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Former Defense Secretary William Perry Sounds the Alarm Over the Present Nuclear Danger

What will the consequences be if the bipartisan consensus on Russia continues to be almost completely untethered from reality?, The Nation, By James Carden, 30 Nov 17, “……Kerry observed that, while many in Congress and in the administration are agitating to implement ever-greater sanctions on Iran (in order, of course, to destroy the deal), few are aware that the we have fewer sanctions in place against North Korea, which has roughly 20 nuclear weapons, than we have in place against Iran, which has none.

And so: What to do with the world on the nuclear brink, with the very real potential for an outbreak of perhaps simultaneous crises between the United States, Russia, Iran and North Korea?

As Perry pointed out, climate change is another looming catastrophe, but it is one of which the public is, for the most part, aware. Perry argued that, as is the case with climate change, “we need a program of public education” regarding the growing nuclear danger.

And for his part, Perry pledged to dedicate the remainder of his public career to the task.

In his recent book, My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, Perry writes: “Our chief peril is that the poised nuclear doom, much of it hidden beneath the seas and in remote badlands, is too far out of the global public consciousness. Passivity shows broadly.”

Finding, he said, his motivation in a wish that his grandchildren not have to live with the ever-present specter of nuclear catastrophe hanging like a Sword of Damocles above their heads, Perry has proved to be anything but a passive player in this continuing, and very troubling, drama. https://www.thenation.com/article/former-defense-secretary-william-perry-sounds-the-alarm-over-the-present-nuclear-danger/

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December 1, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

William Perry’s memoir, ‘My Journey at the Nuclear Brink’

Book Journey at Nuclear BrinkOn the Brink of Oblivion  William Perry’s memoir, ‘My Journey at the Nuclear Brink,’ serves as a clarion global warning. US News,  By Mortimer B. Zuckerman | Chairman, Editor-in-Chief June 7, 2016  Our planet today faces two existential dangers: an impending climate catastrophe, and the very real possibility of a nuclear calamity. Both of these dangers arise from human activity and are thus within our capacity to address. And both challenges are interconnected and require a new attitude that recognizes our common interests and need to cooperate. Public awareness and political will must be raised to levels commensurate with the threat.

The warnings about climate change are now part of our public consciousness, resulting in actions being taken that if continued and built upon might possibly stave off this catastrophe or at least reduce its damage. However, the public seems to believe that the danger from nuclear weapons ended with the Cold War.

But former Defense Secretary William Perry’s authoritative memoir, “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink,” is a clear, sobering and, for many, surprising warning that the danger of a nuclear catastrophe today is actually greater than it was during that era of U.S.-Soviet competition…….

Perry describes four ways a nuclear catastrophe could occur: nuclear terrorism; an accidental nuclear war (resulting, for example, from a false alarm); a nuclear war out of miscalculation; and a nuclear regional war

His special concern about the possibility of nuclear terrorism can be seen in the book’s preface, with an unblinking and transfixing account of a most believable scenario in which a terror group detonates a bomb in one of our cities. A seminal expert in worrying about such chilling contingencies, Perry outlines in quite credible steps how a terror group builds and sneaks a bomb into Washington, D.C., a scenario he describes as “a nuclear nightmare” and “all too real.” It is important to experience his powerfully understated dramatization:…….

The point is this: Any of the four scenarios could bring about the worst catastrophe we have ever experienced. Taken together they represent a higher likelihood of a nuclear catastrophe than we faced during the Cold War. (That judgment has also been reached by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which this year noted that its “Doomsday Clock” is at three minutes to midnight, closer to doomsday than they had judged we were for most of the Cold War years.)……..http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2016-06-07/four-paths-to-nuclear-disaster

June 8, 2016 Posted by | resources - print | Leave a comment

William J. Perry at Nuclear Weapons Policy in a Time of Crisis 10/26/2017

Ploughshares Fund
Published on 13 Nov 2017

Nuclear Weapons Policy in a Time of Crisis was a conference held by Ploughshares Fund on October 26, 2017. It featured inspiring discussion and remarks from leading policymakers, nuclear security analysts, a senior Trump administration official, seven members of Congress, eight top experts, two leading security journalists, a former Secretary of Defense, and the newest Nobel Peace Laureate. Learn more about the event and watch other speeches here: https://www.ploughshares.org/issues-analysis/article/videos-nuclear-weapons-policy-time-crisis

November 14, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hear Dr Perry on The Nuclear Brink

see-this.wayHear-This-way http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/latenightlive/the-nuclear-brink/7747886 16 August 2016  (view full episode)

While even a single nuclear detonation could destroy our way of life, most of us don’t regard thetext-relevant nuclear threat as a clear and present danger. However experts argue that the risk of nuclear catastrophe is greater today than during the Cold War.

In spite of earlier efforts by President Barack Obama to bring the world towards a nuclear free course, we are actually getting further away from reducing the nuclear weapons stockpiles. And a relations between Russia and the USA remain strained, Dr William J. Perry, former US Secretary of Defence warns that we’re on the verge of a new nuclear arms race, and drifting back into Cold War mentality.

