Two Centuries Before The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

The worst earthquake in Massachusetts history 260 years ago
It happened before, and it could happen again.
By Hilary Sargent @lilsarg
Boston.com Staff | 11.19.15 | 5:53 AM
On November 18, 1755, Massachusetts experienced its largest recorded earthquake.
The earthquake occurred in the waters off Cape Ann, and was felt within seconds in Boston, and as far away as Nova Scotia, the Chesapeake Bay, and upstate New York, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Seismologists have since estimated the quake to have been between 6.0 and 6.3 on the Richter scale, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.
While there were no fatalities, the damage was extensive.
According to the USGS, approximately 100 chimneys and roofs collapsed, and over a thousand were damaged.
The worst damage occurred north of Boston, but the city was not unscathed.
A 1755 report in The Philadelphia Gazette described the quake’s impact on Boston:
“There was at first a rumbling noise like low thunder, which was immediately followed with such a violent shaking of the earth and buildings, as threw every into the greatest amazement, expecting every moment to be buried in the ruins of their houses. In a word, the instances of damage done to our houses and chimnies are so many, that it would be endless to recount them.”
The quake sent the grasshopper weathervane atop Faneuil Hall tumbling to the ground, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.
An account of the earthquake, published in The Pennsylvania Gazette on December 4, 1755.
The earthquake struck at 4:30 in the morning, and the shaking lasted “near four minutes,” according to an entry John Adams, then 20, wrote in his diary that day.
The brief diary entry described the damage he witnessed.
“I was then at my Fathers in Braintree, and awoke out of my sleep in the midst of it,” he wrote. “The house seemed to rock and reel and crack as if it would fall in ruins about us. 7 Chimnies were shatter’d by it within one mile of my Fathers house.”
The shaking was so intense that the crew of one ship off the Boston coast became convinced the vessel had run aground, and did not learn about the earthquake until they reached land, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.
In 1832, a writer for the Hampshire (Northampton) Gazette wrote about one woman’s memories from the quake upon her death.
“It was between 4 and 5 in the morning, and the moon shone brightly. She and the rest of the family were suddenly awaked from sleep by a noise like that of the trampling of many horses; the house trembled and the pewter rattled on the shelves. They all sprang out of bed, and the affrightted children clung to their parents. “I cannot help you dear children,” said the good mother, “we must look to God for help.”
The Cape Ann earthquake came just 17 days after an earthquake estimated to have been 8.5-9.0 on the Richter scale struck in Lisbon, Portugal, killing at least 60,000 and causing untold damage.
There was no shortage of people sure they knew the impretus for the Cape Ann earthquake.
According to many ministers in and around Boston, “God’s wrath had brought this earthquake upon Boston,” according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.
In “Verses Occasioned by the Earthquakes in the Month of November, 1755,” Jeremiah Newland, a Taunton resident who was active in religious activities in the Colony, wrote that the earthquake was a reminder of the importance of obedience to God.
“It is becaufe we broke thy Laws,
that thou didst shake the Earth.

O what a Day the Scriptures say,
the EARTHQUAKE doth foretell;
O turn to God; lest by his Rod,
he cast thee down to Hell.”
Boston Pastor Jonathan Mayhew warned in a sermon that the 1755 earthquakes in Massachusetts and Portugal were “judgments of heaven, at least as intimations of God’s righteous displeasure, and warnings from him.”
There were some, though, who attempted to put forth a scientific explanation for the earthquake.
Well, sort of.
In a lecture delivered just a week after the earthquake, Harvard mathematics professor John Winthrop said the quake was the result of a reaction between “vapors” and “the heat within the bowels of the earth.” But even Winthrop made sure to state that his scientific theory “does not in the least detract from the majesty … of God.”
It has been 260 years since the Cape Ann earthquake. Some experts, including Boston College seismologist John Ebel, think New England could be due for another significant quake.
In a recent Boston Globe report, Ebel said the New England region “can expect a 4 to 5 magnitude quake every decade, a 5 to 6 every century, and a magnitude 6 or above every thousand years.”
If the Cape Ann earthquake occurred today, “the City of Boston could sustain billions of dollars of earthquake damage, with many thousands injured or killed,” according to a 1997 study by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

