Raising the Ante: Tactical Nukes

Pakistan is Learning the Wrong Lesson: Tactical Nuclear Weapons in South Asia

International Policy Digest

Tactical nuclear missiles
The renowned philosopher, George Santayana, said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Pakistan is repeating the US decision to deploy tactical nuclear weapons during the Cold War and which has limited applicability in South Asian. NATO’s perceived military inferiority against the Soviet Union is often cited to justify Pakistan’s pursuit of tactical nuclear weapons against the conventionally superior India.

By deploying tactical nuclear weapons, the United States’ goal was to deter any conventional attack by the Soviet Union on Western Europe. The United States also wanted to prevent any European conflict from developing into a full fledge nuclear war between the two superpowers. These weapons proved to be useless militarily and most of them were withdrawn from Europe in 1991. The United States’ strategists learned that nuclear use at the tactical level would lead to a strategic response and an uncontrollable escalation. Pakistan, however, has embraced this discarded strategy by testing the short-range ballistic missile, the Nasr (Hatf IX) on April 19, 2011 and has repeated tests four times since then. India, on the other hand, has tested a short-range ballistic missile on July 21, 2011.

In response to cross-border terrorism, allegedly supported by Pakistan, the Indian army developed a “Cold Start Doctrine” in 2004. This doctrine is based on rapid, limited conventional military operations against terrorist organizations in Pakistan. It calls for quick penetration into Pakistan in response to cross-border terrorist strikes and the seizing of territory to negotiate the end of a terrorist attack on Indian soil. Empirical developments since 2004 show that India has not implemented this doctrine. Indian officials and policymakers have either denied the existence of this doctrine or have not endorsed this adventurous strategy. A classified document released by WikiLeaks dated February 16, 2010 revealed that Tim Roemer, then US Ambassador to India, described Cold Start as “a mixture of myth and reality.” He further argued, “While the army may remain committed to the goals of the doctrine, political support is less clear.” India did not apply Cold Start in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attack, which calls into question the political will for this doctrine.

Cold Start is designed to punish Pakistan in a limited military operation without triggering a nuclear response. However, one can never be sure whether Pakistan will refrain from using nuclear weapons. To counter the potential for limited Indian intrusions along the line of this doctrine, Pakistan has begun to develop Nasr under the rubric of “full spectrum deterrence.” In the 2008 Mumbai attack, however, India was deterred from initiating cross-border retaliation without the presence of tactical nuclear weapons on Pakistan’s side. Pakistan’s strategic weapons were enough to deter India. During the Cold War what deterred the Soviet Union from attacking NATO countries was not the possession of tactical nuclear weapons but the risk of escalation to the strategic level once tactical weapons were used.

Pakistan seems to imply that actions at the tactical or operational level have no strategic implications and a limited nuclear war will not escalate into a full fledge nuclear war. India threatens massive retaliation against the use of tactical nuclear weapons. Shyam Saran, former foreign secretary and the current Chairman of India’s National Security Advisory Board said that if India is attacked with nuclear weapons “it will engage in nuclear retaliation which is massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage on its adversary. The label on a nuclear weapon used for attacking India, strategic or tactical is irrelevant from Indian perspective.”

The deployment of tactical nuclear weapons may lead to loosening the highly centralized command and control mechanism.  Battlefield nuclear weapons require local commanders to have authority and capability to arm and launch nuclear weapons. This raises the risk of unauthorized use during a crisis or inadvertent escalation during a conventional conflict by a local commander of a nuclear-armed unit who might feel it necessary to use the weapons in order to avoid defeat. A positive sign is that Pakistan has not deployed the weapons in forward positions yet and has not delegated the authority to local commanders.

The idea of using nuclear weapons at the operational level on Pakistani soil will cause significant civilian causalities due to the dense population along the Indian and Pakistan border. This will also have a damaging effect on Pakistan’s own military forces and render the land uninhabitable. In 1955 NATO conducted a military exercise to test its ability to defend West Germany by employing nuclear weapons. The results estimated that 1.3 millions Germans would have died, 3.5 millions would have been seriously injured and a large territory would have become uninhabitable.

