The True Church Should Be Okay With The End (Rev 15:2)

Church joins faith leaders’ call to eradicate nuclear weapons 
13 March, 2015
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The Moderator of the General Assembly has joined representatives of other faiths from across the UK in calling for new approaches to eliminate nuclear weapons around the world.

The Moderator of the General Assembly has joined representatives of other faiths from across the UK in calling for new approaches to eliminate nuclear weapons around the world.
The faith leaders’ statement urges nuclear weapons states – including Britain – to do more to work with others to work for the global abolition of nuclear weapons. It follows the pledge of the Austrian Government to fill the gap in international law with respect to nuclear weapons.
The Church of Scotland has been opposed to nuclear weapons for more than thirty years, and supports positive efforts which work for disarmament, both at home and around the world. Scottish Christians Against Nuclear Arms (SCANA) are organising their annual Witness for Peace at Faslane on Saturday 23 May – Pentecost weekend.
Ahead of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference meeting from 27 April to 22 May 2015, senior representatives from more than nine faiths in the UK, including Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist, have given their backing to a statement calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons. The faith leaders argue that nuclear weapons “violate the principle of dignity for every human being that is common to each of our faith traditions”.
The statement urges nuclear weapons states to “develop a robust plan of action that will lead us to a nuclear weapon free world” and stressed that “it is necessary to move beyond the division of our world into recognised nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states”.
The Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, Convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, said: “Nuclear weapons are inherently evil.This joint statement demonstrates, to the Government and to society, the strong support for faith communities for new initiatives to tackle old problems. The time is ripe for fresh approaches and new ideas to be considered in the global moves towards disarmament. As faith communities we urge the UK Government to use its considerable influence to build diplomatic support for the sake of peace.”

The Cold War Is Back (Daniel 7:7)

Nuclear Deterrence Is Relevant Again

The New Cold War

The New Cold War
Geopolitical Diary

MARCH 13, 2015 | 01:11 GMT

U.S. Adm. William Gortney, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, warned Congress in written testimony Thursday of the threat posed by Russian bombers and missiles. Having written yesterday about the uncertainty in Moscow surrounding the status of Russian President Vladimir Putin, we deemed it worthwhile to consider Gortney’s testimony more seriously than we might under other circumstances.
Gortney wrote: “Russian heavy bombers flew more out-of-area patrols in 2014 than in any year since the Cold War. We have also witnessed improved interoperability between Russian long-range aviation and other elements of the Russian military, including air and maritime intelligence collection platforms positioned to monitor NORAD responses.” The patrols help to train Russian air crews, but some are “clearly intended to underscore Moscow’s global reach and communicate its displeasure with Western policies, particularly with regard to Ukraine.”

Russia is progressing toward its goal of deploying long-range, conventionally-armed cruise missiles with ever increasing stand-off launch distances on its heavy bombers, submarines and surface combatants,” Gortney said. “Should these trends continue, over time NORAD will face increased risk in our ability to defend North America against Russian air, maritime, and cruise missile threats.
We are again focusing on the changing concerns and rhetoric of all parties. Statements such as this would have been unthinkable a few years ago. While we understand that the head of NORAD is charged with monitoring the threats — and that may distort his outlook — and while we accept that testimony to Congress involves the important matter of the budget, it is still important to take this statement seriously.

The question is how seriously? The Russians still have their nuclear capability from the Cold War. We will assume that at least some, perhaps most, of the missiles and warheads have been maintained in operational condition. In any case, the Russians retain a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile capability, and can strike the United States, with the only counter being a strike on Russia. 
A Russian Foreign Ministry official reminded the world of this fact in a comment to Russian media outlet Interfax on Wednesday. Referencing Moscow’s right to deploy nuclear weapons in Crimea, Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the ministry’s Department on Arms Control, said, “I don’t know if there are nuclear weapons there now. I don’t know about any plans, but in principle Russia can do it.”
It has long been taken for granted that the nuclear balance was not relevant, and indeed it hasn’t been. During the Cold War, the most likely scenario for the use of nuclear weapons would have been that the Soviets would have attacked Germany, overwhelming it and moving toward the channel ports. With no conventional option for the United States in response, the United States would have lived up to its pledge to protect Europe with nuclear weapons.

