A New Crisis Looming On The Horizon (Daniel 8:8)

An Inevitable War

An Inevitable War

The Nuclear Crisis Nobody Mentions

Posted: 05/07/2015 12:17 pm EDT Updated: 05/07/2015 12:59 pm EDT 
Those congressmen beating the war drums against Iran have reached new heights of hypocrisy considering their total disregard for the more dangerous, more immediate problems created by Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. It is noteworthy and also downright strange that no one else–from any political persuasion–is paying attention.

The trouble is, Pakistan may become a failing state. We can’t know this for certain. The fact, however, that the possibility can be raised gives pause. A failing state with over a hundred nuclear weapons, building more as fast as it can, miniaturizing new weapons, and having perpetually hostile relations with its neighbor, India, also a nuclear power, presents risks far beyond regional security.
How, for example, should the world respond to a state that proliferates nuclear weapons but denies doing so and that might not even be able to control its proliferation? As a count of its nuclear arsenal edges toward several hundred, and as it increasingly deploys tactical nuclear weapons near its border, Pakistan’s government faces extraordinary challenges of command and control.

Hypothetically, suppose that during a future crisis with India a failing Pakistani government delegates control over tactical nuclear weapons to dozens of forward commanders. Suppose further one or two weapons are ‘lost.’ Conceivably, nobody we consider to be in authority would know what had happened, or would admit knowing. If later on a terrorist group obtained such a weapon they would attempt to detonate it. A smallish nuclear artillery shell, for example, could be sailed up the Thames to London on a yacht.

The point is, if Pakistan starts to ‘lose’ nuclear weapons the world has no ready response. And if a ‘loss’ produced a catastrophic event it is reasonable to think that the world would not wait for a second event before forcibly removing the threat. To be blunt, that is the war on Iran that hawks keep talking about, except much worse.

What are the odds? We can make a not unreasonable guess in terms of orders of magnitude. Over the middle term is the chance of Pakistan failing one in ten, one in a hundred, or one in a thousand? One in a thousand seems too low. One in ten (perhaps) too high. One in a hundred also seems low but among our choices it’s the best fit. Furthermore, we can assume a failing state with nuclear weapons would lose a few. But the probability regarding how many doesn’t change our order of magnitude approximation.

We routinely like to insure homes, businesses and property against damage from events with less than one in a hundred chance of happening. Surely we should do something similar about the potential danger of a nuclear weapon in the hands of terrorists.

After Pakistan’s first test detonations in 1998 the smart thing would have been to make nuclear arms control on the subcontinent a priority. That that never happened reflects badly on American leadership. Despite occasional alarms sounded by experts at the upper reaches of the national security establishment–Rolf Mowatt-Larrsen, for example, says “there is a greater possibility of a nuclear meltdown in Pakistan than anywhere else in the world”–American officials vacillate between fear of a nasty scrap and hope that the problem will just disappear.

Rationalizations for doing nothing hold sway. Washington reflexively defers to Riyadh, Pakistan’s chief ally. From the outset the Saudis, as a matter of religious zeal, have been keen for Pakistan to develop an “Islamic bomb.” And since 1991 Washington has been greatly preoccupied by the war in Afghanistan–too often finding itself at the mercy of Islamabad for assistance combating insurgents. Domestically, what purport to be well-intended incentives of arms shipments in practice create political blowback from American corporations hungry for billions in sales. The result is, leaning hard on Pakistan seems insane even if it makes perfect sense.

Nevertheless, it remains mysterious that so few in or out of government worry about the risks. It’s not as if the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons brings previously unknown tensions to the surface. In the 1980s, for example, the U.S. stationing of Pershing II missiles in Germany was perceived to be so destabilizing that it led to the Reagan-Gorbachev summit in Reykjavik and thereafter to the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. To this day the great powers find theater nuclear weapons a highly vexatious diplomatic issue. Nor are problems of command and control unfamiliar–as recently as 2007 six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles effectively went missing for a day and a half from Minot Air Force Base. The Secretary of the Air Force then resigned and a group of senior officers were disciplined. Hopes, therefore, that a substantial enlargement of Pakistan’s tactical nuclear capabilities might not increase instability has little foundation in experience or common sense.

