Win a Nuclear War? Really?

Image result for neocons nuclear
Neocons Firmly Believe They Can Win a Nuclear War against Russia and China
By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Global Research, May 05, 2017
“The problem is that the world has listened to Americans for far too bloody long.” — Dr. Julian Osborne, from the 2000 film version of Nevil Shute’s 1957 book, On the BeacTheir insane plan is as follows: Washington will ring Russia and China with anti-ballistic missile bases in order to provide a shield against a retaliatory strike from Russia and China. Moreover, these US anti-ABM bases also can deploy nuclear attack missiles unknown to Russia and China, thus reducing the warning time to five minutes, leaving Washington’s victims little or no time in which to make a decision.
The neoconservatives think that Washington’s first strike will so badly damage the Russian and Chinese retaliatory capabilities that both governments will surrender rather than launch a response. The Russian and Chinese leaderships would conclude that their diminished forces leave little chance that many of their ICBMs will be able to get past Washington’s ABM shield, leaving the US largely intact. A feeble retaliation by Russia and China would simply invite a second wave US nuclear attack that would obliterate Russian and Chinese cities, killing millions and leaving both countries in ruins.
In short, the American warmongers are betting that the Russian and Chinese leaderships would submit rather than risk total destruction.
There is no question that neoconservatives are sufficiently evil to launch a preemptive nuclear attack, but possibly the plan aims to put Russia and China into a situation in which their leaders conclude that the deck is stacked against them and, therefore, they must accept Washington’s hegemony.
To feel secure in its hegemony, Washington would have to order Russia and China to disarm.
This plan is full of risks. Miscalculations are a feature of war. It is reckless and irresponsible to risk the life of the planet for nothing more than Washington’s hegemony.
The neoconservative plan puts Europe, the UK, Japan, S. Korea, and Australia at high risk were Russia and China to retaliate. Washington’s ABM shield cannot protect Europe from Russia’s nuclear cruise missiles or from the Russian Air Force, so Europe would cease to exist. China’s response would hit Japan, S. Korea, and Australia.
The Russian hope and that of all sane people is that Washington’s vassals will understand that it is they that are at risk, a risk from which they have nothing to gain and everything to lose, repudiate their vassalage to Washington and remove the US bases. It must be clear to European politicians that they are being dragged into conflict with Russia. This week the NATO commander told the US Congress that he needed funding for a larger military presence in Europe in order to counter “a resurgent Russia.”
Let us examine what is meant by “a resurgent Russia.” It means a Russia that is strong and confident enough to defend its interests and those of its allies. In other words, Russia was able to block Obama’s planned invasion of Syria and bombing of Iran and to enable the Syrian armed forces to defeat the ISIS force sent by Obama and Hillary to overthrow Assad.
Russia is “resurgent” because Russia is able to block US unilateral actions against some other countries.
This capability flies in the face of the neoconservative Wolfowitz doctrine, which says that the principal goal of US foreign policy is to prevent the rise of any country that can serve as a check on Washington’s unilateral action.
While the neocons were absorbed in their “cakewalk” wars that have now lasted 16 years, Russia and China emerged as checks on the unilateralism that Washington had enjoyed since the collapse of the Soviet Union. What Washington is trying to do is to recapture its ability to act worldwide without any constraint from any other country. This requires Russia and China to stand down.
Are Russia and China going to stand down? It is possible, but I would not bet the life of the planet on it. Both governments have a moral conscience that is totally missing in Washington. Neither government is intimidated by the Western propaganda. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said yesterday that we hear endless hysterical charges against Russia, but the charges are always vacant of any evidence.
Conceiveably, Russia and China could sacrifice their sovereignty for the sake of life on earth. But this same moral conscience will propel them to oppose the evil that is Washington in order not to succumb to evil themselves. Therefore, I think that the evil that rules in Washington is leading the United States and its vassal states to total destruction.
Having convinced the Russian and Chinese leaderships that Washington intends to nuke their countries in a suprise attack (see, for example, http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/04/us-forces-preparing-sudden-nuclear.html ), the question is how do Russia and China respond? Do they sit there and await an attack, or do they preempt Washington’s attack with an attack of their own?
What would you do? Would you preserve your life by submitting to evil, or would you destroy the evil?
Writing truthfully results in my name being put on lists (financed by who?) as a “Russian dupe/agent.” Actually, I am an agent of all people who disapprove of Washington’s willingness to use nuclear war in order to establish Washington’s hegemony over the world, but let us understand what it means to be a “Russian agent.”
It means to respect international law, which Washington does not. It means to respect life, which Washington does not. It means to respect the national interests of other countries, which Washington does not. It means to respond to provocations with diplomacy and requests for cooperation, which Washington does not. But Russia does. Clearly, a “Russian agent” is a moral person who wants to preserve life and the national identity and dignity of other peoples.
It is Washington that wants to snuff out human morality and beome the master of the planet. As I have previously written, Washington without any question is Sauron. The only important question is whether there is sufficient good left in the world to resist and overcome Washington’s evil.

