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

By Brooklyn Eagle

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.

Pakistan’s Tactical Nukes (Daniel 7)

Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. Photo: File

Pakistan has tactical nuclear weapons capable of causing ‘targeted damage’ in India, claims Sheikh Rashid

NANKANA SAHIB: Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad has taken a dig at the recent statements made by Indian officials with regards to New Delhi engaging Islamabad in a ‘limited war’, warning that Pakistan had tactical nuclear weapons capable of causing targeted damage in India.

Talking to the media after inspecting an under-construction railway station building in Nankana Sahib on Sunday, he warned the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi against provoking a nuclear power like Pakistan.

Pakistan has small 125-250 gram atom bombs (tactical nuclear weapons) which may hit (and destroy) a targeted area in India,” Rashid was quoted as saying by Pakistani daily The News.

The comment seemed to refer to recent statements made by Indian officials, including Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, that claimed New Delhi was in the process of reviewing a ‘no first use’ nuclear policy in light of changing circumstances in the sub-continent.

The minister also took a swipe at the Hindu-supremacist views of Indian PM Modi, likening the policies of the incumbent Indian government to the fascist regimes of World War II villains Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Prime Minister Imran Khan has made similar comparisons recently.

“The ideals of Narendra Modi are contradictory to those of [Jawaharlal] Nehru and [Mahatma] Gandhi,” the minister said, and added that bilateral agreements with India stood dissolved after the August 5 decision by the Indian government to illegally annex Indian Occupied Kashmir.

“India has committed two blunders. The first one was conducting atomic explosions with a perception that Pakistan would not follow suit. The second was made on August 5 to scrap the special status of IoK with a view that the people of Kashmir would not react to it,” he said.

The minister also announced that the railway station in Nankana Sahib would be named after Baba Guru Nanak. “The Baba Guru Nanak railway station will play a vital role in religious tourism in Pakistan, according to vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan,” said Rashid.

He also announced that a new train, namely Baba Guru Nanak train, would be started from Lahore to Nankana Sahib soon.

Iran Threatens to Enrich Uranium Further (Daniel 8:4)

Iran warns EU over nuclear commitments as deadline for further steps looms – Reuters

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran said on Monday it would further reduce its commitments under a 2015 nuclear deal if European parties failed to shield Tehran’s economy from sanctions reimposed by the United States after Washington quit the accord last year.

FILE PHOTO: The Iranian flag flutters in front the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

“It is meaningless to continue unilateral commitments to the deal if we don’t enjoy its benefits as promised by the deal’s European parties,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart in Moscow.

Iran has said it will breach the deal’s limits on its nuclear activities one by one, ratcheting up pressure on the countries who still hope to save it.

Tehran has threatened to take further steps by Sept. 6, such as enriching uranium to 20% or restarting mothballed centrifuges, machines that purify uranium for use as fuel in power plants or, if very highly enriched, in weapons.

Tehran is prepared to take a “stronger step” in reducing its commitments under the deal with world powers if European countries don’t take action to save the pact, its foreign ministry’s spokesman said on Monday.

“The third step has been designed and will be stronger than the first and second steps to create balance between Iran’s rights and commitments to the JCPOA,” state news agency IRNA quoted the foreign ministry’s spokesman Abbas Mousavi as saying on Monday.

However, Iran had earlier stressed that these steps are “reversible” if the European signatories of the pact fulfilled their obligations.

President Donald Trump last year exited the accord between Iran and six world powers aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear program, which the West suspected sought to make a nuclear weapon, in exchange for the lifting of many international sanctions on Tehran. Washington has also reimposed sanctions on exports of Iranian oil.

Iran denies ever having sought a nuclear weapon.

Also, Iran’s government spokesman said on Monday that Iran and France’s views on the deal have moved closer, mainly after phone calls between President Hassan Rouhani and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

“Fortunately the points of views have become closer on many issues and now technical discussions are being held on ways to carry out the Europeans’ commitments (in the nuclear deal),” the spokesman, Ali Rabiei, said in remarks carried by state television. He did not go into details.

