Billions Will Die in the First Nuclear War: Revelation 8

This Possible Headline Means Billions Could Die: An India-Pakistan Nuclear War


BySebastian Roblin


Between February 26 and 27 in 2019, Indian and Pakistani warplanes launched strikes on each other’s territory and engaged in aerial combat for the first time since 1971. Pakistan ominously hinted it was convening its National Command Authority, the institution which can authorize a nuclear strike.

The two states, which have retained an adversarial relationship since their founding in 1947, between them deploy nuclear warheads that can be delivered by land, air and sea.

However, those weapons are inferior in number and yield to the thousands of nuclear weapons possessed by Russia and the United States, which include megaton-class weapons that can wipe out a metropolis in a single blast.

Some commenters have callously suggested that means a “limited regional nuclear war” would remain an Indian and Pakistani problem. People find it difficult to assess the risk of rare but catastrophic events; after all, a full-scale nuclear war has never occurred before, though it has come close to happening.

Such assessments are not only shockingly cold-hearted but shortsighted. In fact, several studies have modeled the global impact of a “limited” ten-day nuclear war in which India and Pakistan each exchange fifty 15-kiloton nuclear bombs equivalent in yield to the Little Boy uranium bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Their findings concluded that spillover would in no way be “limited,” directly impacting people across the globe that would struggle to locate Kashmir on a map.

And those results are merely a conservative baseline, as India and Pakistan are estimated to possess over 260 warheads. Some likely have yields exceeding 15-kilotons, which is relatively small compared to modern strategic warheads.

Casualties

Recurring terrorist attacks by Pakistan-sponsored militant groups over the status of India’s Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir state have repeatedly led to threats of a conventional military retaliation by New Delhi.

Pakistan, in turn, maintains it may use nuclear weapons as a first-strike weapon to counter-balance India’s superior conventional forces. Triggers could involve the destruction of a large part of Pakistan’s military or penetration by Indian forces deep into Pakistani territory. Islamabad also claims it might authorize a strike in event of a damaging Indian blockade or political destabilization instigated by India.

India’s official policy is that it will never be first to strike with nuclear weapons—but that once any nukes are used against it, New Dehli will unleash an all-out retaliation.

The Little Boy bomb alone killed around 100,000 Japanese—between 30 to 40 percent of Hiroshima’s population—and destroyed 69 percent of the buildings in the city. But Pakistan and India host some of the most populous cities on the planet, with the population densities of Calcutta, Karachi and Mumbai at or exceeding 65,000 people per square mile. Thus, even low-yield bombs could cause tremendous casualties.

A 2014 study estimates that the immediate effects of the bombs—the fireball, over-pressure wave, radiation burns etc.—would kill twenty million people. An earlier study estimated a hundred 15-kiloton nuclear detonations could kill twenty-six million in India and eighteen million in Pakistan—and concluded that escalating to using 100-kiloton warheads, which have greater blast radius and overpressure waves that can shatter hardened structures, would multiply death tolls four-fold.

Moreover, these projected body counts omit the secondary effects of nuclear blasts. Many survivors of the initial explosion would suffer slow, lingering deaths due to radiation exposure. The collapse of healthcare, transport, sanitation, water and economic infrastructure would also claim many more lives. Nuclear blasts could also trigger deadly firestorms. For instance, a firestorm caused by the U.S. napalm bombing of Tokyo in March 1945 killed more people than the Fat Man bomb killed in Nagasaki.

Refugee Outflows

The civil war in Syria caused over 5.6 million refugees to flee abroad out of a population of 22 million prior to the conflict. Despite the relative stability and prosperity of the European nations to which refugees fled, this outflow triggered political backlashes that have rocked virtually every major Western government.

Now consider likely population movements in event of a nuclear war between India-Pakistan, which together total over 1.5 billion people. Nuclear bombings—or their even their mere potential—would likely cause many city-dwellers to flee to the countryside to lower their odds of being caught in a nuclear strike. Wealthier citizens, numbering in tens of millions, would use their resources to flee abroad.

Should bombs begin dropping, poorer citizens many begin pouring over land borders such as those with Afghanistan and Iran for Pakistan, and Nepal and Bangladesh for India. These poor states would struggle to supports tens of millions of refugees. China also borders India and Pakistan—but historically Beijing has not welcomed refugees.

Some citizens may undertake risky voyages at sea on overloaded boats, setting their sights on South East Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. Thousands would surely drown. Many regional governments would turn them back, as they have refugees of conflicts in Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar in the past.

Fallout

Radioactive fallout would also be disseminated across the globe. The fallout from the Chernobyl explosion, for example, wound its way westward from Ukraine into Western Europe, exposing 650,000 persons and contaminating 77,000 square miles. The long-term health effects of the exposure could last decades. India and Pakistan’s neighbors would be especially exposed, and most lack healthcare and infrastructure to deal with such a crisis.

Nuclear Winter

Studies in 2008 and 2014 found that if one hundred 15-kiloton bombs were used, it would blast five million tons of fine, sooty particles into the stratosphere, where they would spread across the globe, warping global weather patterns for the next twenty-five years.

The particles would block out light from the sun, causing surface temperatures to decrease an average of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit across the globe, or 4.5 degrees in North American and Europe. Growing seasons would be shortened by ten to forty days, and certain crops such as Canadian wheat would simply become unviable. Global agricultural yields would fall, leading to rising prices and famine.

The particles may also deplete between 30 to 50 percent of the ozone layer, allowing more of the sun’s radiation to penetrate the atmosphere, causing increased sunburns and rates of cancer and killing off sensitive plant-life and marine plankton, with the spillover effect of decimating fishing yields.

To be clear, these are outcomes for a “light” nuclear winter scenario, not a full slugging match between the Russian and U.S. arsenals.

Global Recession

Any one of the factors above would likely suffice to cause a global economic recession. All of them combined would guarantee one.

