Making sense of the “super fuse” scare

Making sense of the “super fuse” scareMay 11, 2017

This article was written for the Unz Review

For weeks now I have been getting panicked emails with readers asking me whether the USA had developed a special technology called “super fuses” which would make it possible for the USA to successfully pull-off a (preemptive) disarming first strike against Russia. Super-fuses were also mentioned in combination with an alleged lack by Russia of a functioning space-based infrared early warning system giving the Russians less time to react to a possible US nuclear attack.

While there is a factual basis to all this, the original report already mislead the reader with a shocking title “How US nuclear force modernization is undermining strategic stability: The burst-height compensating super-fuze” and by offering several unsubstantiated conclusions. Furthermore, this original report was further discussed by many observers who simply lack the expertise to understand what the facts mentioned in the report really mean. Then the various sources started quoting each other and eventually this resulted in a completely baseless “super fuse scare”. Let’s try to make some sense of all this.

Understanding nuclear strikes and their targets

To understand what really has taken place I need to first define a couple of crucial terms:

  • Hard-target kill capability: this refers to the capability of a missile to destroy a strongly protected target such as a underground missile silo or a deeply buried command post.
  • Soft-target kill capability: the capability to destroy lightly or unprotected targets.
  • Counterforce strike: this refers to a strike aimed at the enemy’s military capabilities.
  • Countervalue strike: this refers to a strike on non-military assets such as cities.

Since strategic nuclear missile silos and command posts are well protected and deeply buried, only hard-target kill (HTK) capable missiles can execute a counterforce strike. Soft-target kill (STK) capable systems are therefore usually seen as being the ultimate retaliatory capability to hit the enemies cities. The crucial notion here is that HTK capability is not a function of explosive power, but of accuracy. Yes, in theory, a hugely powerful weapon can compensate to some degree for a lack of accuracy, but in reality both the USA and the USSR/Russia have long understood that the real key to HTK is accuracy.

During the Cold War, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) were more accurate than submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) simply because targeting from the surface and from a fixed position was much easier than targeting from inside a submerged and moving submarine. The American were the first to successfully deploy a HTK capable SLBM with their Trident D-5. The Russians have only acquired this capability very recently (with their R-29RMU Sineva SLBM).

According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists just a decade ago only 20% of US SLBMs were HTK capable. Now, with the ‘super-fuse’ 100% of US SLBMs are HTK capable. What these super-fuses do is very accurately measure the optimal altitude at which to detonate thereby partially compensating for a lack of accuracy of a non-HTK capable weapon. To make a long story short, these super-fuses made all US SLBMs HTK capable.

Does that matter?

Yes and no. What that means on paper is that the US has just benefited from a massive increase in the number of US missiles with HTK capability. Thus, the US has now a much larger missile force capable of executing a disarming counterforce strike. In reality, however, things are much more complicated than that.

Understanding counterforce strikes

Executing a disarming counterforce strike against the USSR and, later, Russia has been an old American dream. Remember Reagan’s “Star Wars” program? The idea behind it was simple: to develop the capability to intercept enough incoming Soviet warheads to protect the USA from a retaliatory Soviet counter strike. It would work something like this: destroy, say, 70% of the Soviet ICBM/SLBMs and intercept the remaining 30% before they can reach the USA. This was total nonsense both technologically (the technology did not exist) and strategically (just a few Soviet “leakers” could wipe-out entire US cities, who could take such a risk?). The more recent US deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems in Europe has exactly the same purpose – to protect the USA from a retaliatory counterstrike. Without going into complex technical discussions, let’s just say that this point in time, this system would never protect the USA from anything. But in the future, we could imagine such a scenario

  1. The USA and Russia agree to further deep cuts in their nuclear strategic forces thereby dramatically reducing the total number of Russian SLBM/ICBMs.
  2. The USA deploys all around Russia anti-ballistic systems which can catch and destroy Russian missiles in the early phase of their flight towards the USA.
  3. The USA also deploys a number of systems in space or around the USA to intercept any incoming Russian warhead.
  4. The USA having a very large HTK-capable force executes a successful counterforce strike destroying 90% (or so) of the Russian capabilities and then the rest are destroyed during their flight.

This is the dream. It will never work. Here is why:

  1. The Russians will not agree to deep cuts in their nuclear strategic forces.
  2. The Russians already have deployed the capability to destroy the forward deployed US anti-ballistic system in Europe.
  3. Russian warheads and missiles are now maneuverable and can even use any trajectory, including over the South Pole, to reach the USA. New Russian missiles have a dramatically shorter and faster first stage burn period making them much harder to intercept.
  4. Russia’s reliance on ballistic missiles will be gradually replace with strategic (long-range) cruise missiles (more about that later).
  5. This scenario mistakenly assumes that the USA will know where the Russian SLBM launching submarines will be when they launch and that they will be able to engage them (more about that later).
  6. This scenario completely ignores the Russian road-mobile and rail-mobile ICBMs (more about that later).

Understanding MIRVs

Before explaining points 4, 5 and 6 above, I need to mention another important fact: one missile can carry either one single warhead or several (up to 12 and more). When a missile carries several independently targetable warheads it is called MIRVed as in “multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle”.

MIRVs are important for several reasons. First, one single missile with 10 warheads can, in theory, destroy 10 different targets. Alternatively, one single missile can carry, say 3-4 real warheads and 6-7 decoys. In practical terms what look like one missile on take-off can turn into 5 real warheads, all targeted at different objectives and another 5 fake decoys designed to make interception that more difficult. MIRVs, however, also present a big problem: they are lucrative targets. If with one of “my” nuclear warheards I can destroy 1 of “your” MIRVed missiles, I lose 1 warhead but you lose 10. This is one of the reasons the USA is moving away from land-based MIRVed ICBMs.

The important consideration here is that Russia has a number of possible options to chose from and how many of her missiles will be MIRVed is impossible to predict. Besides, all US and Russian SLBMs will remain MIRVed for the foreseeable future (de-MIRVing SLBMs make no sense, really, since the entire nuclear missile carrying submarine (or SSBN) is a gigantic MIRVed launching pad by definition).

In contrast to MIRVed missile, single warheads missiles are very bad targets to try to destroy using nuclear weapons: even if “my” missile destroys “yours” we both lost 1 missile each. What is the point? Worse, if I have to use 2 of “mine” to make really sure that “yours” is really destroyed, my strike will result in me using 2 warheads in exchange for only 1 of yours. This makes no sense at all.

Finally, in retaliatory countervalue strikes, MIRVed ICBM/SLBMs are a formidable threat: just one single R-30 Bulava (SS-N-30) SLBM or one single R-36 Voevoda (SS-18) ICBM can destroy ten American cities. Is that a risk worth taking? Say the USA failed to destroy one single Borei-class SSBN – in theory that could mean that this one SSBN could destroy up to 200 American cities (20 SLBMs with 10 MIRVs each). How is that for a risk?

Contrasting the US and Russian nuclear triad

Strategic nuclear weapons can be deployed on land, in the oceans or delivered by aircraft. This is called the “nuclear triad”. I won’t discuss the aircraft based part of the US and Russian triads here, as they don’t significantly impact the overall picture and because they are roughly comparable. The sea and land based systems and their underlying strategies could not be any more different. At sea, the USA has had HTK capabilities for many years now and the US decided to hold the most important part of the US nuclear arsenal in SSBNs. In contrast, the Russians chose to develop road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles. The very first one was the RT-2PM Topol (SS-25) deployed in 1985, followed by the T-2PM2 «Topol-M» (SS-27) deployed in 1997 and the revolutionary RT-24 Yars or Topol’-MR (SS-29) deployed in 2010 (the US considered deployed road-mobile strategic missiles, but never succeeded in developing the technology).

