The Hypocrisy Of Obama’s Speech

Nuclear-free aspirations of Obama, Abe conflict with reality
Originally published May 25, 2016 at 11:31 pm Updated May 26, 2016 at 7:26 am
U.S. President Barack Obama, left, talks with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the Ujibashi bridge as they visit the Ise Jingu shrine in Ise, Mie prefecture, Japan Thursday, May 26, 2016 , ahead of the first session of the G-7 summit meetings. (Toru Hanai/Pool Photo via AP)
The Associated Press
TOBA, Japan (AP) — There is the soaring rhetoric. And then there’s the messy reality.
When U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe make a historic visit to Hiroshima on Friday — the first time a sitting U.S. president has visited the site of the first atomic bomb attack — their words advocating nuclear disarmament will clash with real-world security necessities.
Far from backing up the vision of a world without nuclear bombs that Obama laid out in a 2009 speech that helped secure a Nobel Peace Prize, his near-finished presidency has seen a multibillion-dollar modernization of the U.S. nuclear force.
Japan’s long postwar commitment to disarmament, meanwhile, is only possible because of its reliance on the so-called American “nuclear umbrella” that protects it from antagonistic North Korea and China. Tokyo, should it choose, could probably easily convert its advanced civilian nuclear program into a weapons program, and some conservatives in Abe’s ruling party have argued that the country’s pacifist constitution technically allows nuclear weapons.
In advance of flying to Hiroshima, Obama said Thursday that the dropping of the atomic bomb was an inflection point in modern history and something everybody must deal with.
“I do think that part of the reason I’m going is because I want to once again underscore the very real risks that are out there, and the sense of urgency that we all should have,” Obama told reporters in Shima, Japan, after meeting with leaders of major advanced economies. “It’s not only a reminder of the terrible toll of World War II and the death of innocents across continents, but it’s also to remind ourselves that the job’s not done.”
Despite his own mixed record on nukes, Obama likely sees his Hiroshima visit as a worthwhile expenditure of political capital in order to shore up a global nonproliferation effort that seems at times to be crumbling.
Before the most recent of a series of nuclear security summits meant to reduce and protect nuclear material, Obama wrote in March that eliminating all nuclear weapons may not happen in his lifetime. “But we have begun. As the only nation ever to use nuclear weapons, the United States has a moral obligation to continue to lead the way in eliminating them. Still, no one nation can realize this vision alone. It must be the work of the world.”
Obama’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons was challenged almost immediately.
His April 2009 speech in Prague happened within hours of North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket that outsiders, including the United Nations, called a cover for a test of banned missile technology. Pyongyang is still barreling ahead in its push for nuclear-armed missiles that could reach the U.S. mainland.
Obama secured a deal meant to limit Iran’s nuclear program, if it can be implemented amid mistrust on both sides. But Pakistan and India are still locked in a nuclear standoff. The United States and Russia, which have most of the world’s nuclear weapons, often see their geopolitical jockeying for position interfere with disarmament efforts. And there are growing worries about the security of nuclear fuel sites around the world.
Obama’s trip to Hiroshima also comes amid anxiety that North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile capabilities could lead to the top U.S. allies in Asia, Japan and South Korea, starting their own nuclear weapons programs.
It is highly unlikely either country will go nuclear. It could cause huge political and economic damage — crippling sanctions, global condemnation — and jeopardize their alliances with the United States.
But a small group in South Korea, including some conservative members of the ruling party, and some in Japan see the North Korean danger as too grave to rely only on the protection of another country. They also question whether, despite rhetoric from U.S. officials about an “ironclad” alliance, Washington would really use nuclear weapons and risk the lives of thousands of American troops should a belligerent North Korea attack.
The Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s top newspaper by circulation, said in an editorial weeks after North Korea’s nuclear test in January that discussions in Seoul on acquiring nuclear weapons were inevitable.
Judging by the level of American involvement in crises in Ukraine and Syria, for example, the newspaper said any U.S. help would come only after Seoul is turned into a “pile of ashes” by a North Korean nuclear attack.
This fear has been highlighted by Donald Trump, the presumptive presidential nominee for the Republican party in the United States. He has questioned the amount of money the U.S. military is forced to spend to protect its allies, and has suggested that Japan and South Korea should be allowed to develop their own nuclear weapons.
Japan prides itself on its pacifism and disarmament, but it is only through U.S. nuclear deterrence that the country can live alongside nuclear-armed North Korea, China and Russia, without going nuclear itself.
“Some say this is hypocritical,” said Ralph Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum CSIS think tank, “but I think it is just common sense and good national security policy. The Japanese would certainly be happier if no one had nuclear weapons, but as long as several of its neighbors have them, they welcome being under America’s nuclear umbrella.”
Yukio Okamoto, a former Japanese diplomat, said Tokyo “is in the most difficult position” because it is a nuclear bomb victim, surrounded by potentially hostile nuclear-armed states and dependent for its survival on U.S. nuclear deterrence.
“We have to walk through a very narrow passage of trying our sincere efforts toward total elimination in the long term, but at the same time trying to preserve the alliance with the United States and not to tarnish the security relationship, especially the nuclear deterrence,” Okamoto said.
Obama finds himself divided between his anti-nuclear vision and the realities of leading a global power.
Worries about Japan and South Korea producing nuclear weapons mean the United States must offer them nuclear protection, thereby “going against Obama’s own call for global denuclearization,” Charles Armstrong, an Asia expert at Columbia University, said. “At the same time, the U.S. is modernizing its own nuclear arsenal. Thus, U.S. actions and goals are not entirely consistent.”
Obama’s trip to Hiroshima will be filled with images of the horrors of nuclear war, and lofty statements about the need to eliminate those weapons. But some argue that for the visit to be successful, it must highlight Asia’s real nuclear dangers.
Michael Auslin, an analyst with the American Enterprise Institute think tank in Washington, told The Japan Times: “Asia is concerned about how Washington will deal with a more assertive China and a nuclear North Korea, not with an unrealistic aspiration to rid the world of nuclear weapons.”
Obama may not be able to escape criticism from all sides.
Many conservatives in the United States believe a Hiroshima visit will be a failure because it will be seen as an apology. Nonproliferation activists believe he has not gone far enough in efforts to “earn” his Nobel Prize.
“I did think Obama was serious about his nuclear-free world, but that was six or seven years ago. We are no closer today than we were when he took office to achieving that end,” said Bruce Cumings, an Asia expert at the University of Chicago. “I’m sure he will bring up getting rid of nukes in his speech, but he’s in a much weaker position today, because of the ongoing upgrading of American nuclear weapons.”
AP writer Ken Moritsugu contributed to this report from Tokyo.