Obama Increases The Arms Race With Russia And China


United States’ first ‘smart’ nuclear bomb signals new arms race with China and Russia: analysts

MINNIE CHAN
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 August, 2016, 11:23am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 August, 2016, 11:22pm

Washington’s green light for a new generation of steerable and smart tactical nuclear weapons may signal the start of a new US nuclear arms race with China and Russia, military analysts say.

Russia and China are believed to have been developing similar weapons for decades, but Chinese experts are apparently keen to learn the lessons of the former Soviet Union’s failed attempt to keep up with the United States in the cold war.

Why did China release rare videos of its successful anti-missile system tests?

Tactical nuclear weapons, known as non-strategic nuclear weapons, are designed to support naval, land and air forces in areas close to friendly forces and perhaps even on contested friendly territory.
The new US weapon, the B61-12, is America’s first guided, or “smart” nuclear bomb. It weighs 350kg and can penetrate fortified structures several metres underground.

Unlike banned weapons of mass destruction, the B61-12 is designed to be carried by high-speed stealth fighter jets to hit targets precisely with limited damage to structures and lives nearby.
Song Zhongping, a retired instructor for the People’s Liberation Army’s former strategic missile force, said one of China’s main challenges was the carrier vehicle.

“Like many other nuclear powers, China started developing similar tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) many years ago. It has had nuclear technology for decades,” Song said.

“The main difficulties China’s TNW development faces now are how to increase precision and what kinds of carriers the mini-weapons will use.”

Song said China’s technology lagged the US and Russia, but he declined to give details of the types Beijing was developing.

The US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration announced early this month that the B61-12 had completed a four-year development and testing phase and was in production engineering. Full-scale production was expected to get under way in 2020.

US President Barack Obama announced that 180 of the weapons would be deployed in five European countries, despite appeals last month from 10 senators urging restraint on nuclear weapons spending.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the reports that the US was getting ready to produce the B61-12, except that the Kremlin was still assessing its threat.

But Senator Viktor Ozerov, of the Russian Federation Council’s Defence and Security Committee, warned that the country’s nuclear specialists would “carefully study the level of threat and take measures to minimise it, if needed”, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.

Professor Jonathan Holslag, head of research at the Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies, said the B61-12 “increased America’s options to carry out strikes against potential adversaries like China, Russia, and Iran”.

“The B61-12 has to be seen in this context … to have more escalation possibilities in between a conventional war and a nuclear Armageddon,” Holslag said.

“We are already in a nuclear arms race, not of the magnitude of the cold war … Contrary to the cold war, it is not the size of the weapon stocks that matter, but its survivability and accuracy.”

Is China militarising space? Experts say new junk collector could be used as anti-satellite weapon
Shanghai-based military expert Ni Lexiong said America’s announcement to develop the controversial bomb suggested the Pentagon was preparing for potential regional conflicts, such on the Korean peninsula with North Korea, or even in the South China Sea with China.

It’s rare for the US to announce the deployment of such a controversial weapon. It’s possible the US is going to use the B61-12 in case there is a regional conflict,” Ni said.

“But I don’t exclude the possibility that the US wants to increase its nuclear deterrence by announcing such a shocking project. It’s such a costly project.”

Both Ni and Song said they believed China would not follow in Moscow’s footsteps in keeping up with the US in the arms race as Beijing still remembered the lessons learned from the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union collapsed after engaging in a costly and destructive arms race with the United States while its military worked to suppress anti-communist elements and extend its power in eastern Europe.