The Russians are also deployed rail-mobile missiles called RT-23 Molodets (SS-24) and are about to deploy a newer version called RS-27 Barguzin (SS-31?). This is what they look like:

Russian road mobile and rail mobile ICBMs

SSBNs and road and rail mobile missiles all have two things in common: they are mobile and they rely on concealment for survival as neither of them can hope to survive. The SSBN hides in the depths of the ocean, the road-mobile missile launcher drives around the immense Russian expanses and can hide, literally, in any forest. As for the rail-mobile missile train, it hides be being completely indistinguishable from any other train on the huge Russian railroad network (even from up close it is impossible to tell whether what you are seeing is a regular freight train or a missile launching special train). To destroy these systems, accuracy is absolutely not enough: you need to find them and you need to find them before they fire their missiles. And that is, by all accounts, quite impossible.

The Russian Navy likes to keep its SSBNs either under the polar ice-cap or in so-called “bastions” such as the Sea of Okhotsk. While these are not really “no-go” zones for US attack submarines (SSN), they are extremely dangerous areas where the Russian Navy has a huge advantage of the US (if only because the US attack submarine cannot count on the supper of surface ships or aircraft). The US Navy has some of the best submarines on the planet and superbly trained crews, but I find the notion that US SSNs could find and destroy all Russian SSBNs before the latter can launch unlikely in the extreme.

As for the land-based rail-mobile and road-mobile missiles, they are protected by Russian Air Defenses which are the most advanced on the planet, not the kind of airspace the US would want to send B-53, B-1 or B-2 bombers in. But most importantly, these missiles are completely hidden so even if the USA could somehow destroy them, it would failed to find enough of them to make a first disarming strike a viable option. By the way, the RS-24 has four MIRVs (make that 4 US cities) while the RS-27 will have between 10 and 16 (make that another 10 to 16 US cities vaporized).

Looking at geography and cruise missiles

Finally, let’s take a look at geography and cruise missiles. Two Russian cruise missiles are especially important to us: the Kh-102 and the 3M-14K(?):

KH-102 3M-14K
Range: 5500km 2600km
Launcher: Strategic bomber Aircraft, ship, container
Warhead: Nuclear 450kt Nuclear (unknown)

What is important with these two cruise missiles is that the KH-102 has a huge range and that the KM-14K can be fired from aircraft, ships and even containers. Take a look at this video which shows the capabilities of this missile:

Now consider where the vast majority of US cities are located – right along the East and West coasts of the USA and the fact that the US has no air defenses of any kind protecting them. A Russian strategic bomber could hit any West Coast from the middle of the Pacific ocean. As for a Russian submarine, it could hit any US city from the middle of the Atlantic. Finally, the Russians could conceal an unknown number of cruise missile in regular looking shipping container (flying Russian flag or, for that matter, any other flag) and simply sail to the immediate proximity to the US coast and unleash a barrage of nuclear cruise missiles.

How much reaction time would such a barrage give the US government?

Understanding reaction time

It is true that the Soviet and Russian space-based early warning system is in bad shape. But did you know that China never bothered developing such a space based system in the first place? So what is wrong with the Chinese, are they stupid, technologically backward or do they know something we don’t?

To answer that question we need to look at the options facing a country under nuclear missile attack. The first option is called “launch on warning”: you see the incoming missiles and you press the “red button” (keys in reality) to launch your own missiles. That is sometimes referred to as “use them or lose them”. The next option is “launch on strike”: you launch all you got as soon as a nuclear strike on your territory is confirmed. And, finally, there is the “retaliation after ride-out“: you absorb whatever your enemy shot at you, then take a decision to strike back. What is obvious is that China has adopted, whether by political choice or due to limitation in space capabilities, either a “launch on strike” or a “retaliation after ride-out” option. This is especially interesting since China possesses relatively few nuclear warheads and even fewer real long range ICBMs .

Contrast that with the Russians who have recently confirmed that they have long had a “dead hand system” called “Perimetr” which automatically ascertains that a nuclear attack has taken place and then automatically launches a counterstrike. That would be a “launch on strike” posture, but it is also possible that Russia has a double-posture: she tries to have the capability to launch on warning, but double-secures herself with an automated “dead hand” “launch on strike” capability.

Take a look at this estimate of worldwide stocks of strategic nuclear warheads: While China is credited with only 260 warheads, Russia still has a whopping 7’000 warheads. And a “dead hand” capability. And yet China feels confident enough to announce a “no first use” policy. How can they say that with no space-based nuclear missile launch detection capability?

Many will say that the Chinese wished they had more nukes and a space-based based nuclear missile launch detection capability, but that their current financial and technological means simply do not allow that. Maybe. But my personal guess is that they realize that even their very minimal force represents a good enough deterrent for any potential aggressor. And they might have a point.

Let me ask you this: how many US generals and politicians would be willing to sacrifice just one major US city in order to disarm China or Russia? Some probably would. But I sure hope that the majority would realize that the risk will always remain huge.

For one thing, modern nuclear warfare has, so far, only been “practiced” only on paper and with computers (and thank God for that!)? So nobody *really* knows for sure how a nuclear war would play itself out. The only thing which is certain is that just the political and economic consequences of would catastrophic and totally unpredictable. Furthermore, it remains very unclear how such a war could be stopped short of totally destroying one side. The so-called “de-escalation” is a fascinating concept, but so far nobody has really figured this out.

Finally, I am personally convinced that both the USA and Russia have more than enough survivable nuclear weapons to actually decide to ride out a full-scale enemy attack. That is the one big issue which many well-meaning pacifist never understood: it is a good thing that “the USA and Russia have the means to blow-up the world ten times over” simply because even one side succeeded in destroying, say, 95% of the US or Russian nuclear forces, the remaining 5% would be more than enough to wipe-out the attacking side in a devastating countervalue attack. If Russia and the USA each had, say, only 10 nuclear warheads then the temptation to try to take them out would be much higher.

This is scary and even sick, but having a lot of nuclear weapons is safer from a “first-strike stability” point of view than having few. Yes, we do live in a crazy world.

Consider that in times of crisis both the US and Russia would scramble their strategic bombers and keep them in the air, refueling them when needed, for as long as needed to avoid having them destroyed on the ground. So even if the USA destroyed ALL Russian ICBM/SLBMs, there would be quite a few strategic bombers in holding patterns in staging areas which could be given the order to strike. And here we reach one last crucial concept:

Counterforce strikes require a lot of HTK capable warheads. The estimates by both sides are kept secret, of course, but we are talking over 1000 targets on each side at least listed, if not actually targeted. But a countervalue strike would require much less. The US has only 10 cities with over one million people. Russia has only 12. And, remember, in theory one warhead is enough for one city (that is not true, but for all practical purposes it is). Just look what 9/11 did to the USA and imagine of, say, “only” Manhattan had been truly nuked. You can easily imagine the consequences.

