Near New York City, New York
1884 08 10 19:07 UTC
This severe earthquake affected an area roughly extending along the Atlantic Coast from southern Maine to central Virginia and westward to Cleveland, Ohio. Chimneys were knocked down and walls were cracked in several States, including Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Many towns from Hartford, Connecticut, to West Chester,Pennsylvania.
Property damage was severe at Amityville and Jamaica, New York, where several chimneys were “overturned” and large cracks formed in walls. Two chimneys were thrown down and bricks were shaken from other chimneys at Stratford (Fairfield County), Conn.; water in the Housatonic River was agitated violently. At Bloomfield, N.J., and Chester, Pa., several chimneys were downed and crockery was broken. Chimneys also were damaged at Mount Vernon, N.Y., and Allentown, Easton, and Philadelphia, Pa. Three shocks occurred, the second of which was most violent. This earthquake also was reported felt in Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Several slight aftershocks were reported on August 11.
MELBOURNE, Australia — The air-launched ballistic missile that China has reportedly been developing appears to be a hypersonic warhead boosted by a conventional rocket.
A video that surfaced over the weekend online shows a Xian H-6N bomber of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force landing at an airfield carrying a payload on the bottom of its fuselage. The footage confirms earlier analysis that this latest variant of the bomber is capable of carrying a missile semi-recessed into its fuselage.
Despite the video’s low quality, a freeze-frame analysis by Defense Newssuggests the payload is a missile with a warhead and booster section that closely resembles the ground-launched DF-17 hypersonic missile, which is believed to use the booster section from a DF-16 medium-range ballistic missile combined with a DZ-ZF hypersonic glide vehicle as its warhead.
In 2018, the U.S. Department of Defense said in its annual report on China’s military power that the Asian country was developing a nuclear-capable, air-launched ballistic missile, or ALBM, giving it the designation CH-AS-X-13. However, it is unknown if the payload seen in the video is the ALBM.
It’s also unclear how far along China is in development of the hypersonic glide vehicle, though the video would suggest that it has at least reached the captive carry stage. This involves the aircraft platform carrying a mock-up of the payload to verify and gather data about how well the aircraft and payload can handle stress in various flight regimes.
The DoD claims China has performed extensive testing on hypersonic technology and hypersonic glide vehicles since 2014. A hypersonic glide vehicle differs from a conventional ballistic missile in that the former isn’t constrained by a relatively fixed, arcing trajectory during their terminal phase, and it can maneuver while approaching a target at a flatter trajectory at very high speeds.
This makes hypersonic weapons less predictable and complicates ballistic missile defense efforts, with U.S. defense officials previously saying that China’s hypersonic technology has demonstrated a high degree of accuracy along with the ability to perform “extreme maneuvers” and take evasion action in flight.
It is unclear where the video was shot, but Rod Lee of the China Aerospace Studies Institute at the Air University on Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, has geolocated the video to possibly the Neixiang Ma’ao air base in Henan Province. The resident H-6 unit at the base is the 106th Air Brigade, which the Pentagon has identified as a nuclear-capable unit.
Neixiang Ma’ao has a single, 12,000-foot runway and 20 aircraft shelters each measuring at least 45 meters (about 148 feet) wide — more than enough to accommodate the H-6N’s wingspan. The base is also undergoing substantial upgrades to its infrastructure, with open-source satellite imagery dating from May 2020 showing ongoing construction of a new, underground facility carved into a nearby hillside that has at least three new entrances and exits; one can be clearly seen measuring approximately 70 meters (230 feet) across.
The H-6N is the latest variant of China’s H-6 family, which can trace its lineage back to the Soviet Tupolev Tu-16 bomber. However, China’s current fleet of H-6K bomber/cruise missile carriers have been thoroughly modernized and are fitted with newer, more powerful Russian engines and indigenous avionics. The H-6N adds an in-flight refueling capability in addition to the fuselage missile station, in lieu of a bomb bay.
WASHINGTON (SBG) —
With the expiration of a United Nations arms embargo against Iran, the country’s leaders will likely seek to purchase new military hardware from the Kremlin, analysts said Monday.
“I think Iran will prioritize the kinds of air and missile defense equipment that will enable them to defend their illegal nuclear weapons production facilities,” said Tim Morrison, a former arms control official at the White House National Security Council under President Trump.
“And there’s really only two countries that are going to be willing to sell them military equipment,” added Morrison, now a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington. “And that’s Russia and China. That’s not a great position to be in, if you’re Iran.”
Still, Iran celebrated the expiration of the embargo, enacted in 2010, with one senior official hailing it as “a momentous day for the international community.” “Today’s normalization of Iran’s defense cooperation with the world is a win for the cause of multilateralism and peace and security in our region,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.
