Preparing for the Battle Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

IDF’s largest battalion drills urban fighting in preparation for Gaza war

By ANNA AHRONHEIM

The IDF’s Kfir Brigade has completed a period of brigade-level drills simulating maneuvering and fighting against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the IDF announced on Thursday.

The drill was the IDF’s 11th brigade-level exercise to take place in 2018 as part of the military’s work on improving it’s readiness.

The troops trained on a variety of scenarios in the southern front, including a ground maneuver in Gaza and dealing with troops who simulated Hamas fighters. A week before the brigade drill, platoon-level exercises were held to test the troops’ ability to fight in densely populated and urban areas and the challenges of fighting in a civilian environment.

In addition, the Haruv reconnaissance unit operated for the first time in its new format, in which the soldiers of the commando unit underwent specialized training in fighting in an urban area inside a civilian environment and other capabilities.

Troops in the Haruv reconnaissance unit are divided into specialized teams, which focus on fighting in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, with an emphasis on tunnel warfare. The unit’s squads have state-of-the art combat equipment and robots, as well as guns specifically made for fighting in tunnels.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot visited the brigade during the week and discussed the process of improving its operational readiness in preparation for the next war, with special emphasis on the special capabilities of the brigade and the Haruv reconnaissance unit in particular.

The unit was resurrected by the IDF last year after being dismantled 42 years ago and absorbed into the IDF’s largest infantry brigade, the Kfir brigade, which has five battalions: Nachshon Battalion, Shimshon Battalion, Haruv Battalion, Duchifat Battalion, and Netzah Yehuda Battalion.

Established in 2005 as a response to the need to combat Palestinian terrorism in the West Bank, it specializes in fighting on both the West Bank and Gaza fronts. The brigade has recently trained in fighting the enemy underground in sewers as well as fighting in high-rises and densely populated areas.

“During the training period, we maintained the training on a high level, while creating a simulation as close to reality as possible,” said the commander of the Kfir Brigade, Col. Zion Ratzon. “I am confident that now, after two months of intensive training that has also trained the abilities of both the fighters and commanders, that we are a more capable unit for the next campaign and are more prepared for the enemy we will meet in the arenas in which we operate.”

The IDF returned to 17 weeks of consecutive training last year, an increase from the 13 weeks soldiers trained for over the past 15 years. As part of the training program, the IDF has invested hundreds of millions of shekels into upgrading training facilities in the Golan Heights, Jordan Valley and southern Israel and adapting them to the challenges facing troops on various fronts.

While the defense establishment does not foresee any conflict breaking out in the near future, tensions have risen on both the northern or southern fronts.

On Tuesday evening, Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with elite commando troops during a major ten-day brigade-level drill, in which troops trained for a variety of scenarios, including fighting in the Gaza Strip against Hamas and in the North against Hezbollah.

In the North, the growing threat posed by Iranian entrenchment in Syria and the building of missile factories in Lebanon for its proxy terrorist group Hezbollah has led to significant concerns for Israel.

In addition to having rebuilt their arsenal to have hundreds of thousands of missiles aimed at Israel, Hezbollah has changed from a terrorist group fighting guerrilla style to an army with battalions, brigades and over 40,000 fighters with immeasurable battlefield experience.

In the South, Hamas in the Gaza Strip has been engaged in three wars with Israel over the past ten years. Hamas, which calls for the destruction of the State of Israel, is believed to possess an arsenal of 10,000 rockets and mortar shells. It has once again grown close to Tehran, reconciling after Iran froze its financial support to Hamas after the group refused to support the Assad regime in 2012.

While the security establishment does not believe that Hamas currently seeks another conflict, the situation is fragile, especially given the worsening living conditions in the Strip.

Indian Point is NOT radiologically ready for the Sixth Seal

image-546With Indian Point, are you radiologically ready?

By Thomas Slater Emergency Preparedness Coordinator

August 23rd, 2018 | News, News and Features

Just as there are plans in place for dealing with natural emergencies such as tropical and winter storms, readiness plans are developed for man-made emergencies, which includes radiological hazards.

Nuclear power plants operate in most states in the country and produce about 20 percent of the nation’s power.

