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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Nuclear War Inevitable?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“ANTIQUATED” ARSENAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE NORTH KOREAN THREAT

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

Doubts about ICBMs predated the change of administrations in Washington.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BRUSHES WITH ARMAGEDDON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reported by Scot Paltrow; edited by Michael Williams

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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

A new arms race underway, as USA, then Russia, modernise their nuclear weapons

Special Report: In modernizing nuclear arsenal, U.S. stokes new arms raceScot Paltrow  WASHINGTON (Reuters), 21 Nov 17  – President Barack Obama rode into office in 2009 with promises to work toward a nuclear-free world. His vow helped win him the Nobel Peace Prize that year.

The next year, while warning that Washington would retain the ability to retaliate against a nuclear strike, he promised that America would develop no new types of atomic weapons. Within 16 months of his inauguration, the United States and Russia negotiated the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, known as New START, meant to build trust and cut the risk of nuclear war. It limited each side to what the treaty counts as 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads.

By the time Obama left office in January 2017, the risk of Armageddon hadn’t receded. Instead, Washington was well along in a modernization program that is making nearly all of its nuclear weapons more accurate and deadly.

And Russia was doing the same: Its weapons badly degraded from neglect after the Cold War, Moscow had begun its own modernization years earlier under President Vladimir Putin. It built new, more powerful ICBMs, and developed a series of tactical nuclear weapons.

The United States under Obama transformed its main hydrogen bomb into a guided smart weapon, made its submarine-launched nuclear missiles five times more accurate, and gave its land-based long-range missiles so many added features that the Air Force in 2012 described them as “basically new.” To deliver these more lethal weapons, military contractors are building fleets of new heavy bombers and submarines.

President Donald Trump has worked hard to undo much of Obama’s legacy, but he has embraced the modernization program enthusiastically. Trump has ordered the Defense Department to complete a review of the U.S. nuclear arsenal by the end of this year.

Reuters reported in February that in a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump denounced the New START treaty and rejected Putin’s suggestion that talks begin about extending it once it expires in 2021.

Some former senior U.S. government officials, legislators and arms-control specialists – many of whom once backed a strong nuclear arsenal — are now warning that the modernization push poses grave dangers.

“REALLY DANGEROUS THINKING”

They argue that the upgrades contradict the rationales for New START – to ratchet down the level of mistrust and reduce risk of intentional or accidental nuclear war. The latest improvements, they say, make the U.S. and Russian arsenals both more destructive and more tempting to deploy. The United States, for instance, has a “dial down” bomb that can be adjusted to act like a tactical weapon, and others are planned.

“The idea that we could somehow fine tune a nuclear conflict is really dangerous thinking,” says Kingston Reif, director of disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association, a Washington-based think tank.

One leader of this group, William Perry, who served as defense secretary under President Bill Clinton, said recently in a Q&A on YouTube that “the danger of a nuclear catastrophe today is greater than it was during the Cold War.”

Perry told Reuters that both the United States and Russia have upgraded their arsenals in ways that make the use of nuclear weapons likelier. The U.S. upgrade, he said, has occurred almost exclusively behind closed doors. “It is happening without any basic public discussion,” he said. “We’re just doing it.”

………. A BUDGET BUSTER?

The U.S. modernization effort is not coming cheap. This year the Congressional Budget Office estimated the program will cost at least $1.25 trillion over 30 years. The amount could grow significantly, as the Pentagon has a history of major cost overruns on large acquisition projects.

As defense secretary under Obama, Leon Panetta backed modernization. Now he questions the price tag.

“We are in a new chapter of the Cold War with Putin,” he told Reuters in an interview, blaming the struggle’s resumption on the Russian president. Panetta says he doubts the United States will be able to fund the modernization program. “We have defense, entitlements and taxes to deal with at the same time there are record deficits,” he said.

New START is leading to significant reductions in the two rival arsenals, a process that began with the disintegration of the USSR. But reduced numbers do not necessarily mean reduced danger……….. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-nuclear-modernize-specialreport/special-report-in-modernizing-nuclear-arsenal-u-s-stokes-new-arms-race-idUSKBN1DL1AH

November 22, 2017 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ballistic missiles: Limit them first. Then ban them

 To shore up the INF, the United States could propose something the Russians have already advocated—that the INF Treaty be expanded to ban this category of ballistic missiles globally.Such a move would not immediately apply to the most troubling nuclear-tipped missiles, those with ranges far in excess of 1,000 kilometers. But a worldwide INF could be a first step toward an eventual goal of banning all ballistic missiles.

https://thebulletin.org/ballistic-missiles-limit-them-first-then-ban-them11222,  JAMES E. DOYLE, 27 Oct 17  James E. Doyle is an independent nuclear security specialist. From 1997 to 2014, he was on the technical staff of the Nonproliferation Division at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
 Ballistic missiles have beneficial purposes; they place satellites in orbit, and those satellites provide the world with vital communications capabilities and navigation and weather information. Ballistic missiles send astronauts and space stations into Earth orbit and research probes far across the solar system.

But ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads are enablers of apocalypse. There is no effective defense against these missiles, even though the United States has spent more than 30 years and $500 billion trying to build radars that can track them and interceptor missiles that will shoot them down.

Military ballistic missiles have other negative characteristics. The short time needed for them to reach target (if the United States and Russia are the assumed combatants, 10 to 30 minutes) creates pressure to launch first in a conflict. In a crisis, ballistic missiles on high alert can wind up becoming the leading edge of a devastating war begun by miscalculation.

Because of the obvious dangerousness of ballistic missiles, there is a long history of official efforts to limit or eliminate them. Those efforts have shown that agreements to reduce the dangers of ballistic missiles can catalyze improved relations between potential adversaries. The landmark 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty required Washington and Moscow to eliminate all ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 and 1,000 kilometers. Both nations recognized that these missiles could not be defended against and their proximity to the Cold War boundaries of Europe meant they were highly destabilizing in a crisis. A total of 2,692 missiles (including a small number of cruise missiles) were eliminated under the treaty.

Acknowledging the danger of nuclear ballistic missiles, President Reagan proposed an agreement requiring their total elimination to Soviet leader Gorbachev at their summit in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1985. The Soviets did not accept the proposal because Reagan insisted that America’s program to build missile defenses remain unconstrained. That program—known then as the Strategic Defense Initiative and today as the National Missile Defense Program—has yet to develop effective means to defeat ballistic missiles.

In the mid 1990s, Alton Frye, then Washington director of the US Council on Foreign Relations, advocated an international ban on offensive ballistic missiles, an idea whose time has perhaps come again. Many political and technical challenges would need to be addressed to negotiate and enforce new international limitations on ballistic missiles. But model institutional and scientific mechanisms for such efforts exist in the form of preceding treaties, including INF and New START. Procedures and technologies for inspection, verification, and enforcement of agreements limiting or banning all types of ballistic missiles have already been proven. Political will, as usual is the major missing ingredient.

Former Defense Secretary William Perry and several other experts have recently advocated the elimination of the United States’ nuclear-armed, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). According to Perry, this component of America’s nuclear triad is no longer necessary to deter adversaries and is inherently dangerous, fueling instability during crises and arms races with Russia and China.

While Perry proposes to eliminate only land-based ballistic missiles and retain submarine-based missiles, such a move could create powerful international momentum to negotiate new international limits or bans on certain types of ballistic missiles—with an ultimate goal of banning all nuclear-armed ballistic missiles. If a united international community were to seriously consider such a course, it could bring increased pressure on North Korea, Iran, and other nations to suspend or roll back their offensive ballistic missile programs. If they refused, the possibility of using military force against their nuclear and ballistic missile programs would gain legitimacy and support.

One place to start seeking new limits on ballistic missiles has been in the news for months: the INF Treaty, which the United States and Russia have accused one another of violating. Russia’s support of the treaty has weakened over the years because it is forbidden to deploy ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 and 1,000 kilometers, but its neighbors who are not party to the treaty are permitted to do so. China has many such missiles, and Turkey, South Korea, and Japan could develop them in the future. To shore up the INF, the United States could propose something the Russians have already advocated—that the INF Treaty be expanded to ban this category of ballistic missiles globally.

Such a move would not immediately apply to the most troubling nuclear-tipped missiles, those with ranges far in excess of 1,000 kilometers. But a worldwide INF could be a first step toward an eventual goal of banning all ballistic missiles. A renewed focus on the danger of these weapons—accompanied by US statements that it is willing to eliminate its land-based ICBMs under the right conditions—might elicit greater support from Russian and China in efforts to defuse the North Korean crisis and control Iranian missile testing.

Like the nuclear weapons ban treaty the UN recently adopted, a ballistic missile ban would require sustained, long-term effort to achieve anything like full success. But the United States has everything to gain from taking a leadership role and asserting that offensive ballistic missiles are dangerous and destabilizing weapons that should eventually be eliminated from the arsenals of all nations.