“Beijing still sticks to the rule left by Mao Zedong that ‘China should develop and own nuclear weapons, but no need to keep so many… [just] enough to cause deterrence,” Ni said.

The B61-12 weapon has been dubbed the most expensive US nuclear bomb, costing about US$11 billion for 400 bombs. It is at the heart of an ongoing modernisation of America’s nuclear arms, projected to cost US$1 trillion over the next 30 years.

Holslag said the production of the super bomb would be limited by the huge cost.

This Is Babylon The Great? (Revelation 18)

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The U.S. Is Running Part of Its Nuclear Forces on 8-Inch Floppy Drives

The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a startling report on the state of the government’s information technology infrastructure on Wednesday. According to the report, the Department of Defense (DOD) “coordinates the operational functions of the United States’ nuclear forces, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombers, and tanker support aircrafts” with a 1970s computer system that uses 8-inch floppy disks.

The total amount that the government requested for information technology services in 2017 is $89 billion. The government plans to spend the vast majority of this IT budget on operations and maintenance, the report says.

Ever seen one of these? The Strategic Automated Command and Control System for U.S. nuclear weapons at the Department of Defense still uses them. gao.gov 
 
In some cases, agencies have been forced to hire retired employees to maintain systems that are decades out of date.

At the Department of the Treasury, for instance, the Individual Master File, the “authoritative data source for individual taxpayers where accounts are updated, taxes are assessed, and refunds are generated,” was programmed to run in assembly language, an expensive, hard to maintain programming language that runs on an IBM mainframe.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) tracks “claims filed by veterans for benefits, eligibility, and dates of death,” using COBOL, a computer language several decades beyond its prime.

While the DOD is planning to upgrade the system that uses floppy disks by the end of 2017, both the Treasury and the VA don’t have any plans to replace their systems, which means more maintenance costs in the long run, the report says.

The report recommends that Office of Budget Management call on individual agencies to identify and prioritize legacy information systems that are in need of replacement or modernization.

North Korea To Expand Its Nuclear Arsenal (Daniel 7:7)

North Korea calls for expansion of nuclear arsenal

kim jong un
KCNA/ReutersKim Jong Un addresses commanding officers of the combined units of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) in this photo released April 2, 2014.
Last week’s nuclear test was North Korea’s fourth, although the United States and experts doubt the North’s claim that it was of a more powerful hydrogen bomb, as the blast was of about the same size as that from an atomic bomb test in 2013.
“(Kim) called for bolstering up both in quality and quantity the nuclear force capable of making nuclear strikes at the US-led imperialists any time and in any space … if they encroach upon the sovereignty of the DPRK and make threatening provocations,” the official KCNA state news agency said.
The North’s official name is Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Kim “set forth the important tasks to be fulfilled to bolster up the nuclear force,” it said, and called for the “detonation of more powerful H-bomb in the future.”
Kim was speaking at a ceremony to award scientists and others behind last week’s nuclear tests, which North Korea has been touting in state media as a major achievement.
In April, the Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese nuclear experts have warned that North Korea may have 20 nuclear warheads and the capability to produce enough weapons-grade uranium to double its arsenal by 2016. That estimate exceeded most previous US assessments, which ranged from 10 to 16 bombs at the time.
On Tuesday, the US House of Representatives voted nearly unanimously to pass legislation that would broaden sanctions over North Korea’s nuclear program.
(Reporting by Tony Munroe; Editing by Dan Grebler)

The World’s Nuclear Arsenals Expand (Revelation 16)

 
India expanding nuclear arsenal: U.S.

Updated: October 6, 2015 00:26 IST | Narayan Lakshman

A senior U.S. administration official this week clubbed India along with Pakistan, North Korea and Iran in a reference to nations that were expanding their nuclear weapons capabilities amidst global proliferation concerns.

Speaking at a conference in Oslo, Norway, Frank Rose, Assistant Secretary of State at the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, said a few days ago, “… India and Pakistan are adding to their arsenals; North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes remain a concern to all; and Iran, despite the landmark nuclear deal, continues its ballistic missile programs.”