Nearly three million people live within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone of an operating nuclear power plant, including West Point, which is situated between 7-to-9 miles from the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) in Buchanan of Westchester County.

Although the construction and operation of nuclear power plants are closely monitored and regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, incidents at these plants are possible—and planned for.

If an accident at IPEC were to result in the potential or actual release of radiation, warning sirens in the area would be activated. Commercial and West Point media sources would broadcast Emergency Alert System  messages to advise you on protective measures.

Depending upon the scope and scale of the emergency, protective actions may include “shelter-in-place” or “evacuation” advisories. As radioactive materials rapidly decay and dissipate with distance, the most likely scenario for West Point personnel would be to take shelter rather than trying to evacuate.

If you are instructed to shelter-in-place, the following steps will keep you and your family safe during the emergency.

• Shelter. Go inside your home or the nearest building; choose an inside room with as few windows or doors as possible.

• Shut. Shut and lock all windows and doors to create a better seal; turn off heating or cooling ventilation systems. If at home, make sure the fireplace damper and all ventilation fans are closed.

• Listen. Local officials are your best source of information. If in an office, monitor your computer, television and phones; if at home, listen to your radio or television until you are told it is safe to leave the shelter or to evacuate.

For more details, consult the Orange County Indian Point Emergency Guide, available at https://www.orangecountygov.com/DocumentCenter/View/2368/Indian-Point-Orange-Emergency-Guide-PDF, or call the West Point Emergency Manager at 845-938-7092.

Readiness, through education and preparation, is the best defense. Are you radiological ready?

Democrats Try to Take Away Trump’s Nuclear Option

Democrats going nuclear to rein in Trump’s arms buildup

Control of the House will give them ‘the power of no — the ability to block programs, cut funding, withhold agreement.’

By BRYAN BENDER 11/24/2018 07:15 AM EST

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) who is set to become the first progressive in decades to run the House Armed Services Committee. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Democrats preparing to take over the House are aiming to roll back what they see as President Donald Trump’s overly aggressive nuclear strategy.

Their goals include eliminating money for Trump’s planned expansion of the U.S. atomic arsenal, including a new long-range ballistic missile and development of a smaller, battlefield nuclear bomb that critics say is more likely to be used in combat than a traditional nuke.

They also want to stymie the administration’s efforts to unravel arms control pacts with Russia. And they even aim to dilute Trump’s sole authority to order the use of nuclear arms, following the president’s threats to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea and other loose talk about doomsday weapons.

The incoming House majority will have lots of leverage, even with control of only one chamber in the Capitol, veterans of nuclear policy say. They point to precedents in which a Democratic-controlled House cut funding for Ronald Reagan’s MX nuclear missile and a Democratic-led Congress canceled the development of a new atomic warhead under George W. Bush.

They can block funding for weapon systems,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association in Washington. “The Democrats’ ascendancy will prove a much-needed check on the Trump administration’s nuclear weapons policy and approaches.”

Leading the charge is Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, who is set to become the first progressive in decades to run the House Armed Services Committee, which is responsible for setting defense policy through the annual National Defense Authorization Act.

Smith has long criticized both President Barack Obama and Trump’s $1.2 trillion, 30-year plan to upgrade all three legs of the nuclear triad — land-based missiles, submarines and bombers — as both unaffordable and dangerous overkill.

He’s made it clear in recent days that revamping the nation’s nuclear strategy will be one of his top priorities come January, when he is widely expected to take the gavel of the largest committee in Congress.

“The rationale for the triad I don’t think exists anymore. The rationale for the numbers of nuclear weapons doesn’t exist anymore,” Smith told the Ploughshares Fund, a disarmament group, at a recent gathering of the Democratic Party’s nuclear policy establishment.

The daylong conference included leading lawmakers, former National Security Council aides, peace activists and an ex-secretary of Defense, William Perry, who was once an architect of many of the nation’s nuclear weapons but is now a leading proponent for a major downsizing.

Arms control and disarmament groups see Smith’s emergence as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to craft a much more sensible approach to nuclear weapons and reduce the danger of a global conflict.

The mere appearance of a would-be Armed Services chairman at the recent gathering demonstrated how much circumstances have changed.

“I have never seen a chairman give nuclear policy such a high priority, have such personal expertise in the area, and be so committed to dramatic change,” said Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund.

