USA’s Fukushima At The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-uFbxq4U9JS4/TZZ-kH9E4RI/AAAAAAAAAsw/8r7OHdgfFLA/s1600/Shut_Down_Indian_Point_March.jpg

Ernie Garcia, elgarcia@lohud.com

A review of unplanned shutdowns from January 2012 to the present showed this year’s events happened within a short time frame, between May 7 and July 8, in contrast with events from other years that were more spread out, according to data released by Indian Point.

If a nuclear plant has more than three unplanned shutdowns in a nine-month period, its performance indicator could be changed by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which results in additional oversight. That’s what happened with Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Mass., after four unplanned shutdowns in 2013.

So far, Entergy said there doesn’t appear to be a pattern to the Indian Point shutdowns.

“You do want to look at these events holistically to see if there is something in common, but you also look individually to see what the causes were,” Nappi said. “A plant shutdown in and of itself is not a safety issue.”

One of the four recent Buchanan shutdowns triggered a special inspection by the NRC and calls to close the nuclear plant by environmental groups and elected officials. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said in the past Indian Point should close, but his office did not respond to a request for comment about whether the recent shutdowns have prompted any state scrutiny.

The NRC is expected to release a quarterly report on Indian Point this month that will address the transformer failure and, by year’s end, is planning an inspection of the transformer and an analysis of transformer issues since 2007.

Besides its transformer-related inquiries, the other three shutdowns have not raised “any immediate safety concerns or crossed any thresholds that would result in additional NRC oversight,” agency spokesman Neil Sheehan wrote in an email.

The unplanned shutdowns at Indian Point and Pilgrim in Massachusetts were mostly preventable, said Paul Blanch, a former Indian Point employee with 45 years of nuclear power experience.

“For this to happen this frequently indicates a deeper problem,” he said. “I believe it’s management oversight in the maintenance of these plants.”

Nappi said the transformer that failed May 9 and caused a fire and oil spill into the Hudson was regularly monitored. Investigators determined the failure was due to faulty insulation.

“The transformer inspection and reviews were in accordance with our standards and industry expectations, yet there was no indication the transformer was going to fail,” Nappi said.

The NRC conducted a separate, but related special inspection into the May 9 incident that focused on a half-inch of water that collected in an electrical switchgear room floor. Inspectors determined a fire suppression system’s valve failed to close properly.

Inspectors noted in their report that Entergy knew about that problem since April 2011 and replaced the valve but didn’t discover the actual cause — a dysfunctional switch — until after the fire.

Indian Point’s Unit 3 was down 19 days May through July, with the transformer failure accounting for 16 days. The shutdowns didn’t cause the public any supply problems because New York’s grid can import electricity from other states and New York has an energy plan to maintain reliability, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The nuclear energy industry judges a power plant on how continuously it produces energy, which is called a capacity factor.

There were 100 nuclear plants in the United States in 2014, a record year in terms of efficiency. In January, the Nuclear Energy Institute announced the U.S. average capacity factor was 91.9 percent.

Indian Point has an above-average efficiency rate. The plant’s Unit 2 and 3 reactors were each online more than 99 percent of the time during their most recent two-year operating cycles. They are currently in the middle of other cycles.

Blame Trump and Obama When Iran Races for the Bomb

Blame Trump When Iran Races for the Bomb – Foreign Policy

Blame Trump When Iran Races for the Bomb

If the United States breaks its end of the nuclear deal, the Islamic Republic’s hard-liners are going to want a weapon ASAP.

The nuclear deal with Iran hangs by a thread. The appointment of John Bolton — an unapologetic proponent of war with Iran — as U.S. national security advisor has prompted celebrations among Iran deal detractors. The announcement that nuclear talks with North Korea will be held around the same time that U.S. President Donald Trump must decide whether to keep or kill the Iran deal has further complicated the picture. Yet few in Washington understand how Trump’s gamble with Pyongyang may impact Tehran’s nuclear calculations.

