Category Archives: Military

The US Is Stockpiling Nuclear Arms, and the Cost Is Astonishing, by Harry Blain

Nuclear poker is a very expensive game. From Harry Blain at antiwar.com:

We’re spending $1.2 trillion on weapons that invariably make the world a more dangerous place

Overwhelmed with stories of high-level indictments, intrigues, investigations, and scandals, the American public can be forgiven for missing revelations about an issue of some importance: our nuclear weapons.

Thanks to an October 31 report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), we now have a 30-year outline of both the kinds of destructive weaponry we are buying, and how much it is going to cost. There are good reasons to be worried.

“A pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”

How much exactly? $1.2 trillion in all. Even spread over three decades, that’s a big investment.

Per year, it could pay for over half of Russia’s military budget, five Environmental Protection Agencies, or at least three “beautiful” walls on the U.S.-Mexico border.

It’s an especially big investment for something you hope to never use. Nuclear weapons aren’t cheap: According to the Congressional Budget Office, the cost of maintaining just the existing U.S. nuclear forces will be close to $800 billion; the shiny new stuff will be another $400 billion. “Many of today’s nuclear weapons systems were designed and built decades ago,” the CBO notes, “and are nearing the end of their service life.”

In a narrow sense, this seems sensible enough: Aging nuclear weapons infrastructure can lead to things like command and control systems running on floppy disks and a higher risk of security breaches. If you are going to insist on possessing the world’s most lethal weapon, you should look after it.

Nonetheless, as Kingston Reif of the Arms Control Association put it, the “stark reality underlined by CBO is that unless the US government finds a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the nuclear weapons spending plan inherited by the Trump administration will pose a crushing affordability problem.”

“Uniquely destabilizing”

The New York Times headline on the matter – “Trump Plans for Nuclear Arsenal Require $1.2 Trillion, Congressional Review States” – is either an innocent mistake or a misleading rhetorical sleight of hand. It implies, falsely, that this costly program belongs to the 45th president, even though the first paragraph of the CBO report explicitly states that it refers to “the Obama Administration’s 2017 budget request.”

This is not a trivial point.

Even if, like many Americans, you trust Barack Obama’s judgment more than Donald Trump’s, you need to ask the deeper questions: Do I want anypresident to preside over such a vast nuclear arsenal? Could even the most sober and intelligent commander-in-chief make one catastrophic error in judgment? Are there certain weapons that are inherently more dangerous than others, regardless of who has the authority to push the button?

To continue reading: The US Is Stockpiling Nuclear Arms, and the Cost Is Astonishing

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Putin/Assad Meeting Cements the End of U.S. Dominance in the Middle East, by Tom Luongo

Vladimir Putin is quietly garnering the power in the Middle East that the US’s endless interventionism in the region was unable to secure, and which in fact has worked against its aims. Tom Luongo is right when he says it’s worth the time to review Vladimir Putin’s speech to the UN on Sept. 28, 2015 (speech linked in article). From Luongo at tomluongo.me:

I’m not a terribly religious man.  But, I’d like to believe there is a special corner in Hell reserved for those that fomented the Syrian Civil War.

From its beginnings in Libya with gun-funneling through the U.S. embassy in Benghazi to yesterday’s meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, this entire affair will be remembered as one of the most cynical and abusive periods of history.

The Syrian ‘Civil War’ was meant to be the crowning achievement of U.S./Israeli/Saudi policy in the Middle East, the apotheosis of neoconservatism.

Had it succeeded it would have transformed the world into a living hell governed by the likes of Hillary Clinton, George Soros, Angela Merkel and the U.S./U.K. banking cartel.

Syria was to be the wedge that blew open not only the Middle East but Central Asia as well.  It would stop the resurgence of Russia as a world power, subjugate Europe to an endless nightmare of forced cultural assimilation and completed bankrupting the United States to bring it in line with the a failing European integration project.

Supranational treaties like the TPP, TTIP and the Paris Accord were designed to create a superstructure that would supplant national sovereignty without any input from the people who were most affected by it.

Putin’s Turning Point

With Vladimir Putin’s pivotal speech at the United Nations on September 28th, 2015, opposition to this vision was expressed in the most forceful, and frankly, humanist terms one could imagine.  I’m going to remind you of the most important passage as it relates to Syria.

In these circumstances, it is hypocritical and irresponsible to make loud declarations about the threat of international terrorism while turning a blind eye to the channels of financing and supporting terrorists, including the process of trafficking and illicit trade in oil and arms. It would be equally irresponsible to try to manipulate extremist groups and place them at one’s service in order to achieve one’s own political goals in the hope of later dealing with them or, in other words, liquidating them.

To those who do so, I would like to say — dear sirs, no doubt you are dealing with rough and cruel people, but they’re in no way primitive or silly. They are just as clever as you are, and you never know who is manipulating whom. And the recent data on arms transferred to this most moderate opposition is the best proof of it.

We believe that any attempts to play games with terrorists, let alone to arm them, are not just short-sighted, but fire hazardous (ph). This may result in the global terrorist threat increasing dramatically and engulfing new regions, especially given that Islamic State camps train militants from many countries, including the European countries.

