and the U.S., and the future of the world.”

Mr. Netanyahu will travel to Washington next week to make his case against the diplomacy. He is due to deliver a speech to Congress on March 3, at the same time U.S. and Iranian diplomats will be back in Europe seeking to advance work on a deal. The two sides are aiming to complete a framework deal by late March and have a full, detailed agreement by a June 30 deadline.

U.S. lawmakers have threatened to impose fresh sanctions on Iran if the March deadline is missed—a step that could scuttle the diplomacy.

The talks in Geneva were attended by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and, for the first time, by U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. They met Sunday evening and Monday with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and the head of Iran’s atomic agency Ali Akbar Salehi.

Both sides said the expansion of the negotiations to other top-level officials aimed at cutting through the remaining complex issues.

“These were very serious, useful and constructive discussions. We have made some progress though we still have a long way to go,” the senior U.S. official said.

Mr. Zarif was quoted by Iranian state media as saying: “We have made progress on some topics to some extent, but there is still a long way to go before reaching a final deal.”

Russia’s deputy foreign minister and chief Iran negotiator, Sergei Ryabkov, reflected a palpable sense of optimism around the decade long talks. “Confidence is growing a deal can be reached,” he said.

Iran negotiates over the future of its nuclear program with the U.S., France, the U.K., Germany, Russia and China.

Western officials said a phased structure could apply in other areas as well, such as when international sanctions on Iran will be lifted, or when Iran could resume nuclear research. Still, Western diplomats insisted that real differences remained.

The concerns about Iran’s research work are a threat to any agreement on the enrichment issue. If Tehran is able to develop far more powerful centrifuges, Iran would be able to produce enough nuclear material for a bomb in less than a year.  

“The U.S. has gone a long way” toward accepting Iran’s position, said David Albright, who heads the Institute for Science and International Security, a think tank that has advised Congress. “If they don’t address these issues in some way, then this deal isn’t doable.”

—Joshua Mitnick in Tel Aviv and Michael R. Crittenden in Washington contributed to this article.

Write to Laurence Norman at laurence.norman@wsj.com
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« Last Edit: February 24, 2015, 11:35:55 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
ccp
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« Reply #312 on: February 25, 2015, 06:55:27 AM »

First if anyone actually believes it will take Iran 10 yrs to get a bomb must not have been reading the news the last 10 yrs.
If anyone thinks we will be able to contain them for 10 yrs must also have not been reading anything the last decade.

This reminds me of the handling of our economy.  Keep throwing money at the debt and hope we can keep pushing off the inevitable because something totally unforeseen or unexpected will miraculously come out of know where to save us.

Nonetheless the Dem party will naturally rally round their guy to promote this as some sort of gigantic ingenious breakthrough giving the Nobel Peace Prize winner infinite praise and a earned monument in the pantheon of the world's great leaders.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #313 on: February 25, 2015, 10:26:56 AM »

https://consortiumnews.com/2012/06/06/bush-blocked-iran-nuke-deal/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #314 on: February 27, 2015, 06:09:06 PM »

White House-Netanyahu Rift Isn’t Over the Speech, but the Deal
By Gerald F. Seib
Updated Feb. 27, 2015 2:55 p.m. ET
WSJ

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads to Washington for a controversial speech to Congress next week, the immediate problem isn’t that he and the Obama administration disagree. At the moment, the problem actually is that they seem to agree on this: As things stand now, the Israeli leader is virtually certain to oppose and try to block the deal the U.S. is negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program.

That is a change, and a significant one, from just a few months ago, when it seemed possible there could be a negotiated deal that both Mr. Netanyahu and President Barack Obama could embrace, if not exactly love. This change is why Mr. Netanyahu thinks it’s worth undermining his entire relationship with an American president by making a speech the White House didn’t know about and fumed about once it became known. And it’s why the White House has taken on Mr. Netanyahu so directly.

In short, the real sticking point isn’t the speech; the sticking point is the deal.

All of which raises a broader question: Does it have to be this way, or is there still hope of closing the rift? Despite all the tension, the possibility of common ground may not have disappeared entirely.

But first consider the immediate situation in Washington, where the controversy in coming days will be more about a speech rather than the substance of the Iran question. By now, the saga is well known. Republican House Speaker John Boehner went around the Democratic White House to invite Mr. Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress about the threat from Iran. The speech will come two weeks before Mr. Netanyahu is running for a new term at home, and three weeks before the deadline for the talks the U.S. and five other world powers are holding with Iran over a possible deal to curb its nuclear program.

The White House was miffed. Very. But not, as is commonly assumed, simply because the speech represented a breach of diplomatic protocol, in which world leaders deal with each other rather than through their countries’ respective opposition parties.

The deeper cause for concern within the administration was a feeling that the speech means Mr. Netanyahu has concluded that there is no version of the deal currently being negotiated with Iran that he can endorse—and that he is embarked on a strategy of using his strong connections with Republicans in Congress to find a way to use the legislative branch to block an agreement negotiated by the executive branch.

“He’s advocating against any deal. That’s just not diplomacy,” a senior administration official said. “And he’s not putting forward an alternative deal.”

Little that Mr. Netanyahu has done in recent weeks suggests otherwise. He said this week that it appears the “world powers” negotiating with Iran “have given up” on their commitment to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

In a nutshell, here’s the substantive disagreement. The administration believes the deal it’s negotiating will reduce Iran’s capacity to enrich uranium so much that Tehran’s leaders would need a year to break out of the agreement and produce enough fissile material to build a bomb—sufficient time to allow the U.S. and its allies to stop any such breakout. Mr. Netanyahu thinks that the residual enrichment capability granted Iran would still leave it as a threshold nuclear state, and would in any case be too large to adequately monitor and inspect with any certainty.