Mr. Rose said that given these nations’ nuclear ambitions, along with the fact that Russia and China were modernising their nuclear forces, it would take more than simply banning nuclear weapons to prevent their proliferation and “effectively deter multiple adversaries with varying capabilities.”
As it stands the agreement for declared nuclear powers to supply India with uranium fuel and reactor capabilities has ground to a halt pending talks between U.S. nuclear corporations and the Indian government, negotiations that have foundered on at least two clauses of India’s nuclear liability law.

The Nuclear Arsenal of Babylon the Great (Daniel 7)


Welcome to American Nuclear Weapons 101

Land of the free, home of the nukes?
Tom NicholsDana Struckman
October 3, 2015

Why does the United States have a nuclear arsenal, and what is it supposed to do?
That’s actually a complicated question, especially in the 21st century. Even during the Cold War, there were strong divisions among American strategists about the purpose of nuclear weapons. For some, they existed only to deter nuclear attacks on the United States; for others, they were the military equalizer between an outgunned West and a gigantic Communist alliance. How did we get the nuclear deterrent we have, and where should we go from here?

The Past:

The U.S. nuclear force today is the cumulative result of a number of decisions made over 70 years. At the dawn of the Cold War, bombers were the backbone of the American nuclear deterrent, since there was no other way to deliver a weapon over long distances. The Soviets also developed long-range bombers, but they were considerably inferior to their U.S. counterparts, and had to traverse two oceans before reaching North America.

At first, the United States tried to use its nuclear advantage to contain Soviet expansion by threatening to use nuclear force in response to almost any Soviet aggression anywhere. This was the Eisenhower-era policy of “Massive Retaliation,” but this was a less a strategy than a sign of desperation. There was no way for the U.S. and its allies to confront the massive conventional superiority of the Soviet Union (and, for a time, its huge Chinese communist ally) in Europe or Asia with conventional force. Outgunned and outmanned, the Americans threatened to respond “at times and in places of its own choosing” with nuclear arms, but Washington never made clear what would trip this nuclear trigger, and in the end, Massive Retaliation, while an early attempt to induce uncertainty in the enemy, was a hollow threat once the Soviets could respond in kind.

From the 1950s to the 1960s, the United States and the Soviet Union both diversified their strategic forces. Both sides soon developed long-range missiles, but the earliest versions were in perhaps the worst possible configuration: huge warheads on top of relatively inaccurate missiles sitting outside on launch pads. These bombers and missiles out in the open were sitting ducks, which made them a strong and destabilizing temptation for an enemy first strike.

In the 1960s, the superpowers started burying their missiles in the ground and hiding them underwater. Survivability was the key to stability: if neither side could be assured of neutralizing the other with a sudden attack, neither would risk suicide. This created the condition American strategists called “mutual assured destruction,” a phrase they chose in part because of the evocative acronym it created. The United States spread its ICBMs out over vast spaces in the American West, but the Americans took advantage of their maritime prowess to create a powerful sea-going deterrent as well (as did the Soviets, but in smaller numbers). These changes meant that both sides soon had a “secure second-strike capability,” or the guaranteed ability to strike back after being hit first.

By 1967 the U.S. arsenal hit a peak of some 32,000 weapons, from small bombs to blockbusters. This array of forces reflected the war that U.S. leaders and strategists expected to fight. During the Cold War, the United States and its NATO allies assumed, sensibly, that no matter what started an East-West confrontation, the conflict would migrate to the inter-German border, the “Central Front,” in Europe. The Soviets, the reasoning went, would have every incentive to shift any conflict away from areas where they were weaker or less capable (such as Asia or the Middle East) and take it to the area where they enjoyed huge conventional superiority.

Once war was underway in Europe, NATO would be forced to surrender whatever was at issue to get the Soviets to release their grip on Western Europe. Nuclear weapons provided the West with its only chance of stopping such an attack. Small, short-range weapons (“tactical” nuclear arms) would be fired from everything ranging from bazookas to artillery, destroying the advancing Soviet tank armies and halting the invasion in its tracks. The goal was to convince the Soviet Union that nothing could be gained from aggression, since every scenario would lead back to a major nuclear exchange.