While America’s European allies resisted demands from the Trump administration over the last three months to re-impose the arms embargo on Iran, and also balked at instituting “snap-back” sanctions on the regime, as the U.S. has also urged, the governments in Britain, France, and Germany are seen as unlikely to sell arms directly to Iran, for fear of violating U.S. sanctions that could result in those countries being cut off from the American financial system.
“The president has always said he doesn’t want this to end in war,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus told Sinclair in an interview. “He wants this to end in peace. He wants this to end in negotiations for a new and better deal. And at some point, the regime, we think, is going to have to calculate that the price to pay of these sanctions is too high of a burden, and they’re going to reluctantly come to the table to negotiate.”
For the moment, however, with the U.S. presidential election two weeks away and President Donald Trump badly trailing his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, in most public opinion polls, America’s adversaries on the world stage are unlikely to participate in meaningful negotiations with Washington, preferring instead to see the outcome of the race for the White House.
In May 2018, Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal, calling the accord — finalized by seven countries, including the United States, Iran, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany — “a horrible, one-sided deal.” Since then, has periodically announced that it will enrich uranium to levels, and in volumes, prohibited by the accord, but has otherwise stayed in it, as have the other nations besides the U.S.
Former Vice President Biden claims credit for helping to secure the cooperation of the other nations that were party to the nuclear deal. On the campaign trail earlier this year, Mr. Biden signaled that his approach to the containment of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and its conventional military buildup, would be to reassemble the international coalition that negotiated the nuclear deal and revive the accord.
“It was working,” Mr. Biden said of the nuclear deal during a debate against his rivals for the Democratic nomination in January. “It was being held tightly. There was no movement on the part of the Iranian government to get closer to a nuclear weapon….We’re now isolated….The next president has to be able to pull those folks back together, re-establish our alliances, and insist that Iran go back into the agreement, which I believe with the pressure applied as we put on before we can get done.”
Whoever wins the U.S. presidential election, the next commander-in-chief will confront an Iran that — while badly weakened by stiffened U.S. sanctions under the Trump administration — is armed with the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East, opportunities to acquire new military systems, and undiminished hostility to the U.S. and Israel.
Morrison said the next administration, whoever runs it, will benefit from the foundation laid by Trump: “I think you’ve already seen a fairly significant effort by Iran to attempt to create a new sort of deterrence in the region. And ultimately, I think the Trump administration has been successful in defeating that, and imposing its own sort of deterrence.”
The National Council of Resistance of Iran says the ayatollahs’ regime had “engaged in the secret and illicit purchase of military-grade sensitive seismometers from Russia.”
An exiled Iran opposition group said Friday that it had uncovered a secret new military site run by a shadowy defense ministry research unit which they fear is being used for testing in the Iranian nuclear program.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said that work on the site in Sorkheh-Hessar, east of Tehran, is used by sections of the secretive Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, overseen by the country’s defense ministry.
A section devoted to geophysics known as the Chamran Group is at the site and, according to the NCRI, “Works on projects related to underground nuclear tests.”
Their focus has included tests “for preliminary explosions to build nuclear weapons and record results by seismometers.” Previous tests had taken place at a site south of Semnan, the group said.
It alleged that Iran had “engaged in the secret and illicit purchase of military-grade sensitive seismometers from Russia” to carry out the work.
The NCRI argued its findings showed again that Iran was breaching the terms of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal signed with world powers.
The United States walked out of the deal under President Donald Trump in 2018, but European signatories have sought to keep it alive.
“Our revelation today once again proves the fact that the JCPOA did not prevent the mullahs’ activities to acquire nuclear weapons and even the regime has reneged on its commitments stipulated in the JCPOA,” the NCRI said.
Iran denies seeking a nuclear weapon, insisting that its atomic program is aimed at producing energy. But Western powers have long suspected that the drive seeks to make nuclear weapons.
The NCRI is the political wing of the People’s Mojahedin (MEK), a group that initially backed the 1979 Islamic Revolution that ousted the shah but rapidly fell out with the new authorities.
Its fighters took the side of Saddam Hussein in the Iraq-Iran war, and the group is now based in exile.
i24NEWS contributed to this report.
