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Biden’s USA headed for confrontation with Russia? The troubling appointment of Victoria Nuland

Nuland’s actions helped produce the regime change in Ukraine which led to U.S. arms sales, U.S. sanctions on Russia, even the first Trump impeachment over the matter of anti-tank missile delivery. The coup damaged U.S.-Russian relations

Basic Notes on Victoria (“Fuck the EU!”) Nuland,  more https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/01/25/basic-notes-on-victoria-fuck-the-eu-nuland/ BY GARY LEUPP, 25 Jan 21
On January 5 Joe Biden quietly announced the nomination of Victoria (“Fuck the EU!”) Nuland as Deputy Secretary of State for Political Affairs. This announcement may signal the inception of the confrontation with Russia placed on hold during the Trump presidency.

For four years the Democrats have pilloried Trump for “coddling” Putin, although in fact Trump has heaped sanctions on Russia bringing relations to their lowest point since the early Cold War. Now they want some more serious anti-Russian measures. They want their president, Commander-in-Chief of the Exceptional Nation and Leader of the Free World against its adversaries, return us to Clinton-Obama normalcy. That means “getting tougher” with Russia. But what does tougher mean?

Nuland is eminently qualified for the task of making things much worse, even provoking war with the other superpower that while lacking foreign bases, and spending a fraction of what NATO spends on military defense, has over 6000 nuclear weapons. (Remember? The U.S. developed and used nuclear weapons in 1945, the only country to ever do so. The Soviets followed by developing their own bomb in 1949, in self-defense. That’s when Truman established NATO as an anti-Soviet, anti-communist military alliance.)

Moscow feels a mounting resentment over the expansion of a hostile military alliance, formed during the Cold War under conditions no longer pertinent, to surround it. Is this hard to fathom? How would Congress view a gradual expansion of a Russian-led military alliance committed to spending 2% of its members’ GDPs on military spending to embrace Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Panama and maybe Canada next year?

Nuland is a career official, serving under multiple administrations, representing bipartisan imperialism. She was deputy director for “affairs in the former Soviet republics” in the Bill Clinton administration. Her task was to exploit the pain and suffering caused by the implosion of the Soviet Union to assert greater U.S. hegemony over Eurasia, using the traditional mix of covert operations, National Endowment for Democracy meddling, “color revolutions,” aid promises, etc.

During this period Clinton reneged on the U.S. promise to Moscow in 1989 that NATO would not advance “one inch” east after the Soviets accepted German reunification. Instead he drew Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, long members of the dissolved Warsaw Pact, into the anti-Russian military alliance in 1999. It was an extraordinary repudiation of the Bush-Gorbachev agreement, an egregious provocation of a now-friendly country (then headed by the buffoonish Boris Yeltsin), unremarked on by the U.S. press at the time as anything controversial. Since then the expansion of NATO has been treated as no more remarkable than the expansion of UNESCO. Thank Nuland in part for making you think relentless NATO growth is normal, and that it makes sense for North Macedonia and Montenegro to have joined most recently (during the Trump term).

Thank Nuland too, in part, for the “color revolutions” in Serbia (2000), Georgia (2003), Ukraine (2004) and Kyrgyzstan (2005). The (fake) concept of the popular uprising against (Russian-backed) tyranny, backed by an altruistic America that stands for Freedom and Democracy—that’s Nuland’s baby. She surely has plans for Belarus. And she must be deeply alarmed that the State Department did not try to interfere in the last flare-up of violence in Nagarno-Karabakh leaving Russian diplomacy to resolve the situation. (Just because Russia itself extends into the Caucasus and borders Georgia and Azerbaijan doesn’t mean that it should “interfere” in countries that ought by rights to be ruled by the U.S.A.—due to Exceptionalism and all.)

The extremely reactionary chauvinistic Nuland was deputy foreign advisor to Dick Cheney during the Bush-Cheney administration (2003-2005) and then U.S. ambassador to NATO (2005-2008). Under Obama she was Under Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, handpicked by Hillary Clinton. She is married to noted neocon warmonger-scholar Robert Kagan. Both were deeply complicit in spreading the Big Lies leading to the Iraq War in 2003. Nuland supported Hillary Clinton’s terroristic regime change efforts in Libya and Syria. But her main mission in life is to expand NATO. Joe Biden shares her passion for this project.

Nuland is perhaps best known for her pithy ejaculation: “Fuck the EU!” in a telephone call with the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in 2014.