Dr Perry has completed his memoirs about his extensive experience in foreign policy and weapons analysis to send a message to the world.

August 17, 2016 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

USA about to set off a new nuclear arms race – former Defense Secretary Perry

missile-envyFlag-USAFormer SecDef Perry: US on ‘Brink’ of New Nuclear Arms Race, Defense News, By Aaron Mehta December 3, 2015 WASHINGTON — The US is on the “brink” of kicking off a new nuclear arms race that will elevate the risk of nuclear apocalypse to Cold War levels, former Secretary of Defense William Perry warned Thursday.

Perry also called for the breaking of the nuclear triad by dismantling the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) stockpile.

“We’re now at the precipice, maybe I should say the brink, of a new nuclear arms race,” Perry said at an event hosted by the Defense Writer’s Group. “This arms race will be at least as expensive as the arms race we had during the Cold War, which is a lot of money.”

The Pentagon is starting a major overhaul of its nuclear triad, made up of bomber, submarine and ICBM nuclear options. The Air Force is starting work on its Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) program, a conventional bomber that later could be nuclear-certified; it is also planning a new version of the ICBM. Meanwhile, the Navy is figuring out funding plans for the Ohio-class submarine nuclear replacement program.

In an August assessment, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments projects that it will cost more than $700 billion over the next 25 years to recapitalize the nuclear triad.

Speaking on Wednesday, Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall indicated the nuclear modernization programs would be protected in the fiscal 2017 budget and remain a priority for the department going forward.

To Perry, who served in a number of Pentagon positions before becoming the 19th US secretary of defense under President Bill Clinton, spending that money is foolish when the US is both short of cash for other programs and capable of a robust nuclear deterrence already.

The risk of nuclear war is exacerbated by the dismantling of the relationship between Russia and the US that had been formed after the fall of the Soviet Union. Without clear military-to-military communication between those two nations, the risk of an accidental conflict increases…… http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/policy-budget/2015/12/03/former-secdef-perry-us-brink-new-nuclear-arms-race/76721640/

December 4, 2015 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

America must renew the progress in the the nuclear non-proliferation treaty: ‘first use’ of nuclear weapons is madness

My Turn: The madness of the nuclear first-use option,  https://www.concordmonitor.com/No-first-use-of-nuclear-weapons-23490452 By RAY PERKINS Jr. For the Monitor, 2/15/2019 It seems Mike Moffett (Monitor Opinion, Feb. 11,) “ ‘No first use’ policy increases likelihood of war”) not only needs some historical refreshment, he also ignores the legal and moral dimensions of nuclear weapons use and the problems of our first-use option as opposed to a wiser no-first-use policy.

Some history: Moffett says that “first use” ended World War II. That was hardly the principal cause of Japan’s surrender.

Most historians now attribute the end to the Soviet entry on Aug. 8. That immoral and illegal first use was also unnecessary. I’ve made the case in this paper many times, but I’ll merely quote Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, the supreme allied commander): “Japan was ready to surrender, and there was no need to use that awful thing.” Virtually all the top military leaders agreed.

But apart from its illegal and immoral despicability “common to Dark Age barbarians” (as Adm. William Leahy put it), that first use alienated our Soviet ally and started a long and dangerous Cold War.

What Moffett doesn’t say is that the first-use option, while not necessitating first use, does require preparation and willingness to do it. In a time of crisis, Nation X, knowing that Enemy Y has the first-use option and fearing imminent first use from Y, may pre-empt with the strike first – better to use ’em than lose ’em. This is equally dangerous with nukes kept on “hair trigger” alert, which first-use nuke nations do (but not the no-first-use nations: India, China and North Korea). It’s a recipe for an accidental nuclear launch.

We’ve long held first use, even during the 1980s when the Soviets (and China) espoused a no-first-use policy. It was a main driver of the dangerous and often nearly catastrophic super power arms race. There were hundreds of nuclear accidents and near misses, some after the Cold War ended, as we now know from Eric Schlosser’s shocking 2014 book, Command and Control. By pure luck we survived decades of military inattention to nuclear safety and our (still ongoing) deference to the “we’re falling behind” cries of the dollar-seeking military-industrial-complex. (We are the world’s No.1 arms merchant, with many undemocratic customers.) For some frighteningly close calls see my review of Schlosser’s book: bit.ly/2SCQUO5.

First use has also been used by every president since Harry Truman as a threat to force concessions, as Daniel Ellsberg (nuke adviser to the Pentagon and several presidents in the 1960s and ’70s) has pointed out, with many examples in his recent Doomsday Machine.

Moffett also says Ronald Reagan showed “wisdom” by retaining the first-use option. Eventually Reagan wised up, but not until Mikhail Gorbachev (Nobel Peace Prize, 1990) came along in the mid-1980s. Earlier Reagan had little understanding of nukes. In fact he and his vice president, George H.W. Bush, were both insisting that a nuclear war was survivable and winnable.

By 1986, Reagan and Gorbachev, at their first summit, nearly agreed to the abolition of all nukes. But Reagan’s “Star Wars” (a proposed anti-ballistic missile system then outlawed by treaty and thought to be “pie in the sky”) killed the deal. But in 1987 we fortunately got the INF Treaty destroying 3,000 medium-range missiles – a treaty the United States is threatening to leave.

