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Author Topic: Nuclear War, WMD issues  (Read 136858 times)
ccp
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« Reply #400 on: September 08, 2016, 02:42:21 PM »

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/state-letter-reveals-plan-u-s-legal-commitment-unratified-nuclear-treaty/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #401 on: September 09, 2016, 12:44:00 AM »

Please post in Sovereignty thread as well.
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« Reply #402 on: September 10, 2016, 08:00:03 PM »

North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test Friday, following three missile tests on Monday and about 20 so far this year. The accelerating pace of the Kim Jong Un regime’s nuclear and missile testing shows its determination to threaten Japan, South Korea and the U.S. homeland with nuclear weapons. The question is whether the West is capable of a more determined response.

Every nuclear test leaves forensic clues, and analysts are suggesting this was Pyongyang’s most successful, with an apparent yield of 10 kilotons. This is the North’s second test this year, suggesting it has an ample supply of nuclear material from its restarted plutonium reactor and enriched uranium.

The North said it tested a miniaturized nuclear warhead that could be placed on a missile. True or not, we know its scientists had access to a Chinese design for a partially miniaturized weapon through the proliferation network of Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan. The U.S. believes the North already has small enough warheads to fit on short-range missiles aimed at South Korea.

The North’s workhorse Nodong missile now has a range of more than 600 miles. In June it launched a medium-range Musudan missile from a road-mobile launcher, which makes it hard to detect and destroy. North Korea recently launched a missile from a submarine into the Sea of Japan at a range of 300 miles. This means Pyongyang now has a second-strike capability if the world tried a preventive attack to destroy its nuclear weapons.

A growing worry for the U.S. is the North’s new KN-08 intercontinental missile with the range to hit Chicago. In February the North used a similar rocket to launch a small satellite into space. Significant challenges remain, including a warhead that could withstand the vibration and temperature changes of a long-range missile flight. But the North has repeatedly solved technical problems more quickly than expected.

All of this means the window to prevent the North from becoming a global nuclear menace is closing while the proliferation risks are growing. The North has cooperated with Iran on missile development in the past and may share its nuclear secrets.

Right on cue, the world’s powers condemned the missile launch. And President Obama promised “additional significant steps, including new sanctions to demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences to its unlawful and dangerous actions.”

Yada, yada, yada. Why should Kim and company fear such words?

Sanctions get passed as a ritual but are never enforced enough to matter. Earlier this year China began to enforce new sanctions, but Beijing let trade with the North resume after Seoul decided in July to deploy the U.S. Thaad missile-defense system. Only sanctions that imperil the regime will force the North to freeze its nuclear program, and Beijing has never been willing to risk undermining its client state.

Meanwhile, the U.S. won’t even use secondary sanctions against Chinese entities trading with the North. A February U.N. report identified dozens of Chinese firms linked to blacklisted North Korean entities and detailed how the Bank of China allegedly facilitated $40 million in deceptive wire transfers for a Pyongyang-linked client. Cutting off such firms from the global financial system could deter others from trading with the North.

But for that to happen Mr. Obama would have to behave differently than he has for eight years. The result is that the next American President will inherit one more grave and growing threat to Western security.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #403 on: September 24, 2016, 09:47:37 AM »

I have repeatedly banged the table around here that one of the worst things that Obama has done is to bring an end to the era of nuclear non-proliferation.

Though I find the following unfair in some respects to Trump, on the whole it is an intelligent discussion of a matter of profound importance to our national security.  I was unaware of just how bad our trajectory is viz the Chinese and Russians is.

Also, I would note that there is no discussion of the Iran and North Korea.  I would note that as Iran develops its' ICBMs, it continues to move forward with its nuke program.  Even if it should turn out it is sort of respecting the Obama-Kerry deal (which expires in what, 12 years?) it seems logical to me to assume they are off-shoring their efforts to a joint venture with North Korea.

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by Mark Helprin
Sept. 23, 2016 6:11 p.m. ET
189 COMMENTS

Even should nuclear brinkmanship not result in Armageddon, it can lead to abject defeat and a complete reordering of the international system. The extraordinarily complicated and consequential management of American nuclear policy rests upon the shoulders of those we elevate to the highest offices. Unfortunately, President Obama’s transparent hostility to America’s foundational principles and defensive powers is coupled with a dim and faddish understanding of nuclear realities. His successor will be no less ill-equipped.

Hillary Clinton’s robotic compulsion to power renders her immune to either respect for truth or clearheaded consideration of urgent problems. Theodore Roosevelt’s secretary of state once said that he was “pure act” (meaning action). Hillary Clinton is “pure lie” (meaning lie), with whatever intellectual power she possesses hopelessly enslaved to reflexive deviousness.

Donald Trump, surprised that nuclear weapons are inappropriate to counterinsurgency, has a long history of irrepressible urges and tropisms. Rather like the crazy boy-emperors after the fall of the Roman Republic, he may have problems with impulse control—and an uncontrolled, ill-formed, perpetually fragmented mind.

None of these perhaps three worst people in the Western Hemisphere, and few of their deplorable underlings, are alive to the gravest danger. Which is neither Islamic State, terrorism, the imprisoned economy, nor even the erosion of our national character, though all are of crucial importance.

The gravest danger we face is fast-approaching nuclear instability. Many believe it is possible safely to arrive at nuclear zero. It is not. Enough warheads to bring any country to its knees can fit in a space volumetrically equivalent to a Manhattan studio apartment. Try to find that in the vastness of Russia, China, or Iran. Even ICBMs and their transporter-erector-launchers can easily be concealed in warehouses, tunnels and caves. Nuclear weapons age out, but, thanks to supercomputing, reliable replacements can be manufactured with only minor physical testing. Unaccounted fissile material sloshing around the world can, with admitted difficulty, be fashioned into weapons. And when rogue states such as North Korea and Iran build their bombs, our response has been either impotence or a ticket to ride.

Nor do nuclear reductions lead to increased safety. Quite apart from encouraging proliferation by enabling every medium power in the world to aim for nuclear parity with the critically reduced U.S. arsenal, reductions create instability. The fewer targets, the more possible a (counter-force) first strike to eliminate an enemy’s retaliatory capacity. Nuclear stability depends, inter alia, upon deep reserves that make a successful first strike impossible to assure. The fewer warheads and the higher the ratio of warheads to delivery vehicles, the more dangerous and unstable.