Since the early 1990s–for more than two decades–hawks have been talking up a war against Iran. Meanwhile, barely a word is said about Pakistan. The difference may be due partly to Israel’s outsized influence. But it feels like something else is going on.

To hazard a more intuitive guess, bluster over Iran comes cheap whereas disarming Pakistan is the real deal. And if negotiations didn’t work does America go to war over the potential threat? A war that devastates Pakistan could be the result. Yet without diplomacy the very same war, the one the establishment doesn’t expect, could be the one we can’t avoid. Maybe it isn’t so surprising after all that we don’t talk about the stuff of nightmares.

It’s never too late for diplomacy but it’s imprudent to cut it so close.

Antichrist’s Men Protest US Legislation (Rev 13)

Fighters loyal to cleric Muqtada al-Sadr staged a military parade after al-Sadr protested the US’ draft law.

A recent piece of proposed legislation sponsored by US Republicans has caused some of the biggest political splits in recent Iraqi history – both inside local politics and between Iraq and its American allies.

A piece of legislation, part of the US’ annual defence bill, has caused a furore in Iraq and the first really serious disagreement in the new Iraqi Parliament since its formation eight months ago.

The legislation is part of the US Republican party’s version of the a defence authorization bill and it basically proposes supplying direct military aid to the Iraqi Kurdish military and to Sunni Muslim fighters inside Iraq, bypassing the Iraqi government, currently dominated by Shiite Muslim interests. This would only happen if the Iraqi government doesn’t manage to create a Sunni force itself – and supply it with military aid – within three months.

The legislation suggests the US can then supply weapons and aid directly to the Sunni and Kurdish forces, bypassing Baghdad. And the US does this by describing the Sunni and Kurdish territories as “countries” inside Iraq, basically putting into action an older plan that suggests a “soft partition” of the country’s three main ethnic or religious groups.

Even if, some days, it looks like the country might be heading in that direction, Iraqis, and the Iraqi government, don’t like being told what to do in this manner.

The Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and a number of his ministers denounced the plan and some prominent Shiite Muslim figures, such as the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, threatened US interests with violence. The military wing of al-Sadr’s supporters organised parades in two southern Iraqi cities in a demonstration of strength. And one of the best known female MPs, Hanan al-Fatlawi, a member of the State of Law coalition previously headed by al-Maliki, said that the US embassy in Baghdad should be closed and the US ambassador expelled.

“The US embassy is receiving a lot of complaints as part of a campaign organized by some Iraqi MPs,” said a local staffer at the embassy, speaking off the record.

A draft law has been submitted to the Iraqi Parliament by Shiite Muslim MPs, that could forbid outside powers to provide arms to anyone without asking Baghdad first. This saw Sunni Muslim and Kurdish MPS withdraw from the session, refusing to take part. Such withdrawals happened a lot during the regime led by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who alienated almost anyone outside of his own party by the time he left power. But notably, this is the first withdrawal of MPS from a session in almost a year. On the whole Parliament has been a more conciliatory affair lately. But it is also true that the Sunni and Kurdish MPs have already complained that Baghdad hasn’t provided them enough support or arms in the fight against the extremist group known as the Islamic State.

Although US diplomats rushed to assure the Iraqi government that the legislation was only a draft and that their country had no intention of splitting Iraq up, the reaction was still intense.

Despite what appears to be an ill-considered attempt at meddling in Iraq’s affairs by some US politicians, the central problem the US legislation addresses does need to be considered. When al-Abadi took on the Prime Ministership he declared his willingness to form a National Guard in Iraq. Such a force would effectively allow local people to form their own military units and police their own areas and was considered an antidote for the marginalization of Iraq’s Sunnis and Kurds that seemed to be one of al-Maliki’s central policies.

Two months after al-Abadi’s government formed, the different parties in Parliament agreed that the National Guard should happen, with tens of thousands of members; around 70,000 from Iraq’s Shiite-dominated provinces, 50,000 fighters from Sunni-dominated provinces and further additions from the Iraqi Kurdish forces. The plan was to have the National Guard armed and controlled by the Iraqi government, so that all of those currently fighting in, and being paid through, informal militias would be back under state control.

But that was months ago.

One of the main reasons for the lack of progress is the growing strength of the Shiite Muslim militias, which number anywhere between 50,000 and 100,000 fighters. The power of the militias, which play an important part in the fight against the Islamic State, or IS, group, has been growing compared to the power of the Iraqi army or police.