New Evidence Shows Power of East Coast Earthquakes
Virginia Earthquake Triggered Landslides at Great DistancesReleased: 11/6/2012 8:30:00 AM USGS.govEarthquake shaking in the eastern United States can travel much farther and cause damage over larger areas than previously thought.U.S. Geological Survey scientists found that last year’s magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia triggered landslides at distances four times farther—and over an area 20 times larger—than previous research has shown.“We used landslides as an example and direct physical evidence to see how far-reaching shaking from east coast earthquakes could be,” said Randall Jibson, USGS scientist and lead author of this study. “Not every earthquake will trigger landslides, but we can use landslide distributions to estimate characteristics of earthquake energy and how far regional ground shaking could occur.”“Scientists are confirming with empirical data what more than 50 million people in the eastern U.S. experienced firsthand: this was one powerful earthquake,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “Calibrating the distance over which landslides occur may also help us reach back into the geologic record to look for evidence of past history of major earthquakes from the Virginia seismic zone.”This study will help inform earthquake hazard and risk assessments as well as emergency preparedness, whether for landslides or other earthquake effects.This study also supports existing research showing that although earthquakes are less frequent in the East, their damaging effects can extend over a much larger area as compared to the western United States.The research is being presented today at the Geological Society of America conference, and will be published in the December 2012 issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.The USGS found that the farthest landslide from the 2011 Virginia earthquake was 245 km (150 miles) from the epicenter. This is by far the greatest landslide distance recorded from any other earthquake of similar magnitude.Previous studies of worldwide earthquakes indicated that landslides occurred no farther than 60 km (36 miles) from the epicenter of a magnitude 5.8 earthquake.“What makes this new study so unique is that it provides direct observational evidence from the largest earthquake to occur in more than 100 years in the eastern U.S,” said Jibson. “Now that we know more about the power of East Coast earthquakes, equations that predict ground shaking might need to be revised.”It is estimated that approximately one-third of the U.S. population could have felt last year’s earthquake in Virginia, more than any earthquake in U.S. history. About 148,000 people reported their ground-shaking experiences caused by the earthquake on the USGS “Did You Feel It?” website. Shaking reports came from southeastern Canada to Florida and as far west as Texas.In addition to the great landslide distances recorded, the landslides from the 2011 Virginia earthquake occurred in an area 20 times larger than expected from studies of worldwide earthquakes. Scientists plotted the landslide locations that were farthest out and then calculated the area enclosed by those landslides. The observed landslides from last year’s Virginia earthquake enclose an area of about 33,400 km2, while previous studies indicated an expected area of about 1,500 km2from an earthquake of similar magnitude.“The landslide distances from last year’s Virginia earthquake are remarkable compared to historical landslides across the world and represent the largest distance limit ever recorded,” said Edwin Harp, USGS scientist and co-author of this study. “There are limitations to our research, but the bottom line is that we now have a better understanding of the power of East Coast earthquakes and potential damage scenarios.”The difference between seismic shaking in the East versus the West is due in part to the geologic structure and rock properties that allow seismic waves to travel farther without weakening.Learn more about the 2011 central Virginia earthquake.
The video could be the first visual evidence that China is actively testing an air-launched hypersonic weapon.
Tyler RogowayOctober 17, 2020
Video has emerged out of China showing what appears to be an H-6N missile carrier aircraft with a massive weapon slung underneath it. The unique wedge-shaped profile of the missile’s forward section points to the possibility that the missile is a hypersonic weapon system. In particular, the form factor looks similar to the one found on China’s ground-launched DF-17 hypersonic weapon, which uses a ballistic missile to boost an unpowered DF-ZF hypersonic boost-glide vehicle to a velocity well over Mach 5 before the vehicle continues on maneuvering path through the atmosphere to its target. You can read our previous post on the DF-17 here.
China’s work on air-launched adaptations of their ground-launched ballistic missiles is not necessarily new. An air-launched DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile is thought to have been in development for some time. The pursuit of an air-launched hypersonic boost-glide vehicle weapon by China should be expected, as well, but this could be the first time we are actually seeing it.
Being able to lug a hypersonic boost-glide vehicle hundreds or thousands of miles from Chinese territory would put bases that were previously outside the range of those weapons under threat from a so-far indefinable capability. Andersen Air Force Base on Guam and Wake Island, in particular, come to mind, but such a weapon could be used on many other highly defended adversary locales throughout the hemisphere. Hypersonic weapons are also being developed to counter adversary armadas, as well. Such a capability would assume China is a step ahead of the U.S. in that regard, which is debatable.
As it sits now, this video serves as a reminder that a hypersonic arms race is very real and very active. While the U.S. has an alphabet soup of hypersonic programs under development, and more that are classified, China is not standing still, either. Like the Air Force’s own first hypersonic weapon, the bomber-launched AGM-183 ARRW, the People’s Liberation Army would benefit greatly from being able to put any target at risk within thousands of miles of its shores via a currently impossible to defend against and highly-precise air-launched hypersonic boost-glide vehicle. If this one video is any indication, they may be actively trying to keep pace with U.S. developments in that regard. Otherwise, the video shows the aircraft carrying a ballistic missile, which, depending on its application, has its own major strategic implications.