Consider two nations, each with 10 warheads on each of 10 missiles. One’s first strike with five warheads tasked per the other’s missiles would leave the aggressor with an arsenal sufficient for a (counter-value) strike against the now disarmed opponent’s cities. Our deterrent is not now as concentrated as in the illustration, but by placing up to two-thirds of our strategic warheads in just 14 submarines; consolidating bomber bases; and entertaining former Defense Secretary William Perry’s recommendation to do away with the 450 missiles in the land-based leg of the Nuclear Triad, we are moving that way.

Supposedly salutary reductions are based upon an incorrect understanding of nuclear sufficiency: i.e., if X number of weapons is sufficient to inflict unacceptable costs upon an enemy, no more than X are needed. But we don’t define sufficiency, the adversary does, and the definition varies according to culture; history; the temperament, sanity, or miscalculation of leadership; domestic politics; forms of government, and other factors, some unknown. For this reason, the much maligned concept of overkill is a major contributor to stability, in that, if we have it, an enemy is less likely to calculate that we lack sufficiency. Further, if our forces are calibrated to sufficiency, then presumably the most minor degradation will render them insufficient.

Nor is it safe to mirror-image willingness to go nuclear. Every nuclear state has its own threshold, and one cannot assume that concessions in strategic forces will obviate nuclear use in response to conventional warfare, which was Soviet doctrine for decades and is a Russian predilection now.

Ballistic missile defense is opposed and starved on the assumption that it would shield one’s territory after striking first, and would therefore tempt an enemy to strike before the shield was deployed. As its opponents assert, hermetic shielding is impossible, and if only 10 of 1,500 warheads were to hit American cities, the cost would be unacceptable. But no competent nuclear strategist ever believed that, other than protecting cities from accidental launch or rogue states, ballistic missile defense is anything but a means of protecting our retaliatory capacity, making a counter-force first strike of no use, and thus increasing stability.

In a nuclear world, unsentimental and often counterintuitive analysis is necessary. As the genie will not be forced back into the lamp, the heart of the matter is balance and deterrence. But this successful dynamic of 70 years is about to be destroyed. Those whom the French call our “responsibles” have addressed the nuclear calculus—in terms of sufficiency, control regimes, and foreign policy—only toward Russia, as if China, a nuclear power for decades, did not exist. While it is true that to begin with its nuclear arsenal was de minimis, in the past 15 years China has increased its land-based ICBMs by more than 300%, its sea-based by more than 400%. Depending upon the configuration of its missiles, China can rain up to several hundred warheads upon the U.S.

As we shrink our nuclear forces and fail to introduce new types, China is doing the opposite, increasing them numerically and forging ahead of us in various technologies (quantum communications, super computers, maneuverable hypersonic re-entry vehicles), some of which we have forsworn, such as road-mobile missiles, which in survivability and range put to shame our Minuteman IIIs.

Because China’s nuclear weapons infrastructure is in part housed in 3,000 miles of tunnels opaque to American intelligence, we cannot know the exact velocity and extent of its buildup. Why does the Obama administration, worshipful of nuclear agreements, completely ignore the nuclear dimension of the world’s fastest rising major power, with which the United States and allies engage in military jockeying almost every day on multiple fronts? Lulled to believe that nuclear catastrophe died with the Cold War, America is blind to rising dragons.

And then we have Russia, which ignores limitations the Obama administration strives to exceed. According to its own careless or defiant admissions, Russia cheats in virtually every area of nuclear weapons: deploying missiles that by treaty supposedly no longer exist; illegally converting anti-aircraft and ballistic missile defense systems to dual-capable nuclear strike; developing new types of nuclear cruise missiles for ships and aircraft; keeping more missiles on alert than allowed; and retaining battlefield tactical nukes.

Further, in the almost complete absence of its own “soft power,” Russia frequently hints at nuclear first use. All this comports with historical Soviet/Russian doctrine and conduct; is an important element of Putinesque tactics for reclaiming the Near Abroad; and dovetails perfectly with Mr. Obama’s advocacy of no first use, unreciprocated U.S. reductions and abandonment of nuclear modernization. Which in turn pair nicely with Donald Trump’s declaration that he would defend NATO countries only if they made good on decades of burden-sharing delinquency.

Russia deploys about 150 more nuclear warheads than the U.S. Intensively modernizing, it finds ways to augment its totals via undisguised cheating. Bound by no numerical or qualitative limits, China speeds its strategic development. To cripple U.S. retaliatory capability, an enemy would have to destroy only four or five submarines at sea, two sub bases, half a dozen bomber bases, and 450 missile silos.

Russia has 49 attack submarines, China 65, with which to track and kill American nuclear missile subs under way. Were either to build or cheat to 5,000 warheads (the U.S. once had more than 30,000) and two-thirds reached their targets, four warheads could strike each aim point, with 2,000 left to hold hostage American cities and industry. China and Russia are far less dense and developed than the U.S., and it would take more strikes for us to hold them at risk than vice versa, a further indictment of reliance upon sufficiency calculations and symmetrical reductions.

Russia dreams publicly of its former hold on Eastern Europe and cannot but see opportunity in a disintegrating European Union and faltering NATO. China annexes the South China Sea and looks to South Korea, Japan and Australasia as future subordinates. Given the degradation of U.S. and allied conventional forces previously able to hold such ambitions in check, critical confrontations are bound to occur. When they do occur, and if without American reaction, China or Russia have continued to augment their strategic forces to the point of vast superiority where one or both consider a first strike feasible, we may see nuclear brinkmanship (or worse) in which the United States—startled from sleep and suddenly disabused of the myth of sufficiency—might have to capitulate, allowing totalitarian dictatorships to dominate the world.

Current trajectories point in exactly this direction, but in regard to such things Donald Trump hasn’t the foggiest, and, frankly, Hillary Clinton, like the president, doesn’t give a damn.

The way to avoid such a tragedy is to bring China into a nuclear control regime or answer its refusal with our own proportional increases and modernization. And to make sure that both our nuclear and conventional forces are strong, up-to-date, and survivable enough to deter the militant ambitions of the two great powers rising with daring vengeance from what they regard as the shame of their oppression.