India and Pakistan account for over one-fifth world’s population, and therefore a significant share of economic activity. Should their major cities become irradiated ruins with their populations decimated, a tremendous disruption would surely result. A massive decrease in consumption and production would obviously instigate a long-lasting recessionary cycle, with attendant deprivations and political destabilization slamming developed and less-developed countries alike.

Taken together, these outcomes mean even a “limited” India-Pakistan nuclear war would significantly affect every person on the globe, be they a school teacher in Nebraska, a factory-worker in Shaanxi province or a fisherman in Mombasa.

Unfortunately, the recent escalation between India and Pakistan is no fluke, but part of a long-simmering pattern likely to continue escalating unless New Delhi and Islamabad work together to change the nature of their relationship.

Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring.

China threatens the Australian Nuclear Horn with missile attack: Daniel

China threatens Australia with missile attack | The Strategist

China threatens Australia with missile attack

In the face of an increasing torrent of abuse from Beijing, Canberra should seek a much clearer commitment from Washington that its United States ally will retaliate if China launches a missile attack against Australia.

As far as Australia is concerned, the growing torrent of threats and bullying from Beijing mean that we need to have a much clearer understanding from our American ally about extended deterrence—not just nuclear deterrence but also conventional deterrence against Chinese long-range theatre missiles with conventional warheads.

In May, the editor-in-chief of Beijing’s Global Times newspaper, which generally reflects the views of the Chinese Communist Party, threatened Australia with ‘retaliatory punishment’ with missile strikes ‘on the military facilities and relevant key facilities on Australian soil’ if we were to send Australian troops to coordinate with the US and wage war with China over Taiwan.

The specific threat made by Hu Xijin was as follows: ‘China has a strong production capability, including producing additional long-range missiles with conventional warheads that target military objectives in Australia when the situation becomes highly tense.’

The key phrase here is ‘long-range missiles with conventional warheads’. But it’s virtually impossible, even with the most sophisticated intelligence methods, to detect reliably any difference between a missile with a conventional warhead and one with a nuclear warhead. This is made more difficult by the fact that China co-locates its conventional and nuclear theatre missile forces.

But why the emphasis on ’conventional warheads’? This may be Beijing trying to show that it still adheres to its ‘no first use’ declaratory policy on nuclear weapons. But it may also be aimed at restraining any US strikes on China in retaliation for a missile attack on Australia.

However, Beijing is not only naive about how Washington might be prevailed upon to accept the difference between conventional and nuclear strikes. There’s the additional problem that some of the ‘relevant key facilities on Australian soil’ would be important for the US’s understanding of the nature of such a conflict and whether escalation could be controlled. For example, taking out the joint US–Australian intelligence facilities at Pine Gap near Alice Springs might be seen in Washington as an attempt to blind the US to any warnings of deliberate nuclear escalation by Beijing.

During the Cold War, this sort of danger was well understood. In my experience in the late 1970s and 1980s, Moscow made it clear to us that attacks on Pine Gap, Nurrungar and North West Cape would only occur in the context of an all-out nuclear war. The Soviet leaders knew that blinding Washington in the early stages of a nuclear exchange would be a foolish act, not helping any prospects of the management of escalation control.

The problem with Beijing is that it has no experience in high-level nuclear arms negotiation with any other country. It doesn’t understand the value of detailed discussions about nuclear warfighting. This is a dangerous gap in Chinese understanding about war—especially as its strategic nuclear warheads, which number in the low 200s according to the Pentagon, are barely credible as a second-strike capability and its submarines armed with strategic nuclear weapons are noisy.

However, US estimates suggest that China is planning to double its strategic nuclear forces and recent media reports claim that Beijing is building more than 100 new silos for intercontinental ballistic missiles in the northwest of the country. If true, this is a strange development because ICBMs in fixed silos are becoming more vulnerable with the increased accuracy of nuclear strikes. China’s recent ICBMs have been road-mobile for precisely this reason. The only rational explanation for new fixed-silo ICBMs is that they’re designed for a new launch-on-warning posture, which suggests new developments in China’s early warning capabilities.

In addition to its strategic nuclear warheads, Beijing has about 2,000 theatre nuclear missiles capable of targeting much of the Indo-Pacific. The majority of them are nuclear-armed, but some of the optionally conventionally armed variants (such as the 4,000-kilometre-range DF-26) can reach the north of Australia.

The main point here for Australia is that unless we acquire missiles with ranges in excess of 4,000 kilometres, we won’t be able to retaliate against any attack on us. But, in any case, for a country of our size to consider attacking the territory of a large power like China isn’t a credible option.

So, resolving the threat posed by the Global Times depends on Washington making it clear to Beijing that any missile attack on Australia, as America’s closest ally in the Indo-Pacific region, would provoke an immediate response by the US on China itself.

America has an overwhelming superiority in being able to deliver prompt global conventional precision strikes.

Beijing also needs to understand that because of the density and geographical distribution of its population, it is the most vulnerable among continental-size countries to nuclear war. The virtual conurbation that extends from Beijing in the north via Shanghai to Guangzhou and Shenzhen in the south would make it particularly susceptible to massive destruction in an all-out nuclear war.

The US has 1,500 deployed strategic nuclear warheads and another 5,000 stockpiled or ‘retired’. (Russia has a similar number of strategic nuclear warheads, totalling about 6,800.) America has more than enough nuclear warfighting capabilities to take on both China and Russia. In the Cold War, the Pentagon planned on destroying a quarter of the Soviet Union’s population and half its industry. For comparison, a quarter of China’s population is about 350 million. In such a nuclear war, China would no longer exist as a functioning modern society.

It might be time we considered acquiring a missile system capable of defending us against ballistic missile attack. The first step could be to fit this capability to the air warfare destroyers, while noting that a nationwide capability would need to be much more extensive.

But in the final analysis, we depend upon the United States—as the only military superpower in the world—to deter China from escalation dominance and its threatened use of ballistic missiles against us.

Paul Dibb is emeritus professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University. He is a former deputy secretary of the Department of Defence and former director of the Defence Intelligence Organisation. Image: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images.

