New York Earthquake: City of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Published 30th April 2018

Researchers believe that a powerful earthquake, magnitude 5 or greater, could cause significant damage to large swathes of NYC, a densely populated area dominated by tall buildings.

Some experts have suggested that NYC is susceptible to at least a magnitude 5 earthquake once every 100 years.

The last major earthquake measuring over magnitude 5.0 struck NYC in 1884 – meaning another one of equal size is “overdue” by 34 years, according their prediction model.

Natural disaster researcher Simon Day, of University College London, agrees with the conclusion that NYC may be more at risk from earthquakes than is usually thought.

EARTHQUAKE RISK: New York is susceptible to seismic shaking from far-away tremors

But the idea of NYC being “overdue” for an earthquake is “invalid”, not least because the “very large number of faults” in the city have individually low rates of activity, he said.

The model that predicts strong earthquakes based on timescale and stress build-up on a given fault has been “discredited”, he said.

What scientists should be focusing on, he said, is the threat of large and potentially destructive earthquakes from “much greater distances”.

The dangerous effects of powerful earthquakes from further away should be an “important feature” of any seismic risk assessment of NYC, Dr Day said.

GETTY

THE BIG APPLE: An aerial view of Lower Manhattan at dusk in New York City

USGS

RISK: A seismic hazard map of New York produced by USGS

“New York is susceptible to seismic shaking from earthquakes at much greater distances” Dr Simon Day, natural disaster researcher

“An important feature of the central and eastern United States is, because the crust there is old and cold, and contains few recent fractures that can absorb seismic waves, the rate of seismic reduction is low.

Central regions of NYC, including Manhattan, are built upon solid granite bedrock; therefore the amplification of seismic waves that can shake buildings is low.

But more peripheral areas, such as Staten Island and Long Island, are formed by weak sediments, meaning seismic hazard in these areas is “very likely to be higher”, Dr Day said.

“Thus, like other cities in the eastern US, New York is susceptible to seismic shaking from earthquakes at much greater distances than is the case for cities on plate boundaries such as Tokyo or San Francisco, where the crustal rocks are more fractured and absorb seismic waves more efficiently over long distances,” Dr Day said.

In the event of a large earthquake, dozens of skyscrapers, including Chrysler Building, the Woolworth Building and 40 Wall Street, could be at risk of shaking.

“The felt shaking in New York from the Virginia earthquake in 2011 is one example,” Dr Day said.

On that occasion, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake centered 340 miles south of New York sent thousands of people running out of swaying office buildings.

USGS

FISSURES: Fault lines in New York City have low rates of activity, Dr Day said

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city was “lucky to avoid any major harm” as a result of the quake, whose epicenter was near Louisa, Virginia, about 40 miles from Richmond.

“But an even more impressive one is the felt shaking from the 1811-1812 New Madrid earthquakes in the central Mississippi valley, which was felt in many places across a region, including cities as far apart as Detroit, Washington DC and New Orleans, and in a few places even further afield including,” Dr Day added.

“So, if one was to attempt to do a proper seismic hazard assessment for NYC, one would have to include potential earthquake sources over a wide region, including at least the Appalachian mountains to the southwest and the St Lawrence valley to the north and east.”

The Truth of the Sixth Seal is Slowly Being Revealed (Revelation 6:12)

State Sen. Pete Harckham

Harckham’s NRC Letter: Make Public Indian Point Safety Analysis
High-pressure gas pipeline underneath nuclear facility, if found unsafe, should be shutdown

By Tom Staudter, Neighbor
May 24, 2020 12:58 pm ET\

State Sen. Pete Harckham

In a letter sent today to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), New York State Senator Pete Harckham called for the public release of Entergy Corporation’s revised safety analysis of the dangerous high-pressure natural gas pipeline that crosses beneath the three nuclear reactors and highly radioactive fuel storage casks at the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) in Buchanan, NY. And if the analysis concludes the pipeline is unsafe, Harckham asks that it be shutdown.