When will there be a nuclear war? Revelation 16

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 24, 2022: Russia's President Vladimir Putin is seen during a meeting with members of Russian business community in the Moscow Kremlin. Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS (Photo by Alexei Nikolsky\TASS via Getty Images)

Will there be a nuclear war? Which countries have weapons and how likely Russia is to use nukes in Ukraine

Russia has more nuclear weapons than any other country in the world, but has signed a treaty not to use them

By Ryan Dinsdale

February 25, 2022 2:26 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a stark warning to the West following his invasion of Ukraine by stating that anyone who interfered “will face consequences greater than any you have faced in history”.

The threat of nuclear war has been considered by world leaders and civilians alike, despite Russia, the United States and UK all having signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and therefore, on paper, agreeing to nuclear peace.

So how real is the risk that nuclear arms could be used? And what systems are in place to minimise that risk?

What is the NPT?

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, shortened to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is an international agreement signed by 191 countries intended to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

There are three main parts to the agreement: non-proliferation, disarmament, and the right to peacefully use nuclear energy.

Only four countries with nuclear capabilities have not signed the NPT, including Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea.

Who has nuclear weapons?

Nuclear weapons are known to be possessed by nine countries, but only five of these have signed the NPT.

Russia has the most, at 6,257, of which 1,458 are active (already deployed), 3,039 are available (can be deployed if needed) and 1,760 are retired (out of use and awaiting dismantlement).

The United States follows with 5,550 nuclear weapons in total, of which 1,389 are active, 2,361 are available, and 1,800 are retired.

Of the remaining NPT countries, China has 350 active nuclear weapons, France has 290, and the UK has 225.

Pakistan, India, and Israel have never signed the NPT but have 165, 156, and 90 available nuclear weapons respectively.

North Korea originally signed the NPT but became the only country to ever withdraw from it in 2003, and is currently believed to have around 40 to 50 nuclear weapons.

Did Putin threaten to use nuclear weapons?

Putin addressed Russia on Thursday, not declaring war but claiming his goal wsa to “demilitarise and de-Nazify” Ukraine.

He added: “To anyone who would consider interfering from outside: If you do, you will face consequences greater than any you have faced in history. All the relevant decisions have been taken. I hope you hear me.”

France’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on French television channel TF1 that this message was understood to be a threat of using nuclear weapons.

Has Nato responded?

Le Drian countered with his own mention of nuclear capabilities, however. He added: “I think Vladimir Putin must also understand that the Atlantic alliance (Nato) is a nuclear alliance. That is all I will say about this.”

Nato itself does not own any nuclear weapons but some United States-owned missiles are reportedly kept at six airbases across five European countries.

How to think about the Bowls of Wrath: Revelation 16

Russian president Vladimir Putin, wearing a suit and tie, stands at a podium in front of a Russian flag.
Russian President Vladimir Putin at a press conference at the Kremlin in February. Putin announced a Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

How to think about the risk of nuclear war, according to 3 experts

The threat of nuclear weapons never went away. But Putin’s invasion of Ukraine makes it visible again.

Feb 25, 2022, 2:25pm EST

When Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his invasion of Ukraine on February 24, he also made a more nebulous threat: “No matter who tries to stand in our way or … create threats for our country and our people, they must know that Russia will respond immediately, and the consequences will be such as you have never seen in your entire history.”

Another part of his speech seemed to make his meaning clear. “Today’s Russia remains one of the most powerful nuclear states,” Putin said. As justification for the invasion, Putin also made unfounded claims that Ukraine was on a path to build its own nuclear arsenal. “There’s no evidence of that at all,” said Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.

The Russian invasion has relied entirely on conventional weapons — tanks rattling down highways, bombers flying overhead, ships landing in the port city of Odesa — and experts told Vox that in the absence of a shocking escalation, that isn’t likely to change.