Mr. Helprin, a senior fellow of the Claremont Institute, is the author of “Winter’s Tale,” “A Soldier of the Great War” and the forthcoming novel “Paris in the Present Tense.”
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ccp
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« Reply #404 on: October 09, 2016, 09:21:14 AM »

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/pentagon-studied-future-japan-nuclear-arsenal-war-china/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #405 on: November 10, 2016, 10:02:12 PM »

For the record, I do not think this piece describes Trump's position fairly or accurately.  That said, he does need to get clearer in his thinking and articulation than he has been so far.  This is quite important.


With Trump, Asia’s Nuclear Crisis Expands
Next to North Korea and fearing U.S. abandonment, South Korea and Japan weigh their own options.
In this June 23, 2016, file photo, people watch a TV news channel airing an image of North Korea's ballistic missile launch published in North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. ENLARGE
In this June 23, 2016, file photo, people watch a TV news channel airing an image of North Korea's ballistic missile launch published in North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Associated Press
By David Feith
Nov. 10, 2016 12:10 p.m. ET
4 COMMENTS

Seoul

The nuclear crisis in Northeast Asia was bound to be one of the most dangerous challenges facing the next U.S. president, no matter who won on Tuesday. With Donald Trump’s surprise victory, though, it could metastasize in dramatic ways: If you thought North Korea’s nuclear march was disconcerting, consider that South Korea and Japan may now pursue nuclear programs of their own, raising the risks and stakes of war not only with North Korea but China too.

Mr. Trump repeatedly endorsed such a nuclear proliferation cascade on the campaign trail. “At some point we have to say—you know what?—we’re better off if Japan protects itself against this maniac in North Korea, we’re better off, frankly, if South Korea is going to start to protect itself,” he said. This was a corollary to his threats to pull U.S. troops from Japan and South Korea, where they’ve helped secure peace for more than six decades, if those countries don’t start spending dramatically more on their own defense.

It’s possible Mr. Trump will drop his enthusiasm for South Korean and Japanese nuclearization upon entering the Oval Office. His campaign advisers tended to ignore the subject in public statements, likely a reflection of the decades-old bipartisan consensus against nuclear proliferation in Washington. But as with other issues, the approach of President Trump will depend on who he brings into the White House for advice, and whether he listens to them.

Cheong Seong-chang will be calling for South Korean nuclearization either way. Speaking in Seoul last week, before America voted, the soft-spoken scholar and former government advisor argued that his country needs nukes to defend itself, that a majority of his countrymen agree, and that skeptics in government will embrace the view sooner or later. Sooner if a Trump administration backs it, he says, but within a decade regardless.

Two months ago Mr. Cheong and other security, diplomatic and engineering experts launched the Nuclear Research Group for Korea to study Seoul’s options. A similar group was established in the early 1990s, he says, but disbanded within a few years “under heavy social pressure” because it was “politically incorrect” to broach the nuclear issue. Today that taboo is gone.

Since January North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests, its fourth and fifth overall, and likely moved closer to a hydrogen-bomb capability that threatens to “wipe out all of Seoul,” Mr. Cheong notes. It has also tested more than 20 ballistic missiles, at least one of which could threaten the U.S. homeland, and completed its first successful submarine and road-mobile launches. Analysts figure it could have 100 bombs by 2020, before the first Trump term is up.

Mr. Cheong argues that at this point North Korea won’t let its nuclear program be rolled back diplomatically, “no matter how many sanctions we impose.” China’s policy of protecting its ally from collapse “will remain unchanged.” And when Pyongyang inevitably acquires a credible capability to hit the U.S. with nuclear-tipped missiles, “the U.S. will have no choice but to come to the negotiating table” and sue for peace.

This will yield, “if not a total abandonment of South Korea,” then a bargain aimed at mere containment: “If North Korea has 50 nuclear weapons, and promises not to build any more, and to suspend missile tests, the U.S. will strike a deal.” Tensions between Pyongyang and Washington may cool, he says, “but South Korea will continue to be held hostage.”

Hence the need to go nuclear. South Korea’s civilian nuclear infrastructure—24 plants providing 30% of the country’s energy—could be used to produce 5,000 bombs worth of fissile material, Mr. Cheong says, dwarfing Pyongyang’s capability. Embracing the necessary technologies, including plutonium reprocessing, could be “the game-changer that will enable South Korea to manage North Korean problems.”

It would also “be consistent with U.S. security interests,” Mr. Cheong says, and “contain the nuclear issue within the boundary of the Korean Peninsula.” These are the claims that put him most at odds with longstanding thinking in Washington, where leaders generally fear that South Korea going nuclear could shatter the U.S.-South Korean alliance, spark a war with the North and trigger follow-on nuclearization in Japan and maybe Taiwan—developments China is liable to protest with military force.

Mr. Cheong thinks certain compromises can make it all work. Seoul would go nuclear but also engage Pyongyang economically and diplomatically, assuring Kim Jong Un that no one seeks his demise. Seoul would build only as many bombs as needed to have an edge (“if the North has 30, we have 40, for example”). And Seoul would ask the U.S. to “co-manage” its arsenal, preserving the bilateral alliance while assuring China and Russia that South Koreans have ultimate control over the weapons.

Japan may indeed seek to go nuclear, Mr. Cheong acknowledges, but it too could placate its rivals by keeping its arsenal small and co-managed. “The U.S. should assure China that Japan will not build more than a certain number of nuclear weapons large enough to counter the North Korean threat,” allowing China to “maintain its nuclear advantage over other Asian countries.” Taiwan, for its part, has to sit on its hands.

Such prescriptions seem rather tidy given all the uncertainties and dangers involved, and for years Seoul and Washington could dismiss them as non-starters. Even as majorities of South Koreans have told pollsters since the 1990s that they support nuclearization, policy makers in both capitals have been overwhelmingly opposed. That may no longer be so.

Several potential candidates in South Korea’s looming presidential election back nuclearization, including former National Assembly floor leader Won Yoo-cheol and Nam Kyung-pil, governor of the country’s most populous province. Mr. Cheong, who acknowledges that “experts and technocrats have tended to be against going nuclear,” says that officials have privately expressed greater interest since Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test in September. Once Pyongyang completes a hydrogen bomb, he says, “many experts will switch their views.”