Details surrounding this video and the weapon seen in it are bound to change. We will keep you updated with additional information and analysis as we find out more.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com
October 18, 2020 3:41 pm
Iran nuclear deal
Symbolic victory deals blow to US but Trump administration threatens sanctions over any weapons deal with Tehran
An Iran-made cruise missile being fired during exercises by the northern Indian Ocean in June © WANA/Reuters
A UN arms embargo on Iran expired on Sunday, in a blow to the Trump administration that failed in its attempts to extend it.
The lifting of the embargo, part of the nuclear deal that Tehran signed with world powers in 2015, is a symbolic victory for the Islamic republic, which has been under intense pressure from Washington since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the accord two years ago.
Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, said the expiration of the embargo was a “momentous day” for the international community, which had defied the US’s “malign” efforts and protected the nuclear accord.
Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, said Washington would sanction “any individual or entity that materially contributes to the supply, sale, or transfer of conventional arms to or from Iran”.
“Every nation that seeks peace and stability in the Middle East and supports the fight against terrorism should refrain from any arms transactions with Iran,” Mr Pompeo said in a statement. “Providing arms to Iran will only aggravate tensions in the region.”
The Trump administration had sought to extend the embargo but suffered a defeat at the UN Security Council in August, when Russia and China voted against the move and 11 powers, including the UK, France and Germany, abstained.
The following month, the US imposed more sanctions and Mr Trump claimed that all UN sanctions on Iran had been restored and the arms embargo extended.
While sharing some of the US’s concerns, Washington’s European allies said that the US could not take such measures because it had already withdrawn from the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
“In the short term, the impact of the expiry will be limited. Iran’s financial position means we don’t expect them to be able to make large purchases of arms,” said a European diplomat. “We share the US objectives; where we differ is on whether you should collapse the JCPOA to achieve them. For us it’s really important to prevent Iran developing a nuclear weapon and we still believe the JCPOA is the best vehicle.”
The UK, Germany and France opposed Mr Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the deal in 2018 and impose swingeing sanctions on the republic. Iran increased its nuclear activity in response but Tehran and the other signatories, including Russia and China, have remained committed to the 2015 deal.
The expiration of the embargo, which the UN Security Council imposed in 2007, was agreed as one of the so-called sunset clauses in the accord.
Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, said this week that Tehran could import and export arms to “whoever we like as of Sunday”. But potential buyers will be wary of being targeted by secondary US sanctions.
Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani (third from left) chairs a meeting in Tehran on Sunday © Ebrahim Seydi/Iranian Presidency/dpa
Analysts said it was unlikely that Iran would embark on large arms purchases because its economy has been crippled by the US sanctions, coronavirus and the slump in oil prices.
However, Ellie Geranmayeh, an Iran specialist at the European Council on Foreign Relations think-tank, said Russia and China were likely to announce arms agreements with Iran “to poke the Trump administration in the eye” and show that “the US was the loser in the game”.
But she added: “US sanctions on the financial sector and recent measures targeting Iran’s defence industry will make Russian and Chinese companies think twice, both in terms of coming under US pressure and if they can get paid by Iran.”
The lifting of the embargo is unlikely to alter the balance of military power in the region, as Iran’s regional rivals, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, spend tens of billions of dollars on US weapons.
Iran has been under varying degrees of international sanctions since the 1979 Islamic revolution, which forced it to develop an indigenous defence industry.
It produces an array of weapons, including drones and ballistic missiles, that are considered core to its national security. It has also built up a network of militant groups across the region that act as proxies as part of its defence strategy, aware that it cannot compete with its rivals in terms of conventional weapons.
“Iran has neither the resources, the personnel, the doctrine or the eager sellers to grow into a conventional power rapidly,” said Emile Hokayem, Middle East expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. “But there are discrete capabilities that would threaten US dominance, such as anti-ship missiles.”
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By WILLIAM K. STEVENSPublished: October 24, 1989
AN EARTHQUAKE as powerful as the one that struck northern California last week could occur almost anywhere along the East Coast, experts say. And if it did, it would probably cause far more destruction than the West Coast quake.
The chances of such an occurrence are much less in the East than on the West Coast. Geologic stresses in the East build up only a hundredth to a thousandth as fast as in California, and this means that big Eastern quakes are far less frequent. Scientists do not really know what the interval between them might be, nor are the deeper-lying geologic faults that cause them as accessible to study. So seismologists are at a loss to predict when or where they will strike.