In that year, while Nuland built support for the coup in Kiev (Feb. 18 to 21), she boasted openly that the U.S. had invested $5 billion in supporting “the Ukrainian people’s European aspirations.” (This referred to the support of some Ukrainians for the violent overthrow of the democratically elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, on the basis of his alleged pro-Russian policies and his opposition to European Union affiliation under the conditions the EU was then offering.) To state the matter honestly: the U.S. spent $5 billion to install a government in Kiev that would request NATO membership (ostensibly to protect it from always-aggressive, always expanding Russia) and bind it forever to the U.S. military-industrial complex and “Free World.”

Since NATO membership since the end of the Cold War has invariably been followed by EU membership, it was easy for Nuland to pose as the champion of Ukraine’s EU membership versus the evil Russians (supposedly) opposing that membership. Yanukovych himself had negotiated seriously with the EU but rejected a plan for association due to its austerity provisions. Meanwhile Moscow offered an attractive aid package. This in the world of U.S. propaganda was a choice between Europe and Russia, with Yanukovych siding with America’s adversary.

The Maidan coup occurred just a month after Nuland was recorded discussing the upcoming event with U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt. Nuland, who had joined Sen. John McCain and other U.S. politicians in offering cookies to the Maidan protestors, discussed with Pyatt who should serve as prime minister after the coup. Pyatt noted that the EU favored Vitali Klitschko, the ex-boxer.

“Fuck the EU!” replied Nuland, who wanted banker and NATO supporter Arseniy Yatsenyuk to lead the new government. She soon got her way.

Nuland worked with Oleh Tyahnybok, head of the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party (and one of the three leaders Nuland ordered Pyatt to keep in touch with) and the Right Sector militia. Both glorify Stephan Bandera, the Ukrainian fascist leader who aided the Nazis in rounding up Ukrainian Jews during the war. Tyahnybok publicly inveighs against the “Moscow-Jewish mafia ruling Ukraine.”

When Congressman Dana Rohrbacher Nuland in a hearing was asked soon after the coup whether there had been any neo-fascists on the Maidan she refused to answer the question, stating there were “mothers, grandmothers, and veterans…all colors of Ukraine, including ugly colors” on the Maidan. In other words, a diverse anti-Russian crowd. (Notice how she ignored the existence of the 30% of Ukrainians who are ethnic Russians and were a support base for the president targeted for toppling. Just the sort of sensitivity to ethnicity you’d expect from a top U.S. State Department official who’d been comfortable with the slaughter of Iraqis.) Continue reading

January 26, 2021 Posted by | politics international, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine, USA | Leave a comment

A dangerous out-dated ”zombie” U.S. Navy policy on ballistic missile submarines

 one of those zombie policies that keeps going long after it ought to be dead and buried.

Failure to consider new technology may result in a situation where a nuclear first strike is seen as the only way to guarantee “winning” a war, despite the almost incomprehensible levels of destruction involved. As the situation gets complex with China developing its own submarine-based deterrent force, such instability will be dangerous to everyone.

Dismukes argues that to reduce this danger we have to recognize the two factors it stems from: advances in submarine detection technology; and a dubious, outdated U.S. policy on strategic ASW. The new administration should tackle that policy ASAP. 

 

A U.S. Navy policy on ballistic missile submarines may threaten the stability of the strategic nuclear balance.

This seems to be the result of the inertia of a strategy laid down in a different era, one which is becoming increasingly precarious as technology advances.

Previous administrations have failed to spell out the actual policy, preferring to keep it under wraps. Continuing this lack of clarity could prove catastrophic.

Bradford Dismukes is a strategy expert with thirty years’ experience at the Center for Naval Analyses or CNA, having headed a group which supported and developed U.S. Navy strategy. His new blog challenges ideas which have, as he says, “marched zombie-like out of the Cold War,” without being questioned. One such idea is the policy of Strategic Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), which Dismukes says makes nuclear escalation more likely, not less, if threatened in time of crisis or executed in war.

ASW is all about finding, tracking and destroying enemy submarines. Strategic ASW targets the submarines carrying nuclear missiles. During the Cold War, Strategic ASW was about tying up enemy forces and affecting the war on the ground, but now the situation is quite different.

