Of Course There Will Be a Nuclear Armageddon (Revelation 15)

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FactCheck Q&A: Could there be a nuclear Armageddon?

By Martin Williams
4 JUL 2017
After a successful missile test, North Korea claims it is now a “full-fledged nuclear power” which is “capable of hitting any part of the world”.
Russia and the US believe this is a slight exaggeration, saying the missile actually had a medium-range and posed no immediate threat to either country.
But the development has scared many about the prospect of nuclear war. So how likely is it?
Who’s got nuclear weapons?
The US and Russia both reduced their nuclear weapon arsenal after the Cold War. But since the 1990s, the speed of this reduction has slowed down.
What’s more, because of constantly improving technology, the potential impact of each warhead is now far greater than it once was.
The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) says: “Comparing today’s inventory with that of the 1950s is like comparing apples and oranges; today’s forces are vastly more capable.
“The pace of reduction has slowed significantly. Instead of planning for nuclear disarmament, the nuclear-armed states appear to plan to retain large arsenals for the indefinite future.”
As far as we know, nine countries have nuclear weapons: Russia, the US, France, China, the UK, Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea. Between them, they are thought to have around 15,000 nuclear weapons.
Of these, Russia and the US have by far the most. But the FAS says that China, Pakistan, India and North Korea appear to have been increasing their stockpiles, while the others are either reducing the numbers or making no significant changes.
We can’t be sure of exact numbers because of the high level of secrecy, not least in North Korea.
Israel has also refused to confirm or deny its arsenal, but it is widely suspected to have about 80 nuclear warheads and enough plutonium to make many more.
Out of the 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world, the majority are not immediately deployable. A report by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research in 2012 estimated that the US, UK, France and Russia had around 1,940 warheads which were “ready for use on short notice”.
The report said the numbers were so high because of “circular (though flawed) logic”.
“US nuclear forces are maintained on alert because Russian nuclear forces are on alert, and vice versa for Russian forces. Put in another way, if nuclear forces were not on alert, there would be no requirement to keep nuclear forces on alert.”
What would happen in a nuclear war?
After the US dropped a nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, an initial report said that two-thirds of the people who were within half a mile of the blasts had been killed. People suffered skin burns up to two miles away.
The final death toll of Hiroshima alone is now estimated to be between 66,000 and 150,000.
That was more than 70 years ago, though. Nuclear weapons today can be many, many times more powerful.
And that’s to say nothing of the economic, political and social consequences, which could potentially be monumental.
Bill Perry, a nuclear weapons expert who served as President Clinton’s Secretary of Defense spoke to Vice earlier this year. He said a worst case scenario would now mean nothing short of a total Armageddon.
“An all-out general nuclear war between the United States and Russia would mean no less than the end of civilisation,” Perry said. “That’s not being dramatic; that’s not being hyperbolic. That’s just what would happen.”
How likely is a nuclear war?
The world survived the Cold War without nuclear weapons being used. And with the main two nuclear powers reducing their arsenals, it might be tempting to think the risk is reducing.
But global security threats are very different to what they once were. And one bomb could lead to retaliation strikes.
Bill Perry said he believes the most likely scenario for a nuclear attack would be if a terrorist group got hold of a small amount of enriched uranium, allowing them to make an improvised nuclear bomb.
“Of all of the nuclear catastrophes that could happen, this is the most probable,” he said. “I think I would say it’s probably an even chance that this will happen sometime in the next ten years.”
He added: “We have the possibility of a regional nuclear war, between Pakistan and India, for example. Even if they used only half of their nuclear arsenal, those bombs would put enough smoke in the air – enough dust in the air – that will go up and settle in the stratosphere and then distribute itself around the planet and would block the rays of the sun for years to come.
“It could be millions of people who die from that alone.”