Conventional wisdom declares that Trump would be foolish to kill the Iran deal (formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) if he genuinely seeks to reach an agreement with the North Koreans. If Trump shows that he does not honor America’s agreements, why would Pyongyang strike a deal with him?

But Trump is anything but conventional. His logic runs in the opposite direction, and Bolton will be more than happy to enable Trump’s worst instincts. By killing the JCPOA, Trump thinks he’ll signal to the North Koreans that they should have no doubt that he is ready to walk away from the talks if he doesn’t get what he wants. After all, walking away from ongoing negotiations is much easier than killing an existing deal.

Trump may know bluster, be he does not know diplomacy. Strong-arming subcontractors may work in the Manhattan real estate market, but it won’t work in international diplomacy. Sovereign states don’t react like jilted architects and electricians.

How will Iran react if Trump pursues this path? For Tehran, the JCPOA was never just about the nuclear issue. It was a test to see if the West could come to terms with the Islamic Republic and accept Iran as a regional power. By testing this proposition, the talks became a defining showdown between the two dominant schools of thought within the Iranian elite.

The first school, dominated by conservative elements in the government and military, argues that the United States — pressured by Israel and Saudi Arabia — is inherently hostile to Iran and will never recognize the country as a regional power or come to terms with its regime, regardless of Iran’s policies or the compromises it offers. The inclusion Tehran seeks can only be achieved by forcing the United States and its allies to accept the reality of Iran’s power. The hard-liners’ skepticism of diplomacy and resistance to compromise is partly rooted in their belief that no Iranian compromise can change Washington’s hostility to Tehran.

Iran’s second, more moderate group of policy-makers recognizes both that the country’s own actions have contributed to infectious conflict and that the United States has legitimate concerns about Iranian policies. An American acceptance of Iran’s inclusion in the regional security architecture can be obtained, they argue, through diplomacy and a genuine give-and-take. If Iran compromises, so will the West, the logic goes.

Up until the nuclear negotiations began in earnest, the debate between these two schools was theoretical. Though Tehran had made many diplomatic overtures in the past, America’s willingness to come to terms with Iran had never been tested through a mutual compromise that both sides had signed on to.

Until, that is, the JCPOA.

The Iran nuclear deal was the first time the United States and Iran had agreed to a significant exchange of concessions that not only eliminated Iran’s pathways to a bomb and lifted sanctions, but also put an end to almost four decades of American efforts to completely isolate Iran. It signaled that America, 36 years after the Iranian revolution, was coming to terms with Iran.

Both sides agreed to painful concessions, both faced fierce domestic political opposition, and both recognized that the agreement signaled a major break with past policies. America was coming to terms with Iran. And the Islamic Republic was speaking of the United States not as the Great Satan, but as a negotiation partner.

It was a major victory for the second school of thought in Iran — at least for the moment.

But increasingly, the JCPOA has become a victory for the hard-liners. Despite Iran’s concessions and its adherence to the deal (confirmed by 10 reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency), Trump, Saudi Arabia, and Israel have clearly rejected Iran’s regional integration under any circumstance. Changes in Iran’s policies proved insufficient, so nothing short of Iran’s complete capitulation can seemingly satisfy Trump’s allies.

This conclusion will be unavoidable in Tehran if Trump kills the JCPOA to make a deal with Pyongyang. It will strengthen the Iranian hard-line narrative that Tehran’s mistake was that it only obtained enrichment capabilities — but not a bomb — before it agreed to seriously negotiate. Had it built a bomb — like the North Koreans — then the United States would have no choice but to show Iran respect, strike a deal with it — and honor that deal. Trump will essentially incentivize Iran to go nuclear.

Ultimately, Trump’s bluster won’t work. He lacks a properly staffed State Department with the capacity to negotiate, and his new national security advisor ideologically opposes diplomacy. By killing the Iran deal to impress Pyongyang, Trump will destroy one functioning arms deal without securing a new one. And in the process, he will tilt the balance in favor of those in Tehran who have argued all along that America only understands the language of force.

