The Hypocrisy Of Obama’s Speech

Nuclear-free aspirations of Obama, Abe conflict with reality
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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)
By FOSTER KLUG
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

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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.
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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.

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“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.

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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.

Nuclear War Is Imminent (Revelation 16)

European NUCLEAR WAR IMMINENT as Russia relations break down

A NUCLEAR war in Europe is highly likely to happen soon as relations with Russia become even more strained, a former Russian foreign minister has threatened.

By Alix Culbertson
PUBLISHED: 19:09, Sat, Mar 19, 2016 | UPDATED: 21:20, Sat, Mar 19, 2016nuclear war
Getty
 
A nuclear war between Europe and Russia is coming closer to reality
 
Igor Ivanov, foreign minister from 1998 to 2004 under Boris Yeltsin and current President Vladimir Putin, said the risk of a nuclear war in Europe is higher than at any time in the 1980s.Mr Ivanov, now the head of a Russian Government think-tank, said: “The risk of confrontation with the use of nuclear weapons in Europe is higher than in the 1980s.”
 
Both Russia and the United States have fewer nuclear weapons than in the Cold War period but with just over 7,000 nuclear warheads each, they still have about 90 per cent of world stocks, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.Talking at a Brussels event with the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Poland, and a US lawmaker, the ex-politician, said: “We have less nuclear warheads, but the risk of them being used is growing.”
 

Russia has been warned about intimidating its neighbours with talk about nuclear weapons by NATO’s secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, voicing concerns among Western officials.

But Mr Ivanov blamed a missile defence shield being set up by the United States in Europe for raising the stakes.
 

Part of the shield is a site in Poland due to become operational in 2018 which is particularly sensitive for the Kremlin because it brings US capabilities close to Russian borders.
The US and NATO say the shield is designed to protect Europe against Iranian ballistic missiles and is neither targeted at Russia nor capable of downing its missiles.

Referring to Russia’s Baltics territory, Mr Ivanov added: “It can be assured that once the US deploys its missile defence system in Poland, Russia would respond by deploying its own missile defence system in Kaliningrad.”Mr Ivanov showed further aggressive rhetoric over the situation in Ukraine, saying Europe and Russia have little chance of a broader reconciliation, despite European and NATO diplomats seeking a political solution to the separatist conflict in Ukraine which has slaughtered more than 9,000 people since April 2014.He said: “The paths of Europe and Russia are seriously diverging and will remain so for a long time, probably for decades to come.” 
 
Russia could not be the eastern flank of a “failed greater Europe”, he insisted.

Preparing For Nuclear War (Revelation16)

Risk of nuclear war in Europe growing warns Russian ex-minister
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The East-West standoff over the Ukraine crisis has brought the threat of nuclear war in Europe closer than at any time since the 1980s, a former Russian foreign minister warned on Saturday.

“The risk of confrontation with the use of nuclear weapons in Europe is higher than in the 1980s,” said Igor Ivanov, Russia’s foreign minister from 1998 to 2004 and now head of a Moscow-based think-tank founded by the Russian government.

While Russia and the United States have cut their nuclear arsenals, the pace is slowing. As of January 2015, they had just over 7,000 nuclear warheads each, about 90 percent of world stocks, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

“We have less nuclear warheads, but the risk of them being used is growing,” Ivanov said at a Brussels event with the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Poland and a US lawmaker.

NATO’s secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has warned Russia of intimidating its neighbours with talk about nuclear weapons, publicly voicing concerns among Western officials.

Missile defence:

Ivanov blamed a missile defence shield that the United States is setting up in Europe for raising the stakes.

Part of that shield involves a site in Poland that is due to be operational in 2018. This is particularly sensitive for Moscow because it brings U.S. capabilities close to its border.

However, the United States and NATO say the shield is designed to protect Europe against Iranian ballistic missiles and is neither targeted at Russia nor capable of downing its missiles.

“It can be assured that once the US deploys its missile defence system in Poland, Russia would respond by deploying its own missile defence system in Kaliningrad,” Ivanov said, referring to Russia’s territory in the Baltics.

In remarks that are likely to alarm European and NATO diplomats seeking a political solution to the separatist conflict in Ukraine that has killed more than 9,000 people since April 2014, Ivanov also said Europe and Russia have little chance of a broader reconciliation.