Cirincione served as a staffer to then-Rep. Les Aspin (D-Wis.), who chaired the panel during the fierce debates over nuclear weapons policies in the 1980s, which he sees as an instructive period for today.

“I know that a Democratic House can have a major impact on nuclear policy,” he said. “It is the power of no — the ability to block programs, cut funding, withhold agreement to dangerous new policies. Democrats may not be able to enact new policies, but they can force compromises.”

High on the priority list is halting or delaying the development of a planned new nuclear bomb that would have less explosive power than a more traditional atomic bomb. The Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review called for the so-called low-yield weapon last year.

Advocates assert that the weapon, to be launched from a submarine, will provide military commanders with more options and better deter nations such as Russia, China, North Korea and Iran that are building up their own nuclear arsenals. Such a modest nuke would not destroy a city but would devastate a foreign army — and adversaries would have reason to fear that the U.S. might use it in a first strike.

But Smith, who will also influence the House Appropriations Committee’s recommendations for Pentagon funding, insists such a new weapon “brings us no advantage and it is dangerously escalating.”

“It just begins a new nuclear arms race with people just building nuclear weapons all across the board in a way that I think places us at greater danger,” he told Ploughshares Fund.

Democrats are expected to revive legislation proposed earlier this fall in both the House and Senate to try to roll back the program.

There’s no such thing as a low-yield nuclear war,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), one of the co-sponsors, who also gave his pitch at the Ploughshares Fund gathering this month. “Use of any nuclear weapon, regardless of its killing power, could be catastrophically destabilizing.”

Leading Democrats also have their sights on a new intercontinental ballistic missile that is under development as the future land-based leg of the nuclear triad. The Ground Based Strategic Deterrent is set to replace current ICBMs that are deployed in underground silos in Western states such as Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota.

“The ICBM is where the debate will focus,” predicted Mieke Eoyang, vice president of national security at Third Way, a centrist think tank, and a former aide on the House Intelligence Committee.

One key argument will be cost, she added.

“People make the case for all three legs of the triad, but when you look at the budget situation, the Pentagon is going to have to make some tough choices,” Eoyang said in an interview. “The modernization of the triad is a big-ticket item that comes over and above what current Defense Department needs are — at a time when budget pressures are coming the other way.”

Critics also argue that the ICBM has outlived its usefulness.

Perry, who served as Pentagon chief for President Bill Clinton, has argued that the land-based ICBM is the leg of the triad that is most prone to miscalculation and an accidental nuclear war. He said submarine- and aircraft-launched nuclear weapons would provide a sufficient deterrent on their own.

But not everyone thinks cutting one leg of the triad will be easy. They cite the political clout of defense contractors and their political supporters in both parties, including the so-called ICBM Caucus — especially in the Senate, which will remain under Republican control.

“They won’t be able to take on the triad,” warned former Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.), executive director of the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, who chaired the national security and foreign affairs panel of the Government Oversight and Reform Committee.

But Tierney and others said the House can pursue other areas for reshaping nuclear policy — and force the Senate to take up their proposals.

One way is to revive legislation adopting a “no first use” policy for nuclear weapons, declaring that a president could not order the use of nuclear weapons without a declaration of war from Congress.

“We want to avoid the miscalculation of stumbling into a nuclear war,” Smith said. “And this is where I think the No First Use Bill is incredibly important: to send that message that we do not view nuclear weapons as a tool in warfare.”

The unfolding strategy will also rely on inserting new reporting requirements in defense legislation as a delaying tactic on some nuclear efforts or to compel the administration to reconsider its opposition to some arms control treaties.

While the president negotiates treaties and the Senate is vested with the constitutional authority to ratify them, the House also has some power to force the administration’s hand.

Trump, citing Russian violations, has threatened to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that Reagan signed with the then-Soviet Union in 1987. He recently sent national security adviser John Bolton to Moscow to relay the message.

But critics say the landmark treaty, which banned land-based missiles with ranges from 50 to 5,500 kilometers, is still worth trying to salvage with the Russians. And Democrats can try to force the Trump administration to curtail plans for a new cruise missile that would match the Russians.

The Democrats can put the cruise missile “back on its heels,” Tierney said. “Sometimes they can delay, sometimes defeat.”