Trump Will Allow the Saudi Nuclear Bomb

Trump’s Silence On A Saudi Nuclear Bomb

March 30, 2018
Donald Trump (Gage Skidmore via Flickr)

by Joe Cirincione

It’s said that the only two people Donald Trump does not criticize are Vladimir Putin and Stormy Daniels. You can add Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) to that list.

With the prince’s two week trip to the United States coming to a close, Trump remained stone silent after the heir apparent to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced his nuclear plans on American television. “Without a doubt,” MbS told CBS host Norah O’Donnell, “if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.” Not a single voice of protest was heard from the Trump administration.

For that matter, the rolling shocks of the Trump presidency seem to have dulled the response mechanisms of most of America’s national security establishment. Very few have objected to the prince’s statement that he would break his treaty commitments and go nuclear if his neighbor did. Just so you know: this is not normal.

There is no excuse for any nation under any circumstances getting a nuclear weapon. There is no exception allowed in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Saudi Arabia has signed. There is no Get A Bomb Free Card in international law. U.S. policy for over 72 years has been to oppose any nation from getting the bomb. Period.

On the contrary, U.S. leaders have tried through persuasion and punishment to prevent the spread of these weapons to foes and friends alike. It hasn’t always worked, but each time, Washington tried.

This policy began at the dawn of the nuclear age. In 1946, Congress passed the Atomic Energy Act, prohibiting nuclear weapons technology transfers to any third party, including the United Kingdom. Even though the UK was a key partner in the Manhattan Project that built the first weapons, President Harry Truman refused to assist the UK when it declared its intent to develop the bomb in the late 1940s. Even after it detonated its first device in 1952, the U.S. restricted British access to U.S. nuclear programs for years, including the development of the H-bomb.

All presidents until now have agreed with John F. Kennedy’s admonition: “The deadly arms race, and the huge resources it absorbs, have too long overshadowed all else we must do. We must prevent the arms race from spreading to new nations, to new nuclear powers and to the reaches of outer space.”

This was not just a policy applied to hostile nations. When Kennedy learned that Israel was secretly trying to build nuclear weapons, he tried to block the program and insisted on U.S. inspections of the Dimona reactor, where Israel was making the fuel for its bombs. President Richard Nixon did the same both before and after Israel got its first weapon in 1968. Could they have done more? Almost certainly. But they never okayed the program.

Similarly, the United States could have done more to stop India and Pakistan’s nuclear programs, but, again, it tried. After India detonated a “peaceful nuclear device” in 1975, there was a fierce debate inside the Ford administration on how harshly the U.S. should denounce the test. As Carnegie Endowment scholar George Perkovich details in his masterful India’s Nuclear Bomb, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger decided that “public scolding would not undo the event, but only add to US-India bilateral problems.” And it would make Kissinger look foolish for having been “generally neglectful of non-proliferation issues.” Congress was much tougher, passing major legislation to strengthen U.S. policies to stop the spread of these weapons, including laws that eventually curtailed aid to Pakistan over that nation’s secret program.

After India tested again in 1998, Pakistan announced it would match any nuclear advances made by India. The United States did not sit idly by and stay silent. President Clinton urged Pakistan, “not to follow the dangerous path India has taken.” The pressure and persuasion failed, but the president did not stand on the sidelines. Again, Washington tried to stop it.

North Korea detonated a nuclear device in 2006, but President George W. Bush did not give South Korea or Japan the green light to develop a nuclear weapon in response. Instead, Bush issued a joint statement with the leaders from Russia, South Korea, and Japan that “reaffirmed our commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.”

In the 12 years since North Korea went nuclear, no U.S. official has ever said its neighbors should get the bomb in response—until now. As a presidential candidate Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that it was “only a matter of time before other countries get nuclear weapons.” He talked favorably about Japan and South Korea having their own weapons. Most pointedly, when Cooper asked if Saudi Arabia should get nuclear weapons, he responded: “Saudi Arabia, absolutely.”

