Babylon Unwilling To Put Pressure On China & Pakistani Horns (Daniel 8:8)

United States And India At Strategic Crossroads – Analysis
India-China-border-dispute

By
By Dr Subhash Kapila

United States and India are poised at strategic crossroads in January 2015 on the eve of President Obama’s unprecedented second visit to India. India-at-large expects deliverable game-changers in the politico-strategic arena.

The US-India Strategic Partnership in the last fifteen years could not evolve into a vibrant strategic partnership as Indian denouement followed United States, despite the Strategic Partnership, showed reluctance to change its policy perceptions and formulations on Pakistan and China in relation to South Asian politico-strategic dynamics.

In January 2015 American attitudinal policy inclinations persist in this direction. And, that brings United States-India relations to strategic crossroads on the eve of President Obama’s second State visit to India, which itself is unprecedented.

President Obama’s decision, in which his personal input may be more than that of the US policy establishment, signifies that India in 2015 counts in the United States global strategic calculus and review of Asian security.

If that be so, then what is required to add to the vibrancy and glow to the US-India Strategic Partnership is visible, it becomes inevitable for course corrections in United States policies on Pakistan and China in the politico-strategic arena. Small change like renewal of ‘Framework for US-India Defence Cooperation’ for ten years or increased US FDI in India does not count much in Indian public perceptions.

United States strategic permissiveness on China’s build-up of the Pakistan nuclear weapons and missiles arsenal has resulted in Pakistan being a “rogue nuclear weapons state” akin to North Korea. Successive United States Presidents looked the other way to pre-empt China’s build-up of Pakistan’s missiles and nuclear weapons arsenal on the pretext that “actionable intelligence” was not available, which was not the case.

This has resulted in the materialisation of a “Joint Nuclear and Military Threat” to India’s security and an unsettling wider threat to Indo Pacific stability and peace.

Similarly, the United States in the 1970s to1990s unmindful of the effects on Asian security and balance-of-power relentlessly built up China’s comprehensive power capabilities so that it emerges as a proxy counterweight to the Former Soviet Union and thereby serve US strategic interests. This US policy inclination still continues in the vain hope that China could be drawn out of its strategic nexus with Russia.

On both counts of misconceived United States politico-strategic policy formulations, the United States has willy-nilly facilitated the emergence of “Strategic and military monsters” threatening Indian security, Indo Pacific security and even United States security.

In January 2015, the picture is that the United States has major strategic concerns on Pakistan and China and desires that other Asian nations join an American-led posse’ to impose restraint on China and Pakistan ,if not outrightly contain them.

On the above count it has belatedly dawned on the United States that India would count heavily in any such politico-strategic endeavour. But then the crucial question that arises is as to what politico-strategic gains accrue to be prompted towards this end?

For such a development to materialise, the United States has to inject a number of significant game-changers in the US-India strategic equations to convince India that United States is willing to cut across the rhetoric of democracies, human rights and US and India being “natural allies” which now sound pedestrian and hackneyed. EX MALABAR naval exercises or India acquiring military aircraft from USA do not add up to a Strategic Partnership

Even the US carrots of increased US FDI in India, greater defence cooperation, transfer of defence technology and joining India in PM Modi’s ‘Make in India” campaign are not adequate and amount to ‘small change’.

India’s expectations from the United States are much higher and lie in the politico-strategic domain which would call for the United States to be respectful and honour India’s strategic concerns on China and Pakistan. It is there that the future course and possible success of the presently so-called US-India Strategic Partnership lies. It is there that US-India “Strategic Trust” can be built up as bedrock of a substantial Strategic Partnership.

On China, the United States needs to endow ‘strategic equivalence’ on India in terms of Indo Pacific security and if in US policy perceptions it appears that India has differentials to qualify for the same, the United States must embark on a fast-track trajectory to assist the build-up India’s comprehensive power. The United States should also disabuse from its mind the concept of a G-2 condominium of United States and China managing Asian security.

On Pakistan, the United States has a less challenging task as India requires no material assistance from the United States to tackle Pakistan’ ‘strategic delinquencies’. All that India expects is a change of United States strategic priorities in South Asia and United States withdrawing its protective umbrella over Pakistan.

The United States policy establishment needs to dispense with its outdated formulations of maintaining the balance-of-power in South Asia by artificially building up Pakistan as a ‘strategic equivalent ‘of India. United States must immediately and definitely stop all military aid to Pakistan Army which facilitated the 9/11 attacks in New York and double-timed the US in Afghanistan all along.

The United States in consultation with the international community should consider options to “de-fang Pakistan’s nuclear weapons arsenal”

By doing so, Pakistan is neutralised of its strategic waywardness and robs China of a military proxy in South Asia and an instrument to destabilise US strategic interests in Greater South West Asia.
It beats Asian thinking as to what strategic ends does China serve in the cause of Asian security? Similarly, it beats Indian thinking as to what the United States can strategically gain in South West Asia by bolstering-up a ‘nuclear rogue state’ and a ‘terrorist state’ like Pakistan?