“The Shiite militias became very arrogant after the liberation of Tikrit,” Nasser al-Dulaimi, a tribal leader from the Anbar province, much of which is currently controlled by the IS group, told NIQASH. “And they decided not to allow the National Guard to be formed so that they would remain the strongest in the country – even stronger than the army or the police. They don’t want to see a major Sunni power emerge,” he argues.

“The Shiite militias want to be able to liberate Sunni cities all by themselves,” says al-Dulaimi, who has met with a number of the militia leaders. “But this is something we cannot accept. We are very concerned that we will see the same kind of acts of revenge here as we saw in Tikrit. Anbar doesn’t need fighters,” he concludes. “We need weapons.”

Most international analysts suggest that the draft US legislation is unlikely to be enacted. The New York Times reported on a statement issued to Iraqi news media in the country: “US policy toward Iraq has not changed. We support a unified Iraq. All of our military assistance and equipment deliveries are provided through the government of Iraq and the Iraqi security forces. … US foreign policy is determined by the president,” it said, noting that the law was just a draft and a Republican one at that.

Even if the legislation did somehow make it into law, what it suggests doing would be extremely difficult, and maybe impossible, to achieve – especially because the US has no troops in action in Iraq outside of military bases where US soldiers are training their iraqi counterparts, or acting as advisers.
“The US could actually arm the Kurds directly,” local analyst Ahmed al-Allusi tells NIQASH.

“Because the Kurdish region has been independent for years and has its own borders and airports. It could easily get weapons sent by the US. But the US would not be able to arm the country’s Sunnis because Sunni cities and their inhabitants are not organized – in some cases they are divided.”

There would be no point in trying to repeat the success of the so-called Awakening movement in Iraq between 2006 and 2008. At that time the US military enlisted, and paid for, the support of Sunni tribes to defeat another extremist Sunni group, Al Qaeda. But back then the tribes were more unified and the US army was the most powerful military force in the country, with over 160,000 soldiers in the country in 2007.

When the US army gave weapons to the Sunni tribes, the process was managed directly, with US observers trying their best to ensure that weapons were only used in the fight against Al Qaeda and not for any other reasons.

Today the situation is obviously very different. For one thing, US army members are restricted to a few military bases and these are supervised by the Iraqi government. Secondly it would be extremely difficult to get weapons to potential fighters inside Sunni cities because many of these are controlled by the IS group. Even if weapons could be delivered, there would be no way of monitoring that they were being used for their intended purpose.

Any US politicians and analysts who know Iraq, know all this. Which has led some in Iraq to come up with more conspiracy theories – of which the US is already often the subject. The same theorists say that what the US is actually doing is putting pressure on the Iraqi government over the National Guard issue.

They also say that recent events show that this pressure is working. A few days ago the government announced that volunteers who wanted to fight the IS group could register for training in Anbar city. Local news service, Bas, reported that15,000 volunteers had come forward in the province itself. The government promised to arm them shortly.

Meanwhile rumours are now rife that Shiite militias want to attack IS-held locations in Anbar to try and counter any such plans to directly arm Sunni fighters. Basically they want to get there first and get the job done. Nobody knows whether this is true or not. What is certain though is that the next few months are going to see truly significant developments in Iraqi politics and security.

Saudi Arabia Will Be A Nuclear Horn (Dan 7)

Saudi Arabia doesn’t trust the emerging Iran nuke deal and everyone’s talking about them getting a nuclear bomb