A Sign of the End: Visiting The Crime Scene (Ezekiel 17)

Obama to make first Presidential visit to US atomic bomb attack site in Hiroshima

WASHINGTON (Web Desk) – Barack Obama will become the first sitting American president to visit the site of the US atomic bomb attack in Hiroshima, Japan, later this month, the White House said Tuesday.The visit fulfills a wish Obama expressed early in his presidency to visit the charged location where tens of thousands of Japanese civilians were killed in a nuclear blast at the end of World War II.
Weighing the visit, the White House officials faced a careful balance of whether Obama’s presence would amount to an apology for using nuclear weapons, a move many historians consider essential to ending the war, the CNN reported. 
Today Hiroshima is the site of a park and museum dedicated to memorializing the victims of the attack and promoting peace and nuclear disarmament. The president’s visit will “highlight his continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons,” the White House said in a statement.

According to the White House, the United States does not owe Japan a formal apology for using the atomic bomb in August 1945. But officials say the visit will serve as a reminder the terrible destruction that nuclear weapons can inflict.

“He will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb at the end of World War II,” Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, wrote on Medium Tuesday. “Instead, he will offer a forward-looking vision focused on our shared future.”

Rhodes said Obama would deliver remarks on nuclear non-proliferation – a central tenet of the President’s foreign policy – during the stop in Hiroshima, which is scheduled for May 27.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would accompany Obama on the stop, which comes after a meeting of the Group of 7 in Ise-Shima.

Earlier this year, Secretary of State John Kerry became the highest-ranking US official to pay respects at the site, and hinted that Obama would soon make his own visit.

Obama and his aides have long debated making a presidential stop in either Hiroshima or Nagasaki, where the US dropped a second atomic bomb three days after the Hiroshima attack.

On his first visit to Japan in 2009, Obama expressed a desire to stop in one of the cities before leaving office. “The memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are etched in the minds of the world, and I would be honored to have the opportunity to visit those cities at some point during my presidency,” he said.

Hiroshi Harada, a 75-year-old atomic bomb survivor and former head of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, in the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan.–File photo

Hiroshi Harada, a 75-year-old atomic bomb survivor and former head of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, in the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, western Japan.–File photo

But even in Tokyo, a visit by a US president to the site of the nuclear destruction hasn’t always been welcome. Ahead of Obama’s first trip to Japan in 2009, a Japanese government official said “it would be premature to include a visit to Hiroshima,” recommending instead that Obama remain near the capital.

But as the United States and Japan have worked through other World War II-era grievances, a visit to the location became more tenable.

Why Hiroshima Never Should Have Happened

Kerry says Hiroshima ‘gut-wrenching’ reminder world should abandon nuclear weapons

Kerry says Hiroshima ‘gut-wrenching’ reminder world should abandon nuclear weapons
HIROSHIMA: US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday called his visit to a memorial to victims of the 1945 US nuclear attack on Hiroshima “gut-wrenching” and said it was a reminder of the need to pursue a world free of nuclear weapons.

The first US secretary of state to visit Hiroshima, Kerry said President Barack Obama also wanted to travel to the city in southern Japan but he did not know whether the leader’s complex schedule would allow him to do so when he visits the country for a Group of Seven (G7) summit in May.

Kerry toured the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Museum, whose haunting displays include photographs of badly burned victims, the tattered and stained clothes they wore and statues depicting them with flesh melting from their limbs.

“It is a stunning display. It is a gut-wrenching display,” he said. “It is a reminder of the depth of the obligation everyone of us in public life carries…to create and pursue a world free from nuclear weapons,” he told a news conference.

After the tour by Kerry and his fellow G7 foreign ministers, the group issued a statement reaffirming their commitment to building a world without nuclear arms but said the push had been made more complex by North Korea’s repeated “provocations” and by worsening security in Syria and Ukraine.
The ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States laid white wreaths at a cenotaph to the victims of the August 6, 1945, bombing, which reduced the city to ashes and killed some 140,000 people by the end of that year.