There was a time, not long ago, when Mr. Netanyahu appeared to be pleased enough with the economic pressure the U.S. and the West were putting on Iran that he thought it might produce a deal he considered good enough. By all appearances, that’s what has changed.

Is there any alternative to this impasse? Dennis Ross, a Middle East diplomat under several American presidents, including Mr. Obama, thinks there might be. He suggests a new kind of anywhere, any-time inspections regime, enshrined in both a deal and legislation passed by Congress. If that legislation also mandated explicit consequences for Iranian violations, including use of military force, it might create the kind of American assurance Mr. Netanyahu could accept.

“There is a way to bridge the difference,” Mr. Ross says. Next week, though, that may be hard to see.

Write to Gerald F. Seib at jerry.seib@wsj.com
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #315 on: February 27, 2015, 06:24:35 PM »

second post

WSJ

Iran on the Nuclear Edge
Official leaks suggest the U.S. is making ever more concessions.
Secretary of State John Kerry testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, before the House Appropriations subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Agencies. ENLARGE
Secretary of State John Kerry testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, before the House Appropriations subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Agencies. Photo: Associated Press
Feb. 27, 2015 6:44 p.m. ET
4 COMMENTS

Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress this week that no one should pre-judge a nuclear deal with Iran because only the negotiators know what’s in it. But the truth is that the framework of an accord has been emerging thanks to Administration leaks to friendly journalists. The leaks suggest the U.S. has already given away so much that any deal on current terms will put Iran on the cusp of nuclear-power status.

The latest startling detail is Monday’s leak that the U.S. has conceded to Iran’s demand that an agreement would last as little as a decade, perhaps with an additional five-year phase-out. After that Iran would be allowed to build its uranium enrichment capabilities to whatever size it wants. In theory it would be forbidden from building nuclear weapons, but by then all sanctions would have long ago been lifted and Iran would have the capability to enrich on an industrial scale.

On Wednesday Mr. Kerry denied that a deal would include the 10-year sunset, though he offered no details. We would have more sympathy for his desire for secrecy if the Administration were not simultaneously leaking to its media Boswells while insisting that Congress should have no say over whatever agreement emerges.

The sunset clause fits the larger story of how far the U.S. and its allies have come to satisfy Iran’s demands. The Administration originally insisted that Iran should not be able to enrich uranium at all. Later it mooted a symbolic enrichment capacity of perhaps 500 centrifuges. Last July people close to the White House began talking about 3,000. By October the Los Angeles Times reported that Mr. Kerry had raised the ceiling to 4,000.

Now it’s 6,000, and the Administration line is that the number doesn’t matter; only advanced centrifuges count. While quality does matter, quantity can have a quality all its own. The point is that Iran will be allowed to retain what amounts to a nuclear-weapons industrial capacity rather than dismantle all of it as the U.S. first demanded.

Mr. Kerry also says that any deal will have intrusive inspections, yet he has a habit of ignoring Iran’s noncompliance with agreements it has already signed. Last November he insisted that “Iran has lived up” to its commitments under the 2013 interim nuclear agreement.

Yet even then Iran was testing advanced centrifuge models in violation of the agreement, according to a report from the nonpartisan Institute for Science and International Security. In December the U.N. Security Council noted that Iran continued to purchase illicit materials for its reactor in Arak, a heavy-water facility that gives Tehran a path to a plutonium-based bomb.

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported last week that Iran was continuing to stonewall the U.N. nuclear watchdog about the “possible military dimensions” of its nuclear program. On Tuesday an exiled Iranian opposition group that first disclosed the existence of Tehran’s illicit nuclear sites in 2002 claimed it had uncovered another illicit enrichment site near Tehran called “Lavizan-3.” The charge isn’t proven, but Iran’s record of building secret nuclear facilities is a matter of public record.

As for the idea that the IAEA or Western intelligence agencies could properly monitor Iran’s compliance, a report last year from the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board is doubtful. “At low levels associated with small or nascent [nuclear] programs, key observables are easily masked,” the board noted.

This is significant since the Administration insists that any deal will give the U.S. at least one year to detect and stop an Iranian “breakout” effort to build a bomb. Iran’s ballistic missile programs aren’t even part of the negotiations, though there is no reason to build such missiles other than to deliver a bomb.

The Administration’s emerging justification for these concessions, also coming in leaks, is that a nuclear accord will become the basis for a broader rapprochement with Iran that will stabilize the Middle East. As President Obama said in December, Iran can be “a very successful regional power.”

That is some gamble on a regime that continues to sponsor terrorist groups around the world, prop up the Assad regime in Syria, use proxies to overthrow the Yemen government, jail U.S. reporter Jason Rezaian on trumped-up espionage charges, and this week blew up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier in naval exercises near the Strait of Hormuz.
***

Given how bad this deal is shaping up to be, it’s not surprising that U.S. allies are speaking out against it. “We prefer a collapse of the diplomatic process to a bad deal,” one Arab official told the Journal last week. Saudi Arabia has also made clear that it might acquire nuclear capabilities in response—precisely the kind of proliferation Mr. Obama has vowed to prevent.

