The Sixth Seal: The Big Apple Shake (Revelation 6:12)

Image result for new york earthquake

Big Apple shake? Potential for earthquake in New York City exists

Posted 11:21 PM, April 2, 2014, by Jeremy Tanner and Mario DiazNEW YORK CITY (PIX11) – For the last 43 years John Armbruster has been a seismologist with Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory.  A veteran of what he describes as “a couple of dozen” quakes, he is interested in the seismic activity throughout the Pacific region in recent weeks.However, does the amount of plate movements around the world in recent weeks as well as years to translate to New York City being more vulnerable, “These earthquakes are not communicating with each other, they are too far apart,” said Armbruster in an interview with PIX 11 News on Wednesday.Nonetheless, Armbruster added that there are many faults around the area and a few in Manhattan, including on specific fault capable of producing a magnitude 6.0 earthquake, “The 125th street fault.”What would a magnitude 6.0 earthquake inflict upon the city?“I think there would be serious damage and casualties,” said Armbruster.  The reason?  Most of the buildings and infrastructure was not constructed  to withstand earthquakes.  This said, what does Armbruster think of the chances of a major earthquake catching New York City by surprise?“We know that its unlikely because it hasn’t happened in the last 300 years but the earthquake that struck Fukushima Japan was the 1000 year earthquake and they weren’t ready for the that.

Israel’s Worthless Actions Against the Iranian Nuclear Horn

In this July 3, 2016, file photo, Yossi Cohen, then the director of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, attends the funeral in Jerusalem of a rabbi killed by Palestinian gunmen. ASSOCIATED PRES

Ex-Mossad chief signals Israel behind attacks on Iran’s nuclear program

Published: June 10, 2021 at 11:39 p.m. ETBy 

Associated Press

Clear warning issued to scientists who work with Iran

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The outgoing chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service has offered the closest acknowledgment yet his country was behind recent attacks targeting Iran’s nuclear program and a military scientist.

The comments by Yossi Cohen, speaking to Israel’s Channel 12 investigative program “Uvda” in a segment aired Thursday night, offered an extraordinary debriefing by the head of the typically secretive agency in what appears to be the final days of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rule.

It also gave a clear warning to other scientists in Iran’s nuclear program that they too could become targets for assassination even as diplomats in Vienna try to negotiate terms to try to salvage its atomic accord with world powers.

“If the scientist is willing to change career and will not hurt us anymore, than yes, sometimes we offer them” a way out, Cohen said.

Among the major attacks to target Iran, none have struck deeper than two explosions over the last year at its Natanz nuclear facility. There, centrifuges enrich uranium from an underground hall designed to protect them from airstrikes.

In July 2020, a mysterious explosion tore apart Natanz’s advanced centrifuge assembly, which Iran later blamed on Israel. Then in April of this year, another blast tore apart one of its underground enrichment halls.NOW PLAYING: Video: Fire at Puerto Rico Power Station Leads to Massive Blackout

“It doesn’t look like it used to look,” he added.

Cohen did not directly claim the attacks, but his specificity offered the closest acknowledgement yet of an Israeli hand in the attacks. The interviewer, journalist Ilan Dayan, also seemingly offered a detailed description of how Israel snuck the explosives into Natanz’s underground halls that went unchallenged by Cohen.

“The man who was responsible for these explosions, it becomes clear, made sure to supply to the Iranians the marble foundation on which the centrifuges are placed,” Dayan said. “As they install this table within the Natanz facility, they have no idea that it already includes an enormous amount of explosives.”

He also brought up the November killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an Iranian scientist who began Tehran’s military nuclear program decades ago. U.S. intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency believe Iran abandoned that organized effort at seeking a nuclear weapon in 2003. Iran long has maintained its program is peaceful.

While Cohen on camera doesn’t claim the killing, Dayan in the segment described Cohen as having “personally signed off on the entire campaign.”

Cohen described an Israeli effort to dissuade Iranian scientists from taking part in the program, which had seen some abandoned their work after being warned, even indirect, by Israel. Asked by the interviewer if the scientists understood the implications of if they didn’t, Cohen said: “They see their friends.”

Iran has repeatedly complained about Israel’s attacks, with Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA Kazem Gharibabadi warning as recently as Thursday that the incidents “not only will be responded decisively, but also certainly leave no option for Iran but to reconsider its transparency measures and cooperation policy.”

Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment over the comments by Cohen, who was replaced by former operative David Barnea.