But did the Americans really intend to use nuclear arms, or were they trying to deter the Soviets from using nuclear force against the U.S. and NATO? The U.S. answer was to build a nuclear force configured for both deterrence and nuclear war-fighting. In fact, by the late 1960s, the American position was something of a paradox: the only way to convince the USSR that we wanted no part of a nuclear war was to have a logical plan for fighting one, and to maintain a credible force that could execute that plan. The U.S. triad thus shifted somewhat from a rationale of survivability and toward increasing options for nuclear use in a variety of scenarios ranging from limited strikes to all-out war. That force, and its multiple options, remains largely in place today.

The Present:

Today, the Cold War – or at least the most recent Cold War – is over. What does the U.S. strategic deterrent look like today, and what purpose should it serve in our national security?

First, it’s important to note that the dilemma of Massive Retaliation persists, in a way, to this day. What can the U.S. nuclear force, designed for World War III, do against a smaller nation that might be considering the use of, say, chemical weapons, or a single tactical bomb in a regional confrontation? Is the United States actually ready to employ nuclear strikes across North Korea or Iran?

Second, although the U.S. force is much smaller than it was during the Cold War (with, for example, only 450 land-based silos instead of 1000), it is still configured for a major nuclear conflict with a peer competitor. By treaty with the Russians, we can only have 700 launchers – that is, any mix of submarine or land-based missiles, along with bombers – and they can only carry a total of 1550 warheads. How should we arrange our forces within those limits?

The United States has conducted three reviews of its nuclear forces – in 1994, 2002, and 2010 – and each time concluded that it needs to retain the triad. But does America still need long-range bombers? Should it get rid of the land-based ICBMs, and move most of its missiles underwater, as some have argued? How many submarines, and with how many weapons on each, do we need? Does NATO still need tactical nuclear weapons, now that the Atlantic Alliance is the conventionally superior power and Russia is the inferior regional power?

The Future…Hard Choices Ahead:

Today, the U.S. nuclear deterrent is facing hard choices about modernization. The Air Force and Navy are drawing up plans for new bombers and a new generation of submarines. The American tactical arsenal will be modernized, at great cost. In effect, the result will be a smaller version of our Cold War nuclear deterrent, an idea that would have been harder to sell until the reemergence of Russia as a severe threat to U.S. security. But with the costs projected to reach into the hundreds of billions of dollars, it’s time to ask if our previous strategies and nuclear force structure make sense.
The next administration will have to do its own review of U.S. nuclear posture when it comes into office after 2017. Will it start from the ground up, or will it merely ratify decisions made in the 1960s and the 1970s? There’s no rule that says that previous answers are the wrong answers, but every planner knows that there’s always an insidious and difficult enemy when drawing up future forces: bureaucratic inertia.

Tom Nichols is Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval War College and an adjunct at the Harvard Extension School. His most recent book is No Use: Nuclear Weapons and U.S. National Security (University of Pennsylvania, 2014) You can follow him on Twitter:@RadioFreeTom.
Dana Struckman (Colonel, USAF, ret) is Associate Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval War College. On active duty, he was a missileer and also worked in ICBM testing and acquisition. Additionally, he commanded a U.S. ICBM missile squadron at Minot AFB, North Dakota. The views expressed solely those of the authors.

Korean Horn Confirms Its Nuclear Progress (Dan 7:7)

  
North Korea confirms new and improved nuclear weapons in the works

SEPTEMBER 18, 20158:40AM
MEGAN PALINnews.com.au

AUSTRALIA is an “easy target” for a potential nuclear attack from North Korea, although as a sparsely populated country, it’s unlikely we’ll be bombed directly.

That’s the view of Australian National University Korea expert Leonid Petrov, who told news.com.au that the secretive state would be able to make enough weapons-grade plutonium to create a nuclear bomb each year.

And he said their weapons could reach Australia, although, as we don’t have a huge strategic importance or many military operations, they are more likely to target South Korea, Japan and the USA.

North Korea mothballed the Yongbyon nuclear reactor in 2007 under a six-nation aid-for-disarmament accord, but began renovating it after its last nuclear test in 2013.

