Environmentalist Recognizing the Bowls of Wrath? (Revelation 16)


Despite their incessant drumbeat about global warming, mainstream media knows climate doomsday is not imminent and are probably uncomfortable when doomsayers like Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) say, “The world will end in 12 years” unless we do something, drastic, now.But they are well aware that political catastrophes could cause much greater harm to humanity—not in the far distant future, but within months, weeks, or even a single day.That’s why climate change and the “Green New Deal” finally disappeared from headlines this week, trumped by news of more immediate threats.The Return of Nuclear War as an Imminent Threat

With the end of the Cold War, the risk of nuclear war has receded from many people’s fears. Certainly the likelihood of a major nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union, or now Russia, has declined since the nervous 1960s and 1970s.

But the threat is reviving in the form of rogue nuclear states.

North Korea is the most notorious. President Donald Trump’s second meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, which ended with no agreement when Trump refused Kim’s demand that sanctions be lifted, occupied headlines worldwide. Even climate-alarmist CNN abandoned climate change headlines to focus on the historic meeting in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, two weeks ago, India and Pakistan were on the verge of war. The reason? A surgical strike by India’s Air Force on a terrorist camp inside Pakistan, and Pakistan’s response to it.

As many as 16 Indian Air Force fighter jets using 2200 pounds of laser-guided bombs in a 30-minute air raid demolished the camp. It was the same camp (not far from the infamous Abbottabad, where American forces found and killed Osama Bin Laden) from which terrorists launched an attack earlier in February in Jammu & Kashmir, killing around 40 Indian paramilitary forces.

In response, Pakistani fighter jets engaged in air combat with Indian fighters. One jet from each country was shot down. The Indian pilot was captured by Pakistan’s army after he was ejected. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan told his parliament on Thursday that the pilot would be released as a “peace gesture.”

But tensions remained high. Pakistan closed its entire airspace to commercial traffic. India closed its northern airspace temporarily.Thousands of flights were affected worldwide. Thai Airways cancelled most of its overnight flights to Europe, and all flights normally routed through Pakistani airspace were re-routed.

Both India and Pakistan are nuclear armed, and with volatile leadership in both states, the dangers from a possible nuclear conflict far exceed those touted by climate fear mongers at the United Nations and the leftist environmentalists who support them.

Political Bombshells Overshadow Climate Alarm

While American media focused on testimony by Michael Cohen, headed for prison for lying to Congress, former Canadian Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould dropped what could be the biggest bombshell in Canadian political history—with a possible major impact on Canadian climate and energy policy.

The Star reported, “Wilson-Raybould said she was the target of ‘veiled threats‘ and a ‘consistent and sustained’ effort by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his senior officials to politically interfere in criminal charges against [engineering company] SNC-Lavalin,” which serves the oil and gas, nuclear, mining and metallurgical, and clean power industries.

If confirmed, this could be a criminal offense. Opposition party leader Andrew Scheer called for an immediate investigation and formally asked Trudeau to resign. The scandal could become a deciding factor in Canada’s upcoming election, joining many Canadians’s dislike for carbon taxes Trudeau’s party has imposed.

Across the Atlantic, Brexit has dominated news in Europe, and its environmental aspects have received little to no coverage compared with that given to its economic and developmental aspects.

There are endless examples from around the world of people beginning to realize the futility of climate alarmism and showing increasing concern for more serious matters like domestic tax rates, ethical leadership, energy, and economic development.

Nonetheless, expect the mainstream media to return to their obsession with climate alarmism. They’ve made it a habit.

Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), Research Contributor for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, lives in Chennai, India.

Bolton Prepares Babylon the Great For War With Iran

John Bolton is trying to steer Trump and the US into another Mideast war. Don’t let him.

I thought neocons were gone, but the most bombastic of them all has Trump’s ear. Let’s learn from Iraq mistakes and avoid a devastating war with Iran.

Michael Morford  |  Opinion contributor 9:41 a.m. MST Mar. 7, 2019

I was surprised to see my commanding general in the conference room that December 2001 day. Almost immediately following 9/11, he had been in Kuwait at Camp Doha overseeing the logistics of the Afghanistan War efforts alongside my direct commander and a small team from our Theater Support Command. Now, a mere two months later, he was back.