Trump’s Nuclear Fallacy


Dangerous Nuclear Decisions
By Louis René Beres | Opinion Contributor
July 4, 2017, at 7:00 a.m.
Our national independence suggests more than an annual pretext for bluster, bravado and fireworks. It also expresses a complex legal and philosophical concept warranting continuous reassessment. In this connection, despite President Donald Trump’s vast efforts at public deflection via ad hominem attacks, it is high time for Americans to confront the most overriding danger of presidential debility.
This singular peril is the conspicuously growing threat of a president who is emotionally and intellectually incapable of rendering well-reasoned nuclear command decisions.
As I know personally from almost 50 years of scholarship on such matters, there are various structural protections built into any presidential order to use nuclear weapons. Nonetheless, virtually all of these mostly redundant safeguards would become operational only at lower command levels; plainly, they do not apply at the highest level of national decisional authority.
In essence, there exist no permissible or codified legal grounds to disobey a presidential order to use nuclear weapons. To be sure, in principle at least, individuals in the military chain of command could sometimes invoke pertinent Nuremberg obligations to resist crimes of state, but any such last-minute invocation would almost certainly yield to substantially more obvious manifestations of U.S. domestic law, both statutory and constitutional.
If an American president were ever to issue an irrational or seemingly irrational nuclear command, the only way for the secretary of defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the national security advisor and several possible others to meaningfully obstruct this order would be illegal on its face. Conceivably, such informal safeguards might somehow manage to work, but we really still ought to inquire about implementing more suitably predictable and promising institutional impediments.
This inquiry should be immediate.
History may deserve pride of place. In candor, we Americans are navigating here in generally uncharted waters. While President John F. Kennedy did engage in personal nuclear brinkmanship with the Soviet Union back in October 1962, he had then calculated his own odds of a resultant nuclear war as “between one out of three and even.”
This troubling calculation, corroborated both by top JFK aide Theodore Sorensen and by my own private conversations with former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Arleigh Burke, suggests that Kennedy was either genuinely irrational in imposing his Cuban “quarantine,” or instead that he was acting out completely untested (in a nuclear crisis context) principles of “pretended irrationality.”
There is more. For JFK, following his U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson, the term “quarantine” was chosen because “blockade” was presumptively more belligerent, more of an incontestable casus belli, more patently legitimizing as a cause of possible war.
Today, Trump, without any hint of nuance or a scintilla of serious thought, has several-times heaped seat-of-the-pants praise upon pretending irrationality. This unreflective argument was advanced not because the president is in any way personally acquainted with U.S. nuclear strategy, but rather as a “common sense” metaphor drawn viscerally from commercial real estate negotiations. To successfully “play” such a dialectical strategy – to even pry into it interpretively – would call for a far greater depth of historical understanding and analytic subtlety than he could ever be expected to display.
In more expressly scientific terms, this means that Trump, in addition to any evident personal debilities he might bring to the delicate game, would have no credible way to determine the probable outcome of his planned or considered actions. None at all.
The reason for this uncertainty is straightforward and utterly non-political. It exists because all scientific judgments of probability must be based upon the determinable frequency of pertinent past events. By definition, unless we count JFK’s willingness to escalate in 1962, there simply are no pertinent past events.
Going forward, the most serious threat of a misconceived or irrational U.S. presidential order to use nuclear weapons flows not from any “bolt-from-the-blue” nuclear attack – whether Russian, North Korean or American – but from an incoherent escalatory process that has run amok. Fortunately, in 1962, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev “blinked” early on in the game, and thereby avoided mutual and possibly irrecoverable nuclear harms. Looking ahead, however, especially to any expanding crises with North Korea, escalatory initiatives undertaken by Trump would plausibly express fully ad hoc decision-making.
Such initiatives might not meet with any reassuringly Khrushchev-type concession. Such initiatives could end with bitterly unforeseen and unacceptable costs.
In principle, at least, it is vital that Trump understand the very great risks of being locked into an escalatory dynamic from which there could be no release other than capitulation or nuclear war. Although the American president might be entirely well advised to seek “escalation dominance” in any upcoming crisis negotiations with the Russians or North Koreans, also required would be a corollary caution to avoid catastrophic miscalculations. Ominously, in this connection, the more numerous the participating national players, the more complicated and perilous any such negotiations would become.
Like it or not, at one time or another, nuclear strategy is a bewildering game that Trump will almost certainly have to play. To best ensure that this disinterested president’s calculated moves will be rational, purposeful and tactically cost-effective, it will first be necessary to enhance the formal decisional authority of his most senior military and defense subordinates. At a minimum, the secretary of defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the national security advisor, and one or two others in pertinent nuclear command positions should prepare for undertaking more fully collaborative judgments in extremis atomicum.