While he is not the highest-ranking US official to have toured the museum and memorial park, a distinction that belongs to then-US Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi in 2008, Kerry is the most senior executive branch official to visit.

“Everyone in the world should see and feel the power of this memorial. It is a stark, harsh, compelling reminder not only of our obligation to end the threat of nuclear weapons, but to rededicate all our effort to avoid war itself,” the chief US diplomat wrote in a guest book.

Asked later if this meant Obama should come, Kerry said: “Everyone means everyone. So I hope one day the president of the United States will be among the everyone who is able to come here. Whether or not he can come as president, I don’t know.”

‘First step’

At Kerry’s suggestion, the ministers also made an impromptu visit to the Atomic Bomb Dome, the skeletal remains of the only structure left standing near the hypocentre of the bomb explosion and now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Three days after a US warplane dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, on August 9, 1945. Japan surrendered six days later.

A visit by Obama could be controversial in America if it were viewed as an apology.

A majority of Americans view the bombings as justified to end the war and save US lives, while the vast majority of Japanese believe it was not justified.

Hopes for Obama’s visit to Hiroshima were raised after an April 2009 speech in Prague when he called for a world without nuclear weapons.

He later said that he would be honoured to visit the two nuclear-attacked cities.

The G7 foreign ministers’ trip to the museum and memorial is part of Japan’s effort to send a strong nuclear disarmament message from Hiroshima, the world’s first city to suffer atomic bombing.
“I think this first-ever visit by G7 foreign ministers to the peace memorial park is a historic first step towards reviving momentum toward a world without nuclear weapons,” Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said in a statement.

He later told a news conference that it was “inconceivable” that Japan would ever decide to have nuclear weapons.

Last month, US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Japan and South Korea should build such weapons to deter enemies.

In a separate, detailed statement, the G7 ministers singled out North Korea for sharp criticism, condemning its recent nuclear test and launches using ballistic missile technology.

And in a statement on maritime security, they voiced their strong opposition to provocative attempts to change the status quo in the East and South China Seas, an apparent reference to China, which is locked in territorial disputes with other nations including the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan.

Babylon the Great Will Pay For Hiroshima (Revelation 17)

Kerry plans no apology for wartime atomic bomb on Hiroshima visit

By Arshad Mohammed and Kiyoshi Takenaka

HIROSHIMA, Japan (Reuters) – John Kerry will not offer an apology for the United States’ use of the atomic bomb against Japan when he becomes the first U.S. secretary of state to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum on Monday, a senior U.S. official said.

Kerry is visiting the city, which was obliterated by a U.S. atomic bomb on Aug. 6, 1945, to attend gathering of foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies that Japan opened on Sunday with a call to end nuclear weapons.

The U.S. diplomat is to join his counterparts from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan on Monday to tour the city’s atomic bomb museum and to lay flowers at a cenotaph for its victims, becoming the first in his post to do so.

“If you are asking whether the secretary of state came to Hiroshima to apologise, the answer is no,” a senior U.S. official told reporters late on Sunday.

“If you are asking whether the secretary and I think all Americans and all Japanese are filled with sorrow at the tragedies that befell so many of our countrymen, the answer is yes,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added.

Kerry’s trip could pave the way for an unprecedented visit to Hiroshima by a sitting U.S. president when Barack Obama attends the annual G7 summit to be held in Japan next month.

While saying the White House has yet to make a decision, the senior U.S. official said Obama has shown he is willing to do controversial things such as visiting Havana last month.

The official suggested there was no “great or insurmountable angst about the optics or the politics of a visit to Hiroshima.”

He also said there was no Japanese effort to seek a U.S. apology, “nor is there any interest in reopening the question of blame for the sequence of events that culminated in the use of the atomic bomb.”

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who presides over the two-day meeting, on Sunday said ministers will discuss anti-terrorism steps, maritime security and issues related to North Korea, Ukraine and the Middle East.

The Catastrophic Bowls Of Wrath (Revelation 15)