The First Nuclear War is Guaranteed: Revelation 8

South Asia nuclear

South Asia’s nuclear stability: What are the chances of war?

24 July 2021

Kashaf Sohail holds an optimistic view regarding the nuclearization of South Asia. According to her, the presence of nuclear weapons in the region has maintained strategic stability. Nuclear weapons do pose a threat, however, an all-out war is very unlikely to happen.

The nuclearization of South Asia started in 1974 when India made its first nuclear test under the name ‘Smiling Buddha’. Although India started its program to become a regional hegemon, its initial stance was that its nuclear capability is for peaceful means. Yet Pakistan being the next-door neighbor fell into a security dilemma and perceived threat from India.

In 1998 India tested weaponized nuclear warheads in its which meant that India is now a nuclear weapon state. Shortly after India’s tests, Pakistan also conducted nuclear tests in 1998 declaring itself as a nuclear-weapon state too.

The nature of the conflict between the two states is territorial mostly and they have already fought three major wars and multiple minor conflicts due to geographic proximity.

Arguments on nuclear weapons

India is the first South Asian state to acquire nuclear weapons and Pakistan is the only Muslim state to acquire nuclear weapons. But are their nuclear weapons for better or for worse?

There are two arguments, nuclear pessimism, and nuclear optimism. According to pessimists, since both the states have acquired nuclear weapons it has increased the threat of a nuclear war instead of maintaining strategic stability. On contrary, the optimists claim that both the states have decades-old enmity so possessing nuclear weapons actually ensures strategic stability.

Credible nuclear deterrence is ensured when a state can maintain three things; prevention of Preventive War; development of second-strike capability; and avoidance of accidental war.

Preventive war is an offensive action to end a developing threat before it creates trouble in the future. For optimists, the threat of preventive war existed when Pakistan was making a nuclear weapon but now it does not persist. But for pessimists, the military organizational behavior in India and Pakistan is making the threat of preventive war stand.

The optimists argue that it was impossible for Pakistan to compete with India conventionally because the latter is economically and militarily stronger so it was necessary for Pakistan to acquire nuclear weapons. Now both states can equally compete on a strategic level but this is very less likely to happen as maintaining strategic stability is a priority.

The pessimists are skeptical about Pakistan’s tendency to attack with preventive war because of how its military command and control are under the greater influence of armed forces, unlike India. Optimists contend that deterrence does not depend upon who is deterring who.

The character or leadership of a state does not matter when a state has nuclear weapons. Even if the leadership has an aggressive and irrational mindset, everyone is aware of the destructive consequences so an irrational leader will also act rationally.

India’s destabilizing military strategy

Pessimists contend that India is always trying to provoke Pakistan which could be seen during 1986-87 when Indira Gandhi was in government and lost her domestic support because the military was in control. This resulted in a brass-tack crisis which was purely a military decision. Around 250,000 troops undertook massive military exercises at Rajasthan along with 1500 tanks.

Although India claims that it was just a military exercise but Cold Start or Sundar Ji doctrine reveals India’s intention of initiating a comprehensive attack on Pakistan. Lt. Gen P.N. Hoon of the Indian Army revealed in his book, “Brasstacks was the army’s preparation for a war against Pakistan and not a military exercise.”

The optimists assert that when South Asia was not nuclearized, the military deterrence was very low, resulting in three conventional wars, but now India and Pakistan will not end up in an all-out conflict. However, the optimists do partially agree with the pessimist argument of the threat to South Asian stability but in terms of tactical instability.

After the acquisition of nuclear weapons, strategic stability is ensured but it brought tactical instability in the region which was substantial before. Now border skirmishes occur frequently, leaving thousands of civilians and soldiers at risk on both sides.

The missile defense system is the greatest threat to the strategic stability of South Asia because if India fully develops the capability then Pakistan’s nuclear warheads will become irrelevant and the concept of mutually assured destruction will also be of no use. This in turn will give India the margin to start a preventive war by using its first-strike capability. It will also hamper Pakistan’s second-strike nuclear capability thus affecting South Asia’s nuclear deterrence.

The geographic proximity is a considerable reason that accidental war is very likely to happen e.g. if Pakistan is testing its missile then India might perceive it as a threat of preparation of attack and might as well launch a missile to retaliate. Any false intelligence report can also initiate an accidental war leaving states with no time to exchange messages.

In my opinion, the arguments posed by nuclear optimists are much more relevant. Pessimists’ explanation about the threat to strategic stability is mostly tilted towards Pakistan and its weaknesses. However, optimism maintains a balance between the two nuclear-weapon states in cultivating the strategic stability of South Asia.

We all are aware of the Indian extremist motives and the dream of Akhand Bharat which pretty much predicts that any future war would be initiated from India and less likely from Pakistan.

In the current scenario, there are clear intentions of Indian BJP, hijacked by RSS of which the present PM himself is a fundamentalist member. The in terms of Kashmir did agitate Pakistan a lot but the reaction could not be very aggressive because now it is difficult to wage a war due to the destructive consequences.

So it could be concluded that the presence of nuclear weapons in the South Asian region has maintained strategic stability as proposed by nuclear optimism. The pessimist argument that nuclear weapons are posing a threat is significant but a proper war is very unlikely to happen, at least not until the missile defense system is acquired by India. Deterrence does not mean war cannot break out but it does mean that it is least likely to happen. In the current scenario, the strategic stability of South Asia is guarded.

The author is a columnist based in Islamabad. Her area of interests are terrorism and nuclear studies. She can be reached at kashafsohail26@icloud.com. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.

Nuclear Nightmare: Why The Pakistani Nuclear Horn Is Cause For Concern

Nuclear Nightmare: Why Pakistan’s Nukes Are Cause For Concern

Here’s What You Need to Know: Experts believe the country’s nuclear stockpile is steadily growing.

