Sixth Seal: New York City (Revelation 6:12)

(Source: US Geological Survey)

New York State Geological Survey

Damaging earthquakes have occurred in New York and surely will again. The likelihood of a damaging earthquake in New York is small overall but the possibility is higher in the northern part of the state and in the New York City region.Significant earthquakes, both located in Rockaway and larger than magnitude 5, shook New York City in 1737 and 1884. The quakes were 147 years apart and the most recent was 122 year ago. It is likely that another earthquake of the same size will occur in that area in the next 25 to 50 years. A magnitude 5.8 earthquake in New York City would probably not cause great loss of life. However the damage to infrastructure – buildings, steam and gas lines, water mains, electric and fiber optic cable – could be extensive.

Earthquake Hazard Map of New York State

Acceleration of the ground during an earthquake is more important than total movement in causing structural damage. This map shows the two-percent probability of the occurrence of an earthquake that exceeds the acceleration of earth’s gravity by a certain percentage in the next fifty years.

If a person stands on a rug and the rug pulled slowly, the person will maintain balance and will not fall. But if the rug is jerked quickly, the person will topple. The same principle is true for building damage during an earthquake. Structural damage is caused more by the acceleration of the ground than by the distance the ground moves.

Earthquake hazard maps show the probability that the ground will move at a certain rate, measured as a percentage of earth’s gravity, during a particular time. Motion of one or two percent of gravity will rattle windows, doors, and dishes. Acceleration of ten to twenty percent of gravity will cause structural damage to buildings. It takes more than one hundred percent of gravity to throw objects into the air.

How Babylon the Great Will Lose the War

How the War Party Lost the Middle East

“Assad must go, Obama says.”

So read the headline in The Washington Post, Aug. 18, 2011.

The story quoted President Barack Obama directly:

“The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. … the time has come for President Assad to step aside.”

France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and Britain’s David Cameron signed on to the Obama ultimatum: Assad must go!

Seven years and 500,000 dead Syrians later, it is Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron who are gone. Assad still rules in Damascus, and the 2,000 Americans in Syria are coming home. Soon, says President Donald Trump.

But we cannot “leave now,” insists Sen. Lindsey Graham, or “the Kurds are going to get slaughtered.”

Question: Who plunged us into a Syrian civil war, and so managed our intervention that were we to go home after seven years our enemies will be victorious and our allies will “get slaughtered”?

Seventeen years ago, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to oust the Taliban for granting sanctuary to al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden.

U.S. diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad is today negotiating for peace talks with that same Taliban. Yet, according to former CIA director Mike Morell, writing in The Washington Post today, the “remnants of al-Qaeda work closely” with today’s Taliban.

It would appear that 17 years of fighting in Afghanistan has left us with these alternatives: Stay there, and fight a forever war to keep the Taliban out of Kabul, or withdraw and let the Taliban overrun the place.

Who got us into this debacle?

After Trump flew into Iraq over Christmas but failed to meet with its president, the Iraqi Parliament, calling this a “U.S. disregard for other nations’ sovereignty” and a national insult, began debating whether to expel the 5,000 U.S. troops still in their country.

George W. Bush launched Operation Iraq Freedom to strip Saddam Hussein of WMD he did not have and to convert Iraq into a democracy and Western bastion in the Arab and Islamic world.

Fifteen years later, Iraqis are debating our expulsion.

Muqtada al-Sadr, the cleric with American blood on his hands from the fighting of a decade ago, is leading the charge to have us booted out. He heads the party with the largest number of members in the parliament.

Consider Yemen. For three years, the U.S. has supported with planes, precision-guided munitions, air-to-air refueling and targeting information, a Saudi war on Houthi rebels that degenerated into one of the worst humanitarian disasters of the 21st century.

Belatedly, Congress is moving to cut off U.S. support for this war. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, its architect, has been condemned by Congress for complicity in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate in Istanbul. And the U.S. is seeking a truce in the fighting.

Who got us into this war? And what have years of killing Yemenis, in which we have been collaborators, done to make Americans safer?

Consider Libya. In 2011, the U.S. attacked the forces of dictator Moammar Gadhafi and helped to effect his ouster, which led to his murder.