Peace Prize Winner Talks Catastrophic Effects of Nuclear War

The physician is also the co-president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Many young people are “profoundly” uneducated about nuclear weapons, according to Helfand. The physician showed a video, that won first prize in the student category for the Nukebusters 2015 Short Film Contest, which demonstrated how disturbed students are when they hear about nuclear weapon capacity for damage.
Helfand argued that this lack of education is dangerous because it translates to complacency among the next generation of potential anti-nuclear proliferation advocates.
Helfand urged the young people in the audience to take stock of the staet of nuclear weapons today, saying that although they had not been involved in “creating the problem,” that this could not be complete because “this problem is not going to go away.”
This mass destruction could also result from the degradation of food production throughout the world, according to Helfand. Large drops in temperature, due to a nuclear fallout, could wreck havoc on food staples like corn in the United States and rice i China.
The consequences of nuclear conflict would be global, Helfand said. If a nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan occurred, China’s Guangdong province, thousands of miles away, would see its rice crops fail completely within a year, and its 37 million residents would starve, according to Helfand.
“We are not in the position on this planet today to absorb this kind of decline in food production,” he said. “Grain reserves, as of last month, amount to only about 80 days of consumption worldwide if production stops. This reserve will not provide an adequate buffer in the event of a significant decline of food production.”
The scarcity of food could also lead to global hoarding by countries who export food, placing other countries, who already struggle feeding their people at greater risk of famine, according to Helfand.  He said these inflated food prices could last for decades. By recent estimates, there are almost 795 million malnourished people in the world, he said.
Shocks would also harm the 300 million people who live in countries that import food as well as many others who are not rich enough to pay inflated food prices. Additionally, nuclear radiation would cause dire health problems and there would be little available treatment, according to Helfand.
This has lead us to conclude that 2 billion people worldwide could face death by starvation in the event of a limited nuclear war confined to one section of the globe,” he said. “This is an event unprecedented in human history, we have never seen anything like the death of a third of the human population in a single decade.”
With impacts this great, Helfand stressed that stopping the escalation of nuclear weapon must be made a political priority.
“While this is the future that will be if we do not act, it is not the future it needs to be,” he said. “Nuclear weapons are not a force of nature. They are implements which we have built with our own hands and we know how to take them apart. What has been lacking is the political will.”
Several steps, such as taking U.S. nuclear weapons off high alert, eliminating tactical nuclear weapons and ratifying the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty would have immense significance in creating a nuclear weapon free world, accoring to Helfand.
Helfand ended the discussion by urging public engagement in ending the reliance on nuclear weapons.
“I challenge everyone who is not already involved in this issue to figure out how on this campus you build a movement that helps to educate the general public and our decision makers about the dangers we face, the possibility we have for eliminating that danger, and the urgency in doing so to avoid this catastrophe,” he said.
Helfand’s lecture was co-sponsored by the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflicts Studies, the Center for Transformative Action and the Episcopal Peace Fellowship and organized by the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies.

The Bowls of Wrath “Anytime Now” (Revelation 15)

In his new memoir My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, former U.S. defence secretary William J. Perry says threats of an attack are ‘dimly perceived’ by public.
Published on Dec 29 2015
Robert Burns
Atop William J. Perry’s list: a nuclear terror attack in a major U.S. city or a shooting war with Russia that, through miscalculation, turns nuclear. A terrorist attack using a nuclear bomb or improvised nuclear device could happen “any time now — next year or the year after,” he said in an interview with reporters this month.
Perry, 88, chooses his words with the precision of a mathematician, which he was before entering the defence world in the mid-1950s. He played a central role in developing and modernizing nuclear forces throughout the Cold War — first as a technology whiz-kid and later a three-time senior Pentagon executive. During the 1962 Cuban missile crisis Perry was secretly summoned to Washington to analyze intelligence on Soviet weapons in Cuba.
“Every day that I went to the analysis centre I thought would be my last day on earth,” he writes in a newly published memoir, My Journey at the Nuclear Brink. He says he believed then and still believes that the world avoided a nuclear holocaust as much by good luck as by good management.
In the interview, he recounted a harrowing incident in November 1979 when, as a senior Pentagon official, he was awakened by a 3 a.m. phone call from the underground command centre responsible for warning of a missile attack. The watch officer told Perry his computers were showing 200 nuclear-armed missiles on their way from the Soviet Union to the United States.
“It was, of course, a false alarm,” Perry said, but it was one of many experiences throughout the Cold War and beyond that he says have given him a “unique and chilling vantage point from which to conclude that nuclear weapons no longer provide for our security — they now endanger it.
Perry looks at Russia’s nuclear modernization and U.S. plans to spend hundreds of billions to update its nuclear arsenal and sees irrational nuclear competition.
“I see an imperative to stop this damn nuclear race before it gets underway again, not just for the cost but for the danger it puts all of us in,” he said.
When the Cold War ended with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Perry thought the world had dodged a nuclear bullet. In his first book, co-authored in 1999 with the man now running the Pentagon, Ash Carter, Perry argued that the demise of the Soviet system meant nuclear disaster was no longer an “A List” threat.
By 2014, his optimism had faded, in no small part because of the collapse of co-operative relations between Washington and Moscow, which has ended any realistic prospect of new arms control agreements and, in Perry’s view, has put the two countries on a dangerous path toward confrontation.
We are facing nuclear dangers today that are in fact more likely to erupt into a nuclear conflict than during the Cold War,” Perry said in a recent speech.
In his book’s preface Perry outlines a nuclear terror scenario, which he calls “my nuclear nightmare, born of long and deep experience.”
In his scenario, a small group gets its hands on enough uranium to fashion a crude nuclear bomb, flies it undetected to Washington’s Dulles International Airport and slips the bomb into a warehouse in the District of Columbia. From there it is loaded onto a delivery truck and a suicide bomber drives it onto Pennsylvania Avenue midway between the Capitol and the White House. When detonated, it kills 80,000 people instantly, including the president. The news media report a message claiming that five more bombs are hidden in five different U.S. cities, and one will be set off each week.
The danger of a nuclear bomb being detonated in one of our cities is all too real,” Perry writes. “And yet, while this catastrophe would result in a hundred times the casualties of 9/11, it is only dimly perceived by the public and not well understood.”

The Bowls Of Wrath (Revelation 16)

Have We Stopped Fearing Nuclear War?