New Israeli Leader Prepares for War Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

The Latest: Bennett says Israel ‘at outset of new days’


The latest on Israel’s incoming government (all times local):

10:45 p.m.

JERUSALEM — Naftali Bennett, Israel’s first Orthodox Jewish prime minister, has opened the first meeting of his government with a traditional blessing for new beginnings, saying that now’s the time to get to work

Bennett addressed the newly sworn in Cabinet Sunday night, saying the country is “at the outset of new days.”

“Citizens of Israel are all looking to us now, and the burden of proof is upon us,” he said. “We must all, for this amazing process to succeed, we must all know to maintain restraint on ideological matters.”

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Alternate prime minister Yair Lapid, who will serve as foreign minister for the first two years of the government’s term, said in brief remarks that “friendship and trust” built their government, and that’s what will keep it going.


10:30 p.m.

JERUSALEM — Palestinian Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s office has little to say about Israel’s new government headed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, calling it an “internal Israeli affair.”

Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh said Sunday that the Palestinian position remains “adherence to international legitimacy and the two-state solution by establishing an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

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The new Israeli government includes a wide spectrum of parties ranging from hard-line nationalists to more dovish supporters of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Members of the new government have said they will avoid dealing with the divisive issue for the time being.


9:50 p.m.

JERUSALEM — U.S. President Joe Biden has congratulated Israel’s incoming Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, and Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, saying he looks forward to working “to strengthen all aspects of the close and enduring relationship” between the two nations. In a statement released by the White House, Biden said that “Israel has no better friend than the United States,” and that “the United States remains unwavering in its support for Israel’s security.”


8:31 p.m.

JERUSALEM — Israel’s parliament has appointed a new speaker, taking a key step toward approving a new coalition government that would end Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year rule.

With 67 votes in the 120-member chamber, parliament named Mickey Levy of the centrist Yesh Atid party its new speaker. He is to succeed the current speaker, Yariv Levin, of Netanyahu’s Likud party.

The move set the stage for a confidence vote to approve a new coalition government later Sunday.


7:49 p.m.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Gaza’s Hamas rulers say they will confront the new Israeli government that is expected to take office.

Fawzi Barhoum, spokesman for the Islamic militant group, said Sunday any Israeli government is “a settler occupier entity that must be resisted by all forms of resistance, foremost of which is the armed resistance.”

Hamas and Israel fought an 11-day war last month. The bitter enemies have fought a total of four wars since Hamas, which seeks Israel’s destruction, seized control of Gaza in 2007 from the rival Palestinian Authority.

Despite their enmity, the sides have been conducting indirect talks aimed at shoring up a cease-fire. Barhoum said “the behavior of this government on the ground will determine the way and nature of dealing with it on the ground.”

Nations March Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

FILE PHOTO: Violence flares at al-Aqsa mosque as Israel marks Jerusalem Day

Israeli nationalists march in East Jerusalem, prompt Palestinian ‘Day of Rage’

By Rami Ayyub

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Far-right Israeli groups will march in and around East Jerusalem’s Old City on Tuesday in a flag-waving procession that risks igniting tensions with Palestinians in the contested city and rekindling violence between Israel and Gaza militants.

Assailing the march as a “provocation”, Palestinian factions have called for a “Day of Rage” in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas have warned of renewed hostilities if it goes ahead.

“We warn of the dangerous repercussions that may result from the occupying power’s intention to allow extremist Israeli settlers to carry out the Flag March in occupied Jerusalem tomorrow,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Twitter.

An original march was re-routed to avoid the Old City’s Muslim Quarter on May 10 when tensions in Jerusalem led Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas to fire rockets towards the holy city, helping set off 11 days of deadly fighting.

Israeli rightists accused their government of caving into Hamas by changing its route. They rescheduled the procession after a Gaza truce took hold.

Tuesday’s march, due to begin at 6:30 p.m. (1530 GMT), poses an immediate challenge for new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who took office on Sunday and brought veteran leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s record-long rule to an end.

Bennett’s internal security minister approved the march on Monday.

A route change or cancellation of the procession could expose Bennett’s patchwork coalition to accusations from Netanyahu, now in the opposition, and his right-wing allies of giving Hamas veto power over events in Jerusalem.

“The time has come for Israel to threaten Hamas and not for Hamas to threaten Israel,” prominent far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir said on Twitter.

An official route for the march has yet to be announced. Israeli media reported that police will allow participants to congregate outside the Old City’s Damascus Gate but will not let them cross through it to the Muslim Quarter, which has an overwhelmingly Palestinian population.