I became even more surprised when he sent word to finish the Operations Plan for Central Command, a project we had been developing and honing for several years. This plan was essentially the go-to-war strategy for the United States against Iraq. Although we were only weeks removed from the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, we knew the anti-U.S. terrorists involved were in Afghanistan, not Iraq. We also knew that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis.

I wasn’t sure what invading Iraq had to do with our Global War on Terror. It did not seem to be about national security; after all, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had been successfully contained for  more than a decade. However, I was just an Army captain. If our two-star commanding general said that’s what we were doing, then that’s what we were doing

We now know the truth behind the U.S. invasion of Iraq. It had very little if anything to do with the 9/11 attacks and everything to do with the hubris of men. In the Bush administration, Vice President Dick Cheney, Undersecretary of State John Bolton and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz were three of the leading neoconservative architects in the late 1990s. What they cared about was spreading their vision of a new world order. These delusions of grandeur were their personal goals, and they were guiding our nation’s strategic policies.

I heard echoes of that era during the recent Middle East Conference in Warsaw. Remarks by Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton sounded eerily similar to the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion. And I have the same uneasy feeling now that I had then.

Bolton was a driving force in 2002, when he was undersecretary of State for arms control. He insisted on access to raw intelligence data before it had been evaluated, and he also insisted that it confirmed Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. „The end of the story is clear here,“ he said in a BBC debate. „And if Saddam Hussein does not cooperate, we have made it clear this is the last chance for him.”

Neocons are back and making same mistakes

These same statements and patterns are in front of our eyes today. One could hear the sound of Bolton’s new war drum in 2007 when he said, “Ultimately, the only thing that will stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons is regime change in Tehran.”

That clamor has only intensified. “President Trump told me that if Iran does anything at all to the negative, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid,” Bolton said last July. During the Warsaw event, he released a short video with a not-so-veiled threat to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei: “I don’t think you’ll have many more anniversaries to enjoy.”

Until recently, I believed that the neocons had become a footnote in America’s history — that the multiple threats to our national security that arose as a result of failed foreign policy had shown our nation and our leaders the errors of the neocon approach. I was wrong.

But Bolton, the most bombastic of that group, is now whispering in President Donald Trump’s ear, and the United States is heading down a familiar path. In Trump, Bolton has found someone focused not on national security but on dismantling presidential actions that preceded his term. Trump is not interested in the nation of Iran, the Iranian people or any Iranian threat. He merely abhors former President Barack Obama and the  Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, more commonly known as the Iranian nuclear deal that the Obama administration negotiated.

Bolton is trying to repeat his 2003 role as a worldview maker, and in Trump he has a receptive commander in chief. The difference this time, however, is that there is no 9/11 for political cover. And even more troubling, Iraq is no Iran.

Learn from history, don’t repeat it

In geographic and demographics consideration, Iraq has just more than  40 million citizens; Iran has more than  80 million. Iraq is close to  169,000 square miles, a bit larger than  California. Iran is almost  four times that size. Iraq has struggled with decades of internal sectarian strife between the Sunni and Shiite Muslim sects. In Iran, up to 95 percent of its citizens are Shiite, which translates to minimal internal distraction.

Experts estimate that Iraq’s army, 1 million troops strong during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, was down to about  40 percent of that total, or 400,000, in 2003. Iran now has about  550,000 active military personnel and is armed with newer and better weapons. The U.S. military was fresh and itching for a fight in 2003. Now, after 18 years of war since 9/11, our readiness levels are ill-equipped to handle anything more than a protracted skirmish in a new region. Plus, where the Bush administration developed a coalition of international support for invading Iraq, the Trump administration has spent two years intentionally fracturing our relationships across the world.

From Sun Tzu’s „The Art of War“ to Carl von Clausewitz’s „On War,“ decision-makers have been taught that they need “the will of the people” to go to war. Currently, the political and societal environment of Iran meets this requirement. In the United States, there is none.