Then there’s Donald Trump. If he sticks to supporting South Korean and Japanese nuclearization, he might as well hold a bonfire of traditional U.S. nonproliferation dogmas on the White House lawn.

Even if he reverses course, though, his record of denigrating U.S. allies has already made South Koreans and others more fearful of abandonment and therefore more likely to hedge their bets and consider going nuclear, despite the costs. Mr. Trump reportedly had a good phone call with South Korea’s president Wednesday night, but it’s no surprise that headlines this week in Seoul are blaring about “shock” and “panic.”

As Mr. Cheong predicted last week: A Trump presidency “will reshape the security landscape of Northeast Asia.”

Mr. Feith is a Journal editorial writer based in Hong Kong.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #406 on: February 27, 2017, 02:15:55 PM »

Summary

A long-embattled arms control pact signed by Moscow and Washington in 1987 took its biggest hit yet this month. On Feb. 14, allegations emerged that the Russians had deployed operational units equipped with missiles that violate the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). In response, three U.S. senators introduced the INF Preservation Act, which among other measures calls for the United States to develop its own prohibited missiles. The precarious state of the treaty adds urgency to questions about the potential consequences of its demise, particularly since both countries have growing incentives to abandon the pact. Withdrawal by either Moscow or Washington would compel a rapid buildup of short- and medium-range missiles by both militaries, a surge of investment in missile defense, and a boost to U.S. capabilities in the Western Pacific.

Analysis

When the Soviet Union and the United States signed the INF treaty, it effectively ended a destabilizing buildup of ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with short to intermediate ranges, defined as 500-5,500 kilometers (311-3,418 miles). Since then, nearly 3,000 missiles have been eliminated — most of which would have been deployed on the European continent — making the INF a foundational arms control agreement credited with slowing the arms race between Russia and the United States. Outright withdrawal from the treaty by either government would severely hamper future arms control efforts and accelerate an already-intensifying arms race focused on nuclear modernization.

The Treaty Hampers Russia More

For all the problems that would arise with the treaty's demise, Russian and U.S. defense planners have some reasons to look forward to its end. For example, a buildup of land-based intermediate-range missiles would enhance Russian defenses against an increasingly powerful Chinese military on the China-Russia border. It would also give Russia options in the event that the United States expands its already substantial advantage in the development of hypersonic weapons, which travel at least five times the speed of sound. Perhaps most important, boosting its arsenal of short- to intermediate-range missiles based on land could help Russia redress its considerable airpower disadvantage relative to the United States and NATO.
 
Indeed, the INF has hampered Russia's long-range conventional strike capabilities more than the United States'. This is because Washington has built up a sizable arsenal of long-range land-attack missiles over the past decades. These air- and sea-launched missiles, when combined with the U.S. stealth bomber and fighter advantages, give Washington a much greater capability to conduct long-range strikes, including deep inside Russian territory. Development of land-based intermediate-range missiles would help Russia narrow this imbalance. For example, given the range and punching power of the missiles, Russia could threaten NATO air bases across Europe — just as China's missile program has given it the ability to strike U.S. bases in the Western Pacific.
 
Withdrawal from the INF would also boost Russia's nuclear deterrence capabilities. Ever since Washington withdrew from the U.S.-Russia Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002, Moscow has become increasingly concerned about U.S. missile defense development. Building an arsenal of nuclear-tipped intermediate-range missiles would allow the Russians to retarget practically all their intercontinental ballistic missiles — which are limited in number by New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) — against the continental United States. This would help guarantee Russia's ability to respond in the event of a nuclear strike.
 
However, any surge in Russian and U.S. development of land-based intermediate range missiles would be accompanied by greater investment in missile defense. With an eye on potential threats from countries such as Iran and North Korea, the United States has already been pouring substantial resources into the development of systems including the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense anti-ballistic missile system (THAAD) and various variants of the SM-3 interceptor missiles. This would intensify if Russia began a rapid buildup of short- and intermediate-range missiles — especially since ballistic missile defenses are significantly more effective against shorter-range weapons.

The U.S. Eyes the Western Pacific

Though the INF treaty limits Russia more than the United States, Washington has its own problems with the pact — particularly in the Western Pacific. Long-range land-attack cruise and ballistic missiles are critical to any U.S. war-fighting scenario in East Asia, particularly given the vast distances that would be involved in regional operations. While the INF treaty has limited the United States to fielding air- and sea-launched missiles of short to intermediate range, the Chinese have been free to build up a vast arsenal of land-based versions of the missiles. From launching points across the Chinese mainland, Beijing could concentrate crippling strikes on the sparse number of available U.S. airfields in the region — an asymmetric advantage the Chinese have focused heavily on exploiting over the past decades to make up for U.S. superiority in other areas. If the INF treaty were to be abandoned, the United States would likely move quickly to build up its own land-based missile batteries to redress this disadvantage.
 
The fate of the INF treaty has not yet been sealed. In fact, the United States and Russia could leverage the arms control portfolio to further talks on other issues, as they have done with arms control talks in the past. But the factors threatening the treaty have been gaining strength in both countries for decades.
 
Today, Washington is unlikely to seriously consider halting its ballistic missile development, and the U.S. Congress will not easily agree to curtail ongoing nuclear modernization programs — two areas where continued U.S. progress will heighten Moscow's interest in abandoning the INF treaty. Meanwhile, the rise of China has similarly complicated the fate of a treaty, which was designed with a bipolar Cold War framework in mind. Beijing will be exceedingly reluctant to limit development of its own land-based short- and intermediate-range missiles, given its heavy reliance on the arsenal.
 