Today, the Russians would have every reason to see the mission primarily as preparation for a U.S. first strike,” says Dismukes. Continue reading

January 26, 2021 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The aerospace industry – the goal is weaponry and global dominance

January 26, 2021 Posted by | space travel, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Protest rally against University of Arkansas’ involvement with nuclear weapons corporation

Group protests UA involvement with nuclear corporation, https://www.nwahomepage.com/news/group-protests-ua-involvement-with-nuclear-corporation/ by: Megan Wilson, Jan 22, 2021, FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Northwest Arkansans join peace groups around the world celebrating an international treaty on prohibiting nuclear weapons.

While 86 countries signed the treaty, the U.S. was not one of them.

A group gathered at the University of Arkansas to protest its contract with the nuclear weapons corporation Honeywell International.

Abel Tomlinson is the founder of Arkansas Non-Violence Alliance.

He said the University contradicts its mission statement by building non-nuclear components for the bombs.

“Its mission statement says that they’re ‘determined to build a better world.’ and we belive that building nuclear bombs is the complete opposite of that. Nobody should be having them. They’re endangering everyone, it’s unacceptable,” Tomlinson said.

The University of Arkansas was aware of today’s protest, but did not wish to comment.

January 25, 2021 Posted by | Education, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Strong opposition to USA’s Nuclear Rubberstamp Commission extending nuclear reactors’ lives to 100 years

 

Well, I can’t help think that all these officials are looking out for themselves here. They hope that the disasters and cleanups won’t be their problem, – but the problem of future taxpayers.

 

January 23, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, safety, USA | Leave a comment

USA and Iran must overcome 9 hurdles to revive the nuclear deal. 

Nine hurdles to reviving the Iran nuclear deal, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, By Seyed Hossein Mousavian | January 19, 2021,   Although reviving the agreement is certainly still possible, it won’t be easy. The two sides will need to overcome nine hurdles to make it happen.

First, the sequencing of a mutual return could be an immediate problem. Iran expects the United States to lift sanctions first, because it  was the Trump administration that withdrew first. While Tehran’s demand is legitimate, Washington may ask that Iran come into full compliance before lifting sanctions. …….

Second is the issue of what compliance constitutes …….

Third, the Trump administration imposed numerous sanctions against Iran under the guise of terrorism and human rights, aimed at preventing the Biden administration from returning to the deal. For a clean implementation of the agreement, Biden will need to remove all of these sanctions as well.

Fourth, Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement and violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 as well as other international commitments has damaged US credibility abroad. …..Fifth, because of Trump’s maximum pressure policy, the Iranian economy has suffered hundreds of billions of dollars of losses while Iran was in full compliance with the terms and conditions of the deal……..

Sixth, the “snapback” mechanism built into the agreement allows any country to force the UN Security Council to reimpose multilateral sanctions against Iran if Iran fails to fulfill its commitments. But this is one-sided: There is no such remedy for Iran if other parties fail to do their part. ………

Seventh, in the first week of December 2020, the Iranian parliament passed a bill mandating Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization to resume enriching uranium to 20 percent purity. The legislation also requires the Iranian government to cease voluntary implementation of the IAEA’s Additional Protocol within two months of the bill’s enactment if the other signatories fail to fully deliver on their commitments under the agreement.  …….

Eighth, there are some in the United States who are worried that Trump may start a reckless last-ditch war with Iran before leaving office. ……

Ninth, some pundits and politicians in Washington want Biden to leverage the Trump administration’s sanctions to pressure Iran to accept additional commitments beyond the original agreement as a condition for US return to compliance……..

Despite these hurdles, Biden should nevertheless seek a reentry into the deal. Only a clean and full implementation by all parties can save the world’s most comprehensive nuclear agreement, contain rising US-Iran tensions, and open the path toward more confidence building measures. That path should include, upon Biden’s issuing an executive order to rejoin the JCPOA, the creation of a working committee of parties to the agreement tasked with ensuring full compliance by all signatories, and a forum, organized by the UN secretary general, in which Iran and the Gulf countries can discuss a new structure for improving security and cooperation in the region. https://thebulletin.org/2021/01/nine-hurdles-to-reviving-the-iran-nuclear-deal/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=ThursdayNewsletter01212021&utm_content=NuclearRisk_9hurdles_01192021

 

January 23, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Biden keeps Trump appointee as acting nuclear weapons chief

January 23, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

The 70-year nuclear gloom begins to lift on January 22

Abolishing Nuclear Weapons: A New Chance, https://portside.org/2021-01-19/abolishing-nuclear-weapons-new-chance 20 Jan 21,

The 70-year nuclear gloom begins to lift on January 22, 2021. The nine countries that have held the world captive to the threat of nuclear war are losing moral ground to 122 smaller countries that approved the world’s first nuclear weapons ban.