Moffett said our local leftists should “leave defense policy to national security and military experts.”

Surely Moffett knows that many such experts are today advocating exactly what the “local leftists” are – urging our state Legislature to urge Congress and the president to adopt no first use and halt funds for new low-yield nukes. They include: Gen. Lee Butler (Air Force), commander of Strategic Air Command (1984-1991) and first of the Strategic Command (1991-1994); Gen. James Cartwright (USMC), commander of the Strategic Command (2004-07) and vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2007-2011); Secretary of State George Shultz (under Reagan); and Secretary of Defense William Perry (under Bill Clinton).

There are moral problems with nukes and even with nuclear deterrence of any form. Even deterrence (with no first use) requires the preparation for possible use and a willingness to use nukes “if necessary.” As such, all nuclear deterrence runs the risk of nuclear war and the killing of millions of innocent human beings or worse, given the possibility of nuclear winter. As science knows, but apparently not the Pentagon, even a small nuclear exchange – for example, India versus Pakistan, each firing 50 low-yield weapons – could bring on a 10-year nuclear winter and global famine killing over a billion people (2014 study by Physicians for Social Responsibility). Such a risk is morally unacceptable – a concern central to creating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968 – now with 189 parties and as important as ever.

The Non-Proliferation Treaty (Art. 6) requires a swift end to the nuclear arms race and the bringing to conclusion a treaty for “general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.” In 1996 the World Court rendered an opinion on the legality of nuclear weapons, saying: “The threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict.”

Meeting our treaty obligations will be a very long and difficult journey. But we must recover the progress that slowed soon after the end of the Cold War and recently threatens to stop – or worse.

In the meantime, the United States can encourage the non-proliferation treaty’s many non-nuke parties to show that the United States is still serious about its treaty obligations. We N.H. folks – as many other states are doing – can and should take the small but positive steps to support our state government to urge Congress and the president to adopt a no-first-use pledge, and to decline funding for any new costly and “more usable” low-yield nukes.

(Ray Perkins Jr. of Concord is professor of philosophy, emeritus, at Plymouth State University and vice chairman of the Bertrand Russell Society board of directors.)

February 16, 2019 Posted by | Reference, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Why so little public anxiety about risk of nuclear war? With Putin and Trump in charge!!

With Putin and Trump in Charge, the Risk of Nuclear War Returns

You thought the threat of global annihilation was history? Better think again. Hard. Bloomberg, By Peter Coy Jan 31 2018, 

Nuclear war gets surprisingly little attention considering there are enough nukes to end human civilization in hours. It feels like a relic of another era—of perestroika and glasnost and that famous walk in the woods. We’ve moved on to other concerns. Besides, what can anyone really do?

The reason to pay attention is that arms control—especially between the U.S. and Russia—has broken down. A fresh nuclear arms race appears to be taking shape. As for what anyone can do: Arms control moves forward in response to public pressure, when humanity speaks louder than arms merchants and bellicose world leaders. Sanity can prevail. It’s been more than 70 years since the U.S. detonated the first two atomic weapons in war, and not one has been used in combat since………

The Trump administration’s approach to a warlike Putin is essentially “peace through strength.” The president took the advice of John Bolton, his hawkish national security adviser, when he gave preliminary notice in October of his intent to pull out of the INF Treaty, which bars all nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (300 to 3,400 miles). ………

The death of arms control would benefit shareholders of BoeingHoneywell InternationalLockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman, among others. “Great Power competition should be good for heritage defense contractors,” Byron Callan, an analyst for Capital Alpha Partners, wrote in a Jan. 24 note to clients, while cautioning that “the U.S. defense budget will be fiscally constrained.”

It would be less positive for the general public, of course. For decades, defense contractors and the Pentagon have offered the American people the following weirdly rational deal: You give us trillions of dollars, and we will use the money to build nuclear weapons that will never be used. A single Ohio-class nuclear submarine—a “boomer”—can mete out 2,000 times the destructive power of the A-bombs that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If all goes well, it will prowl beneath the sea for decades and then go to the scrapyard without having fired as much as a harpoon in anger.

Mutual assured destruction—the balance of terror between the U.S. and Russia—kept the peace precisely because it was balanced. Arms control agreements ensured that neither side was able to gain an unbeatable advantage. The demise of arms control could lead not just to more weaponry but to more instability and uncertainty. The less each side knows about the other’s capabilities and intentions, the more likely it is that war will break out by accident. “The situation we face today relative to nuclear dangers is equal to the darkest days of the Cold War, and nobody seems to understand that,” says William Perry, 91, who was secretary of defense under President Bill Clinton. “Our policies don’t reflect it, either in the United States or in Russia.”  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-31/with-putin-and-trump-in-charge-the-risk-of-nuclear-war-returns

J

February 4, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Disputes between Democrats and Republicans over nuclear weapons policy and procurement –

Nuclear Winter Is Coming: Nuclear ‘War’ To Hit Washington In 2019, Investor’s Business Daily , GILLIAN RICH, 12/18/2018

Nuclear weapons are about to explode as an issue on Capitol Hill, because partisan warfare is threatening to consume debates over nuclear procurement and policy in 2019.
Two events are converging that will blow up an already tenuous give-and-take deal between Republicans and Democrats. The first is the Trump administration’s threat to leave the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty early next year if Russia doesn’t come into compliance. The second is the Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives next month.
There has been a “fragile bipartisan consensus” on nuclear weapons, according to Frank Rose, a senior fellow for security and strategy at the Brookings Institution.

