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USA has conned Australia into paying for its super-costly nuclear submarine project

Last week’s AUKUS announcement was nothing more than PR stunt in Australia, with the government merely committing to spend the next 18 months deciding what to buy—which conveniently kicks any actual the decision far enough down the road to avoid the next federal election. 

Has PM put Australia on the hook to finance struggling UK, US submarine projects? Michael West Media, By Marcus Reubenstein| September 23, 2021,

“Almost comical”. Experts lambast Scott Morrison’s “crazy” AUKUS deal to buy nuclear submarine tech from parlous UK and US programs. Marcus Reubenstein finds a real prospect Australia will be used to “underwrite” the foundering foreign submarine industry.

Twenty-five years of ongoing maintenance delays for nuclear submarines, chronic shortage of both parts and skilled workers, under capacity at shipyards, and attack class submarines missing from deployments for up to nine months. These sound like potential problems for Australia’s future nuclear submarine fleet but they are actual problems right now confronting the US Navy and its fleet of 70 submarines.

The US is at the cutting edge of nuclear propulsion. It has the largest and most sophisticated submarine fleet in the world, its first nuclear submarine was commissioned 67 years ago, and the US has literally decommissioned twice as many nuclear subs as Australia is planning to buy. 

If the US cannot manage to keep its fleet in the water, how can the Morrison government commit up to $100 billion of taxpayer money to secure nuclear submarines and guarantee they will be always operational and ready for deployment?

Professor Hugh White, ANU Professor of Strategic Studies, former Deputy Secretary of Defence and an eminent figure in strategic policy, wrote in The Saturday Paper, “The old plan was to build a conventionally powered version of a nuclear-powered French submarine. It was crazy.”

“The new plan—to buy a nuclear-powered submarine instead—is worse”. 

Says White, “There is a reason why only six countries, all of them nuclear-armed, operate nuclear powered subs.”

The sales pitch is underway 

Last week’s AUKUS announcement was nothing more than PR stunt in Australia, with the government merely committing to spend the next 18 months deciding what to buy—which conveniently kicks any actual the decision far enough down the road to avoid the next federal election. 

The ripples of the announcement, however, reached British shores in double-quick time. Just two days after the AUKUS alliance UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallis announced a $320 million (£170m) grant to be shared between BAE Systems and Rolls Royce to develop technology for Britain’s next generation submarines. 

According to Department of Finance figures, In the past twelve months BAE Systems has collected $1.88 billion from Australian taxpayers. The Astute class submarine, touted as one of the two options Australia is considering, is manufactured by BAE Systems. 

US Naval analyst, and Forbes Defense columnist, Craig Hooper predicts AUKUS could give the US Navy a big shot in the arm as well. He says a deal with Australia could effectively underwrite major improvements to the US Navy’s outdated submarine maintenance facilities by supporting “America’s decade-long, $US25 billion ($34.6 billion) effort to refit the U.S. Navy’s four aging public shipyards. With yard repair costs already high, America would go to great lengths to welcome any additional bidders for shipyard capability improvements.”

US subs in dry dock In a report published six months ago, the US Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found: “The Navy’s four shipyards have experienced significant delays in completing maintenance on its submarines (all of which are nuclear-powered).” ………. Should Australia go down the nuclear sub path what choice will it have other than to outsource the fleet’s maintenance?   …..

Her Majesty’s sub optimal fleet

Britain, touted as the alternative nuclear submarine supplier to Australia, has problems of its own. The Royal Navy operates ten submarines, only four of them were designed and commissioned this century. 

Like their American nuclear counterparts there are systemic problems keeping these subs in service……

That report also indicated significant delays to the BAE Systems built Astute hunter-killer submarines, the same class of nuclear submarine being touted for Australian as part of the AUKUS deal………. https://www.michaelwest.com.au/has-pm-put-australia-on-the-hook-to-finance-struggling-uk-us-submarine-projects/

September 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, marketing, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

French ambassador says Scott Morrison gave no warning on the nuclear submarine deal


‘Maybe we’re not friends’: French Ambassador claims ScoMo offered no warning about AUKUS deal   A powerful French official has slammed Scott Morrison, accusing the Prime Minister of one thing to do with the submarine deal. news.com.au , Helena Burke, 20 Sep 21   
The former French Ambassador to Australia has ripped into Scott Morrison for his defence of the AUKUS submarine deal, claiming the Prime Minister lied about warning France about it.