Still, Putin’s remarks were a stark reminder that nuclear weapons aren’t just the boogeymen of a bygone age, but remain a key part of the security order that emerged after the end of World War II. By Kristensen’s count, Russia has about 6,000 nuclear weapons and the United States has about 5,500. Either nuclear arsenal is large enough to kill billions of people — but also to serve as a deterrent against attack.

In recent decades, the so-called nuclear order has remained fairly stable. The seven other countries known to have nuclear weapons have much smaller arsenals. Most countries in the world have signed onto the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which limits the development of nuclear weapons. We asked three researchers of nuclear arms control about the risks the world faces now and what we might be able to do about them.

How worried should we be about the threat of nuclear weapons right now?

While Putin’s remarks are certainly cause for concern — especially since they introduced the largest military operation in Europe since the Second World War — the scholars who spoke to Vox said a nuclear strike is still unlikely. “I think there is virtually no chance nuclear weapons are going to be used in the Ukraine situation,” said Matthew Bunn, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School and former adviser to President Bill Clinton’s Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The main reason, Bunn said, is that the United States and its NATO allies have made it clear that they will not send troops to Ukraine. Without the threat of military intervention, Putin has little reason to use his nuclear weapons, especially since Russia has a staggering numbers advantage over the Ukrainian military.

“His objective is not to bring the world to nuclear war,” said Paul Hare, senior lecturer in global studies at Boston University. “His objective is to simply swallow Ukraine — and restore not just the [power of the] Soviet Union, but the Tsarist empire.”

Still, said Kristensen, “I’m more worried than I was a week ago.” He pointed out that NATO increased its readiness levels for “all contingencies” in response to Putin’s speech, and with increased military buildup comes increased uncertainty. “That’s the fog of war, so to speak,” Kristensen said. “Out of that can come twists and turns that take you down a path that you couldn’t predict a week ago.”

What does Russia’s nuclear arsenal look like? How does it compare to others in the world?

Russia’s roughly 6,000 warheads make it the country with the largest nuclear arsenal. Kristensen said most of those warheads are in reserves, with only about 1,600 deployed as land, sea, and air-based weapons, such as missiles in silos or bombs dropped by planes. (When the USSR fell apart at the end of the Cold War, there were nuclear weapons left behind on Ukrainian soil, but Ukraine returnedthem to Russia.)

The countries known to have nuclear weapons are Russia, the US, China, France, the UK, Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea. That includes every permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, which have been working to modernize their nuclear weapons over the past few decades, and three members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The total number of weaponshas dropped by about 80 percent since the end of the Cold War, from an estimated 70,300 in 1986 to 12,700 in early 2022.

That’s still a lot of nukes. “There has been much discussion about whether that means Russia has a sort of trigger-happy nuclear posture,” Kristensen said. “It’s hard to pin down. if Russian officials were asked to sit down around a table and entirely consider how many tactical nuclear weapons were needed, purely based on real, strategic rationales, I suspect that number would quickly drop to a lot less [than what it is today].”

Does Putin have a reason to consider using nuclear weapons?

From a strategic standpoint, the experts said, there’s no reason for Russia to use nuclear weapons. But they said Putin himself was the biggest source of uncertainty. “The element of emotion and anger that’s crept into Putin’s statements in particular is striking,” said Hare. “Normally we’ve associated Russia’s diplomatic style with a kind of laconic, almost sarcastic manner.”

It’s worth remembering, Kristensen added, that Putin often makes allusions to Russia’s nuclear arsenal as a show of strength. In 2015, he said in a Russian state TV documentary that he had considered putting Russian nuclear forces on alert during the Russian annexation of Crimea a year prior.

This could be a sign that Putin’s nuclear rhetoric is more bark than bite, but Kristensen wasn’t ready to say that for sure. “He lives in a very small bubble, and he’s deeply paranoid,” Kristensen said. “He’s willing to do really not very rational things.”

Is the fear of a nuclear war enough to stop countries from using nuclear weapons?