Democrats also worry that the Trump administration will opt to not renew the New START Treaty with Russia, which expires in early 2021. That pact, reached in 2010, mandates that each side can have no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear weapons and requires regular inspections to ensure each side is complying.

Trump and his advisers “are opposed to multilateralism just based on principle,” Smith told the crowd of arms control advocates. “That is John Bolton’s approach, that he doesn’t want to negotiate with the rest of the world, almost regardless of what it is that we negotiate.”

But Kimball, who met recently with Smith, said Democrats have options on that front, too.

“If the Trump administration threatens to allow New START to expire in 2021, the Democrats are not under any obligation to fund the administration’s request for nuclear weapons,” Kimball said.

He pointed out that Obama secured bipartisan Senate support for ratifying the New START treaty in return for a pledge to increase spending on upgrading the nuclear arsenal and new missile defense systems. “That linkage works the other way, too,” Kimball said.

What is clear is that the nuclear arms control crowd sees Smith as the best hope for change in many years.

“I don’t think it is going to be easy, but we see a chance that we haven’t seen in a long time to have a different path forward on nuclear weapons,” said Stephen Miles, director of Win Without War, an antiwar group. “There isn’t enough money available for the wild plans we had before, let alone Trump’s new objectives.”

Iran Nuclear Horn Promises Ominous Consequences (Daniel 8:4)

Iran Nuclear Chief to EU: ‘Ominous’ Consequences If Deal Breaks Down

Monday, 26 Nov 2018 6:39 AM

Iran’s nuclear chief warned the European Union of ominous consequences on Monday if it did not follow through with action to keep the economic benefits of the 2015 nuclear agreement alive.

The EU hosted the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, at a seminar on nuclear cooperation aimed at showing its continuing support for the deal after U.S. sanctions targeting Iranian oil exports resumed this month.

The EU and other remaining signatories to the accord hope to convince Tehran to respect the curbs that the deal placed on its nuclear program even though Washington has pulled out, depriving Iran of many of the economic benefits.

“If words are not turned into deeds, then … it is very ominous, the situation would be unpredictable,” Salehi told reporters at the conference.

Salehi, however, said he believed the EU was “doing its best” and was on its way to delivering on its promises.

EU efforts to salvage trade relations with Tehran, including by establishing a special mechanism for non-dollar transactions, have been floundering.

The Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) would act as a kind of clearing house that could be used to help match Iranian oil and gas exports against purchases of EU goods in an effective barter arrangement. However, no EU country has come forward as a potential host – delaying the plans.

“Nobody should have any doubt on the level of political ambition and determination by the member states involved, in particular France, Germany and the United Kingdom to swiftly operationalise the SPV,” Europe’s Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said at a joint news briefing.

“This is a hugely complex and unique undertaking, technical work has been advancing over the last days and weeks.”

© 2018 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved

Hospitals Overwhelmed by Nations Trampling (Revelation 11:2)

FILE – In this Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, file, photo, a Palestinian receives medical attention in a hospital after being injured during a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, east of Gaza City. A medical aid group says Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018 that the vast number of patients treated for gunshot wounds from months of violent border protests have overwhelmed Gaza’s health care system. Doctors Without Borders says that thousands are in danger of infection and disability because Gaza hospitals cannot adequately treat them. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

Aid group: Gaza hospitals overwhelmed by wounded in violence

Associated Press

November 29, 2018, 9:52 AM GMT

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A medical aid group says the vast number of patients treated for gunshot wounds from months of violent border protests have overwhelmed Gaza’s health care system.

Doctors Without Borders says that thousands are in danger of infection and disability because Gaza hospitals cannot adequately treat them.

Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers have been organizing weekly border protests since March in which demonstrators approach the border fence, throwing firebombs at Israeli troops and burning tires.

Israeli snipers have killed about 170 people and wounded thousands.

MSF, as the aid group is known after its French acronym, says most of the 3,000 patients it has treated were shot in the legs, with about a quarter suffering from infections. If left untreated, they can lead to lifelong disabilities or limb amputations.

Antichrist demands swift government formation

Iraqi cleric Moqtada Al Sadr. Reuters.