There were other scenarios for nuclear war, including the spasmodic launching of all missiles in each arsenal. That was unlikely, however, because it invoked mutual assured destruction. It was never clear to us why a nuclear strike at the Soviet Union would have stopped a Soviet advance, or why it would not have triggered a spasmodic Russian strike. Indeed, it was never clear that the United States would have used nuclear weapons under any circumstances. Charles de Gaulle used to argue that the United States could not be relied on to risk American cities to protect Europe. He may well have been right.
For Russia’s part, there were also discussions of using nuclear weapons to facilitate a conventional advance. Russian ground forces during the Cold War practiced intensively, and in fact still do occasionally, on operating in contaminated areas following a nuclear strike that would have severely weakened enemy positions. In such a case, of course, a conventional conflict would quickly have escalated by inviting a nuclear response from the United States.

The point of it all was that the Soviets could not be certain of what the Americans would do in response to a nuclear strike, so the U.S. nuclear threat served, along with other factors, to deter a Soviet invasion. The Russians are now concerned, rightly or wrongly, that a U.S. presence in Ukraine might threaten Russia’s territorial integrity. The U.S. response — that the United States does not intend to insert massive force into Ukraine in the first place, and in the second place does not intend to invade Russia — does not soothe Russian war planners. They see the United States much as the United States sees Russia: unpredictable, ruthless and dangerous.

To assure themselves that they can deter the United States, particularly given their conventional weaknesses, they have several times publicly reminded the Americans that in engaging Russia, they are engaging a peer nuclear adversary. The various missions that Gortney has cited simply represent an extension of that capability.

We have come a long way to reach the point where Russia chooses to assert its strategic nuclear capability, and where the commander of NORAD regards this capability as a significant risk. But the point is that we have come far indeed in the past year. For the Russians, the overthrow of the government in Ukraine was a threat to their national security. What the Russians did in Ukraine is seen as a threat at least to U.S. interests. 

In the old Cold War, both sides used their nuclear capability to check conventional conflicts. The Russians at this point appear to be at least calling attention to their nuclear capability. Unconnected to this, to be sure, is Putin’s odd absence. In a world where nuclear threats are returning to prominence, the disappearance of one side’s commander-in-chief is more worrisome than it would be at other times.

Khamenei Chides The Two-headed Beast (Rev 17)

G.O.P. Letter by Republican Senators Is Evidence of ‘Decline,’ Iranian Says

13Iran-articleLarge

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday in Tehran. He expressed support for Iran’s negotiators.
OFFICE OF THE IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER, VIA AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
 

By THOMAS ERDBRINK MARCH 12, 2015

TEHRAN — Iran’s highest leader issued a sharp response Thursday to a letter to the country’s leadership by Republican lawmakers, deriding it as an indication that Washington is “disintegrating” from within.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, said the letter warning that any nuclear deal could be scrapped by a new president was “a sign of a decline in political ethics and the destruction of the American establishment from within.” The statement was posted on his website.

Ayatollah Khamenei, who will have the final say in Iran over a nuclear deal, characterized the open letter written by 47 Republican senators on Monday as a reflection of Washington’s decadence.

“All countries, according to the international norms, remain faithful to their commitments even after their governments change, but the American senators are officially announcing that at the end of the term of their current government, their commitments will be considered null and void,” Ayatollah Khamenei wrote.

Most surprising perhaps was the fact that Ayatollah Khamenei appeared to continue to support the nuclear talks, despite the Republicans’ threats that they, or a possible Republican president in 2017, would try to undo any deal made.

Ayatollah Khamenei has often expressed doubts about American intentions and sincerity in the negotiations, but on Thursday he supported Iran’s negotiating team, as he has frequently in recent weeks. Speaking to members of the Assembly of Experts, a council that theoretically has the constitutional authority to appoint and dismiss the supreme leader, he called them “good and caring people, who work for the country.”

In Iran, as in the United States, conservatives tend to distrust the other side in the negotiations and are thought to prefer that the whole effort come to nothing. But as long as the supreme leader is voicing support for the talks, criticism from the hard-liners will be muted.

Nevertheless, Ayatollah Khamenei warned that it remains important for Iran’s team to be vigilant, saying that when deadlines in the talks loom, the opponents harden their positions. “Of course, I am worried because the other side is a sneaky and crafty one who stabs with a dagger in your back,” he said.

Ayatollah Khamenei also noted that the recent speech to Congress by the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu — whom he referred to as a “Zionist clown” — had led to division in Washington. “Some American officials, who did not want to side with him, made some remarks,” he wrote.