But they do know that a temblor with a magnitude estimated at 7 on the Richter scale – about the same magnitude as last week’s California quake – devastated Charleston, S.C., in 1886. And after more than a decade of study, they also know that geologic structures similar to those that caused the Charleston quake exist all along the Eastern Seaboard.
For this reason, ”we can’t preclude that a Charleston-sized earthquake might occur anywhere along the East Coast,” said David Russ, the assistant chief geologist of the United States Geological Survey in Reston, Va. ”It could occur in Washington. It could occur in New York.”
If that happens, many experts agree, the impact will probably be much greater than in California.Easterners, unlike Californians, have paid very little attention to making buildings and other structures earthquake-proof or earthquake-resistant. ”We don’t have that mentality here on the East Coast,” said Robert Silman, a New York structural engineer whose firm has worked on 3,800 buildings in the metropolitan area.
Moreover, buildings, highways, bridges, water and sewer systems and communications networks in the East are all older than in the West and consequently more vulnerable to damage. Even under normal conditions, for instance, water mains routinely rupture in New York City.
The result, said Dr. John Ebel, a geophysicist who is the assistant director of Boston College’s Weston Observatory, is that damage in the East would probably be more widespread, more people could be hurt and killed, depending on circumstances like time of day, and ”it would probably take a lot longer to get these cities back to useful operating levels.”
On top of this, scientists say, an earthquake in the East can shake an area 100 times larger than a quake of the same magnitude in California. This is because the earth’s crust is older, colder and more brittle in the East and tends to transmit seismic energy more efficiently. ”If you had a magnitude 7 earthquake and you put it halfway between New York City and Boston,” Dr. Ebel said, ”you would have the potential of doing damage in both places,” not to mention cities like Hartford and Providence.
Few studies have been done of Eastern cities’ vulnerability to earthquakes. But one, published last June in The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, calculated the effects on New York City of a magnitude 6 earthquake. That is one-tenth the magnitude of last week’s California quake, but about the same as the Whittier, Calif., quake two years ago.
The study found that such an earthquake centered 17 miles southeast of City Hall, off Rockaway Beach, would cause $11 billion in damage to buildings and start 130 fires. By comparison, preliminary estimates place the damage in last week’s California disaster at $4 billion to $10 billion. If the quake’s epicenter were 11 miles southeast of City Hall, the study found, there would be about $18 billion in damage; if 5 miles, about $25 billion.
No estimates on injuries or loss of life were made. But a magnitude 6 earthquake ”would probably be a disaster unparalleled in New York history,” wrote the authors of the study, Charles Scawthorn and Stephen K. Harris of EQE Engineering in San Francisco.
The study was financed by the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The research and education center, supported by the National Science Foundation and New York State, was established in 1986 to help reduce damage and loss of life from earthquakes.
The study’s postulated epicenter of 17 miles southeast of City Hall was the location of the strongest quake to strike New York since it has been settled, a magnitude 5 temblor on Aug. 10, 1884. That 1884 quake rattled bottles and crockery in Manhattan and frightened New Yorkers, but caused little damage. Seismologists say a quake of that order is likely to occur within 50 miles of New York City every 300 years. Quakes of magnitude 5 are not rare in the East. The major earthquake zone in the eastern half of the country is the central Mississippi Valley, where a huge underground rift causes frequent geologic dislocations and small temblors. The most powerful quake ever known to strike the United States occurred at New Madrid, Mo., in 1812. It was later estimated at magnitude 8.7 and was one of three quakes to strike that area in 1811-12, all of them stronger than magnitude 8. They were felt as far away as Washington, where they rattled chandeliers, Boston and Quebec.
Because the New Madrid rift is so active, it has been well studied, and scientists have been able to come up with predictions for the central Mississippi valley, which includes St. Louis and Memphis. According to Dr. Russ, there is a 40 to 63 percent chance that a quake of magnitude 6 will strike that area between now and the year 2000, and an 86 to 97 percent chance that it will do so by 2035. The Federal geologists say there is a 1 percent chance or less of a quake greater than magnitude 7 by 2000, and a 4 percent chance or less by 2035.
Elsewhere in the East, scientists are limited in their knowledge of probabilities partly because faults that could cause big earthquakes are buried deeper in the earth’s crust. In contrast to California, where the boundary between two major tectonic plates creates the San Andreas and related faults, the eastern United States lies in the middle of a major tectonic plate. Its faults are far less obvious, their activity far more subtle, and their slippage far slower.
Any large earthquake would be ”vastly more serious” in the older cities of the East than in California, said Dr. Tsu T. Soong, a professor of civil engineering at the State University of New York at Buffalo who is a researcher in earthquake-mitigation technology at the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research. First, he said, many buildings are simply older, and therefore weaker and more vulnerable to collapse. Second, there is no seismic construction code in most of the East as there is in California, where such codes have been in place for decades.