In his letter, Harckham commends the NRC’s decision to review the pipeline assessments yet worries that there are still no assurances of the pipeline’s safety. “It is essential,” he writes, “that Entergy’s revised analysis be released for public review so that the public can determine whether the revised analysis redresses the numerous failures listed in the OIG Report and offers an accurate and complete analysis of the actual threat posed to the millions of people who live in this area.”

At issue is the deeply flawed 10 CFR 50.59 risk analysis report submitted in 2014 by Entergy, owner and operator of IPEC, to obtain approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) of expansion of the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) gas pipeline underneath the Indian Point property. The NRC needed to first perform an independent assessment of this risk analysis to make sure that Entergy properly reviewed the safety implications of the AIM pipeline, Instead, the NRC simply accepted the misrepresentations and conclusions contained in Entergy’s faulty analysis.

Earlier this year, the NRC’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reported that it discovered the deep flaws and deviations in NRC’s own safety analysis of the pipeline, and directed the NRC to “redo” its analysis and required Entergy to revise its 10 CFR 50.59 assessment.

Among the major problems with Entergy’s original risk analysis was that it assumed that isolation valves would close within three minutes of a pipeline rupture, which the NRC never confirmed. The pipeline’s operator later informed the OIG that it would take six minutes. Also, the NRC safety assessment utilized a model based on aboveground pipelines to gauge how fast the pipeline could be “turned off” in case of an emergency. The NRC later misrepresented the totality of its assessment to an outside investigator.

In his letter, Harckham calls for Entergy to release the revised safety analysis in its totality, along with all supporting and attendant documentation.

“The chief responsibility of our government officials, through policy and action, is to safeguard our residents,” concludes Harckham. “We therefore urge NRC to conduct a full independent evaluation of the risks and release Entergy’s revised analysis. Consistent with this redo evaluation, the NRC should determine whether the pipeline poses a threat to the millions of people in the surrounding areas requiring a permanent shut down of the pipeline.”

Iran Refuses to Save the Oil and Wine (Revelation 6:6)

Iran Ships Fuel to Venezuela, Flouting U.S. Pressure on Its Foes

Show of defiance comes in face of Trump administration sanctions aimed at unseating their authoritarian governments

By Kejal Vyas and Benoit Faucon

May 24, 2020 5:36 pm ET

The first of five tankers carrying Iranian fuel has reached gasoline-starved Venezuela in a show of defiance by two U.S. adversaries flouting American sanctions aimed at unseating their authoritarian governments.

As the first vessel entered Venezuelan waters late Saturday, Iran’s national anthem sounded on Venezuela state television against images of the late Islamic revolutionary Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as black-chador-covered women march with an Iranian flag—jarring sights for the rum-and-beauty-pageant-loving South American country.

Venezuelan officials claimed triumph in the face of warnings by U.S. officials of possible new actions to impede trade between the countries on top of existing sanctions on both countries’ energy industries. The Trump administration, wary of further escalation with Iran, doesn’t plan to use force to stop the vessels, U.S. officials said.

Despite a punishing economic crisis and spreading malnutrition, the tanker’s arrival gave Venezuela’s government another reason to celebrate three weeks after it put down a botched raid by mercenaries, including two former U.S. soldiers now detained in Caracas.

“Thank you, brothers,” Venezuela’s oil minister, Tareck El Aissami, said in a Twitter post. “This energy cooperation points to the benefit and development of our peoples.”

The shipments, which total 1.5 million barrels of gasoline, are a small reprieve for the embattled country, enough to satisfy Venezuelan demand for about two weeks. Though it has the world’s largest oil reserves, Venezuela’s lifeblood energy industry has crumbled amid a seven-year economic depression and rampant corruption. Oil production has fallen to about 600,000 barrels a day from 3 million a decade ago and refineries are in poor shape.

A rash of U.S. sanctions leveled more than a year ago against Venezuela’s oil sector has sent President Nicolás Maduro’s government scrambling for new fuel sources. Amid the shutdown from the coronavirus pandemic, shortages force citizens to line up for more than a day for gasoline. With no way to power farming equipment, much of the country’s little food output rots in the fields, according to Venezuela’s national agricultural federation.

The daily struggles have even ardent Maduro critics hoping that the U.S. refrains from disrupting gasoline flow.