Thus, at minimum, the INF treaty will be violated more frequently, but its demise is a very real possibility. The consequences would be vast, affecting everything from future arms control efforts to technological investments and weapons buildups.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 02:18:02 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #407 on: February 28, 2017, 11:09:28 AM »

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/russias-nuclear-missile-death-train-arriving-2019-19581
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« Reply #408 on: April 24, 2017, 08:46:54 PM »

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/24/obama-iran-nuclear-deal-prisoner-release-236966
 
Obama’s hidden Iran deal giveaway
www.politico.com
By dropping charges against major arms targets, the administration infuriated Justice Department officials — and undermined its own counterproliferation task forces.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4440812/Obama-dropped-charges-against-arms-smugglers-Iran-deal.html

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« Reply #409 on: April 27, 2017, 10:29:41 PM »

https://www.nytimes.com/video/world/middleeast/100000005063944/syria-chemical-attack-russia.html?emc=edit_ta_20170427&nl=top-stories&nlid=49641193&ref=cta
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« Reply #410 on: May 14, 2017, 01:32:52 PM »

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/intel-report-iran-refining-nuke-delivery-system-flagrant-violation-ban/
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G M
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« Reply #411 on: May 14, 2017, 02:31:04 PM »





http://insider.foxnews.com/sites/insider.foxnews.com/files/styles/780/public/sailors.jpg?itok=ERjTHM45

Who is going to stop them?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #412 on: May 15, 2017, 09:42:27 PM »

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/05/15/un-agency-helps-north-korea-with-patent-application-for-banned-nerve-gas-chemical.html

 cry cry cry angry angry angry angry angry angry
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G M
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« Reply #413 on: May 15, 2017, 11:14:11 PM »


Shocking!   

Not!!!
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ccp
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« Reply #414 on: May 16, 2017, 07:28:30 AM »

http://aevnmont.free.fr/SACH-BOOKS/Petrochemistry/Handbook%20of%20Hazardous%20Materials%20Spills%20Technology/Part%20VIII.%20Perspectives%20on%20Specific%20Chemicals/39.%20Sodium%20Cyanide.pdf
I recall from my forensic science days potassium cyanide smells to some people like bitter almonds and sodium is odorless and more dangerous

Of course Kim is using to mine for gold.    rolleyes

How much did UN officials get pain?  bunch of slobs......
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #415 on: June 05, 2017, 12:32:39 PM »


By Asher Orkaby
June 4, 2017 3:37 p.m. ET
34 COMMENTS

When Syrian forces launched a chemical attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun two months ago, no one was watching more closely than Israel’s military elite. Of all the existential threats their country fears, chemical weapons rank high on the list. In 1967 Israeli fear of a chemical attack helped spark the Six Day War, the most transformative conflict in the modern history of the Middle East. Continued use of chemical weapons in Syria poses a similar threat to Israeli security—and may foreshadow another regional war.

The first country to use chemical weapons in the Middle East was Egypt. During the 1960s, President Gamal Abdel Nasser deployed poison-gas bombs during the North Yemen Civil War. Unknown to the Egyptians, Israel had obtained a front-row seat to study their military capabilities.

The conflict involved the Yemen Arab Republic, founded in 1962 after a coup d’état deposed the country’s religious monarch, Imam Muhammad al-Badr. Egypt took the republican side, sending mechanized and heavily armed battalions to aid the revolutionaries.

The monarchist northern tribal militias, aided by a cadre of British and French mercenaries, took shelter in the country’s mountainous highlands. The problem was finding a way to resupply their position. After concluding that an air resupply was vital, the mercenaries began searching for an ally willing to orchestrate airlifts into hostile and unfamiliar territory. In the end they turned to Israel, the only country with something substantial to gain from an extended guerrilla war against Egypt.

Between 1964 and 1966, the Israeli Air Force flew 14 missions to Yemen, airlifting vital weapons and supplies to beleaguered tribal outposts. Although the identity of the supplier was a closely guarded secret, these airlifts constituted an important physical and psychological lift for the tribal militias.

In exchange, Israel received well-informed intelligence from its own pilots and British mercenaries on the ground. The Israelis’ main contact was Neil McLean, a former Special Air Service soldier and member of the British Parliament. McLean passed to Israel details of Egypt’s military activity, even samples of its chemical weapons.

The Egyptian Air Force had been dropping the poison-gas bombs, targeting militias hiding in a network of caves, with increasing frequency and precision. This news alarmed Israelis, many of whom had lost family and friends to Hitler’s poison-gas chambers only two decades earlier. They were haunted by the prospect of a similar fate befalling them in a gas attack on Tel Aviv or another Israeli city. A sense of looming existential threat pervaded Israeli society, down to the local school district. In one emergency meeting in May 1967, teachers debated security protocols. In the event of an air-raid siren, should students be ushered into the basement bunkers? Or would climbing to the rooftops be better for escaping poison gas?

The fear of a chemical attack undoubtedly factored into Israel’s decision to attack Egypt’s air force pre-emptively on June 5, 1967. Over five hours Israel destroyed 300 Egyptian planes and disabled 18 airfields, eliminating the short-term threat of chemical warfare. But the long-term danger has remained.

There is a clear parallel to the current conflict in Syria. What made the 1960s crisis in Yemen so dangerous was that the international community did not respond to Egypt’s use of chemical weapons. The Yemeni civil war was waved off as merely an intra-Arab conflict. Without visible international assurances that chemical warfare would not be tolerated, Israel in 1967 felt compelled to eliminate the threat before it arrived.

In the barrage of Tomahawk missiles President Trump launched against Syria in April, the U.S. provided some response to the latest chemical attack. Failure to follow up this show of force with collective international action—making clear to Israel that further chemical warfare is off the table—may push the Middle East toward another destructive regional war.

Mr. Orkaby, a research fellow at Harvard’s Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department, is the author of “Beyond the Arab Cold War: The International History of the Yemen Civil War, 1962-68,” out next month from Oxford University Press.
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« Reply #416 on: June 26, 2017, 08:25:40 AM »



https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-missile-defense-imperative-1498425131
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« Reply #417 on: June 27, 2017, 11:13:04 AM »

Looks like we have another lurker on the forum  cheesy

http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/238409/north-korea-and-iran-weapons-of-mass-destruction?utm_source=tabletmagazinelist&utm_campaign=02ea17d165-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_06_27&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c308bf8edb-02ea17d165-207194629
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« Reply #418 on: August 02, 2017, 12:04:09 PM »

https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/05/25/if-a-nuclear-bomb-explodes-nearby-heres-why-you-should-never-get-in-a-car/22109354/?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00001389&a_dgi=aolshare_facebook
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« Reply #419 on: August 02, 2017, 02:00:35 PM »

second post:





The Terrible Magic of Atomic Weapons
Aug 2, 2017
By George Friedman

On Aug. 2, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The U.S. remains the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons. As part of our project to review major World War II battles, I will examine the reasoning on both sides that led to the use of this weapon.