In truth, the whole speech is worth revisiting.  It is a stark reminder that Putin, normally very reserved in his words, laid all of his cards on the table and directly accused the United States of declaring war on the world.

To continue reading:

Did the US Allow ISIS to Escape to Keep the Fighting Going? by Philip Giraldi

This is not a preposterous question if you understand the true aim of US foreign policy: enrich the US military-industrial-intelligence complex. From Philip Giraldi at ronpaulinstitute.org:

Americans have been living in a country that has not known peace since 9/11, when President George W. Bush and his posse of neoconservatives delivered the message to the world that “you are either with us or against us.” The threat was coupled with flurry of hastily conceived legislation that opened the door to the unconstitutional “war on terror” carried out at the whim of the Chief Executive, a conflict which was from the start conceived of as a global military engagement without end.

Bush and his handlers might not have realized it at the time but they were initiating a completely new type of warfare. To be sure, there would be fighting on the ground worldwide against an ideologically driven enemy somewhat reminiscent of communism, but there would also be included “regime change” of governments in countries that were not completely on board with the direction coming out of Washington. Instead of invading and occupying a country in the old-fashioned way, so the thinking went, far better to just knock off the top levels and let the natives sort things out while acting under direction from the pros in Washington.

Even though “regime change” in Iraq and Afghanistan did not work out very well, Bush saw himself as a triumphant war leader with his vainglorious “Mission Accomplished,” and he later dubbed himself the “decider.” He insisted that his reelection in 2004 when running against a weak John Kerry was a validation of his policies by the American people, but one has to wonder how many voters really understood that they were signing on for perpetual war that would of necessity also diminish their most cherished liberties.

To continue reading: Did the US Allow ISIS to Escape to Keep the Fighting Going?

Russia’s Arms Sales to Middle East Countries Spike to Record-High Levels, by Andrei Akulov

There’s a vendor in the Middle East arms bazaar who has technology as good or better  than the US’s, at lower prices. That total orders from all vendors have tripled in two years is cause for concern, at least for those who concerned with peae. From Andrei Akulov at strategic-culture.org:

Russia’s Arms Sales to Middle East Countries Spike to Record-High Levels

Dubai Airshow 2017, one of the largest and most successful air shows in the world, ended on Nov.16, having drawn over 79,000 trade visitors, up around 20% over the last version of the event in 2015. The total order tally is $113.8 billion in orders. It nearly tripled from the $37.2 billion signed two years ago.

Russia’s exposition at the Dubai Airshow 2017 included the combat helicopter Ka-52, multi-mission fighter MiG-29M, Su-35 supermaneuverable air defense fighter, Be-200 multipurpose amphibious aircraft, combat-transport helicopter Mi-35M, long-range air defense system S-400 Triumph, and short-range air defense missile system Pantsir–S1. The ‘Russian Knights’ aerobatic demonstration team performed extraordinary stunts riding through the skies to greatly impress spectators.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is interested in procuring the Sukhoi Su-35 multi-role fighter. The country is considering the purchase of 10 or more of such aircraft. The UAE and Russia signed a letter of intent on the purchase of Su-35 fighter jets in Feb. 2017. The talks are in progress. The Emirates will be the second country after China to buy the plane.

The UAE has already purchased Russian ground weapons, such as BMP-3 infantry combat vehicles and Pantsir S1 air-defense systems. In February, the Emirates entered into military contracts with Russia worth $1.9 billion. The deal includes 5,000 anti-armor missiles in addition to training and logistic support. The UAE started talks with Rostec company on the development of light fighter based on the MiG-29 twin-engine aircraft with development set to kick off in 2018.

The military cooperation with the UAE is a good example to illustrate the increasingly growing demand for Russian weapons in the Middle East. Orders from Arab countries account for roughly 20 percent of Russian weapons’ exports. Last year, Russia delivered more than $1.5 billion in arms to Algeria, $37 million to Egypt, $374 million to Iran and $300 million to Iraq. Today, the Russia’s portfolio of weaponry orders from the countries of the region is $8 billion. In 2017, the Russian defence industry has been making major inroads in the Middle East and North Africa. Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Tunisia are interested in purchasing Russian weapon systems.

To continue reading: Russia’s Arms Sales to Middle East Countries Spike to Record-High Levels

Who Gets to Push the Nuclear Button? by Paul Craig Roberts

Trump talked about a better relationship with Russia, so his enemies fabricated Russiagate. Having pushed Trump away from a potential path to better relations and peace, it is now claimed that Trump shouldn’t be trusted with the nuclear power. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.com:

William Binney is the former National Security Agency (NSA) official who created NSA’s mass surveillance program for digital information. He says that if the Russian government had conspired with Trump, hacked the Democratic National Committee’s computer, or in any way influenced the outcome of the last US presidential election, the National Security Agency would have the digital evidence. The fact that we have been listening to the unsubstantiated charges that comprise “Russiagate” for more than one year without being presented with a scrap of evidence is complete proof that Russiagate is entirely fake news.

The fake news originated with CIA director John Brennan and FBI director Comey conspiring with the DNC in an effort to discredit and unseat President Trump and at a minimum prevent him from damaging the vast power and profit of the military/security complex by normalizing relations with Russia.