Jean-Pierre Thebault, who had been the French Ambassador in Canberra since 2020, was recalled last week after France expressed outrage at being left out of the new nuclear submarine deal between the US, UK, and Australia.

Speaking to Radio National on Monday, Mr Thebault said France had been completely blindsided by Mr Morrison’s decision to accept the new deal.

“We discover(ed) through the press that the most important person in the Australian government kept us in the dark intentionally until the last minute and was not willing to at least have the decency to enter conversation about the alternative,” Mr Thebault said.

“This is not an Australian attitude towards friends.”

Maybe we’re not friends.”

Mr Morrison had previously rejected that he had not warned France about the new deal, insisting he told French President Emmanuel Macron in June that Australia might scrap its original submarine agreement,,,,

But the French Ambassador insisted France had never been warned about the potential for a new deal which would exclude them.  https://www.news.com.au/national/politics/maybe-were-not-friends-french-ambassador-claims-scomo-offered-no-warning-about-aukus-deal/news-story/467293b479eca4741c116ba5ced54751

September 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Former submarines boss blasts ‘hocus pocus’ nuclear deal

Ohff described the centrepiece of the new AUKUS security pact as effectively “spur of the moment between Biden, Johnson and Morrison”, saying: “In the end we won’t get the subs the Government wants to procure – it’s all hocus pocus.”

In the end, the US military is unlikely to agree to the transfer of technology,” he said.

It’s almost comical – if it wasn’t so serious.

Former subs boss blasts ‘hocus pocus’ nuclear deal

A former head of ASC has blasted Australia’s “insane deal” with the US and the UK to build nuclear-powered submarines in Adelaide, deriding a “hocus pocus” announcement he says raises major issues about nuclear and defence capability.  https://indaily.com.au/news/2021/09/20/former-subs-boss-blasts-hocus-pocus-nuclear-deal/ Tom Richardson @tomrichardson 

 Hans Ohff, who was managing director and CEO of the then-Australian Submarine Corporation from 1993 to 2002, says he does not believe the mooted submarine deal will materialise as planned for Australia, saying: “I believe it will be stymied because the US military establishment will not underwrite the tacit agreement made between the US President, the British and Australian PMs.”

Ohff insists “there will be no transfer of technical know-how to Australia”, arguing “the submarine propulsion train – not just the reactor – will be a black box accessible only to the US”.

In an emailed statement sent to InDaily’s Your Views, Ohff, who is also a research fellow at Adelaide University, said it was incumbent on the federal government “to inform the Australian people on the strategic, environmental, commercial, and political ramifications and consequences before deciding on the acquisition of nuclear-powered attack submarines”.

“We need to fully appreciate the issues and complexities associated with the design, assembly, operation and maintenance of nuclear submarines powered with highly enriched… weapons-grade uranium,” he said.

“We need to understand that the acquisition of HEU [Highly Enriched Uranium]-235 fissile material would challenge the spirit if not the letter of the Treaty of Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.”

Speaking to InDaily, he went further, saying the plan would have “unbelievable consequences, both here and in Europe” as well as “massive consequences for Outer Harbor”.It’s almost comical – if it wasn’t so serious… Prime Minister Morrison and his Defence Minister have blown up the bridge behind them

“There are big issues with putting highly enriched uranium reactors anywhere in Australia, let alone Outer Harbor,” he said.

Continue reading

September 23, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea returns to its missile diplomacy

Pushing the nuclear envelope’: North Korea’s missile diplomacy  Guardian, 

Analysis: Fear and uncertainty of the Obama years could return as Kim Jong-un revives nuclear ambitions    Reuters. Justin McCurry in Tokyo, Wed 22 Sep 2021

North Korea’s recent missile launches signal that the regime has reverted to familiar tactics to attract the attention of the US. Although the rest of the world will take little comfort from this return to “normality”, after a six-month pause Pyongyang last weekend launched what it claimed were new long-range cruise missiles capable of hitting Japan, followed hours later by the test launch of two ballistic missiles into the sea, apparently from a train.

