NATO Prepares for the Nuclear Bowls of Wrath (Revelation 16)

A War Game Was NATO’s First Glimpse Into How a Nuclear War Would Be Hell

Throughout the Cold War, the prospect of nuclear war hung over Europe like a recurring nightmare. But in the early years of the Atomic Age, most people only dimly understood the consequences of tactical nuclear war. It wasn’t until nearly a decade into the superpower contest that Europe’s nightmare gained a vivid, terrifying clarity.

That clarity came from Carte Blanche, NATO’s first major exercise to simulate what a nuclear exchange with the Soviets on the continent would look like.

When officials finally tallied the numbers, the theoretical war’s toll on Germany included 1.7 million dead and 3.5 million wounded — killing more people in a matter of hours than strategic bombing had taken during the entirety of World War II.

The results of exercise shocked and horrified citizens in NATO countries, especially in West Germany — ground zero for any war with the Soviets, and alarmed their leadership. For years afterward, Carte Blanche shaped attitudes toward nuclear weapons and their role in defense of Europe.

After the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the world broadly understood that nuclear weapons possessed unprecedented destructive power. But a grasp of weapons’ specific impact — especially that of smaller, tactical nukes — was more elusive.

That was especially true for America’s NATO allies, which lacked both nuclear weapons of their own and the kind of detailed understanding of their capabilities and effects that came from development and ownership of the weapons. The development of tactical nuclear weapons and strategy drove the need to game out what a nuclear war might look like.

Tactical nukes packed a smaller yield than their larger strategic cousins. The logic behind using them held that the weapons were large enough to offset NATO’s disadvantage against the conventionally superior Soviet forces.

Though using them would be a form of nuclear war, they were — in theory — small enough to help contain a war to a single, local theater such as Europe, without the combatants having to resort to a globe-spanning exchange of larger, strategic weapons.

In 1954, NATO officially approved the use of tactical nuclear weapons in its defense. “It is militarily essential that NATO forces should be able to use atomic and thermonuclear weapons in their defense,” the alliance’s “MC 48” decision stated.

If the alliance was going to contemplate the use of tactical nuclear weapons, it also had to conduct exercises simulating their use … in order to understand the effects and NATO’s strengths and weakness on the atomic battlefield.

That same year, the allies had already practiced a more limited nuclear engagement during Battle Royal, which had simulated the detonations of just 10 atomic shells against a theoretical Soviet tank division.

Carte Blanche, however, was a much larger affair — and more commensurate with the scale of a likely war with the Soviets. Eleven countries participated, conducting over 12,000 aerial sorties deploying more than 300 fictional nuclear weapons.

Carte Blanche recycled Battle Royal’s anodyne characterization of the stand-ins for NATO and Communist forces. “Southland,” headquartered in Trier and played by American, Canadian and French forces, assumed the role of NATO forces. The Fourth Allied Tactical Air Force provided air support along with the U.S. Sixth Fleet based in the Mediterranean and the 49th Air Division.

Belgian, British and Dutch forces took up the mantle of Northland, the Soviet aggressor in the exercise, headquartered in Mönchengladbach and supported by the Second Allied Tactical Air Force.

The exercise was mostly an air war, spread out over six days in the summer of 1955. Organizers distributed roughly 2,500 planes between the sides, giving the pretend Soviets slightly more aircraft.

Exercise referees moderated the pace of the conflict, telling air base inhabitants when they’d been hit by a nuclear bomb, the distance it had landed from them and the damage it had done.

British Air Commodore Peter Wykeham-Barnes, Chief of Staff of Allied Air Forces in Europe, briefed the press on the results of Carte Blanch. Tactical nuclear war, Wykeham-Barnes concluded, favored the aggressor — in this case, the mock-Soviets of Northland.

Nonetheless, “in an all-out atomic war, there would be no winners and no losers and little left to assess,” he said. Any similar conflict would be “short and horrible.”