Conclusion 1: super-fuses are not really that super at all

The super-fuses scare is so overblown that it is almost an urban legend. The fact is that even if all the US SLBMs are now HTK capable and even if Russia does not have a functional space-based missile launch detection capability (she is working on a new one, by the way), this in no way affects the fundamental fact that there is nothing, nothing at all, that the USA could come up with to prevent Russia from obliterating the USA in a retaliatory strike. The opposite is also true, the Russians have exactly zero hope of nuking the USA and survive the inevitable US retaliation.

The truth is that as far back as the early 1980s Soviet (Marshal Ogarkov) and US specialists had already come to the conclusion that a nuclear war is unwinnable. In the past 30 years two things have dramatically changed the nature of the game: first, an increasing number of conventional weapons have become comparable in their effects to small nuclear weapons and cruise missiles have become vastly more capable. The trend today is for low-RCS (stealth) long range hypersonic cruise missiles and maneuvering ICBM warheads which will make it even harder to detect and intercept them. Just think about it: if the Russians fired a cruise missile volley from a submarine say, 100km off the US coast, how much reaction time will the US have? Say that these low-RCS missile would begin flying at medium altitude being for all practical purpose invisible to radar, infra-red and even sound, then lower themselves down to 3-5 m over the Atlantic and then accelerate to a Mach 2 or Mach 3 speed. Sure, they will become visible to radars once they crosses the horizon, but the remaining reaction time would be measured in seconds, not minutes. Besides, what kind of weapon system could stop that missile type of anyway? Maybe the kind of defenses around a US aircraft carrier (maybe), but there is simply nothing like that along the US coast.

As for ballistic missile warheads, all the current and foreseeable anti-ballistic systems rely on calculations for a non-maneuvering warhead. Once the warheads begin to make turns and zig-zag, then the computation needed to intercept them become harder by several orders of magnitude. Some Russian missiles, like the R-30 Bulava, can even maneuver during their initial burn stage, making their trajectory even harder to estimate (and the missile itself harder to intercept).

The truth is that for the foreseeable future ABM systems will be much more expensive and difficult to build then ABM-defeating missiles. Also, keep in mind that an ABM missile itself is also far, far more expensive than a warhead. Frankly, I have always suspected that the American obsession with various types of ABM technologies is more about giving cash to the Military Industrial Complex and, at best, developing new technologies useful elsewhere.

Conclusion 2: the nuclear deterrence system remains stable, very stable

At the end of WWII, the Soviet Union’s allies, moved by the traditional western love for Russia, immediately proceeded to plan for a conventional and a nuclear war against the Soviet Union (see Operation Unthinkable and Operation Dropshot). Neither plan was executed, the western leaders were probably rational enough not to want to trigger a full-scale war against the armed forces which had destroyed roughly 80% of the Nazi war machine. What is certain, however, is that both sides fully understood that the presence of nuclear weapons profoundly changed the nature of warfare and that the world would never be the same again: for the first time in history all of mankind faced a truly existential threat. As a direct result of this awareness, immense sums of money were given to some of the brightest people on the planet to tackle the issue of nuclear warfare and deterrence. This huge effort resulted in an amazingly redundant, multi-dimensional and sophisticated system which cannot be subverted by any one technological breakthrough. There is SO much redundancy and security built into the Russian and American strategic nuclear forces that a disarming first strike is all but impossible, even if we make the most unlikely and far-fetched assumptions giving one side all the advantages and the other all the disadvantages. For most people it is very hard to wrap their heads around such a hyper-survivable system, but both the USA and Russia have run hundreds and even thousands of very advanced simulations of nuclear exchanges, spending countless hours and millions of dollars trying to find a weak spot in the other guy’s system, and each time the result was the same: there is always enough to inflict an absolutely cataclysmic retaliatory counter-strike.

Conclusion 3: the real danger to our common future

The real danger to our planet comes not from a sudden technological breakthrough which would make nuclear war safe, but from the demented filled minds of the US Neocons who believe that they can bring Russia to heel in a game of “nuclear chicken”. These Neocons have apparently convinced themselves that making conventional threats against Russia, such as unilaterally imposing no-fly zones over Syria, does not bring us closer to a nuclear confrontation. It does.

The Neocons love to bash the United Nations in general, and the veto power of the Permanent Five (P5) at the UN Security Council, but they apparently forgot the reason why this veto power was created in the first place: to outlaw any action which could trigger a nuclear war. Of course, this assumes that the P5 all care about international law. Now that the USA has clearly become a rogue state whose contempt for international law is total, there is no legal mechanism left to stop the US from committing actions which endanger the future of mankind. This is what is really scary, not “super-fuses”.

What we are facing today is a nuclear rogue state run by demented individuals who, steeped in a culture of racial superiority, total impunity and imperial hubris, are constantly trying to bring us closer to a nuclear war. These people are not constrained by anything, not morals, not international law, not even common sense or basic logic. In truth, we are dealing with a messianic cult every bit as insane as the one of Jim Jones or Adolf Hitler and like all self-worshiping crazies they profoundly believe in their invulnerability.

It is the immense sin of the so-called “Western world” that it let these demented individuals take control with little or no resistance and that now almost the entire western society lack the courage to even admit that it surrendered itself to what I can only call a satanic cult. Alexander Solzhenitsyn prophetic words spoken in 1978 have now fully materialized:

A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today. The Western world has lost its civic courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, in each government, in each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling and intellectual elites, causing an impression of a loss of courage by the entire society. There are many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life (Harvard Speech, 1978)

Five years later, Solzhenitsyn warned us again saying,

To the ill-considered hopes of the last two centuries, which have reduced us to insignificance and brought us to the brink of nuclear and non-nuclear death, we can propose only a determined quest for the warm hand of God, which we have so rashly and self-confidently spurned. Only in this way can our eyes be opened to the errors of this unfortunate twentieth century and our hands be directed to setting them right. There is nothing else to cling to in the landslide: the combined vision of all the thinkers of the Enlightenment amounts to nothing. Our five continents are caught in a whirlwind. But it is during trials such as these that the highest gifts of the human spirit are manifested. If we perish and lose this world, the fault will be ours alone. (Tempelton Speech, 1983)

We have been warned, but will we heed that warning?

The Saker

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Moscow accused Trump of lack of professionalism

Moscow accused Trump of lack of professionalism

March 05, 2017

by Mikhail Moshkin

translated by Eugenia

Source:

Donald Trump, having believed the rumors about the Russian deployment of cruise missiles in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty (INF Treaty), promised to touch upon revision of the previous agreements in the upcoming talks with Putin. His intention “to make America great” in nuclear weapons could start another round of the arms race. Anyway, only four years are left until the Strategic Arms Treaty-III (START-III) expires, which is exactly the period of “the turbulent Trump presidency”.

Russia is vehemently against any possibility of denunciation of START-III, which has been in effect since 2011. This was stated to RIA “Novosti” (News) by the head of the Defense and Security Committee of the Federation Council Viktor Ozerov.

That was the Senator’s comment on the statements made recently by Donald Trump. The US President said that he was unhappy with START-III. The same news reports suggest that Trump also wants to discuss with Putin the issue of another treaty – the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty (INF Treaty). According to Reuters, Trump intends to discuss alleged violations of that treaty by Russia.

In his interview with Reuters, Trump alleged that Russia deployed cruise missiles in violation of INF Treaty. Thus, the US president believed the rumors spread last week by the US media and Senator John McCain. The assertion that “ a combat-ready unit of cruise missiles” has been deployed turned out to groundless, as the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs previously pointed out to Washington.

