A Closer Look At The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

A Closer Look At The Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

A Look at the Tri-State’s Active Fault Line

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Ramapo Fault is the longest fault in the Northeast that occasionally makes local headlines when minor tremors cause rock the Tri-State region. It begins in Pennsylvania, crosses the Delaware River and continues through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties before crossing the Hudson River near Indian Point nuclear facility.

In the past, it has generated occasional activity that generated a 2.6 magnitude quake in New Jersey’s Peakpack/Gladstone area and 3.0 magnitude quake in Mendham.

But the New Jersey-New York region is relatively seismically stable according to Dr. Dave Robinson, Professor of Geography at Rutgers. Although it does have activity.

“There is occasional seismic activity in New Jersey,” said Robinson. “There have been a few quakes locally that have been felt and done a little bit of damage over the time since colonial settlement — some chimneys knocked down in Manhattan with a quake back in the 18th century, but nothing of a significant magnitude.”

Robinson said the Ramapo has on occasion registered a measurable quake but has not caused damage: “The Ramapo fault is associated with geological activities back 200 million years ago, but it’s still a little creaky now and again,” he said.

“More recently, in the 1970s and early 1980s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to Indian Point,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

Historically, critics of the Indian Point Nuclear facility in Westchester County, New York, did cite its proximity to the Ramapo fault line as a significant risk.

In 1884, according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website, the  Rampao Fault was blamed for a 5.5 quake that toppled chimneys in New York City and New Jersey that was felt from Maine to Virginia.

“Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 Earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.

The Antichrist and the Communist Party

Iraqi Communists and Shia Sadrists unite to tackle corruption and sectarianism

Alex MacDonald

It is perhaps the most unlikely of political alliances, even for a country where electoral rules encourage strange bedfellows. As Iraq prepares for its first post-Islamic State elections, the Communists have thrown their lot in with the Shia conservatives of Muqtada al-Sadr and the result, they promise, is not as bizarre as it may first appear.

Although the pairing of religious conservatives in Sadr’s party and the ultra-secular Marxist-Leninists of the Iraqi Communist Party has raised many eyebrows – not least internally – both argue they ultimately draw support from the same social base: the poor, working class and those angry at the rampant cronyism and mismanagement which have seen the country ranked 11th most corrupt in the world by Transparency International.

Both maintain headquarters in the eponymous Sadr City, the highly impoverished and frequently attacked district of Baghdad. And both say they are fighting – politically speaking – for the same future for its three million residents, and the millions of Iraqs beyond.

Salam Ali, a member of the Iraqi Communist Party’s central committee, told Middle East Eye that the coalition, named the “Sairoun Alliance”, could have a major effect on the nature of Iraqi politics.

“It is a very important development politically in Iraq and, if successful – and that’s a big if because the challenge is great – it will have an impact on politics in the region as well,” he explained, speaking to MEE in London.

This coalition is national, civil in character, it opens the possibilities of a change in the political scene
– Salam Ali, Iraqi Communist Party member
The alliance has grown out of on-going street protests – largely beginning in August 2015 – targeting systemic corruption and advocating political reform. These have seen secular activists, under the banner of the Civic Movement, gathering alongside largely Shia Islamists in common cause.

Despite the surprise at the announcement of the coalition, after the communists broke from the secular Civil Democratic Alliance coalition, Ali said the relationship had been building since 2015.

“It’s not a sudden change,” he said. “It is built on cooperation, coordination between this broad civil democratic movement, the protest movement and the Sadrist movement.”

He said that it created “a greater climate for open campaigning and to be able to reach out to areas in Baghdad, in the provinces as well, where our party and the other civil democratic forces could not campaign as effectively as it is possible now.”

“Now there are examples of coordination with Sadrists in these areas, with young people – now they can coordinate on issues, local issues, like services, the provinicial council, elements of corruption here and there,” he said.

In addition, the Communist Party has long championed itself as the one genuinely non-sectarian party in Iraq. This has made Sadr’s recent public attempts to cross the sectarian divide and support a unified Iraqi identity another point of common interest.

