The Russian Nuclear horn moves into Europe Daniel 7

Russia moves troops to Belarus for joint exercises near Ukraine border

Move likely to stoke invasion fears as war games also planned near borders of Nato members Poland and Lithuania

Russia has begun moving troops to Ukraine’s northern neighbour Belarus for joint military exercises, in a move likely to increase fears in the west that Moscow is preparing for an invasion.

The joint military exercises, named United Resolve, are to take place as Russia also musters forces along Ukraine’s eastern border, threatening a potential invasion that could unleash the largest conflict in Europe for decades.

Social media videos from Belarus appeared to show artillery and other military vehicles arriving on flatbed carriages owned by the Russian state railway company, and Alexander Volfovich, the head of Belarus’s security council, said in a briefing that troops were already arriving before exercises scheduled for February.

Some military analysts have suggested Russiacould send its forces through Belarus in the case of a broad invasion, effectively stretching out Ukraine’s defences by taking advantage of the two countries’ nearly 700-mile border. Others believe Belarus would not play a serious role in the conflict if Russia were to launch an attack on Ukraine.

The Belarusian leader, Alexander Lukashenko, has responded to international pressure and isolation by strengthening ties with Russia, giving vocal support for Putin’s military buildup as he receives diplomatic and economic support from the Kremlin to battle western sanctions. He has also abandoned his country’s supposedly neutral stance on the Ukraine conflict and publicly endorsed Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.

The exercises are to be held in the west of Belarus, near the borders of Nato members Poland and Lithuania, and its southern flank with Ukraine, Lukashenko said.

“Set an exact date and let us know, so we aren’t blamed for massing some troops here out of the blue as if we are preparing to go to war,” he told top military officials.

Reports from Russia have also shown more military equipment, including tanks and short-range ballistic missiles, being transported across the country toward Ukraine within the last week.

The German foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, said before a meeting with her Russian counterpart on Tuesday that she hoped the tensions could be resolved by diplomacy but if not Moscow would pay a “high price” for aggressive acts toward Ukraine.

No concrete troop numbers or timeframe have been named for the joint Russia-Belarus exercises, which Putin announced during a summit with Lukashenko in late December. Lukashenko said on Monday that the exact dates in February were still being determined.

He said during the briefing that the exercises were needed because of the presence of Nato forces in neighbouring Poland and the Baltic states, as well as Ukraine’s deployment of troops to the border in response to the migrant crisis that he helped create last year.

“Why are we and Russia being reproached for holding manoeuvres, exercises and so forth when you’ve come from far away?” said Lukashenko in heated remarks in which he said western countries had stationed nearly 30,000 troops near his country’s borders. “There are some hot-heads calling for war. We hear these statements.”

He also echoed aggressive Kremlin rhetoric that may be used to justify a military intervention in Ukraine, claiming that Kyiv was preparing battalions of “radical nationalists”. A Ukrainian official called the remarks manipulative and “part of an information war”.

Volfovich said the exercises would involve Belarusian and Russian soldiers training to repel air and land attacks, neutralise enemy saboteurs and practise other manoeuvres. He also played down the significance of their timing, saying that there was “nothing extraordinary” in them because they were announced late last year, according to a report in the state-run Belta news agency.

There are signs, however, that Belarus has taken a more active role in its support of Russia in its ongoing conflict with Ukraine and the west.

Kyiv initially said it believed a hacking team tied to Belarusian state intelligence may have played a role in a major cyber-attack on government websites late last week, and Russian nuclear-capable bombers have recently flown over western Belarus.

Lukashenko has strengthened ties with Putin since 2020, when he launched a bloody crackdown on protests sparked by vote-rigging during presidential elections. He was driven further into international isolation after he grounded a RyanAir flight in order to arrest a critic of his government and helped manufacture a migrant crisis on EU borders, prompting a humanitarian emergency.

Belarus adopted an ostensibly neutral position in 2014 and avoided recognising Russia’s annexation of Crimea, but the dynamic has changed considerably as the country has relied more on Russian diplomatic and material support in the last two years.

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The threat of nuclear conflict is high: Revelation 16

Opinion: The threat of nuclear conflict is high. We need a new commitment to de-escalation.

“A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” That statement, which President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev issued in 1985, helped end the Cold War. It meant something because until then, both countries believed the other was ready and almost willing to destroy the other with its large nuclear arsenal. They backed up their words by reducing their armories and banning their most dangerous weapons.

Almost 40 years later, the risk of a nuclear conflict erupting between the United States and Russia, and increasingly between the United States and China, is dangerously high. Without concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, the United States could end up in a nuclear war it says must not be fought.

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Tensions over Ukraine or Taiwan could get out of hand quickly, with uncertain outcomes. Just this past week, Russia made veiled threats of deploying more battlefield nuclear weapons in and around Ukraine. Worse, the United States, Russia and China are all rapidly modernizing or expanding their nuclear and missile capabilities, as are Britain, India, Pakistan and North Korea.

It is understandable that the international community welcomed the Jan. 3 statement by the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council collectively known as the P-5, that adopted the historic 1985 Reagan-Gorbachev statement for the first time. But despite their stated rejection of nuclear war in reality, the United States and Russia exercise daily for such war, and both invest heavily in nuclear weaponry.

The United States continues to target high-value Russian and Chinese military targets — nuclear and otherwise — the destruction of which, U.S. leaders believe, would produce “favorable” outcomes. Russia does the same to U.S.- and European-based targets. The goal: to control the battlefield and to create an outcome that political and military leaders can, inconceivably, consider a “victory.” If that is not a nuclear war, what is?

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When it comes to nuclear weapons, the United States should be precise about its intentions. Declaratory policy can be a powerful tool in reducing nuclear risks. It is conventional wisdom that America stopped a Soviet invasion of Western Europe by declaring that it was prepared to use nuclear weapons in response to such an attack. The same can work in reverse. Adopting a more limited role for nuclear weapons can reduce the concern that a country might cross the nuclear threshold early in a conflict. Clarity on this stance, backed by changes on operations and forces to make it credible, can reduce the risks of nuclear preemption.