Then came the clearest sign since its last nuclear test in 2017 that the North is not about to abandon its project to build a viable deterrent, with satellite images showing it was expanding a uranium enrichment plant at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex……….. (registered readers only)  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/22/pushing-the-nuclear-envelope-north-koreas-missile-diplomacy

September 23, 2021 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

U.S. Militarism’s Toxic Impact on Climate Policy

Biden told the UN General Assembly that “…as we close this period of relentless war, we’re opening a new era of relentless diplomacy.” But his exclusive new military alliance with the U.K. and Australia, and his request for a further increase in military spending to escalate a dangerous arms race with China that the United States started in the first place, reveal just how far Biden has to go to live up to his own rhetoric, on diplomacy as well as on climate change

U.S. Militarism’s Toxic Impact on Climate Policy,    Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies LA Progressive  22 Sept 21,  President Biden addressed the UN General Assembly on September 21 with a warning that the climate crisis is fast approaching a “point of no return,” and a promise that the United States would rally the world to action. “We will lead not just with the example of our power but, God willing, with the power of our example,” he said

But the U.S. is not a leader when it comes to saving our planet. Yahoo News recently published a report titled “Why the U.S. Lags Behind Europe on Climate Goals by 10 or 15 years.” The article was a rare acknowledgment in the U.S. corporate media that the United States has not only failed to lead the world on the climate crisis, but has actually been the main culprit blocking timely collective action to head off a global existential crisis. 

The anniversary of September 11th and the U.S. defeat in Afghanistan should be ringing alarm bells inside the head of every American, warning us that we have allowed our government to spend trillions of dollars waging war, chasing shadows, selling arms and fueling conflict all over the world, while ignoring real existential dangers to our civilization and all of humanity. 

The world’s youth are dismayed by their parents’ failures to tackle the climate crisis. A new survey of 10,000 people between the ages of 16 and 25 in ten countries around the world found that many of them think humanity is doomed and that they have no future.

Three quarters of the young people surveyed said they are afraid of what the future will bring, and 40% say the crisis makes them hesitant to have children. They are also frightened, confused and angered by the failure of governments to respond to the crisis. As the BBC reported, “They feel betrayed, ignored and abandoned by politicians and adults.” 

Young people in the U.S. have even more reason to feel betrayed than their European counterparts. America lags far behind Europe on renewable energy. European countries started fulfilling their climate commitments under the Kyoto Protocol in the 1990s and now get 40% of their electricity from renewable sources, while renewables provide only 20% of electric power in America. ………..

 the enormous amount of money the U.S. spends on militarism. Since 2001, the United States has allocated $15 trillion (in FY2022 dollars) to its military budget, outspending its 20 closest military competitors combined. The U.S. spends far more of its GDP (the total value of goods produced and services) on the military than any of the other 29 Nato countries—3.7% in 2020 compared to 1.77%. And while the U.S. has been putting intense pressure on NATO countries to spend at least 2% of their GDP on their militaries, only ten of them have done so. Unlike in the U.S., the military establishment in Europe has to contend with significant opposition from liberal politicians and a more educated and mobilized public.  ………

On climate change, the infrastructure bill includes only $10 billion per year for conversion to green energy, an important but small step that will not reverse our current course toward a catastrophic future. Investments in a Green New Deal must be bookended by corresponding reductions in the military budget if we are to correct our government’s perverted and destructive priorities in any lasting way. This means standing up to the weapons industry and military contractors, which the Biden administration has so far failed to do. 

The reality of America’s 20-year arms race with itself makes complete nonsense of the administration’s claims that the recent arms build-up by China now requires the U.S. to spend even more. China spends only a third of what the U.S. spends, and what is driving China’s increased military spending is its need to defend itself against the ever-growing U.S. war machine that has been “pivoting” to the waters, skies and islands surrounding its shores since the Obama administration.