This week, the country’s Atomic Energy Institute said that the Kim Jong-un regime had been improving the quantity and quality of its nuclear weapons and confirmed the Yongbyon nuclear complex — including a five-megawatt reactor — was now fully operational.

Mr Petrov, the Australian National University’s Korean studies researcher, said that meant North Korea was now producing weapons-grade plutonium — used in nuclear bombs — at the facility as part of its nuclear weapons program.

“Plutonium materials are perfect materials for nuclear bombs,” Mr Petrov said.

“North Korea claims the primary purpose is economic for electricity but it doesn’t deny the plutonium material can be used for nuclear bombs, which they are happy to use in case of invasion, which they claim constantly.”

The facility is capable of producing about 6kg of plutonium per year — enough for one nuclear bomb.

“The nuclear weapons program is a domestic message that North Korea is at constant threat of invasion from South Korea and the USA,” Mr Petrov said.

North Korea has been subjected to tough economic sanctions over their controversial nuclear programs, their latest move understood to be an attempt to pressure Washington into restarting talks that could lead to concessions.

The announcement regarding the revitalisation of the Yongbyon nuclear complex comes just one day after North Korea threatened to launch satellites into orbit, a move criticised by the US, Japan and other countries as being long-range missile testing in disguise.

Ballistic missile tests are banned under UN security council resolutions.

“The news of the facility came hand in hand with the announcement that another rocket is going to be launched sometime soon to deliver a satellite into orbit, but it’s more likely [Pyongyang is testing] the engine boosters, potentially carrying the pay loads,” Mr Petrov said.

“So far North Korea has several dirty bombs: nuclear devices that can be detonated, but they’re pretty bulky — their size and weight is not useful in a combat, tactical situation.

“They need the carriers and delivery method, otherwise the bulky nuclear bombs are useless and that’s why they experiment with long range missiles.”

The expected missile launches will coincide with the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ party on October 10.

What they’re doing now is to miniaturise the devices so the size and weight can be mounted on missiles, such as rockets, that deliver warheads to the targets that are threats,” Mr Petrov said.
He added Australia was unlikely to be a target for North Korea in a nuclear attack, despite our huge land mass.

But he said we “wouldn’t go unscathed” in the event of a nuclear explosion in another country.
“We have citizens residing and working and travelling all over Asia,” Mr Petrov said.

Australia is definitely going to be impacted by any significant escalations of tensions in Korea.
“A nuclear strike hasn’t been seen since 1945 at end of World War II when Japan was bombed. “But the existence of nuclear bombs means the threat of strikes always exists and the consequences would be catastrophic.

“If the conflict in Korea is triggered, and there is a full on nuclear combat situation … we’re likely to be involved in the conflict.”

South Korea’s defence ministry said on Tuesday that the firing of a long-range missile would represent a “serious” violation of UN resolutions.

North Korea has staged several successful nuclear tests, in 2006, 2009 and 2013.

According to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, “the only guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is their total elimination”.

“A mistake, reckless shot, miscalculation of information or poor judgment might lead to uncontrolled escalation of tensions in Korea where the hostilities may cause the situation to easily get out of control,” Mr Petrov said.

“Once it’s at that stage it may lead to potential nuclear disaster.

“The threat continues and is not diminished.”

The Great Korean Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7:7)

 
How Large Is North Korea’s Nuclear Arsenal?

Kim Jong-un’s government continues to work on its nuclear program, a major source of tension in Asia.

The secretive nation has previously ruled out an Iran-style deal to shut down its nuclear program, apparently concluding that it has more to gain from developing more nuclear warheads and longer-range missiles. The recent announcement that the country’s main nuclear facility is once more operating normally has led to renewed focus on Pyongyang, writes John Power for The Diplomat.
Official announcement that plutonium reactor is back online

State media announced the news on Tuesday, confirming that the facility’s plutonium reactor is now back online. The report from the Korean Central News Agency is corroborated by satellite imagery seen by the Institute for Science and International Security, which claimed that the reactor was functioning again in April.

International denuclearization talks led to the shutting down of the Yongbyon nuclear complex in 2007. A group of nations including the United States, China, Russia, South Korea and Japan brought North Korea to the negotiating table in an attempt to improve regional security.

