The Trump Nuclear Threat, It’s time to worry about Donald Trump’s control of U.S. nuclear forces. US News, By Louis René Beres | Feb. 21, 2017,
Russia to rely less on nuclear weapons as their conventional strength rapidly increases, Business Insider, Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press, 21 Feb 17, MOSCOW (AP) — Russia will continue to see the development of its nuclear forces as a top priority, but the military will rely increasingly on conventional weapons to deter any aggression, the Russian Defense Minister said Tuesday.
Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday that weapons such as the long-range Kalibr cruise missiles carried by navy ships, long-range cruise missiles carried by Russian strategic bombers and the land-based short-range Iskander missiles will play an increasingly important role as a non-nuclear deterrent. Those missiles can carry nuclear or conventional warheads.
Shoigu pointed to the new missiles’ debut in the Syrian conflict, saying they have proven themselves well.
“The development of strategic nuclear forces will remain an unconditional priority,” Shoigu said in remarks carried by Russian news agencies. “Russian nuclear weapons ensure the guaranteed deterrence of aggression by any foreign power.”
At the same time, he added, “the role of nuclear weapons in deterring a potential aggressor will diminish, primarily thanks to the development of precision weapons.”
Until recently, Russia lacked long-range cruise missiles with conventional warheads similar to those in the U.S. inventory.
The post-Soviet economic meltdown left the Russian armed forces in disarray, but the Kremlin has beefed up the military’s conventional forces in recent years amid tensions with the West……http://www.businessinsider.com/ap-russia-to-rely-increasingly-on-non-nuclear-deterrent-2017-2?IR=T
The UAE’s Nuclear Push And the Potential Fallout for the Middle East, Foreign Affairs 21 Feb 17,
Samuel Oakford: US promised it wouldn’t use Depleted Uranium in Syria. But then it did. February 14, 2017. Officials have confirmed that the US military – despite vowing not to use controversial Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria – fired thousands of rounds of such munitions during two high-profile raids on oil trucks in Islamic State-controlled Syria in late 2015. The air assaults mark the first confirmed use of this armament since the 2003 Iraq invasion, when hundreds of thousands of rounds were fired, leading to outrage among local communities which alleged that toxic remnants caused both cancer and birth defects.https://airwars.org/news/depleteduranium1/
ICBUW: United States confirms that it has fired depleted uranium in Syria 21 October 2016. US admits that it fired DU on two occasions in November 2015, contrary to earlier claims; military justification for use unclear after target analysis; ICBUW and PAX call for full disclosure to facilitate harm reduction measures; Russia takes advantage of news to distract from its own conduct in the conflict. http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/united-states-confirms-fired-du-syria
The president reportedly didn’t know what the New START treaty was but wanted to get rid of itPresident Donald Trump has had another embarrassing phone call with a foreign leader — and this time there’s potentially dangerous consequences.
According to the sources who spoke with Reuters, however, Trump seemed unfamiliar with the details of New START when it was brought up by Russian leader Vladimir Putin. After Putin suggested extending New START beyond its original time frame, Trump referred to the treaty as one of many bad deals that Obama had negotiated.
If New START is not mutually extended, neither America nor Russia would be limited in their nuclear production, which could trigger a nuclear arms race.
The sources also say that Trump then turned the conversation toward the subject of his own supposed popularity within the United States. The official White House account of Trump’s Jan. 28 conversation with Putin did not mention a discussion about New START.
Trump’s phone calls with world leaders have not gone well……http://www.salon.com/2017/02/09/a-bad-start-trump-tells-putin-u-s-russia-treaty-to-limit-nuclear-weapons-was-a-bad-deal/
A decision by the United States to pursue a new breed of nuclear weapons could push China to reconsider its decades-long atomic policy, according to experts.
The U.S. Defense Department recently recommended the government develop tactical nuclear weapons with “low yield” results that can be deployed within smaller battlefield areas.
Tong Zhao, an associate in the Carnegie Endowment’s Nuclear Policy Program based in Beijing, told CNBC Wednesday that this more flexible form of weapon would lower the threshold of nuclear use.
U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on January 27, requiring Defense Secretary James Mattis to review America’s nuclear prowess.
Zhao said U.S. plans to pursue a global missile network, initiated by the Obama administration, may be viewed by China as a threat to its own small deterrent and could mean a switch to a “launch-on-warning” policy, whereby China would retaliate before enemy missiles hit land.
“The new U.S. administration seems very much devoted to developing and deploying a massive global and layered missile defense network that protects not only U.S. homeland, U.S. allies, and friends, but also U.S. bases and troops wherever they are located or deployed.