October 28, 2017 Posted by | Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Even for New Mexico, it’s better to spend $trillion on positive things, not nuclear weapons

World is crying out for clean energy, not nuclear weapons http://www.santafenewmexican.com/opinion/my_view/world-is-crying-out-for-clean-energy-not-nuclear-weapons/article_c3c64f7a-6d53-58c5-9ddb-f67dd0fea5e5.html, By Greg Mello , 17 Sept 17 

On Wednesday at the United Nations, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will open for signature. For signatories, this treaty prohibits nuclear weapons altogether. Its explicit goal is a universal norm against all forms of participation in the nuclear weapons industry.

Designing, testing, producing, possessing, threatening with, deploying and using nuclear weapons are to be banned. Crucially, assistance or encouragement in these illegal acts will also be banned, as will stationing of nuclear weapons, both of which impact U.S. nuclear alliances, including NATO. Signatory states will be required to enact administrative and penal sanctions against anyone involved with the nuclear weapons industry.

The ban treaty was negotiated against heavy opposition from the U.S. and other nuclear weapon states — they obviously won’t sign. In the end, the text was approved by 122 countries. It is likely to enter into force next year and to gradually gain adherents thereafter, a process that will keep U.S. nuclear “modernization” in the news around the world.

 In all this, whither Santa Fe? While the City Different seeks a positive international reputation, the metro area hosts the world’s most lavishly funded labs and production facilities for soon-to-be-outlawed nuclear weapons.

So far, our congressional delegation, following Los Alamos National Laboratory, wants to restart production of plutonium warhead cores (“pits”). The new pits are “needed” solely for building a new kind of (untested and redundant) warhead the U.S. Navy doesn’t want. The U.S. Air Force has secretly admitted the same. Pits in existing weapons are all in fine condition and will remain so for decades.

As a dubious reward for its enduring loyalty to the Los Alamos lab, the Santa Fe metro area has long hosted the state’s largest nuclear waste dump, visible from high ground anywhere from Eldorado to Truchas. Area G is now stuffed to the gills and might finally close at the end of this month. Then again, the lab may expand the site.

A plutonium factory for outlawed weapons and a nuclear waste dump. That’s a city “different” all right.

Actually, Los Alamos seeks two unnecessary plutonium programs, not just pit production but also the messy and dangerous processing of tons of surplus pits for disposal at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Instead of this, permanently demilitarizing pits without opening them up, followed by direct disposal, would be adequate, cheap, safe and quick. The lab need not and should not be involved, no matter what plan the Department of Energy chooses.

Without new warheads (that the rest of the world hates), the labs would shrink. Los Alamos would not need to make pits, let alone build underground workshops (estimated cost: $300,000 per square foot).

Why have silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles at all? Former Secretary of Defense William Perry and former U.S. Strategic Command Commander (and later, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) James Cartwright are among those who believe the U.S. would be more secure without any ICBMs.

 We agree. By 2030 or so, U.S. ICBMs will age out. Former President Barack Obama began (and Trump continues) a huge program to replace them. Department of Defense estimates the new missiles, equipment and software will cost between $85 billion and $150 billion, a fiscal disaster comparable to Hurricane Harvey. Building missiles creates no productive infrastructure, mitigates no climate change and creates few jobs.

That sum, wisely invested in leveraging more renewable energy, would go a long way toward ending coal burning in the U.S. while building nonexportable jobs, skills and communities.

The new missiles are just part of the Obama-Trump plan to replace every single nuclear weapon system, reliably estimated to cost more than $1 trillion. These are not the “deployments” our children need. The world is crying out for fresh priorities that will give their children and our world a chance. Will our congressional delegation listen?

Greg Mello is director of the Los Alamos Study Group, a nuclear disarmament-focused nonprofit, based in Albuquerque.

September 18, 2017 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

President Donald Trump’s “loose rhetoric” on North Korea could have deadly consequences

Trump’s rhetoric could see U.S. ‘blunder into a war’ with North Korea, warns former negotiator, CBC Radio, 11 Aug 17 U.S. President Donald Trump’s “loose rhetoric” on North Korea could have deadly consequences, says the former U.S. defence secretary who negotiated with Pyongyang for the Clinton administration.

“In any war with North Korea, North Korea would surely lose. They know that, so they’re not seeking a war,” William Perry told As It Happens guest host Rosemary Barton.

“But we could blunder into a war, and this kind of loose rhetoric probably makes that more likely than less likely.”