Talks ultimately failed, and Pyongyang reiterated its commitment to its nuclear program. In 2013 a period of increased tensions with South Korea led North Korean officials to declare that Yongbyon would be brought back online.

North Korea makes regular threats about nuclear strikes

North Korea is known for its aggressive rhetoric, and Tuesday’s statement was no different. The head of the atomic energy agency threatened the use of nuclear weapons at “any time” against the U.S., which he blamed for engaging in “reckless hostile policy.”

For a long time, North Korea watchers were unsure whether Pyongyang had nuclear weapons. That question was answered by the country’s first nuclear test in 2006, but doubts remain to this day over how many warheads the Kim regime currently possesses.

Opinions vary widely, with unnamed Chinese experts cited by The Wall Street Journal claiming in April that North Korea may have as many as 20 warheads. In contrast the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University believes Pyongyang has between 10-16 devices.
According to Jeffrey Lewis, founder of Arms Control Wonk.com, a dozen warheads is a likely number. “I just estimate based on the amount of plutonium — call it a dozen weapons with a fair amount of uncertainty,” he said.

Pyongyang could have more weapons-grade material than previously thought

However it should be pointed out that Lewis’ estimate does not include the uranium enrichment program that Pyongyang also maintains. He describes it as a “major unknown.”

Experts say that uranium enrichment facilities are easier to hide than their plutonium equivalents. Precise estimates of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities are impossible due to highly restricted access to the country and the lack of knowledge of its technical know-how.

Nuclear expert Siegfried Hecker, who has visited Yongbyon on several occasions, spoke out on the issue in April.

“Developing these estimates is not an exact science,” he told the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. “There are huge uncertainties in estimating the enrichment capacity that is likely present at covert sites. One particular problem is the difficulty in assessing how much indigenous capacity North Korea has to make the key materials and components for centrifuges.”

Can North Korea be tempted to give up its nuclear program?

Should North Korea be able to continue work on its missile programs, its existing stockpile of nuclear devices would be able to strike targets further afield. Pyongyang already has missiles capable of striking any point in South Korea, and experts believe that it may not be too far away from developing a missile that can hit Japan.

Kim Jong-un continues to invest heavily in the program, to the detriment of the North Korean economy. The signing of the recent nuclear deal with Iran raised hopes that a similar deal could be reached with North Korea, but that appears to be impossible.

The situation of the two countries is very different given Iran’s oilfields and large consumer market, whereas North Korea does not have as much to gain from reentering the world economy. The fact remains that North Korea has invested a greater proportion of its economic output in nuclear weapons than Iran did, making the program harder to give up.

While the Kim regime may be one of the longest-surviving dictatorships of recent history, officials are still terrified of losing power. The threat of nuclear strikes at times appears to be the regime’s only chip in negotiations with the outside world, and as such it is difficult to envision a voluntary agreement to give them up.

The Third Horn Will Become The Third Largest (Daniel 8)

  

Report: Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal could become the world’s third-biggest

By Tim Craig August 27 Follow @timcraigpost

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A new report by two American think tanks asserts that Pakistan may be building 20 nuclear warheads annually and could have the world’s third-largest nuclear stockpile within a decade.

The report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Center concludes that Pakistan is rapidly expanding its nuclear capabilities because of fear of its archrival, India, also a nuclear power. The report, which will be released Thursday, says Pakistan is far outpacing India in the development of nuclear warheads.

Analysts estimate that Pakistan has about 120 nuclear warheads, while India has about 100.
In the coming years, the report states, Pakistan’s advantage could grow dramatically because it has a large stockpile of highly enriched uranium that could be used to quickly produce low-yield nuclear devices.

India has far larger stockpiles of plutonium, which is needed to produce high-yield warheads, than Pakistan does. But the report says India appears to be using most of its plutonium to produce domestic energy.

Pakistan could have at least 350 nuclear weapons within five to 10 years, the report concludes. Pakistan then would probably possess more nuclear weapons than any country except the United States and Russia, which each have thousands of the bombs.

“The growth path of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, enabled by existing infrastructure, goes well beyond the assurances of credible minimal deterrence provided by Pakistani officials and analysts after testing nuclear devices,” the report states.

Pakistani military officials were not available to comment on the report when it was made available to journalists Wednesday.