“The physical fact of a nuclear weapon’s destructive power absolutely creates fear,” said Bunn. Nuclear deterrence — the idea that one country wouldn’t dare attack another for fear of a nuclear strike — was the major security policy of the Cold War period, and experts say it remains very much alive today. As my colleague Zack Beauchamp recently wrote, the threat of nuclear weapons is the reason the US won’t send troops to Ukraine.

But nuclear deterrence clearly didn’t end all wars. The existence of nuclear weapons “didn’t help us in Vietnam, they didn’t help us in Iraq, they didn’t help us in Afghanistan,” Bunn said. “Nuclear weapons aren’t useful for the majority of the security and well-being challenges that the United States faces.” 

Since the Cold War, it’s been widely accepted that nuclear deterrence would help ensure that the borders of Europe would not be challenged. The Ukraine crisis, said Hare, is casting some doubt on that idea. “The credibility of deterrence hasn’t been tested for decades,” Hare said. “The whole international order is sort of being thrown up in the air. Is the Ukraine attack going to be a prelude to an attack on, say, the Baltic states that are even more vulnerable, or is Putin going to be satisfied with Ukraine?” 

The answer, Hare said, will shape how the United States and its NATO allies decide to deploy their forces — conventional and nuclear — around the world. “We’re starting to see large powers begin to sort of entertain the thought of limited tactical nuclear weapons use scenarios, in a way that they didn’t spend very much time thinking about 10 years ago,” said Kristensen. These are the sorts of unlikely scenarios that have been tossed around in war games as contingencies since the Cold War, and could entail strikes on isolated military targets that are far from population centers, for example. 

“The theory is very much like it was during the Cold War,” Kristensen explained. “You just sort of have some smaller nukes that you can pop off here and there, to force an adversary to take an off-ramp during a conflict.” 

Is the world doing a good job keeping nuclear weapons under control?

For the most part, global efforts to prevent nuclear weapons from spreading, like theNon-Proliferation Treaty, have been strikingly successful. But these efforts need constant attention and maintenance. “Globally, the nuclear order is in pretty bad shape,” said Bunn. North Korea continues to build up its nuclear arsenal, India and Pakistan appear to be engaging in an arms race to build up short-range tactical nuclear weapons, and hostility is ratcheting up between the US, Russia, and China.

“People should pay attention,” said Kristensen. “They have to be vigilant about holding their governments accountable, and make sure that the policies that are in place and the way they’re implemented are constructive, that they actually lead to improving the situation rather than making it worse.” A key US-Russia agreement to limit nuclear-armed missiles, known as the New START Treaty, is set to expire in February 2026, and the degraded relations between the United States and Russia will make negotiating a renewal much harder.

“The huge increase in US-Russian hostility will lead to increased risks of conflict and make it more difficult to work with Russia,” Bunn said. “Whether it’s working to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to other countries or improving security for nuclear weapons and materials and facilities, all of that goes better if the United States and Russia are working together. And they’re not going to be doing that for some time to come.”

There is some good news, Bunn said. There are promising signs for the reinstatement of the Iran nuclear deal, which would affirm the principles of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. “It’s important to remember that only 5 percent of the countries in the world have nuclear weapons,” Bunn said. “Every other state has pledged to never develop nuclear weapons.”

For decades, Bunn added, about one in every 10 US lightbulbs was powered by uranium from decommissioned Russian warheads, which was sent to American nuclear power plants — a reminder that the world actively worked together to turn a tool of destruction into a force for good. “That’s remarkable,” Bunn said. “It’s never been true before in human history that the most powerful weapon available to our species was widely forsworn.”

How the Beast of the Sea ruined US Credibility and Enabled Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine: Revelation 13

How Bush’s Iraq Fiasco ruined US Credibility and Enabled Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine

Juan Cole 02/25/2022

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – George W. Bush issued a statement about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It went like this:

George W. Bush actually came out and condemned “”unprovoked and unjustified invasion”!