Saudi Arabia lacks the industrial and technological ability to build a bomb. But it has an expansive Saudi nuclear energy program now underway that could provide the basis for a future bomb program. If there were any doubt as to the intent of that program, Mohammed bin Salman’s naked boast should dispel them.

Until now, Saudi Arabia has been partially restrained by the lack of ability. But it has also known, as Colin Kahl, former national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, argued in Atomic Kingdom, that “pursuing nuclear weapons could lead to a rupture in the vital security relationship with the United States.” The same is true of Pakistan, should that nation be tempted to sell a nuclear weapon to the Saudis.

But what if the United States didn’t care? What if the president actually encouraged such a sale, or endorsed a Saudi atomic program? Would international treaties or opprobrium stop the Saudis? Not likely.

If Trump breaks with seven decades of U.S. policy, it is all the more important for independent experts and elected officials to reaffirm core American beliefs and sound security policies. A Saudi billionaire should not be allowed to go home with the mistaken impression that America approves of his spreading more nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

Joe Cirincione is the president of Ploughshares Fund and the author of Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late.

The Russian Nuclear Horn and Satan

Russia Says It Launched Something Worse Than Satan

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia has successfully tested its latest intercontinental ballistic missile, the country’s military said Friday.

The Defense Ministry said the launch from Plesetsk in northwestern Russia tested the Sarmat missile’s performance in the initial stage of its flight.

Sarmat is intended to replace the Soviet-designed Voyevoda, the world’s heaviest ICBM that is known as “Satan” in the West.

Presenting Sarmat and an array of other nuclear weapons earlier this month, President Vladimir Putin said that they can’t be intercepted.

Putin said that Sarmat weighs 200 metric tons and has a higher range than Satan, allowing it to fly over the North or the South Poles and strike targets anywhere in the world. He added that Sarmat also carries a bigger number of nuclear warheads, which are more powerful than the ones on Satan.

The Russian president also said the new ICBM accelerates faster than its predecessor, making it harder for the enemy to intercept in its most vulnerable phase after the launch. He also said Sarmat could carry an array of warheads capable of dodging missile defenses.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Khamenei Suppresses Christianity in Iran (Daniel 8:4)

Christian Property in Iran to Be Taken Over by Supreme Leader’s Organization – Center for Human Rights in Iran

Sharon Gardens, a valuable property near Tehran confiscated from Iran’s largest Christian Protestant organization by a group controlled by the country’s supreme leader, was hit with an eviction order on March 7, 2018.

“This action is part of the pressure put on individuals with different beliefs and religious minorities in Iran,” Kiarash Alipour, a spokesman for the London-based Article 18 Christian organization, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on March 26, 2018.

In essence, they are trying to eliminate Protestant Christians from Iranian society,” he said.

Alipour added that representatives of Sharon Garden’s new owners had visited the property and ordered the live-in caretaker to evacuate even though he has nowhere else to go.

Sharon Gardens is located on 2.5 acres of land in the Valadabad district of Karaj, 32 miles west of the Iranian capital. It had belonged to the Jama’at-e Rabbani Church Council, also known as the Iran Assemblies of God, since the early 1970s.

Alipour told CHRI that many Iranian Christians have fond memories of the garden property, which was used as a camp for youths and their families before it was confiscated.

In August 2016, an Appeals Court upheld the confiscation order in favor of an organization under the control of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei known as the Headquarters for Implementation of the Imam’s Decree, which accused Jama’at-e Rabbani of having ties to the CIA.

The Headquarters for Implementation of the Imam’s Decree, which had sued to take over Sharon Gardens, was established by the founder of the Islamic Republic, Rouhollah Khomeini, in 1989 to confiscate properties abandoned after the revolution. Today it operates under the supervision of current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and is not accountable to the government or Parliament.

Besides the financial damages resulting from the confiscation of this garden, our members are living under the shadow of espionage allegations,” Alipour told CHRI, adding that the charges have never been substantiated.

“The church has been accused of being a branch of an American church in Philadelphia that was operated by the CIA to infiltrate Muslim countries, which is a complete and baseless lie,” he added.