Anuclear darkness has engulfed the world for seven decades, with only intermittent breakthroughs of light when treaties among nuclear nations were negotiated.  Some treaties have been violated for decades; others, walked away from by Trump.  Any progress made on eliminating nuclear weapons has ceased.  Worse, a new weapons upgrade is in the works by the nuclear nations.   In 2009 President Obama spoke of the dream of a world without nuclear weapons, yet a handful of years later he put the U.S. on course to spend nearly $2 trillion on upgrading its nuclear weapons arsenal and delivery systems over a period of 30 years.  Trump has augmented the budget for and added new nuclear weapons with threats to use them.

The 70-year nuclear gloom begins to lift on January 22, 2021. The nine countries that have held the world captive to the threat of nuclear war are losing moral ground to 122 smaller countries that approved the world’s first nuclear weapons ban in July 2017.  Once 50 of those 122 approving countries completed the ratification process of the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in their legislatures, it became international law in October 2020.

The law goes into effect January 22, 2021 to the profound relief of most people of the world.  Those now 51 “freedom fighter” countries commit to having nothing to do with nuclear weapons – no design, testing, manufacturing, storage, transport, use or threat of use.  Consider this a marathon for disarmament to outpace the current nuclear arms race in which all nuclear-armed countries are, in lockstep, upgrading their weapons.

And this is only the beginning. Thirty five additional countries are in the process of ratifying the Treaty; 50 more support the Treaty; a dozen more have immense popular support, among them Canada, and are one election away from signing the Treaty.  If the United States, where a majority of citizens does not want to use nuclear weapons, signed the Treaty, the rest would follow.

Actions of note:

  • The General Electric Company stopped production of nuclear weapons in 1993.
  • Two of the world’s largest pension funds have divested from nuclear weapons.
  • Mitsubishi UFG Financial Group, 1 of the 5 largest banks in the world, has excluded nuclear weapons production from its portfolio, labeling them “inhumane.”
  • Kennedy and Khrushchev were working toward the abolition of nuclear weapons when Kennedy was assassinated.
  • Reagan and Gorbachev agreed to a radical dismantling of their nuclear weapons.
  • Our goal must be a world “without nuclear weapons… “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought:” Former Republican Secretary of State George Schultz and former Democrat Secretary of Defense William Perry.
  • Mayors for Peace: 7675 cities in 163 countries support the total abolition of nuclear weapons.
  • 56 former presidents, prime ministers, foreign and defense ministers from 20 NATO countries and Japan and South Korea recently signed an open letter in support of the UN treaty to ban nuclear weapons. “Sooner or later our luck will run out – unless we act…There is no cure for a nuclear war,” they asserted. “Prevention is our only option.”
  • Pope Francis: “The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral. As is the possession of atomic weapons.”

A limited nuclear war could trigger a global famine that would likely end billions of lives.  A full scale nuclear war would end human and most other life on Earth, reminding us of the classical depiction of total war: they had to destroy the village to save it.  A nuclear war, whether by accident, misjudgment or intention to destroy the enemy would destroy the rest of us as well – how insane is that?

What then can President-elect Biden do?

Open dialogue with and renew nuclear agreements and diplomacy with Russia immediately.

Change US policy in 3 key ways: No first use of nuclear weapons; take weapons off of hair trigger alert; and select another senior official to share decision-making about “pressing the button.”

Revive the agreement with Iran: they do not develop nuclear weapons, we lift sanctions.

With South Korea, engage in diplomacy with North Korea to freeze and roll back their nuclear weapons program.

Stop the new program of upgrading nuclear weapons.

Listen to the world’s majority and lead the United States toward signing the new UN Treaty and the others will follow.  It is our only solution to exit a dead-end system that permits a single human being, in the words of national security analyst Joseph Cirincione, “to destroy in minutes all that humanity has constructed over millennia.”

Pat Hynes, retired from Boston University, is on the board of the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice https://traprock.org.

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

100 year licences for nuclear reactors? – a hazardous plan

What a great idea!   This way, all the nuclear industry  heavies, all the regulatory officials involved, will be long gone when disaster strikes.  They get off scot free –   no costs, no blame, no shame.  Just leaves the taxpayers’ grandchildren, great grandchildren and so on, to deal with the massive problems caused bu these self=serving decision-makers.