Sandwiched between Iran, China, India and Afghanistan, Pakistan lives in a complicated neighborhood with a variety of security issues. One of the nine known states known to have nuclear weapons, Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and doctrine are continually evolving to match perceived threats. A nuclear power for decades, Pakistan is now attempting to construct a nuclear triad of its own, making its nuclear arsenal resilient and capable of devastating retaliatory strikes.

Pakistan’s nuclear program goes back to the 1950s, during the early days of its rivalry with India. President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto famously said in 1965, “If India builds the bomb, we will eat grass or leaves, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own.”

The program became a higher priority after the country’s 1971 defeat at the hands of India, which caused East Pakistan to break away and become Bangladesh. Experts believe the humiliating loss of territory, much more than reports that India was pursuing nuclear weapons, accelerated the Pakistani nuclear program. India tested its first bomb, codenamed “Smiling Buddha,” in May 1974, putting the subcontinent on the road to nuclearization.

Pakistan began the process of accumulating the necessary fuel for nuclear weapons, enriched uranium and plutonium. The country was particularly helped by one A. Q. Khan, a metallurgist working in the West who returned to his home country in 1975 with centrifuge designs and business contacts necessary to begin the enrichment process. Pakistan’s program was assisted by European countries and a clandestine equipment-acquisition program designed to do an end run on nonproliferation efforts. Outside countries eventually dropped out as the true purpose of the program became clear, but the clandestine effort continued.

Exactly when Pakistan had completed its first nuclear device is murky. Former president Benazir Bhutto, Zulfikar Bhutto’s daughter, claimed that her father told her the first device was ready by 1977. A member of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission said design of the bomb was completed in 1978 and the bomb was “cold tested”—stopping short of an actual explosion—in 1983.

Benazir Bhutto later claimed that Pakistan’s bombs were stored disassembled until 1998, when India tested six bombs in a span of three days. Nearly three weeks later, Pakistan conducted a similar rapid-fire testing schedule, setting off five bombs in a single day and a sixth bomb three days later. The first device, estimated at twenty-five to thirty kilotons, may have been a boosted uranium device. The second was estimated at twelve kilotons, and the next three as sub-kiloton devices.

The sixth and final device appears to have also been a twelve-kiloton bomb that was detonated at a different testing range; a U.S. Air Force “Constant Phoenix” nuclear-detection aircraft reportedly detected plutonium afterward. Since Pakistan had been working on a uranium bomb and North Korea—which shared or purchased research with Pakistan through the A. Q. Khan network—had been working on a uranium bomb, some outside observers concluded the sixth test was actually a North Korean test, detonated elsewhere to conceal North Korea’s involvement although. There is no consensus on this conclusion.

Experts believe Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile is steadily growing. In 1998, the stockpile was estimated at five to twenty-five devices, depending on how much enriched uranium each bomb required. Today Pakistan is estimated to have an arsenal of 110 to 130 nuclear bombs. In 2015 the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Center estimated Pakistan’s bomb-making capability at twenty devices annually, which on top of the existing stockpile meant Pakistan could quickly become the third-largest nuclear power in the world. Other observers, however, believe Pakistan can only develop another forty to fifty warheads in the near future.

Pakistani nuclear weapons are under control of the military’s Strategic Plans Division, and are primarily stored in Punjab Province, far from the northwest frontier and the Taliban. Ten thousand Pakistani troops and intelligence personnel from the SPD guard the weapons. Pakistan claims that the weapons are only armed by the appropriate code at the last moment, preventing a “rogue nuke” scenario.

Pakistani nuclear doctrine appears to be to deter what it considers an economically, politically and militarily stronger India. The nuclear standoff is exacerbated by the traditional animosity between the two countries, the several wars the two countries have fought, and events such as the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai, which were directed by Pakistan. Unlike neighboring India and China, Pakistan does not have a “no first use” doctrine, and reserves the right to use nuclear weapons, particularly low-yield tactical nuclear weapons, to offset India’s advantage in conventional forces.

Pakistan currently has a nuclear “triad” of nuclear delivery systems based on land, in the air and at sea. Islamabad is believed to have modified American-built F-16A fighters and possibly French-made Mirage fighters to deliver nuclear bombs by 1995. Since the fighters would have to penetrate India’s air defense network to deliver their payloads against cities and other targets, Pakistani aircraft would likely be deliver tactical nuclear weapons against battlefield targets.

Land-based delivery systems are in the form of missiles, with many designs based on or influenced by Chinese and North Korean designs. The Hatf series of mobile missiles includes the solid-fueled Hatf-III (180 miles), solid-fueled Hatf-IV (466 miles) and liquid-fueled Hatf V, (766 miles). The CSIS Missile Threat Initiative believes that as of 2014, Hatf VI (1242 miles) is likely in service. Pakistan is also developing a Shaheen III intermediate-range missile capable of striking targets out to 1708 miles, in order to strike the Nicobar and Andaman Islands.

The sea component of Pakistan’s nuclear force consists of the Babur class of cruise missiles. The latest version, Babur-2, looks like most modern cruise missiles, with a bullet-like shape, a cluster of four tiny tail wings and two stubby main wings, all powered by a turbofan or turbojet engine. The cruise missile has a range of 434 miles. Instead of GPS guidance, which could be disabled regionally by the U.S. government, Babur-2 uses older Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM) and Digital Scene Matching and Area Co-relation (DSMAC) navigation technology. Babur-2 is deployed on both land and at sea on ships, where they would be more difficult to neutralize. A submarine-launched version, Babur-3, was tested in January 2017 and would be the most survivable of all Pakistani nuclear delivery systems.

Pakistan is clearly developing a robust nuclear capability that can not only deter but fight a nuclear war. It is also dealing with internal security issues that could threaten the integrity of its nuclear arsenal. Pakistan and India are clearly in the midst of a nuclear arms race that could, in relative terms, lead to absurdly high nuclear stockpiles reminiscent of the Cold War. It is clear that an arms-control agreement for the subcontinent is desperately needed.

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the DiplomatForeign PolicyWar is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009, he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami.

This article first appeared in 2017.