“There’s just no benefit to stopping the fuel because we really need it,” said Gilberto Morillo, a former finance director of state-oil-giant Petróleos de Venezuela SA, who still lives in Venezuela. “The sanctions aren’t responsible for what’s happening in the country, but in a way, they’ve pushed the regime to get closer to Iran and to radicalize even more.”

Venezuelan Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami celebrated the Iranian oil shipments on Saturday.

PHOTO: MAXIM SHEMETOV/REUTERS

Iran and Venezuela, both founding members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, sought to build an anti-U.S. alliance more than a decade ago under the leadership of Venezuelan firebrand Hugo Chávez and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The two leaders signed business ventures including bicycle and tractor factories to housing construction in Venezuela.

That relationship concerned U.S. authorities working to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Mr. Chávez once publicly boasted that Iran was helping explore for uranium in Venezuela—a mineral used in some nuclear weapons. There’s no evidence that Mr. Chávez’s plans moved forward.

In 2009, American agents helped Turkey intercept Iranian vessels destined for Venezuela that were carrying nitrate and sulfite chemicals that could have been used for bombs or unmanned aerial vehicles prohibited under the arms-sale restrictions of the United Nations Security Council, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks.

Economic troubles and political turmoil in Venezuela doomed the business ventures. But the two nations renewed their efforts this year after Mr. Maduro appointed Mr. El Aissami to revamp Venezuela’s oil industryand effectively privatize oil fields, in a major reversal of Caracas’ state-led economic model.

In 2017, Mr. El Aissami was sanctioned by the U.S. as an alleged narcotics trafficker. Then in March, U.S. prosecutors indicted him along with more than a dozen Venezuelan officials on drug charges. The accusations, which Mr. El Aissami denies, have effectively barred him from traveling to U.S.-allied nations, leaving Iran among Venezuela’s last partners.

“We are seeing countries under sanctions working together,” said Ali Soufan, a former U.S. counterterrorism official who now heads the Soufan Group, a New York consulting firm. For Iran and Venezuela, the “biggest common point is having the United States as an enemy. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Since mid-April, Iranian carrier Mahan Air—also sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury—has transported technicians and some 700 tons of fuel-processing components, much of it from China, to Venezuela’s ailing Paraguana Refining Complex, said Iván Freites, a Venezuelan oil union leader. But the equipment hasn’t been enough to restore the decrepit Paraguana installations—the biggest refinery in the Western Hemisphere—that were custom designed decades earlier by major U.S. engineering firms, Mr. Freites said.

Despite capacity to process 1.3 million barrels a day, Venezuela’s refineries produce almost nothing. They are hobbled not only by old equipment but also by a lack of qualified technicians, many of whom have joined the exodus of 5 million refugees out of the country, said Mr. Freites. “Iran can’t save Maduro. This only buys time.”

Loly Dobarro, a former deputy oil minister under Mr. Chávez and ex-legal adviser for OPEC, said Iran’s oil deliveries won’t go far in her home country where gasoline is state subsidized and virtually free. Oil analysts estimate that Venezuela now uses about a quarter of the 700,000 barrels of fuel a day that it consumed when Mr. Maduro took office in 2013. Large portions of that oil was smuggled to neighboring countries, but no longer.

“The only solution is to pay real-world prices,” Ms. Dobarro said. “But this is a government of inaction so it’ll be surprising if they do anything” to fix those distortions.

The U.S. and its allies have deemed Mr. Maduro illegitimate since a 2018 election marred by fraud allegations. They back main opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s true president, though Mr. Maduro maintains control of the armed forces and most state institutions.

Mr. Guaidó in a recent address accused the Maduro government of paying for Iran’s help with tons of “blood gold” extracted from lawless and violent southern Venezuela, where Mr. Maduro has promoted mining to offset plunging oil revenue.

“Together, we can guarantee the development of our countries without being dependent on the White House and the gringos,” Iran’s ambassador Hojjatollah Soltani said on Union Radio in Caracas.