PAMELA ENGEL MAY 7, 2015, 12:20 PM 720

Saudi Defence Minister, Prince Mohammad bin Salman (C), visits the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi February 22, 2015.
As the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran continues to escalate and Iran nuclear negotiations drag on, Middle East watchers are talking about Saudi Arabia wanting its own nuclear weapon as the country grows increasingly wary of Iran’s potential.
“The nuclear deal that the U.S. and other world powers hope to reach with Iran would put a 10-year curb on the Islamic republic’s nuclear program,” Yaroslav Trofimov writes in The Wall Street Journal. “For some of Iran’s regional rivals, that is also becoming a deadline for developing nuclear arms of their own.”
The article describes the potential for a nuclear arms race between Iran, a Shiite regime, and Saudi Arabia, a Sunni kingdom. Trofimov writes that officials from Western and Arab nations have warned that if this happens, Egypt and Turkey might also feel compelled to follow suit.
The US is attempting to play both sides of the sectarian standoff: Saudi Arabia is America’s largest ally in the Middle East, but the US is working in parallel with Iran-backed Shiite militias to help the Iraqi army drive the Islamic State terror group out of Iraq. These Shiite militias have subsequently been accused of committing atrocities against Sunnis in Iraq.
With the US invested in maintaining relations with Iran as officials try to negotiate a deal to monitor and restrict the country’s nuclear program, Saudi Arabia isn’t counting on the US alone to look out for the kingdom’s own interests.

“We prefer a region without nuclear weapons,” Abdullah al Askar, a member of Saudi Arabia’s advisory legislature, said, according to the Journal. “But if Iran does it, nothing can prevent us from doing it too, not even the international community.”

Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and former government adviser, also made this point to The New York Times in March, saying: “Taking matters into our own hands is the name of the game today. A deal will open up the Saudi appetite and the Turkish appetite for more nuclear programs. But for the time being Saudi Arabia is moving ahead with its operations to pull the carpet out from underneath the Iranians in our region.”
While the US might hope that a nuclear deal with Iran would see the regime eventually becoming more moderate, Saudis aren’t too sure.
“If I am basing my judgment on the track record and our experience with Iran, I will say they will do anything in their power to get a nuclear weapon. A delay of 10 years is not going to satiate anything,” Saudi scholar Prince Faisal bin Saud bin Abdulmohsen told the Journal.
And the Saudis won’t waste any time in ensuring their ability to respond to a nuclear-armed Iran.
A retired Saudi colonel told the Journal that if Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, “we should be able to declare ours within a week.”
The Journal points out that it takes about 10 years to develop the capacity for a nuclear weapons program, but also notes that Saudi Arabia’s ally Jordan has the region’s largest uranium reserves. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia is a close ally with nuclear-armed Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is also focusing on another iteration of its proxy war with Iran — the battle between Shiite Houthis in Yemen and forces loyal to current president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is supported by the Saudi regime.

A Good Idea That Will Never Happen (Rev 16)