Someone leaked details to West Germany’s Der Spiegel newspaper. According to the leaked info, targets in West Germany had borne the theoretical brunt of the exercise, with 268 of the 335 mock nuclear weapons detonating inside the country.

Exercise officials calculated 1.7 million dead.

The public was understandably frightened … and outraged. Polls showed increases in domestic opposition to nuclear weapons.

Writing shortly after the exercise, Henry Kissinger — then still an academic — concluded that Carte Blanche had become “a demonstration that the power of nuclear weapons inhibits their use unless there exists a doctrine which poses alternatives less stark than total devastation.”

Though NATO anxiety was high after its first up-close glimpse of nuclear war, Carte Blanche did not undo the overall consensus on the need for tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.

But it did compel countries including West Germany to push for a greater say in NATO’s nuclear strategy, resulting in greater U.S. consultation with its allies in the form of NATO’s Nuclear Planning Group.

This article by Adam Rawnsley originally appeared at War is Boring in 2015.

Iran is Nuclear Ready (Daniel 8:4)

Iran ‘Has the Formula’ for Nuclear Bombs, Says Hardline Cleric

February 11, 2019 8:30 PM

RFE/RL’s Radio Farda

FILE – Iranian senior cleric Ahmad Khatami delivers his sermon during Friday prayers, in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 5, 2018.

The Friday Prayer Imam of Tehran and influential conservative cleric Ahmad Khatami has said that Iran “has the formula for building a nuclear bomb.”

IRNA reports that during a mourning ceremony in Mashhad on February 9 Khatami has announced, “Iran never had the intention to build an atomic bomb. Of course we have the formula but we do not want to use weapons of mass destruction.”

Iranian officials have always denied any move toward building nuclear weapons. On this occasion, Khatami did not elaborate about Tehran having “the formula.”

Khatami is seen in Iran as a staunch supporter of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who usually repeats or echoes his hardline positions.

Three years ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency head Yukiya Amano reported that prior to 2003 and until 2009 Iran did engage in activities toward developing the know-how for nuclear explosions.

Iran has been able to enrich uranium to 20 percent, which is relatively easy to enrich further to more than the 90 percent needed for a nuclear bomb.

On Sunday, Khatami continued to speak about nuclear and military power, saying that the U.S. was able to contain the development of Iran’s nuclear power and now ballistic missiles are the only thing left for Iran.

Khatami also admitted that U.S. sanctions have led to hardship for the people and tried to argue that Khamenei’s initiatives to deal with the economic crisis has helped prevent a much worse outcome.

The ‘Nationalism’ of Babylon the Great

Scarier Than a Neoconserative

John Bolton, the new national security advisor, is a radical nationalist—and has the skills to make Trump’s foreign policy fantasies a reality.

Jeet HeerMarch 23, 2018

America’s foreign policy is even more unstable now that President Donald Trump has fired national security adviser H. R. McMaster and replaced him with John Bolton. “There are few people more likely than Mr. Bolton is to lead the country into war,” The New York Times’ editorial board wrote. “His selection is a decision that is as alarming as any Mr. Trump has made so far.” Slate columnist Fred Kaplan was more blunt. “It’s time to push the panic button,” he argued. “John Bolton’s appointment as national security adviser—a post that requires no Senate confirmation—puts the United States on a path to war. And it’s fair to say President Donald Trump wants us on that path.” One European official told Reuters, “Any moderating factor in White House foreign policy is being lost. We hoped the ‘adults in the room’ would win over Trump, but now the adults are leaving.”

There’s no denying that Bolton, who served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, is an advocate of a belligerent foreign policy, but there is dispute about how to describe his worldview. Because of his work in the Bush administration, many were quick to label him a neoconservative, the faction that promoted regime change in Iraq in the name of democracy promotion. But that’s inaccurate. Bolton is far too extreme to be a neoconservative.

Historian Kai Bird, the author of a joint biography of foreign policy experts George Bundy and William Bundy (who served in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations), tweeted:

Washington Post reporter Josh Rogin rejected the neocon label, arguing that Bolton is really a “conservative hawk.”

BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith added to the confusion by first suggesting that Bolton was a paleoconservative and then amending his description to say that Bolton was “a nationalist with teeth.”

So what is John Bolton: a neocon, paleocon, conservative hawk, or nationalist? These terms are thrown around so loosely that it’s difficult to make sense of them. But it’s clarifying to place Bolton within the broader framework of Republican foreign policy.

Since the Vietnam War, the GOP has had three major foreign policy wings: prudential realists, neoconservatives, and radical nationalists. The prudential realists (best exemplified by George H.W. Bush and his national security advisor, Brent Scowcroft) believe in using American power within a system of international institutions to promote a narrow agenda of maintaining global hegemony. Neoconservatives, best exemplified by figures like Paul Wolfowitz, believe that American global hegemony is best maintained by democracy promotion, which sometimes includes the flouting of international norms (as with the invasion of Iraq in 2003). Radical nationalists, such as Barry Goldwater and, in more recent years, Jesse Helms and Dick Cheney, share the neoconservative disdain for international institutions but have no real interest in democracy promotion. Rather, they advocate a raw assertion of American power for the sake of maintaining global hegemony.

Neoconservatives are often scapegoated for the Iraq war, but in fact it was the result of an alliance between neocons and radical nationalists, who sidelined the prudential realists who were wary of the war. Bolton is a radical nationalist.

“Like his neoconservative counterparts at the Pentagon, he believes that, absent the robust assertion of U.S. power, a fundamentally Hobbesian international scene will erode,” Lawrence Kaplan observed in a 2004 New Republic profile of Bolton. “Unlike them, he does not believe the spread of American ideals can ameliorate this condition.” Kaplan accurately noted that Bolton’s approach to foreign policy has “echoes of the postwar conservatism of the early National Review, of Barry Goldwater (who Bolton campaigned for), of Jesse Helms—who once boasted, ‘John Bolton is the kind of man with whom I would stand at Armageddon.’”

The fact that Bolton is a radical nationalist rather than a neoconservative puts him in closer alignment with his new boss. Trump has no deep foreign policy knowledge, but his instincts are hyper-nationalist. He has little use for alliances and sees all other nations as trying to take advantage of the United States.

That’s exactly the approach that Bolton took when he was the ambassador to the U.N. “At the United Nations, Bolton demonstrated a profoundly zero-sum view of international relations,” Mark Leon Goldberg reported in The Daily Beast. “Other countries’ gains—no matter how insignificant—were ipso-facto America’s losses. This upended traditional alliances at the U.N. Typically, the United States and its European allies would band together in negotiations that reflected common interests. But Bolton was never willing to give an inch and accept the kinds of tradeoffs proposed by American allies.”

According to Bolton, Joe Biden once described him as “too competent.” That Bolton shares Trump’s worldview, but has a genuine command of the details of policy and international relations, could lead to a U.S. foreign policy that exactly mirrors the president’s gut instincts. That could mean a preemptive strike on North Korea, encouraging nuclear proliferation in Asia, and growing alliances with strongmen like the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte. It could also mean war with Iran. Who knows? But with Bolton as the new national security advisor, this much is clear: We’re about to learn what a Trumpian foreign policy really looks like.

Iraq Angered by Trump Speaking the Truth

Iraq angered by Trump idea to watch Iran from US base

February 18, 2019

Iraq‘s President Barham Saleh has rebuked Donald Trump over his comments that he wanted to maintain a US military presence there to watch Iran.

Mr Trump told CBS on Sunday he intended to keep an “incredible” base being used by US troops to combat the jihadist group Islamic State “because I want to be looking a little bit at Iran”.

Mr Saleh said on Monday that the US had not asked Iraq‘s permission to do so.

It should stick to fighting terrorism and not pursue other agendas, he added.

There are an estimated 5,000 US military personnel in Iraq authorised to train, advise and assist Iraqi security forces in their fight against IS, which has not fully controlled any territory in the country for more than a year.