Consider what this means. The directors of the CIA and FBI made up a totally false story about a newly elected President and fed the lies to the presstitutes and Congress. The presstitutes never asked for a drop of evidence and enlarged the Brennan/Comey lie with a claim that all 17 US intelligence agencies had concluded that Russia had interfered. In actual fact, a handful of carefully selected people in three of the agencies had prepared, perhaps under duress, a conditional report that had no evidence behind it.

That it was fake news created to control President Trump was completely obvious, but corrupt security officials, corrupt senators and representatives, a corrupt DNC, and corrupt media used constant repetition to turn a lie into truth.

Here is Binney: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2016/12/creator-nsas-global-surveillance-system-calls-b-s-russian-hacking-report.html
See also: https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/11/17/capitalism-collapsing-from-inequality-blame-russia.html

Having shoved Trump into the militarist camp, his enemies have turned on Trump as an unstable, volatile person who might push the button. Senator Bob Corker (R, TN) and Senator Chris Murphy (D,CT) are using the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to portray President Trump as a quixotic person who shouldn’t have his finger on the nuclear button. We have gone full circle, from Trump who wants to defuse nuclear tensions to Trump who might push the button.

To continue reading: Who Gets to Push the Nuclear Button?

Losing the War in the Colony of Afghanistan, by Brian Cloughley

The US’s military involvement in Afghanistan since 2001 doesn’t even rise to the level of the absurd. From Brian Cloughley at antiwar.com:

The latest news about Afghanistan varies from the profoundly dismal to the fatuously absurd.

One depressing story is the UN Office of Drugs and Crime report of November 15 that opium production for manufacture of heroin jumped to 9,000 metric tons so far in 2017, up 87 percent from 4,800 metric tons last year.  It noted that “insecurity and political instability” are key drivers of illicit poppy cultivation. In other words, the country is a lawless shambles.

But two days before this gloomy evidence of national insecurity the usual verbally-challenged US general assured us that things were looking good.  The US Defense Secretary, the widely-revered intellectual General Mattis, expressed pleasure that there is going to be an increase in the number of foreign troops in Afghanistan and said that “Right now, I’d say there’s somewhere approximately two-dozen NATO allies and partner countries that are leaning towards raising the number of troops, now that’s out of 39 total countries on the battlefield, so it’s a little over two dozen.”

How illuminating.  39 countries “on the battlefield” indeed.  That would be “somewhere approximately” rather bad news for those governments who imagine that their troops in Afghanistan as part of the “Resolute Support” mission are not on any account to be involved in combat, save in the last resort of defending themselves.  As stated by the US-NATO military alliance, “Resolute Support is a NATO-led, non-combat mission . . . to help the Afghan security forces and institutions develop the capacity to defend Afghanistan and protect its citizens in a sustainable manner.”  Nothing about battlefields, there.  But then, Mattis is understandably somewhat battlefield oriented. It was he, after all, who declared that “it’s fun to shoot some people.”

The US and NATO hierarchy keep trying to convince the world that Afghanistan is not a corruption-ridden quagmire of drug-production and savagery, and General Mattis told reporters in Kabul on September 28 that “uncertainty has been replaced by certainty” because of new US policy, and that “the sooner the Taliban recognizes they cannot win with bombs, the sooner the killing will end.”

To continue reading: Losing the War in the Colony of Afghanistan

Is America Up for a Second Cold War? by Patrick J. Buchanan

The powers that be are up for another cold war, a hot war, or any kind of war in between. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

After the 19th national congress of the Chinese Communist Party in October, one may discern Premier Xi Jinping’s vision of the emerging New World Order.

By 2049, the centennial of the triumph of Communist Revolution, China shall have become the first power on earth. Her occupation and humiliation by the West and Japan in the 19th and 20th centuries will have become hated but ancient history.

America will have been pushed out of Asia and the western Pacific back beyond the second chain of islands.

Taiwan will have been returned to the motherland, South Korea and the Philippines neutralized, Japan contained. China’s claim to all the rocks, reefs and islets in the South China Sea will have been recognized by all current claimants.

Xi’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy will have brought South and Central Asia into Beijing’s orbit, and he will be in the Pantheon beside the Founding Father of Communist China, Mao Zedong.

Democracy has been rejected by China in favor of one-party rule of all political, economic, cultural and social life.

And as one views Europe, depopulating, riven by secessionism, fearful of a Third World migrant invasion, and America tearing herself apart over politics and ideology, China must appear to ambitious and rising powers as the model to emulate.

Indeed, has not China shown the world that authoritarianism can be compatible with national growth that outstrips a democratic West?

Over the last quarter century, China, thanks to economic nationalism and $4 trillion in trade surpluses with the United States, has exhibited growth unseen since 19th-century America.

Whatever we may think of Xi’s methods, this vision must attract vast numbers of China’s young — they see their country displace America as first power, becoming the dominant people on earth.

What is America’s vision? What is America’s cause in the 21st century? What is the mission and goal that unites, inspires and drives us on?

To continue reading: Is America Up for a Second Cold War?