How Trump’s blundering is causing arms control chaos

Fumbling the nuclear football: is Trump blundering to arms control chaos? | Nuclear weapons | The Guardian

The president believes he alone can negotiate away nuclear weapons and win a Nobel prize – but he has quit three treaties and gutted his administration of experts

Julian Borger in Washington

Sun 24 May 2020 05.30 EDT

The Trump administration signaled this week that it was ready to get back in the business of nuclear arms control. A newly appointed envoy, Marshall Billingslea, made his first public remarks to announce talks with Russia are about to resume.

“We have concrete ideas for our next interaction, and we’re finalizing the details as we speak,” Billingslea said.

The fact that this relaunch came on the same day that the US was pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty (OST) – the third withdrawal from an arms control agreement under the Trump presidency – underlined the contradictions at the heart of the administration’s approach towards nuclear weapons.

According to those who have worked for him on the issue, Trump is preoccupied with the existential threat of nuclear war, and resolved that he alone can conjure a grand arms control bargain that would save the planet – and win him the Nobel prize.

But at the same time, he is clearly thrilled by the destructive power that the US arsenal gives him, boasting about the size of his nuclear button, and a mystery “super duper” missile he this week claimed the US had up its sleeve.

Administration officials have been left to try to confect a coherent-sounding policy out of such contradictory impulses – so far without success.

“He believes only he has what it takes to make the big deal, if only everyone else – all the experts – would get out of his way,” a former senior official said. “But he just has no idea about how to make it happen.”

Billingslea, the new envoy, is not an arms control specialist. He previously served as the undersecretary for terrorist financing at the US Treasury and was nominated last year to the top human rights job at the state department – but that foundered amid controversy over his involvement in the post 9/11 torture programme . The arms control envoy job did not require Senate confirmation.

In his maiden speech as envoy, Billingslea made clear that if there were to be a new arms race, the US would win.

“We know how to win these races and we know how to spend the adversary into oblivion,” he said in a videoconference organised by the conservative Hudson Institute thinktank on Thursday. It was a statement of bravado as the US plunged into recession owing about $7tn in foreign debt, $1tn to China.

Billingslea argued Trump would succeed through his mastery of the art of the deal.

“The president has a long and successful career as a negotiator, and he’s a master at developing and using leverage,” he said, showing an early instinct for what it takes to keep your job in this administration.

So far, however, Trump has failed to negotiate a single arms control agreement. His flamboyant summitry with Kim Jong-un produced nothing, and the North Korean nuclear weapons programme has continued unabated. Meanwhile the president has taken the US out of three arms control agreements, leaving them dead, dying or maimed.

Donald Trump’s three meetings with Kim Jong-un have produced nuclear arms control agreement. Photograph: Kcna Kcna/Reuters

He walked out of the nuclear deal with Iran in 2018, and the following year withdrew from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which had kept nuclear missiles out of Europe since the cold war. Then on Thursday, he confirmed the US was leaving the OST, agreed in 1992 as a means of building transparency and trust between Russia and the west through observation overflights of each other’s territory.

That may not be the end of Trump’s arms control demolition. The Senate never ratified the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban treaty, which – partly as a result – has yet to come into force. But the US has signed it and observes a voluntary moratorium on nuclear tests.

Hawks in the administration, however, want a renunciation. At a high-level White House meeting last week, the suggestion was raised that the US carry out its first underground nuclear test since 1992, according to former officials. The proposal was resisted by the state and energy departments. A senior administration official told the Washington Post however the proposal is “very much an ongoing conversation.”

The only arms control agreement still in effect is the 2010 New Start treaty, which limits US and Russian deployed strategic nuclear weapons to 1,550 each. It is due to expire in February but it can be extended for another five years. The Trump administration has not taken a position on whether it wants an extension, however.

“There’ll be plenty of time to look at the full range of options related to that treaty,” Billingslea said. At the same time he made clear he viewed New Start as being inadequate, criticising its verification requirements, its exclusion of non-strategic, shorter-range weapons – and, most importantly, the fact that it does not include China.

The Trump administration’s arms control policy has been stuck for nearly three years on its insistence that China be involved in any new treaty. Beijing has so far refused to be drawn into negotiations which it believes are the responsibility of the US and Russia, who together possess more than 90% of the world’s stockpile of nearly 14,000 warheads. The Federation of American Scientists estimates China has 320 warheads, which are stockpiled, not deployed.