I Image: Reuters

1971: The Year India Became a Nuclear Horn: Revelation 8

1971: The Year India Became a Force To Be Reckoned With

By National interest

Here’s What You Need to Remember: Perhaps more important, Pakistani illusions that an Islamic army could rout the “weak” Hindus had been disproved. This is what happens when you chop a nation in half.

Before December 3, 1971, Pakistan was a country suffering from a split personality disorder. When British India became independent in 1947, the country was divided into Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan. The problem was that East Pakistan and West Pakistan were almost a thousand miles apart, and wedged in between them was archenemy India. Imagine if the United States only consisted of the East Coast and West Coast, and Russia controlled all of North America in between.

Thirteen days later, Pakistan had been amputated. Indian troops had conquered East Pakistan, which became the new nation of Bangladesh. More than ninety thousand Pakistani soldiers were taken prisoner, half the Pakistani Navy had been sunk and the Indian Air Force came out on top. It was total humiliation, and not just for Pakistan. The United States and Britain sent aircraft carriers in a futile attempt to intimidate India, and ended up facing off against Soviet warships. Pakistan’s defeat also spurred its rulers to begin the development of nuclear weapons.

The 1971 India-Pakistan War, the third major conflict between the two nations in twenty-five years, was sparked by unrest in East Pakistan. The Bengalis of East Pakistan, who constituted 54 percent of Pakistan’s population at the time, chafed under the rule of West Pakistan. The two Pakistans belonged to different ethnic groups and spoke different languages.

The Asian nuclear horns continue to grow: Daniel 7

Asian countries stockpile powerful new missiles

Asia’s missile proliferation will fuel suspicions, trigger arms races, increase tensions and ultimately cause crises and even wars

  • By Josh Smith / Reuters, SEOUL

Asia is sliding into a dangerous arms race as smaller nations that once stayed on the sidelines build arsenals of advanced long-range missiles, following in the footsteps of powerhouses China and the US, analysts say.

China is mass producing its DF-26, a multipurpose weapon with a range of up to 4,000km — while the US is developing new weapons aimed at countering Beijing in the Pacific.

Other countries in the region are buying or developing their own new missiles, driven by security concerns over China and a desire to reduce their reliance on the US.

An Indigenous Defense Fighter fighter jet and Wan Chien air-to-ground cruise missiles are seen last September at Makung Air Force Base in the offshore island of Penghu.

Before the decade is out, Asia will be bristling with conventional missiles that fly farther and faster, hit harder and are more sophisticated than ever before — a stark and dangerous change from recent years, analysts, diplomats and military officials say.

“The missile landscape is changing in Asia, and it’s changing fast,” said David Santoro, president of the Pacific Forum.

Such weapons are increasingly affordable and accurate, and as some countries acquire them, their neighbors don’t want to be left behind, analysts said. Missiles provide strategic benefits such as deterring enemies and boosting leverage with allies, and can be a lucrative export.

The Nuclear END of East Asia: Revelation 8

The Nuclear future of East Asia

July 18, 2021

In the face of North Korea’s and China’s continuous expansion in their nuclear arsenal in the past decade, the nuclear question for East Asian countries is now more urgent than ever —especially when the USA’s credibility of extended deterrence has been shrinking since the Cold War. Whether to acquire an independent nuclear deterrent has long been a huge controversy, with opinions polarized. Yet it is noteworthy that there is a gray zone between zero and one—the degree of latency nuclear deterrence.

It is suggested that developing nuclear weapons may not be the wise choice for East Asian countries at the moment, but, given that regional and international security in Asia-Pacific is deemed to curtail, regardless of decisions to go nuclear or not, East Asian nations should increase their latency nuclear deterrence. In other words, even if they do not proceed to the final stage of acquiring an independent nuclear deterrent, a latent capability should at least be guaranteed. Meanwhile, for those who have already possessed certain extent of nuclear latency —for instance, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan —to shorten their breakout time whilst minimizing obstacles for possible future nuclearization.

From a realist perspective, the locations of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have always been valid arguments for their nuclearization —being surrounded by nuclear-armed neighbours China and North Korea —and they have witnessed a threat escalation unprecedented since the Cold War.

Having its first nuclear weapon tested in 2006, the total inventory North Korea now possess is estimated to be 30-40. Not only has North Korea’s missile test on March 25— the first of the Biden presidency— signalled a clear message to the USA and her allies. Pyongyang’s advancement in nuclear technologies also indicates a surging threat.

North Korea state media claimed the latest missile launched was a “new-type tactical guided projectile” which is capable of performing “gliding and pull-up” manoeuvres with an “improved version of a solid fuel engine”. The diversity of launchers Pyongyang currently possesses —from short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) to submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), as well as the transporter erector launchers (TELs) and the cold launch system increase the difficulty in intercepting them via Aegis destroyers or other ballistic missile defense system since it is onerous, if not impossible, to detect the exact time and venue of the possible launches. Indeed, the “new type of missile” could potentially render South Korea’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) useless by evading radar detection system through its manoeuvres, according to one study.

Moreover, the cold launch (perpendicular launch) system used by the North also indicates that multiple nuclear weapons could be fired from the same launch pad without severe damage caused to the infrastructure. Shigeru Ishiba, Japan’s former Defense Minister, has noted that not all incoming missiles would have to be intercepted with the country’s missile defense system, and “even if that is possible, we cannot perfectly respond to saturation attacks”.

China’s total inventory of nuclear deterrent has reached 320, exceeding United Kingdom and France’s, with their nuclear deterrents considered limited deterrence. Though China’s current nuclear stockpiles are still far less than Russia’s and the USA’s, its nuclear technologies have been closely following theirs. For instance, China has successfully developed Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs) and Maneuverable Reentry Vehicles (MARVs)—its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) DF-41 is capable of equipping up to 10 MIRVs while its Medium-Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) DF-21D could carry MARV warhead that poses challenges to the BMD systems— these advancement in nuclear technologies are solid proof that the Chinese nukes are only steps away from Moscow and Washington. Yet China’s nuclear arsenal remains unchecked and is not confined by any major nuclear arms reduction treaty.