Western officials and analysts have struggled for years to get an accurate assessment of Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities. Several Pakistani analysts questioned the findings of the report, saying it is based on a faulty assumption that Pakistan is using all of its existing stockpiles of fissile material to make nuclear weapons.

Mansoor Ahmed, a nuclear expert at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, said he suspects that a more accurate assessment of Pakistan’s capability is that it can develop no more than 40 to 50 new warheads over the next several years.

Ahmed, however, doesn’t dispute that Pakistan’s military is seeking to expand its nuclear capabilities.
“This report is overblown,” said Ahmed, who was recently named a nuclear security fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. “However . . . what the world must understand is that nuclear weapons are part of Pakistan’s belief system. It’s a culture that has been built up over the years because [nuclear weapons] have provided a credible deterrence against external aggression.”

France has about 300 warheads and the United Kingdom has about 215, according to the Federation of American Scientists. China has approximately 250.

The report was written by Toby Dalton, co-director of the Carnegie Endowment’s Nuclear Policy Program, and Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Stimson Center.

Pakistan is believed to use plutonium as well as highly enriched uranium to create nuclear warheads. Dalton noted that Pakistan recently added a fourth plutonium production reactor at its Khushab Nuclear Complex.

“We assume, maybe correctly, maybe inaccurately, with the fuel coming out of the four reactors, they are processing it as rapidly as possible to get the plutonium out,” Dalton said.

India and Pakistan, which have fought three major wars, became declared nuclear powers in 1998. Since then, Western leaders have been increasingly alarmed about the potential for a nuclear exchange between the rivals.

India has adopted a no-first-use policy on nuclear weapons. Pakistani leaders have repeatedly declined to take a similar stance, saying they might be forced to resort to using the weapons should India’s larger army ever invade Pakistan.

India views nuclear weapons “as a political tool, a prestige item, not something you use on a battlefield,” Krepon said. In Pakistan, he said, nuclear weapons are seen as “things you have to be willing to use” to guarantee stability.

But Krepon and Dalton said there is still time for Pakistan to slow down the development of its nuclear arsenal. If it does, they said, the international community should consider what steps it can take to recognize it as a responsible nuclear state.

Futility Of Trying To Stop The Pakistani Horn (Dan 8:8)

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US slams Pakistan for nuclear arsenal boast

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s nuclear sabre rattling earned for it a mild reprimand from the Obama administration even as military generals in Rawalpindi told the country’s politicians that India is their principal ex ternal threat and they need more money to counter it.

Border tension between India and Pakistan figured in the daily US state department briefing on Thursday with a spokesman cautioning Islamabad for talking loosely about using nuclear weapons to counter India.

“We want to see tensions decrease, and speculation about potential use of nuclear weapons certainly isn’t doing anything to help it, if in fact those comments were made,” spokesman John Kirby said.
The censure came after Pakistan’s geriatric NSA Sartaj Aziz boasted that Pakistan was a nuclear weapons power that was capable of defending itself against India, even though New Delhi has made no nuclear threats and has a no-first use policy when it comes to nuclear weapons use.

Kirby essayed the familiar salutary advice to a country that is home to a wide range of terrorists and terror groups, some of them designated by the UN and US.

“(US) secretary (of state, John) Kerry has said repeatedly that he wants the two nations to continue to work together, with constructive dia logue, to resolve their issues, and we understand that there are issues that are longstanding,” Kirby told reporters. “But that’s what really needs to happen, is sitting down, dialogue, cooperation, talking through these things, and trying to work through some meaningful solutions.”

Earlier in the week, the state department had repeated the familiar mantra that such talks were something the two sides needed to undertake and no mediation can be expected from a third party .
Pakistan has been trying hard to attract international attention and mediation into the Kashmir dispute while not giving up on its patronage of terrorist groups such as LeT and its avatars and helping militants infiltrate into India. Earlier this week, Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi took its complaints to the UN even though Pakistan protects UN designated terrorists such as Hafiz Saeed.
On Friday , Pakistani media reported that in a briefing at the joint staff headquarters, the generals told members of Pakistan’s senate defense committee that India was buying $100 billion worth of weapons over the next five years aimed primarily at Pakistan, and they needed more money to counter that.