Tag Archives: Nuclear Weapons

Dismantling the Doomsday Machines, by John V. Walsh

If you’re only going to read one SLL article tonight, this is the one to read. It’s beyond scary. From John V. Walsh at antiwar.com:

“From a technical point of view, he (Stanley Kubrick) anticipated many things. … Since that time, little has changed, honestly. The only difference is that modern weapons systems have become more sophisticated, more complex. But this idea of a retaliatory strike and the inability to manage these systems, yes, all of these things are relevant today. It (controlling the systems) will become even more difficult and more dangerous.” (Emphasis, jw)

Vladimir Putin commenting on the film, Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, in an interview with Oliver Stone, May 11, 2016. Putin had not seen the movie and did not know of it before Stone showed it to him.

The Doomsday Machine, the title of Daniel Ellsberg’s superb book is not simply an imaginary contraption from a movie masterpiece. A Doomsday Machine uncannily like the one described in Dr. Strangeloveexists right now. In fact, there are two such machines, one in US hands and one in Russia’s. The US seeks to hide its version, but Ellsberg has revealed that it has existed since the 1950s. Russia has quietly admitted that it has one, named it formally, “Perimetr,” and also tagged it with a frighteningly apt nickname “Dead Hand.” Because the US and Russia are the only nations with Doomsday Machines to date we shall restrict this discussion to them.

The Doomsday Machine was published just a little more than a year ago, but its terrifying message has failed to provoke action. And Daniel Ellsberg is a man who knows whereof he speaks; the subtitle of the book is “Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner,” which is how Ellsberg spent the early part of his career. What follows on this first anniversary of the book’s publication is a brief restatement of the main argument of the book and then a summary of Ellsberg’s plan of action. (Not included are memoirs and personal experiences of this remarkable, very intelligent and moral man, which are found in the book and which I recommend to flesh out the line of thought presented herein.) Ellsberg’s plan is to be considered a stop gap measure to remove the nuclear sword of Damocles hanging over our heads and allow time to move to total abolition of nuclear weapons, a much more arduous task. Hopefully this essay will serve as a reminder of Ellsberg’s warnings and as a call to act on them.

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Germany To Trump: Don’t Even Think About Stationing Nuclear Missiles In Europe After INF Withdrawal, by Tyler Burden

Germany, and probably the rest of Europe, want no part in having nuclear missiles stationed there. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Washington’s decision to drop out of the INF has fueled speculation about the return of a full-blown, Cold-War style nuclear arms race, as Russia has reflexively threatened to build up its tactical defenses along Europe’s periphery in the face of what’s expected to be a buildup of American intermediate-range arms.

But whatever happens between the two nuclear superpowers, Germany wants no part of it.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned this week that the US better not be thinking about stationing its intermediate-range missiles in Germany – or anywhere in Europe, for that matter. For the last 30 years, the treaty has prohibited stationing intermediate-range arms in Europe. Any push to change that would almost certainly be met with “widespread resistance” in Germany, Maas said, so as to avoid a scenario where Europe is put in the middle of a tug-of-war between Russia and the US.

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Behind the North Korean Curtain, Part I

North Korea is far different from the way it is usually portrayed, according to a seasoned international traveler who has spent a fair amount of time there. From Joel Bowman at internationalman.com:

Joel Bowman talks to Kolja Spöri

Joel Bowman: Good day, Kolja. Thanks very much for taking the time to speak with International Man today. Where in the world do we find you right now?

Kolja Spöri: Merhaba, Joel! I am just in Istanbul at the airport, in transit to Munich, coming from Baghdad.

JB: Having literally written the book “I’ve Been Everywhere” (in German: Ich war überall), you certainly fit the bill as a true International Man. I imagine our conversation could go in many directions today, but I wanted to start with a particular trip you embarked on earlier this year that must have been quite eye-opening, even by your own standards.