‘Even with conventional weapons, it could be at least as bad as the first Korean War, in which more than a million people died.’– William Perry, former U.S. defence secretary 

Perry says he came close to brokering a deal with the regime in 1999 to not develop a nuclear arsenal, but negotiations came to a halt when George W. Bush took over the White House from Bill Clinton.

He spoke with Barton about the escalating threats being exchanged by Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un. Here is part of their conversation. …….

Unlike the first Korean War, this one always has the potential of escalating into a nuclear war.

I do not believe that North Korea would initiate any attack with nuclear weapons because I do not believe the leadership is suicidal. They’re not seeking martyrdom; they’re seeking to preserve the regime in power. But they’re playing a very dangerous game.

Do you think, as some have suggested, there would be any consideration or benefit to an American pre-emptive strike?

That would be exceedingly dangerous. It would almost certainly lead to a North Korean military response on South Korea

That could very well then escalate into a general Korean war, with the horrible consequences of the first Korean War and beyond that.

We have learned today, according to an Associated Press report, that the Trump administration has had some backchannel diplomacy with North Korea for a number of months with Joseph Yun, the U.S. envoy for North Korea. What does that tell you?

I would certainly hope it were true that besides dealing with this with bluster, we’re dealing with it with a sober, cautious attempt to enter into a dialogue with North Korea to see if we can resolve this crisis through diplomacy instead of through a military conflict. That’s why Yun is over there — to see if he can find a peaceful solution…….http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-friday-edition-1.4201412/trump-s-rhetoric-could-see-u-s-blunder-into-a-war-with-north-korea-warns-former-negotiator-1.4201420

August 12, 2017 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis will consider scaling back some nuclear weapons systems

Jim Mattis says he’s open to rethinking triad, nuclear cruise missile, Washington Examiner, by Jamie McIntyre |  Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Congress Wednesday he has an open mind about possibly scaling back some nuclear systems, as long as deterrence is not sacrificed, as he faces a more than $1 trillion bill to rebuild America’s arsenal over the next three decades.

Mattis’ comments came under questioning from California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who has been waging a lonely fight against one nuclear weapons system in particular, the Long Range Stand-Off, or LRSO, air-launched nuclear cruise missile.

“I do not see it as an effective deterrent weapon,” Feinstein said. “I see it as Russia taking action to counter it and with the cost and the fact that we’ve got new ballistic missile submarines, new bombers, new intercontinental ballistic missiles and new warheads, I wonder why we need to develop this specific weapon? The cost is going to be inordinate.”

Mattis is referring to the Pentagon’s Nuclear Posture Review, a top-to-bottom assessment of U.S. nuclear capabilities and strategy, including the Cold War era “triad” of bombers, submarines and ground missiles designed to ensure the U.S. could counterattack after a first strike……

Feinstein seemed to be encouraged when Mattis said he would be consulting with former Defense Secretary William Perry, who has advocated eliminating one leg of the triad by phasing out the land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Perry is also strongly opposed to developing new nuclear cruise missiles, which he says are “uniquely destabilizing” weapons, because an adversary cannot tell a conventional missile from a nuclear-armed version, risking miscalculation in a crisis.

“I register loud and clear the potential destabilizing view that some people see this weapon bringing and I’m taking that on board,” Mattis said. “But I’ve got to do more study.”

Feinstein said she has had extensive discussions with people in the military and has concerns that the LSRO may in fact represent a new generation of nuclear missiles not just an upgrade of older air-launched missiles.

“It’s got features which concern me greatly,” she said. “I’m not sure for the cost that we’ll end up with a practical deterrent.”…..http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/jim-mattis-says-hes-open-to-rethinking-triad-nuclear-cruise-missile/article/2625999

June 16, 2017 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Grandfather and granddaughter join forces prevent nuclear doom

The former defense secretary is spending his twilight years sounding the alarm with his 29-year-old granddaughter.

“When my kids were getting under desks at their school and going through nuclear drills — the danger today is actually greater. We’re just not aware of it,” says Perry.

At 89, he works with granddaughter to prevent nuclear doom

Before Forever Changes

 

MARCH 11, 2017, BY  Picture a nondescript packing crate labeled “agricultural equipment” being loaded onto a delivery truck, which drives along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., until it stops midway between the White House and the Capitol.

The nuclear bomb explodes with the power of 15 kilotons. There are more than 80,000 deaths, from the highest ranking members of government to the youngest schoolchildren. All major news outlets then report receiving an identical claim: that five more nuclear bombs are hidden in five major cities.