Two Iranian officials and one diplomat told Reuters on Aug. 25 that Iran wants to export a minimum of 700,000 barrels per day of its oil and ideally up to 1.5 million bpd if the West wants to negotiate with Tehran to save the nuclear deal.

“Iran’s oil should be purchased and its money accessible,” Rabiei said on Monday.

Iran’s oil exports have plummeted because of the U.S. sanctions, which also make it difficult for the country to receive payments through banks.

Reporting by Tuqa Khalid; Additional reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Peter Graff and Hugh Lawson, William Maclean

Iran Plans to Cross the Redline (Daniel 8:4)

Iran’s Payback Plan Targets America

Iraqi leaders of the Popular Mobilization Forces, a group of mostly Shi’ite militias, have put out conflicting statements accusing the United States, Israel and foreign forces of involvement in mysterious explosions that damaged munitions warehouses over the last month. On Wednesday, August 21, the powerful paramilitary leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis said the Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias would hold the United States responsible for recent alleged airstrikes and that the threat came from “four Israeli drones” brought into Iraq via Azerbaijan.

Muhandis is the deputy of the PMF, but he is also the leader of Kata’ib Hezbollah, a militia closely linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The U.S. Treasury in 2009 designated the group a terrorist organization. Muhandis fought alongside the IRGC in the 1980s and is wanted in connection with attacks in Kuwait that took place in the 1980s.

During the last mount for control, explosions destroyed munitions at PMF warehouses in Amerli, Camp Ashraf, Camp Falcon and near Balad Air Force Base. The explosion on August 20 was so large senior Iraqi officials visited the site. Now the Shi’ite militias, who are officially part of the government’s security forces, must figure out how to react. Muhandis statement is the most clear. He holds the United States responsible and asserts exactly how the attacks have happened, alleging Israeli drones transported via Azerbaijan to Iraq with knowledge of the United States. Azerbaijan does not share a border with Iraq. Arabic media reports from Asharq al-Awsat and Al-Ain have alleged that Israel was behind the attacks.

Muhandis has claimed via Facebook and Twitter that the PMF will defend itself and attack any drone flying over PMF bases. However, Faleh al-Fayyadh (Falih Fayyad), the head of the PMF and national security advisor of Iraq, has said that the incident is being investigated. He said on Wednesday that the incidents appear to be linked to an “external force” or foreign forces. Initial investigations, which he did not describe, had concluded this. This is an important distinction. Blaming nebulous “foreign” actors—rather than asserting a link between Israel, the United States and Azerbaijan—shows a more cautious and judicious response. The statement issued by the official PMF illustrates the internal discussions and disagreements within the organization.

This is important because the PMF is made up of several powerful groups, such as the Badr Organization, Kata’ib Hezbollah, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, Kata’ib Imam Ali, and others. These are formed into brigades that were created during the war on the Islamic State. These units were themselves rooted in older militias and groups, some of which had fought the United States and fought against Sunni extremists after 2003. Several senior PMF members have roots going back to the 1980s fighting alongside the IRGC against Saddam Hussein. The PMF has struggled to unite all its brigades, which tend to be linked to political parties, religious structures, and sometimes even tribal or minority groups. For instance, the 30th Brigade in Nineveh plains is made up Shi’ite Shebeks, a minority group. It has refused orders from Baghdad to be redeployed and Baghdad has had to relent on some of its orders after protests by Shebeks closed a road from Mosul to Erbil. The militias therefore appear sometimes independent of federal control, stockpiling their own weapons on their own bases. It is these bases that have now been victims of mysterious explosions, allegedly targeted in airstrikes. These bases may contain small arms, but some are also said to contain missiles and heavier munitions supplied by Iran.

Last year, in August and November, reports emerged that Iran was transferring missiles to the militias in Iraq. A June 2018 airstrike targeted a Kata’ib Hezbollah in Syria next to the Iraqi border. At the time the militia blamed the United States for the attack initially. This shows a long-term agenda by groups like Kata’aib Hezbollah, to oppose the United States in Iraq and Syria. The United States has increased tensions by sanctioning many of the Shi’ite militias in Iraq as terrorist groups—except Badr. In April, the United States sanctioned the entire IRGC, which affects its links to these groups in Iraq. In May, U.S.-Iran tensions increased an rockets and mortars were fired near U.S. forces and the U.S. embassy. The United States accused Iran of prodding its militias to fire them. At the same time many of the militia leaders have called for the United States to leave Iraq.