If Japan, South Korea and Taiwan ever choose to go nuclear, a common mechanism could be established to ensure that these states would pursue a minimum to limited deterrence capability that does not endanger each other’s security but rather strengthens it, which would help minimizing the destabilization brought to regional security while constituting a more balanced situation with nuclear-armed rivalries.

In addition to China’s expansion of military capabilities and ambition in developing hypersonic glide vehicles (HGVs) and new MARVs, there is no lack of scepticism of its no-first use policy, especially with Beijing’s actions in the East and South China Seas. These all raise concerns and generate insecurity from neighbouring countries and hence, East Asian states Japan, South Korea and Taiwan would inevitably have to reconsider their nuclear options.

In spite of having advanced BMD system, for instance, Aegis Destroyer (Japan), THAAD (South Korea), Sky Bow III (Taiwan), the existing and emerging nuclear arsenals in Pyongyang and Beijing still leave East Asian states vulnerable. The future could be worse than it seems— merely having deterrence by denial is not sufficient to safeguard national security— particularly with the shrinking credibility of the USA’s extended deterrence after the Cold War.

Theoretically speaking, alliance relations with the USA assure a certain extent of deterrence by punishment against hostile adversaries. For example, the USA is committed to defend Japan under the 1960 Mutual Defense Treaty. Yet in reality, security could never be guaranteed. Sze-Fung LeeIs the USA willing to sacrifice Washington for Tokyo? Or New York for Seoul?

Strong rhetoric, or even a defense pact, would not ensure collective security, let alone strategic ambiguity, the strategy adopted by Washington for Taipei. Besides, with Trump’s American First policy continuously undermining alliance relations in the past four years, East Asian countries may find it hard to restore trust, despite the Biden Administration’s effort to repair the alliance.

Moreover, even if alliance relations and credibility of extended deterrence is robust, could East Asian countries shelter under the US nuclear umbrella forever? If they choose not to go nuclear, these states would be constantly threatened by their nuclear-armed neighbours and forced to negotiate, or worse, compromise in the face of a possible nuclear extortion.

Undeniably, horizontal nuclear proliferation is always risky. Not only is it likely to worsen diplomatic relations with neighbours, it also generates a (nuclear) regional arms race that eventually trap all nations into a vicious circle due to the lack of mutual trust in an anarchical system, which will consequently lead to a decrease in regional, as well as international, security.

Yet with the expansion and advancement of Pyongyang and Beijing’s nuclear arsenal, regional and international security is deemed to reduce, regardless of East Asian countries’ decisions to go nuclear or not. As official NPYT members, Japan’s and South Korea’s withdrawal may encourage other current non-nuclear weapon states to develop nukes. However, the NPT has already proven futile in preventing North Korea from acquiring its own nuclear weapons; or Israel, India and Pakistan from going nuclear.

Admittedly, the road for East Asian countries to go nuclear would be tough. Taipei’s attempt to develop nuclear weapons would trigger a response from Beijing, and a pre-emptive strike. That goes for Seoul and Pyongyang though the risk is relatively lower. As for Japan, although direct military confrontation is less likely compared to Seoul and Taipei, the challenges are no easier.

As the sole nation to suffer from an atomic bomb, Japan’s pacifism and anti-nuclear sentiment are embedded in it. According to a 2017 opinion poll, 17.7 percent agreed “Japan should acquire its own nuclear weapons in the future” whilst 79.1 percent opposed the idea. Despite having the imperative skills and technologies for an independent deterrent (its breakout time is estimated at 6-12 months), Japan lacks natural resources for nuclear warheads and would rely heavily on uranium imports. Japan’s bilateral nuclear agreements with the USA, U.K, France and Australia specified that all imported nuclear-related equipment and materials “must be used only for the non-military purposes”. Violation of these agreements may result in sanctions that could cause devastating effect on Japan’s nuclear energy programme, which supplies approximately 30 percent of the nation’s electricity. These issues, however, are not irresolvable.

Undeniably, it may take time and effort to negotiate new agreements and change people’s pacifism into an “active pacifism”, yet these should not be the justifications to avoid acquiring an independent deterrent, as ensuring national security should always be the top priority. It is because in face of a nuclear extortion, the effectiveness of a direct nuclear deterrence guaranteed by your own country could not be replaced by any other measures such as deterrence by denial via BMD system or deterrence by punishment via extended deterrence and defense pact.

Therefore, if there are too many obstacles ahead, then perhaps the wiser choice for Japan, South Korea and Taiwan at the moment is to increase their nuclear latency deterrence, shorten the breakout time and pave their way clear for future nuclearization. In other words, to keep their nuclear option open and be able to play offense and defense at their own will.

Nevertheless, in addition to strengthening latency nuclear deterrence, as well as obtaining a more equal relationship in the official and unofficial alliance with America, East Asian countries with similar interests and common enemies should unite to form a new military alliance with a security treaty regarding collective defense like NATO; and focuses more on countering hybrid warfare like the QUAD.

If Japan, South Korea and Taiwan ever choose to go nuclear, a common mechanism could be established to ensure that these states would pursue a minimum to limited deterrence capability that does not endanger each other’s security but rather strengthens it, which would help minimizing the destabilization brought to regional security while constituting a more balanced situation with nuclear-armed rivalries.

After all, proliferation may not be the best solution, it is certainly not the worst either.

America Has Lost the Proxy War against the Pakistani Nuclear Horn: Daniel

America Has Lost a Proxy War against Pakistan

When President Joe Biden declared the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan after twenty years of fighting, he declared that the original objectives for the invasion had been achieved. “We were attacked, we went to war with clear goals,” he gravely intoned. “We achieved those objectives. Bin Laden is dead and Al Qaeda is degraded in Afghanistan, and it’s time to end this forever war.” Curiously, he omitted where exactly the founder of Al Qaeda had met his end.