During the Obama administration, a deal was brokered under which Republicans supported the New START treaty to reduce nuclear weapons while Democrats backed the modernization of the U.S.’ nuclear arsenal, he said.

All-out partisan warfare on the issue would come at a bad time for the Pentagon. In 2017, the Congressional Budget Office put the price tag of sustaining and modernizing the full nuclear triad of land-, air- and sea-based weapons at $1.2 trillion in constant dollars through 2046.

But, like other things that happened under Obama, the Republican-Democratic deal on nuclear weapons is starting to unravel under Trump.

Nuclear Weapons Treaties

In early December, the Trump administration gave Russia 60 days to come into compliance with the INF treaty or the U.S. will leave.

Trump’s threat raises questions about whether he will renew the New START treaty, which expires in 2021. Without the arms-control treaties, Democrats could block the funding of nuclear weapons in the 2020 budget with their new majority in the House.

“They can’t build a consensus to do something new or different — the Senate or president might not go along — but they can stop things from happening,” Tom Collina, director of policy at the Ploughshares Fund, which is focused on reducing nuclear weapons. “The power of ‘no’ is a significant force.”……….

Nuclear Weapons That May Go Boom Or Bust

To modernize the air-based leg of the nuclear weapons triad, the Air Force awarded the B-21 contract to Northrop Grumman (NOC) in 2015 to replace Cold War-era Boeing (BA) B-52s. The eventual procurement price tag is estimated at $80 billion.

Cancian believes that this new stealth bomber will survive upcoming procurement battles because of its ability to deliver conventional munitions as well.

New Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines will modernize the sea-based leg of the nuclear triad and replace Ohio-class “boomers.” General Dynamics’ (GD) Electric Boat is building them with total acquisition costs expected to hit $128 billion.

Cancian also believes that the Columbia-class submarine program will continue, saying ballistic subs are most likely to survive a nuclear attack because they are hidden underwater.

Then there are two missile programs without contract awards yet that have been more controversial. Lockheed and Raytheon (RTN) are competing for the Long-Range Standoff weapon (LRSO), a nuclear cruise missile to be launched from strategic bombers.

Northrop and Boeing are competing to build the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program to replace Boeing’s aging land-based Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile system.

Former Defense Secretary William Perry and retired Gen. James Cartwright, former vice chair of the Joint Chiefs, argued last year that ICBMs and nuclear cruise missiles carry greater risks of accidentally setting off a nuclear war because they can’t be recalled once launched.

Canceling them would also save billions of dollars that could be used for other pressing national security needs, they said.  ………

High Anxiety Over Low-Yield Nuclear Weapons

The U.S. already has about 500 low-yield airdropped nuclear weapons in its arsenal. And Smith is extremely critical of the low-yield warheads for Lockheed’s Trident D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile.

“It makes no sense for us to build low-yield nuclear weapons,” Smith said at a Ploughshares conference in November. “It brings us no advantage and it is dangerously escalating. It just begins a new nuclear arms race with people just building nuclear weapons all across the board in a way that I think places us at greater danger.”……….

Pentagon Budget Uncertainty

Amid the policy and procurement debates, another source of uncertainty on defense spending is coming from Trump himself.

He blasted the current $716 billion Pentagon budget, tweeting earlier this month that it was “crazy.” But days later he reportedly said he wanted to give the Pentagon $750 billion, above the $733 billion the DOD requested…….https://www.investors.com/news/nuclear-weapons-upgrades-nuclear-treaties-inf-new-start/

December 29, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Climate change, global heating, is the greatest threat, and NUCLEAR IS A VERY DANGEROUS DISTRACTION – theme for Jan 19

William Perry, renowned for warning the world of the great threat of nuclear war,– has now convinced me that, in some ways, climate change is an even greater existential threat to the world. He points out that nuclear catastrophe can happen quickly, but that it’s possible to prevent it. But climate change is happening slowly, inexorably, and could be irreversible.

That doesn’t mean that nuclear-news is dropping its focus on working towards a nuclear-free world. It does mean that we will try to follow and publicise current news about global heating, its effects, and action to mitigate it. At the very least, a prominent post each day about climate change.

The nuclear industry is lobbying governments to subsidise nuclear power as “clean” “low carbon” – the solution to climate change. Either the nuclear industry has bribed journalists in the mainstream media, to spout this lie to the public. or journalists are simply too ignorant and lazy to check their facts.

Nuclear power is no use whatsoever against global warming, being in reality, highly carbon emissions intensive, and prohibitively expensive, even if it were any use.  It is also intrinsically connected to nuclear weapons, and produces unfixable radioactive trash.