Only by endeavours outlined above can substantial strategic convergences germinate in United States-India relations paving the way for a vibrant and meaningful strategic Partnership.

United States policy establishment’s differing perceptions with India on China and Pakistan and its consequent effects on Asian security has led United States and India to stand at strategic crossroads in January 2015.

India expects that President Obama during his second visit to India next week would be able to announce visionary major policy course corrections outlined above so that US-India relations could thereafter lead to a substantial and vibrant US-India Strategic Partnership. The United States must recognise that in the overall context of Asian security, the United States needs India as a Strategic Partner; China as a ‘revisionist state’ challenging US predominance in East Asia does not foot the bill and US priorities on China are patently misconceived.

Time To Nuke Up One Last Time (Daniel 7)

Russia ends US nuclear security alliance

18loosenukes - In this Wednesday, Dec. 24, 1997 file photo, soldiers prepare to destroy a ballistic SS-19 missile in the yard of the largest former Soviet military rocket base in Vakulenchuk, Ukraine, 220 kilometers (137 miles) west of Kiev. The U.S. helped Ukraine and other ex-Soviet nations secure former Soviet nuclear weapons and dismantle some of them under the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program initiated by Sens. Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar. (Associated Press)

The United States helped Russia secure and dismantle nuclear weapons in the Cooperative Threat Reduction programs.

WASHINGTON — The private diplomatic meetings took place over two days in mid-December in a hotel overlooking Moscow’s Red Square.

But unlike in previous such gatherings, the sense of camaraderie, even brotherhood, was overshadowed by an uncomfortable chill, according to participants.

In the previously undisclosed discussions, the Russians informed the Americans that they were refusing any more US help protecting their largest stockpiles of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium from being stolen or sold on the black market. The declaration effectively ended one of the most successful areas of cooperation between the former Cold War adversaries.

“I think it greatly increases the risk of catastrophic terrorism,” said Sam Nunn, the former Democratic senator from Georgia and an architect of the “cooperative threat reduction” programs of the 1990s.

Official word came in a terse, three-page agreement signed on Dec. 16. A copy was obtained by the Globe, and a description of the Moscow meeting was provided by three people who attended the session or were briefed on it. They declined to be identified for security reasons.

Russia’s change of heart was not unexpected.

The Globe reported in August that US officials were concerned about the future of the programs, because of increased diplomatic hostilities between the United States and Russia. The New York Times reported in November that it appeared likely many of the programs would end.

On hand for the Moscow meeting were nearly four dozen of the leading figures on both sides who have been working to safeguard the largest supplies of the world’s deadliest weapons, according to the three-page agreement.

The group included officials from the US Department of Energy, its nuclear weapons labs, the Pentagon, and the State Department, and a host of Russian officials in charge of everything from dismantling nuclear submarines to arms control.

Specialists said the final meeting was a dismaying development in a joint effort that the United States has invested some $2 billion in and had been a symbol of the thaw between East and West and of global efforts to prevent the spread of doomsday weapons. An additional $100 million had been budgeted for the effort this year and many of the programs were envisioned to continue at least through 2018.

Since the cooperative agreement began, US experts have helped destroy hundreds of weapons and nuclear-powered submarines, pay workers’ salaries, install security measures at myriad facilities containing weapons material across Russia and the former Soviet Union, and conduct training programs for their personnel.

Officials said estimates of how much bomb-grade material has either been destroyed or secured inside the former Soviet Union is classified but insist the stockpiles are enough to make many hundreds of atomic bombs.

The work has been driven by deep concern that large supplies of nuclear material could be stolen by terrorists seeking weapons of mass destruction or diverted by underpaid workers susceptible to bribes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision last year to invade the Ukrainian territory of Crimea and then back an armed rebellion in eastern Ukraine prompted a series of US and EU sanctions against Russia, which stirred fears that the era of nuclear cooperation was at risk.

Now security upgrades have been cancelled at some of Russia’s seven “closed nuclear cities,” which contain among the largest stockpiles of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, according to the official “record of meeting” signed by the sides in December.

The Russians also told the Americans that joint security work at 18 civilian facilities housing weapons material would cease, effective Jan. 1. Another project at two facilities to convert highly enriched uranium into a less dangerous form also has been stopped.

Lack of US funding and expertise also jeopardizes planned construction of high-tech surveillance systems at 13 buildings that store nuclear material, as well as a project to deploy radiation detectors at Russian ports, airports, and border crossings to catch potential nuclear smugglers.

A limited amount of cooperation will continue in other countries that have highly enriched uranium that originated in Russia. The two sides also will continue working on ways to secure industrial sources of radioactive material, which could be used to make a “dirty bomb.’’ The Russian decision will not affect inspections that both sides regularly conduct of each other’s active nuclear arsenals as part of arms control treaties.