“This is fundamental – he has distanced himself from sectarian politics,” said Salam. “This is the essence of our policy on the protest movement, on its demands, on its electoral strategy as well.”

He said that it was possible that, if successful in elections, a “new political map of coalitions” could be formed in Iraq, with further alliances between left-wing forces and what he described as “enlightened, moderate Islamists”.

Sadr himself hit back at criticism of the alliance in January, stressing that he was committed to reform and calling for technocrats in place of corrupt ministry officials.

“If we enter into an alliance with the Shia, people say it is a sectarian alliance,” he said. “And if we enter an alliance with the Sunnis, people accuse me of Wahhabism, Baathism or loyalty to Saudi Arabia. If we enter into an alliance with the civil society stream, they say we are Communists.

“When we enter into an alliance with parties close to Iran, they accuse us of being Iranian loyalists and when we get closer to Arab parties, they say we are secret agents for them.”

“I will participate in elections for the sake of Iraq, to support moderate people and to expel extremists, to achieve reform and to end corruption and nepotism.”

Ally with the Devil

At one point the Iraqi Communist party was the largest of its kind in the Middle East and in the 1950s and 1960s exerted a lot of influence on Iraqi politics.

However, the coming to power of the Baath Party, and later Saddam Hussein as president in 1979, led to the repression of the party, often with backing from the CIA.

Salam himself spent the years between 1967 and 2003 in exile in the UK, after coming to the country on a scholarship.

Today everyone who has the desire and the means to become prime minister is prepared to ally themselves even with the devil
– Bahaa al-Araji, former Sadr supporter

Following Saddam’s removal after the 2003 invasion (opposed by the Communist Party), the party enjoyed something of a resurgence and although it never regained the influence it previously enjoyed, it is still a presence in Iraqi politics in a way that other Middle Eastern communist parties could only envy.

Despite this, the party still maintains a level of discretion – the internal party structure and membership is secretive. The longstanding perception of communists as atheists and their public criticism of well-connected business interests has made life very difficult in a highly religious and highly corrupt landscape, and the party has had to endure repeated attacks on its offices and the murder of its leaders.

Last year, seven anti-corruption activists with the Civic Movement (a number Communist party members) were kidnapped by unknown gunmen. Although the group were later released, the culprits were never found – though one activist told MEE there were “many corrupted powerful men who could be happy to see them out of the political scene”.

Members of the Sairoon Alliance have also faced threats and intimidation – on Sunday, Iraqi media reported that Abbas Adel Khader, a lecturer at the Faculty of Management and Economics at Muthanna University and parliamentary candidate for the coalition, was shot at by a gunmen, who demanded that he withdraw his candidacy.

While few current Sadrists would publicly disagree with Sadr himself, former supporters of the Sadrist movement have been critical.

Bahaa al-Araji, a former energy minister whom Sadr forced to resign over corruption allegations, slammed the alliance, rhetorically asking on Iraqi TV in January how a party whose slogan was “Workers of the World Unite” could join with a party whose message should be to “send blessings upon the Prophet?”

“Today everyone who has the desire and the means to become prime minister is prepared to ally themselves even with the devil in order to gain the votes of the Iraqi people,” he said.

Iran opposition

The alliance also appears to have upset senior figures outside Iraq, including Iran, which has long had a tense relationship with Sadr, who resents Iran’s overweaning influence in Iraq.

Speaking at an event alongside former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki – arguably the fiercest rival of Sadr – Ali Velayati, chief advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, warned that “the Islamic awakening will not allow the return of communists and liberals to power.”

The intervention was condemned as interference in Iraq’s domestic politics.

“Iraq is bigger than you! Iraq is not your state!” wrote Jassim al-Helfi, another Communist Party central committee member.

He also criticised Maliki, who has long been seen as close to Iran, for not speaking out against Velayati’s comments.

“It is a legacy of the Iraqi officials, who sat humbly on the speech of Ali Velayati, violating the constitution, attacking political and intellectual pluralism by interfering in Iraq’s internal affairs. Without any of them uttering one word of objection!”

The build-up to the elections has already been hit by controversy. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, riding high after the defeat of the Islamic State group in Mosul, had been seen by many as the best hope of rooting out corruption and breaking the stranglehold of sectarianism in Iraqi politics.