No wonder many in Congress want to hear Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week. They look at all of this public evidence and understandably fear that the U.S. is walking into a new era of nuclear proliferation with eyes wide shut.
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« Reply #316 on: March 02, 2015, 11:47:51 AM »

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/414515/fatal-flaw-iran-deal-charles-krauthammer?utm_campaign=trueAnthem%3A+Trending+Content&utm_content=54f0a99c15bb3b5305000001&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=facebook
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« Reply #317 on: March 07, 2015, 10:02:34 AM »

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/ayatollah-tells-air-force-we-enriched-uranium-20-commanders-death-0

CNSNews.com) - In a speech delivered last month to commanders and other personnel in the Iranian Air Force, whom he described as “officials who have very sensitive occupations,” Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei—Iran’s Supreme Leader and commander in chief—boasted that Iran had enriched uranium to the 20-percent level.

At the same time, the Supreme Leader noted that his government had agreed to shut down its production of 20-percent enriched uranium “for a while” in its effort to reach a deal with United States and other foreign powers that would include lifting the sanctions now imposed on his country.

“It was a very great achievement to produce 20-percent uranium,” the ayatollah told a Feb. 8 Iranian Air Force gathering, according to a transcript posted on his website.

“Those who are experts on this matter know that producing 20 percent from 5 percent is much more significant than producing uranium which is higher than 20 percent,” he said. “However, our youth and our committed scientists did so.”

A report published last month by the Congressional Research Service explains why Iran’s efforts to produce uranium enriched to the 20 percent level is a problem.

“LEU used in nuclear power reactors typically contains less than 5% uranium-235,” said CRS, “research reactor fuel can be made using 20% uranium-235; HEU used in nuclear weapons typically contains about 90% uranium-235.”

“Iran’s production of LEU enriched to the 20% level has caused concern because such production requires approximately 90% of the effort necessary to produce weapons-grade HEU, which, as noted, contains approximately 90% uranium-235,” said CRS.

“Tehran argues that it is enriching uranium for use as fuel in nuclear power reactors and nuclear research reactors,” said CRS.

In his speech to the Air Force commanders, the ayatollah followed his assertion that Iran had been able to enrich uranium to the 20 percent level by accusing the U.S. and its allies of being “greedy” in negotiations for a nuclear deal and asserting that the “Iranian nation will not submit to greed and tyranny.”

The audience of Air Force commanders and other personnel responded to this with a chant, according to an English-language transcript produced by BBC Worldwide Monitoring and available through Nexis.

“Allah Akbar [God is great],” they chanted, according to the BBC transcript. “Khamenei is the leader. Death to the enemies of the leadership. Death to America. Death to England. Death to hypocrites. Death to Israel.”

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has testified in Congress that Iran has the technical capability to build a nuclear weapon and that whether it does so will be personally decided by Ayatollah Khamenei.

“Clearly, Tehran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity to produce them, so the central issue is its political will to do so,” Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 18, 2013. “Such a decision, we believe, will be made by the Supreme Leader, and at this point we don't know if he'll eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.”

Then-Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin asked Clapper: “Have they made a decision, in your assessment, to produce nuclear weapons?”

“They have not,” said Clapper. “We continue to hold that they have not yet made that decision. And that decision would be made singly by the Supreme Leader.”

Clapper echoed this assessment in another Senate Armed Services Committee hearing held last week.

“Iran will face many of the same decision points in 2015 as it did in 2014,” he said. “Foremost is whether the Supreme Leader will agree to a nuclear deal. He wants sanctions relief but, at the same time, to preserve his options on nuclear capabilities.”

“We believe the supreme leader would be the ultimate decision maker here,” Clapper said. “As far as we know, he's not made a decision to go for a nuclear weapon.

“I do think they certainly want to preserve options across the capabilities it would take to build one,” Clapper said. “But right now they don't have one, and have not made that decision.”

At a background briefing sponsored by the White House on Sept. 25, 2009, “senior administration officials” explained that Iran had twice been caught secretly constructing a facility for enriching uranium—first at Natanz and then at Qom. One of the officials at this briefing explained why the administration believed the second facility appeared particularly designed to produce enriched uranium not for peaceful use but for a weapon.

“[T]he Iranian nuclear issue first became public back in 2002, when it was revealed that Iran was building a secret underground enrichment facility, which we now know as the Natanz facility,” a senior administration official said at that briefing. “Once the Iranians were caught building the secret underground enrichment facility with centrifuge machines in it, they were forced to declare the facility, to allow the IAEA inspectors to inspect the facility and to place it under safeguards.”

“So the obvious option for Iran would be to build another secret underground enrichment facility, and our intelligence services, working in very close cooperation with our allies, for the past several years have been looking for such a facility,” said the senior administration official. “And not surprisingly, we found one. So we have known for some time now that Iran was building a second underground enrichment facility. And as the president mentioned this morning, it's located [at Fordo] near the city of Qom, a very heavily protected, very heavily disguised facility.”

“Our information is that the facility is designed to hold about 3,000 centrifuge machines,” said this senior administration official. “Now, that's not a large enough number to make any sense from a commercial standpoint. It cannot produce a significant quantity of low-enriched uranium. But if you want to use the facility in order to produce a small amount of weapons-grade uranium, enough for a bomb or two a year, it's the right size. And our information is that the Iranians began this facility with the intent that it be secret, and therefore giving them an option of producing weapons-grade uranium without the international community knowing about it.”

Another problematic Iranian nuclear project is a heavy-water reactor it is building at Arak.

“Iran is constructing a heavy water-moderated reactor at Arak, which, according to Tehran, is intended to produce radioisotopes for medical use,” said the CRS report published last month.

“The Arak reactor is a proliferation concern because heavy water reactors produce spent fuel containing plutonium better suited for nuclear weapons than plutonium produced by light water moderated reactors,” said the CRS report.

In his speech last month to his Air Force commanders, Ayatollah Khamenei first stressed that he supported a nuclear deal that is “workable.” He then went on to praise Iran’s achievement in enriching uranium to the 20 percent level and hailed the construction of the Arak reactor and the Fordo uranium enrichment facilty.