The Japanese had entered the war because of the effectiveness of U.S. economic sanctions imposed after the Japanese had invaded Indochina. As an industrial power devoid of its own resources, Japan had to import nearly all of its resources, mostly from Indochina and the Dutch East Indies.

The United States feared that Japan, after dominating the Western Pacific, would soon threaten its interests in the central and eastern Pacific. Japan had treaty agreements with France and the Netherlands guaranteeing shipments of commodities. When both were overrun by Germany, it became uncertain who would control their Pacific colonies, and Japan could not live with that uncertainty. When the U.S. tried to restrict Japan’s access to certain resources in order to limit Japanese expansion, Japan had a choice: It could continue expanding and face war with the United States, or it could allow itself to become completely dependent on the United States for access to minerals.

The United States saw Japan as an international outlaw that needed to be heeled by peaceful sanctions. The Japanese saw the United States as using sanctions to crush Japan’s economy. The result was war.

U.S. and Japanese Goals

The United States had two strategic goals. The first was to disrupt Japanese access to Southeast Asia supplies without invading the Dutch East Indies or Indochina. This meant intense submarine warfare. The second goal was to bring itself into range of Japan so that it could conduct a strategic bombing campaign. By 1945, the submarine campaign had dramatically reduced the flow of supplies, and the capture of Saipan and Tinian had brought B-29s within range of Japan.

The Japanese strategy strategic goal in 1945 was to prevent the occupation of the Japanese homeland and retain the existing regime, particularly the position of the emperor. The primary strategy for this was to create a defensive system that would potentially impose unacceptable casualties on the United States.

During the Pacific campaigns, the Japanese had learned that American pre-invasion bombing and bombardment were of limited value. The U.S. succeeded by forcing land battles that had high casualty rates but low casualty totals, relative to other battles in World War II, since these battles were comparatively small. This worked in the Gilberts, the Marianas and the Marshalls. What this proved, however, was that the U.S. would incur a high casualty rate in an invasion of Japan, which would require a substantially larger force.

The U.S. Navy suffered the greatest casualties due to the kamikazes. The Japanese strategy therefore focused on using the kamikazes to attack the Navy and on forcing battles of attrition by layering forces, including civilians, into the interior. Although this imposed catastrophic casualties on the Japanese – estimates say a quarter million died in Okinawa – American troops also suffered severe casualties.

 
(click to enlarge)

The Japanese were betting on asymmetry of interest. They were fighting for their homeland and for a regime that was far from delegitimized. The Americans were fighting for an increasingly marginal goal – dismantling the Japanese regime. The Japanese believed that the U.S. would give up first and agree to a truce rather than requiring Japan’s unconditional surrender.

This was a reasonable assumption given that the United States’ most experienced troops were already exhausted from war in North Africa, Italy, France and Germany, and its most seasoned Marines had been fighting since Guadalcanal. If the U.S. did invade Japan, the troops that would be sent were the draftees from 1944 and 1945 who were inexperienced and not yet blooded. Instead, the U.S. hoped that bombing and submarine warfare would have forced capitulation.

It hadn’t. Most cities were devastated, and the condition of the economy had reduced the country to penury. But the Japanese wouldn’t capitulate. While they did send out peace feelers, they didn’t include an offer to surrender – merely an offer to negotiate a settlement. The agreement among the Allies was that only unconditional surrender was acceptable, since the U.S. did not want a repeat of Versailles after World War I. They wanted to end Japanese expansion, and a prolonged negotiation would have exacerbated the ongoing bloodshed in China. Besides, Japan had already lost credibility with respect to peace negotiations, as it had previously been engaged in such talks while its fleet was preparing for Pearl Harbor. The argument for a negotiated settlement was not nearly as obvious then as it is now.

The Atomic Project

Still, the U.S. was caught in a bind. It couldn’t afford the potential costs of invading, and it also couldn’t accept anything less than total capitulation, which the Japanese weren’t willing to offer. It was this strategic situation that led to the use of atomic bombs. The atomic project was driven by German scientists and those who feared that Germany would develop a nuclear weapon. But the Germans didn’t have the resources necessary to both define the concept and create the weapon; only the U.S. was capable of such a massive undertaking during the war. But the Americans were unaware of the limitations of the German program and therefore launched the Manhattan Project, the U.S program to develop an atomic bomb.

Years later, some would argue that the United States dropped the bomb to frighten the Soviets or keep them out of Japan. But the Soviets couldn’t have invaded Japan anyway; they lacked the capability to send a massive number of troops there. The Soviets, moreover, already knew about the bomb, although the U.S. didn’t realize that at the time. If the U.S. wanted to impress the Soviets, it had many ways to do it that didn’t involve bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
 
A boy floats a candle-lit paper lantern on the river in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome during 70th anniversary activities, commemorating the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 2015. Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

The first test of the bomb took place in July 1945, in the midst of the American strategic conundrum. Would the country accept the cost of occupying Japan when it would turn out that there was a potential alternative to massive American casualties? It’s unclear what Harry Truman would have done if the bomb wasn’t an option, but he would have been pilloried had he invaded or had he not. The country, the troops included, was tired of war and wasn’t willing to pay the cost of invasion. But a peace treaty that allowed the Japanese regime to stay intact would have left the fundamental issues that started the war unsettled. This is not an argument as to which side was more just. It is simply to say that a peace treaty wouldn’t have been a conclusive end to the war.

It was clear that the Japanese leadership was prepared to accept the destruction of cities, and that the population was not prepared to rise against the regime. The Americans therefore believed that the Japanese were not prepared to surrender, which in retrospect was true. The Japanese view was that the U.S. either wouldn’t invade or, if it did, would face casualties that would cause it to accept a peace treaty.

But the atomic bomb presented another potential scenario. Although Japanese cities had faced devastating attacks before, this threat was different because a single bomb could do the damage of a thousand. Moreover, the extent of the casualties from an atomic bomb was still unclear, in part due to the uncertainty of injury caused by nuclear fallout. But the Americans were focused on the psychological effect it would have. While the Bombing of Tokyo had a devastating impact, the means of death was not a mystery.