It was a shock therefore when he announced on 14 January that he would be joining an electoral pact with the Victory Alliance, which consists of parties and politicians affiliated to the Hashd al-Shaabi, or Popular Mobilisation Units (PMUs), largely Iran-backed groups who have been accused of carrying out sectarian reprisals against Sunnis.

Sadr, who has repeatedly called for the PMUs to be disbanded, condemned the move as “abhorrent and sectarian” and within 24 hours the alliance had collapsed.

But the controversy dampened the belief that Abadi might move to challenge the controversial “sectarian quotas” system which has been one of the main demands of reformists in Iraq.

Under the current system, installed by the US following the 2003 invasion, ministers are appointed to different ministries on the basis of ethnicity and sect, in a fashion similar to Lebanon.

Although this system was never written into the Iraqi constitution, it has remained in place and has angered those who claim appointments should be overseen by the prime minister. But abolishing the system will prove difficult without enraging the highly influential political actors who currently benefit from the system.

“There were hopes, especially when [Abadi] announced this list of political reforms in September 2016, that he would be able to do something – but Abadi’s problem is his fluctuation and faciliation and indecision on the one hand, and the fact that he lacks a power base,” said Ali.

“Unlike Maliki, who managed after eight years in powers to really build up his power base in the state, in the security forces, in the ministries.”

A ‘big political battle’

No matter how assertive the communists and their allies may be, there are few who doubt that Sadr will continue to dominate the electoral alliance.

“There are reasons to be skeptical this will work out,” said Kirk Sowell, publisher of the biweekly newsletter Inside Iraqi Politics.

“The secularists were never able to bring out large crowds without the Sadrists, and so they may be viewed as window dressing.”

He also pointed out that even at their strongest, the Sadrists still had a hill to climb when it came to electoral success.

“We’ll see, but remember that the Sadrist lists got 34 seats in 2014. So unless their alliance with the secularists brings 40-50 seats, this shouldn’t be viewed as a big deal,” he explained to MEE.

Iraq is still reeling from the defeat of IS and with about two million internally displaced people still to return to their homes, there are fears that the election could still be delayed or carried out in a less-than-representative fashion. There have even been reports of refugees being forcibly returned in order to ensure the elections take place on time.

Salam Ali said the coming months would be a “big political battle” but expressed optimism.

“This coalition is national, civil in character, it opens the possibilities of a change in the political scene in favour of reform of the system, it brings in a new dynamic in the political process and hopefully will give a boost to the protest movement as well,” he said.

“And with this from above and below, as they say, this might – might – hopefully open up space for change.”

Back to the Nuclear Olympic Games


The Olympics are over, and the high-stakes Trump-Kim showdown is no closer to resolution.

The Winter Games in South Korea are over, so the winter-is-coming games now resume. I refer, of course, to the storm clouds of bluff, brawn, and blind global terror swirling around the faceoff between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un and the stupefyingly real chance that it could spark a nuclear war.

Trump’s latest maneuver came late last week, after he imposed new sanctions on North Korea and on companies that do business with the regime. “If the sanctions don’t work,” he said at a joint news conference with the Australian prime minister on Friday, “we’ll have to go to phase two. Phase two may be a very rough thing. Maybe very, very unfortunate for the world. But hopefully the sanctions will work.”

It might have been useful if Trump had spelled out what it means for the sanctions to “work”—that is, what the North Koreans need to do to avoid the dreaded phase two. Strategic ambiguity is one thing, and sometimes has its place in international discourse; vague threats rarely bear fruit and usually just spawn confusion and aggravate tensions.

One job of diplomats is to clean up such messes and to clarify, in backroom whispers, a president’s—particularly this president’s—random eruptions. But our nation is shedding its diplomats by the week, especially those with expertise in Asia, which Trump’s foreign policy triumvirate—Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and national security adviser H.R. McMaster—utterly lacks.

The latest casualty is Joseph Yun, a 30-year veteran of the foreign service and the State Department’s point of contact for back-channel talks with North Korea. Yun has been the main advocate for solving the problem through diplomacy, not military action.