Have We Stopped Fearing Nuclear War?
It came up the other night as dinner conversation. “Where do you think the next nuclear war will break out?” I asked. Everybody had an opinion.
“Obviously on the Pakistan border,” said one person.
Another, known for his weird opinions, piped up: “In the arctic, of course. Either to protect new trade routes, melt the rest of the ice, or both.”
“What about China?” somebody mused.
“No, I think they’re more interested in economic power,” replied the person next to me, joining the conversation. “I don’t think they really want all-out war.”
What did I think? I was inclined to agree with the person who referred to Pakistan — and, by extension, India. I could also see it breaking out in the Middle East. Obvious places, where militaries have atomics and war is already tearing communities apart.
Let’s set aside the issues with who Sarah Connor is, and retcons and all that. What really busted my chops was the reason why the movie wouldn’t be focused on averting nuclear holocaust.
According to Entertainment Weekly:
The film also adapts to our current cultural anxieties. The threat of nuclear holocaust that freaked out ’80s audiences has been eclipsed by our fear of cyberattack. “Skynet no longer has to break down our front door because we line up in front of Apple stores to invite it in,” [producer David] Ellison says. “We’re constantly giving away our privacy.”
So worrying about global thermonuclear war is retro, like 80s teen flick Wargames.
Let’s just take what Ellison says at face value for a moment, and consider that people might find digital attacks scarier than nukes. Maybe that’s true, but one of the best-known cyberattacks in history was the Stuxnet worm, unleashed by the US government against — you guessed it — a uranium enrichment facility in Iran. (Enriched uranium is used both for making bombs and nuclear power facilities.) So “cyberattack” isn’t really something that we can separate out from “nuclear holocaust” very easily. The two things have become wedded, both in reality and in the public mind.
Even in cheesy pop culture stories about the deadly cybers, the usual fear at the bottom of the “stop that hacker” plot is that somehow an evil computery thing will be used to unleash a bomb. Indeed, that trope grows partly out of Cold War classics like Wargames and the original Terminator movies, where many audiences first because acquainted with the idea that we don’t need Soviets and Americans punching red buttons to start a war. With computers controlling our weapons systems, nuclear annihilation could happen because of a software bug — or because the weapons system itself became sentient (as so often happens in these situations).
Journalist George Johnson recently had a moving piece in the New York Times about visiting the site of the “Woodpecker” in Ukraine — a massive wall of radio towers designed to give distant early warning of a U.S. nuclear attack on the U.S.S.R. Though the place is slowly crumbling to rust, he ponders how the threat it monumentalized is far from over. He imagines the “next nuclear catastrophe — deliberate or accidental, and of a vastly more devastating scale.” These decaying defenses aren’t signs that nuclear war is no longer terrifying to us. They’re simply a previous generation’s way of dealing with a horror that still haunts the world.
I think probably the science fiction writer Maureen McHugh, in her short story collection After the Apocalypse, comes the closest to capturing our nuclear fears in this century.
Civilization-erasing weapons are part of our everyday background stress in the twenty-first century. We don’t fear nukes less than the idea that the NSA and Uber dipshits are tracking our movements through our phones. But we also don’t see a big distinction between controlling people’s computers and controlling a massive arsenal. It’s all connected.
I hope by now you understand that I’m not just talking about flaws in the new Terminator movie’s alleged plot. I am talking about how nuclear holocaust is still an almost incomprehensible horror to most of us. But now we know it is not the only way that the world might end. There are other ways, maybe slower or less obvious, that might come first.

The Sun Will Scorch People With Fire (Revelation 16:8)

What Nuclear Radiation Does To Your Body
Jamie Condliffe
Filed to: Giz Explains7/26/12 12:00pm
Say some maniacal world leader finally hits the big red button. Or maybe a terrorist takes out the local nuclear reactor. You survive the initial attack, and you’re left to endure a world poisoned by nuclear radiation. How’s that gonna feel?
Measure the dosage
When nuclear reactions get going, they spit out particles with enough energy to rip electrons off of atoms or molecules. The altered bonds produce ion pairs that are extremely chemically reactive. This is known as ionizing radiation, and it’s where the problems start.
There are many types of ionizing radiation. Take your pick from cosmic, alpha, beta, gamma or X- rays, neutrons, or from a handful more. What really matters is how much an organism is exposed to—a concept called absorbed dose.
One way to measure absorbed dose is in units of Grays (Gy). Another common unit is the sievert (Sv), which takes the Gy measure and multiples it by the type of radiation to calculate the effective dose in living tissue. The average radiation exposure during a couple of seconds of an abdominal X-ray is 0.0014 Gy—it’s a light dose, and it’s locally administered, so it’s not that bad. When you really get into trouble is with whole-body exposure, like, say, in the Chernobyl control room immediately after the explosion. There, you would soaked up 300 Sv per hour. But you wouldn’t last an hour. The dose would be lethal in just 1-2 minutes.
How you would die
Large doses of ionizing radiation in a short time period lead to Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS), aka radiation poisoning. The severity of ARS symptoms depends on the level of exposure. A radiation dose as low as 0.35 Gy could feel a bit like you have the flu—expect nausea and vomiting, headaches, fatigue, and fever. If the body is exposed to a higher dose, somewhere between 1-4 Gy, blood cells begin to die. You could still recover—treatment of this kind of radiation syndrome usually involves blood transfusions and antibiotics—but you could also suffer a weakened immune response due to a drop in white cell count, uncontrollable bleeding due to a lack of platelets, and anemia due to a reduction of red blood cells. You’ll also notice a kind of odd sunburn if exposed to 2 Gy or more of ionizing radiation. Technically referred to as acute radiodermatitis, its effects include red patches, peeling skin, and sometimes blistering. Expect it to show up within 24 hours.
Between 4 and 8 Gy, however, a dose can be fatal—but the route to death still varies on the level of the exposure. Patients at this level suffer vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and fever. Without treatment, you could die just a few weeks after exposure.
The physicist Louis Slotin, who died of ARS during his 1946 research on the Manhattan Project, was exposed to a radiation dosage estimated to be just over 10 Gy of gamma and x-ray radiation. He wouldn’t survive today, even with modern treatments like bone marrow transplants. Patients exposed to radiation between 8 to 30 Gy experience nausea and severe diarrhea within an hour, and they die between 2 days and 2 weeks after exposure.
Absorbed doses greater than 30 Gy cause neurological damage. Within minutes, patients experience severe vomiting and diarrhea, dizziness, headaches, and unconsciousness. Seizures and tremors are common, as is ataxia, or the loss of control of voluntary muscle function. Death within 48 hours is inevitable.
But if you avoid enough radiation to stay alive
Just because you dodge ARS following a nuclear blast or meltdown doesn’t mean you get to enjoy a happy ending. Long-term exposure to ionizing radiation, even at doses too low to produce any symptoms of radiation sickness, can induce genetic mutations and cancer. This is the biggest risk facing survivors of the Fukushima disaster—the accident emitted a fraction of the radioactive material released at Chernobyl. But the most recent estimates predict the fallout may still cause more than a thousand deaths from cancer.
Normally, cells are controlled by the chemical structure of DNA molecules. But when radiation deposits enough energy to disrupt molecular bonds, strands of DNA are broken. While most repair properly, around a quarter don’t—and so begins a long, slow process which results in an increased rate of mutations in future generations of cells. The probability of cancer increases with effective radiation dose—but, cruelly, the severity of the cancer is independent of the dose. Exposure is what counts, and it doesn’t matter if the radiation level was high or low.
With long-term exposure, models predicting the level of risk remain controversial. In fact, the most widely-accepted model suggests that, in terms of affecting most people, low-level background radiation is the most hazardous source of radiation. So while ARS may be a horrible way to go, it’s the slow burn that ought worry you most.