The Biden administration is preparing its own Nuclear Posture Review, which will lay out President Biden’s policies. As a senator, vice president and presidential candidate, Biden indicated that he might be ready to accept a more restrictive set of nuclear policies, including adopting a clear statement that the sole mission for U.S. nuclear forces is to deter and, if necessary, respond to a nuclear attack on the United States or its allies. The Nuclear Posture Review would be just the place for issuing this overdue statement of clarity. But U.S. statements must be credible, which means also implementing changes to force structures, targeting and procurement.

Saying that Washington opposes nuclear war-fighting while pursuing more than $1.2 trillionover the next three decades in nuclear modernization — including new missiles, submarines, stealth bombers and hard-to-track cruise missiles — damages America’s credibility. Moscow’s own modernization, and signs that China is increasingly seeking some form of nuclear parity with Russia and the United States, further undermine the value of the P-5′s feel-good statement. Though that statement was a step in the right direction, the words remain hollow and even dangerous if not followed by concrete actions.

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Being specific about when nations would use nuclear weapons is one way to ease, if not eliminate, the pressure. But more must also be done to reduce the risk of clashes that could escalate to nuclear conflict. For example, members of the P-5 and the other nuclear-weapon states should adopt and implement proven risk-management tools to deal with the new challenges in space, cyberspace, missile and air defenses, and conventional weapons that are becoming more accurate, fast-moving and stealthy.

High-level strategic stability discussions should also seek concrete moves to prove that nuclear war-fighting is not part of the plan for members of the P-5. This can include taking weapons off alert status, cutting back modernization programs, pursuing binding reductions of nuclear forces and adopting observable norms on other weapons that threaten to undermine stability.

The danger of escalation to nuclear war remains all too real. Rejecting nuclear war-fighting in all of its forms should be a minimum approach for Biden. Failure to do so would only worsen the ongoing arms race among the United States, Russia and China.

Russia could move nuclear weapons close to Babylon the Great: Daniel 7

Russia could move “nuclear weapons close to the US coast”. New York Times Alert

January 16, 2022 by James Reno

United States against Russia, gas war breaks out: Washington to the aid of the EU

The moves of Russia

“Some Russian officials have suggested that it could pursue Moscow’s security interests in different ways”: “There have been hints, never explicit, that nuclear weapons could be moved,” says the NYT, adding that to indicate “this approach “would have been Putin himself, threatening an unexpected response if the West had crossed the” red line “, such as that of placing NATO on its doorstep. In fact, last November Putin suggested that Russia could deploy hypersonic submarine missiles at a distance that could hit Washington. The tsar has repeatedly reiterated that the prospect of a Western military expansion into Ukraine poses an unacceptable risk because it could be used to launch nuclear strikes against Moscow with only a few minutes of warning. Russia, the head of the Kremlin had warned, could have done the same.

The summit with the US / How much the Russia-Ukraine tensions cost the EU

Beyond the threats, however, the tension on the Ukrainian border is skyrocketing. In an interview with CNN, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, essentially branded as nothing, or almost nothing, the recent talks with Western countries that fear a Russian invasion at the gates of the EU, to which – according to the New York Times – the Biden administration would be ready to respond by supporting any Ukrainian uprising. Russia and the West remain on «totally divergent positions. And this is not good, it is worrying and dangerous », Peskov declared, demanding« extremely specific answers for our extremely specific proposals ». As if that weren’t enough, Ukraine said it had “evidence” of Russia’s involvement in a serious cyber attack that targeted several government sites in the country in recent days. “To date, all the evidence indicates that Russia is behind the cyber attack,” Kiev’s Department of Digital Transformation said in a statement. “Moscow is continuing to wage a hybrid war,” he added.

Diplomacy at work / The US-Russia dialogue and the role of Italy

While Peskov – again speaking to CNN – rejected the accusations: “The Ukrainians blame Russia for everything, including bad weather”. However, some analysts fear that the cyber attack could be the prelude to a military attack. Washington also accused Russia of sending explosives-trained saboteurs to stage an incident that could be used as a pretext for invading Ukraine. The United States will decide at the beginning of the week on the tug-of-war with Russia, while intense diplomatic contacts continue with European allies with the aim of safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Today, Secretary of State Blinken talked about it with Frenchman Le Drian.

Is the Russia or China Nuclear Horn a bigger threat?

Is Russia or China a bigger threat?

Is Russia or China a bigger threat?

By Harlan Ullman, Opinion ContributorJanuary 17, 2022 – 08:00 AM EST

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill 

In 2014, the Obama administration, without ample prior consultations and discussions, announced its “strategic pivot” to Asia. China was angered, and many friends and allies were alarmed by the seemingly sudden shift in American policy. China would become “the pacing threat” for the Obama administration’s national security planning. The next two administrations would follow suit.

“Pacing” like “prevailing” is a marvelously loose word that implies more than it means. But does “pacing” demand dramatic action? Or is its ambiguity a clever disguise to hide intent? “Prevailing” is equally elusive. Did the U.S. prevail in Afghanistan by killing Osama bin Laden despite the fraught withdrawal a decade later?

Given Russia’s military buildup around Ukraine’s borders and Western intelligence forecasts that an invasion may be imminent  in late January, surely Moscow is the more “clear and present danger.” China only talks about regaining Taiwan by force if necessary. Since China has been identified as the “pacing threat” for some time, is a review long overdue to assess whether it or Russia best fills that description?

Three questions form the basis for an evaluation. First, what are the specific threats posed by China and Russia to the U.S. and its allies and how do China and Russia match up against the other in that regard? Second, if China and Russia are indeed coequal dangers, is the U.S. capable of dealing with both concurrently in all conditions? Third, what should be the appropriate U.S. national security and defense strategies and priorities towards both?

Clearly, China’s economic growth and increased international assertiveness are areas of major concern. By comparison, Russia, with a tenth the population and a fraction of China’s GDP, is economically relevant only in the vital energy sphere. But what is often overlooked is that Russia has at least as formidable if not a stronger military than China.  