Such is the nightmare nuclear scenario that former US Defense Secretary William Perry says may seem remote, but the consequences, if realized, would be disastrous.

“I do not like to be a prophet of doom,” says Perry, 89, with the gentle grace of a decadeslong diplomat who has negotiated with countries both hostile and friendly to US interests. Then he bluntly gets to the point. “What we’re talking about is no less than the end of civilization.”

Perry doesn’t believe an intentional terrorist attack or all-out nuclear war is the greatest risk — he fears a “blunder” that plunges the globe into a nuclear conflict.

Perry says with a more aggressive Russia, and a brash and at times unpredictable President Donald Trump, “the possibility of a nuclear catastrophe is probably greater than it has ever been, greater than any time in the Cold War.”

CNN reached out to the White House for comment on Perry’s statements. It did not respond.

While he’s long been out of government, Perry’s uses his extensive policy chops and background to engage the public — through speeches, presentations and online courses.

He worries that tensions between the Koreas, and possibly Japan, could turn into a conventional conflict that could go nuclear. A bellicose and expansion-minded Russia could draw the United States into a situation that could escalate, Perry says. And the District of Columbia scenario shows how devastation can result from a crude bomb.

“When my kids were getting under desks at their school and going through nuclear drills — the danger today is actually greater. We’re just not aware of it,” says Perry.

The former defense secretary is spending his twilight years sounding the alarm with his 29-year-old granddaughter. They’re trying to awaken a new audience on social media with the William J. Perry Project, an advocacy group dedicated to helping end the nuclear threat.

“We’re really just out there trying to reach a generation that isn’t really engaged on this issue right now,” says Lisa Perry, the digital communications manager for the project. “It’s something we learned in history class. There was no conversation about what’s happening now.”

“The dangers will never go away as long as we have nuclear weapons,” William Perry explains. “But we should take every action to lower the dangers and I think it can be done.”

A lifetime dealing with the nuclear threat

Perry served three years under President Bill Clinton, a time when more than 8,000 nuclear weapons were dismantled. His nuclear knowledge traces back to his days as a CIA analyst working with the Kennedy administration during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was tapped to evaluate photos showing Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba and recalls it as one of the scariest times in his life.

“We made miscalculations,” recalls Perry about those anxious two weeks. “It’s a miracle they did not lead to war.”

Perry lists the risks: US-Russia hostilities. A nuclear terror attack. A regional crisis.

On a regional conflict, Perry sees North Korea as an unpredictable nuclear threat. The regime’s growing arsenal and history of bold actions, Perry says, could be met by an escalated response by South Korea or even the United States. Not necessarily a deliberate attack, says Perry, but he fears a “blunder” that plunges the globe into a nuclear conflict.

“When a crisis reaches a boiling point then you have a possibility of a miscalculation,” warns Perry.

Trump and the nuclear threat……….http://wtkr.com/2017/03/11/at-89-he-works-with-granddaughter-to-prevent-nuclear-doom/

March 13, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Dangers of Nuclear Weapons “Modernization”

Trump Is Bankrupting Our Nation to Enrich the War Profiteers March 06, 2017 By Jonathan King and Richard KrushnicTruthout | News Analysis  

“……..Perhaps the most dangerous effect of Trump’s plan is the further modernization of the nuclear weapons triad. Great damage can be done with conventional weapons to people and their communities. But the increased investment in nuclear weapons increases the chances of inadvertent or intentional nuclear war. The resulting catastrophic damage to human society and to the planet will likely be irreversible. We share the concern with many defense experts, such as former Defense Secretary William Perry, that this modernization will increase the anxieties of Russia, China and other nations, and increase the chance of an accidental launch. The launching of the missiles from a single Trident class submarine would obliterate every major city in any adversary nation. If that nation were Russia, the retaliatory response, following in minutes to hours, would obliterate every city on the East Coast of the United States.

Rutgers Climate Scientist Alan Robock and his colleagues have shown that even a limited exchange — for example between India and Pakistan — would generate firestorms throwing enough soot and particles into the upper atmosphere to generate a nuclear winter, lowering the Earth’s temperature and creating worldwide famine for decades following………http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/39712-trump-is-bankrupting-our-nation-to-enrich-the-war-profiteers

March 8, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

[Robert Park ] Amnesty for NK officials Kim’s strategic nightmare

My Jan. 9 article addressed the anti-human inanity a preventive (aka preemptive) strike on northern nuclear facilities would represent. Synopsis: the scheme should be deemed a nonstarter as intelligence on the North’s weapons isn’t authoritative, qualifying nuclear retaliation via unexposed arsenals as a credible outcome. Such a move may breach international law, and wouldn’t be considered valid by China — thus setting the stage for another war.