The same Reuters earlier reported, citing leaks from the White House: Trump believes that START-III was ‘signed to benefit Russia” and was “one of several bad deals of the Obama administration”.

Let us remind the reader that START-III, which was signed by Barak Obama and Dmitry Medvedev in 2010 and came into force in 2011, includes cutting strategic missiles to 700, with no more than 1550 nuclear warheads. The treaty is in effect until 2021. The INF Treaty was signed in 1998 and does not have the expiration date. That Treaty contains an obligation not to manufacture, test, or deploy land-based ballistic and cruise missiles with intermediate (1,000 to 5,500 kilometers) and short (500 to 1,000 kilometers) range.

“Exactly for the period of the turbulent Trump presidency”

As Ozerov stressed, START-III is “the cornerstone of the world security”. The treaty was negotiated in a way to ensure that neither side is the loser, and that is why Russia will insist on its prolongation.

In addition, said the Senator, the denunciation of the Treaty would create a bad precedent for other countries trying to acquire nukes. “If the US ignores START-III, it would open the floodgates for North Korea and several other countries” – warned Ozerov.

The outrageous Trump’s statements are uncalled for, said Ozerov’s deputy Franz Klintzevich. “Looks like the most pessimistic predictions are coming true. I don’t think that Donald Trump has any special knowledge of the strategic offensive weapons. This means that someone, possibly Herbert McMaster, a recently appointed President’s National Security Advisor, managed to express to Trump his viewpoint regarding this very complex issue in the Russian-American relations, and, apparently, convinced him”, – as Klintzevich is cited at the United Russia portal.

“This looks weird. It creates an impression that Trump still remains a hostage to his pre-election rhetoric making shocking statements, which are entirely inappropriate in his current position”, – said the Senator. He stressed that START-III is a very complex matter, and “making hasty conclusions in this area is, at the very least, unprofessional”.

In his turn, the Head of another Federation Council Committee, on International Affairs, Konstantin Kosachev, said that START-III does not have a mechanism of automatic renewal. Thus, he explained, it is necessary to start the Russian-American consultations regarding its future fate as soon as possible. “Not much time is left (until 2021 – publisher’s note). Less than four years, exactly the period of the already turbulent Trump presidency” – said Kosachev.

Stable tendency

Kosachev reminded that START-III is based on the absolute parity of the Russian and US nuclear forces, and its objective is to preclude a “nuclear superiority” of either side. The Trump’s election motto “Make America great again”, if it implies superiority in the nuclear area, would return the world to the worst times of the arms race of 1950-60s, when each side tried to assure its national security by achieving military superiority over the adversary”, – cautioned the Senator.

The Americans started the revision of the treaties concluded between the USSR and the USA long before Trump. As the Associate Professor of the Department of Politology and Sociology at the Plekhanov Economic University Alexander Perenjiev commented to “Glance” (“Vzglyad”, the name of the portal – translator’s note), “the US have already done one, to put it mildly, bad thing, by denouncing in 2001-2002 the 1992 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty)”. Let us remind that this happened under George Bush the Junior.

As far as START is concerned, it was Barak Obama who took a hand in undermining it. As the Russian Defense Ministry explained, the deployment of the the American launch systems MK-41 and the anti-missile complexes Aegis Ashore in the Eastern Europe was a violation. This launch and anti-missile systems are already deployed in Romania and are planned to be deployed in Poland, and, again, that decision was made before Trump.

Preparing for the deal

“If Trump intends to denounce START-III, which clearly sets the rules of the nuclear parity, it would seriously undermine nuclear security” says Perenjiev. The experts believe that a new arms race would force Moscow to quickly increase its nuclear arsenal, modernize nuclear weapons and delivery systems.

As noted a former Joint Chief of Staffs four-star General Yury Baluevsky, Russia would respond if the US starts increasing its nuclear forces. “We will seek an asymmetric answer, including in the nuclear area”, – RT cites Baluevsky. The General said that Russia will have as many nukes as needed for the guaranteed containment.

On the other hand, the fact that Trump criticized START-III does not necessarily mean that the revision of that treaty will become the reality. “It is unknown how real are the Trump’s intentions – the thing looks like an information game”, – notes Perenjiev.

He says that it is reasonable to believe that Trump”s statement is the beginning of the bargaining to renegotiate START-III on conditions more favorable to the US. “Trump, being a businessman, looks at treaties as bargains, and, before concluding a beneficial bargain, creates its “informational cover”, – says Perenjiev.

It is cheaper to agree on a new treaty

A former Head of the 4th Research Institute of the Defense Ministry (researches ways to develop the Russian strategic arms and air and space forces) one-star General Vladimir Dvorkin believes that the US are unlikely to denounce START-III. In his interview to Interfax news agency, he expressed hope that Trump “will be brought to his senses”. “Both Republicans and Democrats approved of START-III at the time, and they are unlikely to back its denouncement. Trump can say anything, but he will not be able to do it”, – predicts Dvorkin.

According to him, it would make more sense not to renew START-III, but to agree upon START-IV and cut down warheads and delivery missiles to 1,000 and 500, respectively. The expert explains: “The current treaty allows us to have 700 delivery systems, whereas we have only 508”. If we conclude SAT-IV, Russia won’t need to increase anything, so – “it is cheap and beneficial for us”. According to all existing treaties, the US have to cut their weapons down, whereas on our side everything happens naturally – we are behind in replacing our aging weapons”.

Summing Up Russia’s Real Nuclear Fears

Summing Up Russia’s Real Nuclear Fears

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 31.12.2016

Summing Up Russia’s Real Nuclear Fears

Jonathan Marshall is author of many recent articles on arms issues, including “How World War III Could Start,” “NATO’s ProvocativeAnti-Russian Moves,” “Escalations in a New Cold War,” “Ticking Closer to Midnight,” and “Turkey’s Nukes: A Sum of All Fears.”

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.

“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.

A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953

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.

President Reagan meets with Vice President George H.W. Bush on Feb. 9, 1981. (Photo credit: Reagan Presidential Library.)

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.

Promoting U.S. Nuclear Primacy

That specter was highlighted in 2006 when two U.S. strategic arms experts declared in the pages of the establishment-oriented Foreign Affairs that the age of nuclear deterrence “is nearing an end. Today, for the first time in almost 50 years, the United States stands on the verge of attaining nuclear primacy. It will probably soon be possible for the United States to destroy the long-range nuclear arsenals of Russia or China with a first strike. . . . Unless they reverse course rapidly, Russia’s vulnerability will only increase over time.”

President George W. Bush in the Oval Office, Oct. 7, 2008. (White House photo by Eric Draper)

The authors, Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press, added, “Washington’s pursuit of nuclear primacy helps explain its missile defense strategy.” Missile defense, they pointed out, is not the same as population defense. No conceivable defense could truly protect American cities against an all-out attack by Russia, or even China. Rather, a leaky shield “would be valuable primarily in an offensive context, not a defensive one — as an adjunct to a U.S. first-strike capability, not as a standalone shield.”

“If the United States launched a nuclear attack against Russia (or China),” they explained, “the targeted country would be left with a tiny surviving arsenal — if any at all. At that point, even a relatively modest or inefficient missile-defense system might well be enough to protect against any retaliatory strikes, because the devastated enemy would have so few warheads and decoys left.”