When most people think of taking a vacation, they might imagine heading down to Florida, or the Bahamas, or maybe nipping over to Hawaii. You decided, instead, to opt for the decidedly cooler climes of Pyongyang, capital of North Korea. What inspired you to set off on an adventure to one of the so-called “Axis of Evil” countries?

KS: There’s actually warm weather and good surfing in North Korea in the summer! But yes, I have been a world traveler for a long time, both privately and on business trips. My goal became to visit every country in the world. It was just a natural thing that I would also visit North Korea on the way. North Korea is a good example where I learned that our Western view on the world does not always hold true, or at least the narratives that we are spoon fed from our Western media and our Western education system.

Fifteen years ago, I was in South Korea visiting the demilitarized zone in Panmunjom, from the south. And at that time, already 15 years ago, I had a feeling that something was wrong about the way I was taught to look at things. Now that I’ve seen the border from the other side, from the north, I have a much clearer picture of where I was wrong, and where maybe many of us are wrong in the West.

I want to make clear that I don’t defend the North Korean system. After all, I am an Austrian School Libertarian. But I use the small case study of North Korea to build a strong case against our Western regime.

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Putin Lays Down the Law at Valdai, by Tom Luongo

Vladimir Putin states Russia’s terms for international interaction. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

Every year Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the Valdai Economic Forum. And each year his talk is important. Putin isn’t one to mince words on important issues.

With tensions between Russia and the West reaching Cold War levels, Valdai represented the first time we’ve heard Putin speak in a long-form discussion since Helsinki and the events thereafter — IL-20, Khashoggi, etc.

So, this talk is worth everyone’s time. And when I say everyone’s I mean every single person who could be affected by the breakdown of the U.S. political system and how that spills over onto Russia’s shores.

In other words, pretty much everyone on the planet.

Because what Putin did at Valdai was to lay down the new rules of conduct in geopolitical affairs. He put the U.S. and European oligarchs I call The Davos Crowd on notice.

There is a limit to your provocations and attempts to undermine Russia. So don’t cross that line.

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“Terrorist Theft” – Pakistan’s Nukes Outpacing Projections In Uncertain Security Landscape, by Tyler Durden

Pakistan isn’t exactly a stable country. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Pakistan is set to become the world’s 5th largest nuclear weapons state according to an alarming new report which shows the country is set for rapid expansion of its arsenal over the next decade.

The report was issued by an independent nuclear arms monitoring group under the Federation of American Scientists called the Nuclear Information Project and demonstrates that US intelligence has consistently understated and failed to accurately assess Pakistan’s future capabilities.

While the Defense Intelligence Agency (the DIA) projected in 1999 that Pakistan would possess 60 to 80 nuclear warheads by 2020, the report shows the actual current figure at 140 to 150 warheads. Continue reading

US may open path for Saudi Arabia to acquire nuclear weapons, by Middle East Monitor

The thought of one Islamic fundamentalist regime, Iran’s, getting nuclear weapons horrifies the world such that an agreement was negotiated to prevent them from doing so. The Trump administration is thinking about abrogating that agreement because it isn’t strong enough, and perhaps resorting to military action against Iran. One the other hand, the Trump administration may be ready to bend its own rule to see that another Islamic fundamentalist regime, Saudi Arabia’s, acquires nuclear weapons capabilities. Both countries foment international terrorism (most of the 9/11 participants were from Saudi Arabia), both have designs on Middle Eastern hegemony, and both are run by thoroughly repressive governments. The double standard is breathtaking. From the Middle East Monitor at middleeastmonitor.com:

Saudi Arabia is moving swiftly to become the next country in the Middle East with nuclear power. The Kingdom is on the verge of striking a deal with the US for the purchase of nuclear reactors despite concerns over its refusal to accept stringent restrictions against the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman, who is the de facto ruler of the country, has ambitious plans to diversify the country’s energy source and is in the market to purchase nuclear power reactors. The potential for lucrative deals is too good to be missed and the Trump administration is thought to be mulling over loosening US law to win Saudi contracts, worth billions. The Kingdom has refused to be bound by stringent US regulations that restrict reprocessing and enriching uranium for the production of nuclear weapons.