Former US Secretary of Defense William Perry warned against the preemptive strike idea in a Jan. 6 op-ed, writing “Today a war would be no less than catastrophic, possibly destroying the societies of both Koreas.” He stressed Kim doesn’t possess the “objective of achieving martyrdom” and is “not suicidal,” reminding he’d never “launch an unprovoked attack on the United States.”

Perry declined undertaking a preemptive strike as defense secretary, and realized quickly that “Such a strike could still destroy the facilities at Yongbyon but probably would not destroy their nuclear weapons, likely not located there.”

Ominously, he put forth that “a second Korean War, far more devastating than the first” could be on the horizon unless North Korea’s “quest for a nuclear ICBM” is halted. However, I would caution against the use of aforesaid rhetoric; Korea’s small population lost some 5 million — primarily noncombatants — in the 1950-53 war, to allow for them to sacrifice a greater number of their people under any circumstances or by any stretch of the imagination is unacceptable.

Moreover, there’s a potentiality the “preemptive” attack would fortify Kim Jong-un’s grip on power rather than undermine him. After millions died, Kim could easily exploit the bloodbath to fuel inflammatory propaganda, as “proof” of an external threat against “the survival of the North Korean people.” Conforming to this scenario, he’d muster domestic support on such scale impossible before the strike — ensuring regime durability for generations.

All the more, PRC authorities would adopt a renewed policy undergirding Kim’s rule in the wake of such attack, thereafter guarding the regime’s continuity for their national security interests at all costs — vastly more unequivocally than previously.

Hence, the “preemptive strike” can bestow upon Kim a degree of “legitimacy” heretofore inaccessible, while undoing hard-won gains in the protracted struggle to uncloak — within the perception of the people — an altogether illegitimate, criminal and genocidal despotism.

A far more rational method — indeed, Kim Jong-un’s worst nightmare scenario — would be a vigorously-implemented policy of conditional South Korean amnesty toward senior North Korean officials and the northern military.

As reported by the Chosun Ilbo on Dec. 20 respecting the post-defection remarks of Thae Yong-ho:

“… The absence of a second-in-command in the North opens up the chance of reunification ‘if something happens to’ leader Kim Jong-un. … What scares the regime most is that the elite could defect en masse … Seoul should … find ways of reassuring them that they can come to South Korea.”

Since escaping, Thae has admonished repeatedly that “Kim Jong-un will never give up nuclear weapons” under any terms, as have many others. Yet he also has said that internal dissatisfaction with Kim Jong-un is sweeping and, consequently, his dominance has reached its limit.

On a South Korean program on Jan. 3, Thae proclaimed, “We should collapse the Kim Jong-un regime by causing an internal revolt. … I am 100 percent sure we can do it. … The South Korean government and people should enlighten North Korean citizens to make them stand against Kim Jong-un’s reign of terror.”

Nevertheless, if South Korea does not take heed of the situation, continues in limbo and renders itself powerless to respond, we could end up with a “bloodbath,” perennial division and the consolidation of Kim’s totalitarianism for his entire lifespan; with those who remain living in the long shadow of war — in which a people can never truly be free.

Twenty-five million leaflets extending provisory amnesty disseminated throughout the north forthwith could spell the end of Kim’s oppression. It would be imperative for the operation to be backed up by significant covert humanitarian gestures — such as aiding defections and assisting persons and communities in obtaining subsistence through non-official avenues — and corresponding surreptitious consultations to form alliances with as many officials in and from the north as achievable. Likewise, all modes of communication into the north such as clandestine radio broadcasts should be strategically employed.

Only recently, Thae was held to be among Kim’s staunchest adherents, so trusted he was a personal escort for Kim Jong-chul — Jong-un’s brother — to a London concert. Nearly overnight, he metamorphosed into one of the most vocal and uncompromising opponents of Kim’s tyranny — and parallel sheer reversals are wholly conceivable for other North Korean elites including those who, just as the late Jang Song-thaek did, surround Kim today.

South Korean amnesty should be contingent upon two factors: 1) The cessation of all human rights violations — most explicitly those in the prison camps — as a core, overarching objective and 2) opposing the person of Kim Jong-un.