“The Jama’at-e Rabbani Church Council was very popular in Iran and had many branches in different cities,” said Alipour. “But, unfortunately, the church was shut down between 2011 and 2012 during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency. Not just this church, but all the churches performing prayers in Persian [Farsi language] were closed.”

“One reason was a speech by Khamenei in Qom [city] around that time [October 2010] accusing these churches of being a gateway for enemies to infiltrate the country,” he added.

Despite assertions by government officials that Christians enjoy full rights as citizens of Iran, the Christian community—particularly Evangelicals and Protestant communities, which are seen as encouraging conversion to Christianity—suffers severe and widespread discrimination and persecution in Iran, as documented in CHRI’s report, “The Cost of Faith: Persecution of Christian Protestants and Converts in Iran.”

Article 18 advocates for the rights of Christians in Iran based on Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which states, “No one shall be subject to coercion that would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.”

Iran’s Constitution recognizes the rights of Christians to “perform their religious rites and ceremonies” (Article 13), but the state has only tolerated non-Farsi speaking churches.

“Although Article 13 of the Constitution recognizes Christians as a religious minority, in reality we see that the state has divided them into two groups; one is officially recognized, the other is not,” Alipour told CHRI.

“Persian speakers are not recognized at all,” he said. “In other words, only Assyrian and Armenian Iranians born to Christian families are accepted, but those from Muslim backgrounds are not.”

He added: “In 1991, the Islamic Republic, which felt threatened when many former Muslims joined the growing number of Persian churches, shut down the Bible Society, the only publisher of Christian books in the country and since then you can only buy Christian books on the black market because our Holy Book is no longer allowed to be published in Iran.”

The Sixth Seal Is Past Due (Revelation 6:12)

https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/aftershock-640x484.png?044193 

New York City is Past Due for an Earthquake

by , 03/22/11

filed under: News

New York City may appear to be an unlikely place for a major earthquake, but according to history, we’re past due for a serious shake. Seismologists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory say that about once every 100 years, an earthquake of at least a magnitude of 5.0 rocks the Big Apple. The last one was a 5.3 tremor that hit in 1884 — no one was killed, but buildings were damaged.

Any tremor above a 6.0 magnitude can be catastrophic, but it is extremely unlikely that New York would ever experience a quake like the recent 8.9 earthquake in Japan. A study by the Earth Observatory found that a 6.0 quake hits the area about every 670 years, and a 7.0 magnitude hits about every 3,400 years.

There are several fault lines in New York’s metro area, including one along 125th Street, which may have caused two small tremors in 1981 and a 5.2 magnitude quake in 1737. There is also a fault line on Dyckman Street in Inwood, and another in Dobbs Ferry in Westchester County. The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation rates the chance of an earthquake hitting the city as moderate.

John Armbruster, a seismologist at the Earth Observatory, said that if a 5.0 magnitude quake struck New York today, it would result in hundreds of millions, possibly billions of dollars in damages. The city’s skyscrapers would not collapse, but older brick buildings and chimneys would topple, likely resulting in casualities.

The Earth Observatory is expanding its studies of potential earthquake damage to the city. They currently have six seismometers at different landmarks throughout the five boroughs, and this summer, they plan to place one at the arch in Washington Square Park and another in Bryant Park.

Won-Young Kim, who works alongside Armbuster, says his biggest concern is that we can’t predict when an earthquake might hit. “It can happen anytime soon,” Kim told the Metro. If it happened tomorrow, he added, “I would not be surprised. We can expect it any minute, we just don’t know when and where.”

Armbuster voiced similar concerns to the Daily News. “Will there be one in my lifetime or your lifetime? I don’t know,” he said. “But this is the longest period we’ve gone without one.”

Via Metro and NY Daily News

Images © Ed Yourdon

Pakistan Completes the Nuclear Triad (Daniel 8:8)

ISLAMABAD —Pakistan announced Thursday that it had successfully conducted another test-firing of a nuclear-capable, submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM), which has a range of 450 kilometers.