But, from the climate point of view, what is arguably worse, is that the nuclear industry takes money, human energy, and attention, away from the real solutions –  energy efficiency and renewable energy.  It is, therefore, not only dangerous to life on this planet, but a very dangerous distraction away from what really needs to be done.

December 15, 2018 Posted by | Christina's themes | 8 Comments

Climate and nuclear news – to 12 December

William Perry,  formerly of the Pentagon, and former U.S. Secretary for Defense, is renowned for his work aimed at limiting nuclear weapons, and warning the world of the great threat of nuclear war.

But now, even Perry is recognising that, in some ways, climate change is an even greater existential threat to the world. He points out that nuclear catastrophe can happen quickly, but that it’s possible to prevent it. But climate change is happening slowly, inexorably, and could be irreversible.

He’s convinced me, and I had always thought that nuclear disaster was the most important danger.

With that new realisation in mind, I’m seeing the events in Poland this week – the COP24 UN Conference on Climate Change, with a more acute interest.  This international meeting comes right after the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

Fabricated media attacks on Julian Assange. The article that a Fairfax journalist didn’t want to write, about Julian Assange. Rallies will demand that Australia insists on Julian Assange’s safe departure from UK.

Do corporations have a legal right to destroy the planet’s ecosystem?

The worst performing countries for climate action- USA and Saudi Arabia.  Saudi Arabia, the US, Kuwait and Russia tried to erase meaning of UN’s report on the impacts of 1.5C warming. Coal lobby is prominent at COP24 U.N climate change conference.  Climate denialist group held fringe meeting in Poland, banning access by environmental reporter.

New nuclear power plants, prolong existing ones – to solve global warming?

A wave of change is coming to our planet’s water resources.

Energy efficiency the starting point for effective climate policies.

Assessing the effects of planetary electromagnetic pollution.

USA.

JAPAN. Former mayor expresses anger at Tepco in trial over Fukushima crisis. Results of the first-round thyroid examination of the Fukushima Health Management Survey. Thyroid cancer impact on children and teens following Fukushima nuclear accident.  Fukushima evacuees forced back into unacceptably high radiation zones.

TAIWAN. Taiwan Votes to Maintain Import Ban on Fukushima Food Imports.

FRANCE. Despite President Macron, France’s government report calls new nuclear power uneconomical.

UK.

NORTH KOREA. If USA does not lift sanctions, North Korea could revive nuclear weapons development.

INDIA. Nuclear Expansion in Kaiga: Is India Ready for the Risk?

SOUTH AFRICA. South Africa Energy Minister Fires Nuclear Corporation’s Board .

RUSSIA. Russia sends 2 nuclear-capable bombers to Venezuela.

GERMANY. Germany a leading solar power producer, despite its low hours of sunshine.

IRAQ. Depleted uranium – the cancer-causing weapon still taking its toll in Iraq.

BELARUSTOR-M2 air defense missile systems to protect Belarus nuclear power plant.

December 11, 2018 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Nuclear catastrophes are sudden, but might be prevented. Climate change is gradual, and becoming irreversible?

Former Defense Secretary Compares Climate Change To Nuclear War, Forbes, Jeff McMahon, 9 Dec 18, There are two existential catastrophes threatening the world, former Defense Secretary William Perry said. One is quick but avoidable, while the other is slowly unfolding.“Our planet today faces two existential dangers,” Perry said at Stanford University, where he now serves as a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute. “One of them is nuclear war—nuclear catastrophe—and the other is a climate catastrophe.

The nuclear catastrophe could happen next month, next year, ten years from now or if we’re lucky, never. But if it happens it happens all at once. On the other hand the climate-change catastrophe is on a slow roll. It is happening. It’s happening every month, every year. It’s getting worse…….https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2018/12/09/former-defense-secretary-compares-climate-change-to-nuclear-war/#15e849ee60bb

December 10, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Donald Trump DOES have the opportunity to end the diplomatic nuclear crisis, promote disarmamament

The Nuclear Trump Card, The American Conservative, The Donald has the best shot at nuclear disarmament of any president over the last 20 years.  By HUNTER DERENSIS • October 15, 2018 There is no greater issue facing America today than that of war and peace. Marginal changes in the corporate tax rate, the precise number of visas provided to foreign workers, minor adjustments to the Social Security retirement age—all are peripheral when compared to the immense weight of foreign policy decisions. Using military force, deciding what’s in the national interest, and setting geopolitical strategy all have consequences that can affect whole nations, regions, even the world.It is the responsibility of statesmen to be as judicious as possible when it comes to military force, to act realistically and practice restraint. This prevents unwarranted infrastructure destruction, unforeseen blowback, and criminal loss of life. This carries over into a duty to work towards mutually beneficial arms control agreements and non-proliferation treaties to rein in the most destructive weapons ever created by man.

Unfortunately, outside the post-retirement advocacy of former secretary of defense William Perry and whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, very few public figures seem to realize the dangers of nuclear brinksmanship and the importance of disarmament.