12314487975_b892237866_k-470x260The Need for Nuclear Alerts

Mel Deaile and Al Mauroni
May 6, 2015 · in Commentary
The U.S. general who commanded America’s nuclear forces and a few other notable American national security leaders have forged an alliance of sorts with a number of European, Russian, and Asian military officers and national security experts over a most explosive issue. The Global Zero Commission on Nuclear Risk Reduction, chaired by retired Gen. James Cartwright, is calling for the end of U.S. and Russian nuclear “hair-trigger” attack readiness as well as a series of agreements among the “nuclear club” that would end alert status for nuclear forces. Their report concludes that nuclear forces on alert make a nuclear exchange — accidental or deliberate — more likely because of escalating tensions between the United States and Russia. The effort to reduce the readiness level of nuclear forces is, in reality, a stepping stone for the Global Zero movement to continue its push for total nuclear disarmament. This effort, led by Gen. Cartwright, unfortunately misses the strategic importance of maintaining an alerted nuclear force and uses hyperbole and misinformation to advance a flawed argument.
The report makes the amazing statement that basic deterrence and operational cohesion can be preserved even as these radical “risk reduction” measures are implemented. The report offers an expansive view of what “de-alerting” entails, which includes taking warheads out of the land-based and sea-based ballistic missiles, locking down the ballistic missiles so they can’t be launched within 72 hours, taking targeting data off-line, restricting ballistic submarine patrols, removing all non-strategic nuclear weapons from Europe, pulling back on theater missile defense capabilities, and eventually eliminating all land-based ballistic missiles. The report claims that these steps would increase strategic stability and reduce the chance of a terrorist group obtaining a nuclear warhead. Sure, verifying that Russia, China, and the United States are all complying with these proposed steps would be impossible, since no nation will let inspectors go into launch centers or ballistic submarines to see if these measures have in fact been taken. But these are simply minor details to be overcome through other confidence-building measures. What this report really demonstrates is Global Zero’s deliberate distortion of general deterrence theory. The report does nothing to address the rationale as to why we keep nuclear forces on alert.
Alerted nuclear forces are actually a stabilizing force in international relations because they force diplomats and national leaders to carefully consider their next escalatory step. There has to be a credible belief that a nation cannot avoid a violent response if it attacks the United States (deterrence by punishment), or that its goals will not be met even if it attacks the United States (deterrence by denial). If the U.S. nuclear posture is to deter a nuclear or WMD attack by a peer nation-state, there is no better asset position for that mission than the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on alert.
There are two necessary conditions for nuclear deterrence. First, the weapons must raise the cost of an adversary contemplating an attack on the United States. With 450 launch silos serviced by 45 launch control centers, an adversary must have and be able to launch an arsenal of over 500 weapons to wipe out the ICBM force. An adversarial nuclear state that cannot take out the entire ICBM infrastructure has to consider that a retaliatory strike could be inbound within 30 minutes of an attack. This secured strike capability is the basis of assured destruction and deterrence.
Second, the nuclear assets must be positioned and postured to affect the decision calculus of the adversary. If the ICBMs are taken off-line and the warheads for submarine ballistic missiles are not mated, an adversary who didn’t de-alert its forces could easily take out America’s three strategic bomber bases and two submarine bases, thus putting the United States in jeopardy. Without this alerted force, the entire U.S. nuclear infrastructure could be taken out with a force of a few nuclear weapons. Alerted weapons let the adversary know that any preemptive strategic attack against the United States will not work because it will be impossible to take out the entire nuclear force. The inability to preemptively strike another nation requires alerted, responsive forces, dispersal of forces, and positioning forces so that they cannot be located at any time.
Advocates for taking America’s ICBMs off alert fail to put the concept of nuclear alert in perspective. Alert became a feature of nuclear operations since the advent of the ICBM. In fact, Strategic Air Command assumed its first alert tour on 1 October 1957, three days before the Russians launched Sputnik. The missile age reduced the time for leaders to make a nuclear strike decision from days to hours to minutes. These early alerted forces were nuclear-armed strategic bombers capable of reaching their targets within a matter of hours. The main purpose of the alert force, at that time, was to make sure the United States could get its forces airborne to preserve its secured second strike in case of a preemptive attack. While bombers served as the primary alert force in the early years of the Cold War, the ICBM force slowly grew in capability until 1964 when the number of missiles on alert outnumbered the number of bombers. In 1991, the bombers were removed from an alert posture by order of President George H. W. Bush. Since that time, ICBMs on alert served as the primary deterrent force in the U.S. arsenal.
The commission’s report suggests that sole reliance on the U.S. ballistic missile submarine fleet to provide what we call “assured second strike” will maintain U.S. deterrence capability against a first strike scenario. It notes that nuclear bombers could be armed within 48 hours in times of crisis, but might not survive a first strike. While the submarine fleet is survivable due to its stealth, it is not as responsive to national crises as land-based ballistic missiles or bombers, and there would be fewer delivery systems for an enemy to monitor. Also, this recommendation puts all of the risk into one option. If an adversary develops a technology to detect ballistic missile submarines at sea or dedicates more reconnaissance assets to watch the few missile boats move from home base to sea, then our one option to deter a strategic nuclear exchange is in peril. Furthermore, the U.S. triad works because the various legs serve as a hedge in case of a technical or mechanical problem in the other legs. No president or Congress is going to accept that calculus.