Several amnesty recipients might have committed — upon the Kim dynasty’s decrees — the most heinous atrocities; howbeit there are numerous cases where former camp guards and North Korean military elites who participated in aforementioned crimes have been comprehensively reformed and integrated into South Korean society, even befriending one-time captives and speaking alongside them at international human rights conferences. Dismantling the genocidal system necessitates this — amnesty is unmistakably integral to disarming Kim Jong-un, freeing the North’s brutally mistreated people and reunifying the Korean Peninsula.

In view of geopolitical actualities, unification by virtue of this framework must take place solely between Koreans themselves. After Kim’s capture, it is critical that those who staged the deed have a direct channel of communication to South Korean authorities — as allies. Akin to the global intelligence vacuum which prevailed in the immediate aftermath of Kim Jong-il’s death, outside countries and media shouldn’t be informed of the shift until officially proclaimed — this time, of course, by South Korea as a unified, single and advisably independent country.

A universally acknowledged principle among North Koreans is that money reliably “answers everything.” With a relatively marginal amount of cash (or cigarettes and other commonplace items) a tremendous deal can be achieved — including the release of prisoners. No one is beyond bribes — counting those who operate prison camps or oversee nuclear development. At this juncture, virtually all want out and none feel unthreatened. A chance at life, mended families, freedom and long-term basic security is what the populace yearns for, much more than any fleeting hand-out — provisory amnesty would assuage fears of retribution and thereupon inspire mass cooperation with South Korea all through the north, stopping Kim’s killing spree and nuclear blackmail determinately.

By Robert Park

Robert Park is a founding member of the nonpartisan Worldwide Coalition to Stop Genocide in North Korea, minister, musician and former prisoner of conscience. — Ed.

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20170206000982

February 7, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Summing Up Russia’s Real Nuclear Fears!

CIS:E.1512-2004

The conflicts between Washington and Moscow keep on growing: Ukraine and Syria, rival war games, “hybrid” wars and “cyber-wars.” Talk of a new Cold War doesn’t do justice to the stakes.

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/29/summing-up-russias-real-nuclear-fears/

“My bottom line is that the likelihood of a nuclear catastrophe today is greater than it was during the Cold War,” declares former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry.

If a new Trump administration wants to peacefully reset relations with Russia, there’s no better way to start than by canceling the deployment of costly new ballistic missile defense systems in Eastern Europe. One such system went live in Romania this May; another is slated to go live in Poland in 2018. Few U.S. actions have riled President Putin as much as this threat to erode Russia’s nuclear deterrent.

Only last month, at a meeting in Sochi with Russian military leaders, to discuss advanced new weapons technology, Putin vowed, “We will continue to do all we need to ensure the strategic balance of forces. We view any attempts to change or dismantle it, as extremely dangerous. Our task is to effectively neutralize any military threats to Russia’s security, including those posed by the newly-deployed strategic missile defense systems.”

Putin accused unnamed countries — obviously led by the United States — of “nullifying” international agreements on missile defense “in an effort to gain unilateral advantages.”

Moscow has reacted to this perceived threat with more than mere words. It is developing new and deadlier nuclear missiles, including the SS-30, to counter U.S. defenses. It has rebuffed new arms control negotiations. And it has provocatively stationed nuclear-capable Iskander missiles in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad to “target . . . the facilities that . . . start posing a threat to us,” as Putin put it last month.

If a new arms race is underway, it’s not for lack of warning. The Russians have voiced their concerns about missile defenses for years and years, without any serious acknowledgment from Washington. From their vantage point, the apparent bad faith of successive U.S. administrations, Democratic as well as Republican, is a flashing red light to which they had to respond.

Russia’s Nightmare

From the earliest days of President Reagan’s Strategic Defense (“Star Wars”) Initiative to make ballistic missiles “impotent and obsolete,” an alarmed Moscow has viewed U.S. efforts to build a missile shield as a long-term threat to their nuclear deterrent.

In 2002, President Bush one-upped Reagan and unilaterally canceled the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972. He did so after Russia’s foreign minister, Igor Ivanov publicly pleaded with Washington not to terminate this landmark arms control agreement.

Writing in Foreign Affairs magazine, Ivanov warned that such a move would set back recent progress in Russian-U.S. relations and destroy “30 years of efforts by the world community” to reduce the danger of nuclear war. Russia would be forced, against its desire for international cooperation, to build up its own forces in response. The arms race would be back in full force — leaving the United States less secure, not more.

But with Russia still reeling from the neoliberal “shock therapy” that it suffered through during the 1990s, the neoconservatives (then in charge of U.S foreign policy) were confident of winning such an arms race. In 2002, President Bush adopted a National Security Strategy that explicitly called for U.S military superiority over every other power. To that end, he called on the Pentagon to develop a ground-based missile defense system within two years.