The recent alleged airstrikes now bring the tension to a new height amid disagreements within the PMF on what to do next. Iraq has wanted to downplay claims that Israel was behind the attacks. But Iraqi members of parliament and militia leaders, like Qais Khazali, want answers. In December 2017, Khazali went to Lebanon and visited the area near Israel’s border. Some Shi’ite militias in Iraq have said they could join a future war alongside Hezbollah against Israel. Now those like Khazali wonder if the conflict is already closer to home.

A timeline of statements by the various groups within the PMF show that after the first incidents in July the groups alternated between denial and blaming foreign actors. U.S. Central Command even put out a statement on July 19 noting that “we are aware of reports of an attack against the Iranians and a Popular Mobilization Force unit in Salah ad-Din. US Forces were not involved.” A member of the State of Law Coalition in Iraq’s parliament accused the United States of being behind the bombing at Camp Amerli that month.

In mid-August, after the explosion at Camp Falcon, Asaib Ahl al-Haq accused Israel of being responsible for the attack. A member of the Fatah Coalition in Iraq’s parliament alleged the United States was responsible. Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba also accused the United States of being behind the mysterious explosions. Iraq’s government sought to allay concerns by adding more strict rules to use of Iraq’s airspace, including by coalition aircraft operating against the Islamic State.

U.S. forces could be targeted in the wake of subsequent incidents. A Lead Inspector General report on Operation Inherent Resolve published in early August noted that the threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq increased in the past quarter between April and June 2019. The OIR spokesman issued a statement in Arabic on August 21 to try to allay concerns in Iraq. It noted that the United States is only involved in Iraq as part of the mission to assist Iraqi Security Forces and to defeat the Islamic State. But the PMF is aware of other statements from the White House in December 2018 that the United States could use Iraq to “watch over Iran.”

The initial reactions from the PMF, whose political allies in parliament make up the second largest parliamentary group as part of the Fatah coalition, show disagreement on whether to blame Israel, the United States or a more general “foreign” actor. The militias that have been designated as terrorists by the United States are more likely to blame the United States as part of a campaign of incitement against U.S. forces that has gone on for years. However, the PMF’s high-level officials appear more reticent, biding their time and seeing how the Iraqi government will respond.

Seth J. Frantzman is a Jerusalem-based journalist who holds a Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the executive director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis and a writing fellow at Middle East Forum. He is the author of After ISIS: America, Iran and the Struggle for the Middle East (forthcoming Gefen Publishing). Follow him on Twitter at @sfrantzman.

Image: Reuters

Antichrists men kill eight Islamic State militants in central Iraq

A Shiite fighter from Saraya al-Salam

Salahuddin ( – Eight Islamic State terrorists were killed Monday in violent confrontations with militias affiliated to Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in central Iraq, a security source said.

Sadrist militias kill eight Islamic State militants in central Iraq

“A force of the 313th brigade of Saraya al-Salam (Peace Brigades) clashed with a number of Islamic State militants in Samaraa city, north of the capital Baghdad, leaving eight terrorists killed,” the source told Iraqi news website Alghad Press.

“The clashes also left two members of Saraya al-Salam dead and two others wounded,” the source added.

In December 2017, Sadr ordered his fighters to hand state-issued weapons back to the government following the country’s defeat of the Islamic State group.

Sadr’s Saraya al-Salam fighters took up arms against the extremist group in 2014 after the fall of Mosul and are officially part of the government-sanctioned Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), also known as al-Hashd al-Shaabi.

Sadr called on his fighters to also hand over parts of the territory they control to Iraq’s security forces, however, he stressed that his fighters would remain present as protectors of a holy Shiite shrine in Samarra, north of Baghdad.