In the CBS interview to support a Kurdish-led militia alliance seeking to capture the last pocket of IS territory there.

He said the troops would soon be moving to the huge Al Asad Airbase in Iraq‘s Anbar province and that their new tasks would include protecting Israel and keeping an eye on Iran, which his administration has accused of being the world‘s leading state sponsor of terrorism and of wanting to acquire nuclear weapons.

“We spent a fortune on building this incredible base. We might as well keep it,” he said. “And one of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem.”

When asked if the troops stationed in Iraq could be used to strike Iran, Mr Trump responded: “All I want to do is be able to watch.”

He added: “If there‘s trouble, if somebody is looking to do nuclear weapons or other things, we‘re going to know it before they do.”

However, the remarks caused a stir in Iraq, which is a close ally of Iran.

“Don‘t overburden Iraq with your own issues,” President Saleh told a forum in Baghdad on Monday. “The US is a major power… but do not pursue your own policy priorities. We live here.”

Mr Saleh noted that under 2008 US-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement, Washington had agreed not to use Iraq “as a launching or transit point for attacks against other countries”.

He added: “Any action taken outside this framework is unacceptable.”

The ‘s Paul Adams says this poses a problem for the government in Baghdad and could complicate delicate negotiations over US use of the Al Asad Airbase.

Those negotiations, he adds, have been based on the premise that Al Asad would be used to continue the fight against IS. It is something Mr Trump referred to when he visited the base in December.

But our correspondent says the US president‘s latest references to Iran and the need to protect Israel point to a very different set of priorities, which is causing unease in Baghdad.

Iraqi politicians allied to Iran or the influential Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr, a long-time adversary of the US who also opposes Iranian influence in Iraq, have for weeks been calling on the government to remove of all foreign troops from the country.

The Sixth Seal: More Than Just Manhattan (Revelation 6:12)

New York, NY – In a Quake, Brooklyn Would Shake More Than Manhattan

By Brooklyn Eagle

New York, NY – The last big earthquake in the New York City area, centered in New York Harbor just south of Rockaway, took place in 1884 and registered 5.2 on the Richter Scale.Another earthquake of this size can be expected and could be quite damaging, says Dr. Won-Young Kim, senior research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.

And Brooklyn, resting on sediment, would shake more than Manhattan, built on solid rock. “There would be more shaking and more damage,” Dr. Kim told the Brooklyn Eagle on Wednesday.

If an earthquake of a similar magnitude were to happen today near Brooklyn, “Many chimneys would topple. Poorly maintained buildings would fall down – some buildings are falling down now even without any shaking. People would not be hit by collapsing buildings, but they would be hit by falling debris. We need to get some of these buildings fixed,” he said.

But a 5.2 is “not comparable to Haiti,” he said. “That was huge.” Haiti’s devastating earthquake measured 7.0.

Brooklyn has a different environment than Haiti, and that makes all the difference, he said. Haiti is situated near tectonic plate.

“The Caribbean plate is moving to the east, while the North American plate is moving towards the west. They move about 20 mm – slightly less than an inch – every year.” The plates are sliding past each other, and the movement is not smooth, leading to jolts, he said.

While we don’t have the opportunity for a large jolt in Brooklyn, we do have small, frequent quakes of a magnitude of 2 or 3 on the Richter Scale. In 2001 alone the city experienced two quakes: one in January, measuring 2.4, and one in October, measuring 2.6. The October quake, occurring soon after Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, “caused a lot of panic,” Dr. Kim said.

“People ask me, ‘Should I get earthquake insurance?’ I tell them no, earthquake insurance is expensive. Instead, use that money to fix chimneys and other things. Rather than panicky preparations, use common sense to make things better.”

Secure bookcases to the wall and make sure hanging furniture does not fall down, Dr. Kim said. “If you have antique porcelains or dishes, make sure they’re safely stored. In California, everything is anchored to the ground.”