More tactical nuclear weapons in Pakistan also increase safety and security problems. The safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program has been a major concern in the international community in the wake of terrorist organizations operating in the country. Political instability and terrorist attacks on the military installations, including army headquarters in Rawalpindi, a naval base in Karachi, and an air base in Kamra with inside support, have exacerbated these concerns.

Tactical nuclear weapons carry the risk of preemptive strikes. During the Cold War the Soviet Union monitored all the nuclear sites in West Germany. Any movements on those sites including preparations to launch nuclear weapons, mating of warheads to missiles and uploading would have prompted the Soviet Union to strike preemptively. There was a strong temptation to destroy the weapons before they were launched. In the case of India and Pakistan the short flight times of ballistic missiles exacerbate these tensions by sharply reducing decision-making time for leaders during a crisis.

The Indians and the Pakistanis have a practice of using their missiles for both conventional and nuclear weapons, which further increases the risk of misperception and unintended escalation. The real lessons to be learned from the Cold War experience is not to develop tactical nuclear weapons but to imitate the US and USSR’s experience about enhancing strategic stability by increasing transparency and using diplomacy to alleviate an arms race. The lesson of the Cold War is not to rely on nuclear weapons, but to find ways to reduce reliance on tactical nuclear weapons and place a crises stability mechanism and a confidence building mechanism in South Asia. Both Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif have a lot to learn from Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev about negotiating over their differences. But so far, each leader seems focused on placating their myopic bases.

Babylon The Great Will Pay Greatly For Her Sins (Revelation 17)

A Former Ground Zero Goes to Court Against the World’s Nuclear Arsenals

Marshall Hydrogen Bomb

A nuclear test in the Marshall Islands, one of 67 conducted by the United States in the area.