Successive US governments have used a range of carrots and sticks to entice or pressure the North Korean leadership to give up its nuclear programme. The North’s missile launches and nuclear tests in 2016 make plain that these efforts have failed; in short, the West has to accept that it is now a nuclear power and focus instead on limiting the risks a nuclear North Korea presents.
But it also pays to consider what sounds like a perverse question: could a North Korean bomb actually benefit both the country’s people and the world at large?
First, a reality check: the North Korean nuclear programme is less a madcap scheme than a clear and deliberate strategy. Its leaders have closely watched what’s happened to other countries that have backed away from nuclear arsenals, and two in particular: Ukraine and Libya.
Ukraine gave up its massive Soviet-era nuclear arsenal in 1994 when it signed the Budapest Memorandum with Russia, the US and the UK, on whose terms it traded nuclear weapons for a formal reassurance to respect its sovereignty; 20 years later, Moscow invaded and annexed the Crimean peninsula, and a pro-Russian insurgency in the east is still rumbling. As for Libya, Muammar Gaddafi renounced his weapons of mass destruction programme as part of an opening to the West only to be forcibly removed from power by the same countries some eight years later.
Along with the Iraq War, these spectacles taught the North Korean regime that it’s hard for a relatively small, isolated country to survive without the military hardware to guarantee it. Pyongyang has duly shown great diplomatic skill in drawing out nuclear negotiations, buying itself both time and financial aid as its programme moves forward.
In 2016 alone, it tested two nuclear weapons, sent a satellite into orbit, and made advances in both submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) technology. In his New Year’s address at the start of 2017, Kim Jong-un emphasised that the country’s nuclear forces are central to its self-defence capability: “We will defend peace and security of our state at all costs and by our own efforts, and make a positive contribution to safeguarding global peace and stability.”
The long view
A nuclear North Korea obviously worries the international community for several reasons. Kim might in theory actually use nuclear weapons on his enemies, a threat he periodically makes. His country’s admission into the “nuclear club” might spark a regional arms race. It could share or sell technologies of mass destruction to hostile states. And then there’s the danger of a full-blown nuclear accident with all the attendant regional repercussions.
These risks aren’t trivial, but they should be viewed with some perspective. For starters, a nuclear attack from Pyongyang appears highly unlikely. The government is fully aware that it would incur an overwhelmingly destructive military response from the US and South Korea. It’s also worth remembering that while the programme has been underway for 25 years, there is still no sign of a regional nuclear arms race.
As for proliferation or accidents, these demand not isolation but co-operation and communication. Keeping Pyongyang cut off from the world will not help; if its nuclear facilities are to be kept safe and their products not used to bring in illicit foreign revenue, they must be properly monitored rather than kept hidden.
Meanwhile, a nuclear North Korea might well see fit to downsize its enormous and costly conventional military forces, which are among the world’s largest. As it transitions away from what it calls a “Military First” policy to something more deterrent-centric, it makes sense to encourage it to reduce its conventional military forces. (Better still, if it did, heavily-armed South Korea might follow suit.)
With a smaller conventional military to maintain, Pyongyang might be able to channel scarce state funds away from defence and towards raising the standard of living for ordinary North Koreans. This point is in line with its stated strategy of growing the economy and developing the nuclear deterrent in parallel, a policy known as the Byungjin line, and with Kim’s mooted five-year economic plan. His plans demand dramatic shifts in North Korean state policy, which could destabilise the regime. The calculation is that the security provided by nuclear capabilities would offset the shock of sudden domestic change.
Most paradoxically of all, North Korea’s nuclear “arrival” might make for a positive turn in inter-Korean relations. International efforts to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear programme isolated the country, in turn greatly undermining the chances of a rapprochement with the South, whose efforts to defrost relations have lately come to nothing. The pace of the North’s nuclear development meant that the now-impeached President Park’s policy of reconciliation – “Trustpolitik” – was doomed before it began.
As far as Pyongyang is concerned, its militaristic strategy has worked: It has kept the Kim government internally stable, the population dependent on the government, and the country’s enemies at bay. Accepting the country’s nuclear status, rather than trying to head it off with sanctions and threats, could bring it back to the diplomatic bargaining table.
Big shift afoot in French nuclear compo law http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/323947/big-shift-afoot-in-french-nuclear-compo-lawThe French joint law commission has decided to remove the term negligible risk from the nuclear compensation law in what is seen as a breakthrough for French Polynesia’s test victims.