“The administration continues to stall,” the Democratic senator Chris Van Hollen told the Guardian. “The best way to describe their position is that it’s under review. And the problem of course is this has been under review for a very long time now and the clock is ticking.”

By the accounts of those who have worked for him on the issue, the president remains convinced that he can somehow work out a deal if he was able to speak face-to-face with Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.

It is a long-held belief. In the 1980s he claimed he could bring the cold war to an end if he was given an hour alone with Mikhail Gorbachev.

Once installed in office himself, he regaled aides with tales of what he might have achieved with the Soviet Union’s last leader.

“He would sometimes claim to have met with Gorbachev, or had been going to meet with him – all with this goal of sitting him down to talk about nuclear weapons and claiming he could learn all he needed to know about nuclear weapons in 90 minutes as he already knew a lot from being the nephew of a guy in MIT,” said a former senior official.

Mikhail Gorbachev with Ronald Reagan. In the 1980s Donald Trump claimed that in one hour with Gorbachev he could end the cold war. Photograph: Diana Walker/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

The “guy in MIT” was his uncle John, an electrical engineer and physicist noted for his work on X-ray technology. Trump frequently credits him with opening his eyes to the ever-imminent threat of nuclear weapons.

Trump has brought up the subject unprompted in discussions with foreign leaders, such as with the former UK prime minister Theresa May during a state visit to London in June 2019.

“He told May the number one existential threat is still nuclear weapons, and not climate change or any of these other issues that all these other people were raising,” said a former official.

US officials first raised the idea of including China in New Start with their Russian counterparts at talks held in Helsinki in September 2017. But the Russians showed little enthusiasm.

When the proposal was put directly to Chinese officials they rejected it outright.

“I raised it when we were in New York, I raised it when we were in Beijing, and raised it at every opportunity. But we got no traction,” said Andrea Thompson, former undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs. “They were not interested in having a discussion.”

In the face of such adamant refusal, there was no agreed plan within the administration on how to proceed.

Arms control advocates in the administration believe that the insistence on China’s inclusion was originally pushed by Trump’s third national security adviser, John Bolton, a lifelong opponent of arms control treaties, and his like-minded aide, Tim Morrison, as a means of killing off New Start.

Morrison adamantly denies the “poison pill” accusation, and insists that the president fully supported the position that arms control was meaningless without China.

“He believes that arms control does not currently reflect the threats that exist,” he told the Guardian. “If arms control is important, you can’t not include China … Do we wait to include them in arms control until they get 800 nuclear weapons? … Why would we continue to wait to include them in arms control? It’s silly.”

Morrison attributed the failure to make progress on the absence of a chief negotiator, – which he blamed on deliberate bureaucratic inertia.

“The president needs to understand that there are those around him who would be happy to see him run out of time to get a bigger agreement, and put him in a binary position of either to extend or not extend New Start,” he said.

Disarmament advocates worry that even if Billingslea re-establishes regular contacts with Moscow, the US no longer has the diplomatic muscle to pursue substantive, complex arms negotiations because of the steady loss of experienced staff responsible for such negotiations.

“It’s not obvious they have a kind of a serious team in place to try and make that happen,” a western diplomat said.

“Three years after entering office, the Trump administration lacks a coherent set of goals, a strategy to achieve them, or the personnel or effective policy process to address the most complex set of nuclear risks in US history,” a group of arms control experts wrote in a report this month by the disarmament group, Global Zero. “Put simply, the current US administration is blundering toward nuclear chaos with potentially disastrous consequences.”

On the Verge of the First Nuclear War (Revelation 8 )

World War 3: China and India clash on border – soldiers tensions boil over into violence

FEARS of escalating tensions between India and China are growing amid reports of cross-border clashes between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

By SIMON OSBORNE

PUBLISHED: 13:43, Sun, May 24, 2020

UPDATED: 14:03, Sun, May 24, 2020

Both sides have substantial and growing military deployments along a mostly disputed border which is the longest unmarked frontier in the world. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been challenging India’s military readiness and political resolve in several strategic areas along the border for more than 10 years. And defence analysts warn peace can no longer be taken for granted.