Sadr demands swift government formation, urging fresh nominations for key posts

Parliament postpones vote on key ministerial portfolios until next Tuesday

Mina Aldroubi

Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr called on Tuesday for the swift formation of a government, following a turbulent month of widening political rifts over key ministerial posts.

Lawmakers last month confirmed 14 out of the 22 posts that Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi initially presented. Yet, eight ministers, including the key defence and interior posts, remain vacant.

Parliament was initially set to vote on the remaining ministers earlier this month but the vote was continuously delayed due to disagreements over nominees.

Mr Al Sadr said that he will not approve any candidate that is affiliated to the country’s political elite.

“I urge the prime minister to quickly fill the cabinet posts that are still vacant, except for the defence and interior position,” the cleric said on Twitter.

The cleric said that he will only support independent candidates for the key posts. He proposed that the premier must choose military candidates who led Iraq’s three-year battle against ISIS.

Earlier reports had suggested that Mr Al Sadr has pressured the parliament to postpone its vote due to internal differences over who should be selected.

“I am not the cause for the delay of the cabinet formation but of its postponement,” Mr Al Sadr said.

The influential cleric’s statement comes as Iraq’s parliament delayed a session initially scheduled for Tuesday, November 27, until next week to approve the remaining eight candidates for Mr Abdul Mahdi’s cabinet.

The premier was appointed to his position in early October to form a ‘technocratic’ cabinet but political jockeying has intensified in recent weeks as competing regional patrons vie for influence.

Parliament’s session is officially postponed to next Tuesday.

“This is a bad start for the prime minister, which proves his weakness,” Sarkawt Shams, an MP in Baghdad for the New Generation party said on Twitter.

Sunni groups in parliament are not agreeing on which candidate to nominate for the post of defence minister.

Meanwhile, Mr Al Sadr has rejected the premier’s nomination of Falah Al Fayyad, former national security adviser, for the post of interior minister.

“We are seeing a situation where the premier has promised a technocratic government that wasn’t going to be beholden to political party leaders and yet he has put in names such as Fuad Hussein as minister of finance and others which is seen as a problem,” Michael Rubin, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute told The National.

“The way that horse trading occurs in Iraqi politics is there no accountability for party leaders because it’s the same leaders that distribute the patronage,” Mr Rubin said.

Mr Abdel Mahdi’s new government will not only deal with the daunting task of rebuilding the war-torn country after a devastating war against ISIS, but he will need to solve the country’s economic crisis, power and water shortages as well as tackle unemployment.

An attempt to heal ethnic and sectarian tensions will also be challenging for Mr Abdul Mahdi.

The Fight With Hamas Outside The Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

The Only Effective Option for Stopping Hamas Is Off the Table—For Now

NOV. 27 2018

By the time the second intifada began in 2001, Hamas and Fatah had built up a powerful terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank; only by reoccupying the territory did Israel succeed in putting an end to Palestinian attacks. Likewise, argues Evelyn Gordon, the only way to end Hamas’s rocket fire and other attacks would be to reoccupy the Gaza Strip—at a price that few Israelis today are willing to pay:

[Reoccupying] Gaza would have very high costs—in soldiers’ lives, in international opprobrium, and possibly in saddling Israel with responsibility for Gaza’s civilian problems. . . . No democracy could undertake such a costly plan without widespread public support, but especially not Israel, because any major military operation requires a massive call-up of reservists, and Israeli reservists tend to vote with their feet. They’ll show up in droves for an operation with broad support, but an operation widely considered unjustified will spark major protests. . . .

But with the option of reoccupying Gaza unavailable, the two main options left are both short-term fixes. One is a smaller-scale military operation. The last such operation, in 2014, bought Israel’s south three-and-a-half years of almost total quiet, but at a price (for Israel) of 72 dead and massive international opprobrium. Another such operation might buy a similar period of calm, but at a similar or even higher cost. And it would have to be repeated again in another few years, by which time Hamas may be better armed and capable of exacting an even higher price.

The second option, which [Prime Minister] Netanyahu evidently favors, is to negotiate a long-term ceasefire. This might buy a similar period of quiet, though since it hasn’t been tried before, there’s no guarantee. And it has several obvious advantages: no deaths, no international opprobrium, and most likely, greater support within Israel (though, judging by past experience, not abroad) for a more forceful response once the ceasefire collapses, as it will at some point.