Biden told the UN General Assembly that “…as we close this period of relentless war, we’re opening a new era of relentless diplomacy.” But his exclusive new military alliance with the U.K. and Australia, and his request for a further increase in military spending to escalate a dangerous arms race with China that the United States started in the first place, reveal just how far Biden has to go to live up to his own rhetoric, on diplomacy as well as on climate change

The United States must go to the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow in November ready to sign on to the kind of radical steps that the UN and less developed countries are calling for. It must make a real commitment to leaving fossil fuels in the ground; quickly convert to a net-zero renewable energy economy; and help developing countries to do the same. As UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says, the summit in Glasgow “must be the turning point” in the climate crisis.

That will require the United States to seriously reduce the military budget and commit to peaceful, practical diplomacy with China and Russia. Genuinely moving on from our self-inflicted military failures and the militarism that led to them would free up the U.S. to enact programs that address the real existential crisis our planet faces – a crisis against which warships, bombs and missiles are worse than useless. https://www.laprogressive.com/toxic-impact-on-climate-policy/

September 23, 2021 Posted by | climate change, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Going nuclear: the secret submarine deal to challenge China, PODCAST 

Going nuclear: the secret submarine deal to challenge China, PODCAST   Guardian, 22 Sept 21,   It came out of the blue – but the new military pact between Australia, the UK and the US could transform international relations for a generation. The Guardian’s defence and security editor, Dan Sabbagh, explains the Aukus deal that has enraged Beijing.

When Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and Scott Morrison announced a new deal that would provide Australia with the technology to run silent nuclear submarines as part of its navy, one phrase kept coming up: “stability in the Indo-Pacific”. The word the leaders of the UK, the US and Australia did not use may be more important: China. By striking the Aukus deal, an unprecedented agreement on defence cooperation between the three countries, the governments have moved to counter what they view as Beijing’s aggression – and prompted questions about whether the move is an ominous sign of a new ‘cold war’ mentality………it has raised a series of questions about whether it signals a shift in international alliances: what happens if China invades Taiwan? What are the knock-on consequences of adding to the club of countries with nuclear-powered submarines? And will any of it make those who live in the Aukus countries – or their neighbours – any safer?

In this episode, Michael Safi is joined by the Guardian’s defence and security editor, Dan Sabbagh, to unpack the ramifications of the deal and ask what it means for the UK and Australia to be tied to American foreign policy for decades to come.  https://www.theguardian.com/news/audio/2021/sep/21/going-nuclear-the-secret-submarine-deal-to-challenge-china

September 23, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s nuclear submarines will be obsolete before they are ever in use

Why will they be obsolete?

Because of the rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI), detection systems and signal processing, combined with swarming autonomous unmanned systems – by 2040 these present USA and UK models will probably be too easily detectable, and so, effectively useless.

Why does Australia want nuclear submarines?

  • So that America can use them to patrol South China Sea as part of uSA’s increased military presence
  • So that Scott Morrison can push the fear of China message heading for the khaki election.
  • Other reasons – helping the USA by buying these very costly submarines which are not particularly useful for monitoring our coastline, but good for long distance. Helping Scott Morrison to look important on the world stage.

    September 22, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Christina's notes, technology, weapons and war | Leave a comment

    US nuclear submarines: a dangerous nonsense for Australia and the region

    A third reason concerns the continued use of military might as the way to address conflicts. Bellicose, top-down exercise of power demonstrates a fascination with violence and a corresponding illiteracy about non-violence

    . You have to ask whether men in suits, in politics, corporations and in association with media acolytes, ever learn.

    US nuclear submarines: a dangerous nonsense   https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/us-nuclear-submarines-dangerous-nonsense, Stuart Rees,September 20, 2021Issue 1320Australia   Unless you think that force of arms gives security and that revival of alliances with far away governments makes sense, the decision to own and operate United States nuclear submarines should be judged a dangerous nonsense.

    There are four reasons for making this claim.

    Foreign policy in search of an enemy — in this case China — looks like a guarantee of conflict if not war. Polarisation with little room for dialogue only benefits the arms industry, United States corporations and those in the US, Britain, Australia and China who think a taste for militarism and masculinity will show the benefits of violence. Capacity to learn from the devastation of the past is once again shoved aside.

    A second reason concerns Australia’s geography: as though days of empire must not be forgotten, a country located in South East Asia and the Pacific chooses an alliance with elderly friends in Washington and London underscores my submarine despair.