These differences between Iraq and Iran are not minor; the United States would be fighting not a single house cat but a pride of mountain lions. It is imperative that those in Washington who understand national security thwart this absurd direction in which John Bolton is trying to steer President Trump and America. We should learn from our mistakes, not willingly repeat them.

Michael Morford, a former Army captain, is a Security Fellow with the Truman National Security Project. He is also president of VertiPrime Aerospace Manufacturing, a service disabled veteran-owned small business. The views expressed here are his own.

The Growing Risk of Nuclear War

An unsettled year in nuclear weapons

By John Mecklin, December 24, 2018

In 2018, the world’s arms control architecture teetered on the brink of collapse as the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and threatened withdrawal from the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Negotiations between the United States and North Korea over Pyongyang’s nuclear program stalled. And Hawaii went through 38 dreadful minutes of believing it was under nuclear missile attack.

The Bulletin’s coverage of these events and many other aspects of the modern nuclear dilemma was truly comprehensive last year. What follows, then, is not a “best of” list, per se, but eight prime examples from the remarkably consistent and excellent offerings our expert authors provided throughout the year. I thank and applaud them all.

Facing nuclear reality, 35 years after The Day After

A special report by Dawn Stover

A comprehensive look at the meaning, in today’s world, of a landmark TV movie, including an interview with Ted Koppel, who led an expert panel discussion after the airing of a film that changed world nuclear history.

Dawn of a new Armageddon

By Cynthia Lazaroff

 The truly gripping account of 38 minutes of chaos that ensued after Hawaii received an all-too-believable warning that it was under what appeared to be a nuclear missile attack.

 

George H.W. Bush worked toward a soft nuclear landing for the dissolving Soviet Union

By Siegfried S. Hecker

How the late president aided the effort to secure the Soviet Union’s nuclear material and scientists as the USSR dissolved.

Expert comment: The INF and the future of arms control

By John Mecklin

A collection of extraordinary experts assesses the import of the Trump administration’s declared interest in leaving the landmark Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a foundation of the world’s arms control regime.

Robert Oppenheimer: The myth and the mystery

By Richard Rhodes

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb explains, in brilliant detail, the reality of J. Robert Oppenheimer, in contrast with his portrayal in the opera Dr. Atomic.

 

Under siege: Safety in the nuclear weapons complex

By Robert Alvarez

One of the premier experts on the US nuclear weapons complex explores an Energy Department attack on the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, which oversees and reports on safety practices in the complex.

Hiroshima & Nagasaki

A collection

Through the decades, the Bulletin has been home to distinguished analysis of the US atomic bombing of two Japanese cities at the end of World War II. This collection provides an authoritative starting point for anyone interested in understanding the lasting meaning of those attacks.

Russia Expands Her Nuclear Horn

Russia Begins Testing Nuclear Weapon That Can Travel Underwater And ‚Nothing‘ Can Stop It, Report Says

By Tom O’Connor On 12/25/18 at 4:13 PM

Moscow has reportedly begun testing an underwater nuclear weapon that has been touted as invincible by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Poseidon, previously known as the Status-6 Oceanic Multipurpose System and dubbed Kanyon by the U.S.-led NATO Western military alliance, is a state-of-the-art nuclear-capable drone being developed by the Russian armed forces. Citing a defense industry source, the state-run Tass Russian News Agency reported Tuesday that the Russian navy had begun trails for the weapon at sea.

„In the sea area protected from a potential enemy’s reconnaissance means, the underwater trials of the nuclear propulsion unit of the Poseidon drone are underway,“ the source said, according to the official outlet.

Russia’s nuclear-capable “doomsday” drone, named Poseidon by Russia and Kanyon by the U.S., is seen in this simulation played by Russian President Vladimir Putin during his state of the nation address, on March 1. RUSSIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENSE

The Poseidon’s true power has never been revealed, but rumors of its existence have swirled among defense circles for years. In September 2015, The Washington Free Beacon cited Pentagon sources as saying Russia was developing submarines armed with „Kanyon“ nuclear-capable drones dubbed „city busters,“ with „tens“ of megaton explosive power and capable of traveling long distances at high speeds. Two months later, Russian state media outlet NTV showed blueprints of a nuclear-capable underwater drone, titled „Status-6 Oceanic Multipurpose System,“ while covering a meeting of officials.