The point isn’t just to decry his hypocrisy. Bush’s willful act of aggression, his invasion and eight-and-a-half-year military occupation of Iraq, has deeply hindered effective policy-making by the U.S. regarding Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Here are some of the ways it matters:

Bush filled the U.S. air waves with false assertions that Iraq had an active nuclear weapon program. His vice president, Dick Cheney, repeatedly said things like “We know he’s got chemicals and biological and we know he’s working on nuclear.” (May 19, 2002, NBC Meet the Press) and `But we now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons . . . Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.”( August 26, 2002, Speech of Vice President Cheney at VFW 103rd National Convention.)

This, despite severe doubts expressed to him by seasoned CIA analysts, whom he pressured to give him the statements he wanted. When he couldn’t get them, he went to raw intelligence, i.e. any old garbage anyone ever said. 

Bush himself could not get the CIA to agree that a phony document alleging Iraqi purchases of uranium from Niger was legitimate, so he sourced it to British intelligence. The document was a fraud.

Bush and company were lying to get the war they wanted.

The problem with lying for policy reasons is that people come to view you as a liar. When it became apparent that Iraq did not have any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons or even programs, the United States was humiliated before the world. But it was too late– America had 120,000 troops in Iraq, a society that was collapsing around them. The wounded society would be a maelstrom of instability in the Middle East for decades.

So when U.S. intelligence analysts began reporting this winter that they had excellent reason to believe that Vladimir Putin intended to invade the Ukraine, President Biden’s team could not get people to take this prospect seriously. The Ukrainian government castigated Washington for hyping the threat and engaging in hyperbole.

President Volodomyr Zelensky told Biden to cut it out, and that he was endangering the Ukraine economy with that wild talk.

Administration officials and spokespeople went blue in the face saying Putin was about to invade, and many in the US press replied, “You said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.”

Maybe it would have made a difference at the margins if Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky had trusted the US intelligence and had swung into action to harden his military defenses.

George W. Bush laid the foundations for the disaster in the Ukraine by destroying American credibility on enemy intentions and capabilities.

Bush also vocally tried to spread around fascist ideas at odds with the United Nations charter such as “preemptive war” — i.e., launching an all-out war on another country in case they may at some point in the future come into conflict with you. Putin would say his Ukraine war is preemptive.

W. also issued the “Bush doctrine” making harboring “terrorists” a basis for war, which India and Pakistan immediately deployed against one another. Putin sees the democratically elected Zelensky government as hand in glove with the small Ukrainian far-right nationalist movement, which he categorizes as terrorists.

Putin did not need Bush’s example, of launching an aggressive war on a country that hadn’t attacked you, in order to plot against Ukraine. But the American ability to counter him and have it received with a straight face by the rest of the world was completely undermined by W.’s mendacious warmongering.

IDF Shoots Down Hamas Drone Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Hezbollah drone shot down by the IAF after crossing the Lebanese border into Israel. Jan. 4, 2022

IDF Shoots Down Hamas Drone

By

 Hana Levi Julian

 23 Adar I 5782 – February 23, 2022 

Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson

Israeli military forces shot down a Hamas drone Wednesday night as it was flying towards Israeli territory.

The drone, a quadcopter with four sets of propellers to allow it to hover like a helicopter, was similar to those sent by Hamas in past months.

Iran’s Lebanese proxy Hezbollah likewise has repeatedly attempted to penetrate Israeli territory with similar UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles).

The IDF said the drone was monitored throughout the incident, was shot down along Israel’s border with northern Gaza, in Gaza territory.

How Ukraine Could Become a Nuclear Crisis: Revelation 16

An illustration of Vladimir Putin and nuclear weapons
Sergei Guneyev / Sputnik / AFP / Getty; The Atlantic

How Ukraine Could Become a Nuclear Crisis

Chaos creates countless opportunities for mistakes.By Tom Nichols

FEBRUARY 24, 2022, 1:53 PM ETSHARE

About the author: Tom Nichols is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and the author of its newsletter Peacefield.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is not a nuclear crisis. Yet. Concern about the role of nuclear weapons is perfectly understandable, however, now that a paranoid dictator has led Russia into a major war in the middle of Europe, attacking a country that shares a border with four of America’s NATO allies. A nuclear crisis is unlikely, but not impossible.

The Russians are going to defeat the overmatched Ukrainians, and they do not need nuclear weapons to do it. And while Vladimir Putin is, in my view, unhinged and reckless, I see no indication that he is seeking war with the United States or NATO. Nonetheless, there are multiple paths to a dangerous nuclear confrontation that could embroil Moscow and Washington in a situation neither of them expects or wants.

The least likely occasion for a nuclear crisis would be if Russian forces directly and intentionally threaten NATO territory. All of the Atlantic alliance, including the United States and its nuclear arsenal, would be required to come to the aid of the nations in danger. This is the doomsday scenario that NATO was created to prevent, and it would come about only if Putin were seized by an even greater madness than the one driving him to war in Ukraine. If Putin were to decide, for example, that his great crusade to roll back the collapse of the Soviet Union should include recapturing the Baltic states or driving NATO forces from Poland, he would effectively be declaring World War III and throwing the entire world into the abyss. But, again, there is no evidence that Putin intends to take this path.

A far more likely possibility would be a crisis arising from an accident. War is always a risky and unpredictable affair, even when one side is far stronger than the other. Human beings and their machines make mistakes, sometimes with dire results. In 2015, Turkey, a NATO nation, shot down a Russian jet that had strayed over the Turkish border. Two years ago, during the crisis between Iran and the United States after U.S. forces killed Qassem Soleimani, the Iranians shot down a commercial airliner—from Ukraine, no less—in their own country. And let us not forget that the Russian forces now on the march belong to the same military that in 2014 managed to screw up and shoot down a commercial airliner over Ukraine while claiming that it wasn’t even there in the first place.

There are countless opportunities for such errors in the chaos now overtaking Ukraine. The Russians might shoot at NATO aircraft after misidentifying them. Or they might incorrectly believe that Russian aircraft have been attacked by NATO forces. They might suffer a misfire or a targeting error of some kind that puts Russian ordnance on NATO territory. Europe’s a crowded continent, and no place for a jumpy trigger finger, but accidents are an unavoidable part of warfare.

Any one of these mishaps could lead the Russians, or the United States, or both, to increase the alert status of their nuclear arsenals. This would mean that nuclear weapons and their crews—in some cases, with missiles that are already capable of being launched in 15 or 20 minutes—would heighten their vigilance and readiness to proceed with their missions. Such alerts are rare, and for good reason: They move us one step closer to nuclear conflict.

Finally, there is the frightening possibility that Putin will increase the alert status of his nuclear forces for his own reasons, leaving the Americans no choice but to raise their alert status. The invasion of Ukraine was preceded by the Russian Grom (meaning “thunder”) drills, a regular exercise held by Russia’s strategic nuclear forces. The timing was no accident; Putin relies on Russia’s nuclear deterrent as one of its last claims to superpower status, and he could activate another such exercise, or call for a heightened alert condition, if he thinks things are going poorly for Russia.

Perhaps Russian forces, for example, end up taking more casualties than Putin expected, and he wants to blame the West rather than admit the incompetence or errors of his own commanders. He might then use nuclear signaling as a way of creating a narrative for his people that the West is somehow threatening Russia and that he is determined to stand up to Washington. Or he may be paranoid enough to believe that the U.S. and NATO are planning to send forces in to aid the Ukrainians. Or he may simply decide on such an alert merely to bare his teeth if he thinks it might stop the supply of arms and aid to Ukraine.

Such tit-for-tat signaling has happened before. In 1973, when the Soviet Union threatened to send troops into the middle of the Yom Kippur War to save Egyptian forces from destruction by the Israelis, the United States raised its level of nuclear preparedness, its DEFCON, or “defense condition,” as a way of indicating American resolve to prevent a Soviet intervention. The Soviets and the Americans for decades poisoned the air and oceans with nuclear tests that were meant to show strength and determination.

In an escalating-alert-level scenario, each side will start watching the other intensely for evidence of an impending attack. All of the gremlins of error and miscalculation that are already on the loose in Ukraine now will become existential hazards until the crisis—which at that point will be about the United States and Russia, instead of Ukraine—is somehow sorted out.

None of this—we must hope—is likely. And it is needlessly anxiety-producing, even unhealthy, to spend too much time pondering the chances of a nuclear confrontation. But it is imprudent to pretend that the weapons do not exist at all. Nuclear weapons helped keep the peace in the first Cold War. Sadly, we must hope they will do so again in this new, second cold war declared by the Russian president.


Join editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg, Anne Applebaum, and Tom Nichols for a live virtual conversation about Russia’s war on Ukraine and the potential consequences on Monday, February 28, at 3 p.m. ET. Register here.

Tom Nichols is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and the author of its newsletter Peacefield.

Strategies Before the First Nuclear War: Revelation 8

nuclear war
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Study explores how India and Pakistan communicate their nuclear strategies

by King’s College London

A new study published by the Centre for Science and Security Studies (CSSS) at King’s College London offers insight into the phenomenon of miscommunication in deterrence. By looking at Indian and Pakistani deterrence through a lens of language and communication, the report explores how New Delhi and Islamabad seek to portray their nuclear postures, and how they are understood by different actors—both in Southern Asia as well as by the international community.

It notes how governments, strategic analysts, and the public have numerous separate, parallel conversations about risk perception and trust building in Southern Asia. All of these contribute to potential misunderstanding.

Since 1998, the possibility of nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan has remained an acute and persistent concern to the international community. Of particular significance is the potential for nuclear escalation due to miscommunication and miscalculation. However, despite its importance, the role of language and communication in decision-making is often overlooked.

To better understand the causes of these differences, King’s College London brought together academics and policy specialists from both countries to discuss and explore these issues. Consequently, regarding doctrine this report identifies several areas that contribute to misunderstanding, including:

  • Both India and Pakistan draw on Cold War nuclear lexicon in their nuclear doctrines, although key concepts have evolved to reflect regional circumstances. As such, important nuances mean that neither doctrine can be fully explained solely through theoretical frameworks.
  • Therefore, attention should be paid to both strategic cultures and the context in which key terms have evolved and are intended to be used. One such example is Credible Minimum Deterrence (CMD) which, despite underpinning both sets of national capabilities, remains poorly defined and open to various interpretations.
  • Analysis here shows that CMD is primarily driven by the need for credibility and survivability, although numerous strategic programs appear excessive to CMD’s minimalist claims and heritage.
  • Although the need for crisis-stability to prevent unintentional nuclear escalation has been long recognized, escalation pathways and thresholds also remain unclear. Moreover, the emotional and political intricacies of the region increase the complexities of de-escalation.
  • As more advanced technologies such as missile defense or hypersonics are introduced into the region, articulating deterrence will become increasingly complex as well. This is exacerbated by the fact that, unlike other deterrence relationships, India and Pakistan have a shared border and differ significantly in their strategic depths.
  • This will increasingly blur distinctions between strategic and tactical systems and suggests a new nuclear lexicon will emerge to reflect the geographic setting, while also needing to accommodate India’s desire to provide a credible deterrence against China.

Although there is a wide acceptance that many areas of misunderstanding remain, roundtable discussions show that there are still different opinions on where those misunderstandings lie. Moreover, participants in the study also agreed that the continued focus on possible confidence building measures (CBMs) is contributing to a sense of “CBM fatigue” within policy communities, suggesting an important need for new ideas and innovative approaches.

In addition to expert communities, the report highlights the lack of good information for national populations. Zenobia Homan, Principal Investigator of this study says: “Engaging with the public is vital to ensuring effective civil society participation, with poor communication and discussion lessening government accountability.”

Karl Dewey , Co-Investigator and Researcher at CSSS, adds that ineffective communication can even encourage the use of “loose rhetoric” and all of these factors combined have the potential to create inadvertent “commitment traps.” The investigators agree that never has the need for clear and effective communication been so important.