Told of news reports of Gadhafi’s death, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joked, “We came, we saw, he died.”

The Libyan conflict has since produced tens of thousands of dead. The output of Libya’s crucial oil industry has collapsed to a fraction of what it was. In 2016, Obama said that not preparing for a post-Gadhafi Libya was probably the “worst mistake” of his presidency.

The price of all these interventions for the United States?

Some 7,000 dead, 40,000 wounded and trillions of dollars.

For the Arab and Muslim world, the cost has been far greater. Hundreds of thousands of dead in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Libya, civilian and soldier alike, pogroms against Christians, massacres, and millions uprooted and driven from their homes.

How has all this invading, bombing and killing made the Middle East a better place or Americans more secure? One May 2018 poll of young people in the Middle East and North Africa found that more of them felt that Russia was a closer partner than was the United States of America.

The fruits of American intervention?

We are told ISIS is not dead but alive in the hearts of tens of thousands of Muslims, that if we leave Syria and Afghanistan, our enemies will take over and our friends will be massacred, and that if we stop helping Saudis and Emiratis kill Houthis in Yemen, Iran will notch a victory.

In his decision to leave Syria and withdraw half of the 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, Trump enraged our foreign policy elites, though millions of Americans cannot get out of there soon enough.

In Monday’s editorial celebrating major figures of foreign policy in the past half-century, The New York Times wrote, “As these leaders pass from the scene, it will be left to a new generation to find a way forward from the wreckage Mr. Trump has already created.”

Correction: Make that “the wreckage Mr. Trump inherited.”

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.” To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at http://www.creators.com.

India’s Nuclear Arsenal Before the First Nuclear War


India has 130 to 140 nuclear warheads—and more are coming, according to a new report.

“India is estimated to have produced enough military plutonium for 150 to 200 nuclear warheads, but has likely produced only 130 to 140,” according to Hans Kristensen and Matt Korda of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists. “Nonetheless, additional plutonium will be required to produce warheads for missiles now under development, and India is reportedly building several new plutonium production facilities.”

In addition, “India continues to modernize its nuclear arsenal, with at least five new weapon systems now under development to complement or replace existing nuclear-capable aircraft, land-based delivery systems, and sea-based systems.”

Unlike the missile-centric U.S. and Russian nuclear forces, India still heavily relies on bombers, perhaps not unexpected for a nation that fielded its first nuclear-capable ballistic missile in 2003. Kristensen and Korda estimate India maintains three or four nuclear strike squadrons of Cold War-vintage, French-made Mirage 2000H and Jaguar IS/IB aircraft targeted at Pakistan and China.

“Despite the upgrades, the original nuclear bombers are getting old and India is probably searching for a modern fighter-bomber that could potentially take over the air-based nuclear strike role in the future,” the report notes. India is buying thirty-six French Rafale fighters that carry nuclear weapons in French service, and presumably could do for India.

India’s nuclear missile force is only fifteen years old, but it already has four types of land-based ballistic missiles: the short-range Prithvi-II and Agni-I, the medium-range Agni-II and the intermediate-range Agni-III. “At least two other longer-range Agni missiles are under development: the Agni-IV and Agni-V,” says the report. “It remains to be seen how many of these missile types India plans to fully develop and keep in its arsenal. Some may serve as technology development programs toward longer-range missiles.”

“Although the Indian government has made no statements about the future size or composition of its land-based missile force, short-range and redundant missile types could potentially be discontinued, with only medium- and long-range missiles deployed in the future to provide a mix of strike options against near and distant targets,” the report noted.

India is also developing the Nirbhay ground-launched cruise missile, similar to the U.S. Tomahawk. In addition, there is Dhanush sea-based, short-range ballistic missile, which is fired from two specially-configured patrol vessels. The report estimates that India is building three or four nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, which will be equipped with a short-range missile, or a bigger missile with a range of 2,000 miles.

It’s an ambitious program. “The government appears to be planning to field a diverse missile force that will be expensive to maintain and operate,” the report points out.

What remains to be seen is what will be the command and control system to make sure these missiles are fired when—and only when—they should be. And, of course, since Pakistan and China also have nuclear weapons, Indian leaders may find that more nukes only lead to an arms race that paradoxically leaves their nation less secure.