As if to make that scenario a reality, the Bush administration soon announced plans to install an anti-missile base in Poland and a radar control center in the Czech Republic — ostensibly to counter a nuclear threat from Iran. No matter that Iran had neither nuclear weapons nor long-range ballistic missiles — or that Washington had rebuffed Russia’s offer to cooperate on building missile defenses closer to Iran. No, Moscow was supposed to believe President Bush’s assurance that “Russia is not the enemy.”

Republican hawks in Congress didn’t get the message. Said Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, “This is not just about missile defense; this is about demonstrating to Russia that America is still a nation of resolve… and we’re not going to let Russian expansionism intimidate everyone.”

Yet when Russian officials reacted with alarm, and warned of the potential for a “new Cold War,” American news accounts accused them of being “bellicose.”

Obama Blows Up the Reset Button

Taking office in 2009, President Obama promised a new era of nuclear sanity. Again, the Russians pleaded for an end to the missile defense program in Eastern Europe. Privately, they expressed a new and genuine concern — that a future U.S. administration could secretly fit interceptor rockets with nuclear warheads and use them to “decapitate” Russia’s top leadership with “virtually no warning time.” Russia’s response: retaliate at the first sign of an incoming strike, without hesitating to check if it’s a false alarm.

President Barack Obama meets with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, Nov. 15, 2015. National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice listens at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Obama and his team didn’t heed the warnings. Instead, they snubbed Putin — and the entire Russian leadership — by marching ahead with the missile shield deployment in Eastern Europe, still insulting Moscow’s intelligence with the pretense that it was a defense against Iran.

Obama’s “reset button” was the first casualty of his nuclear policy. In 2011, a despairing President Dmitry Medvedev warned that Russia would have no choice but to respond exactly as Putin has done, by upgrading the offensive capabilities of Russian nuclear missiles and deploying Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad. Still to come may be a Russian withdrawal from the New START treaty, which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed as her greatest accomplishment in the field of arms control.

President Obama never intended to expand his limited missile defense program into an existential threat to Russia’s nuclear deterrent, but he opened that door. Exactly as Moscow has long feared, hawks in Congress now are chomping at the bit to spend what it takes to build an all-out missile defense system, which former Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned would be “enormously destabilizing not to mention unbelievably expensive.”

One 2003 study pegged the possible cost of a full defensive shield covering the United States at more than $1 trillion. But that’s a small price compared to what could happen if a jittery Russian military command, armed to the teeth with nuclear missiles set on hair-trigger alert to counter a successful U.S. first strike, receives a false warning of just such an attack. Such a scenario has happened more than once.

One of these days such a mistake may prompt an all-out Russian nuclear launch — and then, not even a full missile defense will spare the United States, and much of the world, from devastation.

consortiumnews.com

Iran Planning to Resume Nuclear Activity

December 2, 2016

Iran flag

Iran’s Parliament (Majlis) is to mull a three-urgency plan which mandates Iranian government to resume nuclear activities.

The move is made in reaction to the US Senate approval of a legislation which extends the Iran Sanction Act (ISA) for another ten years.

Member of Majlis Presiding Body Akbar Ranjbarzadeh said the US Senate approval of a legislation which extends the ISA for another ten years is in violation of the JCPOA and international law.

Ranjbarzadeh told IRNA, ‘The three-urgency plan on resumption of nuclear activities has been compiled on emergency to counter the US move.’

He said the plan consists an article and five notes in line with the two- and three-urgency plans to counter the Senate approval.
He added that the two- or three-urgency nature of the plan will be decided by Iranian lawmakers, aiming to confront the approval by the US Senate and House of Representatives.

The parliamentarian said the two-urgency plans will be finalized within 72 hours and turn into a law.

He said the reason the plan is three-urgency in nature is the emergency condition arising as a result, justifying taking the course which would let adoption of fundamental and principled measures in reaction to the damage thus far inflicted on Iran and in proportion to explicit action of Americans, especially the approval of the Senate.

Ranjbarzadeh said per Article 160 of Parliament (Majlis), the two-urgency plans are taken on the necessity to avoid damage. This is while damage has been inflicted and “we wish to present the vital plan in three-urgency form to repel the absolute damage inflicted on the country.”

He noted that from the leadership point of view, the two-urgency plan had been brought to the information of the arrogance.

“We will go our own way so as not to lose time and we will embark on action. The US president has taken the course of confrontation; we will also take our own way and the three-urgency plan is more suitable than the two-urgency plan so as to confront Americans’ plan more speedily.”

“Now too the land of our nuclear and knowledgeable scientists has been invaded and they have taken away considerable portion of what we had already gained; they wish to deprive us of all our nuclear achievements,” said Ranjbarzadeh.

He concluded,

“The ones who have acted in violation of the international regulations and have defied them are the US and the Congress of the country and we are going to condition the plan on rapid launching of our action and taking comprehensive and complete measures in connection with resumption of the nuclear activities. We constantly and round-the-clock inform the world through the (Iranian) diplomatic organ and the media that the US was the initiator of the illegal act and we have no option but reciprocating. Our ways are reciprocation and defensive in nature and are not aimed at intruding into the scientific and ethical borders.”

Source: IRNA

Fidel Castro Ruz. His Legacy Will Live Forever

Global Research, November 26, 2016
Fidel-Castro 2

Today, November 25, 2016 Fidel Castro Ruz, leader of the Cuban Revolution has passed. His legacy will live forever. 

The Cuban Revolution constitutes a fundamental landmark in the history of humanity, which challenges the legitimacy of global capitalism.

In all major regions of the World, the Cuban revolution has been a source of inspiration in the relentless struggle against colonial domination and US imperialism.

Fidel Castro was the embodiment of these struggles against global capitalism, committed to a World of Peace, a World of truth, where people join hands,  a World of understanding, a World of tolerance and respect.

Fidel Castro was “a man of tremendous integrity, with an acute mind and sense of humor, committed in the minute detail of his speech to social progress and the advancement of humankind, conscious of the dangers of the US led war and the Worldwide crisis, with exceptional skills of analysis and understanding of his fellow human beings, with a true sprit of internationalism and a tremendous knowledge of history, economics and geopolitics.” (quoted from my 2o10 introduction)

Fidel’s passing occurs at a time of crisis and upheaval of the World capitalist system.  

The World is at a critical crossroads. At this juncture of our history, most progressive movements towards socialism have been destroyed and defeated through US led wars, military interventions, destabilization campaigns, coups d’etats.

The socialist project in Cuba prevails despite the US economic blockade, CIA intelligence ops and dirty politics.

Let us be under no illusions. Washington’s intent is not only to destroy and undermine the Cuban Revolution but also to erase the history of socialism.

Fidel Lives.

The battle against war and neoliberalism nonetheless prevails. 

For the concurrent demise of neoliberalism and militarization which destroy people’s lives,

For the outright criminalization of America’s imperial wars,

For a World of Social Justice with a true “responsibility to protect” our fellow human beings,

Long Live Fidel Castro  

Fidel Castro Ruz at the United Nations General Assembly in 1960 (left)

*      *      *

Below is the introduction of my conversations with Fidel Castro on World War III and the Dangers of Nuclear War followed by the transcript of Fidel’s statement on the Dangers o Nuclear War

To read the full text of the conversations click here

Conversations with Fidel Castro: The Dangers of a Nuclear War

first published in November 2010

In October 2010, I had the opportunity of spending several days at Fidel Castro`s home in the suburbs of Havana. Our conversation and exchange which was subsequently published focussed on the dangers of nuclear war.