Tensions are sure to be high whether or not the route is changed. Palestinian protests were planned for 6 p.m. (1500 GMT) across the Gaza Strip, and Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction have called on Palestinians to flock to the Old City to counter the march.

The Israeli military has made preparations for a possible escalation in Gaza over the march, Israeli media reported, and the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem prohibited its employees and their families from entering the Old City on Tuesday.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, to be the capital of a state they seek to establish in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

Israel, which annexed East Jerusalem in a move that has not won international recognition after capturing the area in a 1967 war, regards the entire city as its capital.

(Reporting by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Howard Goller)

The China Nuclear Horn Continues to Grow: Daniel 7

China expanding nuclear arms stockpile in 2021, Swedish think tank says

Russia and the United States still dominate, with more than 90 per cent of the world’s warheads, report saysNorth Korea ‘did not conduct nuclear tests or long-range ballistic missile tests’ during 2020

Topic |  China’s military weapons


China is modernising and expanding its nuclear weapons stockpile but it still has a fraction of the inventory held by the United States and Russia, according to researchers at a Sweden-based global security think tank.

Releasing its 2021 yearbook on Monday, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said China had 350 warheads this year, up from 320 last year.

Russia still led the world with 6,255 warheads and the US was second with 5,550, despite both countries reducing their stockpiles during the year.

Russia and the US also increased the number of warheads placed on missiles or located on bases with operational forces. null

“Both are estimated to have had around 50 more nuclear warheads in operational deployment at the start of 2021 than a year earlier,” the report said.

The report comes just days after China criticised the US over plans to deploy missiles and defensive systems in neighbouring countries.

In an address to the United Nations-backed Conference on Disarmament on Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for cuts to the American and Russian nuclear arsenals, urged fresh efforts to advance nuclear talks with Iran, and criticised Washington’s “unilateral bullying” on Iran’s nuclear programme.
The Sipri researchers said that overall the number of deployed nuclear warheads rose from 3,720 in 2020 to 3,825 this year. Of those, around 2,000 were in a “state of high operational alert”, the report said.
North Korea did not conduct nuclear tests or long-range ballistic missile tests during 2020, but it continued production of fissile material and development of short- and long-range ballistic missiles, the report said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vows to strengthen nuclear arsenal as party congress closes North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vows to strengthen nuclear arsenal as party congress closes
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vows to strengthen nuclear arsenal as party congress closes
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vows to strengthen nuclear arsenal as party congress closes
The world’s nine nuclear-armed states – the US, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea – together possessed an estimated 13,080 nuclear weapons at the start of 2021, 320 fewer than the estimate for a year earlier. The decrease happened mainly because of the US and Russia dismantling retired warheads, the report said.
Read more
China boosts its nuclear arsenal as world’s stockpile shrinks
China boosts its nuclear arsenal as world’s stockpile shrinks
Read more
China may seek to close nuclear gap after US and Russia agree to extend New START treaty
China may seek to close nuclear gap as US and Russia extend treaty

Hans Kristensen, associate senior fellow with Sipri’s Nuclear Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation Programme, said it was worrying that the total number of warheads in global military stockpiles appeared to be increasing.
“The last-minute extension of New START by Russia and the US in February this year was a relief, but the prospects for additional bilateral nuclear arms control between the nuclear superpowers remain poor,” Kristensen said.
The top secret mine that fuelled China’s nuclear programThe top secret mine that fuelled China’s nuclear program
The top secret mine that fuelled China’s nuclear program
The top secret mine that fuelled China’s nuclear program
In February, the US and Russia extended the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) to 2026, a move that was widely seen as a cornerstone of international security.

But Kristensen said Russia and the US appeared to be increasing the importance they attributed to nuclear weapons in their national security strategies, with both implementing extensive programmes to replace and modernise their nuclear warheads, missile and aircraft delivery systems, and production facilities.

NATO Focuses on the China Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

NATO Live Updates: Leaders Focus on China’s Military American

President Biden is taking part in his first NATO summit as president. Topping the agenda as the 30 member nations meet are the challenges of a more aggressive Russia and a rising China.


June 14, 2021, 1:56 p.m. ET45 minutes agoPresident Biden delivers remarks at the conclusion of his first NATO summit as president.Doug Mills/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

President Xi Jinping of China at a military parade in Beijing in 2019. NATO’s secretary general has noted that China is rapidly building its military forces with advanced technologies.
President Xi Jinping of China at a military parade in Beijing in 2019. NATO’s secretary general has noted that China is rapidly building its military forces with advanced technologies.Thomas Peter/Reuters

China’s rising military ambitions are presenting NATO with challenges that must be addressed, the 30-nation Western alliance said Monday, the first time it has portrayed the expanding reach and capabilities of the Chinese armed forces in such a potentially confrontational way.