Since then, that program has lined the pockets of major U.S. military contractors without achieving any notable successes. Critics – including the U.S. General Accountability Office, National Academy of Sciences and Union of Concerned Scientists – have blasted the program for failing more than half of its operational tests. Today, after the expenditure of more than $40 billion, it enjoys bipartisan support mainly as a jobs program.

Russia fears, however, that it’s only a matter of time before the U.S. perfects its missile shield technology enough to erode the deterrent capabilities of Moscow’s nuclear arsenal.

Source links and More of the story on this link;

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/12/29/summing-up-russias-real-nuclear-fears/

January 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Trump’s chosen US defense secretary questions need for land-based nuclear missiles

missiles s korea museumJames Mattis warned that land-based nuclear missiles pose false alarm danger
Trump’s pick for next US defence secretary has questioned need for US’s ICBMs, which are ready to launch within minutes in event of an attack,
Guardian, , 4 Dec 16, James Mattis, the retired general Donald Trump has chosen to be the next US defence secretary, has questioned the need for land-based nuclear missiles on the grounds they represent a higher risk than other weapons of being launched on a false alarm.

Mattis raised doubts about US nuclear orthodoxy in a statement to Congress in 2015, raising the issue over whether nuclear deterrence should continue to rest on a “triad” of weapon types: land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched missiles and warheads carried by air force bombers. During the campaign, Trump vowed to proceed with current plans to modernise all three legs of the triad, with an estimated price tag of half a trillion dollars over 20 years.

In his remarks to the Senate about US national security priorities, Mattis struck a more sceptical tone. He asked whether the US should declare that the sole purpose of its nuclear arsenal was to deter nuclear attack, a statement that would narrow its purpose and potentially lower the number of warheads required. The present US nuclear posture states that, in some circumstances, the current, 4,500-warhead arsenal has a role in deterring conventional or chemical weapon attack.

“The nuclear stockpile must be tended to and fundamental questions must be asked and answered,” Mattis told the Senate armed services committee. “We must clearly establish the role of our nuclear weapons: do they serve solely to deter nuclear war? If so we should say so, and the resulting clarity will help to determine the number we need.”

“Is it time to reduce the triad to a diad, removing the land‐based missiles? This would reduce the false alarm danger,” Mattis said.

The US has about 400 ICBMs on a “hair-trigger alert”, ready to launch within minutes if early warning systems show an incoming attack. Several former defence secretaries and generals have argued that they should be taken off this state of readiness because of the danger of false alarms, especially in the age of cyber warfare. Some former officials, including William Perry, defence secretary in the Clinton administration, have argued ICBMs should be scrapped altogether.

Perry said he knew Mattis well, having worked for the marine, then a colonel, for three years during Perry’s time at the Pentagon. The two have since taken part in conferences and panel discussions on nuclear weapons and defence.

“He’s very intelligent, a very serious thinker, nothing frivolous at all about him,” Perry told the Guardian. “My view of him is that he will be a solid addition to Trump’s team. He brings an experience in defence and national security that is lacking.”

“More importantly,” Perry said, “he is a man who says what he thinks. He’s not easily intimidated. He is known for speaking truth to power and that will be a great asset in this administration.”

Perry added that, during conversations he had had with Mattis and George Shultz, Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state, the marine general showed a deep understanding of the dangers of nuclear weapons. “I would not expect him to be recommending anything rash with nuclear weapons,” Perry said……. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/04/james-mattis-defense-secretary-nuclear-missiles-trump

December 7, 2016 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

3 nuclear dangers, 3 opportunities – with President Trump

TrumpNuclear Trump: 3 Dangers and 3 Opportunities The man whom advisers did not trust with a Twitter account will soon have the unfettered opportunity to launch nuclear war. The Nation By Joseph Cirincione ,  NOVEMBER 16, 2016 

“……. The man who can be baited with a tweet, the man whose campaign team did not trust with a Twitter account, the man whose unpredictability and wild temperament made him an unacceptable choice for the majority of voters this November, will have, from that moment forward, the unfettered ability to launch nuclear war.

 There is no institutional check on a president’s ability to fire nuclear weapons should he or she wish to do so. President Trump will be able to launch, within minutes, one or one thousand nuclear weapons without any vote, any check, or even any serious deliberation.

November 19, 2016 Posted by | USA elections 2016 | 2 Comments