THE HAGUE — Tony de Brum was 9 years old in 1954 when he saw the sky light up and heard the terrifying rumbles of “Castle Bravo.” It was the most powerful of 67 nuclear tests detonated by the United States in the Marshall Islands, the remote Pacific atolls he calls home.
Six decades later, with Mr. de Brum now his country’s foreign minister, the memory of those thundering skies has driven him to a near-Quixotic venture: His tiny country is hauling the world’s eight declared nuclear powers and Israel before the International Court of Justice. He wants the court to order the start of long-promised talks for a convention to ban atomic arsenals, much like the treaties that already prohibit chemical, biological and other weapons of mass destruction.
Mr. de Brum says the initiative is not about seeking redress for the enduring contamination and the waves of illness and birth defects attributed to radiation. Rather, by turning to the world’s highest tribunal, a civil court that addresses disputes between nations, he wants to use his own land’s painful history to rekindle global concern about the nuclear arms race.
A doctor examined a resident exposed to radiation. Credit Atomic Energy Commission
The legal action is expected to run into plenty of legal and political obstacles. Even if the court decides in favor of the Marshall Islands, it has no way to enforce its decision. Prospects of any nuclear power heeding such a ruling anytime soon, experts say, are, obviously, exceedingly slim. But some say the action will shine a light on a serious but neglected issue.
“This case will help clarify where we stand in arms control law and perhaps sharpen the obligation to disarm,” said Nico Schrijver, who heads the law school at Leiden University in the Netherlands and is not involved in the case. “It has merit in a time of growing international tension. But I see a host of legal hurdles ahead.”
In its first written arguments, presented to the court this month, the Marshall Islands contended that the nuclear powers had violated their legal obligation to disarm. Specifically, the arguments said, by joining the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, five countries — the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China — undertook to end the arms race “at an early date” and to negotiate a treaty on “complete disarmament.”
Three other nuclear nations that did not agree to the treaty — India, Israel and Pakistan — and a fourth that withdrew from it — North Korea — are required to disarm under customary international law, the Marshall Islands’ case claims. The existence of Israeli nuclear weapons is universally assumed, but Israel has not acknowledged having them.
“All the nuclear weapons states are modernizing their arsenals instead of negotiating, and we want the court to rule on this,” said Phon van den Biesen, the leader of the islands’ legal team, who first asked the court to hear the case in April.
The civil suit comes as nuclear arms are increasingly being linked to other pressing international issues, such as the prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity and the effort to combat climate change.
Meeting in Vienna this month, humanitarian law experts from 160 nations reiterated that the threat from nuclear arms or other weapons of mass destruction was incompatible with human rights principles. Scientists have stepped up warnings that using even a small percentage of the world’s nuclear arsenal would radically change the atmosphere and could cause drops in temperatures and large-scale crop failures.
More than a dozen international law experts have donated time to assist the tiny Marshall Islands, a string of atolls with 70,000 inhabitants. Rick Wayman, the director of programs at the California-based Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, said that a coalition of 55 international peace and other activist groups were backing the initiative.
One of the key questions that the court’s 15-judge bench is likely to consider is whether modernizing existing arsenals amounts to a new arms race forbidden under existing agreements. The United States and Russia, which control most of the world’s nuclear weapons, have cut old stockpiles and agreed to further reductions under a 2010 bilateral accord. But both countries, along with China, are now engaged in major upgrading of their missile systems. Pakistan and India have been in an arms race for more than 15 years.
The court is also being asked to establish a new disarmament calendar. The Marshall Islands’ suit asks that the nuclear powers begin negotiations on a disarmament treaty one year after the court’s ruling. But, as John Burroughs, director of the New York-based Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, noted: “There have never even been any multilateral negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons since the 1968 nonproliferation treaty.”
One big question is whether the judges would go beyond an opinion they issued in 1996. Asked to advise the United Nations General Assembly, the judges said unanimously that the obligation existed “to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion” negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament. Experts say the bench may be more divided this time.
It is far from clear how the judges will vote. Although the bench is meant to be independent, six of the 15 judges come from nuclear powers — the five original nations plus India. Heikelina Verrijn Stuart, co-author of “The Building of Peace,” a comprehensive history of the International Court of Justice, said that politics have usually trumped international law and that in the majority of the court’s cases, judges have ruled in favor of their country of origin. “Most states simply do not accept a higher legal authority,” she said, adding, “however there is no reason to suggest that the I.C.J. judges are in any way instrumental to the politics of their country of origin.”
Among the nuclear powers, only Britain, India and Pakistan have recognized the court’s jurisdiction as compulsory; the others choose whether to opt in. So far, only China has replied, stating that it will not accept the court’s jurisdiction in this case, said Mr. van den Biesen, the lawyer.
Mr. de Brum is not discouraged, arguing that his nation is justified in taking action because it has suffered the effects of nuclear testing and is now threatened by rising sea levels.
From a climate summit meeting in Lima, Peru, in mid-December, he sent an email emphasizing the parallel between climate change and nuclear issues. “They both affect the security and survival of humanity,” Mr. de Brum wrote. “Finally it comes down to this: What would it gain mankind to reach a peaceful resolution of the climate change threat, only to be wiped out by a nuclear misunderstanding?”
Hearings in the case are expected in the coming year.

The History Of New York Earthquakes: Before The Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

Historic Earthquakes
Near New York City, New York
1884 08 10 19:07 UTC
Magnitude 5.5
Intensity VII
New York historic earthquakes

This severe earthquake affected an area roughly extending along the Atlantic Coast from southern Maine to central Virginia and westward to Cleveland, Ohio. Chimneys were knocked down and walls were cracked in several States, including Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Many towns from Hartford, Connecticut, to West Chester,Pennsylvania.

Property damage was severe at Amityville and Jamaica, New York, where several chimneys were “overturned” and large cracks formed in walls. Two chimneys were thrown down and bricks were shaken from other chimneys at Stratford (Fairfield County), Conn.; water in the Housatonic River was agitated violently. At Bloomfield, N.J., and Chester, Pa., several chimneys were downed and crockery was broken. Chimneys also were damaged at Mount Vernon, N.Y., and Allentown, Easton, and Philadelphia, Pa. Three shocks occurred, the second of which was most violent. This earthquake also was reported felt in Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Several slight aftershocks were reported on August 11.

The Saudi Horn Fights The Iranian Horn (Daniel 7-8)

Nevermind U.S. shale, Saudi Arabia’s oil power play targets Iran’s economy

Diane Francis | December 27, 2014 | Last Updated: Dec 27 7:00 AM ET
More from Diane Francis
All politics are local, except for oil politics.