Korea Can Now Nuke the US


North Korea says its ICBM can carry nuclear warhead; U.S. calls for global action
Tue Jul 4, 2017 | 10:43 PM EDT
By Jack Kim and Christine Kim | SEOUL
North Korea said on Wednesday its newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) can carry a large nuclear warhead, triggering a call by Washington for global action to hold it accountable for pursuing nuclear weapons.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Defense Department said it had concluded that North Korea test-launched an ICBM on Tuesday, which some experts now believe had the range to reach the U.S. state of Alaska as well as parts of the mainland United States.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the test, on the eve of the U.S. Independence Day holiday, represented “a new escalation of the threat” to the United States and its allies, and vowed to take stronger measures.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the test completed his country’s strategic weapons capability that includes atomic and hydrogen bombs and ICBMs, the state KCNA news agency said.
Pyongyang would not negotiate with the United States to give up those weapons until Washington abandons its hostile policy against the North, KCNA quoted Kim as saying.
“He, with a broad smile on his face, told officials, scientists and technicians that the U.S. would be displeased … as it was given a ‘package of gifts’ on its ‘Independence Day’,” KCNA said.
Kim ordered them to “frequently send big and small ‘gift packages’ to the Yankees,” it added.
The launch came days before leaders from the Group of 20 nations are due to discuss steps to rein in North Korea’s weapons program, which it has pursued in defiance of United Nations Security Council sanctions.
The test successfully verified the technical requirements of the newly developed ICBM in stage separation, the atmospheric re-entry of the warhead and the late-stage control of the warhead, KCNA said.
Tillerson warned that any country that hosts North Korean workers, provides economic or military aid to Pyongyang, or fails to implement U.N. sanctions “is aiding and abetting a dangerous regime”.
“All nations should publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences to their pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Tillerson said in a statement.
DIPLOMATIC PRESSURE
U.S. President Donald Trump has been urging China, North Korea’s main trading partner and only big ally, to press Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program.
The U.N. Security Council, currently chaired by China, will hold an emergency meeting on the matter at 3 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, following a request by the United States, Japan and South Korea.
Diplomats say Beijing has not been fully enforcing existing international sanctions on its neighbor, and has resisted tougher measures, such as an oil embargo, bans on the North Korean airline and guest workers, and measures against Chinese banks and other firms doing business with the North.
A 2015 U.N. document estimated that more than 50,000 North Korean workers were overseas earning currencies for the regime, with the vast majority in China and Russia.
North Korea appeared to have used a Chinese truck, originally sold for hauling timber, but later converted for military use, to transport and erect the missile on Tuesday.
Trump has indicated he is running out of patience with Beijing’s efforts to rein in North Korea. His administration has said all options are on the table, military included, but suggested those would be a last resort and that sanctions and diplomatic pressure were its preferred course.
Trump is due to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G20 meeting in Germany this week.
Russia and China joined diplomatic forces on Tuesday and called for North Korea to suspend its ballistic missile program in return for a moratorium on large-scale military exercises by the United States and South Korea.
The U.S. and South Korean militaries conducted a ballistic missile test early on Wednesday in a show of force on the east coast of the Korean peninsula. The South said the drill aimed to showcase the ability to strike at the North’s leadership if necessary.
“It’s discouraging that the Chinese (and Russians) are still calling for ‘restraint by all sides’, despite the fact that their client state, North Korea, has cast aside all restraint and is sprinting for the finish line in demonstrating a nuclear-armed ICBM capability,” said Daniel Russel, formerly Washington’s top East Asia diplomat, now a diplomat in residence at the Asia Society Policy Institute.
LONG-RANGE MISSILE
The North’s state media said the missile, Hwasong-14, flew 933 km (580 miles), reaching an altitude of 2,802 km (1,741 miles) in its 39 minutes of flight.
Some analysts said the flight details suggested the new missile had a range of more than 8,000 km (4,970 miles), which would put significant parts of the U.S. mainland in range, a major advance in the North’s program.
The launch was both earlier and “far more successful than expected”, said U.S.-based missile expert John Schilling, a contributor to the Washington-based North Korea monitoring project, 38 North.
It would now probably only be a year or two before a North Korean ICBM achieved “minimal operational capability,” he added.
Experts say a reliable nuclear-tipped ICBM would require a small warhead to fit a long-range missile, technology to protect against intense heat as it re-enters the atmosphere, separate the warhead and guide it to its target.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who ordered Wednesday’s drill, said, “The situation was no longer sufficient to respond to the North’s provocation by making statements,” according to his office.
Tuesday’s missile test poses fresh challenges for Moon, who took office in May with a pledge to engage the North in dialogue while keeping up pressure and sanctions to impede its weapons programs.
His defense minister, Han Min-koo, told parliament on Wednesday there was a high possibility of a sixth nuclear test by the North, but there were no specific indications.
(Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton, David Brunnstrom and Phil Stewart in Washington and Michelle Nichols in New York; Editing by Soyoung Kim and Clarence Fernandez)