 

NRC to discuss 100-year licenses for nuclear plants, Facilities could receive longer extensions, Gloucester Daily Times. By Heather Alterisio Staff Writer, 9 Jan 21,  SEABROOK, N.H. — A daylong Nuclear Regulatory Commission meeting Thursday will revolve around discussion of any technical issues that could arise if nuclear power plants were licensed to operate for 100 years.

When a nuclear power plant is first licensed by the NRC, that license permits a plant to operate for 40 years. After that, owners of nuclear plants can apply for a 20-year license extension. Nearly every power plant in the U.S. has gone through that renewal process at least once, according to NRC spokesman Scott Burnell.

Seabrook Station at 626 Lafayette Road received approval from the NRC in 2019 to extend its operating license from 2030 to 2050. The plant sits about 17 miles northwest — as the seagull flies — from parts of Cape Ann.

As of Oct. 31, the federal Energy Information Administration said there were 56 commercially operating nuclear power plants with 94 nuclear reactors in 28 states.

About 10 years ago, the NRC began discussions to address what protocols should be put in place if plant owners wanted to renew their license a second time, allowing operation for 80 years. Burnell said the law does not set a limit on how many times a plant can apply to renew its license.

The NRC has since awarded second renewals to a Florida plant and one in Pennsylvania, allowing operation for 80 years. The meeting Thursday — which will be online and open to the public — poses the question, what protocols should be in place if a plant owner pursued a third renewal, allowing it to operate for 100 years?………

Natalie Hildt Treat, executive director for C-10, an Amesbury-based nonprofit that monitors Seabrook Station and its impact on surrounding communities, said C-10 has already brought attention to issues related to aging concrete at Seabrook, the first nuclear power plant known to have this problem.

Prior to and while Seabrook Station was undergoing its recent license renewal process, C-10 pressed the NRC to address concrete degradation caused by alkali-silica reaction in which tiny cracks develop in concrete structures. C-10 worked closely with Victor Saouma, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder and an expert in alkali-silica reaction.

Saouma is one of the experts who will speak Thursday on technical issues relating to concrete. C-10 believes there should be federal regulations that include taking concrete samples from all of the nation’s nuclear reactors, testing them “rigorously,” and creating protocols for how to manage issues as they arise, Treat said.

“We don’t think the NRC or the plant operators have a handle on whether these reactors are safe today, much less an unprecedented number of decades,” she said.

Treat added that Seabrook Station, like other plants around the country, was designed a few decades ago and they “are not getting any safer as they age.”

It is implausible to think that plants could safely operate for more than double of their anticipated life span,” she said.

Construction of the Seabrook reactor began in 1976 and the plant began operating at full power in 1990.

More information on the work of C-10 may be found at www.c-10.org.

The public meeting is Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information or for the Microsoft Teams webinar details, visit www.nrc.gov/pmns/mtg?do=details& Code=20201407.

To access the meeting by telephone, call 301-576-2978 and then enter the passcode, 835226175#.

Heather Alterisio may be contacted at halterisio@gloucestertimes.com

https://www.gloucestertimes.com/news/local_news/nrc-to-discuss-100-year-licenses-for-nuclear-plants/article_c0762bc7-dfa9-5d14-a307-71015064ee88.html

January 21, 2021 Posted by | politics, safety, USA | 1 Comment

A view from the law: The Danger Of Sole Presidential Authority Over Nuclear Weapons

Without being removed from office, in the absence of a Senate trial, could a leader described as “increasingly isolated, sullen and vengeful” be a dangerous decision-maker with the world’s deadliest arsenal, and what is US policy and law with respect to the limits on such authority?
The Congressional Research Service notes that Presidents have sole authority to authorize U.S. nuclear weapons use, inherent in their constitutional role as Commander in Chief.

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

Trump’s worst move – gambling on nuclear war with North Korea

He didn’t merely threaten to attack North Korea if it possessed the ability to strike the U.S. He ordered the Pentagon to develop new plans, over the resistance of then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis, to do so. As Slate columnist Fred Kaplan reports in his book “The Bomb,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff created new war plans “that assumed the United States would strike the first blow.”