He repeated remarks that the Islamic State militant group, referring to it by its Arabic name, Daesh, is an American invention.

“America and its allies in the region have created the most evil and wicked terrorists like Daesh, but accuse Iran of committing such acts,” he said.

GOP Will Inherit The Iran Dilemma (Daniel 8)

Germany Warns GOP Letter Affects Iran Talks letter-to-iran-cartoon-luckovich  

German foreign minister says the letter is not just an American domestic political issue

BERLIN—German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Thursday a letter sent by 47 Republican senators to Iran’s leaders has complicated talks over Iran’s nuclear program by allowing Tehran to claim the West is not negotiating in good faith.

Mr. Steinmeier, whose country is among the group of six nations negotiating with Iran, said the March 9 letter warning that a nuclear deal may not last beyond the Obama Administration injected a new element of distrust into the already difficult talks. 
“It would have been difficult enough without the letter of the 47,” Mr. Steinmeier said in an appearance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington. “Now it has become somewhat more difficult.”
Mr. Steinmeier’s comments were among the strongest from international officials so far warning that the letter may affect the talks. The West now risks losing a negotiating advantage over Iran, the foreign minister said.
Suddenly, Iran can say to us: ‘Are you actually trustworthy in the proposals you make if 47 senators say that no matter what the government agrees to, we will subsequently take that off the table again?’” Mr. Steinmeier said. “This is no small matter we’re talking about.”
Mr. Steinmeier met with Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday and said there had been recent progress in the talks but not all hurdles had been overcome. In the last year, Mr. Steinmeier said, Iran has appeared to be negotiating “seriously, with the goal of reaching an agreement.”

Russia And Babylon Will End Nuclear Treaty (Daniel 7:7)

Nuclear Treaty with Russia May Be Breaking Down

Russian President Putin addresses during a joint news conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Orban in Budapest

The Fiscal Times

March 11, 2015
 
A high-level Russian official on Wednesday asserted again that the Kremlin has the right to move nuclear weapons into the disputed Crimean peninsula, which Russian troops invaded last year — and suggested that a key nuclear arms control agreement between the U.S. and Russia is in danger of breaking down.

On the question of sending nuclear weapons into Crimea, Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted Mikhail Ulyanov as saying, “I don’t know if there are nuclear weapons there now. I don’t know about any plans, but in principle Russia can do it.” It’s a position that other Russian officials have articulated in the past. Ulyanov’s boss, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, made similar comments in December.

More surprising was Ulyanov’s warning about the status of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Force Treaty, signed by the U.S. and the Soviet Union in 1987. The deal was designed to eliminate the two countries’ stocks of nuclear and ballistic missiles with ranges of between 300 and 3,400 miles.
The escalating rhetoric over nuclear weapons comes as tensions continue to rise in Europe. On Tuesday, Russia formally withdrew from a different treaty limiting conventional armed forces in Europe. Over the weekend, the president of the European Commission called for a Pan-European Army specifically to serve as a counterweight against Russia’s aggression.

The U.S. has repeatedly called on Russia to admit to violations of the nuclear treaty. The Kremlin, not surprisingly, has declined to do so.

The government-owned news agency ITAR-TASS reported on comments made by Ulyanov Wednesday morning. “Some actions by our U.S. colleagues cause great surprise,” he reportedly said. “In their scheme of things we are expected to say voluntarily what we have violated and to confess violations. This kind of approach does not look serious to us.”

Ulyanov charged that the U.S. is undermining global stability and making progress toward nuclear disarmament more difficult, TASS reported. Ulyanov reportedly said the presence of U.S. anti-ballistic missiles in Europe and “development of high-precision strategic non-nuclear weapons” are damaging the prospects for continued cooperation on nuclear arms issues.

“In such circumstances, the continuation of the nuclear disarmament process seems problematic,” he said.

“The discussion with the United States on this subject will go on. Its outcome is anyone’s guess,” he added before concluding with the backhanded assurance that “at this point it would be wrong to say that the treaty is falling apart.”

U.S. officials have already accused Russia of repeatedly violating the nuclear treaty by developing new weapons of the kind it specifically banned. Last month, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said, that in the face of continued violations, “U.S. responses must make clear to Russia that if it does not return to compliance, our responses will make them less secure than they are today.”

– See more at: http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2015/03/11/Nuclear-Treaty-Russia-May-Be-Breaking-Down#sthash.c1LnyeCP.dpuf