The description of China, contained in a communiqué issued at the conclusion of a one-day summit attended by President Biden and others, reflected a new concern over how China intends to wield its military might in coming years.

Mr. Biden has made dealing with authoritarian powers a keystone of his presidency so far, especially Russia and China. But while the NATO communiqué describes Russia as a “threat” to NATO, using tough language that was not necessarily a surprise, it is the description of China that attracted unusual attention, and could set the tone for the alliance.

Both Mr. Biden and President Donald J. Trump before him put more emphasis on the threats that China poses to the international order, partly in terms of its authoritarian system and partly in terms of its military ambitions and spending.

NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, has said that China’s military budget is second in the world only to that of the United States, and that China is rapidly building its military forces, including its navy, with advanced technologies.

In a discussion of “multifaceted threats” and “systemic competition from assertive and authoritarian powers” early in the document, NATO says that “Russia’s aggressive actions constitute a threat to Euro-Atlantic security.” China is not called a threat, but NATO states that “China’s growing influence and international policies can present challenges that we need to address together as an alliance.”

NATO promises to “engage China with a view to defending the security interests of the alliance.” Separately, NATO officials have said that China is increasingly using Arctic routes, has exercised its military with Russia, sent ships into the Mediterranean Sea and has been active in Africa. China is also working on space-based weaponry as well as artificial intelligence and sophisticated hacking of Western institutions.

Much lower in the document, China comes up again, and is again described as presenting “systemic challenges,” this time to the “rules-based international order.” NATO also cites China’s expanding nuclear arsenal and more sophisticated delivery systems as well as its expanding navy and its military cooperation with Russia.

In a gesture toward diplomacy and engagement, the alliance vows to maintain “a constructive dialogue with China where possible,” including on the issue of climate change, and calls for China to become more transparent about its military and especially its “nuclear capabilities and doctrine.”

The leaders will also sign off on a decision to spend next year updating NATO’s 2010 strategic concept, which 11 years ago saw Russia as a potential partner and never mentioned China. New challenges from cyberwarfare, artificial intelligence, disinformation, and new missile and warhead technologies must be considered to preserve deterrence, and Article 5 of the alliance’s founding treaty, will be “clarified” to include threats to satellites in space and coordinated cyberattacks.

President Biden met with NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, at the summit in Brussels on Monday.
President Biden met with NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, at the summit in Brussels on Monday.Pool photo by Kenzo Tribouillard

BRUSSELS — New United States presidents traditionally get an early, brief NATO summit meeting, as President Biden is on Monday in a session lasting less than three hours.

Few involved with NATO can forget the last time a new American president paid an inaugural visit. It was May 2017, and Donald J. Trump took the opportunity to deride the new $1.2 billion headquarters building as too expensive, and refused, despite the assurances of his aides, to support NATO’s central tenet of collective defense, the famous Article 5 of the founding treaty.

Mr. Biden, by contrast, is a longstanding fan of NATO and of the trans-Atlantic alliance it defends, so simply showing up with a smile and warm compliments for allies will go a long way to making his first NATO summit as president smooth and even unmemorable.

He drove that point home upon arriving at the summit on Monday morning in a brief greeting with Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general — saying that the alliance was “critically important for U.S. interests” and pointing to Article 5 as a “sacred obligation.”

“There is a growing recognition over the last couple years that we have new challenges,” Mr. Biden said. “We have Russia, which is acting in a way that is not consistent with what we had hoped, and we have China.”

NATO also wants to show that it is not nearing “brain death,” as President Emmanuel Macron of France once complained, but instead preparing to adapt for a very different future.

The traditional communiqué is traditionally long — it is now 79 paragraphs — and was finished early Saturday evening.

There will be other issues for the leaders to discuss, even in a short meeting that is to provide each leader only five minutes to speak.

NATO is leaving Afghanistan pretty abruptly, after Mr. Biden’s decision to pull all United States troops out by Sept. 11. Many of NATO’s troops have already left. One of the main questions that remain: Can NATO continue to train Afghan special forces outside Afghanistan, and where?

Leaders will also talk about how to better prepare NATO’s “resilience,” including how to reduce dependence on Chinese-made technology, protect satellites and measure increased military spending. They want a new relationship with technology companies and new NATO partnerships in Asia.