But this option also has some obvious downsides. First, it’s devastating to Israeli deterrence, since it shows that firing rockets is a good way to get Israel to capitulate to your demands. Second, it ensures that when the inevitable next round arrives, Hamas will be able to inflict much more damage than it could today. . . . Either of these options would only postpone the inevitable: barring a miracle, Hamas will eventually become overconfident and cause Israel enough anguish to provoke it to reoccupy Gaza.

The Danger of the Merchant of Merchants (Revelation 16)

America’s greatest danger: Nuclear war decision-making by Donald Trump

GREG NASH

BY LOUIS RENÉ BERES, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR

An inappropriate or irrational nuclear command decision by President Donald Trump is plainly conceivable. Nothing accurate can ever be said about the true probability of such a scenario, but it is not an unfounded worry.

Might this American president become subject to various forms of psychological debility? On 14 March 1976, in response to my specific query, I received a letter from General (USA/ret.) Maxwell Taylor, a former Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, concerning nuclear risks of U.S. presidential decisional irrationality. Most noteworthy, in this handwritten response, is the straightforward warning contained in the closing paragraph. Ideally, cautioned Taylor, presidential irrationality is a problem that should be dealt with during an election, and not later on: “As to dangers arising from an irrational American president, the best protection is not to elect one.”

There are assorted structural protections built into any presidential order to use nuclear weapons, including substantial redundancy. Nonetheless, virtually all of these reassuring and mutually reinforcing safeguards could become operative only at the lower or sub-presidential nuclear command levels.

The safeguards do not apply to the Commander-in-Chief.

This means there likely exist no permissible legal grounds to disobey any presidential order to use nuclear weapons. In principle, certain very senior individuals in the designated military chain of command could sometime choose to invoke applicable “Nuremberg Obligations,” but any such last-minute invocation would almost surely need to yield to considerations of U.S. domestic law.

Should an American president operating within a bewildering chaos of his own making 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 Adviser, and several possible others to effectively obstruct this order would be illegal “on its face.” Under the very best of circumstances, such informal safeguards might somehow manage to work for a time, but accepting the unrealistic assumption of “best case scenario” is hardly a rational or sensible path to nuclear security.

It follows that we Americans ought to ask for more predictable and promising institutional impediments to any debilitated president.

The United States is already navigating in uncharted waters.

While President Kennedy did engage in personal nuclear brinkmanship with the Soviet Union back in October 1962, he had calculated his own odds of a consequent nuclear war as “between one out of three and even.” This seemingly precise calculation, corroborated both by JFK biographer Theodore Sorensen, and by my own later private conversations with former JCS Chair Admiral Arleigh Burke (my colleague and roommate at the Naval Academy’s Foreign Affairs Conference of 1977) suggests that President Kennedy was either irrational in imposing his Cuban “quarantine” or that he was wittingly acting out certain untested principles of “pretended irrationality.”

JFK operated with serious and manifestly capable strategic advisors.

The most urgent threat of a mistaken or irrational 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 uncontrollable escalatory process. Back in 1962, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev “blinked” early on in the “game,” thereby preventing mutual and irrecoverable nuclear harms. Now, however, any escalatory initiatives undertaken by President Trump could express very unstable decision-making processes.

Donald Trump should understand the unprecedented risks of being locked into an escalatory dynamic. Although this president might be well advised to seek escalation dominance in selected crisis negotiations with determined adversaries, he would also need to avoid catastrophic miscalculations.

Whether we like it or not, and at one time or another, nuclear strategy is a bewildering game that President Donald Trump will have to play. To best ensure that this easily-distracted president’s strategic moves will be rational, thoughtful, and cumulatively 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 appropriate nuclear command positions should immediately prepare to assume more broadly collaborative and secure judgments in extremis atomicum.

The only time for clarifying such indispensable preparations is now.

Louis René Beres, Ph.D. Princeton, is emeritus professor of international law at Purdue University. He is the author of 12 books and several hundred articles dealing with nuclear strategy and nuclear war. His newest book is “Surviving Amid Chaos: Israel’s Nuclear Strategy” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016; 2nd ed. 2018)