Currently, an exchange of 100 atomic bombs would kick up enough dust and debris to blot out part of the sun and starve one third of the earth’s population. Eight countries have the capability to carry out such a mass genocide. Further down the line, if 100 hydrogen weapons (H-bombs) were used, the planet would experience a nuclear winter and up to seven billion people would starve to death. Ellsberg terms this “omnicide”: the murder of everyone. Russia and the United States, as the only countries possessing H-bombs, are especially obligated to reduce their nuclear stockpiles and lessen the danger of nuclear war. The cost of not doing so could be the world itself.

……….Politically, Trump is in a better position than either of his predecessors on nuclear issues. His presidency is not dominated by ideological neoconservatives who buck any tactical diplomacy, and as a Republican his hawkish right flank has been partly neutered. Some of President Obama’s better intentioned efforts, like the nuclear agreement with Iran, were hindered by domestic politics and hawkish Republicans, always adversarial to Democratic-led peace initiatives. Trump, as a Republican, is not encumbered by such political restraints, a la “only Nixon can go to China.”

Thus far, Trump has squandered his opportunity. Jumping feet-first into Obama’s trillion dollar nuclear modernization plan launched in 2016, Trump has not made nuclear discussions with Russia a first-tier, or even fourth tier, issue. And when he has commented on it, it’s with his typical pugnaciousness. This attitude contradicts his efforts with North Korea, and isn’t the first contradiction in “Trumpism.” Meanwhile, pulling out of the nuclear agreement with Iran has exacerbated diplomatic tensions, but from Trump’s point of view, he sees the abrogation as a step in the direction of his vaunted “better deal.” His offer of new negotiations without preconditions shows that his goal is resolution, albeit in a tactically poor way. The administration should crystallize a consistent outlook on nuclear de-escalation, even if it’s only out of selfish motivations………

Most Americans support the Korean peace initiative. In the 2000, 2008, and 2016 presidential elections, voters chose the less hawkish candidate. Peace is popular, especially when the consequences of a possible nuclear fallout are explained. Hypothetically, if Trump were to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to Washington, D.C. to initiate negotiations on nuclear weapons, he would do so from a position of political strength.

Some analysts postulate that a world power needs no more than a couple hundred nuclear weapons to achieve a deterrence factor as envisioned by MAD (mutually-assured destruction). This makes the United States’ and Russia’s combined 13,500 warheads (active and decommissioned) more than a little overkill. It’s within both countries’ interest to reduce their stockpiles to make accidents less likely and lessen the chance of death on a scale not since the extinction of the dinosaurs. Since the United States and Russia possess over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons, this one diplomatic overture could, over years, end the nuclear crisis on our planet. Donald Trump could make all the difference.

Hunter DeRensis is an editorial assistant at The American Conservative and a student at George Mason University. Follow him on Twitter @HunterDeRensis.  nhttps://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-nuclear-trump-card/

October 16, 2018 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

World close to nuclear annihilation, but in denial – Dr Helen Caldicott

Helen Caldicott on Our Denial of the Threat of Nuclear Armageddon http://www.truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/42494-helen-caldicott-on-our-denial-of-the-threat-of-nuclear-armageddon November 05, 2017 By Mark Karlin, Truthout | Interview  Since the corporate media give short shrift to the peril of nuclear weapons, most world residents are unaware of how close we are to nuclear annihilation. So argues advocate and physician Dr. Helen Caldicott, editor of Sleepwalking to Armageddon: The Threat of Nuclear Annihilation, in this interview with Truthout.
Mark Karlin: Despite Donald Trump’s insinuation that he might launch a first-strike nuclear attack on North Korea, the anti-nuclear weapons movement is still relatively quiescent. Do you have thoughts as to why most people on the Earth are “sleepwalking to Armageddon”?

Helen Caldicott: Yes. It’s because the US media has totally failed in its duty to educate and inform the American people about the current state of world affairs, including the current US plans for a winnable nuclear war and the huge nuclear arsenals still being maintained by Russia and America. As Thomas Jefferson said so long ago, “An informed democracy will behave in a responsible fashion.” Of the 16,400 nuclear bombs in the world, Russia and the US own 94 percent — only they can destroy most life on Earth, so in reality, these two nations are today’s real terrorists.

Do you think the fact that the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons will bring the issue more to the forefront?

No I don’t. However, their strategy is wise and relatively subliminal. Already, 122 nations have committed to the pledge of nuclear abolition. This massive support will no doubt place pressure upon the NATO countries that harbor US tactical nuclear weapons — the Netherlands, Turkey, Germany, Italy and Belgium — to forgo these commitments. This, then, will place further pressure upon other nuclear armed nations to abolish their nuclear stocks, including India, Pakistan, France, Britain, China, North Korea and Israel. Only then will international condemnation be so great that Russia and the US will be forced to contemplate abandoning their nuclear arsenals once and for all. Whether we have time before all hell breaks loose, nobody knows.

You state that the United States will spend $1 trillion over the next 30 years modernizing its nuclear arsenal. What exactly does that mean?