The reaction was as swift as it was predictable. The New York Times, framing the debate along familiar terms, asked, “Will Afghanistan become a Terrorism Safe Haven Once Again?” The ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, warned Afghanistan would “become a safe haven for terrorists once again.” That there already exists “safe haven” for terrorists in and near the country was not mentioned.

Shortly after Biden’s announcement, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reportedly expressed “appreciation for Pakistan’s support” during peace negotiations in Afghanistan with the Taliban. It is not clear whether Secretary Austin had in mind the full breadth of Pakistan’s activities in Afghanistan when referring to its “support” for these ongoing and inconclusive diplomatic talks.

Carl von Clausewitz declared that “the first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish…the kind of war on which they are embarking; neither mistaking it for, not trying to turn it into, something that is alien to its nature.” This most fundamental task of accurate conceptualization has also been the most overlooked and underrated in the formulation and implementation of U.S. military strategy.

As complex and confusing as the situation in Afghanistan is for foreign observers and visitors, the most fundamental lacuna in the analysis and strategy behind U.S. objectives in the country is a manifest failure to clearly acknowledge and accept the situation on the ground in Afghanistan for what it is: the United States has been waging and losing a proxy war against an alleged ally.

The mission to transform a barren, mountainous, landlocked, and impoverished country in one of the most remote parts of the Eurasian landmass—after decades of armed conflict and revolutionary upheaval—into a stable democracy with no safe havens for terrorism is tragic and difficult enough. It becomes indefensibly absurd when also claiming to do so in partnership with a country that bears the most responsibility for the continuing chaos and carnage in Afghanistan.

Axis or Ally?

Among all the moral compromises made by Washington in its diplomatic relationships during the War on Terror, the U.S. relationship with Islamabad might be the most destructive and counterproductive. Less than five months after the shock of the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush announced the existence of an “Axis of Evil” that represented the greatest threat to world peace. Notably, none of the countries identified had any role in the attacks, nor had any of their citizens. What was stranger yet about the composition of this “axis” was that these countries, as hostile as their regimes were to U.S. interests, did not include the world’s worst offender. When examining what went wrong in the U.S. war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, it bears reviewing the central role Pakistan has played in sabotaging any prospects of victory.

It has long been an open secret that Pakistan has actively and consistently thwarted U.S. operations against the Taliban and Al Qaeda since the attacks of September 11, 2001. For as long as the U.S. has been in Afghanistan, however, the polite fiction of Pakistan as a reliable ally has persisted despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. As a state sponsor of terrorism, Pakistan has matched or exceeded the actions and patterns of sanctioned regimes in Iran and North Korea. The flagrant involvement of its so-called “deep state” in the finances and operations of known terrorist groups as a matter of course has also been far more direct and intimate than any of the suspected links attributed to the Gulf Arab states or their citizens. Yet in stark contrast to intense U.S. pressure on its Arab allies to crack down on terrorism, or U.S. sanctions on Iran and North Korea, Pakistan’s rulers have enjoyed relative impunity since 2001.

After the United States invaded Afghanistan, Pakistan gave shelter to elements of both Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Osama Bin Laden himself would take up residence in an elite suburb in close proximity to Pakistan’s military academy in Abbottabad. After Bin Laden was finally found and killed, Pakistani authorities retaliated against local informants cooperating with U.S. intelligence. In spite of the evidence, there would be no major changes to the U.S. relationship with Pakistan.

The designation of Pakistan as a “major non-NATO ally” under President Bush was followed by the next administration proclaiming that an “effective partnership with Pakistan” would be a core element of the U.S. war against the Taliban. Pakistan’s ostensible efforts to confront its own proxies would be supported by generous aid from the United States. As the Pentagon pressured the White House to escalate the war, increasing numbers of U.S. troops and civilian officials were being sent into harm’s way and tasked with implementing near impossible projects of social transformation. At the same time, the United States sent aid to the country that directed efforts to arm and train the Taliban insurgency. The absurd implications of U.S. policy and strategy are such that it would be as if America had waged the Vietnam War while also sending aid to Hanoi.

After Donald Trump became U.S. president, there was only a temporary change to relations with Islamabad after military aid was put on hold. After Trump met with Imran Khan, the military-backed prime minister who has praised Osama bin Laden, the aid program was resumed. Despite a promised withdrawal, U.S. troops remained in Afghanistan and U.S. aid to Pakistan continued.

A Good War or a Dumb War?

It should come as no surprise then that U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan has not yielded a political resolution to a decades-long conflict or that it has failed to retain the support of the U.S. public. Before either Trump or Biden announced a withdrawal, the Taliban had conquered or contested so much territory that the U.S. military simply stopping reporting on it.

While there are other more local and nuanced factors that contributed to the U.S. failure to bring order and stability to Afghanistan, including supporting a system of government that has never amounted to much more than warlord rule beyond Kabul, it is Pakistan that looms as the largest. The Taliban is not simply an indigenous insurgency in Afghanistan, as has been suggested. So critical is the role of Pakistan in sheltering and supporting the group that one intelligence official’s repeated briefings to the Obama administration were summarized as asserting that “there was no way to defeat the Taliban militarily, to eradicate them, or force them to surrender, unless the United States was prepared to invade Pakistan, an unstable nuclear weapons state.”

As neither stability nor democracy in Afghanistan can survive the persistence of warlord rule nor the insurgency of the Taliban, short of expanding the war to include U.S. confrontation with a neighboring nuclear-armed state, there is no path to lasting victories for U.S. objectives in Afghanistan. It might be doubted that the situation is so extreme, or that there might be some strategy or solution as of yet tried by U.S. policymakers and warfighters that can bring peace to Afghanistan. If such a possibility exists, it cannot involve ignoring the origin and nature of the struggle in which the United States has been unsuccessfully prosecuting for the last two decades.

There is no way to wage a politically correct proxy war, being careful to appease and avoid giving offense to the primary belligerent in the conflict and expect a successful outcome. If Washington is unprepared to hold Islamabad to account for being the malign actor in the international system it has become, there is no strategic justification to remain in Afghanistan.