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

Gorbachev Urges Biden to Improve Relations With Russia, Extend Key Nuclear Pact

January 21, 2021 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA | Leave a comment

President Hassan Rouhani has urged U.S. President Joe Biden to return America to the nuclear deal

January 21, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War comment on “The great evasion”

Two related events—the 75th anniversary of the January 24, 1946 UN General Assembly Resolution 1 (which established a commission to plan for the abolition of nuclear weapons) and the January 22, 2021 entry into force of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (designed to finally implement that goal)—should be a cause for worldwide celebration.  

In fact, however, they are a cause for shame.  The nine nuclear powers have refused to sign the treaty and, instead, today continue to engage in a nuclear arms race and to threaten nuclear war—a war capable of destroying virtually all life on earth.

A similarly reckless pattern characterized the nuclear arms race that emerged out of World War II.  But an upsurge of popular protest and wise diplomacy led to nuclear arms control and disarmament treaties, as well as unilateral actions, that dramatically reduced nuclear arsenals.  It also made nuclear war increasingly unthinkable.

Unfortunately, however, as the nuclear danger receded, the nuclear disarmament campaign ebbed.  As a result, government officials, no longer constrained by popular pressure, began to revert to their traditional ways, based on the assumption that nuclear weapons promoted national “strength.”  India and Pakistan became nuclear powers.  North Korea developed nuclear weapons.  In the United States, the administration of George W. Bush withdrew from the ABM Treaty and pressed hard to begin building “mini-nukes.”  

Ascending to the presidency, Barack Obama made a dramatic attempt to rally the planet behind the goal of building a nuclear-free world.  But neither Republican nor Russian leaders liked the idea, and the best he could deliver was the last of the major nuclear disarmament agreements, the New START Treaty.  And even that came at a heavy price—an agreement with Senate Republicans, whose support was necessary for treaty ratification, to back a major U.S. nuclear weapons “modernization” program.


After Donald Trump entered the White House, nuclear arms control and disarmament were no longer on the agenda—for the United States or for the world.  Trump not only failed to generate any new international constraints on nuclear weapons, but withdrew the United States from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the Iran nuclear agreement, and the Open Skies Treaty and allowed the New START Treaty to lapse without renewal.  Nor did the other nuclear powers show much interest in retaining these agreements.  Indeed, the Russian government, after a brief, perfunctory protest at Trump’s destruction of the INF Treaty—a treaty that it had long privately deplored—immediately ordered the development of the once-prohibited missiles.  The Chinese government said that, although it favored maintaining the treaty for the United States and Russia, it would not accept treaty limits on its own weapons.

Meanwhile, all nine nuclear powers, instead of reducing the existential danger to the world from their possession of 13,400 nuclear weapons (91 percent of which are held by Russia and the United States), are busily “modernizing” their nuclear forces and planning to retain them into the indefinite future.  In December 2019, the Russian governmentannounced the deployment of the world’s first hypersonic nuclear-capable missiles, which President Vladimir Putin boasted could bypass missile defense systems and hit almost any point on the planet.  Indeed, the Russian president touted several new Russian nuclear weapons systems as ahead of their time. “Our equipment must be better than the world’s best if we want to come out as the winners,” he explained.  

Trump, always determined to emerge a “winner,” had publicly stated in December 2016:  “Let it be an arms race.  We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”  Consequently, expanding the earlier U.S. nuclear “modernization” plan to a $2 trillion extravaganza, he set the course for the upgrading of older U.S. nuclear weapons and the development and deployment of a vast array of new ones.  These include the development of a new intercontinental ballistic missile (at a cost of $264 billion) and the production and deployment of a new submarine-launched ballistic missile warhead that will make starting a nuclear war easier.

The new nuclear weapons are designed to not only win the arms race, but to intimidate other nations and even “win” a nuclear war.  Early in his administration, Trump publicly threatened to obliterate both North Korea and Iran through a nuclear onslaught.  Similarly, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has repeatedly threatened a nuclear attack upon the United States.  Furthermore, the U.S. government has been engaging recently in a game of “nuclear chicken” with China and Russia, dispatching fleets of nuclear bombers and nuclear warships dangerously close to their borders.  Such provocative action is in line with the Trump administration’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, which expanded possibilities for displays of nuclear “resolve” and the first use of nuclear weapons.  Subsequently, the Russian government also lowered its threshold for initiating a nuclear war.  