Its navy, while numerically smaller, is more capable, especially its nuclear submarine and missile forces. Russia possesses many more strategic and tactical nuclear weapons than China. Furthermore, Russia has more recent combat experience than China in Chechnya, the Middle and Near East, Georgia and, of course, Ukraine.

While China is adept at intellectual property theft, Russia has been more aggressive in cyberattacks and information and influence operations. Its foreign intelligence services have also had greater global experience, including use of proxies such as the Wagner Group. And Russia exploits past operations and networks once created by the Soviet Union.

Russia is intent on dividing and disrupting NATO, our key multilateral security alliance. China is not. While China is exerting greater political and economic influence through the Belt and Road and other diplo-economic initiatives, unlike Russia, it is less reliant on the military tool even though it is increasing its global presence.

What is the best course of action for the U.S.? In my analysis, Russia is the more immediate political-military threat and China the  long-term geo-economic challenge. While China’s technological military advancements have been impressive, Russia’s have been at least as noteworthy, particularly in space and modernizing its nuclear and conventional forces. Despite the specter of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, that threat has been exaggerated. China lacks the capacity to mount a successful amphibious assault on Taiwan and will for the foreseeable future.

About regarding China and Russia as co-equal threats, for over a decade and a half during the Cold War, the U.S. relied on the so-called “two-and-a-half war doctrine. It posited fighting two major wars (China and Russia) simultaneously and a half war elsewhere. Unable to win the half war in Vietnam, the concept of a two-war strategy remains unaffordable, unobtainable and unwinable. 

What should the U.S. do? First, do not name enemies in advance. Second, China poses the larger geoeconomics challenge; Russia the political-military one. Third, the appropriate defense strategy is a “Porcupine Defense” in Europe, modified in the Pacific to contain China’s military to the first island chain. Both are defined in my recently-released book, “The Fifth Horseman and the New MAD,” and rely on disrupting an enemy’s strategy and any initial military thrusts as the best means to deter and fight.

To many, this is radical thinking. Challenging the proposition of China as the pacing threat contradicts conventional political wisdom in Washington. But Europe is a much larger collective trading partner and the cornerstone for  our defense through NATO. Russia will remain the more imminent danger after the Ukraine crisis passes. Strategy must reflect that reality. 

Harlan Ullman, Ph.D, is senior adviser at Washington, D.C.’s Atlantic Council and the primary author of “shock and awe.” His latest book is, “The Fifth Horseman and the New MAD: How Massive Attacks of Disruption Became the Looming Existential Danger to a Divided Nation and that World at Large.”

The Russian nuclear horn threatens the world Daniel 7

Russian tanks took part in drills in Russia’s Rostov region near the border with Ukraine this week.
Russian tanks took part in drills in Russia’s Rostov region near the border with Ukraine this week.Associated Press

Russia Issues Subtle Threats More Far-Reaching Than a Ukraine Invasion

If the West fails to meet its security demands, Moscow could take measures like placing nuclear missiles close to the U.S. coastline, Russian officials have hinted.

Jan. 16, 2022

VIENNA — No one expected much progress from this past week’s diplomatic marathon to defuse the security crisis Russia has ignited in Eastern Europe by surrounding Ukraine on three sides with 100,000 troops and then, by the White House’s accounting, sending in saboteurs to create a pretext for invasion.

But as the Biden administration and NATO conduct tabletop simulations about how the next few months could unfold, they are increasingly wary of another set of options for President Vladimir V. Putin, steps that are more far-reaching than simply rolling his troops and armor over Ukraine’s border. 

Mr. Putin wants to extend Russia’s sphere of influence to Eastern Europe and secure written commitments that NATO will never again enlarge. If he is frustrated in reaching that goal, some of his aides suggested on the sidelines of the negotiations last week, then he would pursue Russia’s security interests with results that would be felt acutely in Europe and the United States.

There were hints, never quite spelled out, that nuclear weapons could be shifted to places — perhaps not far from the United States coastline — that would reduce warning times after a launch to as little as five minutes, potentially igniting a confrontation with echoes of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

“A hypothetical Russian invasion of Ukraine would not undermine the security of the United States,” said Dmitry Suslov, an analyst in Moscow who gave a closed-door presentation on the standoff to Russian lawmakers last month. “The overall logic of Russian actions is that it is the U.S. and NATO that must pay a high price.”

And as Ukrainians were reminded anew on Friday, as the websites of the country’s ministries were defaced in a somewhat amateurish attack, Russia’s army of hackers can wreak havoc in Ukraine, but also in power grids from Munich to Michigan.

It could all be bluster, part of a Kremlin campaign of intimidation, and a way of reminding President Biden that while he wants to focus American attention on competing and dealing with China, Mr. Putin is still capable of causing enormous disruption.President Vladimir Putin of Russia answering a question during his annual news conference in Moscow on Dec. 23.Yuri Kochetkov/EPA, via Shutterstock

The Russian leader telegraphed that approach himself by warning repeatedly in the past year that if the West crossed the ever-shifting “red line” that, in Mr. Putin’s mind, threatens Russia’s security, he would order an unexpected response.

“Russia’s response will be asymmetrical, fast and tough,” Mr. Putin said last April, referring to the kinds of unconventional military action that Russia could take if adversaries threatened “our fundamental security interests.”

The current crisis was touched off by the Kremlin’s release of a series of demands that, if the U.S. and its allies agreed, would effectively restore Russia’s sphere of influence close to Soviet-era lines, before NATO expanded into Eastern Europe. It has also demanded that all U.S. nuclear weapons be withdrawn from Europe, saying it felt threatened by their presence — though the types and locations of those weapons haven’t changed in years. And it wants a stop to all Western troop rotations through former Warsaw Pact states that have since joined NATO.How Russia’s Military Is Positioned to Threaten UkraineRussian forces now surround Ukraine on three sides, and Western officials fear a military operation could start as soon as this month.

It has reinforced those demands, which the U.S. calls “non-starters,” with a troop buildup near Ukraine and repeated warnings it was prepared to use unspecified “military-technical means” to defend what it considers its legitimate security interests.