    Such a decision reeks of cultural disdain for diverse countries. Even if dialogue with China seems currently blocked, it should make diplomatic sense to communicate about security by being at coffee tables and in tea houses in Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines, as well as Pacific Island nations.

    Such communication would be about Millennium goals, COVID-19 vaccinations and the future of planet Earth. Alliances with those countries about those issues would make sense.

    A third reason concerns the continued use of military might as the way to address conflicts. Bellicose, top-down exercise of power demonstrates a fascination with violence and a corresponding illiteracy about non-violence. You have to ask whether men in suits, in politics, corporations and in association with media acolytes, ever learn.

    At a time when surveys of young people record their fear of the future and their despair that powerful, inaccessible men refuse to hear them, they are offered a massive bill for nuclear operating submarines.

    Indifference to contracts and derision about trust is a fourth and final reason for disdain about the nuclear submarine alliance.

    Whatever the merits of building even one submarine, at least there were years of agreement with French companies to undertake that ship building task. I understand there are up to 60 Australian naval personnel in Cherbourg, France, who have been taken by surprise at US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement.

    Who cares? Trust is of no consequence. Contracts can be torn up. Promises were never meant to be kept. Besides, in Morrison’s case, an election looms and boasting about national security by having US submarines gives a potential war-like platform for winning.

    There are and there will be no winners.

    Can anyone forget the very recent US betrayal and refusal to consult friends and allies in Afghanistan? To distract from that debacle, just pretend that Washington will provide strength and trust in submarines. This is a dangerous nonsense.

    [Stuart Rees OAM is Professor Emeritus, University of Sydney, recipient of the Jerusalem (Al Quds) Peace Prize and author of Cruelty or Humanity. He is also the founding Director of the Sydney Peace Foundation. This article was first published at The New Bush Telegraph.]

    September 21, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

    One white elephant submarine deal replaced with a worse one

    Australia’s submarine policy has previously eschewed nuclear propulsion. Now, as a dowry for receiving such largesse, Canberra is offering up Australia as a confirmed US asset in policing the Indo-Pacific. US Navy commanders will be smacking their lips at maintaining attack vessels in Australia as part of the arrangement……

    Nuclear white elephants: Australia’s new submarine deal, Green Left, Binoy KampmarkSeptember 16, 2021Issue 1319Australia  Few areas of public expenditure are more costly and mindlessly wasteful than submarines. Australia’s effort is particularly impressive.

    Pick a real winner by signing a contract for a yet-to-be-designed attack class submarine, supposedly “necessary” in an “increasingly dangerous” region. Ensure the submarine design is based on a nuclear model, but remove that attribute and charge at least twice as much for a less capable weapon. Make sure the order is for 12 of these yet-to-be-designed-and-built systems. And make sure that they are only ready sometime in the 2030s (by which time they risk being obsolete).

    The dubious honour for this contract, initially costing $50 billion, went to the French submarine company DCNS (now called Naval Group), which nudged out German and Japanese contenders with pre-existing designs………

    The French military establishment praised it as the “contract of the century”. Le Parisien’s editorial lauded the prospect of thousands of jobs. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian proclaimed a “50-year marriage” had begun……..

    On September 15, the Canberra press gallery was awash with rumours that a divorce was being proposed.

    The following day, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a security ménage à trois with the United States and Britain, with Australia as the subordinate partner. The glue that will hold this union together is a common suspicion: China.

    Replacing the Attack Class submarine will be a nuclear-powered alternative with Anglo-American blessing, based on the US Virginia class or British Astute class.

    The joint statement announcing the creation of AUKUS said the three countries were “guided” by “enduring ideals and shared commitment to the international rules-based order”. They resolved “to deepen diplomatic, security, and defence cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, including by working with partners, to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.”

    AUKUS, they said, would be a new “enhanced trilateral security partnership” to further such goals.

    The agreement is nothing less than an announcement to the region that the Anglophone bloc intends to police, oversee and, if necessary, punish…….

    The first initiative is a “shared” ambition “to support Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy”. US and British expertise will be drawn on to “bring an Australian capability into service at the earliest achievable date” from the submarine programs of both countries…..