The unanimous decision is now to go to the National Assembly and the Senate for approval as Paris is to make good on its promise to loosen the law.
The compensation law, drawn up by Herve Morin when he was the defence minister in 2009, has been widely criticised for being too restrictive because almost all claims have been thrown out.
A month ago, two French lawmakers urged the social affairs minister Marisol Touraine to amend the decree on compensation to ensure that unsuccessful claimants can resubmit their files.
One of the MPs Jean-Patrick Gille said veterans would find it incomprehensible if the earlier rejection of their compensation bids were to be final.
France tested its atomic weapons first in Algeria and then from 1966 to 1996 in the South Pacific in a programme which involved more than 100,000 personnel.
World War III? Into Uncharted Territory, Trump’s Authority to Use Nuclear Weapons: “Let it be An Arms Race. We will Outmatch Them…and Outlast Them All.”http://www.globalresearch.ca/world-war-iii-trumps-authority-to-use-nuclear-weapons-let-it-be-an-arms-race-we-will-outmatch-themand-outlast-them-all/5572887 By Arms Control Association February 04, 2017
Trump Adviser Steve Bannon Tells Press to “Keep Its Mouth Shut”
Former friends of Trump’s chief advisor, Steve Bannon, reveal his longtime obsession with war http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/2/2/1629296/-Former-friends-of-Steve-Bannon-reveal-his-longtime-obsession-with-testosterone-and-war
What I DO KNOW for a fact, is that, when war ended, Werner Von Braun and 260 other nuclear scientists were quickly taken to USA to work on America’s atomic bomb project
ADOLF Hitler was on the brink of unleashing a nuclear bomb and plotted to drop the devastating weapons on London. By Henry Holloway / Published 5th February 2017 Nazi scientists were “years” ahead of their Western counterparts as they steamed ahead with developing a nuclear device.As well as the tank divisions sweeping across the Europe and naval war in the Pacific, a secret war was waged between the Allies and the Axis.
World War Two became a race to the nuclear bomb, and the Nazis were on the verge of winning, says respected British author Damien Lewis.
The former war reporter spent dozens of hours trawling through archives and documents as declassified files revealed the true threat from the Nazi nuke.
Hitler’s scientists were “two years” ahead of the allies, he said.
Nazi engineers planned to mount dirty bombs and nuclear warheads on the tips of Hitler’s devastating Vengeance V2 rockets – which could not be shot down by AA guns or chased by fighter planes because they were too fast.
Classified missions and projects to undercut the Nazis to either beat them to the bomb, or stop their nuclear programme saw a secret war waged beneath World War 2. Nazi nukes were a threat right up to the final days of the war when the Americans discovered the Third Reich’s nuclear reactor hidden in a cave beneath a church in the tiny village of Haigerloch, Germany.
“General Groves was the head of the Manhattan Project. In April 1945 he cabled the White House and told them ‘only now can I tell you the threat of a Nazi nuclear strike is over’,” said Mr Lewis.
Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt took the threat so seriously the British Prime Minister flew across the Atlantic in a giant flying boat for a meeting about the threat in January, 1942, he adds. Hitler considered nuclear bombs the “ultimate terror weapons” and would have targeted cities such as London and New York.
Daily Star Online revealed Hitler’s obsession with terror weapons such as the monster tank the Panzer-1000 Ratte.
Mr Lewis told Daily Star Online the Germans had the resources and manpower to produce “scores of improvised nuclear devices and they could have engineered a full atom bomb”.
He said: “You are looking at a scenario where the world leaders were very concerned about the technology and its kill-rate.
“So behind the scenes you had special operations prioritising efforts to stop Hitler’s nuclear programme.
“Part of it was the Manhattan Project, part of it was sabotage efforts, and the third part was all about getting ready.” The author revealed reports to the Allies in late 1943 on the Nazi nukes said the Reich “had the technology and the wherewithal”.
“The concern was rooted in absolute science, the Nazis had working reactors, they had the raw materials, and they had the delivery system,” said Mr Lewis.
Both the US and Britain quaked in the face of the nuclear bomb, with discussions about evacuating Washington at Christmas, 1943, and rumours of a successful blast test in Nazi-occupied Russia.
Nazi efforts were hampered by daring Allied missions such as Operation Gunnerside which sabotaged Hitler’s heavy water plant in Norway – one of the key elements needed for atom bombs.
Operation Peppermint was a massive undertaking launched to prepare the troops during the D-Day landings from nuclear attack and analyse V2 detonation sites for radiation. But as the war on the sea, in the air and on land tipped in favour of the allies, Mr Lewis believes the Nazis hoped to use a nuclear weapon as a “bargaining chip” to sue for peace.
