Extremely Cautionary Catastrophes: Fukushima And Chernobyl, By Robert Snefjella, 28 May, 2016, Countercurrents.org “………wherein does our best chance lie of reducing the harm and risk of our nuclear folly? How do we provide the basis by which we could begin to dismantle our folly and reconstruct cultures that are viable.
Those iconic personages Albert Einstein and Dwight Eisenhower are among the many concerned people who have located hope for policy sanity in an informed public:
Einstein found our “only hope” [regarding nuclear technology] in “an informed citizenry” [that] “will act for life and not for death.”
Eisenhower offered that
“only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
Note well: they did not base their hope on experts or oligarchs or generals or silly people who are enthralled by the illusion of their own extraordinary intelligence. They based hope on a well informed us.
Implied in Einstein and Eisenhower’s hope is that the broad public, well informed, has a far greater potential repository of creativity and common sense and decency and such – beneficent functionality – than any cult, tribe, institution or faction thereof. Continue reading
The nuclear deterrence game: Promises and pitfalls , BY AT EDITOR on JANUARY 29, 2016 in ASIA TIMES NEWS & FEATURES By Michael Rühle ………….Perhaps the most common mistake in thinking about nuclear deterrence is the belief that the larger your nuclear arsenal, the more credible your deterrent. This is way too simplistic. Since a state will only take nuclear risks in defense of existential interests, an opponent may still resort to force if he concludes that the issue at stake is not existential to the defender.
That’s why allies of nuclear powers constantly need to be reassured by their protector that he considers their security a truly vital interest. Or, as former British Defense Secretary Denis Healy aptly noted, during the Cold War it took only 5% credibility to deter the Soviet Union but 95% to assure one’s allies.
Psychology. A stable deterrence regime requires all actors to adhere to a “rational” cost-benefit calculus. Thus, nuclear deterrence cannot work against actors that are “irrational” to begin with, e.g. suicidal fanatics.
Deterrence may also fail when rationality evaporates, for example, when ideological beliefs make certain leaders adopt risky offensive strategies.
However, the most likely scenario in which rationality could disappear is defensive. Since humans fear suffering losses more than they value gains, the fear of losing something valuable will make leaders take far greater risks than the opportunity of changing the status quo in their favor.
Hence, as much as one would want to have the upper hand in a crisis, one should still avoid pushing a nuclear adversary into a corner.
Culture. Deterrence may be a universal concept, but its practical application may well be culture-specific. For example, a culture which attaches great value to sacrifice or martyrdom will be much harder to deter by the prospect of military punishment than a “post-heroic” society. This is not to say that certain states cannot be deterred, yet their cost-benefit calculus might be so different as to render the defender’s deterrence message ineffective.
To ensure that an adversary understands one’s deterrence message, one needs to have a fairly good grasp of his “strategic culture”: historical experiences, values, core beliefs, and military traditions. Obtaining such a thorough understanding of one’s adversary is extremely difficult. But simply hoping that an impressive nuclear arsenal will deter just by its mere existence would be a dangerous gamble. In the deterrence business, ignorance isn’t bliss — it might well be fatal.
Michael Rühle heads the Energy Security Section of NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division http://atimes.com/2016/01/the-nuclear-deterrence-game-promises-and-pitfalls/
Koreas Ramp Up Psychological Warfare After Nuclear Test VOA News, Brian Padden January 14, 2016 SEOUL—North Korea’s fourth nuclear test earlier this month ended a short period of inter-Korean cooperation and restarted the Cold War standoff between Seoul and Pyongyang.
While avoiding direct military confrontation that could easily escalate into a hot war, both North and South have resumed psychological war games and tactical maneuvers to demonstrate military readiness and resolve.
On Wednesday a suspected North Korean drone was sighted crossing the inter-Korean demilitarized zone. South Korean forces responded by firing about 20 machine gun rounds at the unidentified flying object but apparently did not hit it.
“Our military fired warning shots after broadcasting a warning. Then it returned to the northern side of the border right away,” said Jeon Ha-gyu, the head of public affairs for the Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea’s armed forces.
North Korean propaganda
There have also been reports this week of pro-North Korean leaflets scattered throughout Seoul and its suburban areas. South Korea’s military suspects the propaganda leaflets were sent from the North by hot air balloons.
“North Korea was seen scattering leaflets from the northern area yesterday afternoon and early this morning,” Jeon said Wednesday. …….
Defense officials from China and South Korea are scheduled to meet Friday in Seoul to discuss the increasingly tense security situation on the Korean peninsula. http://www.voanews.com/content/koreas-ramp-up-psychological-warfare-after-nuclear-test/3145316.html
Will Hanford’s Big Clean-Up Ever Begin? Fifteen years past its originally scheduled start-up date, the nuclear facility’s glassification plant is way over budget and no one seems able to nail down a deadline. At fault, say critics, are mismanagement, frequent turnover in the top brass, and a culture that doesn’t take kindly to criticism. Seattle News Weekly, By John Stang , Dec 15 2015 “……….The story of Tamosaitis’ unheralded warnings is not the exception in the ongoing struggle to contain Hanford’s waste. Rather, this episode is just the latest in a litany of setbacks that has put the project over budget and off schedule again and again.
Officially, the reasons are that this is a first-of-its-kind project with difficult-to-perfect new technology.
In reality, the glassification project—like most of Hanford—resembles a giant Dilbert comic book. The culture is the culprit. There are immense corporate and social pressures to look good now and hope someone else is in charge when things go wrong later. These pressures include high turnover in upper management, bonuses to corporations, individual career advancement, and retaliation against those who rock the boat at inconvenient times. Continue reading
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