Putin revealed the drone’s existence during his State of the Nation address in March, along with an arsenal of other advanced weapons said capable of thwarting even the most modern defense systems—and many of which were capable of being fitted with nuclear warheads. At the time, he said that Russia had completed its development of „an innovative nuclear power unit“ 100 times smaller than existing submarine reactors, but still more powerful and capable of hitting its maximum capacity 200 times faster, while carrying „massive nuclear ordnance.“

„We have developed unmanned submersible vehicles that can move at great depths (I would say extreme depths) intercontinentally, at a speed multiple times higher than the speed of submarines, cutting-edge torpedoes and all kinds of surface vessels, including some of the fastest,“ Putin told his federal assembly in March. „It is really fantastic. They are quiet, highly maneuverable and have hardly any vulnerabilities for the enemy to exploit. There is simply nothing in the world capable of withstanding them.“

The Poseidon received its name later that month after the Russian Defense Ministry held a poll in which users also dubbed the Peresvet laser weapon system and 9M730 Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile.

A number of reports have claimed that the weapon may be capable of producing massive, radioactive tsunamis that would pose a threat to major cities. Some experts have corroborated this theory, although they have questioned the tactical effectiveness of this strategy.

Russia has set out to modernize its strategic and conventional arsenal in response to a perceived threat posed by the U.S. military dominance and development of a global missile shield made possible by Washington’s withdrawal of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty in 2001. President Donald Trump has since threatened to pull out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty banning land-based missile systems ranging from 310 to 3,400 miles, while Moscow has claimed that the Trump administration has not responded to offers to start talks regarding the renewal of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

Washington has accused the Kremlin of attempting to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election in Trump’s favor, something Putin and his officials have denied. Though the Republican leader set out to rebuild deteriorating ties between Washington and Moscow upon coming to office, the U.S. has since expanded sanctions against Russia and relations have only worsened between the two leading powers.

More Rioting Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Arab rioters on the Gaza-Israel border in Rafah, Gaza on Oct. 12. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Gazans Riot on Land and at Sea

By Dov Benovadiaי“ז טבת תשע“ט

YERUSHALAYIM

Thousands of Gaza Arabs rioted Monday night at several points along the border fence, as dozens of boats attempted to breach the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. Riots occurred near Zikim, adjacent to the eastern border of Gaza just a few kilometers from Ashkelon, and at the Erez crossing.

Israeli forces responded to rock throwing and numerous attacks using firebombs with anti-riot measures. Gaza sources said that 14 rioters were injured.

Israel was redoubling its forces in the south, after Hamas and Islamic Jihad said that this coming Friday would be “a day of great testing for the enemy.” On the weekend, the terror groups threatened to increase attacks against Israel, after four rioters died Friday after attacking Israeli soldiers. The IDF is concerned that Hamas could stage riots even before Friday, hence the buildup of forces in the south.

Israeli sources told Channel 20 that if the terror groups once again began shooting missiles at Israel, the IDF’s response would be “harsh and powerful. We will not allow a repeat of the recent events” in which Gaza terrorists shot nearly 500 missiles at Israel withing several days. “The response will not be ‘measured’ this time, but will be a harsh strike at Hamas.”

On Tuesday, security officials arrested seven Arab residents of Yerushalayim for throwing firebombs at civilians and security personnel. The seven were all youths between 15 and 20 years of age. Besides firebombs, the gang threw firecrackers and other dangerous explosives at Israeli vehicles and at the light rail. Police plan to ask for an extension of their remand.

Overnight Monday, security officials said they arrested 5 wanted security suspects in other areas in Yehudah and Shomron. The suspects were wanted for participating in rioting and throwing stones and firebombs that endangered Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Several of the suspects were also charged with belonging to Hamas. All were being questioned on their activities by security forces.