In response, the Biden administration has issued warnings of financial and technological sanctions if the Kremlin should follow through with its threats, particularly in regard to Ukraine. American officials say that for all the talk about moving nuclear weapons or using asymmetrical attacks, so far the U.S. has seen little evidence.

At a White House briefing on Thursday, Jake Sullivan, Mr. Biden’s national security adviser, declined to be drawn into the question of what kind of Russian action would trigger a U.S. response — whether, for example, the U.S. would respond to a cyberattack the way it would an incursion into Ukrainian territory.

“The United States and our allies are prepared for any contingency, any eventuality,’’ he said. “We’re prepared to keep moving forward down the diplomatic path in good faith, and we’re prepared to respond to fresh acts. And beyond that, all we can do is get ready. And we are ready.”

Of course, the most obvious scenario given the scale of troop movements on the ground is a Russian invasion of Ukraine — maybe not to take over the entire country but to send troops into the breakaway regions around the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, or to roll all the way to the Dnieper River. At the Pentagon, “five or six different options” for the extent of a Russian invasion are being examined, one senior official reported.Ukrainian soldiers at the line of separation from pro-Russian rebels in the Donetsk region of Ukraine last month.Andriy Dubchak/Associated Press

Researchers tracking social-media footage have spotted numerous signs of additional Russian military equipment being shipped westward by train from Siberia. In Russia, state television has been filled with commentators’ warnings that Ukraine could soon attack Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine — fitting with Washington’s allegation on Friday that Russian operatives, with specialties in explosives and urban warfare, have infiltrated Ukraine and might be planning to stage a provocation to justify an invasion. Russia denied the allegation.

Yevgeny Buzhinsky, a retired lieutenant general and a regular Russian television commentator, predicted a looming “limited” war provoked by Ukraine that Russia would win in short order through devastating airstrikes.

“There will be no columns of tanks,” General Buzhinsky said in a phone interview. “They will just destroy all the Ukrainian infrastructure from the air, just like you do it.”

In Geneva, Russian diplomats insisted there were no plans to invade Ukraine. But there were hints of other steps. In one little-noticed remark, a senior Russian diplomat said Moscow was prepared to place unspecified weapons systems in unspecified places. That merged with American intelligence assessments that Russia could be considering new nuclear deployments, perhaps tactical nuclear weapons or a powerful emerging arsenal of hypersonic missiles.

In November, Mr. Putin himself suggested Russia could deploy submarine-based hypersonic missiles within close striking distance of Washington. He has said repeatedly that the prospect of Western military expansion in Ukraine poses an unacceptable risk because it could be used to launch a nuclear strike against Moscow with just a few minutes’ warning. Russia, he made clear, could do the same.

“From the beginning of the year we will have in our arsenal a new sea-based missile, a hypersonic one,” Mr. Putin said, referring to a weapon that travels at more than five times the speed of sound and could likely evade existing missile defenses.

In an apparent reference to the American capital, he added: “The flight time to reach those who give the orders will also be five minutes.”

Mr. Putin said he would deploy such missiles only in response to Western moves, and President Biden told Mr. Putin in their last conversation that the United States has no plans to place offensive strike systems in Ukraine.President Biden meeting with Mr. Putin in Geneva last June.Doug Mills/The New York Times

Russian officials hinted again in recent days about new missile deployments, and American officials repeated that they have seen no moves in that direction. But any effort to place weapons close to American cities would create conditions similar to the 1962 crisis that was the closest the world ever came to a nuclear exchange.

Asked about the nature of what Mr. Putin has termed a possible “military-technical” response, Sergei A. Ryabkov, a deputy foreign minister, said in Geneva on Monday: “Right now there is no reason to talk about what systems will be deployed, in what quantity, and where exactly.”


Ominous warnings. Russia called the strike a destabilizing act that violated the cease-fire agreement, raising fears of a new intervention in Ukraine that could draw the United States and Europe into a new phase of the conflict.

The Kremlin’s position. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who has increasingly portrayed NATO’s eastward expansion as an existential threat to his country, said that Moscow’s military buildup was a response to Ukraine’s deepening partnership with the alliance.

And when a Russian reporter asked Mr. Ryabkov in an interview broadcast on Thursday whether Russia was considering deploying military infrastructure in Venezuela or Cuba, he responded: “I don’t want to confirm anything or rule anything out.”

Moving missiles, however, is obvious to the world. And that is why, if the conflict escalates further, American officials believe that Mr. Putin could be drawn to cyberattacks — easy to deny, superbly tailored for disruption and amenable to being ramped up or down, depending on the political temperature.

Mr. Putin doesn’t need to do much to insert computer code, or malware, into American infrastructure; the Department of Homeland Security has long warned that the Russians have already placed malware inside many American power grids.

The Biden administration has sought to shore up U.S. systems and root out malware. The nation’s biggest utilities run an elaborate war game every two years, simulating such an attack.Anti-ship missile systems moving from positions near the Trefoil base, Russia’s most northern military outpost, in May.Emile Ducke for The New York Times

But much of corporate America remains far less protected.

The fear is that if sanctions were imposed on Moscow, Mr. Putin’s response could be to accelerate the kind of Russian based ransomware attacks that hit Colonial Pipeline, a major beef producer, and cities and towns across the country last year.

The F.S.B., Russia’s powerful security service, on Friday announced the arrest of hackers tied to the REvil ransomware group — a gang connected to some of the most damaging attacks against American targets, including Colonial Pipeline. The move was welcomed by the White House, but it was also a signal that Moscow could flip its cyberwarriors on or off at will. 

No one knows Putin’s next move, of course — not even his diplomats — and he likes it that way.

“There could be all sorts of possible responses,” Mr. Putin said when asked last month about the “military-technical” response he warned about.

“The Russian leadership is rather inventive,” said Andrey Kortunov, director general of the Russian International Affairs Council, a research organization close to the Russian government. “It’s not necessarily only about Ukraine.”