I had read Fidel Castro and Che Guevara during my high school days in Geneva, Switzerland and later at university in Britain and the US. When meeting him in person, I discovered a man of tremendous integrity, with an acute mind and sense of humor, committed in the minute detail of his speech to social progress and the advancement of humankind, conscious of the dangers of the US led war and the Worldwide crisis, with exceptional skills of analysis and understanding of his fellow human beings, with a true sprit of internationalism and a tremendous knowledge of history, economics and geopolitics.

On a daily basis, Fidel spends several hours reading a large number of detailed international press reports (As he mentioned to me with a smile, “I frequently consult articles from the Global Research website”…).

We focussed in large part on the dangers of nuclear war. Fidel Castro has the knack of addressing political details while relating them to key concepts. We also covered numerous complex international issues, focussing on the role of prominent political personalities, heads of State, authors and intellectuals. On the first day, when I met Fidel at his home, he was reading Bob Woodward’s best-seller The Obama Wars which had just been released. (See Picture below).

In this broad exchange of ideas, Fidel was invariably assertive in his views but at the same time respectful of those whom he condemned or criticized, particularly when discussing US presidential politics.

Fidel is acutely aware of the mechanisms of media disinformation and war propaganda and how they are used to undermine civil rights and social progress, not to mention the smear campaign directed against the Cuban revolution.

A central concept put forth by Fidel Castro in our discussions was the ‘Battle of Ideas”.  The leader of the Cuban Revolution believes that only a far-reaching “Battle of Ideas” can change the course of World history.

In addressing and understanding this Worldwide crisis, commitment to the Truth and analysis of the lies and fabrications which sustain the corporate and financial elites is of utmost importance.

The overriding powers of the Truth can, under appropriate conditions, be used as a revolutionary instrument, as a catalyst to unseat the war criminals in high office, whose role and position is sustained by propaganda and media disinformation.

In relation to 9/11, Fidel  had expressed his solidarity, on behalf of the Cuban people, with the victims of the tragic events of September 11 2001, while underscoring the lies and fabrications behind the official 9/11 narrative and how 9/11 has been used as a pretext to wage war.

Our focus was on nuclear war, which since our meeting last October [2010] has motivated me to write a book on the Dangers of Nuclear War. (Michel Chossudovsky, Towards a World War III Scenario. Global Research, Montreal, 2011)

The corporate media is involved in acts of camouflage. The devastating impacts of a nuclear war are either trivialized or not mentioned. Against this backdrop, Fidel’s message to the World must be heard; people across the land, nationally and internationally, should understand the gravity of the present situation and act forcefully at all levels of society to reverse the tide of war.

The “Battle of Ideas” is part of a revolutionary process. Against a barrage of media disinformation, Fidel Castro’s resolve is to spread the word far and wide, to inform world public opinion, to “make the impossible possible”, to thwart a military adventure which in the real sense of the word threatens the future of humanity.

When a US sponsored nuclear war becomes an “instrument of peace”, a “responsibility to protect” condoned and accepted by the World’s institutions and the highest authority including the United Nations, there is no turning back:  human society has indelibly been precipitated headlong onto the path of self-destruction.


Fidel Castro Ruz, October 15, 2010

Fidel’s “Battle of Ideas” must be translated into a worldwide movement. People must mobilize against this diabolical military agenda.

This war can be prevented if people pressure their governments and elected representatives, organize at the local level in towns, villages and municipalities, spread the word, inform their fellow citizens regarding the implications of a thermonuclear war, initiate debate and discussion within the armed forces.

What is required is a mass movement of people which forcefully challenges the legitimacy of war, a global people’s movement which criminalizes war.

In his October 15, 2010 speech, Fidel Castro warned the World on the dangers of nuclear war:

“There would be “collateral damage”, as the American political and military leaders always affirm, to justify the deaths of innocent people. In a nuclear war the “collateral damage” would be the life of all humanity.

Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!”

The “Battle of Ideas” consists in confronting the war criminals in high office, in breaking the US-led consensus in favor of a global war, in changing the mindset of hundreds of millions of people, in abolishing nuclear weapons. In essence, the “Battle of Ideas” consists in restoring the truth and establishing the foundations of World peace.

“The Battle of Ideas” must be developed as a mass movement, nationally and internationally, waged by people across the land.

Fidel Castro Ruz has indelibly marked the history of both the Twentieth and Twenty-first Century.

Below is the transcript and video of Fidel’s historic October 15 2010 speech focussing on the dangers of a nuclear war, recorded by Global Research and Cuba Debate in his home in Havana in October 2010.

The American and European media in October 2010 decided in chorus not to acknowledge or even comment on Fidel Castro’s October 15, 2010 speech on the Dangers of Nuclear War. The evolving media consensus is that neither nuclear war nor nuclear energy constitute a threat to “the surrounding civilian population”.

*       *       *

Fidel Castro’s October 15, 2010 Message on the Dangers of Nuclear War

The use of nuclear weapons in a new war would mean the end of humanity. This was candidly foreseen by scientist Albert Einstein who was able to measure their destructive capability to generate millions of degrees of heat, which would vaporize everything within a wide radius of action. This brilliant researcher had promoted the development of this weapon so that it would not become available to the genocidal Nazi regime.

Each and every government in the world has the obligation to respect the right to life of each and every nation and of the totality of all the peoples on the planet.

Today there is an imminent risk of war with the use of that kind of weapon and I don’t harbour the least doubt that an attack by the United States and Israel against the Islamic Republic of Iran would inevitably evolve towards a global nuclear conflict.

The World’s peoples have an obligation to demand of their political leaders their Right to Live. When the life of humankind, of your people and your most beloved human beings run such a risk, nobody can afford to be indifferent; not one minute can be lost in demanding respect for that right; tomorrow will be too late.

Albert Einstein himself stated unmistakably: “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”. We fully comprehend what he wanted to convey, and he was absolutely right, yet in the wake of a global nuclear war, there wouldn’t be anybody around to make use of those sticks and stones.

There would be “collateral damage”, as the American political and military leaders always affirm, to justify the deaths of innocent people.

In a nuclear war the “collateral damage” would be the life of all humanity.

Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!

Fidel Castro Ruz

October 15, 2010

The following pictures wer taken after the filming of Fidel’s speech against Nuclear war, October 15, 2010 . Below is a Toast to World Peace.


Left to Right. Fidel Castro, Film Crew, Michel Chossudovsky, Randy Alonso Falcon


From Right to Left: Fidel Castro Ruz, Dalia Soto del Valle, Michel Chossudovsky. A Toast for World Peace. 


From Right to Left: Fidel Castro Ruz, Dalia Soto del Valle, Alexis Castro Soto del Valle, Randy Alonso Falcon and Michel Chossudovsky (Left)

Right to Left: Fidel Castro Ruz, Randy Alonso Falcon, Michel Chossudovsky, October 15, 2010. Copyright Global Research 2010

Photos: Copyright Global Research 2010

Another Liar-For-the-Iraq-Invasion Endorses Clinton

Another Liar-For-the-Iraq-Invasion Endorses Clinton
ERIC ZUESSE | 28.10.2016 | WORLD

Another Liar-For-the-Iraq-Invasion Endorses Clinton

Colin Powell, who lied for invading Iraq in 2003 (but who later said that he had been lied-to, instead), announced on October 25th that he’ll vote for Hillary Clinton, who was yet another prominent liar (or sucker — take your pick) for invading countries that haven’t invaded, and that present no imminent threat to invade, the United States. (Such unprovoked aggression is an international-war crime. That’s what neoconservatives support: international war-crimes — but only if the U.S. government perpetrates them. And they demand that we be proud of a country that’s led by them; otherwise, we’re not ‘patriotic’.)