Approaching The Bowls Of Wrath (Revelation 16)

Are we closer than ever to nuclear war?

Thursday 17 September 2015 10:38AMAntony Funnell and Rosanna Ryan

With some nuclear arsenals getting bigger and non-proliferation talks foundering, complacency about the threat of nuclear war could be misplaced. Future Tense hears from three experts about which geopolitical hotspots run the risk of turning into nuclear trouble zones.

Until the very end of the Cold War, the threat of nuclear Armageddon was always just below the surface. Then, as the iron curtain fell, there was a collective sigh of relief, with citizens of the world finding comfort in the thought that world leaders no longer had their fingers poised near any red buttons.

That comfort, though, could be ill placed. While many countries are reluctant to reveal the extent of their arsenals, making any figures an estimate, by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)’s latest count, there are currently around 15,850 nuclear weapons in the world, with approximately 1,800 of them kept in a state of ‘high operational alert’.

We are used to thinking about a bipolar world where there were only two nuclear powers that we worried about to any extent, but now we have more than half a dozen.

According to SIPRI, all nine nations with nuclear capabilities are either upgrading their existing nuclear weapons systems or working to develop new ones. As for non-proliferation efforts, earlier this year, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’s latest round of talks all but collapsed, with analysts warning a new form of international agreement is needed to keep developments in check.

‘Everyone, including myself, heaved an enormous sigh of relief when the Cold War ended, and we sat down and said thank God, that’s it, and Russia and America would get rid of the nuclear weapons,’ says Helen Caldicott, a long-time anti-nuclear campaigner.

Currently Russia and America own 94 per cent of the H-bombs in the world … both countries are ready to launch if necessary. That situation has not changed.’

Could the world be at greater risk than ever from the use of nuclear weapons? If so, experts argue the three big areas of concern are in north-east Asia, on the subcontinent, and on Russia’s border with eastern Europe.

‘A couple of arsenals are actually growing larger,’ says Andrew Davies from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

China is building its nuclear arsenal, Pakistan is as well, and I suspect the Indians are probably tracking along with Pakistan. So there are places where nuclear weapons are increasing rather than decreasing.’

‘We are used to thinking about a bipolar world where there were only two nuclear powers that we worried about to any extent, but now we have more than half a dozen, and I think that’s a more dangerous world.’

China as ‘the real fulcrum of potential conflict’

Elbridge Colby, a senior fellow with the Center for American Security who’s written extensively on future nuclear hotspots, sees north-east Asia as the most worrying potential nuclear trouble zone.
‘In some sense, particularly over the medium to longer term, this is the real fulcrum of potential conflict,’ he says.

‘The issue is not that the Chinese in particular are raring to use nuclear weapons, but more that there are couple of factors pushing in that direction. One is as the military balance between the United States and its allies becomes more competitive with China. That makes what people sometimes call inadvertent escalation more plausible.

‘There’s also North Korea, which is sort of a wildcard … which is going after nuclear weapons, going after increasingly long range and sophisticated delivery systems.’

In the past few weeks alone China has staged one of its largest ever military parades, and Japan’s defence ministry has asked its government for yet another substantial increase in military spending, its fourth in as many years. If granted, the 2016 Japanese defence budget will be its biggest ever.
Colby says China is increasingly ‘feeling its oats’, leaving neighbours like South Korea and Japan—and even Australia—with the choice of whether to balance against China to keep their own interests protected.