While nuclear-alerted missiles provide strategic stability, the argument against them continues to rest on deliberate falsehoods. The first involves the false notion of a “hair-trigger.” The second is that a high-alert status opens the door to a nuclear accident or incident. And the third is that high-alert makes it far more likely that a misinterpretation between world leaders or military forces could lead to a nuclear exchange. All three arguments are full of holes. There is no “hair-trigger” alert. The U.S. military has maintained an unblemished safety record for 25 years.* And constant communications between the United States and Russia dramatically reduce the possibility of such misinterpretations.
What Hair-Trigger?
One of the arguments presented against alert is that these missiles are on a “hair-trigger” — a term used seven times in the Global Zero report. This gives the impression that missiles stand at the ready and all a launch officer has to do is press some red button and nuclear Armageddon occurs. As Gen. Cartwright understands better than almost anyone, this is utterly ridiculous. First, the president is the only person authorized to order the release of a nuclear weapon. The suggestion that the president has less than a few minutes to make a decision for a full-out strategic response based on a tenuous launch warning is a straw man. There is no demand for the president to make a decision within minutes — if there is any doubt, the decision could be to wait until there is clear evidence prior to any retaliation. Secondly, no one individual can launch a nuclear missile. As with all things in nuclear operations, two people must give consent (aside from, of course, the president) before an action can occur. No one person has knowledge of all nuclear codes; therefore, an insider threat is mitigated. Furthermore, crews are directed by relatively short encrypted messages. While the notion of hacking into the nuclear command and control system would make for a great Hollywood movie, the truth is that all messages go through sophisticated levels of encryption so it would be impossible to duplicate an actual message. While the ICBM force has had some bad press recently, none of the infractions ever compromised the integrity of the launch codes or the nuclear command structure.
The Global Zero report states that the risk of the outbreak of nuclear conflict has not decreased proportionally with the significant reductions of nuclear weapons since the height of the Cold War. They insist that a “hair-trigger” alert could result in a nuclear exchange during this period of high acrimony on the international stage. By doing so, they ignore geopolitical context. While tensions between the United States and Russia are undoubtedly higher than we’d like, we are not facing anything approaching the massive competition for global dominance that was the Cold War and the tensions that came along with it. This argument and the others advanced by Global Zero commission reveal their effort as just another excuse for taking nuclear weapon systems offline.
The Accident Red Herring
Another Global Zero argument for eliminating the ICBMs and returning non-strategic nuclear weapons to the United States is that it would reduce nuclear incidents or accidents. (An accident would be an unexpected error due to a failure of procedures such as an unauthorized launch or the loss of a nuclear weapon. An incident would be an intentional hostile event involving a nuclear weapon, facility, or component.) This is a red herring. There have been 32 known “broken arrows” (accidents involving nuclear weapons) in the history of nuclear operations. The majority of these accidents involved aircraft carrying nuclear weapons, and a majority of those occurred in the 1960s when Strategic Air Command was flying airborne alert. A significant accident happened in 1980 when a dropped wrench socket hit a fuel line that eventually caused a liquid-fueled rocket to explode and jettison the nuclear warhead some 600 feet downrange. Today’s nuclear weapons are much more safe and secure than during the Cold War. The U.S. nuclear arsenal has no liquid-fueled rockets (they are all solid fuel) and no bombers flying on alert loaded with nuclear bombs.
Misinterpreting Misinterpretations
Finally, those who would de-alert the nuclear force claim that the slightest misinterpretation could lead to a nuclear exchange. History refutes this claim as well. During the Cold War, bomber and reconnaissance aircraft routinely penetrated the airspace of both sides. This was a commonly-accepted practice to test resolve, prod air defenses, and to signal displeasure with current policy or practices. Even today, Russian bombers enter U.S. and European airspace and U.S. reconnaissance planes loiter on the boundaries of Russia. The United States sends its B-2 Spirit bombers to Europe and Southeast Asia to demonstrate political resolve. It did not lead to nuclear war in the past and it will not in the future, because political and military leaders recognize this for what it is — strategic messaging, not acts of war.
During the early days of George W. Bush’s administration, a Chinese fighter aircraft ran into a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft forcing it to land on Hainan Island. While this was an international incident between two nuclear-weapon states, it did not lead to nuclear war or even a change in the nuclear posture of both countries. Additionally, previous misinterpretations of launches did not lead to a nuclear exchange because both sides understand the importance of strategic context. Some like to claim a false target on a radar screen, a fly landing on the scope, or some other fanciful scenario might happen that could cause an unauthorized nuclear first strike. The Dr. Strangelove scenario of a Gen. Jack Ripper launching the nuclear fleet on an attack to preserve the United States’ “purity of essence” makes for great entertainment but is hardly based on fact. As noted above, the president is the only person who can authorize a U.S. nuclear release and constant communications between the United States and Russia (through the White House “hot line,” the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, the State Department, and the United Nations) work to prevent such scenarios.
While the Cold War is over and tensions between the two sides have recently increased, there is no current strategic context under which either side would launch a bolt out of the blue. So does this mean nuclear weapons should be pulled off alert? Absolutely not. No one can forecast the future security environment of Russia and China. We are in a multipolar world in which nuclear weapon states other than Russia also pose an existential threat. It is because our nuclear forces are on alert that the United States remains free from the threat of nuclear or WMD attack. If there are people who cannot get out of the Cold War mentality of “Dr. Strangelove,” it is the Global Zero community and not the Air Force.