Analysts in Moscow believe that beyond a more threatening Russian military posture, the United States would be particularly sensitive to closer military cooperation between Russia and China. Mr. Putin will travel to Beijing on Feb. 4 to attend the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics and hold a summit meeting with the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, Russia said on Friday.A portrait of Mr. Putin at a market in Moscow last month.Kirill Kudryavtsev/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Kremlin has noted that Mr. Biden sees China, not Russia, as America’s most complex, long-term challenger — an economic, military and technological competitor that plays in a different league from Russia. Yet forcing the United States to increase its investment in a confrontation with Russia, analysts say, would undermine Mr. Biden’s greater strategic goal.

“The United States, objectively, does not want to increase its military presence in Europe,” said Mr. Suslov, the analyst. “This would be done at the cost of containing China.”

Anton Troianovski reported from Vienna, and David E. Sanger from Washington.

The Russian Nuclear Horn Threatens to move into Cuba Daniel 7

Putin wants to scare the US with his 'bully boy' threats to set up military bases in Cuba
Putin wants to scare the US with his ‘bully boy’ threats to set up military bases in Cuba

Putin wants to scare US with threat to set up military bases in Cuba – but he WON’T put nukes there, expert says

7:40 ET,

VLADIMIR Putin wants to scare the US with his “bully boy” threats to set up military bases in Cuba but he won’t put nuclear weapons on America’s doorstep, an expert says.

Hawkish Russian foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov threatened to deploy forces in Latin America if security talks with the West fail to satisfy Moscow’s demands.

Threatening to deploy military infrastructure in Cuba is Putin's attempt to poke the Americans in the eye, expert Taras Kuzio told The Sun
Threatening to deploy military infrastructure in Cuba is Putin’s attempt to poke the Americans in the eye, expert Taras Kuzio told The SunCredit: Getty

Speaking about potential military deployment, the politician told state media outlet RTVI: “It depends on the steps of our American counterparts.”

The threat came after Russia failed to persuade the West to block Ukraine from joining Nato and roll back decades of expansion in Europe.

Moscow branded the outcome of East-West talks as “disappointing” as tensions between the US and Russia over the Ukrainian crisis continue to simmer.

Taras Kuzio, a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society and a Ukrainian political expert, told The Sun: “Threatening to deploy military infrastructure in Cuba is just Putin’s childish attempt to poke the Americans in the eye.

“It’s Moscow’s way of being very immature and they are stomping their feet because they didn’t get what they wanted. They made ultimatums and all it did was lead to the uniting of the West.

“Putin is just angry that the talks didn’t get anywhere. It’s his way of saying ‘I’ll show you’. 

“He carries a lot of anger inside him about how he thinks the West treated Russia after the collapse of the USSR in the 1990s and that anger keeps lashing out.”

Ryabkov said he could “neither confirm nor exclude” the possibility of Russia sending military assets to Latin America if the US doesn’t reduce its “activity” on Moscow’s doorstep.

Kuzio doesn’t think the “bully-boy bluffing” is a “big deal” but warned the situation could escalate if Moscow puts nukes in America’s backyard.

He said: “I mean if we go back to 1962 where Russia put nuclear weapons in Cuba then that’s a big deal but I don’t think Moscow will be that stupid.”

The 1962 crisis is the closest the world has ever come to a nuclear war.

The expert suspects that missile systems and military bases could be put on the Caribbean island if Russia carries out its threat.

He added: “I don’t think it will be a major operation because it would be costly. Cuba is too far away from Russia.

“They may supply the Cubans with some high-tech Russian equipment. And if those missiles could strike US territory, it would lead to a lot of angry American politicians.”

Tensions between the US and Russia do not appear to be de-escalating as diplomats gravely warned that Europe is the closest it’s ever been to armed conflict in the past 30 years.

NATO rejected Russian demands for guarantees that Ukraine will never join the alliance.

Diplomats also rebuffed calls to withdraw forces from Eastern European nations that joined the alliance after the Cold War.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said: “Together the United States and our NATO allies made clear we will not slam the door shut on NATO’s open-door policy.”

She branded Moscow’s demands a “non-starter”.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz claimed that the Biden administration is “enabling the aggression of Putin”.

Michael Carpenter, the US Ambassador to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said: “We’re facing a crisis in European security.”

And, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau warned: “It seems that the risk of war in the OSCE area is now greater than ever before in the last 30 years.

“For several weeks we have been faced with the prospect of a major military escalation in Eastern Europe.”

And Ben Wallace, the UK Defence Secretary, warned that the West “must prepare for the worst”.

He vowed that Britain would “stand up to bullies” as fears of a Russian invasion continue to mount.

No invasion by Moscow appears to be imminent as it stands despite the wargames.

Russia amassed around 100,000 troops at the Ukrainian border, put its satellite destroying S-550 missile into service, and launched the Angara A-5 – its largest rocket since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Geopolitical expert Brandon J Weichert previously told The Sun: “Putin wins points at home if he beats his chest at the West.

“But I do think if we’re not careful, Putin will lash out and he will strike.

“Washington is completely misreading this when diplomats and officials say it’s a bluff.”

Weichert also claimed that Moscow is “plotting” to launch a Pearl Harbor-style attack against the US.

He warned that Washington is behind both Moscow and Beijing in the so-called space race as both nations have weaponized the galaxies.

In his book, Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower, Weichert says that Russian co-orbital satellites, known as space stalkers, have been tailgating US satellites for years.

He predicts that the stalkers will eventually hit the satellites, sending them crashing into the ground.

He claimed officials in Moscow are plotting to launch such an attack at the time of its choosing.

Russia's recent wargames have involved deploying troops at the Ukrainian border and rocket launches
Russia’s recent wargames have involved deploying troops at the Ukrainian border and rocket launchesCredit: AP
Diplomats in Europe warned that Europe is the closest it's ever been to armed conflict in the last 30 years
Diplomats in Europe warned that Europe is the closest it’s ever been to armed conflict in the last 30 yearsCredit: AP
Fears of a conflict in Eastern Europe are growing as tensions between the US and Russia continue to simmer. Pictured: Russian troops participating in drills in the Rostov region
Fears of a conflict in Eastern Europe are growing as tensions between the US and Russia continue to simmer. Pictured: Russian troops participating in drills in the Rostov regionCredit: AP

The Russian Horn Prepares to invade Europe

Russian invasion of Ukraine ‘inevitable and imminent’

‘Only president Putin knows what he is going to do next, but next week would seem pivotal’

1 hour ago

Russian invasion of Ukraine is “inevitable and imminent”, a Conservative MP claimed last night.