‘If China is able to obtain conventional military dominance in the region, which means that it can fight and win a conventional war against the United States and its allies in the Western Pacific, or over interests that these countries care about … basically you are in a situation where China has what you might call escalation advantage.

‘They basically could say, “hey, if you don’t do what we want, we go to war, we win”. And in that case Japan might say or other countries might say, “hey, Washington, we expect you, as you did in the Cold War, to live up to your alliance commitment by relying more on nuclear weapons”. In that case Washington can say “yes, we’ll do that”, or Washington might say “we’re not really so interested”.’
If that happens, he says middle powers may decide it’s no longer sensible to ally with the United States to protect their own security and own interests.

‘This is one of the reasons why I think it’s important for the US and its allies to really try to maintain the conventional military edge … I do think that [the US] having the advantage in a Pacific militarily is actually a stabilising force for countries like Australia, Japan, South Korea, et cetera. I also think there’s a message in there for Beijing which is: be careful what you wish for.’

What Colby means is that if China starts throwing its military weight around, it shouldn’t be surprised if others begin beefing up their arsenals against it.

Trouble brews on India-Pakistan border

In recent weeks India and Pakistan have again been exchanging artillery fire across their border. It got very little media coverage—but that’s because it happens so often. According to Ramesh Thakur from the Australian National University’s Centre for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, it’s that simmering tension that makes the region potentially explosive.

‘There is not one example since 1945 of any country that wanted to attack and invade another country but was stopped from doing so primarily or only because that other country had nuclear weapons,’ Thakur says.

‘There’s not a single example of that, nor is there any example, not one, of a country succeeding in coercing another country with the threat of using nuclear weapons. What it does do is add an extra element of caution.

‘Yes, if there is a military style attack in India that India believes has come from Pakistan, the fact that Pakistan has nuclear weapons complicates the Indian response, but it doesn’t guarantee no military response, and it does add to the dangers of terrorists getting their hands on weapons, of someone deciding we are going to authorise the use of this or we are going to use it, whether or not the government gives us permission.

‘It requires Pakistan to develop battlefield nuclear weapons, which means pre-delegated authority to low-level military commanders, when these weapons are so destructive they should only be decided on by the president and the military chiefs. So there are all these different risks and uncertainties and dangers which today are much more significant.’

Davies also sees Pakistan as a potential hotspot—and a far greater worry than Iran, whose efforts to establish a viable nuclear energy programme has been much debated in the US of late.
Pakistan is an established nuclear power and there are certain elements within the Pakistani state apparatus who have more sympathy for extremist groups than perhaps the rest of us would be comfortable with,’ he says.

‘The security of nuclear weapons in any state where governance is an issue is something we certainly should be worrying about. I’d put Pakistan at the head of the list. As long as Pakistani nuclear weapons stay under the command and control the military, I think we are relatively safe. But if Pakistan state apparatus becomes even less functional than it is at the moment and there is a significant breakdown of the arrangements to secure nuclear weapons in Pakistan, I think that would be a really alarming development.’

Russia brandishing weapons ‘to spook the West’

The other geopolitical situation causing concern to both Davies and Colby has emerged from Russia’s increased sabre-rattling in Europe.

‘The worry there is that Russia is a state that’s declining in many ways, and declining states are often more dangerous than states that are on the upswing,’ Davies says.

‘We’ve seen a lot of Russian aggressiveness and assertiveness in the Ukraine, and there’s a worry that that could spread to the Baltic States. And coupled with that is the fact that Russian military doctrine has always involved a fairly rapid escalation to tactical level in nuclear weapons. That was certainly Russian doctrine throughout the Cold War when the two sides faced off against the border in Germany.’

Davies worries that people have taken the wrong lessons from the Cold War, leading to a sense of complacency.

‘The Cold War was one experiment in nuclear balance, and the fact that we happened to weather it safely perhaps gives a false sense of confidence that that will always be the case—the Cold War seemed pretty grim but it all turned out OK.

‘It’s not obvious to me at least that the reluctance to use nuclear weapons that characterised much of the Cold War actually pertains to the modern world.’

Colby, too, says looking back to the 20th century for lessons on how to avoid nuclear
war may not be as helpful as one might expect, as state rivalries are no longer so tied to ideological disputes.

The Cold War and the Second World War were actually in some sense aberrations,’ he says.

‘[We’re] probably entering a period that’s obviously different from the 19th or 18th centuries, but in some sense has some similarities, in that there’s likely to be state rivalry that isn’t highly ideological, necessarily.

‘I think nuclear weapons are likely to play more and more into that as the geopolitical environment becomes more competitive and as the military environment becomes more competitive.

‘You can see the good, if sobering, indication of that in Russia’s behaviour in the last year, where they’ve been brandishing nuclear weapons as a way to compensate for their own feelings of a general conventional inferiority and as a way to spook the West.’

Pakistani Nukes And The Bowls Of Wrath (Rev 16)

What If a War Between Pakistan and India Went Nuclear?


This article first appeared on the Brookings Institution site.