Donald Trump terrifies all of the neoconservatives — the bullies who crave ever-new invasions. (Colin Powell pompously calls Trump a «national disgrace»). Is it really because Trump is a bigoted rapist and not so bright, or is it instead because he’s bright enough, and good enough (despite his obvious flaws) to puke at what neoconservatives such as Powell and Clinton have done to America, and to the world that America has so wantonly invaded and turned into seas of blood and misery?

Here are some of the other neocons — liars for invasion — who endorse Hillary Clinton (they don’t yet have their fill of blood, and money, and honors).

Most of them are Republicans, but these are the ones who are proud to call themselves neoconsDemocratic Party neoconservatives are so deceitful they never apply that contemptible term to themselves; they don’t have the guts to, regardless of how strongly their polices indicate that that’s what they clearly are. Has Hillary Clinton ever called herself a «neocon»? Of course not, even though she surrounds herself with them and adheres strictly to neoconservative policies. Though President Obama admires the super-neocon Robert Kagan and has been strongly influenced by his books, Hillary Clinton is even cozier with them: personal friends with Kagan and his wife Victoria Nuland, and as Secretary of State, Hillary led the first Obama Administration’s neoconservative wing.

While Nuland was a protégé of Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton and arranged the coup d’etat that overthrew the Ukrainian government on 20 Fabruary 2014 (which U.S. coup started being organized inside the U.S. Embassy in Kiev by no later than 1 March 2013, which was a month after Clinton ended her service as Secretary of State), Nuland’s husband, Robert Kagan, was soon to come out publicly as a fundraiser for Hillary’s Presidential campaign.

When the Daily Beast during the primaries asked 121 Republican Party foreign-policy specialists who had signed a letter condemning Donald Trump, whether they would vote for the Republican nominee if it turned out to be Trump, only one said yes, and he refused to allow his identity to be made public, because he was the only one of them who opposed neoconservatism. (He noted that Hillary’s «record is filled with foreign policy disasters» — those being, of course, her neocon actions as U.S. Secretary of State.)

Democratic Party ‘news’media report this only rarely. But those are media that have already filtered out, never reported to their own readers and audiences, the basis for those disgusting endorsements from neocons. So, to many of these Democratic Party voters, the neocons’ endorsements seem to have been done for reasons that prove Hillary to be progressive («It’s called reverse psychology folks and they are doing it to try and turn off the base. If you believe for a moment that they would actually support her, then you’re even dumber than they are.» But, in fact, the leading neocons are actually fundraising for her. Democrats cannot acknowledge the neocons amongst themselves, such as, for example, Obama’s own current ‘Defense’ Secretary, Ashton Carter, but that’s what they are: neocons.)

The Obama coup in Ukraine was immediately recognized by the Russian people to be directed against them (just as we would hate Russia if Russia were violently to take over a neighboring country such as Mexico), and so in the Pew international polls, the approval-rating of the United Sates among Russians plunged from 51% in 2013 right before the U.S. neocon coup in Ukraine, to 23% in 2014, right after their coup. Then, in 2015, it sank even lower, to 15%.

Republican Party ‘news’ media report Democrats’ neoconservatives just as rarely — because they’re just as committed to conquering Russia (and to overthrowing its allies such as Bashar al-Assad and installing a jihadist government there) as the Democratic Party’s billionaires are. (To be that evil is embarrassing, even for some Republicans. They don’t want the public to know about it.)

The super-Republican Paul Wolfowitz calls Trump «dangerous» and says «I might have to vote for Hillary Clinton.» Hillary herself says «Tell me what company you keep and I’ll tell you what you are.» Wolfowitz knows that she’s a neocon. But the powerful ones right now are Hillary’s billionaire donors. They’re just more private about what they are than Wolfowitz, who is perhaps the most famous one of them all (other than perhaps Dick Cheney).

Hillary Clinton is their choice. And there’s very good reason why (though it’s a very bad reason to vote for her). Neocons don’t care about the aftermath. That’s why they’re so dangerous. («We came, we saw, he died. Ha hah!» And she’s going to have her finger on the nuclear button?)

Saddam Hussein was friendly toward Russia. Muammar Gaddafi was friendly toward Russia. Viktor Yanukovych was friendly toward Russia. Hillary Clinton helped conquer all of them, and now she wants a «free-fire zone» in Syria to eliminate Bashar al-Assad there, who is outright allied with Russia. That would mean war against Russia. She wants war against both Russia and China. The buildup, if not the aftermath, to such war, will be great for the bomb-makers etc. (And that’s whom neocons authentically represent. War can be very profitable for the ‘right’ people — including Hillary Clinton’s mega-donors.)

Regardless of what one thinks about the Presidential candidates’ domestic policies, those policies pale into insignificance as compared to the neocons’ craving to expand NATO not only up to Russia’s borders (as has frighteningly already happened), but beyond. It’s world-conquest they crave, and that’s the only reason why we’re placing America’s missiles on and near Russia’s borders — an outrageous thing to do. And that craving-of-global-conquest will kill billions, and will leave the survivors wishing that they weren’t.

When bullies push a victim into a corner, he’ll strike back with everything he’s got — or do they really expect Vladimir Putin simply to cave in to their demands? They plan to terminate Russia’s sovereign independence. Will the Russian public — who overwhelmingly (over 80%, even in U.S. sponsored polls of Russians) support and approve of Putin’s leadership of their country, continue to support Putin if he does cave in? Nothing sparks a nation’s patriotism like being invaded does. It happened even in the Soviet Union, during World War II, a nation which was led by a real monster: the Georgian, Josef Stalin. The Soviet people fought with enormous courage, and were not stopped no matter how many millions of them died under Hitler’s onslaught. Russians, no matter how much the U.S. bombs them, will never yield their sovereignty over their own land — no matter how horrific the U.S.-NATO invasion might be.

When the crunch finally comes, these U.S. billionaires and their guests will presumably be inside the luxurious nuclear bomb shelters, glorious bunkers, or the «Doomsday Bunker for Billionaires». (Why else would they be building and buying these deep-underground palaces?) America’s super-rich believe in it, no matter what their duped public believes. That’s why they are donating heavily to Hillary Clinton’s (and associated) billion-dollar-plus campaign. To them, Vladimir Putin is ‘America’s enemy’, they’re not that; they’re not ‘The enemy’. They’re instead ‘patriotic Americans’. (They just happen to be committed to America’s global conquest. They’re investing in it. They expect to profit from it, or else to be paid well by the people who are.)

Here is their record of controlling the U.S. government: it’s international criminality that is vastly rewarded. This is called American ‘democracy’.

Will the American public elect those individuals’ favored representative into the White House, on November 8th? Probably. Most Americans would never vote for ‘a rapist’. (Even though they did — twice — with Bill Clinton, in 1992, then 1996.) Let’s vote for Hillary Clinton, because she’s no ‘rapist’! What? Really? Wow! Can there be that many Americans who are that ill-informed, or that stupid? (The billionaires would be chuckling at that. Investing in conquest is so rewarding! Just ask people such as George Soros.) (Oh, and he’s here, too.) (And even the far-right Koch brothers are on her side.)