    Australia’s submarine policy has previously eschewed nuclear propulsion. Now, as a dowry for receiving such largesse, Canberra is offering up Australia as a confirmed US asset in policing the Indo-Pacific. US Navy commanders will be smacking their lips at maintaining attack vessels in Australia as part of the arrangement……

    The enduring problem of Australia being able to build these submarines will have US lawmakers pushing for their construction on home soil, a situation that  could mirror the Naval Group contract headaches. Australia also lacks a shipyard able to build or maintain such vessels.

    In helping create AUKUS, Canberra has exchanged one white elephant of the sea for another. It has also significantly increased the prospects for a potential nuclear conflict in the Indo-Pacific region. The warmongers will be ecstatic.

    [Dr Binoy Kampmark lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email bkampmark@gmail.com.]  https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/nuclear-white-elephants-australias-new-submarine-deal

    September 21, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, technology, weapons and war | Leave a comment

    Tragically, Biden continues same nuclear weapons ”modernization” budget as Trump’s

    Biden’s Nuclear Weapons Commitments: Dangerous Continuities Tragically, despite widespread high hopes for change, in the existential realm of potentially omnicidal nuclear war preparations, the Biden administration has signaled more continuity than change.

    Common Dreams, JOSEPH GERSONSeptember 18, 2021   ”…………………………….. The sad and dangerous truth is that the nuclear weapons budget President Biden submitted to Congress differs little from Trump’s nuclear weapons “modernization” commitments. Despite Biden’s election year and earlier statements that the “sole use” of nuclear weapons that he could imagine was in response to a nuclear attack against the United States, the budget he submitted to Congress includes funding to replace the country’s entire arsenal of first-strike—use them or lose them—ground based ICBMs. So too the budget Congress will be voting on includes funding to produce 80 plutonium pits (the fissile core of a nuclear warhead) per year—each one of which with the destructive capability to devastate cities as large as Shanghai, Karachi and Moscow. Biden and his Pentagon also expect to win funding for the extremely destabilizing “more usable” tactical (roughly Hiroshima sized) B-61-12 bound for Europe, the nuclear air-launched cruise Long Range Standoff Weapon, and new warheads for submarine launched missiles, all designed to hold China hostage to a U.S. first-strike attack. 

    What is driving China’s anticipated increase in the size of its nuclear arsenal and fears that it might abandon its no first use doctrine? The answer is those standoff cruise missiles and U.S. missile defenses that are being deployed along China’s periphery that Chinese officials and analysts fear could make first-strike nuclear war fighting attractive to U.S. leaders.

    Days prior to the Congressional budget debate and on the eve of the launching of the Biden administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, the Defense Intelligence Agency stoked elite panic with the release of photographs which convincingly demonstrate that Beijing has initiated construction of 250 missile silos for Chinese land-based strategic intercontinental nuclear missiles. 


    Yet,former lead U.S. arms control negotiator and Deputy NATO Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller warns that the silo holes being dug in northern China are a simply a “great distraction”.  As an arms controller, he is committed to nuclear deterrence and strategic stability and unwilling to press for what Noam Chomsky calls the “obvious solution” to the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons: “getting rid of them.”  She is willing to concede that China’s nuclear buildup is designed to reinforce its “second strike deterrence posture”, which is threatened by U.S. nuclear and missile defense forces. Rather than panicking and wasting limited U.S. resources, she urges policymakers to remember that even if China quadruples the size of its nuclear arsenal by placing an ICBM armed with multiple warheads in each of those silos, it will still have fewer nuclear weapons than the United States or Russia. She urges lawmakers to focus on economic and technological competition and not to be panicked into funding the Pentagon’s wish list of Strangelovian nuclear weapons     former lead U.S. arms control negotiator and Deputy NATO Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller warns that the silo holes being dug in northern China are a simply a “great distraction”.  As an arms controller, he is committed to nuclear deterrence and strategic stability and unwilling to press for what Noam Chomsky calls the “obvious solution” to the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons: “getting rid of them.”  She is willing to concede that China’s nuclear buildup is designed to reinforce its “second strike deterrence posture”, which is threatened by U.S. nuclear and missile defense forces. Rather than panicking and wasting limited U.S. resources, she urges policymakers to remember that even if China quadruples the size of its nuclear arsenal by placing an ICBM armed with multiple warheads in each of those silos, it will still have fewer nuclear weapons than the United States or Russia. She urges lawmakers to focus on economic and technological competition and not to be panicked into funding the Pentagon’s wish list of Strangelovian nuclear weapons  former lead U.S. arms control negotiator and Deputy NATO Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller warns that the silo holes being dug in northern China are a simply a “great distraction”.  As an arms controller, he is committed to nuclear deterrence and strategic stability and unwilling to press for what Noam Chomsky calls the “obvious solution” to the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons: “getting rid of them.”  She is willing to concede that China’s nuclear buildup is designed to reinforce its “second strike deterrence posture”, which is threatened by U.S. nuclear and missile defense forces. Rather than panicking and wasting limited U.S. resources, she urges policymakers to remember that even if China quadruples the size of its nuclear arsenal by placing an ICBM armed with multiple warheads in each of those silos, it will still have fewer nuclear weapons than the United States or Russia. She urges lawmakers to focus on economic and technological competition and not to be panicked into funding the Pentagon’s wish list of Strangelovian nuclear weapons.