The atomic bomb worked terrible magic. The suddenness and totality of the strike created a unique sense of helplessness. It was instantaneous, and it came from nowhere. There were some in the pro-war faction who argued that the bomb used on Hiroshima was simply another massive air attack and not a new weapon. The deaths and destruction were, from their point of view, bearable because it was part of a known pattern.

They refused to surrender. Some even attempted a coup, which came close to success. But for some leaders, Hiroshima immediately tipped the balance to surrender. But capitulation only came after Nagasaki and after the U.S. acknowledged that the emperor would remain as a figurehead, causing him to shift his position.
Ultimately, the atomic bomb ended the war, partly because of the psychological shock and partly because Japan realized that the bomb could be used against Japanese defensive forces massed to face a potential invasion. We can only speculate how many American casualties or how many more Chinese casualties this move prevented.

A Sobering Effect

Eight other nations have acquired nuclear weapons: the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and South Africa. (South Africa has subsequently given up these weapons.) North Korea has developed nuclear devices but it’s unclear whether it has a deliverable nuclear weapon. None of these countries has used their weapons, though some have found themselves in circumstances where using them would have made sense. Some, particularly Mao’s China, raved about what they would do with nuclear weapons once they had them. But they didn’t end up doing what they said they would do. In a sense, they aren’t weapons designed to fight armies. (Tactical nukes might be an exception, although they have also not been used.) They seem to have a sobering effect.

The question today is whether the magic of these weapons might sober North Korea or Iran. Some argue that it would sober North Korea, the more immediate and more important case. Human history, and specifically the 20th century, are filled with nations that committed acts of political depravity – but not, even in the case of Stalin or Mao, nuclear depravity. The problem is that it’s hard to build a national policy on the assumption that nuclear weapons moderate the depraved.

In making the decision to use a nuclear weapon, the U.S. faced some tough choices. It had to balance its moral responsibility to American troops and those who were still being slaughtered by the Japanese against the lives of those who would be killed in a nuclear attack. But the idea that Japan was ready to surrender is a myth. It was ready to negotiation a peace deal; it wouldn’t accept unconditional surrender. This could have opened the door to another war, allowing the slaughter of Americans who had already fought and survived a long war.

But it did deeply sober the United States. It opened an abyss the U.S. and all the other nuclear powers looked into and recoiled from. Their use may well have prevented a global nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. But will the sobering effect of nuclear weapons extend to other countries like North Korea? Or will a nuclear North Korea embrace the abyss? This is not a geopolitical question as much as a psychological one.

The post The Terrible Magic of Atomic Weapons appeared first on Geopolitics | Geopolitical Futures.





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« Reply #420 on: August 08, 2017, 06:54:37 AM »

https://pjmedia.com/trending/2017/08/06/the-secret-history-of-hiroshima-supports-trump-on-nuclear-weapons/
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« Reply #421 on: August 10, 2017, 08:53:02 AM »

http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/08/04/surviving_a_nuclear_attack_111968.html
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« Reply #422 on: August 30, 2017, 05:54:55 AM »

I have pounded the table around here for identifying that the Iran deal also meant an end to the era of nuclear non-proliferation:

Nuclear Missiles Over Tokyo
Accepting a nuclear North Korea probably means a nuclear Japan.
A South Korean watches a broadcast on North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch in Seoul, South Korea, Aug. 2.
A South Korean watches a broadcast on North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch in Seoul, South Korea, Aug. 2. Photo: heon-ky/epa-efe/rex/shutterstock/EPA/Shutterstock
By The Editorial Board
Aug. 29, 2017 7:09 p.m. ET
46 COMMENTS

Residents of northern Japan awoke Tuesday to sirens and cellphone warnings to take cover as a North Korean rocket flew overhead. The intermediate-range missile test will further roil the politics of security in Northeast Asia and is another prod toward Japan acquiring its own nuclear deterrent.

Pyongyang tested long-range missiles over Japan in 1998 and 2009, claiming they were satellite launches. The first shocked Japanese and led to cooperation with the U.S. on theater missile defense. After the second, Tokyo curtailed the North’s funding sources within Japan’s ethnic Korean community. Tuesday’s launch is even more threatening because U.S. and allied intelligence agencies assess that North Korea now has the ability to hit Japan with a miniaturized nuclear warhead mounted on a missile.

Much of Japan is protected by its own missile defenses as well as systems operated by U.S. forces in the region. Japan also recently deployed four Patriot PAC-3 missile-defense batteries to the west of the country, but these didn’t cover the northern island of Hokkaido overflown by Tuesday’s missile.

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Japan’s ultimate security is the U.S. defense and nuclear umbrella, with its treaty guarantee that the U.S. will respond if Japan is attacked. But the logic of deterrence depends on having a rational actor as an adversary, and rationality can’t be guaranteed in North Korea. Its recent development of an ICBM capable of hitting the U.S. mainland also changes the equation. If North Korea attacked Tokyo and the U.S. responded with an attack on Pyongyang, U.S. cities might then be endangered.

Japanese leaders have long resisted building their own nuclear arsenal, but that could change if they conclude America isn’t reliable in a crisis. Or Japanese may simply decide they can’t have their survival depend on even a faithful ally’s judgment. Some Japanese politicians are already talking about their own nuclear deterrent. And while public opinion currently opposes nuclear weapons, fear could change minds. Japan has enough plutonium from its civilian nuclear reactors for more than 1,000 nuclear warheads, and it has the know-how to build them in months.

This prospect should alarm China, which would suddenly face a nuclear-armed regional rival. The U.S. also has a strong interest in preventing a nuclear Japan, not least because South Korea might soon follow. East Asia would join the Middle East in a new era of nuclear proliferation, with grave risks to world order. This is one reason that acquiescing to a North Korea with nuclear missiles is so dangerous.

Yet this is the line now peddled by former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who says the U.S. must begin “accepting it and trying to cap it or control it.” Having said for eight years that a nuclear North is unacceptable, they now say that President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had better get used to it.

But “control it” how? North Korea has made clear it won’t negotiate away its nuclear program. The U.S. can threaten mutual-assured destruction, but Tuesday’s missile test over Japan shows how North Korea will use its nuclear threat to coerce and divide the U.S. and its allies. Accepting a nuclear North Korea means accepting a far more dangerous world.