His departure follows, by just one month, the scuttling of Victor Cha as the prospective ambassador to South Korea. Cha, who was President George W. Bush’s top adviser on North Korea, had raised objections to the growing support within Trump’s White House for pre-emptive military strikes against Kim’s regime.

Trump is courting a major crisis with North Korea with no advisers who’ve had experience at dealing with North Koreans.

In other words, Trump is courting a major crisis with North Korea with no advisers who’ve had experience at dealing with North Koreans. Old hands like Yun and Cha have acquired years of familiarity with the Kim dynasty’s negotiating style; they know what to take seriously and what to dismiss as gruff. They’ve also long thought through the military options, which Trump and his White House staff are now mulling, and concluded that those roads lead to likely catastrophe. (Colonels and generals in the Pentagon long ago reached the same verdict; the “bloody nose” option—the idea of socking Kim’s regime with a punch that stuns him into submission without destroying very much—isn’t one that many officers take seriously.)

Now come reports that North Korea might be willing to hold talks with the United States and South Korea. On the one hand, such overtures should be received with a cocked eyebrow; even South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is desperate for a peaceful way out of the crisis, realizes that Kim’s main motive is to drive a wedge between Seoul, South Korea, and Washington, splintering their military alliance. For that reason, Moon politely declined an invitation, offered in person by Kim’s sister during the Olympics, for him to travel to Pyongyang, North Korea, for talks. On the other hand, given that there are no good military options, there can’t be much harm in talking, as long as all eyes are wide open.

“There are many reasons to have talks,” Kurt Campbell, CEO of the Asia Group and a former assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said in a phone conversation. “Everybody in Asia expects these talks to happen, so it’s important for us to try to make them happen. Whether or not they accomplish anything as far as North Korean nuclear weapons are concerned, they’ll help cement our alliances, help weave the U.S. into the geopolitical fabric of Asia.”

But who’s going to do the talking on our side? There’s no one left who’s been there before. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is so divided on the main issues that those officials who do show up at the table will arrive with uncertain guidance, unless someone hammers together a basic strategy in the meantime—and there’s no sign of that happening any time soon.

The games of war whooping began in August, when Trump warned that “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States” or it would “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” It is standard practice for presidents to tell foes that they’ll meet fire and fury (though not in such colorful language) if they dare attack the United States or its homeland. But it is something else to promise the unleashing of cataclysmic powers if a foe merely makes threats against us—whether through belligerent statements or, say, the testing of a long-range missile.

The Kim dynasty—Pyongyang’s current leader as well as his father and grandfather, Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-Sung—have long indulged in vituperative verbiage. It’s an essential ingredient in their strategy of dealing with the fact that North Korea (as the country’s first president, Kim Il-sung, put it) is a “shrimp among whales”—a small, poor country in a region of rich giants. Act crazy, brandish a few weapons, play the larger powers off one another—and sometimes you’ll get what you need: food aid, trade, energy assistance, deterrence against an enemy invasion. Now that the current Kim actually has some nuclear weapons, he can play this card with more potency.

But no one has ever seen an American president—who shouldn’t need to talk loudly about the size of his missiles—matching this brand of rhetoric. What to make of it? Trump may be trying out Richard Nixon’s “madman theory.” When Nixon first came to office, he told his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, to go to the Paris peace talks and tell the North Vietnamese negotiators that Nixon’s crazy, he’s particularly insane about communism, and he has his finger on the nuclear button. Ho Chi Minh, he assured Kissinger, will sign a peace deal in a matter of days. The trick didn’t work, perhaps because the North Vietnamese didn’t believe Nixon was that crazy; they knew he was bluffing.

But how does the madman theory work if the president really is a madman, or seems to be? It might have some effect. But to the extent it does, the outcome depends on what the madman puts on the table as an alternative to crazy war—it depends on the rewards as well as the punishments. If Trump won’t hold talks unless North Korea dismantles its nuclear machine as a precondition, then the talks aren’t going to happen. The nukes are Kim’s only asset, his only bargaining chip. Why should he give them up at the start—or at any point in the talks, unless he’s given something amazingly tempting in exchange?