The Antichrist Nationalizes Iraq


Shiite cleric Sadr calls on Barzani to postpone, cancel referendum
By Rudaw 5 hours ago
Muqtada al-Sadr and President Masoud Barzani differ on the Kurdistan referendum on independence but are united in their opposition to Maliki making a return to Iraqi politics and governance. Photo: Sadr Movement media office
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Influential Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called on President Masoud Barzani to “postpone” and eventually “cancel” the planned Kurdistan referendum on independence scheduled for September 25.
“Iraq is one and is for all,” Sadr said in a written statement on Tuesday in response to a letter sent to his office by a Faili Kurd who complained about the rise of public rhetoric against Kurds, particularly Faili Kurds who are Shiite Muslims residing mainly in the south and center of Iraq.
Sadr said that his movement opposes discrimination between Iraqis based on their religion or ethnicity, adding that those who do discriminate want to get more votes in elections.
“We do not discriminate in between them so long as they love their homeland and do not work for foreign agendas,” Sadr said.
Sabah Zangana, a Faili media professional and former candidate in Iraq’s 2013 provincial elections, wrote to Sadr asking the cleric to clarify his position with regard to calls to alienate Kurds in Iraqi provinces, in particular Faili Kurds who largely live in Baghdad and other central and southern provinces.
Zangana praised Sadr for his national views on a range of issues and his record against sectarianism.
Some Faili Kurds have expressed their concerns that they may become victims of a new dispute between Erbil and Baghdad over the referendum. Some in Baghdad and southern Iraq reported receiving threatening letters and phone calls since the Kurdistan Region announced it will hold the historic vote.
In Baghdad, the Failis have even considered forming their own militia to protect their community.
Ali Akbar, a Faili tribal chief, told Rudaw last week that taking up arms is on the table.
“Of course we are threatened because of the referendum,” Akbar said. “Therefore, we need to come up with a way to defend ourselves and reach an agreement among ourselves to form a military force. We have already declared that the force we are going to form will be secret and we will not reveal the numbers of the force or the commander.”
Last month, Saad Mutalibi, a member of the Baghdad Provincial Council from the State of Law Coalition warned Kurds in Baghdad that if the Kurdistan Region was determined to hold a referendum to build a state of their own, they would strip them of Iraqi citizenship and evict them from the city.
Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, head of the State of Law Coalition, is said to have reassured some Faili Kurds who visited him about this issue, saying that Failis are Iraqis and they are protected.
While Sadr attempted to reassure Faili Kurds about their place in Iraqi society, he also called on Kurdistan to cancel the referendum.
“Hereby I call on my brother Masoud Barzani to postpone the secession referendum, especially as we are on the brink of the liberation of Mosul.”
He said that the postponement would be “the first step to canceling it in the future.”
President Barzani told Iraq’s parliament speaker in late June that “the Kurdish referendum is a decision there will be no turning back from.”
Sadr’s Movement has 34 seats in the Iraqi parliament. It is a member of the Shiite National Alliance but has suspended its membership due to political differences with other members of the alliance, in particular with Maliki’s State of Law Coalition. Maliki is a staunch opponent of the Sadr Movement.
Though they disagree on the referendum, Sadr and President Barzani are united in their opposition to Maliki making a return to Iraqi politics and governance.