Incidentally, a relevant web-search — «outcome of a nuclear war russia united states» — produces nothing trustworthy, only speculation, nothing reliably conclusive, but unpublished studies are constantly being produced on the matter. No one who is involved in that is going public with any data or information that could reliably inform the public. Perhaps some of the major investors are reliably informed about it, but the public certainly are not. And this is supposed to be a ‘democracy’.

Adolf Hitler was able to win an ‘election’. Such a catastrophe could happen again. The actual danger this time is even worse. And the public aren’t being reliably informed about it. That alone tells the public everything that’s important to know about this matter.

Perhaps some of the billionaires who are buying those bunkers know more than is publicly available on this matter, but the public do not. And the aristocracy read such things as this. But are they really fooled by their own propaganda? Well, they know enough to build and buy those bunkers. But none of those bunkers will ever do anyone any good. And those individuals are Hillary Clinton’s masters.

Moscow Suspends Plutonium Agreement Breached by United States

Moscow Suspends Plutonium Agreement Breached by United States
ANDREI AKULOV | 04.10.2016 | WORLD

Moscow Suspends Plutonium Agreement Breached by United States

On October 3, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to suspend the bilateral Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PDMA). The decision is explained by «the US hostile actions against the Russian Federation and Washington’s failure to observe the terms of the deal.» The suspension decree has come into force.

The presidential executive order states that the Russian fissile material, which was subject to it, would not be used for any military purpose, be it production of new weapons or research.

The PDMA was signed in 2000 to allow both nuclear powers to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium from their defence programs, a move seen as a key step in the disarmament process.

Each country was required to dispose of over 34 tons of fissile material, enough to produce 17,000 nuclear bombs, by turning it into so-called MOX (mixed oxide fuel) and burning it in nuclear reactors. The two countries recommitted to the deal in 2010.

The decision to suspend the agreement had been expected. The US was supposed to fabricate MOX fuel from its plutonium costs for building a facility at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina but costs spiraled out of control. It prompted the administration to use a cheaper reversible process instead – a «dilute and dispose» alternative that would simply mix the plutonium with inert materials and store underground making it more difficult to recover and dispose of it as waste.

According to the «downblending» method, the Savannah River Site facility would be used to dilute plutonium and dispose of it at the waste isolation pilot plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico, instead of transforming plutonium into nuclear fuel. There is a problem here – the disposal approach would not change the mix of isotopes in the plutonium to make it more difficult to reuse in weapons. Changing the disposition method requires formally amending the agreement, which cannot be done without Russia’s consent. In an open breach of the agreement, Moscow has not been consulted.

Unlike the United States, the Russian Federation has carried out its obligations. Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom has already started producing MOX fuel. A MOX fuel facility in the city of Zheleznogorsk in Eastern Siberia. BN-600 and BN-800 fast neutron reactors have been built to use MOX fuel made of weapons-grade plutonium and ensure it is unusable for nuclear warheads.

Russia had warned the United States about the violation. The Russian president expressed its concern over the US unilateral move in April, shortly after a nuclear security summit held in the US.

Back then, he noted that that the United States was not honoring the agreement by disposing of plutonium in a way that allowed it to retain its defence capabilities. Washington was warned.

This event is part of a broader process. In 2002, the United States abandoned the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty – the cornerstone of the strategic weapon limitation process for the previous thirty years. Washington no longer accepts any restrictions on its missile defense deployments to put into question any prospects for further progress in the field of arms control.

The US has not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) twenty years (September 30) after the negotiations concluded.

Washington has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) by using Hera intermediate ballistic missile for missile defense tests and deploying Mk-41 Aegis Ashore launchers, capable of firing ground-launched cruise missiles, in Romania and Poland. The deployment of Mk-41-launched medium-range missiles on the territory of US allies in Europe enables the US to strike deep into the Russian territory thanks to NATO’s expansion eastward.

A US mid-range missile launched from Poland or Romania would require only a short flight time to reach beyond the Urals. It creates a serious strategic imbalance. When deployed in Europe, US unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or armed drones such as the MQ-1 Predator also constitute a violation as they fall under the INF Treaty’s definition of intermediate range cruise missiles with the range of 1100 km.

According to the B61 Life Extension Program, the B61-12 warheads will make US aerial tactical weapons deployed in Europe acquire new capabilities. These plans are perceived as a threat by Russia. Stationed near its borders and boasting high accuracy, the weapons could be used with the efficiency of strategic nuclear weapons. Besides, the tactical nukes are to be operated by US NATO allies. It constitutes a violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1968, which prohibits the transfer of nuclear weapons from nuclear weapons states to other countries.

The United States enjoys a lead in long-range offensive non-nuclear weapons and is working on the Prompt Global Strike concept to acquire the capability to knock out Russia’s military and industrial infrastructure without resorting to nuclear weapons.

The erosion of arms control and non-proliferation regime is taking place against the background of NATO expansion, the worldwide and regional destabilization, the buildup of military infrastructure around Russia and boosting military presence in the proximity of its borders under the pretext of holding exercises and the militarization of outer space.

Recently, Washington has failed to comply with the terms of the Russia-US agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Syria.

On October 3, it suspended the bilateral contacts on Syria in a sharp deterioration of relations. It was the US, not Russia, who pulled out to dash the hopes that cooperation in stabilizing Syria and combating the Islamic State group could provide a new opportunity to make Russia-US relationship more functional, facilitating efforts to tackle bigger problems.

The prospects of renewing the peace talks are bleak. It applies to almost all aspects of the broader Russia-US relationship at present. There is a very dangerous trend to confrontation. It could not be otherwise with the NATO expansion and the US pulling out of the concluded agreements (the 1972 ABM Treaty) or violating them demonstrating reluctance to treat Russia as an equal partner.

There are too many issues that divide the two states and too few to bring them together. Syria is a chance to grab. This opportunity is fading away but it’s not lost as yet. The contacts can be renewed. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has said he plans to consider an alliance with Russia against Islamic State.

In a broader sense, each of the specific issues is an expression of a larger strategic one. Any effort to improve relations and solve the present logjam must include a dialogue about the emerging world order, the trends shaping it, the challenges posed to both Russian and US national interests, the roles each country wants to play in shaping the emerging global architecture and the prospects for finding ways to reconcile the differences. It means leaving behind the typical Washington’s think tank groupthink influenced by neocons that has defined the US policy on Russia to shun any serious effort at building inclusive security architecture.

It includes the ability to see problems from the other side’s perspective. Could the US administration officials imagine that Russian forces were stationed «on rotational basis» near the US border, and Russian missile defense installations deployed in the neighboring countries like Canada or Mexico? Or could they imagine themselves in the shoes of the one who has concluded an agreement with the other party which has taken on the responsibility for separating the opposition groups in Aleppo, failed to live up to the commitments, shifted the blame on the other side and then…suspended the contacts on Syria at all?

Nobody wants to balance on the brink of conflict. Both sides benefit from reduced tensions and arms control and non-proliferation agreements in place. But it takes two to tango.

There is not much time left till the US has a new president in office. Time will show if he or she will be able give peace a chance. Many things could be rectified. For instance, the plutonium agreement is suspended but not dead. It contains certain provisions to revive it if the US changes its stand and keeps its side of the bargain.

Andrei AKULOVColonel, retired, Moscow-based expert on international security issues

 

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