Tensions boiled over into violence on May 5 when PLA officers objected to Indian military patrols in the area.

And on May 9 in the Naku La region near Tibet, soldiers from both sides came to blows and threw stones at each as PLA soldiers tried to force Indian troops back from their positions.

According to reports, no weapons were fired but several dozen soldiers were injured, including a senior Indian officer who was required to be airlifted to a hospital.

Defence experts said the clashes centre on disputes over the location of the so-called Line of Actual Control — the de facto international border.

China has developed an aggressive streak in its foreign affairs in recent years, from its muscle-flexing military presence in the South China Sea to its tough stance against international criticism of its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

And analysts suggest the tough-guy approach means China’s bid to assert itself military along the Indian border should come as no surprise.

India is building strong strategic partnerships with Beijing’s rivals in Washington and Tokyo while China works to stabilise relations with Russia and tried to undermine the US at every opportunity.

And Premier Li Keqiang told China’s National People’s Congress on Friday that the despite an economic crisis sparked by the coronavirus pandemic the country intended to increase its military budget by 6.6 per cent to £150bn this year.

Hu Xijin, the editor of nationalist tabloid Global Times – widely regarded as the media mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, said China needed to keep increasing its budget owing to the shifts in the global order during the pandemic, which made the US act in an “unprecedentedly rash” manner.

He said: “China needs to strengthen military strength as deterrence and to ensure that the US dares not carry out a reckless attack.”

Babylon the Great Nukes Up (Daniel 7)

Donald Trump could conduct the United States first nuclear weapons test since 1992 – pictured right (Pictures: AP/Los Alamos National Laboratory)

Donald Trump ‘may detonate a nuclear bomb to keep Russia and China in check’

Donald Trump may green-light a nuclear weapons test to keep rivals Russia and China in check, it was claimed. Senior officials within the Trump administration are reportedly keen to conduct the US’s first nuclear weapons test since 1992 in an attempt to strengthen the country’s hand ahead of talks with Russia and China on managing their respective weapons stockpiles.

According to The Washington Post, the idea was first mooted by senior national security officials on May 15, with a source telling the paper that the prospect of a test is ‘very much an ongoing conversation.’

The United States’ National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) reportedly objected strongly to the idea, but has refused to comment on that claim.

Another unnamed official claimed that the nuke test idea is already dead in the water. They said that other measures are instead being considered to strengthen the United States’ hand ahead of discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

The US hopes to get both other countries to sign a trilateral agreement on limiting the size of their respective nuclear stockpiles.

President Trump’s envoy for arms control Marshall Billingslea insists that China is currently building up its nuclear weapons stockpile and ‘using those forces to try and intimidate the United States and our friends and allies.’

Putin and Xi have been accused of conducting underground ‘low yield’ tests using smaller weapons in recent months, but both China and Russia deny those accusations.

And Daryl Kimball, from education group the Arms Control Association, said the US resuming its own testing could trigger a new arms race across the globe. Kimball explained: ‘It would be an invitation for other nuclear-armed countries to follow suit.

‘It would be the starting gun to an unprecedented nuclear arms race. You would also disrupt the negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who may no longer feel compelled to honor his moratorium on nuclear testing.’

Nuclear weapons tests are intended to check the reliability of a country’s stockpile, or to try out a new weapon, but the United States currently checks the readiness of its arsenal by monitoring missiles’ components and using computer simulations.

Rumors of the new tests come days after President Trump announced plans to pull the US out of the 18 year old Treaty on Open Skies. It allows all 34 member countries to conduct reconnaissance flights over each others airspace, and was created to try and avoid an accidental war.

The Nuclear Deals Come to an END (Revelation 16)

Mikhail Klimentyev—AFP/Getty

The Only Remaining U.S.-Russia Nuclear Arms Control Pact Is Set to Expire Next Year

(Washington D.C.) — Time is running out on an arms control treaty that, if it’s allowed to expire, will leave the world with no legal restrictions on U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons for the first time in nearly half a century.