In fact, Trump’s reckless talk about “fire and fury” probably makes Kim more determined to hang on to his nukes. He’s not an idiot. He looks around the world. Saddam Hussein dismantled his nascent WMD program after the first Gulf War; he’s dead. Muammar Qaddafi gave up his nuclear program; he’s dead. The Iranians agreed to give up their nukes, international inspectors affirm that they’re in compliance with the deal—and yet Trump wants to scuttle it. Under the circumstances, if the most rational person in the world were leader of North Korea, he or she would assemble a decent-size nuclear arsenal as quickly as possible.

If Trump is bluffing about war, it’s quite the gamble. What if Kim calls the bluff—doesn’t agree to dismantle his nukes, maybe test launch an intercontinental ballistic missile  or two? Will Trump really unleash fire and fury? Will he back down and thus risk appearing weak (his deepest fear)? We are all teetering on a tightrope, and the managers of the circus are clowns.

Doomsday is Coming (Revelation 15)

By Carolyn Bninski

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, a heavyweight in the area of dissecting nuclear dangers, is issuing dire warnings. The Bulletin was founded in 1945 by nuclear scientists who were involved in making the first atomic bomb. They created the Doomsday Clock two years later. The Bulletin’s website says: “The decision to move (or to leave in place) the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made every year by the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 15 Nobel laureates.”

On Jan. 25, 2018, the Bulletin moved its Doomsday Clock to two minutes to midnight and wrote that the world situation is “as dangerous as it has been since World War II” and that “the greatest risks last year arose in the nuclear realm.” They point to “hyperbolic rhetoric and provocative actions” by United States and North Korea regarding North Korea’s nuclear programs and the increased possibility of nuclear war by “accident or miscalculation.”

The scientists also point to triggers for war between the U.S. and Russia: ongoing conflict between the two countries; continuing military exercises along the borders of NATO; the undermining of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF); upgrading of nuclear arsenals on both sides; and the lack of arms control negotiations. The scientists further point to U.S. conflicts with China, the buildup of nuclear arsenals by Pakistan and India and uncertainty about continued U.S. support for the Iranian nuclear deal.

They emphasize their alarm: “To call the world nuclear situation dire is to understate the danger — and its immediacy.”

Finally, they point to the dangers of climate change and technological changes as part of their decision to move the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight.

The Doomsday statement also offers hope: “This is a dangerous time, but the danger is of our own making. Humankind has invented the implements of apocalypse; so can it invent the methods of controlling and eventually eliminating them. This year, leaders and citizens of the world can move the Doomsday Clock and the world away from the metaphorical midnight of global catastrophe by taking these common-sense actions.”

Some of the solutions in the Bulletin’s Doomsday statement include: U.S. President Donald Trump should refrain from provocative rhetoric regarding North Korea; the U.S. and North Korean governments should open multiple channels of communication; the Trump administration should abide by the terms of the Iran nuclear deal; the United States and Russia should adopt measures to prevent military incidents along the borders of NATO, seek further reductions in nuclear arms, and discuss a lowering of the alert status of their nuclear arsenals. Many more solutions are offered.

Unfortunately, the Trump administration recently put forward two significant military documents that take us in the opposite direction and exacerbate the likelihood of nuclear war. They are the National Defense Strategy, released Jan. 20, and the Nuclear Posture Review, released Feb. 2. The National Defense Strategy puts China and Russia, two nuclear armed states, in the cross hairs of the U.S. military. Can you imagine what their leaders are thinking and doing right now? The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) calls for updating and expanding the nuclear U.S. arsenal to respond to the great powers, e.g. China and Russia. It specifically includes sub-launched nuclear-armed cruise missiles which are inherently destabilizing and can be the perfect weapon for a nuclear first-strike.

Without massive push back from the U.S. citizenry, we will continue to march toward Armageddon. It up to us to demand that Congress stop funding this military madness. There are many things we can do. We can go to town halls and campaign events and to our congressional offices, write letters to the editor, ask all legislators at every level to take a stance by signing the Peace Legislators pledge ( www.peacelegislators.org), hold anti-war signs with the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center on Saturdays at 11 a.m, speak to friends and relatives, and get active with RMPJC by contacting me at Carolyn@rmpjc.org.