It comes after suggestions from US officials that Russia had prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation to justify invading Ukraine.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the Kremlin was laying the groundwork for an attack through a social media disinformation campaign framing Kiev as the aggressor.

Speaking on Friday, Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons defence committee, said: “I am afraid an invasion by Russian forces is inevitable and imminent and we have allowed this to happen.

“We had the opportunity to place sufficient military hardware and personnel in Ukraine to make president Putin think twice about invading but we failed to do so.”

He added: “Only president Putin knows what he is going to do next, but next week would seem pivotal.

“He has negotiated himself into a corner and after Nato refused to bow to his threats seemingly only one option remains.”

Tweeting on Saturday, foreign secretary Liz Truss, who alongside other Nato members condemned Russia’s military build-up on the Ukraine border, has called on Moscow to “halt its aggression.”

She said: “Russia is waging a disinformation campaign intended to destabilise and justify an invasion of its sovereign neighbour Ukraine.

“Russia must halt its aggression, deescalate and engage in meaningful talks.”

On Friday, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow would not wait indefinitely for a Western response to its demands that both the US and Nato guarantee that the military alliance will not expand eastwards. He said he expects a written answer next week.

He added Nato’s deployments and drills near Russia’s borders pose a security challenge that must be addressed immediately.

“We have run out of patience,” Mr Lavrov said at a news conference. “The West has been driven by hubris and has exacerbated tensions in violation of its obligations and common sense.”

Yesterday, the Russian ministry of defence shared footage of tanks and weapons being loaded onto trains. Moscow described the exercise as being part of an inspection drill to test long-distance artillery.

“This is likely cover for the units being moved towards Ukraine,” Rob Lee, a US-based military analyst, said.

On the same day, a major cyberattack was launched on Ukraine – targeting more than a dozen government websites – with suspected Russian hackers sending a warning to Ukrainians to “be afraid and expect the worst”.

“As a result of a massive hacking attack, the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a number of other government agencies are temporarily down. Our specialists are already working on restoring the work of IT systems,” a Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson said on Friday.

On Friday morning, Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, condemned the cyberattack and said the bloc would support Kiev. 

“We are going to mobilise all our resources to help Ukraine to tackle this cyberattack. Sadly, we knew it could happen,” he told reporters at a gathering of EU foreign leaders in Brest, France.”

“It’s difficult to say [who is behind it]. I can’t blame anybody as I have no proof, but we can imagine,” he added.

The Chinese Nuclear horn continues to grow Daniel 7

Spectators wave Chinese flags as military vehicles carrying DF-41 nuclear ballistic missiles roll during a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing on Oct. 1, 2019. 

China pledges to continue to ‘modernize’ nuclear arsenal, calls on US, Russia to make greater cuts

China says it will agree to reduce nuclear warheads once the US and Russia ‘drastically’ diminish stockpiles

January 04, 2022

China on Tuesday said it would keep modernizing its nuclear program in the name of “safety” but called on the United States and Russia to make greater cuts to their arsenal stockpiles. 

“China will continue to modernize its nuclear arsenal for reliability and safety issues,” Fu Cong, director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s arms control department said Tuesday, first reported the South China Morning Post

Fu Cong, the director general of the Foreign Ministry's arms control department, attends a press conference on nuclear arms control in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. 

Fu’s comments come one day after the five states recognized under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — the U.S., Russia, France, the United Kingdom and China, who are also the five permanent members (P5) of the UN Security Council — issued a joint pledge to lower the risk of nuclear war.    

The P5 affirmed that “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” and that “nuclear weapons — for as long as they continue to exist — should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war.”

While the U.N. permanent member nations hold the greatest number of nuclear arsenals, nations like India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea have known stockpiles as well.

The U.S. and Russia have been working to reduce their nuclear stockpiles since the end of the Cold War when there were roughly 60,000 nuclear weapons between the two superpowers.

According to data from the Arms Control Association, Russia has the largest nuclear arsenals in the world with more than 6,255 warheads on hand. The U.S. comes in second with 5,550 warheads.

China ranks a distant third with 350 nuclear warheads.

Department of Defense report in November found that China may be ramping up its nuclear capabilities and could have 700 nuclear warheads by 2027 and reach 1,000 warheads by 2030. 

China’s arms control director general denied the report Tuesday and said the country’s nuclear force could not be determined by satellite photos.

“On the assertions made by U.S. officials that China is expanding dramatically its nuclear capabilities, first, let me say that this is untrue,” Fu said.

Fu reiterated China’s stance that Beijing will not enter into an agreement with Washington or the Kremlin to reduce its nuclear warhead capabilities until the U.S. and Russia have drastically diminished their stockpiles. 

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Fu Cong, center, the director general of the Foreign Ministry’s arms control department, attends a press conference on nuclear arms control in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022.  (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

“We will be happy to join if they have reduced to our level,” Fu said. 

“The two superpowers need to … drastically reduce their nuclear capabilities to a level comparable to the level of China, and for that matter to the level of France and the U.K., so that other nuclear states can join in this process,” he added. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The Abomination in the Temple: Revelation 16

The Fascination of the Abomination

BOOK REVIEWBlown to HellAmerica’s Deadly Betrayal of the Marshall Islanders

By: Walter Pincus / Diversion Books

Reviewed by James Lawler

The Reviewer: James Lawler devoted more than half of his career as a CIA case officer to penetrating and disrupting foreign weapons of mass destruction programs. As Chief of the A.Q. Khan Nuclear Takedown Team, which resulted in the disruption of the most dangerous nuclear weapons network in history, Mr. Lawler was the recipient of one of the CIA’s Trailblazer Awards in 2007. He is the author of Living Lies, an espionage novel about the Iranian nuclear weapons program, and the novel, In the Twinkling of an Eye, about recruiting a spy at the heart of a covert Russian-North Korean genetic bioweapons program to be released April 25. 