*The flight of the B-52 bomber from Minot Air Force Base to Barksdale Air Force Base in 2007 while carrying six nuclear cruise missiles was an unauthorized movement. However, the nuclear weapons were not armed and never left the custody of the U.S. Air Force. As a result, this is not considered a nuclear accident, as opposed to the 1966 Palomares incident or 1968 Greenland crash (both of which involved B-52 bombers).

Dr. Mel Deaile and Al Mauroni work at the U.S. Air Force Center for Unconventional Weapons Studies. The opinions, conclusions, and recommendations expressed or implied within are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Air University, U.S. Air Force, or Department of Defense.

Cruz Is Finally Right About Something (Rev 15:2)


Ted Cruz On Iran Nuclear Negotiations: ‘This Deal Makes War A Certainty’

Posted: 05/05/2015 6:01 pm EDT Updated: 05/06/2015 6:59 pm EDT

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on Tuesday that if the nuclear deal with Iran being negotiated by the U.S. and five other countries is approved, the result will be war.
“This deal makes war a certainty,” promised Cruz, a Republican contender for president in the 2016 election.

Cruz has repeatedly insisted that Congress require any nuclear deal with Iran to include recognition of Israel’s right to exist. The Obama administration has held firm to the position that the negotiations should be narrowly focused on Iran’s nuclear program.

The effort to tie the nuclear deal to Iran’s recognition of Israel is currently pending as an amendment, authored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), to a bill aimed at granting Congress oversight of the final nuclear agreement. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Thursday pulled an unusual procedural move to force a vote on this amendment.

Democrats and a handful of Republicans committed to preserving bipartisan support of the bill have balked at voting on the amendment, describing it as a “poison pill” that would ensure a presidential veto if included in the legislation.

Democrats are afraid to vote, Cruz told reporters in the Capitol. “They are terrified of casting a vote on whether the legislation would require Iran to recognize Israel’s rights to exist as a Jewish state, and rather than have to go on record and make clear the Democratic senators’ opposition to supporting Israel, they’re blocking every amendment on the Iran deal instead,” he said. “This should be a matter that brings us together in unity, because a nuclear Iran represents the single greatest national security threat to America. Unfortunately, far too many Senate Dems are playing politics with this rather than focusing on the grave national security threats we face.”

Cruz’s comments came as Republican members indicated that the Iran oversight bill was likely to come to a vote on Thursday — without the controversial amendment on Iran recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.

In the days following Cotton’s attempt to force a vote on the Israel amendment, Democrats called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to end debate and schedule a vote on the legislation in its current form.

While Democrats and their Republican allies could likely defeat the amendment, Democratic lawmakers have expressed frustration with being put in the position of publicly voting against pro-Israel legislation in order to preserve the Iran oversight bill.

On Tuesday, The Huffington Post asked Cruz to elaborate on what recognition of Israel had to do with eliminating Iran’s nuclear program. “In the midst of these negotiations, a senior Iranian general said the annihilation of Israel was, quote, non-negotiable. One cannot negotiate with theocratic zealots who are explicit in their desire to murder you,” Cruz said. “There is no common ground or middle ground on whether or not you are murdered. In the midst of these negotiations, Ayatollah Khamenei is leading the masses in chanting death to America.”

If negotiations were impossible, does Cruz see any alternative other than war?

“This deal makes war a certainty,” he said. “Because what President Obama is doing, if this goes forward, is unraveling the international consensus in favor of sanctions. That means the next president who enters the White House in January of 2017 is likely to encounter a world with Iran on the verge of having nuclear weapons where sanctions will have been taken off the table by Barack Obama, because they cannot be placed back with our allies in any reasonable period of time to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, which means in all likelihood the next president will face a binary choice: Either allow Iran to have nuclear weapons or use military force to prevent it.

“That’s the consequence of this Obama-Iran deal, is it makes military conflict a certainty,” Cruz said.