“The paths of Europe and Russia are seriously diverging and will remain so for a long time … probably for decades to come,” Ivanov said, adding that Russia could not be the eastern flank of a “failed greater Europe.”

Nuclear Armageddon is more likely than ever (Revelation 16)

Is nuclear Armageddon more likely than ever?
armageddon
The Week Staff
How many nuclear weapons are there?

About 16,000. Russia and the U.S. have 93 percent of them, with more than 7,000 each; the rest are split between France, China, the U.K., Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea. The global stockpile is much smaller than it was at the height of the Cold War: In 1986, Russia and the U.S. had 64,000 nukes pointed at each other — enough to devastate every square inch of the entire globe. But there are growing fears that nuclear catastrophe is becoming increasingly likely. The established nuclear powers are modernizing their arsenals with smaller, more sophisticated weapons. The unstable regime in nuclear-armed North Korea is trying to develop a hydrogen bomb. ISIS, which is richer and more ambitious than any previous terrorist group, is trying to get hold of a nuclear device. The Doomsday Clock, the symbolic countdown to Armageddon, was last year moved from five minutes to midnight to three minutes. “We are facing nuclear dangers today that are in fact more likely to erupt into a nuclear conflict than during the Cold War,” says former Secretary of Defense William Perry.
What’s the biggest worry?
Probably North Korea, since it’s run by the erratic, belligerent dictator Kim Jong-Un. The Hermit Kingdom carried out its fourth nuclear test in January, and claimed it was a hydrogen bomb. Atomic bombs create their explosive energy solely through nuclear fission, while H-bombs rely on nuclear fusion, the same chain reaction that drives the Sun. This makes them vastly more powerful than atomic weapons: A-bombs tend to be measured in kilotons (equivalent to 1,000 tons of TNT); H-bombs in megatons (1 million tons of TNT). Nuclear scientists are unconvinced that North Korea’s underground test was a thermonuclear weapon, based on the shock waves it produced. But the country is believed to have built a 10-kiloton atomic weapon — slightly smaller than the Hiroshima bomb, but enough to destroy a city. The regime already has the capability to strike South Korea, Japan, and other nearby countries with nuclear weapons; its recent launch of a satellite into orbit, which was widely seen as an intercontinental ballistic missile test, suggested that it could soon reach the U.S.
What are other powers doing?
Arming up. Russia’s defense budget has increased by over 50 percent since 2007 — a third of it is devoted to nuclear weapons. China is increasing its warhead stocks and developing nuclear-armed submarines. Pakistan and India’s own nuclear standoff shows no sign of cooling. President Obama, who in 2009 pledged to try to create a “world without nuclear weapons,” has proposed spending $1 trillion over the next 30 years updating America’s nuclear arsenal, replacing 12 nuclear-armed submarines, 450 land-based missiles, and hundreds of nuclear bombers. Some of the weapons in development are very controversial.
Why is that?
They’re becoming smaller and more advanced, and thus more likely to be used. Last fall, the U.S. Air Force tested its first precision-guided atom bomb, which can be remotely guided like a cruise missile to zero in on small targets. Its explosive power can be dialed up or down, from 50 kilotons to 0.3 kilotons. Critics argue that nuclear weapons should never be used as battlefield weapons — only as a deterrent. “What going smaller does,” says retired Gen. James Cartwright, “is make the weapon more thinkable.” Russia’s new weapons are also causing concerns. Last November, the Kremlin leaked plans for a nuclear torpedo designed to sneak under traditional nuclear defenses and hit cities or military installations along the coasts.
Could terrorists acquire a nuke?
It’s possible. Between 1995 and 2012, the International Atomic Energy Agency catalogued 2,200 attempts to steal or smuggle uranium. ISIS’s propaganda magazine has suggested buying a nuclear weapon in Pakistan and smuggling it into the U.S. Nuclear experts warn that an improvised device could be fitted into an SUV-size shipping container. Ports and airports are fitted with radiation sensors, but they only work at very close range. Another potential threat is a “dirty bomb” — a regular explosive device that would spray radioactive material over a blast zone, exposing thousands of people to radiation and turning an entire city into an uninhabitable ghost town. Authorities in Iraq are now searching for a sizable quantity of “highly dangerous” radioactive material stolen last year, which theoretically could wind up in the hands of ISIS.
Is a nuke-free world possible?
Not in the foreseeable future. Once rogue nations develop nuclear weapons, they’re extremely unlikely to relinquish them. “The reason you attacked Afghanistan is because they don’t have nukes,” a North Korean diplomat told American negotiators in 2005. “That is why we will never give up ours.” For similar reasons, none of the nine nuclear powers will surrender its weapons. The nuclear genie was let out of the bottle in Hiroshima in 1945, and it will probably never be forced back in.
Monitoring nuclear wannabes 
Any nation seeking to develop nuclear weapons has to test them — and the good news is that it has become impossible to conduct a nuclear test in secret. With a huge network of seismic stations and underwater hydroacoustic centers, the international organization responsible for enforcing the ban on testing can detect and measure a nuclear explosion anywhere in the world. But uncovering the construction of a nuke is another matter. Satellites play a big part, but they’re far from infallible. Syria hid a nuclear reactor by assembling it in a building with a lowered floor, which from the outside looked too small to house such a facility. (The reactor was discovered and destroyed by Israel in 2007, before it could be completed.) Once a program has been detected, advances in nuclear forensics — the analysis of air and soil for radioactive particles — have made it very hard to cover up previous activity. “You can detect individual atoms,” says Andreas Persbo of Vertic, the international agreement verification think tank. “It’s virtually impossible to hide that you’ve been doing nuclear activity in a room.”