Why do Western analysts ignore Iran’s apocalyptic vision?


Opinion: Do Western analysts ignore Iran’s apocalyptic vision?

September 1, 2019

The Islamist Shia doctrine embraced by the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran heralds the arrival of a messianic figure whose apocalyptic appearance will be preceded by violence, chaos and warfare.

By Lela Gilbert

Most American pundits write that current threats of violence and warnings of war are Iran’s boastful way of defying the U.S, and not only regarding its harsh economic sanctions, which presently have a strangle-hold on their leaders and institutions. Iran is also attempting to disrupt international oil shipments in the Persian Gulf and beyond.

But there is, perhaps, a less obvious reason as well. The Islamist Shia doctrine, embraced by the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran, heralds the arrival of a messianic figure known as the Twelfth or Hidden Imam. His apocalyptic appearance will be preceded by violence, chaos and warfare.

Most observers and pundits have concluded that Iran’s escalating threats of violence and drumbeats of war represent their defiant response to U.S. economic sanctions, which seem to have a strangle-hold on Iranian leaders and institutions. Meanwhile, upticks in Iran’s military activities have been widely reported and continue to be analyzed by U.S. military leaders.

However, on Aug. 6, the invaluable MEMRI news site – which translates and broadcasts speeches, sermons or other pronouncements by sheikhs, imams and mullahs –  reported the words of senior Iranian Ayatollah Mohammad Mehdi Mirbagheri: “In order for the Hidden Imam to reappear, we must engage in widespread fighting with the West.”

By daybreak on Sunday morning, Aug. 25, virtually every Middle East news source was headlining the same story: An unprecedented direct attack by Israeli forces on an Iranian Quds Force base had taken place in Syria. The attack was preemptive, in advance of an assault by a number of Iranian “killer drones,” which Israeli military intelligence had detected.

For months, Middle East news sources have reported a mounting crescendo of hostility emanating from Iran, along with encroachment of its tentacle-like militias into several nearby countries – Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, tensions surrounding shipping routes in the Persian Gulf and the Straits of Hormuz have not abated for weeks.

Along with ever-increasing efforts to magnify their power and prowess, Iran’s ceaseless antagonism continues to be amplified by repeated chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”

Iran’s ambitions for regional supremacy are nothing new. Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the regime has proved itself a dangerous foe to any and all who do not embrace its radical ayatollahs’ views.

Its response has played out in international terrorism, state-funded violence by numerous proxies and horrendous human rights abuses.

In recent years, Iran’s thinly veiled efforts to develop a nuclear weapon, along with its accompanying ballistic missile delivery system, has elevated global concerns to an urgent level. In response, former U.S. President Barack Obama tried to slow down the nuke development process by negotiating the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), while handing over untold billions of U.S. dollars to assuage the mullahs’ antagonism.

The results of the 2016 U.S. presidential elections reflected considerable push-back against Obama’s strategy. Many Americans and Israelis viewed the JCPOA it as a flawed and unenforceable agreement.

In May 2018,  President Donald Trump pulled out of the JCPOA and subsequently slammed heavy financial sanctions on Iran’s leadership, military and oil exports. That September, the discovery by Israeli intelligence of a warehouse-sized cache of nuclear-related files inside Iran was revealed, which cast even deeper doubt on the veracity of the Iranian regime’s denials of nuclear ambitions.

The Hidden Imam

Some observers are aware of the deeply religious nature of Iran’s regime. However, in the U.S. and Western Europe, references to religious influences in international affairs are often disregarded.

But some declarations should not be overlooked. And that includes references – particularly among Iran’s highest levels of leadership – to the Hidden Imam.

The Hidden, or Twelfth Imam plays a dominant role in one specific form of Shi’ite Islamic theology, called “Twelverism” – which happens to be the primary belief system of Iran’s leadership.  There is a messianic belief that, at the end of days, the Hidden Imam will appear in the midst of a violent apocalyptic scenario, played out on a battleground stained with infidels’ blood.

About a month before Mirbagheri’s sermon, Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Nasrallah declared that while “life and death are in the hands of God, logic points to me praying in Al-Aqsa mosque.”