The vulnerability is evident in many ways. ”I’m sitting here looking out my window,” said Mr. Silman, the structural engineer in New York, ”and I see a bunch of water tanks all over the place” on rooftops. ”They are not anchored down at all, and it’s very possible they would fall in an earthquake.”
Many brownstones, he said, constructed as they are of unreinforced masonry walls with wood joists between, ”would just go like a house of cards.” Unreinforced masonry, in fact, is the single most vulnerable structure, engineers say. Such buildings are abundant, even predominant, in many older cities. The Scawthorn-Harris study reviewed inventories of all buildings in Manhattan as of 1972 and found that 28,884, or more than half, were built of unreinforced masonry. Of those, 23,064 were three to five stories high.
Buildings of reinforced masonry, reinforced concrete and steel would hold up much better, engineers say, and wooden structures are considered intrinsically tough in ordinary circumstances. The best performers, they say, would probably be skyscrapers built in the last 20 years. As Mr. Silman explained, they have been built to withstand high winds, and the same structural features that enable them to do so also help them resist an earthquake’s force. But even these new towers have not been provided with the seismic protections required in California and so are more vulnerable than similar structures on the West Coast.
Buildings in New York are not generally constructed with such seismic protections as base-isolated structures, in which the building is allowed to shift with the ground movement; or with flexible frames that absorb and distribute energy through columns and beams so that floors can flex from side to side, or with reinforced frames that help resist distortion.
”If you’re trying to make a building ductile – able to absorb energy – we’re not geared to think that way,” said Mr. Silman.
New York buildings also contain a lot of decorative stonework, which can be dislodged and turned into lethal missiles by an earthquake. In California, building codes strictly regulate such architectural details.
Manhattan does, however, have at least one mitigating factor: ”We are blessed with this bedrock island,” said Mr. Silman. ”That should work to our benefit; we don’t have shifting soils. But there are plenty of places that are problem areas, particularly the shoreline areas,” where landfills make the ground soft and unstable.
As scientists have learned more about geologic faults in the Northeast, the nation’s uniform building code – the basic, minimum code followed throughout the country – has been revised accordingly. Until recently, the code required newly constructed buildings in New York City to withstand at least 19 percent of the side-to-side seismic force that a comparable building in the seismically active areas of California must handle. Now the threshold has been raised to 25 percent.
New York City, for the first time, is moving to adopt seismic standards as part of its own building code. Local and state building codes can and do go beyond the national code. Charles M. Smith Jr., the city Building Commissioner, last spring formed a committee of scientists, engineers, architects and government officials to recommend the changes.
”They all agree that New York City should anticipate an earthquake,” Mr. Smith said. As to how big an earthquake, ”I don’t think anybody would bet on a magnitude greater than 6.5,” he said. ”I don’t know,” he added, ”that our committee will go so far as to acknowledge” the damage levels in the Scawthorn-Harris study, characterizing it as ”not without controversy.”
For the most part, neither New York nor any other Eastern city has done a detailed survey of just how individual buildings and other structures would be affected, and how or whether to modify them.
”The thing I think is needed in the East is a program to investigate all the bridges” to see how they would stand up to various magnitudes of earthquake,” said Bill Geyer, the executive vice president of the New York engineering firm of Steinman, Boynton, Gronquist and Birdsall, which is rehabilitating the cable on the Williamsburg Bridge. ”No one has gone through and done any analysis of the existing bridges.”
In general, he said, the large suspension bridges, by their nature, ”are not susceptible to the magnitude of earthquake you’d expect in the East.” But the approaches and side spans of some of them might be, he said, and only a bridge-by-bridge analysis would tell. Nor, experts say, are some elevated highways in New York designed with the flexibility and ability to accommodate motion that would enable them to withstand a big temblor.
The underground tunnels that carry travelers under the rivers into Manhattan, those that contain the subways and those that carry water, sewers and natural gas would all be vulnerable to rupture, engineers say. The Lincoln, Holland, PATH and Amtrak tunnels, for instance, go from bedrock in Manhattan to soft soil under the Hudson River to bedrock again in New Jersey, said Mark Carter, a partner in Raamot Associates, geotechnical engineers specializing in soils and foundations.
Likewise, he said, subway tunnels between Manhattan and Queens go from hard rock to soft soil to hard rock on Roosevelt Island, to soft soil again and back to rock. The boundaries between soft soil and rock are points of weakness, he said.
”These structures are old,” he said, ”and as far as I know they have not been designed for earthquake loadings.”