Nukes Will Eliminate Us (Revelation 16)

 

Thomas C. Fox | Aug. 10, 2015 NCR Today
INDEPENDENCE, MO. A leading nuclear arms expert, exploring what he called the dangerous and “logically illogical” world of nuclear weapons, endorsed the Iran nuclear treaty Aug. 9 as a vital step towards moving the world to ban these weapons of mass destruction.
Richard Rhodes, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” and four other books on nuclear weapons, said the recently signed treaty buys time, slowing nuclear proliferation. “The treaty is a good deal,” he said in a talk that was part of a commemoration ceremony on the 70th anniversary of the U.S. dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. That bomb, dubbed “Fat Man,” burned out an entire city, immediately taking some 36,000 lives.
The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II, Rhodes said, ushered the world into “an unparalleled moment of global danger, one that threatens human life on the planet.
Nuclear weapons continue to be stockpiled — some 13,000 worldwide — based on false thinking, Rhodes said, that they deter war. This is the deterrence theory, Rhodes said. Behind this theory is the notion of “mutual assured destruction,” or, MAD, the idea that no enemy would ever strike first with a nuclear weapon because it would mean certain retaliation. So any use of a nuclear weapon would be suicidal, as Rhodes explained the theory.
Deterrence advocates, Rhodes said, like to cite the fact that deterrence has worked and that nuclear weapons have not been used for 70 years as a result of deterrence. He called this dangerous, misguided and shortsighted thinking.
Rhodes argued that deterrence theory is a “fig leaf” laid over 70 years of “unsustainable dumb luck” and that the real story is one of “close calls, freak accidents and near misses.”
Rhodes attempted to peel back the psychology of building and stockpiling weapons that, if used, would lead to self-annihilation.
He questioned the logic of modernizing nuclear arsenals by making weapons smaller and more precise delivery systems. Such weapons and delivery systems, he said, bring the world perilously closer to crossing the taboo boundary from conventional to nuclear war. Once crossed, he said, most experts agree that an escalation to larger and more deadly nuclear exchanges is almost certainly inevitable.
Nuclear weapons are as useless as they are dangerous,” Rhodes told an audience of several hundred at the Community of Christ Temple. Their use is “logically illogical,” he said, adding that this makes “the immense cost of their upkeep and security less and less acceptable to military leaders and to responsible elected officials.”
Why such irrationality? Rhodes asked. Why build weapons that can never be used?
The answers, he said, can be found in the work of psychologists who have interviewed U.S. government officials on their thinking about nuclear weapons.
“When pushed into the logical corner that their illogical arguments led them to, all fell back on the same justification for maintaining a world-destroying nuclear arsenal. Which was, that it made the American people — and by extension the Russian people, the Chinese people and so on — feel safer.”
No government official, Rhodes says, wants to publicly admit what scientists well know — that all people are vulnerable in the nuclear age and that no government can protect them. So officials preach illusions.
“When the primary role of government is to protect its citizens, no officials wants to admit such protection is impossible to provide,” Rhodes said. This same reluctance to speak honestly, he said, has led President Obama, who in 2009 in Prague pledged to work towards a nuclear-free world, to more recently propose spending half a trillion dollars across the next decade, and another half-trillion in the two decades after that, to modernize U.S. weapons and their delivery systems.
“The first obligation of every government is to protect the people it serves. The careers of politicians and military leaders depend on doing so. With nuclear weapons in the world, they are unable to meet that requirement. So they pretend to do so and we pretend to believe them. They may believe sincerely in what they do. We may believe sincerely that they are succeeding. But at some level of awareness, they know they aren’t and we know — we should know — that we’re kidding ourselves.”
However, Rhodes said he is cautiously optimistic we can break out of our illusions and can ban nuclear weapons from the planet. He says we have only one or two generations of time to choose between banning nuclear weapons or being destroyed by them.
If nuclear weapons make us all vulnerable, he said, “the solution is to accept that collective vulnerability and work together internationally to outlaw and eliminate them.”
He dismissed those who say nuclear weapons cannot be eliminated because the technology can’t be uninvented.
Rather he said they can be made illegal, and tough international policing can prevent nations from secretly breaking out of an agreement.
“One requirement for nuclear elimination will be continuous worldwide monitoring and physical inspection on demand as well as airtight accounting for fissile materials, for highly enriched uranium and plutonium,” he said.
Rhodes cited a positive trend that he said is setting the stage for banning nuclear weapons. He said there is a scientific consensus today that even a limited nuclear exchange, such as an exchange of several bombs between India and Pakistan, would alter global temperatures by several degrees, leading to mass starvation across the planet.
Rhodes admitted the path to nuclear zero could be arduous. He said it needs collective will. Rhodes cited the Australian diplomat, Richard Butler who, in 1995, was instrumental in extending the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Bulter told Rhodes a global ban on nuclear weapons could be done in a morning. “All the nuts-and-bolts stuff might take another five or ten years.”
“For fifteen or twenty years now we have not lacked clear knowledge of the nature of the problem, of its urgency, and of the steps that can be taken to solve it, Butler once told Rhodes. “What we’re confronted with, however, is political cowardice — politicians kicking the can down the road. … as long as nuclear weapons exist, they will proliferate, they will be used, and any use will be catastrophic.
Echoing Butler’s remarks, Rhodes concluded his talk saying, “We will eliminate nuclear weapons one way or another: we will agree to remove them from the arsenals of the world or we will eliminate the human world by exploding those arsenals, burning it down and freezing it in nuclear holocaust.”
[Tom Fox is NCR Publisher, is on Twitter @ NCRTomFox and can be reached by email at tfox@ncronline.org.]