Protests to Continue Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Great March of Return protests to continue until end of Gaza siege: Hamas

Sun Dec 23, 2018 10:19PM [Updated: Mon Dec 24, 2018 02:34AM ]

Palestinian protesters use slingshots in a demonstration on the beach near the maritime border with occupied territories, in the northern Gaza Strip, on October 8, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

A senior official of the Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, says Palestinians will continue the Great March of Return rallies until the end of the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.

Mahmoud al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas and a member of its leadership in the Gaza Strip, made the remarks in a Sunday interview with Iran’s Al-Alam News Network in Tehran.

He said the anti-occupation rallies, known as the “Great March of Return,“ have produced important results, and will not be stopped before the Israeli regime’s siege on the enclave is lifted.

Tensions have been running high near the fence separating Gaza from the occupied territories since March 30, which marked the start of the protests.

Palestinian protesters demand the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.

The clashes in Gaza reached their peak on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day, or the Day of Catastrophe, which coincided this year with Washington’s relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

More than 220 Palestinians have so far been killed and over 20,000 others wounded in the renewed Gaza clashes, according to the latest figures released by the Gaza Health Ministry.

Gaza has been under Israeli siege since June 2007, causing a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty.

PressTV-‘54 Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces since Jan.’

A report shows the Israeli regime’s forces have killed 54 Palestinian children and arrested over 900 during this year.

Friday to be decisive day for Israel

The military wings of Hamas warned in a joint statement on Sunday that the coming Friday will be “decisive” in determining their response to the killing of four people during recent border protests.

The groups declared they had prepared retaliation steps, and that their use will be dependent upon Israel’s policy.

It will be “a decisive day in examining the Zionist enemy’s behavior and intentions toward our people in the March of Return,” the Sunday statement said.

The deaths were “a total crime and clear recklessness by the Zionist enemy,” which has “crossed red lines,” they continued, as reported by Israeli media.

“Regarding these crimes, the resistance will not act lightly with the enemy and stand by idly,” the statement warned.

The statement came after several Palestinians, including a teenage, were shot dead by Israeli fire and nearly fifty others sustained injuries during the latest Great March of Return protests in Gaza.

PressTV-Israeli forces shoot dead three, wound dozens in Gaza

Over 220 Palestinians have been killed since they began weekly border protests on March 30.

Iran main backer of Palestinians

In his interview with Al-Alam, al-Zahar further described Iran as the main supporter of Palestinians, and said Hamas does not do anything without consulting with Iran over the issue.

Al-Zahar made the remarks during his visit to Tehran at the head of a delegation of the Hamas faction in the Palestinian Parliament.

He earlier held talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani as well as Ali Akbar Velayati a senior advisor to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

In the meeting with al-Zahar, Zarif once again reiterated the Islamic Republic’s principled policy to support Palestine, urging all countries in the Muslim world to boost their unity to defend the Palestinian cause.

„We hope that some Muslim countries that have pinned their hopes on the support of the Zionists and the US will return to the Muslim world and realize that Zionists are not a trustworthy friend or partner for anybody,“ Zarif said.

The Iranian foreign minister added that efforts to counter the Palestinian resistance are unfortunately being made from inside the Muslim world, saying that all countries and Islamic movements are also under such pressure.

PressTV-Support for Palestine, Iran’s principled policy: Zarif

Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif says support for Palestine is among the Islamic Republic’s principled policies.

For his part, Zahar hailed Iran’s real support for Palestine and expressed hope that the Palestinian people’s resistance and the Muslim world’s support would put an end to the Zionist project as soon as possible.

Back in May, Ayatollah Khamenei said resistance is the sole way to save the oppressed Palestinian nation.

Ayatollah Khamenei reaffirmed Iran’s unwavering support for Palestine and Palestinian fighters, noting that strengthening the resistance front in the Muslim world and intensifying the fight against the occupying regime of Israel and its supporters were the solution to the Palestinian issue.