Michael Peck is a contributing writer for the National Interest. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Russia Adds More Nukes to Its Arsenal

Paul SonneNational security reporter focusing on the U.S. military

December 26, 2018

MOSCOW — Russia on Wednesday conducted a final test of a nuclear-capable glider that flies at 20 times the speed of sound, President Vladimir Putin said, adding that the weapon will be included in the country’s arsenal next year.

Putin described the successful test, in which the glider was launched from a site in southwestern Russia toward a target on the Kamchatka Peninsula more than 3,500 miles away, as a “wonderful, perfect New Year’s gift for the country.” The fanfare surrounding the test — it led the TV news, and state media reported that Putin gave the launch order — underscores how central nuclear saber-rattling has become to the Kremlin’s effort to depict Russia as a global superpower for audiences at home and abroad.

The new weapon, dubbed the Avangard, is of a type that the Pentagon has been both working on and worrying about as an arms race emerges among the United States, Russia and China for missiles that can maneuver easily and travel far faster than the speed of sound. There was no immediate independent confirmation of the test.

After being launched by a rocket, a vehicle carrying a potentially nuclear payload detaches and glides back to earth at hypersonic speeds. It is so fast and agile, Putin claimed when he unveiled it in a speech in March, that it will be able to evade missile defenses for years to come.

[Putin claims Russia is developing nuclear arms capable of avoiding missile defenses]

“This is a major event in the life of the armed forces and, perhaps, in the life of the country,” Putin told his cabinet ministers in televised remarks Wednesday. “Russia now has a new kind of strategic weapon.”

The United States is also working on hypersonic missiles, some of them launched from airplanes, although U.S. officials have warned in recent months that the efforts lag behind those of potential adversaries. In recent years, the Pentagon has dramatically increased its budget for such initiatives.

Russia has pointed to U.S. missile defenses to justify the development of hypersonic boost-glide missiles that can carry nuclear weapons. Although the U.S. missile defense system is not designed to take on Russia’s strategic missiles, with a limited number of installations in California and Alaska and a few interceptors in Europe, Moscow has long been unnerved by the prospect of a system that could undermine its nuclear deterrent.

That is one of the rationales for the super-speedy, nimble Avangard. Traditional intercontinental ballistic missiles travel in a predetermined arc and do not maneuver, making them easier to shoot down with missile defense interceptors. American officials have long pointed out that the United States doesn’t have anywhere near the capacity to stop an onslaught of Russia’s vast supply of nuclear missiles.

“Even if the rationale of U.S. missile defense doesn’t hold much logic behind it, Russian leadership continuously thinks about a future where their strategic deterrent is somehow compromised, and this threat concept is rather convenient to justify a host of next generation technology programs, delivery systems and the like,” Michael Kofman, an analyst of the Russian military at CNA Corporation, said in a blog post after Putin’s March speech detailing Russia’s missile plans.

Kofman wrote that even though the documentation Putin unveiled then proved nothing, there was no doubt that a real hypersonic boost-glide vehicle was being tested.

“These are not bluffs,” he wrote. “The question is less whether they can make it work and more of ‘how many can they afford.’ ”

[Putin ally warns of arms race as Russia considers response to U.S. nuclear stance]

Officials in Washington worry that the rise of maneuverable missiles that can strike their targets within seconds will destabilize parts of Europe and Asia, where a leader would have only a few seconds to decide how to respond to an attack.

But for Putin, displays of terrifying new weaponry represent a way to excite Russians who miss the superpower status of the Soviet Union as well an attempt to bring Washington to the negotiating table. Putin has been warning of a new arms race amid fears in Russia that the United States will not renew the New START treaty limiting the two countries’ deployed nuclear warheads, which is set to expire in 2021. President Trump this year announced that the United States will exit a separate Cold War-era treaty limiting short- and intermediate-range nuclear weapons — known as the INF Treaty — because of what Washington says is a Russian violation of it.

On Tuesday, the Tass news agency reported that Russia has started testing a nuclear-propelled, nuclear-capable underwater drone that could theoretically devastate a coastal area such as Manhattan. The drone — named Poseidon following an online vote conducted by the Defense Ministry — was unveiled by Putin alongside the Avangard in his March address.

Sonne reported from Washington.