Even if it is possible to survey all major buildings and facilities to determine what corrections can be made, cities like New York would then face a major decision: Is it worth spending the money to modify buildings and other structures to cope with a quake that might or might not come in 100, or 200 300 years or more?
”That is a classical problem” in risk-benefit analysis, said Dr. George Lee, the acting director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Center in Buffalo. As more is learned about Eastern earthquakes, he said, it should become ”possible to talk about decision-making.” But for now, he said, ”I think it’s premature for us to consider that question.”
The case in point regarding the Indian-North Korean illicit nuclear connection glaringly exposes that India violated the commitments adhered in the NSG waiver given to India.The NSG passed a waiver of restrictions on nuclear commerce with India in September 2008 despite India’s failure to meet either of these nonproliferation norms. The NSG exempted India from its full- scope safeguards (FSS) condition, making it the first country to be allowed to have nuclear trade with NSG members along with its nuclear weapons program.
When India was given the NSG waiver via US intervention, not only Pakistan but some members of the NSG were also opposed to this unjust grant of a waiver to India by the NSG that allowed it to trade in the nuclear materials. However, there remained justified concerns that the group, instead of applying a criteria-based approach, encouraged selective states for nuclear trade to become its part through country-specific exemptions. Therefore, the reservations chartered by Pakistan and other states like Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Switzerland were based on these logical arguments.
Firstly, on India’s nuclear testing moratorium, most of the member states emphasized a legally-binding testing moratorium. Although India committed itself to continue its unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing, it was suggested to provide some legally-binding assurances such as signing the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty). A diplomat is quoted as saying, ‘when every single member country of the NSG has signed the CTBT, why should India get a free pass’. Another diplomat also said ‘Nobody seriously expected India to sign the CTBT as a precondition for the waiver-as the American diplomats’ lobby would have favoured India. What needs to be looked at is how to deal with the new situation which would be created were India to test again’.
Some countries suggested conditioning the waiver on India’s signing the CTBT and others recommended that there should be some mechanism to deal with the situation if India tested a nuclear weapon and was not willing to sign the treaty. Some members called for automatic termination of the waiver in case of an Indian nuclear test; while others wanted to leave this to the individual member countries. It is important to note here that only the US domestic laws provide for immediate termination of the nuclear trade in case of a nuclear test. But unjustlythere had been no reference given in the waiver to work towards full-scope safeguards.
India has been providing both financial and military assistance to North Korea in total disregard to and in violation of global non-proliferation regimes and at the expense of regional and global stability
Secondly, because of India’s uncertain compliance with the nonproliferation commitments, it was also suggested to incorporate a review provision in the proposed waiver draft. Some countries had suggested having some kind of monitoring mechanism to assess the extent to which India is abiding by its nonproliferation commitments. Thirdly, the question of enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technology was also a grave issue. Some member states argued to include a provision denying the transfer of ENR technology.Nonetheless, with the NSGnew guidelines introduced in 2011 regarding the transfer of sensitive nuclear technology, India’s privilege of a clean waiver was duly nullified. Now that the NSG has agreed on new guidelines which require NPT membership, India vehemently criticized the decision that this is against the ‘clean waiver’.The NSG made it clear that the waiver exempted India from the requirement of FSS safeguards but not NSG policies on ENR transfer.
Basically, the only real technological barrier to the construction of a covert nuclear weaponsprogramme is access to fissionable material itself. There seems a growing black market for this material as vindicated by the DRPK-India nuclear links, and eventually, demand will result in enough material reaching as-yet- unidentified buyers to produce a nuclear weapon in the basement. Obviously, the terrorist threatsof contamination– using radioactive substances gain enhanced credibility as the number of smuggling incidents continues to rise. The current revelation by the UN panel is indicative of the fact that an illicit nuclear connection remains established between Pyongyang and New Delhi. Eliminating the menace of nuclear terrorism while making a substantial and enduring contribution to world peace in this area, an action must be taken in order to prevent the short-term and the long term threats.
Although to a large extent India has been successful in securing membership of the Missile Technology Control Regime (June 2016), the Wassennar Arrangement (Dec 2017), and the Australia Group (Jan 2018), New Delhi’s credentials– to acquire its peaceful means of nuclear energy/ fissile material-are not yet a good fit for the UN set goals/ objective towards the complement of a world seeking multilateral commitments from world’s de jure and de/ facto, and the aspirant nuclear states. And yet, there is a strong bipartisan proposition/consensus that argues that the Indo-US nuclear deal has had a strategic importance to US imperialism’s strategy to counter China’s growing rise in the first half of the 21st century.