Bear in mind that while serving as Iran’s most influential religious and political emissary in Lebanon, Nasrallah has been living in a secret underground “bunker” ever since the 2006 Israel-Lebanon War.

Meanwhile, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holy sites, is located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. And that has remained Judaism’s most holy site, where the Jewish Temple stood until 70 CE. Nasrallah’s prediction essentially meant that, at some point, Israel would no longer be able to prevent his emergence from his Lebanese hideout and entrance into the Holy City.

Just days after Nasrallah’s declaration, Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei affirmed that prediction:  “The return of this holy land [Israel] to the World of Islam is not a strange and unattainable matter.” He declared Nasrallah’s goal of praying at the Al-Aqsa Mosque “an absolutely practical and achievable aspiration for us.”

More recently, as I reflected on the intensifying tension between the West, Israel and Iran, I came across a blog post by Saeed Ghasseminejad, an Iranian scholar who is now in the West, serving as a fellow at Washington, D.C.’s highly respected Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

In 2013, he penned an article titled “Iran’s Apocalyptic Policy Makers.”  He wrote:

Two of the most lunatic and apocalyptic high-ranking figures in Iran are Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself and his now disgraced one-time protégé, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad… While many experts tell us Iran is a rational, pragmatic regime like any other in the world, all the facts shout that it is not.

“A large number of Iranian officials and decision makers have deeply rooted apocalyptic beliefs. Underestimating this radical ideology even as the Iranian regime is on its way to building a nuclear bomb can lead to dangerously wrong conclusions. The suggestion taking hold of late that a nuclear armed Iran is not the end of the world may unfortunately be dead wrong.

He also wrote, “To IRGC officers, Mahdi may be hidden, but he is far from absent. In a rare public appearance at Qum, Ghassem Soleimani, the notorious commander of the Quds force, said that during the Iran-Iraq war some IRGC commanders in war-fronts were in contact with the Hidden Imam.”

Apocalyptic thought ‘overlooked’

With all this in mind, I contacted Ghasseminejad to learn more about how these apocalyptic convictions may be affecting Iran’s current aggressions.

This apocalyptic aspect of the Islamic regime in Tehran is usually overlooked by analysts in the West,” he explained, “probably because God is more or less dead among the elite in the West, and it is hard for them to imagine that apocalyptic religious thought can turn into actual policies pursued by the State.”

Clearly in much of the Middle East, however, belief in God is very much alive, and deeply held dogmas can influence decisions made by policymakers. As with Judaism and Christianity, the idea of a coming Messiah and apocalypse is a central Islamic belief.

“The key,” Ghasseminejad told me, “is that Khomeini belonged to a minority school of thought in the Twelver Shia community who believe that Ulama (clerics) should rule, and their rule would be legitimate because they were deputies of the hidden Imam and they were preparing the world for his reappearance of the hidden Imam.

“So what does that have to do,” I asked, “with Tehran’s extremely aggressive anti-Israel and anti-Saudi foreign policy?”

“I think it can be explained, at least partly, by the importance of Jerusalem in the apocalyptic Shia literature. And the same is true about Mecca, which is the place where the Hidden Imam will reappear.”

“To summarize,” Ghasseminejad concluded, “I think the Islamic Republic of Iran and its leadership’s apocalyptic vision can explain a good part of what Tehran is doing in the region. And ignoring it leads to misinterpretation of Tehran’s decisions.

“While I do not believe the apocalyptic ideology is the only force behind the regime’s decision-making process, I think it plays a significant role in how the Supreme Leader and the IRGC see the world.”

Lela Gilbert is an award-winning writer who has authored or co-authored more than 60 books. She lived in Israel for ten years, is a fellow at Hudson Institute and also writes for Jerusalem Post, Fox News, World Israel News and various other publications. This article was first published by Religion Unplugged.

The Agony of the Australian Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

The agonies and arguments of Australian nuclear weapons | The Strategist

Graeme Dobell

‘Give me chastity and continence, but not yet.’ — Saint Augustine of Hippo

Pondering nuclear weapons, Hugh White offers Australia a reverse Augustine: Give me nuclear chastity, until there’s no alternative.