The Russians think these low oil prices are an American-Saudi conspiracy. American commentators believe that the Saudis have driven down prices to punish North Dakota’s shale oil revolution and drive its high-cost producers out of the game. In Canada, the paranoia in Calgary is that the Saudis and other Gulf oil producers want to drive the oil sands out of business.

But what are the Saudis up to and are they powerful enough to control prices? This week the Saudi minister blamed low prices on oversupply from North America. But that is simply trash talk.

The Saudis and Gulf States have engineered this price crash as a tactic in their war against Iran, its potential nuclear bomb and its proclivity to export terrorism across their neighborhood. This collapse in prices is cheaper than what they face in terms of military and other costs down the road if Iran is not solved.

This cartel’s days are far from over and the Saudis and their Gulf allies are in charge. The Saudis produce 13% of oil worldwide and the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain account for another 12.48% for a total of 25.48%. (All of the oil cartel members represent 45% of all production and 81% of all reserves).

The Gulf States’ control is absolute because the governments own the stuff; they can act unilaterally unlike free enterprise nations; they have more of it than anyone else; they have gotten very rich over the decades and can finance themselves at lower prices and they have the lowest costs in the world so lower prices don’t mean losses.

This means they will win any game of chicken and, by the way, they have done this before. They outlast competitors and can, and do, ignore their cartel colleagues like Nigeria and Venezuela who are dependent on oil revenue and are whining about prices a lot these days.

This price drop is simply economic war waged by the Arabs against Iran and a shot across the bow in the Shia versus Sunni religious war underway in the Middle East. Iran is “Shia” oil and Gulf or Saudi oil is “Sunni” oil. Iran has exported revolution for decades throughout the region and has spent years developing nuclear power that may, or may not, become nuclear weapons. Indications are that Iran has even been financing ISIS (even though it is Sunni-based) just to create chaos among Sunnis. And there is solid evidence that Iran has been supporting the wholesale suppression of Sunnis in both Iraq and Syria.

Few realize that fear grips the Gulf States and has led to a massive military buildup, for political and religious reasons.

“Almost all Middle Eastern and North African states are evolving in the opposite direction of Europe, having doubled – or even tripled – their defense spending in recent years,” according to a 2014 report by the European Union Institute for Securities Studies. “Six of the world’s top ten military spenders are now located in the Middle East and North Africa: all of the Gulf States, for instance, have tripled their spending since 2003.”

Arab concerns are that if Iran gets a bomb, they must too at a cost of half a trillion dollars or more over several years. This means if you are the King of Saudi Arabia the calculus behind this price plummet is simple: lower oil prices at a cost of tens of billions to the Royal treasury in order to avoid spending half a trillion to develop nuclear deterrence. The aim is to bring Iran to heel, and make support for Shia violence against Sunnis difficult or impossible.

By the way, this price crash has been welcomed, endorsed and possibly encouraged by Washington and Europeans, even the Chinese. All three regions are huge net importers of oil and have gotten a boost in their GDPs as a result.

Another side benefit is that Mr. Putin has been delivered the biggest sanction of all for illegally invading Ukraine. The Russian economy, and corporate roster, is headed for a major meltdown and Mr. Putin is now exposed as a potentate with a gasoline station, not a sustainable empire builder.
Another region to benefit is the Western Hemisphere because outlier Venezuela has been humbled and has contributed greatly to Cuba’s change of heart toward Washington. Fellow travellers in Moscow and Caracas can no longer subsidize the Castro regime which has helped lead to the U.S.-Cuba agreement. This is an underappreciated landmark deal that will shift attitudes and alliances throughout South America and the Caribbean where U.S. (and Canadian) companies have been blocked, confiscated and badgered by Cuba and its proteges.

Finally, Canada’s economic prospects have been trimmed somewhat too by the oil situation, but the fallout is far from fatal. Canadians in general will benefit for a while from lower energy costs, but Alberta will feel some pain. However, it’s the most fiercely free enterprise region in the nation whose fortunes have ebbed and flowed on the whims of a handful of sheikhs (and Ottawa) before.

Albertans will do what they always do: tighten their belts, shake out the high-cost producers and continue to be the country’s principle engine of economic growth.