Needless to say, India has a long record of developing both nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles under the guise of peaceful nuclear and space cooperation since the US-India nuclear deal. Supporting India’s reactors only reinforces the perceived prestige of nuclear technology for developing countries, but a double standard set by the United States sets a bad example for the acquisition of peaceful nuclear energy. Recently, the Foreign Policy magazine alleged that India started building a secret nuclear city in Challakere in Karnataka, which when completed would be “the subcontinent’s largest military-run complex of nuclear centrifuges, atomic-research laboratories, and weapons- and aircraft-testing facilities”.
As part of the India-US Nuclear Agreement-2005, the United States sought an India-specific NSG waiver in 2008-overridingly exempting India from its full-scope safeguards condition. India is now bidding on NSG membership. But the veritable fact isshown by the NSG previous waiver negotiations with India that New Delhi would resist non-proliferation conditions and it would undermine the credo of the nonproliferation nuclear regime.Unfortunately, the US political nuclear umbrella given to India has been undermining the NSG neutral evaluation criteria.According to Pierre Goldschmidt, the former IAEA’s official, ” there is a need to give the International Atomic Energy Agency “both the authority and capabilities to detect any undeclared nuclear related activity.”
Arguably, the Indian waiver– largely influenced by the economic and political motivations of large nuclear suppliers –establishes a double standard for providing India with the same trade benefits of NPT members but without the nonproliferation obligations-consequently paves the way for a nuclear apartheid regime- a bad omen for the nuclear non-proliferation regime.Needless to say, India has been providing both financial and military assistance to North Korea in total disregard to and in violation of global non-proliferation regimes and at the expense of regional and global stability. Against this backdrop, it is argued that India must lose its right to use the NSG waiver. Concluded
The writer is an independent ‘IR’ researcher and international law analyst based in Pakistan
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Speaking on the leftist podcast “Pod Save America” on Wednesday, former President Barack Obama, whose disastrous efforts with foreign policy included supporting the tyrannical Iranian regime, the largest terrorist-supporting government on earth; championing the dangerous Iran nuclear deal; withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq in late 2011, leading to the rise of ISIS; ousting Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi, thus paving the way for anarchy and ISIS to gain a foothold there, and conducting a “reset” with Russia while Russian military gained ground in eastern Ukraine, among other failures, slammed President Trump on foreign policy, snapping, “He doesn’t have the patience and the focus to really substantially change a lot of U.S. foreign policy.”
Just this week, Lebanon, an arch-foe of Israel, started talking to Israel; they “kicked off their first negotiations in 30 years on nonsecurity issues,” The New York Times noted. That follows the series of Arab countries starting to make peace with Israel, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Obama was prompted by host Tommy Vietor, who asked, “You spent countless hours with Vice President Biden talking about national security. What did you learn about how he thinks about diplomacy and counterterrorism and the use of military force that others would not have seen?”
Obama answered, as reported by Breitbart:
Well, a couple of things. One, and I think this is most important, is when people ask me what surprised me most about the presidency, you know, what I always tell them is: I understood but didn’t fully appreciate the degree to which we kind of underwrite the international order. And in the sense that even our enemies can expect us to behave like adults on the international stage. You know, if there’s a crisis somewhere, people don’t call Moscow or Beijing. They call us and say, “What are we going to do to help?” If there is ethnic cleansing, if there is a conflict, if there is a natural disaster. And the reason that we can serve in that role, even if we’re not perfect, is that we have the infrastructure. We have experienced diplomats. We have institutional traditions that allow us to show leadership on the international stage — whether it’s in the Paris Peace Accords, whether it’s on the Iran Deal, you name it.”
“The thing that over the last four years, it’s not as if Trump has been all that active internationally,” Obama said pompously. “I mean, the truth is he doesn’t have the patience and the focus to really substantially change a lot of U.S. foreign policy. What he’s done is he’s systematically tried to decimate our entire foreign policy infrastructure. And the thing I know about Joe is that he respects people who know history and have expertise, and he’s going to pay attention to somebody who has worked in Africa to find out, like, ‘how should I deal with a particular crisis there’ as opposed to calling it a bunch of I won’t say the word countries, right? He has a respect and understanding for what American leadership can do.”
Nile Gardiner, a former aide to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, said at the very end of Obama’s presidency that his Middle East policy was a failure, stating, “President Obama’s approach was extraordinarily naive in the Middle East. He also failed to combine his optimism with any hard power. That really enabled a number of very dangerous actors to emerge and to threaten directly the United States and its allies. It isn’t very clear that the Obama White House has any real strategy for eradicating ISIS. It’s a containment strategy; it’s not one of victory,” as The Washington Times reported.
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