    At the policy making level there are four theaters of political struggle: 1) Congress and its debates over Biden’s $634 ten-year nuclear weapons funding proposal and No First Use legislation; 2) the Biden administration’s Nuclear Posture Review; 3) January’s Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference at the U.N., and 4) the March 2022 governmental First Meeting of States Parties of the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in Geneva.

    The Congressional Progressive Caucus has called out the Biden administration for failing to propose a nuclear weapons spending that “does not reflect your longstanding efforts to reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons.” They oppose funding for new submarine launched nuclear warheads, to maintain the B83 gravity bombs with an explosive yield of up to 100 times the Hiroshima A-bomb, and for the Long-Range Standoff Weapon described above. And, while not calling for the total elimination of first-strike land-based ICBMs, they oppose funding for the creation of a new generation of these omnicidal weapons. They also urge that the Biden Nuclear Posture Review, which will be conducted with little public or Congressional input by the Pentagon and senior administration “national security” officials, mandate reduction of the nation’s reliance on nuclear weapons. 

    Internationally, pressure for nuclear weapons abolition will manifest itself at the NPT Review Conference and TPNW First Meeting early in the new year. With the world’s nuclear powers upgrading, and in many cases expanding,  their nuclear arsenals, there is little hope that progress will be made to fulfill the nuclear powers’ Article VI Treaty commitment to engaging in good faith negotiations for the complete elimination of their nuclear arsenals. And, with the Biden administration’s embrace of Israel’s new right-wing (and racist) government, it is unlikely that it will voice support for or take action to implement Washington’s earlier NPT commitment to co-convene an international conference for the creation of a Middle East Nuclear and WMD-Free Zone.  

    Dim as prospects are for a successful NPT Review, it remains important for activists and international civil society to press as hard as we can for the full implementation of this seminally important treaty. Silence, being consent, would leave the nuclear powers with an open field. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/09/18/bidens-nuclear-weapons-commitments-dangerous-continuities

    September 21, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

    Don’t Let Presidents Start Nuclear Wars on Their Own

    Don’t Let Presidents Start Nuclear Wars on Their Own

    In the U.S., one person has vast, essentially unchecked power to launch a nuclear strike. The country needs stronger guardrails to protect against a catastrophic miscalculation.  Bloomberg, By Editorial Board 20 September 2021 In the final days of Donald Trump’s administration, General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, offered some very unusual instructions to senior military officials. If they received orders to launch an attack, up to and including the use of nuclear weapons, they were to “do the process” of consulting with him first. The general asked all of the officers to verbally signal their assent, which he reportedly considered “an oath.”

    That’s according to a new book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. Milley had become so alarmed at Trump’s addled behavior, the authors say, that he felt the added safeguards were necessary to forestall a calamity……..

    .. highlight a longstanding but largely unresolved danger: the lack of guardrails to prevent a reckless or unstable president from starting a nuclear war.