There is a looming tragedy, to be sure, in the near future of Afghanistan when the U.S. withdraws. Estimates by the U.S. intelligence community suggest Kabul could fall to the Taliban in only six months after the last U.S. troops leave Afghan soil. It will bear keeping in mind when that happens that the Taliban was also making advances even after the U.S. had escalated the war effort in 2017. That it was able to do so with such relative impunity despite the presence of U.S. troops is the direct result of the relative impunity Pakistan has enjoyed under U.S. policy.

By withdrawing from Afghanistan, the United States is letting go of a false hope for a lost cause doomed by a polite fiction. As the global nexus of security threats to the U.S. shifts to the Chinese Communist Party, to whom the rulers of Pakistan have been eager to offer themselves up as loyal vassals, this should be only the beginning of a major shift in U.S. policy towards the region.

What the South Korean Nuclear Horn Could Mean For American Foreign Policy: Daniel 7

What South Korea’s Iron Dome Could Mean For American Foreign Policy

On Monday, June 28, 2021, South Korea announced the development of a missile defense system to help protect itself against the recent aggression of North Korea. The technology is to be modeled after the Iron Dome, which is used by Israel to counter Hamas. The Iron Dome is designed to shoot incoming missiles out of the air before they can strike their targets. While this system is not one hundred percent effective, it has been useful to Israel in its ongoing war against Hamas. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has yet to comment on this recent development, but he is unlikely to be deterred. While many reasons could explain why South Korea is developing this new $2.6 billion missile defense system, it may be due to the recent foreign policy actions of the United States.

The conflict on the Korean Peninsula goes back to the end of World War II. Korea had been a Japanese colony until 1945, after which it was split along the 38th parallel first into two occupied zones and eventually into sovereign states. The North, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, was supported by the Soviet Union, who fostered a communist government. The South, the First Republic of Korea, was backed by the United States with an anti-communist model. In 1950, North Korea invaded the South, in an attempt to unite the peninsula under communist rule, however, the United Nations, backed in large part by the United States, intervened. Three years later, the fighting ended with the two territories still divided along lines near the original 38th parallel, with both countries locked in stalemate to this day.  

For nearly sixty years, U.S. foreign policy followed an approach of consistent military, economic, and political support of South Korea. The South largely flourished and became a powerhouse in the region. While tensions with the North remained high, South Korea could count on strong U.S. backing to help drive stability and peace in the region. 

However, Donald Trump’s election in 2016 disrupted the balance. Trump led with a strongly nationalist and an “America First” agenda. His isolationist approach and political rhetoric not only shook traditional alliances, but also confidence in America as a stabilizing global leader. With regard to the Korean peninsula, Trump’s policies were uncoordinated and inconsistent. Once, Trump issued threats of nuclear war with North Korea on Twitter. In an interview with the New York Times, Former Prime Minister Moon Jae-in said he believes Trump “failed” at bringing peace to the Korean peninsula, and that “he beat around the bush and failed to pull it through.”

Joe Biden’s election brought a shift in American foreign policy away from nationalism and with the promise of re-establishing American leadership in foreign policy. Biden’s administration quickly made clear its support of South Korea with a joint statement with the South Korean nation: “the shared values of the ROK-US Alliance undergird the two countries’ commitment to opposing all activities that undermine and destabilize the rules-based international order.”

Despite the recent U.S. foreign policy shift, South Korea’s development of the Iron Dome may be a sign that its long-standing faith in America’s alliance and support has been shaken. Given the shifting and unpredictable American foreign policy agenda, South Korea’s desire to develop this new technology could be entirely justified as self defense, since it may not be able to rely on the U.S. for constant protection anymore. The development of the Iron Dome could be a stepping stone towards better protecting South Korea against the North, but sends another message; America has become too unreliable of an ally. It has become clear that with America’s democratic process, there can be a switch between nationalism and globalism in just a few years, which could have drastic repercussions on the state of international affairs.

Photos in Kashmir before the first nuclear war: Revelation 8

Photos: Indian troops kill suspected rebels in Kashmir attack

Indian forces kill three suspected rebels in a gun battle in Indian-administered Kashmir, triggering protests and clashes.

Indian forces have killed three suspected rebels in a shoot-out in Indian-administered Kashmir, officials said, triggering anti-India protests and clashes between the troops and residents.

The Indian military on Wednesday said rebels opened fire at soldiers and police as counterinsurgency troops surrounded a neighbourhood in the southern town of Pulwama on a tip that some rebels were hiding there.

Troops retaliated and trapped the rebels in a house, according to a statement by the military. Three fighters were killed in the eight-hour operation and two rifles and a pistol were recovered from the site, the statement said.

Villagers said troops set fire to one house and blasted another with explosives, a common anti-rebel tactic employed by Indian troops in the disputed Himalayan region.

Authorities issued a curfew in Pulwama town and cut off internet access on mobile phone services, a tactic aimed at making organising anti-India protests difficult and discouraging the dissemination of protest videos.

Shortly after the attack, anti-India protesters threw stones at government forces and chanted slogans seeking the end of Indian rule over the region. Government forces fired tear gas at the protesters. No one was reported injured during the clashes.

Locals said government troops detained several people and forced them to sit in front of them as shields during the clashes.

Wednesday’s fighting comes amid a surge in violence in the region, which is divided between India and Pakistan with the nuclear-armed rivals claiming it in its entirety.

Last week, authorities in the region also dismissed 11 Kashmiris from their government jobs for alleged links with rebel groups. They included two sons of a top Kashmiri rebel commander who is based in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and two police officials.

Kashmiris have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989. Most people in the Muslim-majority region support the rebel goal of uniting the territory, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

India says the Kashmir rebellion is “Pakistan-sponsored terrorism”. Pakistan denies the charge, and most Kashmiris consider it a legitimate freedom struggle.

Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed in the conflict.