The indigenously developed Babur missile was fired from an underwater platform and “engaged its target with precise accuracy,” a military statement said.

The rocket is capable of delivering “various types of payloads” and provides Pakistan a “credible” second-strike capability.

Military spokesman Major-General Asif Ghafoor, while referring to the country’s archrival India, said the development of Babur was a response to “provocative nuclear strategies and posture being pursued in the neighborhood.” He also released some footage of the testing.

Pakistan said its nuclear and missile development programs are India-specific and have effectively deterred the bigger neighbor, with its larger military power, from imposing another war on the country.

“When it comes to responding to India for their threat, anything and everything that we have is for them and for nobody else,” Ghafoor told reporters a day earlier.

Military tensions are running high over the divided Kashmir region, which has caused two of the three wars between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.

Both South Asian nations are locked in almost daily skirmishes along the Line of Control, which separates Pakistan’s portion from the Indian-ruled two-thirds of the Himalayan region.

Meanwhile, earlier this week the United States imposed sanctions on seven Pakistani companies for alleged links to the nuclear trade.

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIC) places those companies on its Entity List, which the U.S. uses to identify foreign parties that are “acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States,” the BIC website explains.

Making the Deal with Korea

https://image.tmdb.org/t/p/original/7lmQIJt7IKjSlii9w6Ybjx7Cnhz.jpg

Never mind about John Bolton. Trump’s ego could force a North Korea deal anyway

Michael Desch is the Director of the Notre Dame International Security Center. The views expressed are his own.

(CNN)Many people are understandably alarmed by President Trump’s appointment of unrepentant George W. Bush-era hawk John Bolton as his new National Security Adviser to replace General H.R. McMaster, who is unceremoniously marching off into the sunset on the heels of his predecessor, General Michael Flynn.

In 2003, Bolton rode in the vanguard of the war party, pushing to topple Saddam Hussein on the specious grounds that Iraq was pursuing nuclear and chemical weapons and in cahoots with al Qaeda. Unchastened by the Iraq debacle and the exposure of the bogus rationales for the war, an out-of-power Bolton has sniped at the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear agreement and beat the drums for war to denuclearize North Korea.

While putting Bolton back in power may signal the demise of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for Iran, I am less worried, ironically, about the prospects for a diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear crisis. Indeed, I can see a way that the President’s ego, combined with his penchant for ignoring his advisers, could advance a diplomatic solution to the tinderbox straddling both sides of the 38th Parallel even while they drive the last nail in the coffin of the Iran nuclear deal.

This would be a shame, given that the JCPOA has broad international support among our allies and other important powers such as Russia and China. Like most arms control agreements, it is not perfect, but most of its supposed defects involve things like Iranian meddling in other countries, support for terrorist organizations, or development of ballistic missiles which were not covered by the original agreement.

Kim Jong Un’s cunning strategy could lead the world down a dangerous path
Most knowledgeable observers inside and outside the United States concede, even if grudgingly, that Iran has abided by the narrow terms of the agreement itself.

So why would President Trump discard a good agreement with Iran and pursue what is likely to be a far more flawed one with North Korea? Such an approach makes little strategic sense, but strategy has little to do with how the President thinks about the world. Rather, our Art-of-the-Deal President operates primarily on a personal level.

While he hates former President Obama’s Iran deal, primarily because he, himself, did not cut it, I could imagine him reaching a far worse deal with North Korea which he would love, warts and all, because it was his.

To be sure, there are also more credible reasons for him to pursue a diplomatic, rather than military, solution to the North Korean nuclear crisis. It has become apparent in recent months that, despite the President’s badgering of his military advisers for a plan to pre-emptively knock out the Hermit Kingdom’s budding nuclear arsenal, the best he can get out of them are plans to give Pyongyang a bloody nose through symbolic strikes, hoping that will scare Kim into surrendering his arsenal.

Nor can America’s military planners assure the President that even a reasonably successful first strike on Kim’s nuclear arsenal would prevent a catastrophic conventional war that would kill hundreds of thousands of Korean civilians. This realization that their capitol Seoul and millions of their citizens are within range of tens of thousands of North Korean artillery pieces has led our South Korean allies to push hard for jaw-jaw rather than war-war, to borrow Winston Churchill’s famous phrase.

China is joined at the hip with North Korea in a dysfunctional marriage of inconvenience, in which the Middle Kingdom provides its wayward younger brother with most of its food and energy supplies to avoid having an American ally on its border and preserve the last shred of its increasingly threadbare international Communist legitimacy. So it would also welcome a deal that ends the slow-motion crisis between Washington and Pyongyang.

Finally, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s flurry of diplomacy with the South and hasty train trip to visit his patrons in Beijing could signal that North Korea’s foremost Dennis Rodman fan may also want to play Let’s Make a Deal.

Predicting what President Trump will likely do is as fraught an endeavor as divining the murky palace politics of “little rocket man’s” regime. But assuming that ego trumps strategy in Washington these days, the desire to cut a North Korean nuclear deal makes sense of some of the recent puzzling moves from the President, particularly the indecent alacrity with which he accepted Kim’s olive branch delivered via Seoul a couple of weeks ago.

Incoming Trump National Security Adviser Bolton will surely not want to play along with this diplomatic Kabuki dance, which is unlikely to roll back North Korea’s nuclear program. Indeed, most analysts think that in exchange for an easing of the crippling economic sanctions, the best President Trump is likely to get is a “freeze” on additional North Korean missile tests. This is hardly a great deal from Bolton’s global regime change perspective or even compared with the JCPOA.

But if I am right that Trump’s ego will trump Bolton’s hardline strategic agenda, any flaws in an agreement with North Korea may be irrelevant.

Ironically, this might be one instance in which the President’s well-documented penchant for bypassing his advisers may favor diplomacy. Indeed, a cynic might wonder whether Bolton’s appointment was in part Trump’s effort to protect his right flank as he pursues a historic, if flawed, North Korean nuclear “deal.”

Saudi Arabia and Ending the Iran Deal

Saudi Crown Prince Urges U.S. to Withdraw from Iran Nuclear Deal During Visit

by Adelle Nazarian28 Mar 2018

AFP/ FAYEZ NURELDINE

During his two-week visit to the United States, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) renewed his calls for the U.S. to fully withdraw from the nuclear Iran deal, saying the accord would not prevent Iran’s regime from acquiring nuclear weapons and likened it to “waiting for the bullet to reach your head.”

“Delaying it and watching them getting that bomb, that means you are waiting for the bullet to reach your head,” MBS, 32, said Monday during a meeting with the New York Times. “So you have to move from today.”

MBS’s visit reportedly will include Washington, New York, Silicon Valley, and Houston before he returns home.

“We know the target of Iran,” MBS reportedly said. “If they have a nuclear weapon, it’s a shield for them to let them do whatever they want in the Middle East, to make sure that no one attacks them or they will use their nuclear weapons.”

MBS asserted this month during a CBS interview that Riyadh will pursue the development of nuclear weapons development if Iran acquires one. In that same interview, MBS said Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is “very much like Hitler” and referred to him as “the new Hitler.”

“Iran is not a rival to Saudi Arabia. Its army is not among the top five armies in the Muslim world,” MBS said. “The Saudi economy is larger than the Iranian economy. Iran is far from being equal to Saudi Arabia.”

Both nations follow different sects of Islam, with Iran being mostly Shia and Saudi Arabia being Sunni. They are also in the midst of a bloody power struggle throughout the Middle East which includes Yemen, Syria, and Libya.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia intercepted and destroyed seven missiles that were fired at it by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. According to CNN, one person, an Egyptian resident, died as a result of falling debris, marking the first such casualty on Saudi soil in three years.

“These hostile acts continue to pose a direct threat to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and threaten regional, as well as international, security,” a statement from Saudi coalition forces spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki read.

Saudi Arabia intercepted an Iranian missile launched by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen in December.

That same month, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said a marker on one of the fragments bore distinct signatures and markings of a typical Iranian missile.

However, Iran denied this and claimed the missile Haley displayed was “fabricated.”

Adelle Nazarian is a politics and national security reporter for Breitbart News. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Making A Golden Deal with Trump

https://i1.wp.com/kanivatonga.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Trump-and-Kim.jpgDumping North Korea nuclear weapons: What does Kim Jong Un want from Trump?

Oren Dorell

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has committed to a nuclear free Korean Peninsula ahead of his planned summit with President Trump, according to Chinese media. But what will he want in return for his prized possessions?

Past agreements and statements by the North’s government show that Kim wants normalized relations with the United States, something no American president has had the stomach to deliver to one of the most brutal regimes in the world.

“An end to US enmity remains Kim Jong Un’s aim just as it was his grandfather’s and father’s for the past thirty years,” says Leon Sigal, author of Disarming Strangers: Nuclear Diplomacy with North Korea.

Kim may be willing to denuclearize and even take steps to disarm if Trump commits to end hostile relations with the North — and takes action to show he means it, Sigal wrote Monday in 38 North, a publication of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

The problem for U.S. leaders has always been that the highly militarized and totalitarian North Korean government is so brutal to its own people and aggressive toward its neighbors that exchanging ambassadors and conducting normal trade would be politically unappetizing.

Trump, however, signaled Tuesday that this time might be different.

“For years and through many administrations, everyone said that peace and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was not even a small possibility,” Trump said on Twitter. “Now there is a good chance that Kim Jong Un will do what is right for his people and for humanity. Look forward to our meeting!”

For years and through many administrations, everyone said that peace and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was not even a small possibility. Now there is a good chance that Kim Jong Un will do what is right for his people and for humanity. Look forward to our meeting!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2018
Received message last night from XI JINPING of China that his meeting with KIM JONG UN went very well and that KIM looks forward to his meeting with me. In the meantime, and unfortunately, maximum sanctions and pressure must be maintained at all cost!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2018
U.S. statements and failed agreements under past presidents show what the Kim family has always wanted.

The Clinton years

During the Cold War, Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, sought to reduce over-dependence on China by working with the Soviet Union. As the Soviet Union was about to collapse, he reached out to the U.S., Japan and South Korea for the same reason.

That led to the 1994 Agreed Framework, which required North Korea to freeze work on nuclear reactors suspected of being part of a covert nuclear weapons program in exchange for two nuclear power reactors that would be hard to use for weapons’ work.

The agreement, negotiated under then-President Bill Clinton, also required the U.S. and North Korea “to move toward normalizing economic and political relations, including by reducing barriers to investment, opening liaison offices, and ultimately exchanging ambassadors,” according to the Arms Control Association.

That level of agreement never happened. And U.S. intelligence agencies later concluded that the North had launched a new nuclear weapons project in secret.

George W. Bush

Under President George W. Bush, White House officials said they had no hostile intent toward North Korea. But after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Bush named North Korea in his “Axis of Evil.” Then the White House issued a report that discussed pre-emptive attacks on countries like North Korea that were developing weapons of mass destruction.

Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, restarted his dormant nuclear reactors. And the Bush administration returned to negotiations with the North.

That led to the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six Party Talks, in which North Korea committed to “the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner,” and “to abandoning all nuclear weapons.”

Again, the North and the U.S. said they would “respect each other’s sovereignty, exist peacefully together, and take steps to normalize their relations subject to their respective bilateral policies.”

Two more rounds of talks took place, with no substantial results.

Barack Obama and Trump

In April 2009, North Korea tested a long-range missile and later announced it would no longer negotiate or abide by previous agreements. In all its statements since, it asserted its right to develop nuclear weapons to deter the U.S. threat.

North Korea quickly ramped up its nuclear weapons program when President Barack Obama was in office, and during the first year of Trump’s presidency.