Use your imagination. Refuse to be complicit. Speak out. Demand an end to war and empire. And be inspired and buoyed by MLK’s words: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.”

Carolyn Bninski is with the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center.

Babylon the Great’s Nuclear Hegemony

Richard Sisk, Military.com
USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) transits the Atlantic Ocean during acceptance trials, April 21, 2016.
US Navy

The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) includes a long-term plan that could put nuclear cruise missiles aboard the new Zumwalt class (DDG 1000) of stealthy Navy destroyers, according to the commander of U.S. Strategic Command.

Air Force Gen. John Hyten, StratCom chief, said the plan to develop a new, low-yield nuclear Sea-Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM, or “Slick-em”) would not be limited to using ballistic submarines as the sole launch platform, as many assumed when the NPR was endorsed by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis earlier this month.

It’s important to know that the NPR, when it talks about the Sea-Launched Cruise Missile, does not say ‘Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile,’ ” Hyten said in a Feb. 16 keynote address in Washington, D.C., at the National Defense University’s Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

In response to questions, he said, “We want to look at a number of options — everything from surface DDG 1000s into submarines, different types of submarines” for the SLCMs.

“That’s what the president’s budget has requested of us — to go look at those platforms, and we’re going to walk down that path,” Hyten said.

The USS Zumwalt, the first of three new stealthy destroyers billed by the Navy as the world’s largest and most technologically advanced surface combatants, experienced numerous cost overruns in construction and problems in sea trials. It also broke down while transiting the Panama Canal in 2016.

The second ship in the Zumwalt class, the Michael Monsoor, had to cut short sea trials in December because of equipment failures.

The NPR called for the development of two new, low-yield nuclear weapons — the SCLM and a new submarine-launched ballistic missile.

Hyten said the U.S. will be modifying “a small number of existing submarine-launched ballistic missile warheads to provide a prompt, low-yield capability, as well as pursuing a modern nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile in the longer term.”

He added, with some regret, that both are necessary to enhance U.S. deterrence against growing tactical and strategic nuclear threats from Russia and China.

“I don’t have the luxury of dealing with the world the way I wish it was,” he said. “We, as a nation, have long desired a world with no or at least fewer nuclear weapons. That is my desire as well. The world, however, has not followed that path.”

New developments with the Xian H6K strategic bomber, a version of the Russian Tupolev Tu-16 twin-engine bomber, has given China a nuclear triad of bombers, land-based missiles and submarines “for the first time,” Hyten said.

He also cited repeated statements from Russian President Vladimir Putin about modernizing his own nuclear force and developing a new generation of low-yield weapons. “Russia has been clear about their intent all along,” he said.

In the question-and-answer period at National Defense University, an official from the Russian Embassy in Washington challenged the general’s assessment of the threat posed by his country.

Hyten responded, “We listen very closely to what your president says, and then watch closely” through a variety of means to see Putin’s thoughts put into action. “We have to consider those a threat.”

Earlier, he said, “Our adversaries are building and operating these strategic weapons, not as a science experiment, but as a direct threat to the United States of America.”

In an address preceding Hyten’s, Pentagon policy chief David Trachtenberg said that the new NPR developed for the Trump administration should not be seen as a divergence from the 2010 NPR adopted by the Obama administration.

“Contrary to some commentary, the Nuclear Posture Review does not go beyond the 2010 NPR in expanding the traditional role of nuclear weapons,” said Trachtenberg, deputy undersecretary of defense for policy.

“The goal of our recommendations is to deter war, not to fight one,” he said. “If nuclear weapons are employed in conflict, it is because deterrence failed, and the goal of the 2018 NPR is to make sure that deterrence will not fail.”

However, “it is clear that our attempts to lead by example in reducing the numbers and salience of nuclear weapons in the world have not been reciprocated,” Trachtenberg said.

Russia and China have made clear their intentions to “expand the numbers and capabilities” of their nuclear arsenals, he said.