    Following the latest revelations, Republicans have accused Milley of everything from insubordination to treason. But whether he acted improperly is debatable.

    …… As it happens, there’s no evidence that Trump was contemplating using nukes. But that doesn’t mean the world is safe from future presidents in a similar situation…… https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-09-20/milley-trump-controversy-shows-need-for-nuclear-guardrails

    September 21, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

    North Korea says Australia’s submarine deal could trigger ‘nuclear arms race

    North Korea says Australia’s submarine deal could trigger ‘nuclear arms race’ WP,    By Rachel Pannett   20 Sep 21,  North Korea on Monday condemned a new defense pact by the United States, Australia and Britain, and a plan to share nuclear submarine technology with Australia, saying the deal could trigger a nuclear arms race and upset the balance in the Asia-Pacific region………Responding to news of the trilateral security pact on Monday, the unnamed North Korean ministry official described the United States as “the chief culprit toppling the international nuclear nonproliferation system,” adding that its “double-dealing attitude” was threatening “world peace and stability.”…….. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/09/20/north-korea-submarine-nuclear-aukus/

    September 21, 2021 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

    Nuclear Modernization Casts Budget Shadow Over Air Force Plans


    Nuclear Modernization Casts Budget Shadow Over Air Force Plans

    “There’s no free money, right, so it has to come from somewhere,” said Lt. Gen. Clinton Hinote, deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration and requirements. Breaking Defense, By   THERESA HITCHENS September 20, 2021

     AFA: The fundamental budget challenge facing the Air Force is the “nuclear bow wave” of spending required to modernize its nuclear force structure, with a “major danger” that those costs will make all the service’s other modernization plans untenable, said Lt. Gen. Clinton Hinote, who leads future force development.


    “There’s no free money, right, so it has to come from somewhere,” he told reporters during the annual Air Force Association conference here. “But if it comes from the top line of the Department of the Air Force, and frankly the Department of Navy, it’s going to crowd out other things, other investments, and it’s going to be very difficult to have a modern Air Force and a modern Space Force, a modern Navy, and recapitalize the nuclear triad. That’s where we are right now.”

    The Congressional Budget Office in May 2021 estimated the price tag for the total DoD triad modernization effort at $405 billion from 2021 through 2030, up from the $238 billion it estimated in 2019. This ginormous price tag does not include spending by the Energy Department to build the nuclear warheads that would be carried by DoD’s ICBMs, bombers and subs……. https://breakingdefense.com/2021/09/nuclear-modernization-casts-budget-shadow-over-air-force-plans/

    September 21, 2021 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

    Aukus fallout: for years, US told India it couldn’t share nuclear submarine technology. ‘And now this

    Aukus fallout: for years, US told India it couldn’t share nuclear submarine technology. ‘And now this …’

    Deal between Australia, the US and Britain to share nuclear-powered submarine technology has some in India asking why it hasn’t been granted similar access to US technology…….. 
    https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3149446/aukus-fallout-years-us-told-india-it-couldnt-share-nuclear?module=perpetual_scroll&pgtype=article&campaign=3149446 Pranay Sharma 20 Sep 21.

    September 21, 2021 Posted by | India, weapons and war | Leave a comment

    Is AUKUS pact a signal to India to go for nuclear attack submarines?

    With a new aircraft carrier, six new Kalvari class diesel attack submarines and Vishakhapatnam class of destroyers, the Indian Navy is going to be very potent force in the Indo-Pacific by 2025. By Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times, New Delhi SEP 18, 2021  With Australia signing a pact with US and UK to go in for eight nuclear powered conventional attack submarines or SSNs to deter China in Indo-Pacific, India also needs to have a relook at its 1999 conventional submarine plan and move swiftly towards nuclear powered sub-surface vessels.

    The AUKUS pact will not be without security ramifications for the Quad partners as there is a distinct possibility that China may build an SSN for its client Pakistan citing the transfer of nuclear reactor under AUKUS to Australia. This will create a bigger security headache for India and for other countries in the IOR.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/is-aukus-pact-a-signal-to-india-to-go-for-nuclear-attack-submarines-101631944254552.html

    September 20, 2021 Posted by | India, weapons and war | Leave a comment