The incoming Biden administration has the opportunity and, apparently, the inclination to challenge this irresponsible behavior.  As a long-time supporter of nuclear arms control and disarmament agreements—as well as a sharp critic of the Trump administration’s nuclear policies during the 2020 presidential campaign—the new president will probably advance measures dealing with nuclear issues that differ significantly from those of his predecessor.  Although his ability to secure U.S. ratification of new treaties will be severely limited by Senate Republicans, he can (and probably will) use executive action to rejoin the Iran nuclear agreement, re-sign the Open Skies Treaty, block the U.S. production and deployment of particularly destabilizing nuclear weapons, and reduce the budget for nuclear “modernization.”  He might even declare a no first use policy, unilaterally reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and show some respect for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 

Of course, this won’t be enough.  But it would provide a start toward terminating the nuclear powers’ disgraceful evasion of their responsibility to safeguard human survival.

[Dr. Lawrence Wittner (https://www.lawrenceswittner.com/ ) is Professor of History Emeritus at SUNY/Albany and the author of Confronting the Bomb (Stanford University Press).]

January 19, 2021 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

First a comment on military smrs – then the enthusiastic article about them

spikedpsycho169, 18 Jan 21, Small reactors on a battlefield where the enemy now has suicide drones, rpg’s and homemade rockets. What could possibly go wrong.? Other than electricity, reactors have little use on a field of combat. Some advocate the production of liquid fuels using in situ resources like ammonia, methanol, etc made using ambient materials like air/water. That requires temperatures above 600-800 degrees celsius, Which no reactor currently operates.  
***
 Reactors for powering non-combat or heavily defended bases is one thing. Building one for a FOB or MASH is prohibitively expensive and should the base be overrun or abandoned, how do you take it with you. A running reactor would irradiate it’s environment EVERYwhere it went. the ml-1 reactor needed 1000 feet exclusion zone; and That’s why commercial plants have these..

 

White House Accelerates Development Of Mini Nuclear Reactors For Space And The Battlefield

The order looks to accelerate and integrate the development of highly mobile nuclear reactors for space and the terrestrial battlefield.   BY BRETT TINGLEY JANUARY 16, 2021

President Trump issued an Executive Order on January 12 that aims to promote small, modular nuclear reactors for defense and space exploration applications. According to a press statement issued by the White House, the order will “further revitalize the United States nuclear energy sector, reinvigorate America’s space exploration program, and produce diverse energy options for national defense needs.” 

The order instructs NASA’s administrator to prepare a report within 180 days that will define NASA’s requirements and foreseeable issues for developing a nuclear energy system for human and robotic exploratory missions through 2040. The order also calls for a “Common Technology Roadmap” between NASA and the Departments of Energy, Defense, Commerce, and State for implementing new reactor technologies. The full text of the Executive Order can be read at WhiteHouse.gov ………

Section 4 of the Executive Order goes into further detail about the DoD’s energy needs, and outlines the role the Department of Defense will play in this new initiative to develop mobile nuclear reactors …….

The Executive Order also outlines a Common Technology Roadmap that “describes potential development programs and that coordinates, to the extent practicable, terrestrial-based advanced nuclear reactor and space-based nuclear power and propulsion efforts” between the Departments of Energy, Defense, Commerce, State, and NASA. This roadmap will also require “assessments of foreign nations’ space nuclear power and propulsion technological capabilities.” Naturally, one of the most pressing concerns with any nuclear technology is national security, and thus the order also instructs the DoD to work together with NASA and other agencies to identify security issues associated with any potential space-based nuclear systems.

With this new Executive Order, the White House seeks to propel the United States to the forefront of all of the work being conducted in compact reactor research. While the wording in the statement focuses more on space exploration, the Department of Defense’s involvement is highly important. Since space environments are similar in that resupply is a tricky, if not impossible, endeavor, NASA could help jump-start the DoD’s mobile nuclear program even further if both are really working on it collaboratively, although the requirements will be somewhat different. “There’s sometimes a risk of forcing too much commonality,” a White House official told SpaceNews.com. “What this executive order does is ensure that there is a deliberate look at what those opportunities may be.”

If realized, the Executive Order’s accompanying statement reads, this initiative could lead to a “transportable small modular reactor for a mission other than naval propulsion for the first time in half a century.” 

Contact the author: Brett@TheDrive.com https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/38687/white-house-accelerates-development-of-mini-nuclear-reactors-for-space-and-the-battlefield

 

January 19, 2021 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment