[ Ed. note – Despite a seemingly cordial meeting Wednesday between Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, tensions between the two countries remain high. Reports have come out in recent weeks (see here for instance) that Russian military officials are now convinced the US is planning a nuclear first strike against Russia. The ramifications of this are discussed in three articles below. One of the writers, Paul Craig Roberts, takes it to the personal level: if you’ve reached the conclusion that someone, despite your best efforts at making peace with them, is plotting to kill you, what do you do?
Obviously we are in dangerous times. Articles demonizing Russia are churned out by the media each day. The deep state in Washington (which I would argue includes the owners or CEOs of the major media conglomerates) clearly is trying to incite and foment a conflict. Spreading chaos throughout the Middle East has been their modus operandi for many years now, but the ultimate chaos, of course, would be a nuclear war. And that very much seems to be their fondest fantasy and desire at present. Do they think they can win it? Possibly so. This is what the second article, by Conn Halinan, gets into.
The insanity has of course spread to the UK, where Defense Secretary Michael Fallon recently stated that under certain circumstances Theresa May’s government would consider launching a nuclear first strike–even if Britain was not under attack. Fallon’s idiocies are discussed in the third article, by Felicity Arbuthnot.
Interestingly, Arbuthnot also poses the possibility that the current showdown over North Korea is a “red herring.” While I’m not going to excerpt it, I will provide a link–here–to an analysis on the confrontation with North Korea published by Roberts just over a week ago. The writer opines that the THAAD anti-missile system Trump is deploying to South Korea has nothing to do with North Korea, and is really intended to target China. A comparable analogy would be the US ballistic missile defense system deployed in Eastern Europe. That “missile shield” supposedly was to protect Europe from Iran, though most astute observers knew at the time that the real target was Russia. The system was first announced more than 10 years ago and finally went operational–in Romania–last year. The theory is that the shield now makes it possible for the US or NATO to carry out a surprise nuclear first strike against Russia, and then take out any Russian ICBMs which may be launched in retaliation. THAAD will presumably give them the same capability with regard to China. ]
Are You Ready to Die?
By Paul Craig Roberts
In George Orwell’s 1949 dystopian novel, 1984, information that no longer is consistent with Big Brother’s explanations is chucked down the Memory Hole. In the real American dystopia in which we currently live, the information is never reported at all.
On April 26—16 days ago—Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznihir, Deputy Chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces, stated at the Moscow International Security Conference that the Operations Command of the Russian General Staff has concluded that Washington is preparing a nuclear first strike on Russia.
The Times-Gazett in Ashland, Ohio, was the only US print media that a Google search could turn up that reported this most alarming of all announcements. A Google search turned up no reports on US TV, and none on Canadian, Australian, European, or any other media except RT and Internet sites.
I have been unable to find any report that any US Senator or Representative or any European, Canadian, or Australian politician has raised a voice of concern.
No one in Washington got on the telephone to tell Putin that this was all a mistake, that the US was not preparing a nuclear first strike on Russia, or ask Putin how this serious situation could be defused.
Americans do not even know about it, except for my readers.
I would have expected at least that the CIA would have planted the story in the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, and NPR that General Poznihir was expressing his personal opinion, nothing to be taken seriously. But apparently Americans and their European vassals are not to even know that such an accussation was made.
As I reported some time ago and more recently in my column about North Korea, the Chinese leadership has also concluded that the US intends a nuclear first strike against China.
Alone either Russia or China can destroy the US. If they act together, the destruction of the US would be redundant. What is the intelligence, if any, and morality, clearly none, of the US leadership that recklessly and irresponsibly invites Russia and China to preempt Washington’s attack on them with an attack on the US?
Surely not even insouciant Americans are so stupid as to think that Russia and China will just sit there and wait for Washington’s nuclear attack.
I lived through every stage of the Cold War. I participated in it. Never in my life have I experienced the situation where two nuclear powers were convinced that the third was going to surprise them with a nuclear attack.
I supported Trump because he, unlike Hillary, said he would normalize relations with Russia. Instead he has raised the tensions between the nuclear powers. Nothing is more irresponsible or dangerous.
We currently are in the most dangerous situation of my lifetime, and there is ZERO AWARENESS AND NO DISCUSSION!
How can this be? Putin has been issuing warnings for years. He has told the Western presstitute media on more than one occasion that they, in their dishonesty, are pushing the world to nuclear war. Putin has said over and over, “I issue warnings and no one hears.” “How do I get through to you?”
Maybe the morons will hear when mushroom clouds appear over Washington and New York, and Europe ceases to exist, as it will if Europe continues the confrontation with Russia as is required from Washington’s well-paid vassals.
US Nuclear Breakthrough Endangers the World: America’s ‘Surprise First Strike Attack’
By Conn Hallinan
At a time of growing tensions between nuclear powers—Russia and NATO in Europe, and the U.S., North Korea and China in Asia—Washington has quietly upgraded its nuclear weapons arsenal to create, according to three leading American scientists, “exactly what one would expect to see, if a nuclear-armed state were planning to have the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war by disarming enemies with a surprise first strike.”
Writing in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project of the American Federation of Scientists, Matthew McKinzie of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and physicist and ballistic missile expert Theodore Postol, conclude that “Under the veil of an otherwise-legitimate warhead life-extension program,” the U.S. military has vastly expanded the “killing power” of its warheads such that it can “now destroy all of Russia’s ICBM silos.”
The upgrade—part of the Obama administration’s $1 trillion modernization of America’s nuclear forces—allows Washington to destroy Russia’s land-based nuclear weapons, while still retaining 80 percent of the U.S.’s warheads in reserve. If Russia chose to retaliate, it would be reduced to ash.
Any discussion of nuclear war encounters several major problems. First, it is difficult to imagine or to grasp what it would mean in real life. We have only had one conflict involving nuclear weapons—the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945—and the memory of those events has faded over the years. In any case, the two bombs that flattened the Japanese cities bear little resemblance to the killing power of modern nuclear weapons.
The Hiroshima bomb exploded with a force of 15 kilotons. The Nagasaki bomb was slightly more powerful at about 18 kt. Between them, they killed over 215,000 people. In contrast, the most common nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal today, the W76, has an explosive power of 100 kt. The next most common, the W88, packs a 475-kt punch.
Another problem is that most of the public thinks nuclear war is impossible because both sides would be destroyed. This is the idea behind the policy of Mutually Assured Destruction, aptly named “MAD.”
But MAD is not a U.S. military doctrine. A “first strike” attack has always been central to U.S. military planning, until recently, however, there was no guarantee that such an attack would so cripple an opponent that it would be unable—or unwilling, given the consequences of total annihilation— to retaliate.
The strategy behind a first strike—sometimes called a “counter force” attack—is not to destroy an opponent’s population centers, but to eliminate the other sides’ nuclear weapons, or at least most of them. Anti-missile systems would then intercept a weakened retaliatory strike.
The technical breakthrough that suddenly makes this a possibility is something called the “super-fuze”, which allows for a much more precise ignition of a warhead. If the aim is to blow up a city, such precision is superfluous, but taking out a reinforced missile silo requires a warhead to exert a force of at least 10,000 pounds per square inch on the target.
Up until the 2009 modernization program, the only way to do that was to use the much more powerful—but limited in numbers—W88 warhead. Fitted with the super-fuze, however, the smaller W76 can now do the job, freeing the W88 for other targets.
Traditionally, land-based missiles are more accurate than sea-based missiles, but the former are more vulnerable to a first-strike than the latter, because submarines are good at hiding. The new super-fuze does not increase the accuracy of Trident II submarine missiles, but it makes up for that with the precision of where the weapon detonates.
“In the case of the 100-kt Trident II warhead,” write the three scientists, “the super-fuze triples the killing power of the nuclear force it is applied to.”
Before the super-fuze was deployed, only 20 percent of U.S. subs had the ability to destroy re-enforced missile silos. Today, all have that capacity.
Trident II missiles typically carry from four to five warheads, but can expand that up to eight. While the missile is capable of hosting as many as 12 warheads, that configuration would violate current nuclear treaties. U.S. submarines currently deploy about 890 warheads, of which 506 are W76s and 384 are W88s.
The land-based ICBMs are Minuteman III, each armed with three warheads—400 in total—ranging from 300 kt to 500 kt apiece. There are also air and sea-launched nuclear tipped missiles and bombs. The Tomahawk cruise missiles that recently struck Syria can be configured to carry a nuclear warhead.
The super-fuze also increases the possibility of an accidental nuclear conflict.
Donald Trump and Theresa May–Partners in Planning Armageddon?
By Felicity Arbuthnot
Trump, various Generals with incomprehensible psychedelic bits of cloth adorning their clothing and varying spokespeople, terrifyingly, will not “rule out” a nuclear strike on North Korea (population just 25.16 million v US population 321.4 million, incidentally) which could ignite a nuclear war.
Five times draft evader Donald Trump seemingly lacks even a miniscule concept of the apocalypse even “conventional” weapons unleash. When he launched – arguably illegally – forty nine Cruise missiles which rained down on Syria (Thursday 6th April) whilst having dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping, he remembered he was eating “a beautiful piece of chocolate cake”, but forgot the country he was attacking, muddling Syria with Iraq, so lightly was the unthinkable undertaken. Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross was quoted as calling the strike “after dinner entertainment.”
If Trump was thoughtful…
If Trump read and was thoughtful (the first apparently absent from his activities and the second seemingly fatally flawed) he might have reflected on North Korea’s genuine fears. Near erased from the earth by the US (1950-1953) constantly threatened over subsequent decades, Trump might have recalled the words of Joseph Rotblat, co-recipient of the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize with the Pugwash Conferences, for: “their efforts to diminish the part played by nuclear arms in international affairs and, in the longer run, to eliminate such arms.”
Rotblat observed that:
“If the militarily most powerful and least threatened states need nuclear weapons for their security, how can one deny such security to countries that are truly insecure? The present nuclear policy is a recipe for proliferation. It is a policy for disaster.”
“In the most extreme circumstances, we have made it very clear that you can’t rule out the use of nuclear weapons as a first strike”, he told the BBC’s Radio 4.
Fallon’s comments “disgusting”
The reaction of Russian Senator Frants Klintsevich, Deputy Chairman of the Upper House of the Russian Parliament’s Defence and Security Committee, was to call Fallon’s comments “disgusting”, saying they deserved a “tough response.” He gave it in no uncertain terms pointing out that: “Britain, not having the biggest territory”, would “literally be erased from the face of the earth”, were it to launch a preemptive strike. He asked pointedly: “Against whom is Great Britain going to preemptively use nuclear weapons?”
In context, there is no proof whatsoever that North Korea has an integrated nuclear weapons programme (ie the weapons with the system to fire them.) It certainly has a nuclear bluster programme developed out of fear resulting from near seven decades of threats, with a vast US arsenal just across it’s border with nearing 30,000 US military personnel, twelve US bases, one provocatively named “Red Cloud” – and since 2006 further isolation in the form of sanctions. Now of course, there are also Donald Trump’s threats and declared “armada” of war ships, bristling with more nation erasing armaments.
Senator Klintsevich added witheringly that if Britain intended to use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state: “then probably English people desperately want to share the laurels of the USA who threw nuclear bombs at defenceless Hiroshima and Nagasaki” (in 1945.)
“But those times have gone for good, as has the era of the greatness of the British Empire.”
However, undeterred by Russia’s warning, in a speech at London’s Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House) the following day, Fallon again confirmed: ” … we have made it very clear that you can’t rule out the use of nuclear weapons as a first strike.”
The authoritative political on line publication The Canary, asked in what circumstances impending Armageddon would be triggered, he replied: “They are better not specified or described, which would only give comfort to our enemies and make the deterrent less credible.”
The Canary’s article is in stark contrast to the casual talk in Washington and London of unleashing the unthinkable, it is headed:
“The Conservative government just signed the UK’s death warrant. Quite literally.”
“It’s already clear that part of the Conservative government’s general election strategy is to peg itself as ‘militarily tough’. And to prove that, Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon has made an astonishing claim. One that essentially signs the UK’s death warrant.
“The UK will, he asserts, not hesitate to fire nuclear weapons in a first strike. That means the Tories won’t wait until the UK is under attack in some way to start a global nuclear war. It will just start firing at will. This is a complete break from the UK’s historical stance. And it’s one that, considering the UK’s size, could conclude with the country lying at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
“The UK’s nuclear arsenal (Trident) is up for renewal, which will potentially cost taxpayers over £200bn. Its renewal is in violation of the UK’s commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). But a number of politicians and their backers profit from Trident’s existence. So, unsurprisingly, it’s quite popular in parliament.(Emphasis added.)
“The largely US-owned Trident system puts two hundred and fifteen nuclear warheads at the UK’s disposal, according to the Arms Control Association (ACA).”
The Canary article also throws up the further unthinkable and leads to wondering if the threats to North Korea are either a red herring or a proposed practice run in this new, legally unconstrained, morally and reason-free political zone:
“… in terms of defence, there has been one country firmly at the forefront of UK ministers’ minds over the last few years: Russia. It was the hot topic at a Commons Defence Committee meeting in December 2016. A session where Fallon asserted we’d be ready for war with Russia by 2018/19. In 2015, meanwhile, the country received a listing as a top-tier threat in the UK’s National Security Strategy (NSS). And, of course, NATO has stationed troops (including ones from the UK) directly on Russia’s borders.”
However, Mrs. May-hem and Defence Secretary Fallon have apparently forgotten that: “Russia … has seven thousand nuclear warheads (with) four thousand five hundred either deployed or stockpiled … around thirty three times more warheads than the UK has.”