Trump’s Legitimate Nuclear Option

Trump can launch nuclear weapons whenever he wants, with or without Mattis

Dec. 23, 2018

Bruce Blair and Jon Wolfsthal, The Washington Post

The abrupt and pointed resignation of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis on Thursday alarmed official Washington. Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., called him an „an island of stability amid the chaos of the Trump administration.“ Retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., told The Washington Post that „having Mattis there gave all of us a great deal more comfort than we have now.“

Mattis‘ departure seems to be provoking unease, especially considering how dangerous our nuclear-command arrangements are. The notion that Mattis, a former four-star Marine Corps general, could have blocked or defied a move by Trump to impulsively launch nuclear weapons may have seemed comforting, but it shouldn’t have been. The secretary of defense has no legal position in the nuclear chain of command, and any attempts by a secretary of defense to prevent the president from exercising the authority to use nuclear weapons would be undemocratic and illegal. With or without Mattis, the president has unchecked and complete authority to launch nuclear weapons based on his sole discretion.

The reaction to Mattis‘ resignation, however, could open the door for the new Congress to create long-overdue legal barriers preventing the president from initiating a nuclear strike. Such a step could be implemented without any negative impact on U.S. security or that of our allies.

Every day, the U.S. nuclear early warning system is triggered by some event or another, mostly civilian and military rocket launches by one or more of a dozen countries with ballistic missiles. When such launches appear to threaten North America, the head of U.S. Strategic Command is alerted, and sometimes these alerts warrant the urgent notification of the president. That alert comes by way of a direct call from the Strategic Command or via the White House Situation Room, the emergency-operations bunker beneath the East Wing, or the national security adviser. Partly a remnant of the Cold War, this system remains in place today to ensure the president can be notified quickly of any direct threat to the United States‘ nuclear arsenal and the facilities that control it. That way, he can launch nuclear missiles before they are destroyed or the U.S. government is incapacitated by incoming weapons.

In normal times, this system is precarious, and it can pressure even experienced leaders to consider nuclear weapons in a crisis sooner than warranted. Alerts stemming from ambiguous ballistic nuclear missile threats occurred multiple times during the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and some alerts went directly to those presidents.

Yet, this system seems especially ill-suited to a president who has demonstrated time and again that he can be provoked into taking rash action, and who, as a candidate, openly questioned why the United States could not use the nuclear weapons it possesses. This is a dangerous set of instincts for a commander in chief with sole and unchecked authority over almost 4,000 nuclear weapons, nearly 1,000 of which could be fired within a few minutes.

For over a year, Mattis has been trying to reassure congressional leaders that he could help check some of Trump’s impulses, in part by intervening in the nuclear chain of command. In a break with normal procedures, Mattis reportedly told the commander of the Strategic Command to keep him directly informed of any event that might lead to a nuclear alert being sent to the president. He even told the Strategic Command „not to put on a pot of coffee without letting him know.“

Congressional leaders interpreted this to mean that Mattis would either deal with a possible threat before it reached Trump or ensure he was present to advise Trump when such an alert arrived.

This assurance may have helped ease concerns about our nuclear weapons for some members of Congress, but only if they were unfamiliar with how the command and control structure truly works. Personal relationships and back channels are no way to manage a nuclear arsenal.

Even informed observers are surprised to learn the president can order the use of nuclear weapons without the input – or consent – of the secretaries of Defense or State, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or the vice president. They only have a role in the presidential launch protocol if the president has given prior approval for them to be notified and solicits their advice. Otherwise, none of these people would need to be involved or informed that the president has decided to use a nuclear weapon.

Under standard procedure, an attempt would be made to contact key national security officials, but in some real-world and exercise scenarios, it has proven impossible to tie them into a quickly convened emergency teleconference. Should he wish, the president could exclude all of them, and even bypass the primary designated adviser – the four-star general in charge of U.S. strategic forces – by ordering a low-ranking on-duty emergency operations officer at the Pentagon or elsewhere to transmit a launch order directly to the executing commanders of strategic U.S. submarines, silo-based missiles and bombers.

Trump could have learned all this in a briefing about nuclear weapons shortly after he took office, and his military aide, ever at his side, could explain and assist in issuing a direct order to a lower-level officer at any time.