ISIS Is Preparing For The Final Battle (Revelation 16)

By Jenny Stanton For Mailonline
10:21 31 Dec 2015, updated 04:30 01 Jan 2016
As air strikes mount in the terror group’s heartland, jihadists will attempt to increase attacks in response, geopolitical analyst Dr Theodore Kasik said.
His claim comes days after ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi pledged to attack the West, and as cities across the world tighten security at New Year’s Eve celebrations.
‘To boot, former stronghold Ramadi was recaptured by Iraqi security forces, with Mosul next on the Iraqi list to roll back ISIS.’
In London, every firearms officer will be on duty for the New Year celebrations tonight in an unprecedented security operation.
Scotland Yard has cancelled leave for more than 2,000 armed police – the first time it has taken such a step.
It comes amid intelligence warnings that Islamist fanatics may be planning a terror attack in a European city – although there is no specific information to suggest London is the target.
Last night, officials in Brussels announced that the city’s New Year celebrations had been cancelled as the Belgian capital remains on high alert over a Paris-style terror attack.
Mayor Yvan Mayeur said the decision had been made because officials could not guarantee being able to ‘check’ all attendees.
In 2014, some 100,000 people turned out to enjoy the festivities and fireworks display at the Place de Brouckere.
Austrian police have stepped up security in Vienna and other cities after receiving a warning of possible attacks.
Moscow’s Red Square, traditionally a place where Russians gather to ring in the New Year, will be closed to revellers amid mounting security concerns.
Meanwhile, in New York, 6,000 police officers will join an estimated one million people who will turn out to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

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.