If President Donald Trump doesn’t extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty — only remaining U.S.-Russia arms control pact — or succeed in negotiating a replacement treaty, it will expire on Feb. 5. That’s just 16 days after Trump begins a second term or his successor is sworn into office.

Russia has offered to extend New START for up to five years, but Trump is holding out. He thinks China, which is expected to double its stockpile of nuclear weapons in the next decade, should have to sign on to a nuclear arms control accord, too.

The future of New START was further called into question with Trump’s announcement Thursday that the U.S. intends to withdraw from another treaty that permits observation flights over the U.S., Russia and more than 30 other nations.

Trump voiced his desire for a three-way arms control agreement months ago, but that effort is still in the starting blocks.

Marshall Billingslea, who was appointed last month as the president’s special envoy for arms control, said Thursday that he had his first secure phone call with his counterpart in Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. Billingslea said they agreed to meet, talk about their objectives and find a way to begin negotiations.

“Suffice to say, this won’t be easy. It is new,” Billingslea said, adding that the U.S. fully expects Russia to help bring China to the table.

Russian officials and many arms control experts agree that China, as a rising power, should be part of a nuclear arms accord, but they are eyeing the calendar.

“It’s really hard to see how, in the midst of a pandemic that would make actual in-person negotiations quite difficult, you’re going to get something done and ratified and in force before the New START treaty expires on Feb. 5, 2021,” said Alexandra Bell at the Center for Arms Control and Non-proliferation.

They note how Trump’s reelection campaign, the coronavirus pandemic and the economic problems it has created are consuming a lot of time. Negotiating complex nuclear accords can take years, and even the president, who has blamed Beijing for not stopping the spread of the virus, has said he’s doesn’t want to talk to President Xi Jinping right now.

A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Geng Shuang, said in January that China has “no intention to participate” in trilateral arms control negotiations. Billingslea, however, is optimistic that Beijing will want to joint in and be seen as a world power.

New START imposes limits on the number of U.S. and Russian long-range nuclear warheads and launchers. If it were to collapse, it would be the first time in 50 years that the U.S. does not have the ability to inspect Russian nuclear forces, said Rose Gottemoeller, a former undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.

“Every time they (the Russians) take a missile out of a silo and take it to a maintenance facility, they have to notify us that that missile’s going to move. … The intelligence community is simply going to have a much harder time knowing what’s going on,” she said.

But Trump has accused Russia of not living up to agreements. He cited Russian violations in his announcement Thursday that the U.S. would withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty. While the U.S. has officially given its required six-month notice of withdrawal, Trump hinted that he may reconsider and stay in the pact.

Trump also blamed Russian violations for his decision last year to pull out of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that banned production, testing and deployment of intermediate-range land-based cruise and ballistic missiles.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Friday accused the U.S. of aiming to dismantle security pacts. Withdrawing from the Opens Skies Treaty “fully fits into (the U.S.) line on the destruction of the entire complex of agreements in the field of arms control and confidence-building in the military field,” the ministry said.

Senior U.S. administration officials say Trump’s willingness to withdraw from treaties shows he is serious about compliance and is evidence of how prominently arms control verification and compliance will feature in New START talks.

“We are not in the business of negotiating new agreements, or extending old ones, if we cannot be assured that the other parties will hold up their end of the bargain,” Billingslea said. “When it comes to Russia, we have little reason to be confident. Russia’s track record is, to be frank, abysmal.”

The U.S. and Russia have about 91 percent of the world’s nuclear warheads, according to the Federation of American Scientists. The U.S. has 3,800 in its stockpile and Russia has 4,310. China has 320 nuclear warheads, although the Defense Intelligence Agency predicted last year that China was likely to at least double the size of its stockpile during the next 10 years.

With the U.S. presidential election just five months away, the question is whether Trump has enough time to negotiate a grand, three-way deal, especially given China’s reticence to participate.

Timothy Morrison, an arms control expert and former adviser to Trump on Russia and Europe at the National Security Council, said at a nuclear weapons forum in January that as the months go by, Trump may be “left with a binary question of extend or not extend” New START.

“Time is not on the president’s side,” he said.