It means exactly that. In order for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) to pass the Senate, Obama promised then-Senator Jon Kyl that he would authorize the spending of $1 trillion over the next 30 years to replace every single nuclear weapon, missile, aircraft carrier, submarine, ship and plane.

How are corporations stirring the pot of militarizing international relations? Clearly, the military corporations have huge influence upon the House and Senate by funding the campaigns of the representatives, so in effect, most Congress people and senators … in a fundamental sense do not represent the health, well-being and lives of their constituents.

You comment that “an order to launch [nuclear weapons] in US missile silos is the length of a tweet.” How long does it take to launch a nuclear weapon?

Three minutes once the presidential order has been received. This is why the men in the missile silos are called Minutemen. [As described by former Minuteman ICBM launch control officer Bruce Blair here.]

What are some of the promising forms of resistance to nuclear weapons that are taking shape?

There are young people in many countries involved in the UN ban treaty; however, I see very little awareness in the general public about the fact that we are closer to nuclear war than we have ever been, and this according to former Secretary of Defense William Perry, retired Gen. James Cartwright and others highly knowledgeable and experienced in this area. Most people are in fact practicing psychic numbing and denial.

January 24, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Is Nuclear War Inevitable?

 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/28/books/review/daniel-ellsberg-the-doomsday-machine.html THE DOOMSDAY MACHINE 

December 29, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Special Report – Nuclear strategists call for bold move: scrap ICBM arsenal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Imagine it is 3 a.m., and the president of the United States is asleep in the White House master bedroom. A military officer stationed in an office nearby retrieves an aluminum suitcase – the “football” containing the launch codes for the U.S. nuclear arsenal – and rushes to wake the commander in chief.

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at 2:10 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, U.S., August 2, 2017. Picture taken August 2, 2017. U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Ian Dudley/Handout via REUTERS

Early warning systems show that Russia has just launched 100 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) at the United States, the officer informs the president. The nuclear weapons will reach U.S. targets in 30 minutes or less.

Bruce Blair, a Princeton specialist on nuclear disarmament who once served as an ICBM launch control officer, says the president would have at most 10 minutes to decide whether to fire America’s own land-based ICBMs at Russia.

“It is a case of use or lose them,” Blair says.

A snap decision is necessary, current doctrine holds, because U.S. missile silos have well-known, fixed locations. American strategists assume Russia would try to knock the missiles out in a first strike before they could be used for retaliation.

Of all weapons in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, the ICBM is the one most likely to cause accidental nuclear war, arms-control specialists say. It is for this reason that a growing number of former defense officials, scholars of military strategy and some members of Congress have begun calling for the elimination of ICBMs.

They say that in the event of an apparent enemy attack, a president’s decision to launch must be made so fast that there would not be time to verify the threat. False warnings could arise from human error, malfunctioning early warning satellites or hacking by third parties.

Once launched, America’s current generation of ICBM missiles, the Minuteman III, cannot be recalled: They have no communication equipment because the United States fears on-board gear would be vulnerable to electronic interference by an enemy.

These critics recommend relying instead on the other two legs of the U.S. nuclear “triad”: submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and heavy bombers armed with hydrogen bombs or nuclear-warhead cruise missiles. The president would have more time to decide whether to use subs or bombers.

Bombers take longer to reach their targets than ICBMs and can be recalled if a threat turns out to be a false alarm. Nuclear missile subs can be stationed closer to their targets, and are undetectable, so their locations are unknown to U.S. adversaries. There is virtually no danger the subs could be knocked out before launching their missiles.

“ANTIQUATED” ARSENAL

Among the advocates of dismantling the ICBM force is William Perry, defense secretary under President Bill Clinton. In a recent interview, Perry said the U.S. should get rid of its ICBMs because “responding to a false alarm is only too easy.” An erroneous decision would be apocalyptic, he said. “I don’t think any person should have to make that decision in seven or eight minutes.”

Leon Panetta, who served as defense secretary during the Barack Obama administration, defended the triad while in office. But in a recent interview he said he has reconsidered.

“There is no question that out of the three elements of the triad, the Minuteman missiles are at a stage now where they’re probably the most antiquated of the triad,” he said.

The risk of launch error is even greater in Russia, several arms control experts said. The United States has about 30 minutes from the time of warning to assess the threat and launch its ICBMs. Russia for now has less, by some estimates only 15 minutes.

That is because after the Cold War, Russia didn’t replace its early warning satellites, which by 2014 had worn out. Moscow now is only beginning to replace them. Meanwhile it relies mainly on ground-based radar, which can detect missiles only once they appear over the horizon.

In contrast, the United States has a comprehensive, fully functioning fleet of early warning satellites. These orbiters can detect a Russian missile from the moment of launch.

The doubts about the ICBM force are circulating as the world faces its most serious nuclear standoff in years: the heated war of words over Pyongyang’s growing atomic weapons program between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. U.S.-Russian nuclear tensions have increased as well.

The questioning of the missile fleet also comes as the United States pursues a massive, multi-year modernization of its nuclear arsenal that is making its weapons more accurate and deadly. Some strategists decry the U.S. upgrade – and similar moves by Moscow – as dangerously destabilizing.