In my new book, The Future of Land Warfare (Brookings Institution Press, 2015), I attempt to debunk the new conventional wisdom (which began with the Obama administration but also permeates thinking beyond): Messy ground operations can be relegated to the dustbin of history.
That is a paraphrase and dramatization, to be sure—but only a modest one, since the administration’s 2012 and 2014 defense plans both state that the U.S. Army will no longer size its main combat forces with large-scale counterinsurgency and stabilization missions in mind.

This is, I believe, a major conceptual mistake, even if not yet one that has decimated the Army. But it will cause increasing harm with time if we buy into the idea.

The active-duty Army is already below its Clinton-era size and only slightly more than half its Reagan-era size. Reductions to the Army Reserve and Army National Guard have been almost as steep. None need grow at this juncture, but the cuts should stop.

I recognize that we need to maintain counterinsurgency and stabilization capacity, as well as a robust deterrent against possible threats to NATO by Russian President Vladimir Putin and to South Korea by North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, among other concerns.

But we also need to think about nontraditional scenarios. While unlikely—and unpalatable—on an individual basis, they may be hard to avoid. To paraphrase the old Bolshevik saying: We may not have an interest in ugly stabilization missions, but they may have an interest in us. In some cases, the needed response may entail not just trainers and drones, but brigades and divisions.

Escalation in South Asia

The scenario that I’ll focus on here—though I develop more in the book—concerns India and Pakistan and how the two countries might come to the threshold of all-out nuclear war. It is, I fear, all too plausible—and there are ways it could unfold that could make American ground forces nearly unavoidable.

A nuclear confrontation would be devastating in South Asia, enormously disruptive to the world economy and highly dangerous to the whole planet (particularly with the prospect of loose nukes afterwards).

An Indo-Pakistani war remains a real possibility today. There have already been three or four, depending on whether one counts the Kargil crisis of 1999, and it is remarkable that there have not been more.

If the nuclear weapons threshold were crossed in the future, a foreign military role could become much more plausible, particularly to reinforce a ceasefire. To date, Delhi in particular has eschewed any foreign role in diplomacy over Kashmir or related matters. But in the aftermath of the near or actual use of nuclear weapons, calculations could change dramatically—such a world could be characterized by a far different political psychology than today’s.

The path to war could begin, perhaps, with a more extremist leader coming to power in Pakistan. Imagine the dangers associated with a country of 200 million with the world’s fastest-growing nuclear arsenal, hatred of India and America, numerous extremist groups and claims on land currently controlled by India. Such an extremist state could take South Asia to the brink of nuclear war by provoking conflict with India, perhaps through another Mumbai-like attack.

Why could nuclear weapons be employed, even after 70 years of non-use globally? Even if it was the provocateur, Pakistan could come to fear for its own survival in this type of scenario. Having aided a group like Lashkar-e-Taiba, with its extremist anti-Indian views, Pakistan would have given India ample grounds for retaliation. Even a limited Indian conventional counterattack, perhaps influenced by its so-called Cold Start military thinking, could quickly put Islamabad, Lahore and other Pakistani cities at risk.

In such a situation, Pakistan might well see military logic in the use of several nuclear weapons against Indian troops, facilities, or other tactical targets. It is not even out of the question that Pakistan could conduct some attacks over its own territory.

If the weapons were detonated a kilometer or so up in the air, the effects of the explosions could be catastrophic to people and military equipment below, without creating much fallout due to dirt and rock upheaval that would later descend on populated areas downwind.

Beyond their immediate military effects, such attacks would signal Islamabad’s willingness to escalate. Despite the huge risks, there would be few better ways of making a threat to attack Delhi credible than to cross the nuclear threshold in tactical attacks.

Presumably, Pakistanis would have to assume the possibility of Indian attacks against Pakistani armed forces. But that might be a risk the country’s leadership would be willing to accept, if the alternative seemed to be defeat and forced surrender after a conventional battle.

It’s not clear whether Indians would interpret such a finely graduated nuclear attack as a demonstration of restraint, particularly if any of the Pakistani attacks went off course and caused more damage than intended. Thus, the danger of inadvertent escalation in this kind of scenario could be quite real. It might not even take nuclear attacks by Pakistan to cause nuclear dangers.

A role for U.S. troops?

If such an Indo-Pakistani war with nuclear implications began and international negotiators became involved, it’s imaginable that an international force could be proposed to help stabilize the situation for a number of years. Kashmir might be administrated under a U.N. mandate and protected by a U.N.-legitimated force, with an election eventually determining the region’s future political status.
The fact that nuclear conflict might have occurred by this point would have raised the stakes enormously for both sides, making it hard for any leader to accept a simple ceasefire absent a credible political process. The mission could last a decade or more, time enough to allow for a calming of tensions, for political transitions in both countries, and for Pakistan to clamp down on terrorist groups.

India in particular would be adamantly against this idea today. But things could change fundamentally if such a settlement, and such a force, seemed the only way to reverse the momentum toward all-out nuclear war in South Asia.

American forces would likely need to play a key role, as others might not have the capacity or the political confidence to handle the mission. By my estimates, an international force numbering into the low hundreds of thousands of troops could be needed for a period.

Is such a scenario likely? Hardly. Is it crazy or implausible? I don’t think so. Could we really sit it out if it happened? I fear not.

Can we design the future American Army without factoring in such possibilities? In fact, it would be a big mistake. As we consider questions from the imminence of possible sequestration this fall on the proper size, character, and cost of the U.S. military under our next president, such considerations must factor clearly in our minds.