Review: The horror! The horror!” murmured Joseph Conrad’s Kurtz as he dies in The Heart of Darkness.  Those words and their thinly-veiled reference to European colonial brutality towards indigenous tribes in Africa, echoed in my mind as I read Walter Pincus’s Blown to Hell, a gripping description of U.S. nuclear weapons testing in the South Pacific.  Altogether, there were 67 such tests from 1946 until 1958 in what is now the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

When we contemplate the almost unimaginable fury of nuclear weapons, it’s usually about the awesome blast of heat, the terrible shock wave near the speed of sound and immense radiation from the fireball, but not the ultrafine and frequently invisible scourge of radioactive fallout that is produced by a ground burst or near-ground burst. Rather than the very brief duration – milliseconds to a few seconds – of a fireball, however, the lingering devastation of fallout can persist for decades with silent and deadly effect. Perhaps it is fitting in this pandemic time of another invisible killer, that we have Pincus’s new, masterful and tragic account of these tests, which were conducted too close to a relatively primitive culture of peaceful islanders, whose lives focused on fishing and processing coconuts and its copra biproduct.

Pincus, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The Washington Post on intelligence and national security issues for fifty years and now a Senior National Securty Columnist for The Cipher Brief, never accuses the U.S. government of intentionally exposing the Marshall Islanders to this highly radioactive fallout, but his meticulously documented book carefully builds a case for reparations and the damages inflicted on the victims through miscalculations of nuclear yield and weather effects of trade winds and rain, which can be callously summed up by the classic bureaucratic understatement: “mistakes were made.”  Indeed, he takes his book’s title from a joke by Bob Hope in 1947, after the Crossroads series of nuclear tests: “As soon as the war ended, we located the one spot on earth that hadn’t been touched by war and blew it to hell.” After you read this book, however, you won’t be laughing.

Pincus expertly discusses nuclear weapon designs and testing as well as radiation effects that the lay reader can easily understand. For example, the pernicious radiation contamination cycle is described as lagoon algae absorbing radioactive particles, which are consumed by small fish, which, in turn are consumed by larger fish, and then is returned to the algae when the larger fish died and the cycle begins again with the long-lived fission products.  After the Bikini Atoll tests, scales from the skin of some lagoon fish could emit enough radiation to create an x-ray picture.

The Navy was not completely unmindful of the nuclear weapons effects and did relocate various groups of islanders away from the test sites, but these relocation efforts sometimes far underestimated the yield of the weapon and the distance that fallout would spread on the unpredictable winds.

Pincus rightfully focuses a lot of attention on the 1954 Bravo test of a thermonuclear weapon. The initial predicted yield was six megatons (i.e. six million tons of TNT), but it was in fact fifteen megatons, or two and a half times as powerful. This was one thousand times as powerful as the “Little Boy” fission weapon, which destroyed Hiroshima, killing an initial 80,000 people and tens of thousands more who later died from radiation exposure. To add to the hellacious explosive effect, Pincus points out that Bravo “vaporized an estimated three hundred million tons of sand, mud, coral and water in a mushroom cloud that within five minutes, went through both the troposphere and into the stratosphere.” The uppermost cloud was at one-hundred-thirty thousand feet. One cannot even imagine the huge dispersal area of that radioactive fallout.



The Marshall Islanders, however, suffered no such deficit of imagination as the fallout rained down on them, and over the next several decades contributed to deaths, miscarriages, shortened lifespans and various cancers. To compound their misery, they were frequently relocated to remote uninhabited islands, which were highly unsuitable for their way of life and means of survival. As early as 1948, a decade before Pacific testing was ended, the Honolulu Star Bulletin quoted a Navy official as saying, “The Navy is running out of deserted islands on which to settle these unwitting, and perhaps unwilling, nomads of the atomic age.”

Pincus details the strenuous efforts of the Marshall Islanders over the decades to obtain compensation for their loss of life and lifestyle, health, and happiness. Some U.S. compensation has in fact been made, and then recalculated, and further contributions made over the years.  It appears from his account, however, to remain woefully insufficient, and at times only grudgingly made. One should contrast these relatively tiny amounts of money with the many billions, indeed trillions, of dollars spent on our nuclear weapons program and how the Marshall Islanders’ sacrifices contributed ultimately to our national security.

On the penultimate page, Pincus states, “I want to remind people of the long-term health and environmental damage these weapons could cause if ever again used in war…The tiny islands…for the most part, still cannot be inhabited, despite attempts to decontaminate them, more than sixty-five years later…I hoped to show how much is owed to Marshall Islanders who were living simple, isolated lives far away in the South Pacific but who…are symbols of what would be the unthinkable short- and long-term medical results should nuclear weapons ever again be used.”

I should add that, although I abhor nuclear weapons and their horrific devastation and long-lasting radiation damage, I am not so naïve as to favor unilateral nuclear disarmament, especially when confronted by authoritarian and confrontational nuclear weapons states such as Russia, China or North Korea. I have also walked several times on Frenchman’s Flat at the Nevada Test Site, where fourteen above-ground and several below-ground tests were conducted, and personally experienced Conrad’s “fascination of the abomination.”  This only added, however, to my sincere belief that intelligence operations to counter the spread of nuclear weapons (or biological weapons) are psychologically righteous. I believe that Walter Pincus would agree.

Russia Threatens Babylon the Great: Revelation 16

A senior Russian diplomat has refused to rule out a Russian military deployment to Cuba and Venezuela if tensions with the United States over Ukraine and NATO’s expansion in Eastern Europe mountBy VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV and MATTHEW LEE Associated PressJanuary 13, 2022, 2:22 PM• 7 min read

High-stakes discussions between US and RussiaThe first round of crisis talks between Russia and the U.S. over Ukraine and NATO expan…Read MoreThe Associated Press

MOSCOW — Russia raised the stakes Thursday in its dispute with the West over Ukraine and NATO’s expansion when a top diplomat refused to rule out a military deployment to Cuba and Venezuela if tensions with the United States escalate.