While a small earthquake in Brooklyn may cause panic, “In California, a quake of magnitude 2 is called a micro-quake,” he added.

Palestinians Quarantined Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

The Gaza Strip as an ‘international quarantine zone’ | The Jerusalem post

By EDY COHEN

Palestinian riots in the Beit Hanoun area of the Gaza Strip.. (photo credit:” KOBI RICHTER/TPS)

In the summer of 2005, the Israeli government, headed by PM Ariel Sharon, unilaterally disengaged from Gaza, removing thousands of Israeli residents from their homes in the Strip and transferring them to Israeli territory.

This move, which was highly controversial in view of the lack of any reciprocity from Israel’s official “peace partner,” the Palestinian Authority, was designed to bring calm to Israel’s southern border. Instead, it ushered in a sweeping victory for Hamas in the January 2006 elections, as the group was widely seen as the catalyst to the Israeli withdrawal.

Within a year and a half, Hamas had seized total power in the Strip and evicted the PA. In the decade that followed, Gaza became an indestructible terrorist stronghold. It fired thousands of missiles and rockets on Israeli towns and villages all the way to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, forcing the IDF to carry out three large-scale armed campaigns against Hamas (in 2008-9, 2012, and 2014). None resulted in a clear decision.

Since the end of March 2018, Hamas has adopted a new strategy of violent struggle involving mass weekly riots along the border fence with Israel, which have included sabotaging the fence, planting explosive devices, throwing hand grenades, and making violent attempts to breach the fence with a view to reaching villages on the Israeli side of the border and carrying out acts of terror there. In the spring and summer of 2018, vast tracts of land in southern Israel were burned by incendiary kites and balloons, which were often launched by children and teenagers so as to avoid retaliatory Israeli strikes.

Israeli attempts to contain the escalating violence through a long-term arrangement with Hamas were met with partial success, punctured by several short escalations in which Hamas fired hundreds of missiles at civilian targets in Israel. On November 13 alone, the terror group fired more than 460 rockets and missiles, with Israel responding with dozens of airstrikes on Gaza targets (while seeking to avoid any casualties, including among Hamas terrorists).

Under these circumstances, and given the irreconcilable enmity between Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas’s PA (which is doing its utmost to lock Israel and Hamas into full-scale war), the Israeli government needs to think outside the box. It is time to take an unconventional and bold step to break the stalemate and advance a fundamental solution to the Gaza predicament.

I PROPOSE that that step be the following:

Gaza should be proclaimed an “International Quarantine Zone” for 40 days, with that status automatically renewed every 40 days. All Israeli border crossings to the Strip should be immediately closed, and the Egyptian border crossing in Rafah should become the sole point of entry into Gaza for goods, food and medications.

Responsibility for the Strip will thus be transferred to the UN and the Arab League, which has done practically nothing for the Palestinian cause since its establishment in 1945. Through Egypt’s good offices and Arab oil funding, these two organizations can strive to ensure the economic wellbeing of the Gaza population and pave the way for the return of the PA and the end of Hamas rule in the Strip.

This would hardly be the first political use of the international quarantine institution, which is a foreign policy tool designated by international law. President Franklin Roosevelt proposed in his famous “quarantine speech” of October 5, 1937, to subject the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan) to international quarantine. President Kennedy imposed a naval blockade on Cuba during the October 1962 missile crisis, and the UN imposed an economic quarantine on Iraq on August 6, 1990, following its brutal invasion of Kuwait.

There is little doubt that Hamas, the PA, the Arab League, and probably some Western states will oppose the idea. Yet, Israel must do its utmost to obtain US backing for the initiative, while responding forcefully and resolutely to all acts of Palestinian violence and terrorism. The object is to underscore the finality and irrevocability of Israel’s disengagement from Gaza as the only way to secure both the Strip’s recovery from its long malaise and the resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian political dialogue on a new track.

Published first at BESA.

The writer is a researcher at the BESA Center and author of the book The Holocaust in the Eyes of Mahmoud Abbas (Hebrew).