They will begin to discuss a replacement for the secretary general, Mr. Stoltenberg, who worked hard to keep Mr. Trump from blowing up the alliance, and whose term ends in September 2022.

But for Mr. Biden, the meeting will be a bath of good feeling — and that is thought to be enough for now.

Preisdent Vladimir V. Putin with Chinese and Russian military officials in 2018.
Preisdent Vladimir V. Putin with Chinese and Russian military officials in 2018.Pool photo by Alexei Nikolsky

Some NATO states worry that President Biden appears to be rewarding President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia by meeting him on Wednesday in Geneva.

Skeptics say that the new United States president, his sights set squarely on the challenges posed by the rise of China, may be “sleepwalking” into an unwise rapprochement with a power that many European leaders view as their principal threat.

NATO leaders, who are gathering at a summit meeting on Monday, have usually gone out of their way to adjust to the strategic priorities of the group’s most powerful member, the United States. But the issue of China is more problematic, because NATO is a regional military alliance of Europe and North America. Its main concern remains a newly aggressive Russia — not distant China.

China is expanding militarily, exercising with Russia, sending its ships into the Mediterranean. It also has a base in Africa. So it has gotten NATO’s attention.

But NATO member states from Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Germany, are concerned that a new concentration on China will divert alliance attention and resources from the problem closer to home.

Russia has invaded Ukraine and stationed thousands of troops on its borders. It has poisoned and imprisoned dissidents at home, and abroad has hacked Western governments and companies and propped up President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko’s even more oppressive Belarus.

Russia has also developed sophisticated new intermediate-range missiles that can carry nuclear warheads and modernized its armed forces significantly, making Europe more vulnerable.

“Even though European opinion is becoming more hawkish toward China, European countries are concerned with getting onboard with an overly confrontational U.S. approach,’’ said Michal Baranowski, the director of the Warsaw office of the German Marshall Fund.

There is new concern, he said, after Mr. Biden decided to waive sanctions on companies involved in finishing the controversial natural-gas pipeline between Russia and Germany called Nord Stream 2.

In Poland, Mr. Baranowski said, “there is increased worry and the perception that Washington is going soft on Putin and sleepwalking into a reset with Russia.” Poland, he said, is not alone in saying: Let’s not overdo it with China.

President Biden is welcomed by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo of Belgium in Brussels on Sunday.
President Biden is welcomed by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo of Belgium in Brussels on Sunday.Pool photo by Didier Lebrun

Monday’s NATO summit meeting of 30 leaders is short, with one 2.5-hour session after an opening ceremony, leaving just five minutes for each leader to speak.

The main issues will be topical — how to manage Afghanistan during and after the withdrawal of United States troops, Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia, Xi Jinping’s China and Aleksandr G. Lukashenko’s Belarus.

The leaders will also sign off on an important yearlong study on how to remodel NATO’s strategic concept — the group’s statement of values and objectives — to meet new challenges like cyberwarfare, artificial intelligence, antimissile defense, disinformation and “emerging disruptive technologies.”

In 2010, when the strategic concept was last revised, NATO assumed that Russia could be a partner. China was barely mentioned. The new one will begin with very different assumptions.

NATO officials and ambassadors say there is much to discuss down the road: questions like how much and where a regional trans-Atlantic alliance should try to counter China, what capabilities NATO needs and how many of them should come from common funding or remain the responsibility of member countries.

How to adapt to the European Union’s still vague desire for “strategic autonomy,” while encouraging European military spending and efficiency and avoiding duplication with NATO, are other concerns. So is the question of how to make NATO a more politically savvy institution, as President Emmanuel Macron of France has demanded, perhaps by establishing new meetings of key officials of member states, like national security advisers and political directors.

More quietly, leaders will talk about replacing the current NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, whose term was extended for two years to keep matters calm during the Trump presidency. His term ends in September 2022.

President Biden speaking with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey at the NATO summit in Brussels on Monday.
President Biden speaking with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey at the NATO summit in Brussels on Monday.Pool photo by Olivier Matthys

For the last four years, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has crushed opponents at home and cozied up to Moscow, while showering his allies with sweetheart government contracts and deploying troops regionally wherever he saw fit.

And for the most part, the Trump administration turned a blind eye.

But as Mr. Erdogan arrives in Brussels for a critical NATO meeting on Monday, he faces a decidedly more skeptical Biden administration. President Biden and Mr. Erdogan met in a private session on Monday afternoon during the summit.