Even if Mattis had been with Trump at a time of nuclear crisis, his resignation letter drives home the fact that Trump might very well have simply ignored his counsel. Trump, as he is proving in stark terms, listens only to himself. And any attempt by another person to physically block the president from issuing a launch order would probably result in his or her removal by the Secret Service. It is delusional and fundamentally undemocratic to think that our strongest check on a president bent on initiating nuclear war without justifiable cause might be a defense secretary trying to keep the president from communicating his launch authority using the so-called Gold Codes.

When the United States faced the prospect of sudden nuclear attack from the Soviet Union, this system helped reinforce deterrence based on a balance of nuclear terror. But since the demise of the U.S.S.R., and even with a more aggressive Russia, the whole arrangement raises questions about its necessity, risks and consistency with democratic values. It is well past time for the system to be reformed to ensure that it hews to our Constitution and mitigates as much as possible the very real risks associated with a renewed arms competition with Russia.

One key issue is whether Trump – or any president – should have the legal ability to independently initiate the use of nuclear weapons. It seems reasonable that the president needs to be able to quickly order a nuclear response if an adversary employs nuclear weapons first against us, and that he would not have time to consult with Congress or the Cabinet if nuclear missiles were headed here. (The flight time of ballistic missiles over intercontinental distances is 30 minutes or less, and the president would have only about five to seven minutes to decide whether and how to respond.)

However, our chain of command is not just a presidential preference – it can be determined by legislative action. Congress can and should prohibit any president from using nuclear weapons first. The incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., proposed such legislation last year. It states that it is the policy of the United States not to be the first to use nuclear weapons. Congress could make any first-use illegal, constraining the president from issuing such an order and obligating any member of the military to disobey a command to do so. A no-first-use policy would also ratchet down tensions with Russia and facilitate reductions in the number and types of nuclear weapons in both U.S. and Russian arsenals. The logic and political salience of this position is growing, with some 20 members of the incoming Congress – including House Speaker-to-be Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. – now on record supporting no first use.

Legislation to bar first use probably wouldn’t get through the Republican Senate or be signed into law by Trump. But recognition that the system puts too much power in the hands of one person increases the likelihood that the next president will either adopt such a posture or accept legislative controls. Maintaining an outdated and unstable system is clearly too dangerous.

Bending norms and the military chain of command to prevent a disastrous presidential decision is not a reliable safeguard, and extralegal measures should not be how the United States prevents a nuclear war. Neither Mattis nor anyone else can reassure the American people that a president will not, on a whim, use the most fearsome weapons humans have ever invented. Only laws can constrain such a dangerous prospect. It is well past time for our country to take control of the nuclear chain of command.

Blair is a research scholar in Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security and a founder of Global Zero, the international movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Wolfsthal is a former senior director at the National Security Council for arms control and nonproliferation. He is now a senior adviser to Global Zero in Washington.

China Nuclear Horn Tests New Nuke

China tests new sub-launched ballistic missile that will raise the stakes in a nuclear war with the US

Ryan Pickrell

China tested a new JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile in late November, moving closer to strengthening its sea-based nuclear strike capabilities.

• The new missiles are expected to be carried by Type 096 submarines, which will replace the older Type 094 Jin-class submarines, China’s first credible sea-based nuclear deterrent.

• With a longer range than the current JL-2 missiles, these new missiles could give China the ability to strike the US mainland from Chinese coastal waters.

China recently conducted the first known test of a new submarine-launched ballistic missile, a significant development as Beijing attempts to bolster its nuclear forces.

The test, first reported by The Washington Free Beacon and confirmed by The Diplomat, involved the new JL-3 missile, which analysts speculate could potentially carry multiple warheads. While China has yet to confirm the test, it was reportedly monitored by the US.

The test was carried out in the Bohai Sea in late November using a modified conventional submarine, but the new weapon is expected to be operationally deployed on the new Type 096 nuclear ballistic missile submarines, which are still in development.