“It all depends on the action by our U.S. counterparts,” the minister said in an interview with Russian television network RTVI, citing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s warning that Moscow could take unspecified “military-technical measures” if the U.S. and its allies fail to heed its demands.

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan dismissed the statements about a possible Russian deployment to Cuba and Venezuela as “bluster in the public commentary.”

Ryabkov led a Russian delegation in talks with the U.S. on Monday. The negotiations in Geneva and a related NATO-Russia meeting in Brussels took place in response to a significant Russian troop buildup near Ukraine that the West fears might be a prelude to an invasion.

Russia, which annexed Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula in 2014, has denied having plans to attack the neighboring country. The Kremlin reacted to the suggestion by accusing NATO of threatening its territory and demanding that the military alliance never embrace Ukraine or any other ex-Soviet nations as new members.

Washington and its allies firmly rejected the demand this week as a nonstarter, but the NATO and Russian delegations agreed to leave the door open to further talks on arms control and other issues intended to reduce the potential for hostilities.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, Sullivan said that “allied unity and transatlantic solidarity were on full display and they remain on full display” during this week’s talks with Russia, which he described as “frank and direct.”

“We stuck to our core premise of reciprocity,” the national security adviser said. “We were firm in our principles and clear about those areas where we can make progress and those areas that are non-starter.”

Sullivan noted that no further talks have been scheduled, but “we’re prepared to continue with diplomacy to advance security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic.”

“We’re equally prepared if Russia chooses a different path,” he added. “We continue to coordinate intensively with partners on severe economic measures in response to a further Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

Asked about Ryabkov keeping the door open to basing troops and equipment in Latin America, Sullivan responded: “I’m not going to respond to bluster in the public commentary.”

He noted that the issue wasn’t raised during this week’s talks and added that “if Russia were to move in that direction, we would deal with it decisively.”

Ryabkov last month compared the current tensions over Ukraine with the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis — when the Soviet Union deployed missiles to Cuba and the U.S. imposed a naval blockade of the island.

That crisis ended after U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev agreed that Moscow would withdraw its missiles in exchange for Washington’s pledge not to invade Cuba and the removal of U.S. missiles from Turkey.

Putin, in seeking to curtail the West’s military activity in Eastern Europe, has argued that NATO could use Ukrainian territory to deploy missiles capable of reaching Moscow in just five minutes. He warned that Russia could gain a similar capability by deploying warships armed with the latest Zircon hypersonic cruise missile in neutral waters.

Soon after his first election in 2000, Putin ordered the closure of a Soviet-built military surveillance facility in Cuba as he sought to improve ties with Washington. Moscow has intensified contacts with Cuba in recent years as tensions with the U.S. and its allies mounted.

In December 2018, Russia briefly dispatched a pair of its nuclear-capable Tu-160 bombers to Venezuela in a show of support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro amid Western pressure.

Ryabkov said a refusal by the U.S. and its allies to consider the key Russian demand for guarantees against the alliance’s expansion to Ukraine and other ex-Soviet nations makes it hard to discuss the confidence-building steps that Washington says it’s ready to negotiate.

“The U.S. wants to conduct a dialogue on some elements of the security situation … to ease the tensions and then continue the process of geopolitical and military development of the new territories, coming closer to Moscow,” he said. “We have nowhere to retreat.”

Ryabkov described U.S. and NATO military deployments and drills near Russia’s territory as extremely destabilizing. He said U.S. nuclear-capable strategic bombers flew just 15 kilometers (9 miles) from Russia’s border.

“We are constantly facing a provocative military pressure intended to test our strength,” he said, adding that he wondered how Americans would react “if our bombers fly within 15 kilometers off some U.S. bases on the East or the West Coast.”

The high-stakes diplomacy took place as an estimated 100,000 Russian troops with tanks and other heavy weapons are massed near Ukraine’s eastern border. On Thursday, Sullivan reiterated concerns that Moscow may be laying the groundwork for invading Ukraine by fabricating allegations that Kyiv is preparing to act against Russia.

He said the U.S. would be making public some of the reasons for that assessment in the coming days.

Earlier Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rebuffed the West’s calls for a troop pullback from areas near Ukraine.

“It’s hardly possible for NATO to dictate to us where we should move our armed forces on Russian territory,” he said.

Peskov said this week’s talks produced “some positive elements and nuances,” but he characterized them as unsuccessful overall.

“The talks were initiated to receive specific answers to concrete principal issues that were raised, and disagreements remained on those principal issues, which is bad,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters.

He warned of a complete rupture in U.S.-Russia relations if proposed sanctions targeting Putin and other top civilian and military leaders are adopted. The measures, proposed by Senate Democrats, would also target leading leading Russian financial institutions if Moscow sends troops into Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov likewise denounced the proposed sanctions as a reflection of U.S. “arrogance,” adding that Moscow expects a written response to its demands from the U.S. and NATO next week in order to mull further steps.

Tensions revolving around Ukraine and Russia’s demands on the West again appeared on the table at a Thursday meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Vienna.

Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, who assumed the position of the OSCE’s chairman-in-office, noted in his opening speech that “the risk of war in the OSCE area is now greater than ever before in the last 30 years.”

Russia seized the Crimean Peninsula after the ouster of Ukraine’s Moscow-friendly leader and in 2014 also threw its weight behind a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine. More than 14,000 people have been killed in nearly eight years of fighting between the Russia-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces.

Asked whether he’s worried about possible confrontation, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “it is absolutely essential that the dialogue that is taking place find a way allowing for de-escalation of tension … to avoid any kind of confrontation that will be a disaster for Europe and for the world.”

———

Lee reported from Washington. Emily Schultheis in Vienna, Lorne Cook in Brussels, Edith M. Lederer at the United Nastions and Colleen Long in Washington contributed to this report.