But that is little consolation for those like Siegfried S. Hecker, one of the nation’s premier experts on nuclear weapons. Hecker, a former head of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, has traveled more than 40 times to Russia since 1992 as part of the joint security efforts. While he said vast improvements have been made in Russia’s atomic security since the end of the Cold War, “you’re never done.”

“They need continuous attention and international cooperation,” he said in an interview. “You cannot afford to isolate your country, your own nuclear complex, from the rest of the world.”

The Russian embassy in Washington, and the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation in Moscow, did not respond to requests for comment. In the December document, the Russians said they are capable of securing their own nuclear facilities, out of Russia’s federal budget.

But a number of former US government officials and nuclear experts expressed doubts about the Russian pledge, pointing to recent economic troubles.

“The Russians say they are going to put a lot more of their resources into this,” said Nunn, who is cochairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a Washington nonprofit that works to reduce the dangers of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. “That would be good news if they do, but with their economic challenges now and with the huge distrust built because of Ukraine and the deterioration of the ruble, the proof will be in the pudding.”

Another key architect of the programs, former Republican senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, who last visited some of the facilities in 2012, said he wonders if the Russians have the expertise needed to keep track of the vast amount of nuclear bomb material.

“The housekeeping by the Russians has not been comprehensive,” Lugar said in an interview. “There had been work done [with the United States] hunting down nuclear materials. This is now terminated.”

Some warn that the distrust on both sides could bleed into other areas, including arms control treaties.
“It’s important for the US and Russia to have nuclear security, but it is also important for us to believe we have nuclear security,” said Matthew Bunn, a weapons proliferation specialist at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. “That’s hard to do just by saying so.”
US government officials, for their part, insist they are trying to make the best of it.

“We are encouraged that they stated multiple times that they intend to finish this work,” said David Huizenga, who runs the nonproliferation programs at the National Nuclear Security Administration, an arm of the Department of Energy. Huizenga led the US delegation to Moscow last month.

But he said US officials still hope that the Russians will change their mind and restart a partnership that by most accounts has significantly strengthened global security.

“[It will be] harder to resurrect if we don’t actually engage in any meaningful way,” Huizenga said.
Bryan Bender can be reached at bender@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeBender.

Antichrist Pushes Back The First Horn (Daniel 8:8)

Iraqi cleric al-Sadr calls for more control over militias
sadr

Associated Press By Associated Press

BAGHDAD (AP) — Senior Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr says the country must rein in the powerful Shiite militias battling the Islamic State militant group and have them coordinate more directly with the country’s official armed forces.

Speaking at a press conference Monday with Iraqi Defense Minister Khalid al-Obeidi, al-Sadr said his followers are now “at the disposal of the army,” adding he will work “to supplement militias and other armed groups with the army.”

A number of militias, including al-Sadr’s “Peace Brigades,” answered calls last summer to fight alongside Iraq’s beleaguered military, which virtually crumbled in the face of the militant onslaught. Many of those Shiite militias answer to different leaders, have been difficult to control and are often accused of brutal tactics, looting and discrimination against Sunni citizens.

Iran Now Asking For New Generation Centrifuges (Daniel 8:3)

Ex-Official: New Generation of Centrifuges A Must for Iran
New generation centrifuges
January 18, 2015 – 23:43
 
 
Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Tasnim News Agency, former AEOI chief Fereidoun Abbasi, who is also a renowned physicist in Iran, said he sees no reason why Iran should not enjoy the new generation of centrifuge machines.

Iran should use new machines in addition to the old generation of centrifuges since “we are now a powerful country in the field of nuclear technology, have good scientists in designing, calculations and simulation and have also obtained machines with higher separation capability,” he added.
Abbasi said more technical progress in the centrifuge technology will in turn help upgrade other engineering fields in the country, including electricity, control, mechanics, metallurgy, chemistry, machining, welding and production of special alloys.

He noted that Iran’s development in the nuclear science technology will reduce the number of students that go abroad.

The former official also pointed to the West’s insistence on a reduction in the number of Iran’s centrifuge machines, saying they seek to bring Iran’s nuclear technology to a complete halt and stop its research projects.

Abbasi further stressed that Iran should not get engaged in debates over the number of centrifuges.
“We should have the number (of centrifuges) that we deem rational. We should complete our research along with the optimization and also make progress in the technology and production of machines with high SWU (Separative Work Units).”

Back in July 2014, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei underlined that Iran’s uranium enrichment was a vital issue, adding that the country definitely needed an enrichment capacity of 190,000 SWUs.

The Leader had warned that the West’s objective in the issue of uranium enrichment is to persuade the Islamic Republic of Iran to limit its enrichment capacity to 10,000 SWUs.

Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany) are now in nuclear talks with the aim of hammering out a final agreement to end more than a decade of impasse over Tehran’s peaceful nuclear program.

Amid diplomatic negotiations, reports suggest that the sequence and timing of removal of anti-Iran sanctions, Tehran’s uranium enrichment capacity and the number of its centrifuge machines make up the main stumbling blocks to the nuclear talks.