The White version of the Australian nuke prayer is a bruising preview of the nuclear-weapons debate the country will face if things go badly in Asia.

White’s How to defend Australia set off a lot of different explosions, but the public response to his chapter on nuclear weapons was a mushroom cloud. The agonies of the arguments aroused mean this is about heart as well as head.

The explosion about nukes was as loud as responses to White on the end of the US alliance, war with China and the need to completely remake Oz strategy and the Australian Defence Force.

White dragged into the centre of the public square a nuclear-weapons discussion that’s been simmering in the quiet corner where strategists mutter strange spells.

The public square is where the stoning happens, and the rocks tossed on the potential for Australian nuclear weapons range from ‘Oh, for God’s sake!’ to dubious operational utility plus the stench of hypocrisy, and the take that acquiring such weapons would be beyond Australia’s technical capabilities and perhaps its political will.

Truly, as White observes in the first paragraph of his nuclear chapter, this is not a comfortable subject. ‘But the question is one we will not be able to avoid over the decades to come.’

White ladles on the caveats, noting that it’s obvious that Australia has been much more secure without the bomb. The changes rumbling Asia, however, mean nuclear weapons might make sense for Australia in the future: ‘The strategic, financial and moral costs of going nuclear will always remain very high, but the strategic costs of forgoing nuclear weapons in the new Asia could be much greater than they have been until now.’

In Asia’s uncertain future, White writes, an Australia deciding not to develop nuclear forces would be accepting substantially greater strategic risks.

White’s reverse-Augustine judgement reads:

[M]y own preliminary conclusion is that there are circumstances in which the development of nuclear forces could be justified, but only where the need was very clear, and where there were no alternatives. I am not at all sure that our circumstances will meet those tests, which is why I neither predict, and I certainly do not advocate, that we should acquire nuclear forces.

The big change in circumstances White posits is an Australia that no longer feels secure under the US nuclear umbrella. If Australia starts to question US extended nuclear deterrence, issues of credibility and belief will shift strategic thinking.

White quotes the deterrence equation put by Denis Healey, the UK defence secretary from 1964 to 1970, who said the Soviet Union would be deterred if it believed there was a 10% chance the US would accept the risk of massive nuclear attacks to prevent the Soviets from taking over Western Europe. West Germany was much harder to convince, though. Healey said that ‘the Germans would only feel secure if they were 90 per cent sure’.

Australia has never had to ponder too deeply whether it needs only 10% confidence in the US nuclear umbrella, or much more.

White predicts the US will have a hard time deterring China because of questions of resolve as much as power. He says that ‘no US leader wants to try convincing American voters that defending a US ally in Asia is worth risking a devastating nuclear strike on Los Angeles’.

In this bleaker future, much will depend on how Japan and South Korea react—and, for Australia, what Indonesia thinks and does. Southeast Asia’s rejection of nuclear weapons has been a huge and continuing strategic blessing for Australia.

The loss of confidence in the US—the ‘home alone’ scenario, as Rod Lyon calls it, would apply to many other powers in Asia. And, as Rod says in another of his posts (a typical example of the iron laws of Lyon logic), we’d all have to ponder an Asian nuclear cascade:

That would be a world where Japan, South Korea and Australia had shared incentives to proliferate, and perhaps Indonesia and Vietnam too; where we probably wouldn’t be the first horse out of the gate; and where we might reasonably hope to ‘share’ the challenges of proliferation with others.

Let me say that such a future world is less attractive than the one we live in now. Asia typically hasn’t put a high priority on nuclear weapons, which tend to sit in the strategic background rather than the foreground. A sudden cascade of nuclear proliferation would make for a more fraught and difficult region—which is one good reason we ought to be working harder to keep the US engaged in Asia and its umbrella business healthy.

For the agonies and the arguments of Australian nuclear weapons, here’s the fourth of Hugh White’s ASPI interviews.

Graeme Dobell is ASPI’s journalist fellow. Image: Ray Tang/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.