With competitors like Russia and China waiting in the wings, Trump is keen to strike a deal with the Saudi’s and breathe new life into the American nuclear industry.

Finalists to build nuclear power stations along the Kingdom’s desolate Arabian Gulf strip will be announced in the coming months, but it’s not certain if the US will be the one to strike the deal. Israel, despite having its own nuclear arsenal, is strongly opposed to any other country in the Middle East acquiring nuclear weapons and with alliances constantly shifting in the region it may try to derail any deal.

US policy also seeks to limit nuclear weapons proliferation especially in the Middle East but Trump may have no option other than to lower restrictions with Saudi Arabia.

Although the Saudi’s have insisted that their programme will be peaceful, they have also refused to rule out the right to enrich uranium to weapons grade. A senior Saudi official was quoted by the Wall Street Journal admitting as much. “I’m not saying Saudi would want to enrich uranium tomorrow or anytime soon but they don’t want to be committed to anything that bans them from doing it. It is quite political,” the unnamed senior official said.

His comments have stirred speculation that one of the purpose of the nuclear programme is to compete with Iran and maintain an option to develop nuclear weapons. With some overlapping technology it would be in a strong position to move in that direction if the Kingdom desired so.

It’s not clear to what extent Trump will be able to convince Congress to agree to the deal. Under US law any export of nuclear technology involves signing a non-proliferation document known as a 123 agreement. The UAE signed one in 2009 which is said to be the most restrictive and has become as the gold standard.

Saudi’s, however, have reject the gold standard and the Trump administration must now come out with a new plan that will not completely block Riyash’s path to acquiring nuclear weapons.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180221-us-may-open-path-for-saudi-arabia-to-acquire-nuclear-weapons/

Russia’s New Monster Weapon, by Eric Margolis

Russia has reportedly developed a huge nuclear torpedo that can essentially wipe out both US coasts in a nuclear war. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

While we agonize over such life and death questions as clumsy men groping women and the crucial need for gender and racial ‘inclusion,’ let me spare a few seconds thought to something really important and scary:  Russia’s doomsday nuclear torpedo.

Codenamed by NATO ‘Kanyon,’  it’s reportedly something new and terrifying, a ‘third strike’ weapon designed to obliterate the US east and west coasts in a nuclear war.  US intelligence seems to think this doomsday weapon is very real indeed.

I just re-watched for the umpteenth time the wonderful, 1964 Kubrick film, ‘Dr. Strangelove’ and marveled anew at how prescient this razor-sharp satire was.  In the film, the Soviets admit they ran out of money to keep up the nuclear arms race with the United States.  Their answer was to create a secret, automated doomsday nuclear device that would destroy the entire planet in the event of a major war.

Now, the Russians appear to have responded to a new, trillion dollar US program to develop and deploy an anti-missile system that would negate their ballistic missile system:  the ‘Kanyon.’  Fact imitates fiction.

This revelation comes just after the Trump administration has also embarked on new programs to deploy an entire new generation of lower yield nuclear weapons that can be used for tactical war-fighting purposes.  North Korea and Iran are the evident targets, as well as Afghanistan.  But there is now talk aplenty in Pentagon circles about waging a limited tactical nuclear war against Russia.  New US bomber and drone programs are being speeded up.  War talk is in the air.  Military stocks are booming.

‘Kanyon,’ according to the right-wing Heritage Foundation, a cheerleader for military spending, is a mammoth 100-megaton nuclear device carried by an unmanned submarine.  This monster weapon is designed to detonate on the US west coast, destroying the ports of San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.  The device is reportedly covered with cobalt, for maximum radioactive effect.

To continue reading: Russia’s New Monster Weapon