Whereas President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has responded to the new order by growing even more belligerent, things aren’t that simple for Mr. Erdogan. Thanks to both the pandemic and his mismanagement of the economy, he faces severe domestic strains, with soaring inflation and unemployment, and a dangerously weakened lira that could set off a debt crisis.

So Mr. Erdogan has dialed back his approach, softening his positions on several issues in the hope of receiving badly needed investment from the West. He has called off gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, an activity that infuriated NATO allies, and annoyed Moscow by supporting Ukraine against Russia’s threats and selling Turkish-made drones to Poland.

Yet Mr. Erdogan does have some important cards to play. Turkey’s presence in NATO, its role as a way station for millions of refugees, and its military presence in Afghanistan have given him real leverage with the West.

Activists of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and other peace initiatives staged a protest in Berlin in January.
Activists of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and other peace initiatives staged a protest in Berlin in January.Tobias Schwarz/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

As President Biden and his NATO counterparts focus on nuclear-armed Russia at their summit meeting on Monday, they may also face a different sort of challenge: growing support, or at least openness, within their own constituencies for the global treaty that bans nuclear weapons.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the Geneva-based group that was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its work to achieve the treaty, said in a report released on Thursday that it had seen increased backing for the accord among voters and lawmakers in NATO’s 30 countries, as reflected in public opinion polls, parliamentary resolutions, political party declarations and statements from past leaders.

The treaty, negotiated at the United Nations in 2017, took effect early this year, three months after the 50th ratification. It has the force of international law even though the treaty is not binding for countries that decline to join.

The accord outlaws the use, testing, development, production, possession and transfer of nuclear weapons and stationing them in a different country. It also outlines procedures for destroying stockpiles and enforcing its provisions.

The negotiations were boycotted by the United States and the world’s eight other nuclear-armed states — Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and Russia — which have all said they will not join the treaty, describing it as misguided and naïve. And no NATO member has joined the treaty.

Nonetheless, an American-led effort begun under the Trump administration to dissuade other countries from joining has not reversed the treaty’s increased acceptance.

“The growing tide of political support for the new U.N. treaty in many NATO states, and the mounting public pressure for action, suggests that it is only a matter of time before one or more of these states take steps toward joining,” said Tim Wright, the treaty coordinator of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons who was an author of the report.

Timed a few days before the NATO meeting in Brussels, the report enumerated what it described as important signals of support or sympathy for the treaty among members in the past few years.

In Belgium, the government formed a committee to explore how the treaty could “give new impetus” to disarmament. In France, a parliamentary committee asked the government to “mitigate its criticism” of the treaty. In Italy, Parliament asked the government “to explore the possibility” of signing the treaty. And in Spain, the government made a political pledge to sign the treaty at some point.

There is nothing to prevent a NATO country from signing the treaty. And the bloc’s solidarity in opposing the accord appears to have weakened, emboldening disarmament advocates.

NATO officials have been outspoken in their opposition to the treaty. Jessica Cox, director of nuclear policy at NATO, said “nuclear deterrence is necessary and its principles still work,” in an explanation of NATO’s position posted on its website less than two months ago.

“A world where Russia, China, North Korea and others have nuclear weapons, but NATO does not, is not a safer world,” she said.

A U.S. official said that a solo news conference by President Biden would be “the appropriate format to clearly communicate with the free press” after meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
A U.S. official said that a solo news conference by President Biden would be “the appropriate format to clearly communicate with the free press” after meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.Doug Mills/The New York Times

After President Biden meets his Russian counterpart on Wednesday, the two men will not face the news media at a joint news conference, United States officials say.

Instead, Mr. Biden will face reporters by himself after two private sessions with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, a move intended to deny the Russian leader an international platform like the one he received during a 2018 summit in Helsinki, Finland, with President Donald J. Trump.

“We expect this meeting to be candid and straightforward, and a solo press conference is the appropriate format to clearly communicate with the free press the topics that were raised in the meeting,” a U.S. official said in a statement sent to reporters this weekend, “both in terms of areas where we may agree and in areas where we have significant concerns.”

Top aides to Mr. Biden said that during negotiations over the meetings, to be held at an 18th-century Swiss villa on the shores of Lake Geneva, the Russian government was eager to have Mr. Putin join Mr. Biden in a news conference. But Biden administration officials said that they were mindful of how Mr. Putin seemed to get the better of Mr. Trump in Helsinki.

At that news conference, Mr. Trump publicly accepted Mr. Putin’s assurances that his government did not interfere with the 2016 election, taking the Russian president’s word rather than the assessments of his own intelligence officials.

The spectacle in 2018 drew sharp condemnations from across the political spectrum for providing an opportunity for Mr. Putin to spread falsehoods. Senator John McCain at the time called it “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

Mr. Putin has had a long and contentious relationship with United States presidents, who have sought to maintain relations with Russia even as the two nations clashed over nuclear weapons, aggression toward Ukraine and, more recently, cyberattacks and hacking.

President Barack Obama met several times with Mr. Putin, including at a joint appearance during the 2013 Group of 8 summit in Northern Ireland. Mr. Obama came under criticism at the time from rights groups for giving Mr. Putin a platform and for not challenging the Russian president more directly on human rights.

In the summer of 2001 — before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — President George W. Bush held a joint news conference with Mr. Putin at a summit in Slovenia. At the news conference, Mr. Bush famously said: “I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul.”

At the time, then-Senator Biden said: “I don’t trust Mr. Putin; hopefully the president was being stylistic rather than substantive.”

Biden administration officials said on Saturday that the two countries were continuing to finalize the format for the meeting on Wednesday with Mr. Putin. They said that the current plan called for a working session involving top aides in addition to the two leaders, and a smaller session.

Jill Biden with a jacket that said “love” on the back during the Group of 7 summit in Cornwall, England, on Thursday.
Jill Biden with a jacket that said “love” on the back during the Group of 7 summit in Cornwall, England, on Thursday.Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Biden and Jill Biden’s first overseas trip since he took office — which he continued at a NATO summit on Monday after she returned home following the Group of 7 meeting in Britain this weekend — has been a chance to use the stagecraft of state to make the point that America is once again an ally in the league of nations.

To prevent anyone missing the message, Dr. Biden put it in bold, bright letters — the word “Love” picked out in rhinestones on the back of the Zadig & Voltaire jacket she wore on day one of the gathering.

Such signaling suggests that the first lady is more than ready to use costume to make a point, especially at moments of high political theater like the G7, where the imagery is as choreographed as any of the meetings behind closed doors.

That’s why the G7 “family photo,” with Mr. Biden smiling gamely in a dark suit and bright blue tie while sandwiched, albeit in a socially distant way, between Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, was so important; why Dr. Biden’s trip to visit schoolchildren with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, mattered; and why the photo of the Bidens looking relaxed and cheerful with Queen Elizabeth II went ’round the world.

In such settings the supporting players — i.e. the families — are as much as part of the narrative arc as the policy statements.

And what the four days of the G7 demonstrated during the president’s trip is that when it comes to playing that part, Dr. Biden has her own ideas about how it should be done.

Queen Elizabeth II of Britain greeting President Biden and Jill Biden at Windsor Castle on Sunday.
Queen Elizabeth II of Britain greeting President Biden and Jill Biden at Windsor Castle on Sunday.Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Before heading to Brussels for Monday’s NATO summit, President Biden had a lighthearted agenda item on Sunday to round out his visit to Britain, the first country visited on his inaugural European trip as president: an audience with Queen Elizabeth II.

The monarch welcomed Mr. Biden and the first lady, Jill Biden, to her home, Windsor Castle, where she has sought refuge since moving from Buckingham Palace early last year as the pandemic was bearing down on Britain.

In what was a very private visit, with cameras and reporters kept well away, Mr. Biden and the queen inspected an honor guard of grenadiers in the castle’s sun-splashed quadrangle before retiring inside for tea.

On every presidential visit to the country, it is the meeting with the queen that most symbolizes what American and British diplomats still reflexively call the “special relationship” — a term that Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently said he did not care for because it made Britain sound needy.

Earlier in the visit, at a reception in Cornwall on Friday, Mr. Biden and his wife looked relaxed as they chatted with the queen, who turned 95 in April. The monarch had also drawn laughs during a stilted, socially distanced group photo by asking, “Are you supposed to look as if you’re enjoying yourself?”

It was a happy contrast to the bereaved figure who sat alone in a choir stall at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor three months ago, during the funeral of her husband, Prince Philip.

“We had a long talk,” Mr. Biden told reporters after the meeting. “She was very generous.”

Babylon the Great and Russia at Nuclear Crossroads : Daniel 7

At an arms control crossroads, Biden and Putin face choices

At a low point in U.S.-Russian relations, President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin appear to agree broadly on at least one thing, and that’s the need to set the stage for a new era in arms control

By ROBERT BURNS AP National Security Writer

June 13, 2021, 6:00 AM

Examined: How Putin keeps power

A look at how Russian President Vladimir…The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — At a low point in U.S.-Russian relations, President Joe Bidenand Russian President Vladimir Putin appear to agree broadly on at least one thing — their first face-to-face meeting Wednesday is a chance to set the stage for a new era in arms control.

Whether that leads to actual arms negotiations is another matter, complicated by the soured relationship and accusations by each country that the other has cheated on past arms treaties. The fabric of arms control has been fraying, notably with the abandonment in 2019 — first by Washington, then by Moscow — of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which had governed a whole class of missiles for more than three decades.

The Trump administration also pulled the United States out of the Open Skies Treaty, which had allowed surveillance flights over military facilities in both countries. Last month the Biden administration informed the Russians that it would not reenter the treaty, and last week Putin confirmed Russia’s exit.

Biden and Putin now face choices about how and when to restart a dialogue over arms control priorities, even as Biden faces pressure from Congress on China’s growing military might and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

Despite its importance, the arms control issue may get overshadowed at the Biden-Putin summit, given heightened U.S. focus on ransomware attacks, alleged Russian interference in U.S. elections, Russia’s military buildup on Ukraine’s border and allegations that the Kremlin was behind the SolarWinds hacking campaign.

International arms control groups are pressing the Russian and American leaders to start a push for new arms control by holding “strategic stability” talks — a series of government-to-government discussions meant to sort through the many areas of disagreement and tension on the national security front. There also are calls for such consultations to include Europe because the talks could cover a wide range of issues including cyberthreats, space operations and missile defenses, in addition to nuclear weapons.

Officials in Moscow and Washington have indicated they see value in strategic stability talks, which probably would not be an arms control negotiation but rather a series of discussions at lower levels aimed at deciding how to organize and prioritize an eventual arms control agenda.

“What we are looking to do is for the two presidents to be able to send a clear signal to their teams on questions of strategic stability so that we can make progress on arms control and other nuclear areas to reduce tension and instability in that aspect of the relationship,” Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said last week.

Washington broke off strategic stability talks with Moscow in 2014 in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its military intervention in support of separatists in eastern Ukraine. Talks resumed in 2017 but gained little traction and failed during the Trump administration’s final weeks to produce an agreement on extending the New START treaty limiting nuclear weapons. Shortly after Biden took office in January, the two sides agreed to a five-year extension but with no road map for future talks.

Biden wrote in The Washington Post, previewing his trip to Europe, that he already has made clear to Putin that the United States wants to avoid conflict. Biden will attend a NATO summit meeting and consult with European Union officials before the Geneva session with Putin.

“We want a stable and predictable relationship where we can work with Russia on issues like strategic stability and arms control,” Biden wrote.

Putin said he, too, is ready for such talks.

“Strategic stability is extremely important,” Putin said June 3 in remarks to heads of international news agencies. “We don’t want to scare anyone with our new weapons systems. Yes, we are developing them, and we have achieved certain results and successes. But all leading countries and leading military powers are doing this, and we are just one step ahead.”

“We realize that other high-tech powers, such as the United States and other countries, will achieve similar results sooner or later,” Putin added. “Therefore, I believe that it is better to reach agreement in advance on how we will live together in a changing world. We are ready for this.”

Putin appeared to be alluding to what some call Russia’s exotic strategic weapons such as the Poseidon nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered torpedo and the experimental Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile. Putin has said these can be discussed as part of a strategic stability dialogue. But the Americans must be prepared to include for discussion their work on strategic missile defenses, which Moscow has long called an impediment to arms control.

International arms control experts want to ensure that Europe has a place at the table. Some favor a restart of direct consultations between NATO and Russia, which were cut off after Russia seized Crimea, not as an arms control forum but as a means of discussing tensions and reducing risks of war.

In the past, the U.S., Europe and Russia shared a mutual understanding of the ways to avoid accidents and miscalculations leading to conflict.

“Today, however, clashing national interests, insufficient dialogue, eroding arms control agreements, advanced missile systems, and new cyber and hypersonic weapons have destabilized the old equilibrium and are increasing the risk of nuclear conflict,” U.S., European and Russian members of the Euro-Atlantic Security Leadership Group wrote in a statement last Monday urging more attention to arms control.

In a separate appeal to Putin and Biden, a group of Russian and American organizations, nuclear policy experts and former senior government officials called for resuming a strategic dialogue “that is regular, frequent, comprehensive and result oriented leading to further reduction of the nuclear risk hanging over the world and to the rediscovery of the road to a world free of nuclear weapons.”


Associated Press writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.