„China’s four operational JIN-class SSBNs represent China’s first credible, seabased nuclear deterrent,“ the Department of Defense wrote in its 2018 report of Chinese military power, referring to the Type 094 submarines. „China’s next-generation Type 096 SSBN, reportedly to be armed with the follow-on JL-3 SLBM, will likely begin construction in the early-2020s.“

The current Type 094 submarines carry JL-2 missiles, naval variants of the land-based DF-31s. A report from the National Air and Space Intelligence Center argued last year that „this missile will, for the first time, allow Chinese SSBNs to target portions of the United States from operating areas located near the Chinese coast.“

The JL-3 is believed to have a far superior range to the JL-2, which has an estimated range of around 7,000 kilometers. The Diplomat, citing US intelligence estimates, suggested that the full range of the newer missile could be in excess of 9,000 km. The Free Beacon, however, put the range between 11,000 and 14,000 kilometers. During the most recent test, the missile was not fly to its full range, perhaps because the test was a systems verification evaluation

Either way, the extended range of the JL-3 gives China the ability to take aim at targets on the US mainland without venturing far from China’s coast into waters where the submarine might be more vulnerable to attack in the event of a confrontation.

Russia Warns of Nuclear War

Russian President Vladimir speaks during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Russia Warns of Global Conflict Following Nuclear Pact Collapse

UN rejects Russian resolution in support of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty

Reuters

23.12.2018 |

Russia said on Saturday that the scrapping of a Cold War era nuclear pact may lead to an arms race and direct confrontation between several global regions, after a proposal by Moscow was rejected in a United Nations vote.

Moscow had put forward a resolution in support of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty which bans Moscow and Washington from stationing short- and intermediate-range, land-based missiles in Europe.

Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement that the UN had failed to vote in favor of the proposal.

“A new blow has been dealt on the global architecture of security and stability. Now, with the collapse of the INF treaty, several global regions could be plunged into the arms race or even into a direct confrontation,” it said.

Washington has threatened to pull out of the accord, saying Moscow failed to comply with it.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States of raising the risk of nuclear war by threatening to spurn the key arms control treaty and refusing to hold talks about another pact that expires soon.

Four Palestinians Killed Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

A wounded Palestinian is evacuated during a protest near the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip December 21, 2018.REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Four Palestinians Killed in Border Protests, Gaza Authorities Say

Jack Khoury22.12.2018 | 15:40

The latest fatality, an 18-year-old Palestinian who was hit by a bullet to his stomach during Friday’s demonstration, succumbed to his wounds on Saturday

An 18-year-old Palestinian identified as Iman Munir Shubir succumbed to his wounds on Saturday after he was wounded gravely by a bullet that hit him in the stomach during protests at the border between Israel and Gaza, Gaza’s Health Ministry said.

Shubir, who hails from the city of Deir al-Balah, was hurt while participating in a demonstration east of the Palestinian refugee camp of al-Bureij in the center of the Strip.

His death brings the death toll from Friday’s Gaza demonstrations to four.

The three other fatalities from Friday’s clashes between Gazan protesters and Israeli security forces are the 16-year-old Mohammad al-Jahjuh, who was shot east of Gaza City; the 40-year-old Maher Yasin, who was shot east of al-Bureij and the 28-year-old Abed al-Aziz Sharia, who was shot east of Gaza.

According to Gaza authorities, Yasin suffered from mental and cognitive disablities.

At least 40 other people were wounded by live Israeli fire, and three were injured from tear gas inhalation.

The Israeli militarty said around 8,000 Palestinians gathered near the border fence on Friday: Most kept their distance, while some burned tires and tried to throw an explosive device into Israel, though unsuccessfully.

„Troops responded with riot dispersal means and fired in accordance with standard operating procedures,“ an Israeli military spokeswoman said.

Since the Gaza border protests began in March, around 240 Palestinians died in confrontations with the Israeli military.

Ramallah’s Health Ministry reported last week that an 18-year-old resident of the refugee camp Jalazone was killed by live Israeli fire during altercations between the Israeli military and Palestinians in the West Bank.

According to the health ministry, two other Palestinians were wounded by live fire and were evacuated to a hospital in the West Bank to receive medical care.

Reuters contributed to this report.