However, he says it is a mystery as to why the Third Reich did not use the technology that was tantalisingly within their reach.
“It is a brilliant question,” he said “I cannot give an answer from documents, but there will be an answer in a secret file somewhere which won’t be available for another 50 years.
“There is always back channels, always conversations during a war, so I am sure there must have been something like that.
“The allies must have said ‘if you use the nuclear material you have to hand, we will respond in this way’ – it does not make sense other wise.”
by Alexander Reed Kelly
Feb 2, 2017 In an interview with acTVism, investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill discussed the connection between President Trump’s Cabinet picks and the military-industrial complex.
Scahill also addressed the history of anti-war movements and Germany’s role in the United States’ “war on terror.” He examined the significance of the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, and questioned the legality of its activities.
Jeremy Scahill on the Military Industrial Complex, Donald Trump, Ramstein & Anti-War Movements
The recommendation is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but it foreshadows a raging debate just over the horizon.
Fully one-third of the nuclear arsenal is already considered low-yield, defense analysts say, and almost all the newest warheads are being built with less destructive options. But experts on the Pentagon panel and elsewhere say the board’s goal is to further increase the number of smaller-scale nuclear weapons — and the ways they can be delivered — in order to deter adversaries, primarily Russia, from using nuclear weapons first.
Critics of such an expansion say that even these less explosive nuclear weapons, which pack only a fraction of the punch of the bombs America dropped on Japan in 1945, can still kill scores of thousands of people and lead to lasting environmental damage. They worry that expanding the inventory of lower-yield warheads — and the means for delivering them — could make atomic war more thinkable and could trigger a cycle of response from adversaries, possibly making nuclear conflict more likely. And, they say, such an expansion would cost a lot of money without necessarily increasing security.
The issue will gain greater prominence in the next several years as an up-to-$1 trillion update of the U.S. nuclear arsenal becomes the biggest Pentagon budget issue. That update, as now planned, mostly involves building new versions of the same submarines, bombers, missiles, bombs and warheads. Support for the modernization effort is bipartisan.
But any effort to create new weapons, or even to modify existing ones, in order to expand the arsenal of potentially usable nuclear weapons is likely to trigger opposition.
“There’s one role — and only one role — for nuclear weapons, and that’s deterrence. We cannot, must not, will not ever countenance their actual use,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. “There’s no such thing as limited nuclear war, and for the Pentagon’s advisory board to even suggest such a thing is deeply troubling.”
“I have no doubt the proposal to research low-yield nuclear weapons is just the first step to actually building them,” she added. “I’ve fought against such reckless efforts in the past and will do so again, with every tool at my disposal.”
Conservatives on the congressional defense committees generally support exploring new nuclear options………
Fears of expanded arms race
Those who oppose development or production of more small-scale nuclear weapons argue that U.S. conventional capabilities are unmatched. They also say there’s no reason to believe Russia, for all its bluster, would go nuclear in a conflict, because it would never assume the United States wouldn’t respond either with overwhelming conventional force or nuclear weapons.
Moreover, they say, the United States has or will have plenty of lower-yield nuclear bombs to drop if necessary. And, they add, there are few scenarios in which missiles would be needed to deliver such warheads, because aircraft will suffice, particularly if they can launch atomic-tipped cruise missiles from long distances.
There are potentially serious disadvantages to expanding the lower-yield arsenal, the critics also contend.
First, there’s the cost — expected to be in the billions………http://www.rollcall.com/news/policy/pentagon-panel-urges-trump-team-expand-nuclear-options
US President Donald Trump’s defense secretary has warned North Korea of an “effective and overwhelming” response if Pyongyang chooses to use nuclear weapons.
It came as he reassured Seoul of steadfast US support at the end of a two-day visit.
“Any attack on the United States, or our allies, will be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons would be met with a response that would be effective and overwhelming,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said at South Korea’s defense ministry.
Mattis’ remarks come amid concern that North Korea could be readying to test a new ballistic missile, in what could be an early challenge for Trump’s administration.
North Korea, which regularly threatens to destroy South Korea and its main ally, the United States, conducted more than 20 missile tests last year, as well as two nuclear tests, in defiance of UN resolutions and sanctions.
The North also appears to have also restarted operation of a reactor at its main Yongbyon nuclear facility that produces plutonium that can be used for its nuclear weapons program, according to US think tank 38 North.
“North Korea continues to launch missiles, develop its nuclear weapons program and engage in threatening rhetoric and behaviour,” Mattis said.
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