Appeared in the August 30, 2017, print edition.
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« Reply #423 on: September 05, 2017, 11:12:27 AM »

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/North-Koreas-ultimatum-to-America-504213
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« Reply #424 on: September 21, 2017, 01:09:24 PM »

Give Japan And South Korea The Bomb
By DICK MORRIS
Published on DickMorris.com on September 20, 2017
On May 6, 1981, New York Times columnist Drew Middleton explained the rationale behind French president Charles de Gaulle's decision to develop France's own nuclear weapons rather than rely on those of the U.S. or U.K.  He wrote that "General de Gaulle believed that the United States would not use its nuclear weapons if faced with a choice between the destruction of Western Europe and a Soviet-American missile exchange. His argument was that the United States would not risk New York or Detroit to save Hamburg or Lyons."

The same logic, of course, applied to Russia.  The Kremlin could have no clear idea of whether an American president would trade New York for Lyons, but clearly a French president wouldn't think twice before pushing the button in retaliation for a nuclear strike on Lyons.

The logic of deterrence relies on mutually ASSURED destruction (MAD).  Any doubt or ambiguity will fuel the megalomania and delusions of a Hitler or a Kim Jong-un.
 
Now, we must apply de Gaulle's logic to the dilemma of how to deter North Korea.  Again, we come to the question: Will an American president strike North Korea with nuclear weapons in retaliation for an attack on Seoul or Tokyo?  We don't know the answer and Kim certainly doesn't.  And so, it now makes abundant sense to arm his two likely targets -- Japan and South Korea -- with the capacity to retaliate with nuclear weapons whatever the American president decides to do.  Only then will Kim know that if he uses his atomic weapons against either country, he has literally bought into assured destruction of him and his own nation.

When Donald Trump proposed this solution during the campaign, he was hooted down.  But circumstances have now come around to the point where we have to give his proposal a green light.

Some argue that giving the bomb to non-nuclear countries opens the door for everybody to get a bomb.  As a practical matter, that door may already be open.

But why do we only allow our enemies to get the bomb and keep our friends from getting it?

Seventy years into the nuclear age, we have learned two things:

1.  Any nation that wants to get the bomb badly enough will be able to get it.

2.  Only mutually assured destruction can guarantee that the bomb is never used.

How much more evidence do we need?

Neither Japan nor South Korea will be thrilled to get nuclear weapons.  Understandably, Japan's experience in having been attacked twice with atomic weapons makes it averse to such armament.  And South Korea just voted for a "peace" candidate whose politics are founded in wishful thinking.

But eventually, both nations will likely see the logic and arm themselves with our assistance.

And, when both have nuclear weapons, we can expect a radical de-escalation in Kim's wild threats and rhetoric.  We can also rest secure the nuclear weapons will not be used.
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« Reply #425 on: September 26, 2017, 12:28:15 PM »

http://www.askaprepper.com/nuclear-protection-supplies/
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« Reply #426 on: October 16, 2017, 08:45:30 AM »

NATO Launches its Main Nuclear Drill, Showcasing Its Defenses
‘Steadfast Noon’ takes place at air bases in Germany and Belgium where the U.S. stores nukes
By Julian E. Barnes
Oct. 16, 2017 8:07 a.m. ET


BRUSSELS—NATO kicked off its annual nuclear exercise on Monday with drills in Germany and Belgium, as the alliance seeks to showcase its nuclear deterrent but avoid accusations of saber rattling.

The exercise, called “Steadfast Noon,” is taking place at two air bases where the U.S. stores nuclear weapons in Europe: Kleine Brogel in Belgium and Büchel in Germany.

In the face of North Korean tests and Russian drills, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has been highlighting its nuclear defenses, with a visit by alliance ambassadors to a U.K. ballistic missile-armed submarine base in September. NATO has also taken a strong stance against the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, saying it will remain a nuclear-armed alliance as long as these weapons exist elsewhere.

NATO’s nuclear drills remain sensitive; the alliance omits Steadfast Noon from many lists of its exercises. NATO officials won’t publicly confirm the nature of the exercise, but privately acknowledge it is the main nuclear deterrent drill.

An official said nuclear exercises remained a “delicate balancing act among allies,” with some countries uncomfortable with public discussions and others wanting acknowledgment of the deterrent’s importance. The official said continuing these annual preparations was vital, especially as geopolitical concerns increase.

Russia conducted a nuclear exercise at the end of its Zapad military drills in September, which included the test firing of a ballistic missile. North Korea’s nuclear threats have also prompted NATO ambassadors to condemn Pyongyang’s actions.

Uncertainty in Europe over U.S. President Donald Trump’s commitment to NATO, as well as the coming British withdrawal from the European Union, has generated concern among some security experts about the future of western nuclear deterrence.

“This is why it is so important that NATO continues with its classic nuclear planning structure, including these exercises,” said Jan Techau, director of the Holbrooke Forum for the Study of Diplomacy in Berlin. “It is important to send out the message of continuity and reliability, because that is what deterrence is based on.”

NATO officials would only say the exercise involved aircraft from across the alliance. In addition to Belgium and Germany, Poland has participated in Steadfast Noon since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

A NATO military official said the scenario involves a “fictional scenario.”

Both the U.S. and NATO have a policy of not commenting on their nuclear weapons. According to a Congressional Research Service report, the U.S. keeps about 150 B61 nuclear weapons at six bases in five European countries. The B61 is a 700-pound unguided gravity bomb that has a variable yield of up to 340 kilotons that can be carried by both tactical fighter aircraft and strategic bombers.

The U.S. deployed nuclear weapons to Europe during the Cold War to offset the conventional military superiority of the Soviet Union. While NATO now has the conventional edge over Russia, the weapons remain a deterrent and are meant as a visible reminder of the U.S. commitment to the alliance, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Military officials say nuclear weapons carried by aircraft remain an important part of deterrence, because the U.S. and its allies can show unity and resolve by prepping aircraft for a nuclear mission, raising the defense readiness condition, but stopping short of using the weapons.

The Obama administration said further cuts to the B61 arsenal in Europe would only come if Russia cut its stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons and removal of the weapons requires the agreement of all NATO allies.
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