“I want to say that first of all, I consent to an agreement that is workable,” said the ayatollah, according to the translation of his speech posted on his official website. “Of course, I do not mean a bad agreement. The Americans constantly repeat, 'We believe that making no agreement is better than making a bad one.' We too have the same opinion. We too believe that making no agreement is better than making an agreement that is to the disadvantage of national interests, one that leads to the humiliation of the great and magnificent people of Iran.”

In mentioning that the Arak and Fordo facilities had been closed—which was done as part of the temporary agreement (or “Joint Plan of Action”) that Iran made with the United States, France, the United Kingdom, German, Russia and China, the ayatollah stressed that these facilities were closed “for now”---according to the translation posted on his own website.

“The Iranian side has done whatever it could to reach an agreement,” the ayatollah said. “It has done many things: it has stopped developing enrichment machines. Well, it deemed it necessary to stop these machines for a while. It has stopped producing 20-percent uranium which is a very great feat. It was a very great achievement to produce 20-percent uranium.”

“Those who are experts on this matter know that producing 20 percent from 5 percent is much more significant than producing uranium which is higher than 20 percent,” said the ayatollah. “However, our youth and our committed scientists did so.

"In any case," he said, "the Iranian side stopped this because negotiations required it. The Iranians have closed the Arak Factory--which was a very great achievement and a very important innovation in the area of technology--for now. They have closed--for now--Fordo which is one of the best innovations made by our domestic forces for the sake of ensuring the security of our centrifuges. They have achieved so many great tasks. Therefore, the Iranian side has acted in a reasonable way. It has acted according to the requirements of negotiation."

Toward the end of his speech, the ayatollah indicated that his over-arching goal is to have sanctions lifted from Iran.

“Everything that is done is for the sake of taking the weapon and option of sanctions away from the enemy's hands,” he said.

“However, if they fail to make such an agreement, the people of Iran, officials, the honorable administration and others have many different options,” the ayatollah said.

“By Allah's favor,” he said, “the people of Iran will show on the 22nd of Bahman, that those who want to humiliate the people of Iran will face their counterblow.”

According to the BBC, 22nd of Bahman—or February 11—is the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution.

At this point in the BBC transcript of the speech, the audience of Iranian Air Force commanders and other personnel repeated the chant they had made earlier in the speech: “Allah Akbar. Khamenei is the Leader. Death to the enemies of the leadership. Death to America. Death to England. Death to hypocrites. Death to Israel.”
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« Reply #318 on: March 07, 2015, 02:33:57 PM »

If it isn't obvious by now that there is only one way to stop them?

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« Reply #319 on: March 08, 2015, 10:30:23 AM »

If it isn't obvious by now that there is only one way to stop them?



Our president doesn't want to stop them.
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« Reply #320 on: March 10, 2015, 05:02:26 AM »

The Senate’s Iran Distraction
Republicans should focus on persuading the American people.
March 9, 2015 7:39 p.m. ET
43 COMMENTS

President Obama ’s looming nuclear deal with Iran may be the security blunder of the young century, and Congress should vote on it. Which is why it’s too bad that Republican Senators took their eye off that ball on Monday with a letter to the government of Iran.

Forty-seven of the 54 GOP Senators signed the open letter addressed to “the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” The letter explained to Tehran’s non-democratic rulers that “under our Constitution,” while the President negotiates international agreements, “Congress plays the significant role of ratifying them.”


Mr. Obama predictably denounced the letter as an attempt to undermine the talks, which are reaching their third deadline. “I think it’s somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hardliners in Iran,” he told reporters. “It’s an unusual coalition.”

Equating elected Senators with the Revolutionary Guard Corps is itself a political stunt, but that’s how Mr. Obama plays. He also partly brought this intervention on himself by freezing out Congress and declaring that he’ll veto any attempt to vote on the pact. As usual, he wants to rule by executive fiat.

The problem with the GOP letter is that it’s a distraction from what should be the main political goal of persuading the American people. Democratic votes will be needed if the pact is going to be stopped, and even to get the 67 votes to override a veto of the Corker-Menendez bill to require such a vote. Monday’s letter lets Mr. Obama change the subject to charge that Republicans are playing politics as he tries to make it harder for Democrats to vote for Corker-Menendez.

The security stakes couldn’t be higher if Mr. Obama enables a new age of nuclear proliferation, and Republicans need to keep focused on a critique of the deal’s substance. Giving Mr. Obama a meaningless letter to shoot at detracts from that debate.
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« Reply #321 on: March 10, 2015, 07:39:46 AM »

Someone called into the Mark Levin radio broadcast and brought up an excellent point.  The US government has severe restrictions on peaceful use of nuclear power here in our country yet they support the use of nuclear power in Iran.

Anyone see a contradiction?
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« Reply #322 on: March 10, 2015, 10:16:15 AM »

Someone called into the Mark Levin radio broadcast and brought up an excellent point.  The US government has severe restrictions on peaceful use of nuclear power here in our country yet they support the use of nuclear power in Iran.
Anyone see a contradiction?

Isn't that a great observation! 
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« Reply #323 on: March 10, 2015, 01:49:52 PM »



Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the open letter from 47 U.S. Republican senators to Iranian leaders on the nuclear negotiations a “propaganda ploy” and suggested the senators do not understand the U.S. Constitution.

The Iranian foreign ministry posted a summary of Zarif’s comments on the letter, paraphrasing him expressing astonishment that lawmakers would write to leaders of a foreign country:

    He pointed out that from reading the open letter, it seems that the authors not only do not understand international law, but are not fully cognizant of the nuances of their own Constitution when it comes to presidential powers in the conduct of foreign policy.

“In our view, this letter has no legal value and is mostly a propaganda ploy,” Zarif said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrives to the Iraqi capital Baghdad on February 24, 2015 to hold a press conference with Arab country's officials. (Sabah Arar/AFP/Getty Images)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrives in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, Feb. 24, 2015. (Sabah Arar/AFP/Getty Images)

The foreign minister said that “according to international law, Congress may not modify the terms of the agreement at any time as they claim, and if Congress adopts any measure to impede its implementation, it will have committed a material breach of U.S. obligations.”

“The authors may not fully understand that in international law, governments represent the entirety of their respective states, are responsible for the conduct of foreign affairs, are required to fulfill the obligations they undertake with other states and may not invoke their internal law as justification for failure to perform their international obligations,” Zarif said.

“Change of administration does not in any way relieve the next administration from international obligations undertaken by its predecessor in a possible agreement about Iran’s peaceful nuclear program,” he said. “I wish to enlighten the authors that if the next administration revokes any agreement with the ‘stroke of a pen,’ as they boast, it will have simply committed a blatant violation of international law.”

The foreign minister referred to the senators as one of the “political pressure groups.”

“It is very interesting that while negotiations are still in progress and while no agreement has been reached, some political pressure groups are so afraid even of the prospect of an agreement that they resort to unconventional methods, unprecedented in diplomatic history,” Zarif said, according to the foreign ministry.

Almost half the Senate and nearly every Republican on Monday placed their name on the letter warning Iranian leaders that it’s the role of Congress to approve international treaties, and that any executive agreement reached could be undone by the next president.

“We will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei,” they wrote in the letter to Iran. “The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”

President Barack Obama on Monday accused those who signed the letter of making “common cause” with Iranian hardliners.

“I think it’s somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hardliners in Iran,” Obama said.

Vice President Joe Biden on Monday night issued a statement blasting the Republicans, saying the letter was “expressly designed to undercut a sitting president in the midst of sensitive international negotiations” and “beneath the dignity” of the Senate.
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« Reply #324 on: March 15, 2015, 10:38:36 AM »

 Nuclear Deterrence Is Relevant Again
Geopolitical Diary
March 13, 2015 | 01:11 GMT
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U.S. Adm. William Gortney, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, warned Congress in written testimony Thursday of the threat posed by Russian bombers and missiles. Having written yesterday about the uncertainty in Moscow surrounding the status of Russian President Vladimir Putin, we deemed it worthwhile to consider Gortney's testimony more seriously than we might under other circumstances.

Gortney wrote: "Russian heavy bombers flew more out-of-area patrols in 2014 than in any year since the Cold War. We have also witnessed improved interoperability between Russian long-range aviation and other elements of the Russian military, including air and maritime intelligence collection platforms positioned to monitor NORAD responses." The patrols help to train Russian air crews, but some are "clearly intended to underscore Moscow's global reach and communicate its displeasure with Western policies, particularly with regard to Ukraine."

"Russia is progressing toward its goal of deploying long-range, conventionally-armed cruise missiles with ever increasing stand-off launch distances on its heavy bombers, submarines and surface combatants," Gortney said. "Should these trends continue, over time NORAD will face increased risk in our ability to defend North America against Russian air, maritime, and cruise missile threats."

What is a Geopolitical Diary? George Friedman Explains.

We are again focusing on the changing concerns and rhetoric of all parties. Statements such as this would have been unthinkable a few years ago. While we understand that the head of NORAD is charged with monitoring the threats — and that may distort his outlook — and while we accept that testimony to Congress involves the important matter of the budget, it is still important to take this statement seriously.

The question is how seriously? The Russians still have their nuclear capability from the Cold War. We will assume that at least some, perhaps most, of the missiles and warheads have been maintained in operational condition. In any case, the Russians retain a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile capability, and can strike the United States, with the only counter being a strike on Russia.

A Russian Foreign Ministry official reminded the world of this fact in a comment to Russian media outlet Interfax on Wednesday. Referencing Moscow's right to deploy nuclear weapons in Crimea, Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the ministry's Department on Arms Control, said, "I don't know if there are nuclear weapons there now. I don't know about any plans, but in principle Russia can do it."

It has long been taken for granted that the nuclear balance was not relevant, and indeed it hasn't been. During the Cold War, the most likely scenario for the use of nuclear weapons would have been that the Soviets would have attacked Germany, overwhelming it and moving toward the channel ports. With no conventional option for the United States in response, the United States would have lived up to its pledge to protect Europe with nuclear weapons.

There were other scenarios for nuclear war, including the spasmodic launching of all missiles in each arsenal. That was unlikely, however, because it invoked mutual assured destruction. It was never clear to us why a nuclear strike at the Soviet Union would have stopped a Soviet advance, or why it would not have triggered a spasmodic Russian strike. Indeed, it was never clear that the United States would have used nuclear weapons under any circumstances. Charles de Gaulle used to argue that the United States could not be relied on to risk American cities to protect Europe. He may well have been right.

For Russia's part, there were also discussions of using nuclear weapons to facilitate a conventional advance. Russian ground forces during the Cold War practiced intensively, and in fact still do occasionally, on operating in contaminated areas following a nuclear strike that would have severely weakened enemy positions. In such a case, of course, a conventional conflict would quickly have escalated by inviting a nuclear response from the United States.

The point of it all was that the Soviets could not be certain of what the Americans would do in response to a nuclear strike, so the U.S. nuclear threat served, along with other factors, to deter a Soviet invasion. The Russians are now concerned, rightly or wrongly, that a U.S. presence in Ukraine might threaten Russia's territorial integrity. The U.S. response — that the United States does not intend to insert massive force into Ukraine in the first place, and in the second place does not intend to invade Russia — does not soothe Russian war planners. They see the United States much as the United States sees Russia: unpredictable, ruthless and dangerous.

To assure themselves that they can deter the United States, particularly given their conventional weaknesses, they have several times publicly reminded the Americans that in engaging Russia, they are engaging a peer nuclear adversary. The various missions that Gortney has cited simply represent an extension of that capability.

We have come a long way to reach the point where Russia chooses to assert its strategic nuclear capability, and where the commander of NORAD regards this capability as a significant risk. But the point is that we have come far indeed in the past year. For the Russians, the overthrow of the government in Ukraine was a threat to their national security. What the Russians did in Ukraine is seen as a threat at least to U.S. interests.

In the old Cold War, both sides used their nuclear capability to check conventional conflicts. The Russians at this point appear to be at least calling attention to their nuclear capability. Unconnected to this, to be sure, is Putin's odd absence. In a world where nuclear threats are returning to prominence, the disappearance of one side's commander-in-chief is more worrisome than it would be at other times.
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« Reply #325 on: March 16, 2015, 10:12:36 AM »

Why the ‘Nuclear Utopians’ Are Wrong
Unilaterally reducing or eliminating America’s nuclear arsenal will not make the world a safer place.
An unarmed Trident II D5 missile launches from USS Nevada. ENLARGE
An unarmed Trident II D5 missile launches from USS Nevada. Photo: Getty Images/Stocktrek Images
By
Keith B. Payne
March 15, 2015 6:17 p.m. ET
135 COMMENTS

A debate over the future of the U.S. nuclear arsenal is at a pivotal moment. Last month the Obama administration proposed a budget that calls for modernization of the “nuclear triad” of missiles, submarines and bombers. This is crucial because since the end of the Cold War the U.S. nuclear arsenal has been cut by 80% and after decades of neglect each leg of the triad is aging.

Nevertheless, the Defense Department’s $15.9 billion nuclear modernization budget for fiscal year 2016, up slightly from 2015, has met strong disapproval from analysts and others whom I call nuclear utopians. This group insists that the U.S. should delay or skip modernization, make further deep reductions in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, or even eliminate it.

By contrast, nuclear realists believe that, given the belligerence of Russia and China and their buildup of nuclear forces, prudence now demands that the U.S. modernize and make no further reductions below those already scheduled in the 2010 New Start Treaty. The congressional defense-budget hearings now under way will have far-reaching implications for U.S. national security and international order.

Nuclear utopians tend to believe that international cooperation, not nuclear deterrence, has prevented nuclear war since World War II. As Rose Gottemoeller, U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control, claimed in a speech last month: “We have been spared that fate because we created an intricate and essential system of treaties, laws and agreements.” The U.S. can lead the world toward nuclear reductions, the utopian thinking goes, by showing that Washington no longer relies on nuclear weapons and seeks no new capabilities.

This U.S. example, says George Perkovich of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, will “induce parallel” behavior in others. But if the U.S. attributes continuing value to nuclear weapons by maintaining its arsenal, says Stephen Young of the Union of Concerned Scientists, “other countries will be more inclined to seek” them. In short, the U.S. cannot expect others to forgo nuclear weapons if it retains them.

Nuclear realists respond that the U.S. already has cut its tactical nuclear weapons from a few thousand in 1991 to a few hundred today, while deployed strategic nuclear weapons have been cut to roughly 1,600 accountable weapons from an estimated 9,000 in 1992, with more reductions planned under New Start. Robert Joseph, a former undersecretary of state for arms control, notes that these reductions “appear to have had no moderating effect on Russian, Chinese or North Korean nuclear programs. Neither have U.S. reductions led to any effective strengthening of international nonproliferation efforts.”

Realists point out that foreign leaders base their decisions about nuclear weaponry largely on their perceived strategic needs, not in response to U.S. disarmament. Thus a close review of India by S. Paul Kapur, a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, concluded that “Indian leaders do not seek to emulate U.S. nuclear behavior; they formulate policy based primarily on their assessment of the security threats facing India.”

The same self-interested calculation is true for those nuclear and aspiring nuclear states that are of security concern to the U.S. They seek nuclear weapons to coerce their neighbors, including U.S. allies, and to counter U.S. conventional forces to gain a free hand to press their regional military ambitions.

Moreover, many U.S. allies have given up the nuclear option because America protects them with a “nuclear umbrella.” Some allies, including the Japanese and South Koreans, have said that if the U.S. nuclear umbrella loses credibility, they may consider getting their own. Further U.S. reductions may thus inspire nuclear proliferation.

Nuclear utopians and realists also perceive international relations differently. Utopians see an orderly system that functions predictably and increasingly amicably. Based on this perception they make two confident predictions.

The first is that U.S. deterrence will work reliably even with a relatively small nuclear arsenal, or even nuclear zero. In 2010 the authors of an essay in Foreign Affairs predicted confidently that a U.S. capability to retaliate “against only ten cities” would be adequate to deter Russia.

A second prediction is that differences between the U.S. and Russia or China will be resolved without regard to nuclear threats or capabilities. The 2012 report by the Global Zero Commission claimed that, “The risk of nuclear confrontation between the United States and either Russia or China belongs to the past, not the future.”

Nuclear realists have no confidence in these predictions. Before the nuclear age, great powers periodically came into intense conflict, and deterrence relying on conventional forces failed to prevent catastrophic wars. Since 1945, however, a powerful U.S. nuclear arsenal appears to have had a decisive effect in deterring the outbreak of World War III and containing regional crises and conflicts. Further deep U.S. reductions now would likely increase the risks of war, possibly including nuclear war.

Today as for millennia, international relations are fluid, unpredictable and dangerous. Russia’s shocking aggression in Europe is a cold reminder of this reality. In January prominent Russian journalist Alexander Golts warned, “The West has forgotten how it had used nuclear deterrence to coexist with the Soviet Union. Now it will have to open up that playbook once more.”

Further erosion of the U.S. nuclear arsenal would take decades to reverse, create fear among key allies, and inspire foes to challenge an America that appears less able to deter conflicts, nuclear or otherwise, in the hard times ahead. These are the stakes in the current debate over nuclear modernization.

Mr. Payne is the director of the Graduate School of Defense and Strategic Studies at Missouri State University, and a former deputy assistant secretary of defense.


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« Reply #326 on: March 16, 2015, 10:22:22 AM »

Second post

Obama’s Iran Jam
The White House wants the U.N. to vote but not the U.S. Congress.
March 15, 2015 6:44 p.m. ET
WSJ

One unfortunate side effect of last week’s letter from 47 GOP Senators to Iran is that it has helped the White House and its media friends obscure the far more important story—the degree to which President Obama is trying to prevent Congress from playing any meaningful role in assessing his one-man Iran deal.

Administration officials are huffing about Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton’s “unconstitutional” letter, but it’s only a letter and Congress has the right to free speech. If a mere letter from a minority of the Senate has the power to scuttle a deal with Iran, as Mr. Obama suggests it might, then maybe the deal is too fragile to be worth doing.

The real constitutional outlier here is Mr. Obama’s attempt to jam Congress so it’s irrelevant. That’s clear from a remarkable exchange of letters between Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker and White House chief of staff Denis McDonough.

Mr. Corker wrote March 12 asking the President to clarify comments by Vice President Joe Biden and others that an Iran deal could “take effect without congressional approval.” He also asked about media reports that “your administration is contemplating taking an agreement, or aspects of it, to the United Nations Security Council for a vote,” while threatening to veto legislation that would require Congress to vote.

Mr. McDonough replied for the President on the weekend in a letter that can only be described as an affront to Congress’s constitutional prerogatives. The chief of staff asked Mr. Corker to further delay his bipartisan legislation that would require a Senate vote within 60 days on any Iran deal. “The legislation would potentially prevent any deal from succeeding by suggesting that Congress must vote to ‘approve’ any deal, and by removing existing sanctions waiver authorities that have already been granted to the President,” he wrote.

So Mr. McDonough says Congress has “a role to play,” whatever that is, as long as it doesn’t interfere with what Mr. Obama wants. And once Congress grants Mr. Obama a waiver, it can never take that away even if Congress concludes that the President is misusing it.

The larger context here is that Mr. Obama is trying to make his Iran deal a fait accompli before Congress has any say. His plan is to strike a deal and submit it to the U.N. Security Council for approval, hemming in Congress. He’ll then waive some Iran sanctions on his own, while arguing that anyone who opposes the deal wants war.

Mr. McDonough’s letter includes a long list of previous agreements that “do not require congressional approval.” But the examples he cites are either minor accords or have had substantial bipartisan support. There is no precedent in the nuclear era for a President negotiating such a major arms-control accord without Congressional assent.

Mr. Obama might have avoided this showdown with Congress if he hadn’t treated America’s elected representatives as little more than a public nuisance. His minions have disclosed more details of the Iran talks to the media than to Congress. It’s little wonder that few Members of either party trust his negotiating skill or security judgment.

Mr. Corker has 65 supporters for his legislation, and he has already delayed it through March 24 at the request of Democrats. If he delays it any more, he risks conceding Mr. Obama’s desire to make Congress the irrelevant equivalent of the Iranian parliament.
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« Reply #327 on: March 18, 2015, 12:28:57 AM »

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2015/03/how-barack-obama-undercut-bush-administrations-nuclear-negotiations-with-iran.php
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #328 on: March 18, 2015, 07:01:58 AM »

 It has been an Iranian tradition since 1979 to end Friday prayers with chants of "Death to America!"

In a purely rational world, that would be all one needed to know that Iran is not a reliable negotiating partner. Alas, we do not live in such a world. But there's more evidence. Iran, according to our State Department, has been the chief exporter of terrorism for the last three decades. It has worked closely with al-Qaida, facilitating its attacks on America and our allies. Most of the Sept. 11 hijackers traveled through Iran with the help of the Iranian government. U.S. judges have ruled that Iran was an accomplice in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in East Africa and the Sept. 11 attacks. During the Iraq war, Iran was responsible for numerous American deaths.

And it's not like any of this is ancient history. Indeed, in 2012, the Treasury Department designated the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security as a major promoter of terrorism and violator of human rights.

Right now, via its brutal proxies, Iran is manipulating events on the ground in four Arab capitals -- Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus and Sanaa. Whatever success there has been against the Islamic State in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit has been thanks to Iranian advisors operating in Iraq and the Shiite Muslim militias they control. On Sunday's "Meet the Press," retired Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he fears Iran more than Islamic State.

So, obviously, the greatest villain in the world today is ... Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). He led the effort to get 46 other senators to sign a letter to the Iranian government explaining that any deal with Iran would require congressional approval.

The New York Daily News branded them all "TRAITORS" on its front page. Isn't it amazing how even vaguely questioning the patriotism of liberals is an outrage beyond the borders of acceptable debate, but branding 47 GOP senators "traitors" is treated as at least forgivable bombast? Retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton told the Washington Post they aren't traitors, they're merely "mutinous," revealing Eaton's shocking ignorance of our constitutional structure. Yes, Obama is the commander in chief of the armed forces, but he is not the commander in chief of the co-equal legislative branch.

Petitions are circling to have the senators carted off to jail under the Logan Act -- which bars unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments -- a ridiculously antiquated law that would never survive Supreme Court scrutiny today.

Moreover, if the Logan Act were taken seriously, many of the lions of the Democratic Party, including Ted Kennedy, Patrick Leahy, Nancy Pelosi and Robert Byrd, would have ended their careers behind bars. Why, John Kerry -- who recently denounced the Cotton letter as "unconstitutional" -- could show Cotton around the federal penitentiary, given Kerry's egregious meddling in Nicaragua during the Reagan administration.

Now, I should say that I think the senators made a mistake. They should have written an open letter to President Obama. The Iranians would still have gotten the message, but the White House and the punditocracy would have found it more difficult to rationalize their insane hissy fit. And contrary to countless outlets reporting that the Republicans "sent" this letter to the ayatollahs, they didn't send it anywhere. It was posted on Cotton's website.

The more important point here is that no one disagrees with the content of the letter because it is accurate. The White House had to admit that Cotton was right; the deal as it stands would be a "nonbinding" agreement. And, therefore, as the letter explains, "The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen."

(In fact, Obama did pretty much exactly that with an agreement struck between Israel and the United States about settlement growth in Palestinian territories.)

This premature admission is politically inconvenient for the Obama administration because it wants to get the United Nations to approve the deal, making it a fait accompli. It hoped to get to that point without anyone noticing.

The Cotton letter is not mutinous or traitorous or unconstitutional. It is inconvenient, and apparently being inconvenient in the age of Obama is all it takes to be called unpatriotic.
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« Reply #329 on: March 19, 2015, 01:35:39 AM »

I recall not long ago when dissent was the highest form of patriotism. Or so we were told.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #330 on: March 26, 2015, 03:50:05 AM »

*Subject: **US Reveals Israel's Nuclear Program*

 *_US Declassifies Document Revealing Israel's Nuclear Program_*
 Obama revenge for Netanyahu's Congress talk? 1987 report on Israel's
 top secret nuclear program released in unprecedented move.
 By Ari Yashar, Matt Wanderman
 First Publish: 3/25/2015, 8:00 PM

 In a development that has largely been missed by mainstream media, the
 Pentagon early last month quietly declassified a Department of Defense
 top-secret document detailing Israel's nuclear program, a highly
 covert topic that Israel has never formally announced to avoid a
 regional nuclear arms race, and which the US until now has respected
 by remaining silent.

 But by publishing the declassified document from 1987, the */US
 reportedly breached the silent agreement to keep quiet on Israel's
 nuclear powers for the first time ever, detailing the nuclear program
 in great depth./*

 The timing of the revelation is highly suspect, given that it came
 as*_tensions spiraled out of control_*

 <http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/193109>between Prime
 Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama ahead of
 Netanyahu's March 3 address in Congress, in which he warned against
 the dangers of Iran's nuclear program and how the deal being formed on
 that program leaves the Islamic regime with nuclear breakout
 capabilities.

 Another highly suspicious aspect of the document is that while the
 Pentagon saw fit to declassify sections on Israel's sensitive nuclear
 program, it _kept sections on Italy, France, West Germany and other
 NATO countries classified_, with those sections blocked out in the
 document.

 The 386-page report entitled "Critical Technological Assessment in
 Israel and NATO Nations" gives a detailed description of how Israel
 advanced its military technology and developed its nuclear
 infrastructure and research in the 1970s and 1980s.

 Israel is "developing the kind of codes which will enable them to make
 hydrogen bombs. That is, codes which detail fission and fusion
 processes on a microscopic and macroscopic level," reveals the report,
 stating that in the 1980s Israelis were reaching the ability to create
 bombs considered a thousand times more powerful than atom bombs.
 The revelation marks a first in which the US published in a document a
 description of how Israel attained hydrogen bombs.

 The report also notes research laboratories in Israel "are equivalent
 to our Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National
 Laboratories," the key labs in developing America's nuclear arsenal.
 Israel's nuclear infrastructure is "an almost exact parallel of the
 capability currently existing at our National Laboratories," it adds.
 "As far as nuclear technology is concerned the Israelis are roughly
 where the U.S. was in the fission weapon field in about 1955 to 1960,"
 the report reveals, noting a time frame just after America tested its
 first hydrogen bomb.

 Institute for Defense Analysis, a federally funded agency operating
 under the Pentagon, penned the report back in 1987.

 Aside from nuclear capabilities, the report revealed Israel at the
 time had "a totally integrated effort in systems development
 throughout the nation," with electronic combat all in one "integrated
 system, not separated systems for the Army, Navy and Air Force." It
 even acknowledged that in some cases, Israeli military technology "is
 more advanced than in the U.S."

 Declassifying the report comes at a sensitive timing as noted above,
 and given that the process to have it published was started three
 years ago, that timing is seen as having been the choice of the
 American government.

 US journalist Grant Smith petitioned to have the report published
 based on the Freedom of Information Act. Initially the Pentagon took
 its time answering, leading Smith to sue, and a District Court judge
 to order the Pentagon to respond to the request.

 Smith, who heads the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy,
 reportedly said he thinks this is the first time the US government has
 officially confirmed that Israel is a nuclear power, a status that
 Israel has long been widely known to have despite being undeclared.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #331 on: March 26, 2015, 04:04:06 AM »

Second post

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/03/25/iran-refuses-to-sign-written-nuclear-deal/
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