Skeptics of the modernization program also have cited the new U.S. president’s impulsiveness as further reason for opposing the hair-trigger ICBM fleet. The enormously consequential decision to launch, said Perry, requires a president with a cool and rational personality. “I’m particularly concerned if the person lacks experience, background, knowledge and temperament” to make the decision, he said.

This month, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing to discuss the president’s authority to launch a first-strike nuclear attack. Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts has called for that authority to be curbed, though such a break with decades of practice doesn’t have broad support.

“Donald Trump can launch nuclear codes just as easily as he can use his Twitter account,” said Markey. “I don’t think we should be trusting the generals to be a check on the president.”

FILE PHOTO: A U.S. Air Force missile maintenance team removes the upper section of an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead in an undated USAF photo at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, U.S.. U.S. Air Force/Airman John Parie/Handout via REUTERS

THE NORTH KOREAN THREAT

A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council dismissed any suggestion that Trump lacks the skills to handle the arsenal. “The president is pre-eminently prepared to make all decisions regarding the employment of our nuclear forces,” she said.

Doubts about ICBMs predated the change of administrations in Washington.

ICBMs, detractors say, are largely useless as a deterrent against threats such as North Korea. They argue the land-based missiles can be fired only at one conceivable U.S. adversary: Russia.

That’s because, to reach an adversary such as North Korea, China or Iran from North America, the ICBMs would have to overfly Russia – thus risking an intentional or accidental nuclear response by Moscow. (A small number of U.S. ICBMs are aimed at China, in case Washington finds itself at war with both Moscow and Beijing.)

Despite the rising criticism, for now there is little chance America will retire its ICBM fleet. To supporters, eliminating that part of the triad would be like sawing one leg off a three-legged stool.

Presidents Obama and now Donald Trump have stood by them. There is little interest in Congress to consider dismantlement.

Well before Trump picked him to be defense secretary, General James Mattis raised questions about keeping the U.S. ICBM force, in part because of dangers of accidental launch. In 2015 he told the Senate Armed Services Committee: “You should ask, ‘Is it time to reduce the triad to a dyad removing the land-based missiles?’”

In his Senate confirmation hearing as defense secretary, Mattis said he now supports keeping ICBMs. They provide an extra layer of deterrence, he said, in hardened silos.

The National Security Council spokesperson said no decision had been made on keeping ICBMs. She noted that the president has ordered a review by the end of this year of U.S. nuclear policy, and no decision will be made until then.

ICBMs are part of the overall U.S. nuclear modernization program, which is expected to cost at least $1.25 trillion over 30 years. The missiles are being refurbished and upgraded to make them more accurate and lethal. And the United States is building a new class of ICBMs to be fielded around 2030.

The Air Force has confirmed that the current refurbished Minuteman IIIs have improved guidance systems and a bigger third-stage engine, which make them more precise and able to carry bigger payloads.

BRUSHES WITH ARMAGEDDON

The U.S. nuclear missile force dates back to the 1950s. Lacking expertise in making rockets, the United States after World War II scoured Germany for the scientists who had built the V2 rockets Germany fired on England. Under a secret plan, Washington spirited scientists such as Wernher von Braun, later considered the father of American rocketry, out of Germany, away from possible war crimes prosecution, in exchange for helping the United States.

By 1947 the Cold War was on. The former Nazi rocket designers would help America build super-fast, long-range missiles that could rain nuclear warheads on the Soviet population.

The program began slowly. That changed on October 4, 1957. The Soviet Union launched Sputnik, a small satellite, into Earth orbit, beating the United States into space. For the Pentagon, the most significant fact was that Sputnik had been launched by an ICBM capable of reaching the U.S. homeland. The United States put its missile program into overdrive, launching its own ICBM in November 1959.

The ICBMs’ advantage over bombers was that they could reach their targets in 30 minutes. Even bombers taking off from European bases could take hours to reach their ground zeroes.

By 1966, once an order was given to missile crews, pre-launch time was minimized to five minutes. This resulted from a change in fuel. Before, liquid fuel powered ICBMs. In a lengthy process, it had to be loaded immediately before launch. The invention of solid fuel solved the problem. It was installed when the missile was built, and remained viable for decades.

One reason arms specialists worry about the ICBM force is that the United States and Russia have come close to committing potentially catastrophic errors multiple times.

In 1985, for example, a full nuclear alert went out when a U.S. Strategic Command computer showed that the Soviet Union had launched 200 ICBMs at the United States. Fortunately, Perry recounts in his book, “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink,” the officer in charge realized there was a fault in the computer and that no missiles had been launched. The problem was traced to a faulty circuit board, but not before the same mistake happened two weeks later.

In 1995, then-Russian president Boris Yeltsin had his finger on the button, because the Russians had detected a missile launched from Norway, which they assumed to be American. Russian officials determined just in time that it was not a nuclear missile.

They later learned it was a harmless scientific-research rocket. Norway had warned Russia well in advance of the launch – but the information was never passed on to radar technicians.

Reported by Scot Paltrow; edited by Michael Williams

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

November 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment