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A new nuclear arms race is upon us

“…they have expressed a readiness to go nuclear first in a conflict with Russia or others that had not yet crossed the nuclear Rubicon.”

Eric Zuesse

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The US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), a key nuclear strategy document that was issued on February 2nd by US Secretary of Defense James Mattis, seems to have benefited from last-minute changes that had been made to it. But it’s still extremely dangerous for the entire world, as will be fully explained here.

One key issue on which a change was made was whether the US would lower the threshold for introducing nuclear weapons into a conflict.

Princeton scholar Bruce Blair somehow saw an earlier draft of the NPR, and he headlined, in the normally neoconservative — but not this time; instead they published his warning against Trump’s going too far into neoconservatism — Washington Post, on January 13th, headlined “A new Trump administration plan makes nuclear war likelier; and Blair managed to report, in that neoconservative medium, that the then-draft NPR included the passage:

“The United States would only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States, its allies, and partners. Extreme circumstances could include significant non-nuclear strategic attacks. Significant non-nuclear strategic attacks include, but are not limited to, attacks on the US, allied, or partner civilian population or infrastructure.”

Blair criticized this:

Alarmingly, the wizards have uprooted the nuclear taboo and deluded themselves into believing that nuclear weapons are far more usable than previous presidents held. In a single ill-conceived stroke, they have expressed a readiness to go nuclear first in a conflict with Russia or others that had not yet crossed the nuclear Rubicon.

This is needless because the United States possesses ample conventional strength to repulse Russian aggression, and reckless because all it accomplishes is increasing the risk of blundering into a nuclear war.

The tech-journalist Jessica Conditt, on January 31st, two days prior to the NPR’s public release, picked up on Professor Blair’s article (without noting, however, where she had obtained her information on it) and wrote:

The draft takes its cue from the 2010 NPR when it says, copied verbatim, “The United States would only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States, its allies, and partners.”

However, the updated [she doesn’t indicate that this was ‘updated’ as of January 13th] version expands the definition of such events: “Extreme circumstances could include significant non-nuclear strategic attacks. Significant non-nuclear strategic attacks include, but are not limited to, attacks on the US, allied, or partner civilian population or infrastructure.”

Essentially, the draft opens the door for the US to respond to a devastating cyberattack with a nuclear strike. Perhaps a low-yield strike, even. Previously, the US has been averse to a first-use scenario, pledging to launch nuclear weapons only if the country were directly targeted by other nukes.

“It’s actually incredibly alarming that the Trump administration is putting forth the idea that we could use nuclear weapons in response to a cyberattack,” Alexandra Bell of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation told National Public Radio on Monday [January 28th] [and National Public Radio likewise had not indicated that the January 13th WP article was their source]. 

“The Trump plan actually puts multiple options on the table — nuclear weapon in response to a chemical attack, to a biological weapons attack, to an attack on civilians without a real description of where that threshold is and really widens the options for President Trump to use nuclear weapons.”

None of these conditions appeared in the final document, which instead said nothing about any of them.

In particular, the specifically quoted passage, which so alarmed these people:

“Extreme circumstances could include significant non-nuclear strategic attacks. Significant non-nuclear strategic attacks include, but are not limited to, attacks on the US, allied, or partner civilian population or infrastructure.”

does not appear in the final document that was published on February 2nd.

Furthermore, other seemingly moderating changes appear to have been made. Back on January 9th, Britain’s Guardian had headlined “US to loosen nuclear weapons constraints and develop more ‘usable’ warheads” and reported that “The new nuclear policy is significantly more hawkish that [meaning “than”] the posture adopted by the Obama administration, which sought to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in US defence,” and that, “Arms control advocates have voiced alarm at the new proposal to make smaller, more ‘usable’ nuclear weapons, arguing it makes a nuclear war more likely.”

Clearly, the initial recommendations from Trump’s Defense Secretary Mattis, who shapes Trump’s military views, have been somewhat softened — made less stupid — due to intensive criticisms in the press against them; and this fact indicates that Trump isn’t totally ignoring the opposition (i.e., Democratic Party) press, and that sometimes the billionaires who control the opposition Party and its media, can get through to him, via their media.

However, the final Trump-Mattis document is still extremely incoherent, self-contradictory, and does leave open the possibility that the types of extreme danger to the world’s security that worried these critics of the draft, will become instituted in actual practice by Mattis-Trump. He/they merely removed the explicit statements of the conditions in which the US would initiate a nuclear war. Trump-Mattis just reverted to Obama.

The big problem in the document (and which no one has pointed out) is that it (like all its predecessors) ignores the basic issue regarding nuclear weapons, which is: that there is no such thing as a nuclear weapon which isn’t a strategic weapon; any ‘nuke’, no matter how ‘small’, is a strategic nuclear weapon. The very concept of ‘tactical nukes’ is fraudulent.

Once the nuclear threshold has been breached in a confrontation between the two military super-powers (US & Russia), the history of civilization will be terminated. Much, but hardly all, of that termination will be what occurs in the first 20 to 30 minutes — the actual nuclear exchanges themselves.

World War III, if it happens at all, will be finished in less than 30 minutes, especially because the US has its missiles right on, and near, Russia’s borders. Russia is already down to very nearly a launch-on-warning response-window. Waiting before unleashing the entire retaliatory arsenal would be suicidal, because, otherwise, the opponent’s attack could obliterate much of that arsenal before it’s even in the air.

This is why the first side to “go nuclear” against the other will be at an enormous strategic advantage. ‘Tactical’ nuclear weapons (‘small’ nukes) should thus be outlawed altogether. Anything (such as the use of ‘small nukes’) that lowers the nuclear threshold, increases enormously the likelihood of a world-ending nuclear war, because the nuclear threshold has then already been crossed.

The side that crossed it might say that “We didn’t cross our strategic threshold,” but the opposite side might feel that it crossed theirs. Mattis ignores this reality, which can’t be modified (far less nullified) by any technological development (such as he assumes).

Nuclear weapons are, by their very physics, vastly higher energy-intensity than any other type of weaponry; and any attempt to make them smaller, or the delivery-system more accurate, doesn’t at all make them non-nuclear. If a weapon entails a nuclear-energy release, then it’s a nuclear weapon. Period. And any nuclear weapon is a strategic weapon. That’s just a strategic fact.

As Michel Chossudovsky wrote on February 5th (but based largely on those earlier news-reports that turned out not to reflect the final document), under the headline “Secret Meeting on the Privatization of Nuclear War Held on Hiroshima Day 2003: Behind closed doors at Strategic Command Headquarters”, providing important historical context to this:

The Trump Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review 2018 has called for “the development of new, more usable nuclear weapons”.

The 2018 NPR is in many regards Déjà Vu.

What seems to have escaped the numerous media reports on the 2018 NPR is that the development of “more usable nuclear weapons” had already been put forth in George W. Bush’s 2001 Nuclear Posture Review, which was adopted by the US Senate in late 2002.

In this regard, Senator Edward Kennedy had accused the Bush Administration for having developed “a generation of more usable nuclear weapons,” namely tactical nuclear weapons (B61-11 mini-nukes) with an explosive capacity between one third and 6 times times a Hiroshima bomb.

The term “more usable” emanates from debate surrounding the 2001 NPR, which justified the use of tactical nuclear weapons in the conventional war theater on the grounds that tactical nuclear weapons, namely bunker buster bombs with a nuclear warhead, are, according to scientific opinion on contract to the Pentagon [and thus hired in order to buttress the Pentagon’s viewpoint] “harmless to the surrounding population because the explosion is underground.”

Even if a ‘small nuke’ explodes underground, it can still be achieving a strategic objective — maybe even a decisive one, in a war that possesses major strategic significance.

Nuclear war starts when nuclear weapons are first used. Period.

The military opponent might be a non-nuclear power, in which case there won’t be nuclear retaliation. This would be like Japan 1945 (and the bombs that were used on those cities were ‘small’ enough to qualify to be referred to today as having been ‘small nukes’, or ‘tactical nuclear weapons’).

But America’s use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was “strategic” nonetheless. To deny this is simply to lie. It’s what Mattis-Trump-Obama-Bush do/did, and what almost all neoconservatives are committed to doing in order to increase the bottom lines of ‘Defense’ contractors.

Defense Secretary James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis

However, Mattis-Trump aren’t aiming to increase America’s ‘small nukes’ stockpiles only, or even mainly, in order to win ‘conventional’ wars (which WW II was). They have been openly pushing for it against both Russia and China. They have been publicly lowering the barrier to WW III.

How serious is this issue?

The only widely available scientific estimates of the impact that a nuclear war would have were done by Steven Starr — a scientist entirely non-dependent upon Lockheed Martin and other corporations that depend for their existence upon the most expensive of all strategic weapons systems, which are the nuclear-capable ones. A good summary of Starr’s analysis can be found here. However, his analysis is really based upon earlier ones, and those will now be discussed:

The latest scientific analysis of “Environmental Consequences of Nuclear War” was published in Physics Today December 2008, and said “A regional war involving 100 Hiroshima-sized weapons would pose a worldwide threat due to ozone destruction and climate change. A superpower confrontation with a few thousand weapons would be catastrophic.” That term “catastrophic” was a typical scholarly understatement, which actually meant ending civilization (if not ultimately life on Earth), but the article includes no direct verbiage about that, only such obtuse phrases as:

In the SORT conflict, we assume that Russia targets 1000 weapons on the US and 200 warheads each on France, Germany, India, Japan, Pakistan, and the UK. We assume the US targets 1100 weapons each on China and Russia. We do not consider the 1000 weapons held in the UK, China, France, Israel, India, Pakistan, and possibly North Korea. …

With 1000 weapons detonated in the US, 48% of the total population and 59% of the urban population could fall within about 5 km of ground zero; 20% of the total population and 25% of the urban population could be killed outright, while an additional 16% of the total population and 20% of the urban population could become injured. …

Because the soot associated with a nuclear exchange is injected into the upper atmosphere, the stratosphere is heated and stratospheric circulation is perturbed. For the 5-Tg injection associated with a regional conflict [much smaller than a Russia-America war would be], stratospheric temperatures would remain elevated by 30°C [54 degrees Fahrenheit] after four years.6–8 [No estimate is provided in the case of a Russia-v.-America conflict.

Presumably, it would quickly end the world; so, it’s not publicly analyzed.] The resulting temperature and circulation anomalies would reduce ozone columns by 20% globally, by 25–45% at middle latitudes, and by 50–70% at northern high latitudes for perhaps as much as five years, with substantial losses persisting for an additional five years.7 

The calculations of the 1980s generally did not consider such effects or the mechanisms that cause them. Rather, they focused on the direct injection of nitrogen oxides by the fireballs of large-yield weapons that are no longer deployed. Global-scale models have only recently become capable of performing the sophisticated atmospheric chemical calculations needed to delineate detailed ozone-depletion mechanisms. Indeed, simulations of ozone loss following a SORT conflict have not yet been conducted. …

For any nuclear conflict, nuclear winter would seriously [the term “seriously” is nowhere defined] affect noncombatant countries.12 

In a hypothetical SORT war, for example, we estimate that most of the world’s population, including that of the Southern Hemisphere would be threatened by the indirect effects on global climate.

The norm for scientists — who are hired by large corporations that have huge stakes in the ‘findings’ and that hire those same scientists only to the extent the given scientist supports the same things that their employers support — is to avoid terminology that will attract non-specialists, and this article included no estimates as to how many survivors there would be after all the nuclear poisoning and ozone depletion and soaring high-altitude temperatures and ultimate plunging ground-temperatures, and the interactions of all those factors.

The scientific establishment (largely dependent upon the military-industrial complex) and the political establishment (likewise) are obviously not trying to educate the public about any of those realities — and Mattis says nothing about them, if he even knows about them.

Does he have the numbers that aren’t published? Why are they not published? Who benefits by hiding these matters from the public? Who will hire Mattis after he leaves Government? Does he really think that the US military can force the rest of the world in the way that America’s Deep State (billionaires and their hired agents inside and outside the US Government) want?

Subsequently, in January 2010, some of the same scientists who had done that December 2008 study, published “Local Nuclear War”, and opened: “Worry has focused on the US versus Russia, but a regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan could blot out the sun, starving much of the human race.” That sounds about the same as they had said earlier would happen if the US and Russia haul off against each other.

Obviously, however, a Russia-v.-US war would actually be much worse than a Pakistan-v.-India war. Something’s wrong here. The scientists aren’t doing their job; or, if they are, it’s not the public’s job (i.e., not informing the public in a democracy as a real democracy would require), it’s the military-industrial complex’s job that they’re doing. And people such as Mattis are the very public front of it. And US President Donald Trump has essentially contracted-out his international relations to Mattis.

Here are highlights, key excerpts, from the final published Nuclear Posture Review; and, after it will be discussed its key failings:

——

media.defense.gov

NUCLEAR POSTURE REVIEW FEBRUARY 2018

OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

Executive Summary Introduction On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump directed Secretary of Defense James Mattis to initiate a new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). The President made clear that his first priority is to protect the United States, allies, and partners. He also emphasized both the long-term goal of eliminating nuclear weapons and the requirement that the United States have modern, flexible, and resilient nuclear capabilities that are safe and secure until such a time as nuclear weapons can prudently be eliminated from the world.

The United States remains committed to its efforts in support of the ultimate global elimination of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. It has reduced the nuclear stockpile by over 85 percent since the height of the Cold War and deployed no new nuclear capabilities for over two decades. Nevertheless, global threat conditions have worsened markedly since the most recent 2010 NPR, including increasingly explicit nuclear threats from potential adversaries. …

The Value of US Nuclear Capabilities 

The fundamental reasons why US nuclear capabilities and deterrence strategies are necessary for US, allied, and partner security are readily apparent. US nuclear capabilities make essential contributions to the deterrence of nuclear and non-nuclear aggression. The deterrence effects they provide are unique and essential to preventing adversary nuclear attacks, which is the highest priority of the United States.

US nuclear capabilities cannot prevent all conflict, and should not be expected to do so. But, they contribute uniquely to the deterrence of both nuclear and non-nuclear aggression. They are essential for these purposes and will be so for the foreseeable future. Non-nuclear forces also play essential deterrence roles, but do not provide comparable deterrence effects — as is reflected by past, periodic, and catastrophic failures of conventional deterrence to prevent Great Power war before the advent of nuclear deterrence. … 

Deterrence of Nuclear and Non-Nuclear Attack 

Effective US deterrence of nuclear attack and non-nuclear strategic attack requires ensuring that potential adversaries do not miscalculate regarding the consequences of nuclear first use, either regionally or against the United States itself.

They must understand that there are no possible benefits from non-nuclear aggression or limited nuclear escalation. Correcting any such misperceptions is now critical to maintaining strategic stability in Europe and Asia. …

Enhancing Deterrence with Non-strategic Nuclear Capabilities 

Existing elements of the nuclear force replacement program predate the dramatic deterioration of the strategic environment. To meet the emerging requirements of US strategy, the United States will now pursue select supplements to the replacement program to enhance the flexibility and responsiveness of US nuclear forces.

It is a reflection of the versatility and flexibility of the US triad that only modest supplements are now required in this much more challenging threat environment. These supplements will enhance deterrence by denying potential adversaries any mistaken confidence that limited nuclear employment can provide a useful advantage over the United States and its allies.

Russia’s belief that limited nuclear first use, potentially including low-yield weapons, can provide such an advantage is based, in part, on Moscow’s perception that its greater number and variety of non-strategic nuclear systems provide a coercive advantage in crises and at lower levels of conflict

. Recent Russian statements on this evolving nuclear weapons doctrine appear to lower the threshold for Moscow’s first-use of nuclear weapons. Russia demonstrates its perception of the advantage these systems provide through numerous exercises and statements. Correcting this mistaken Russian perception is a strategic imperative. …

Expanding flexible US nuclear options now, to include low-yield options, is important for the preservation of credible deterrence against regional aggression. It will raise the nuclear threshold and help ensure that potential adversaries perceive no possible advantage in limited nuclear escalation, making nuclear employment less likely. … In the near-term, the United States will modify a small number of existing SLBM warheads to provide a low-yield option, and in the longer term, pursue a modern nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile (SLCM).

Unlike DCA, a low-yield SLBM warhead and SLCM will not require or rely on host nation support to provide deterrent effect. They will provide additional diversity in platforms, range, and survivability, and a valuable hedge against future nuclear “break out” scenarios. DoD and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) will develop for deployment a low-yield SLBM warhead to ensure a prompt response option that is able to penetrate adversary defenses.

This is a comparatively low-cost and near term modification to an existing capability that will help counter any mistaken perception of an exploitable “gap” in US regional deterrence capabilities. In addition to this near-term step, for the longer term the United States will pursue a nuclear-armed SLCM, leveraging existing technologies to help ensure its cost effectiveness. SLCM will provide a needed non-strategic regional presence, an assured response capability. 

——

The dead give-away there is the subhead “Enhancing Deterrence with Non-strategic Nuclear Capabilities.” There are no “non-strategic nuclear capabilities.” Mattis-Trump still accept the lie that there are. If they don’t know that it’s a lie, they’re idiots.

In other words: the NPR (meaning Nuclear Posture Review, not National Public Radio) is based upon using nuclear weapons in order to win a nuclear war. That has actually been America’s real nuclear strategy ever since at least 2006. ‘Small’ nukes will now be used instead of conventional weapons, to “warn” “the enemy” against using “small nukes.”

The problem with this line of thinking is that it ignores that, regardless of whether the conflict starts with regular weapons or with “small nukes,” the response to it will necessarily be a total blitz release of the other side’s entire strategic nuclear stockpile, because the first side to release its entire nuclear stockpile against the other will be the one that suffers the less harm. In military parlance, the side that suffers the less harm is the ‘winner’, regardless of any other factor. That’s the basic reality of military strategy: it’s inevitably win-lose, not win-win.

The advantage to “going first” is much greater in strategic military matters than it is in chess or other (i.e., non-fatal) “competitive games.” Mattis ignores, instead of states, this fact.

The first side to release everything will destroy some of the other side’s weaponry and thus enormously weaken the other side. And defense against nuclear weapons costs much more than does increasing the weapons that are strictly for aggression (the latter of which — overtly, instead of merely covertly, aggressive weapons — is Russia’s strategy).

In any war, even ‘defensive’ weapons are for aggressive purposes — to win — in this case, to invalidate some of the opposite side’s attacking weaponry.

The United States is trying to create ABM (BMD) systems that will eliminate Russia’s retaliatory weapons in the event that the US attacks Russia first. With existing nuclear-warhead treaty-limits against both sides, there is no way for Russia to countervail America’s ABM-buildup other than to exceed the existing nuclear-warhead-limiting treaties.

Putin and his successors won’t tolerate America’s spending-war against the Soviet Union being repeated against Russia. If driven by the US to do so, Russia’s response will thus be to exceed existing warhead-limitations, as being the more cost-effective way to respond to America’s ABM buildup — a buildup that threatens Russia’s ability to retaliate against a possible NATO nuclear blitz-attack, first-strike surprise invasion, against Russia.

America is trying to outspend Russia into historical oblivion before a nuclear war even happens. But Russia, like America, would rather strike first than be struck first, and won’t allow the US to gain the ability to win a nuclear war. America’s policy is “M.A.D. is dead.”

Nuclear victory is now the goal. As was previously said, this has been the strategic nuclear policy of the United States Government since at least 2006. In fact, this US nuclear policy was subsequently confirmed in a shocking article published on 1 March 2017 in the prestigious Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

So, it can no longer be reasonably denied. Winning a nuclear war against Russia is now irrefutably the US Government’s real objective. This fact, also significantly, exposes the fraudulence (or else ignorance) of the Princetonian, Professor Blair, in the January 13th Washington Post article, saying “Alarmingly, the wizards have uprooted the nuclear taboo.”

That ‘taboo’ was actually ended by the US Establishment by no later than 2006, but has been consistently continued on the Russian side (which has no incentive whatsoever to promote the blatant lie that a nuclear war between the US and Russia can be ‘won’).

The very concept of “victory” in a nuclear war between the two military super-powers is insane. It is pre-nuclear thinking. Mattis and Trump are now basically committed to it, just as was President Obama, and George W. Bush before him. Mattis’s NPR was going to fill in some of the blanks that prior US Presidents didn’t yet want filled in, but the torrent of criticisms from Democratic Party newsmedia seem to have stopped that.

Thus: on nuclear strategy, Trump is continuing Obama. No one is publicly discussing what’s central. Even the published criticisms don’t.

In the nuclear age, the mere possession of nuclear weapons places the given nation into a strategically different category than any that even so much as existed in pre-nuclear-weapon history. That’s the reason why there has been so much concern about North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program, and about the possible such program in Iran. In warfare, nuclear is strategic — never merely ‘tactical’.

Any nation that operationalizes nuclear weaponry enters thereby into a military category that didn’t even exist until 1945. Any press statements that pertain to nuclear weaponry but ignore this basic strategic fact about them, disqualify both the publisher and the writer. Any nuclear weapon is a strategic weapon, by definition of “nuclear weapon.”

This is especially the case if it’s being used against another nuclear-weapon nation. However, even when Japan surrendered to the US in 1945, because it had no deliverable nuclear weapon with which to retaliate, that was very definitely a strategically significant matter.

Incidentally, Mattis’s (and this statement did make it into the final draft) “Russia’s belief that limited nuclear first use, potentially including low-yield weapons, can provide such an advantage” is probably entirely fictitious — a lie about “Russia’s belief.” Russia has not — at least not publicly — endorsed any such “belief”; and, the last time when Russia even so much as mentioned the subject (which was as of 2003), “Russian officials say that the lack of information about Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons is necessary.”

As of today, a Google-search for the phrase “Russia’s new tactical nuclear weapon” produces a finding: “No results found for ‘Russia’s new tactical nuclear weapon’.” None — ever, including now. In other words: no Russian tactical nuclear weapon has ever been reported to the public, even by Russia’s enemies (i.e., by the US and its allies).

Mattis is almost certainly lying to employ the phrase “Russia’s belief that limited nuclear first use, potentially including low-yield weapons, can provide such an advantage”; but, if he’s not, then the Government that currently hires him is obligated to its public (if there’s anything at all democratic about that Government) to provide evidence backing up that allegation.

And, as to whether the US Government itself (such as in that statement from Mattis) should ever be trusted, the answer is very clearly no. So, that evidence needs to be provided by the US Government, to the public; and, otherwise, the NPR should be viewed as being both scurrilous and extremely dangerous to the entire world, for unsupportedly alleging this.

But, in any case, NATO already publicly acknowledges having tactical nuclear weapons. And, as of 2011, the US had already deployed over 150 of them in Europe. The US has those weapons, which should be illegal, but the big debate on the US side is how they ‘should’ be used. They should be the first weapons to be destroyed. The aggressor is clearly the US.

America’s military-industrial complex (sometimes called “neoconservatives”) now headlines ‘news’-reports, by such unintended bad jokes as “Tactical Nuclear Weapons: How America Could Have Won the Vietnam War?” which are just PR pieces for costly new government-contracts for military-supply corporations such as Raytheon to produce yet more of these weapons that ought to be outright destroyed; so, now, we’re supposed to believe (from the military-industrial complex’s ‘news’media) that there could have been a ‘technological fix’ for the Vietnam War (which war was actually just a US-and-allied invasion of Vietnam). Napalm wasn’t already bad enough? Really?

A November 2011 US Army War College study “Russian Nuclear Weapons: Past, Present and Future”, which reflected 100% neoconservative assumptions, said (p. 296) “an analysis of Russia’s current thinking about nuclear issues reveals ongoing and vigorous high-level debates about nuclear weapons. This debate is evidently linked to the domestic struggle for primacy between the factions around Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev.” Then:

The public debate began in earnest in October 2009 when Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of Russia’s Security Council, told an interviewer that the forthcoming defense doctrine will be amended to allow for the possibility of preventive and preemptive first strikes, including nuclear strikes, even in the context of a purely conventional local war and even at the lower level of operational-tactical, as opposed to strategic, strikes.10 This triggered a major public debate over those questions that paralleled the private debate among Russia’s leaders.

Although ultimately the published doctrine omitted to say these things, the citation above about armored vehicles suggests that for many Patrushev’s views are nevertheless reflected there.11 In addition, the doctrine was accompanied by a classified publication on nuclear issues that left foreign observers in the dark about when Russia might or might not go nuclear and for what purposes and missions.

The same book (p. 321) even presents an amazing passage which acknowledges “the danger [to Russia] (as listed in the new defense doctrine) of NATO enlargement, and the threat of [US] missile defenses coming closer to Russia” and then it just ignores this outrageously unacceptable danger to Russia, and proceeds to try to portray as if today’s non-communist Russia is the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact partners, and as if they are positioning weaponry on and near America’s borders — to portray that the aggressor is Russia, and not NATO:

Fourth, given these conditions, the danger (as listed in the new defense doctrine) of NATO enlargement, and the threat of missile defenses coming closer to Russia, Moscow believes that it is being placed under mounting military-political pressure, or at least professes to be so, even though it undoubtedly knows that NATO is hardly an offensive threat and that the US missile defenses cannot threaten its systems.92

Therefore, it has been ready for at least a decade with its threat of striking first with nuclear weapons, even against conventional strikes, if the threat to its interests is dire enough. Thus in 1999 Colonel General Vladimir Yakovlev, commander in chief of Russia’s nuclear forces, stated that: “Russia, for objective reasons, is forced to lower the threshold for using nuclear weapons, extend the nuclear deterrent to smaller-scale conflicts and openly warn potential opponents about this.”93 Since then, there has been no mention of any further alteration of this threshold. Consequently Russia sees nuclear weapons as warfighting weapons.

That “or at least professes to be so” indicates the author’s distrust of Russia’s many pleas to the US military alliance not to do this. His “NATO is hardly an offensive threat” is a lie so blatant that only an idiot could actually believe it. Regardless of whether its author was stupid or instead a liar, those interjections from him reflect the mind-set of the people who write such things — such writers blatantly disqualify themselves from being trusted by any intelligent human being.

Subsequently (p. 331) the book made clear precisely which of the two — Putin or Medvedev — the author thought to be supporting tactical nuclear weaponry:

Medvedev made it clear that Russia does not need to increase its offensive nuclear capability any further than was originally planned.124 Clearly this directly contradicted Putin’s public remarks in December 2009, underscoring the continuing divisions between Putin and Medvedev and within the Russian military-political elite.

This conveniently ignores that Putin has always been talking only about the need for Russia to improve its strategic nuclear weaponry. No indication at all has been given anywhere, that Putin supports the development of tactical nuclear weapons. Perhaps he does; and perhaps Russia has some of those weapons (which would be idiotic for Russia to have), but the neoconservative US military-industrial complex isn’t yet publicly able to cite any evidence that Russia does (or is).

Even that book, which stretched as far as it could in order to assume that Russia has every type of weapon, and that the US therefore needs to catch up and spend yet more money on yet newer types of weapons from General Dynamics and Boeing etc. than it already does, could offer no evidence that Russia has any tactical nuclear weapons at all.

The United States seems to be now clearly trying to repeat its victory (a victory of capitalism over communism) in the Cold War against the Soviet Union — outspending it until exhausting ‘the enemy’ — but this time against Russia (which, unlike the Soviet Union, presents no ideological threat to America, nor any ideological or other military alliance against it such as the Warsaw Pact that the Soviet Union countered against America’s NATO alliance). All that Mattis-Trump will be able to achieve with this is to force Russia to quit all nuclear-warhead-limiting treaties.

Nuclear weapons, of any type, have only one constructive use: to deter being attacked. Without them, the Cold War might very likely have become a hot war. But with them, the world has gone since 1945 with no super-power war. “Ban the Bomb!” means: Let’s have yet another superpower war. M.A.D. is real.

The US Establishment is lying to deny it, or even to question it. The “usefulness” of nuclear weapons thus is strictly of a psychological nature — but the most important usefulness of all for avoiding a WW III. Any actual physical war-use of a nuclear weapon would be evil.

Perhaps even the armaments-firms that make billions from governments in many countries would rather it not happen, but they have stockholders whose wealth and power depends upon increasing governments’ expenditures on their militaries — and nuclear weapons-systems are the costliest of all. Buying (or advertising in) news-media to promote invasions is effective marketing for them.

But with ever-increasing expenditure on weapons at the expense of authentically productive products and services, which help instead of maim and kill, the world gets closer and closer to having to choose between those investors, versus the world’s future. At some point, the world’s future must become governments’ top priority; no investors or any group of investors has the right to stand against that, regardless of how hard those investors might stand against the world.

The restored unlimited arms-race will be an enormous boon to the billionaires who own or control corporations such as Lockheed Martin, but the entire world will be impoverished as a result. Obviously, America’s billionaires don’t care at all about that (except in their pious ‘humanitarian’ rhetoric preaching to the rest of the world while funding politicians who push coups and invasions worldwide).

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According to Zerohedge, in an almost unprecedented event – having rarely commented on stories related to the special counsel’s investigation – Robert S. Mueller III’s office put out a statement firmly disputing the reporting of the news site BuzzFeed reported that the president instructed his personal attorney to lie to Congress about his push for a Moscow real estate project

BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate,” the special counsel’s office said.

As The Hill reports, BuzzFeed had released a statement earlier Friday defending the reporters behind the story and saying that it “stands by this story 100%,” and for his part, Cohen adviser Lanny Davis refused to confirm or deny the report during an interview with MSNBC on Friday afternoon.

President Trump retweeted a few social media reactions…

And then made his own views clear:

Meanwhile the real election collusion bombshell had nothing to do with Russia, Moscow hotels, or Michael Cohen, and everything to do with bullet proof evidence that DOJ official, Bruce Ohr, warned all the higher-ups at the FBI and DOJ (Comey, Rosenstein, McCabe, etc…) that the Steele dossier was connected to Hillary Clinton, and was extremely biased against Donald Trump.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how BuzzFeed pushed out a clear, fake propaganda story on Trump, Cohen, and more stupidity about Moscow hotel deals, as real reporter, John Solomon broke a massive story, with solid evidence and facts, that show the FBI and DOJ knew that the Steele dossier was a complete work of fiction, and knowingly hide that fact from FISA courts.

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Authored by John Solomon, via The Hill

When the annals of mistakes and abuses in the FBI’s Russia investigation are finally written, Bruce Ohr almost certainly will be the No. 1 witness, according to my sources.

The then-senior Department of Justice (DOJ) official briefed both senior FBI and DOJ officials in summer 2016 about Christopher Steele’s Russia dossier, explicitly cautioning that the British intelligence operative’s work was opposition research connected to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and might be biased.

Ohr’s briefings, in July and August 2016, included the deputy director of the FBI, a top lawyer for then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and a Justice official who later would become the top deputy to special counsel Robert Mueller.

At the time, Ohr was the associate deputy attorney general. Yet his warnings about political bias were pointedly omitted weeks later from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant that the FBI obtainedfrom a federal court, granting it permission to spy on whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia to hijack the 2016 presidential election.

Ohr’s activities, chronicled in handwritten notes and congressional testimony I gleaned from sources, provide the most damning evidence to date that FBI and DOJ officials may have misled federal judges in October 2016 in their zeal to obtain the warrant targeting Trump adviser Carter Page just weeks before Election Day.

They also contradict a key argument that House Democrats have made in their formal intelligence conclusions about the Russia case.

Since it was disclosed last year that Steele’s dossier formed a central piece of evidence supporting the FISA warrant, Justice and FBI officials have been vague about exactly when they learned that Steele’s work was paid for by the law firm representing the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

A redacted version of the FISA application released last year shows the FBI did not mention any connection to the DNC or Clinton. Rather, it referred to Steele as a reliable source in past criminal investigations who was hired by a person working for a U.S. law firm to conduct research on Trump and Russia.

The FBI claimed it was “unaware of any derogatory information” about Steele, that Steele was “never advised … as to the motivation behind the research” but that the FBI  “speculates” that those who hired Steele were “likely looking for information to discredit” Trump’s campaign.

Yet, in testimony last summer to congressional investigators, Ohr revealed the FBI and Justice lawyers had no need to speculate: He explicitly warned them in a series of contacts, beginning July 31, 2016, that Steele expressed biased against Trump and was working on a project connected to the Clinton campaign.

Ohr had firsthand knowledge about the motive and the client: He had just met with Steele on July 30, 2016, and Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS, the same firm employing Steele.

“I certainly told the FBI that Fusion GPS was working with, doing opposition research on Donald Trump,” Ohr told congressional investigators, adding that he warned the FBI that Steele expressed bias during their conversations.

“I provided information to the FBI when I thought Christopher Steele was, as I said, desperate that Trump not be elected,” he added. “So, yes, of course I provided that to the FBI.”

When pressed why he would offer that information to the FBI, Ohr answered: “In case there might be any kind of bias or anything like that.” He added later, “So when I provided it to the FBI, I tried to be clear that this is source information, I don’t know how reliable it is. You’re going to have to check it out and be aware.”

Ohr went further, saying he disclosed to FBI agents that his wife and Steele were working for the same firm and that it was conducting the Trump-Russia research project at the behest of Trump’s Democratic rival, the Clinton campaign.

“These guys were hired by somebody relating to, who’s related to the Clinton campaign and be aware,” Ohr told Congress, explaining what he warned the bureau.

Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented both the DNC and the Clinton campaign during the 2016 election, belatedly admitted it paid Fusion GPS for Steele’s work on behalf of the candidate and party and disguised the payments as legal bills when, in fact, it was opposition research.

When asked if he knew of any connection between the Steele dossier and the DNC, Ohr responded that he believed the project was really connected to the Clinton campaign.

“I didn’t know they were employed by the DNC but I certainly said yes that they were working for, you know, they were somehow working, associated with the Clinton campaign,” he answered.

“I also told the FBI that my wife worked for Fusion GPS or was a contractor for GPS, Fusion GPS.”

Ohr divulged his first contact with the FBI was on July 31, 2016, when he reached out to then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and FBI attorney Lisa Page. He then was referred to the agents working Russia counterintelligence, including Peter Strzok, the now-fired agent who played a central role in starting the Trump collusion probe.

But Ohr’s contacts about the Steele dossier weren’t limited to the FBI. He said in August 2016 — nearly two months before the FISA warrant was issued — that he was asked to conduct a briefing for senior Justice officials.

Those he briefed included Andrew Weissmann, then the head of DOJ’s fraud section; Bruce Swartz, longtime head of DOJ’s international operations, and Zainab Ahmad, an accomplished terrorism prosecutor who, at the time, was assigned to work with Lynch as a senior counselor.

Ahmad and Weissmann would go on to work for Mueller, the special prosecutor overseeing the Russia probe.

Ohr’s extensive testimony also undercuts one argument that House Democrats sought to make last year.

When Republicans, in early 2018, first questioned Ohr’s connections to Steele, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee sought to minimize the connection, insisting he only worked as an informer for the FBI after Steele was fired by the FBI in November 2016.

The memo from Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) team claimed that Ohr’s contacts with the FBI only began “weeks after the election and more than a month after the Court approved the initial FISA application.”

But Ohr’s testimony now debunks that claim, making clear he started talking to FBI and DOJ officials well before the FISA warrant or election had occurred.

And his detailed answers provide a damning rebuttal to the FBI’s portrayal of the Steele material.

In fact, the FBI did have derogatory information on Steele: Ohr explicitly told the FBI that Steele was desperate to defeat the man he was investigating and was biased.

And the FBI knew the motive of the client and did not have to speculate: Ohr told agents the Democratic nominee’s campaign was connected to the research designed to harm Trump’s election chances.

Such omissions are, by definition, an abuse of the FISA system.

Don’t take my word for it. Fired FBI Director James Comey acknowledged it himself when he testified last month that the FISA court relies on an honor system, in which the FBI is expected to divulge exculpatory evidence to the judges.

“We certainly consider it our obligation, because of our trust relationship with federal judges, to present evidence that would paint a materially different picture of what we’re presenting,” Comey testified on Dec. 7, 2018. “You want to present to the judge reviewing your application a complete picture of the evidence, both its flaws and its strengths.”

Comey claims he didn’t know about Ohr’s contacts with Steele, even though his top deputy, McCabe, got the first contact.

But none of that absolves his FBI, or the DOJ for that matter, from failing to divulge essential and exculpatory information from Ohr to the FISA court.

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He is The Hill’s executive vice president for video.

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At Age 70, Time To Rethink NATO

The architect of Cold War containment, Dr. George Kennan, warned that moving NATO into Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics would prove a “fateful error.”

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via The Unz Review:


“Treaties are like roses and young girls. They last while they last.”

So said President Charles De Gaulle, who in 1966 ordered NATO to vacate its Paris headquarters and get out of France.

NATO this year celebrates a major birthday. The young girl of 1966 is no longer young. The alliance is 70 years old.

And under this aging NATO today, the U.S. is committed to treat an attack on any one of 28 nations from Estonia to Montenegro to Romania to Albania as an attack on the United States.

The time is ripe for a strategic review of these war guarantees to fight a nuclear-armed Russia in defense of countries across the length of Europe that few could find on a map.

Apparently, President Donald Trump, on trips to Europe, raised questions as to whether these war guarantees comport with vital U.S. interests and whether they could pass a rigorous cost-benefit analysis.

The shock of our establishment that Trump even raised this issue in front of Europeans suggests that the establishment, frozen in the realities of yesterday, ought to be made to justify these sweeping war guarantees.

Celebrated as “the most successful alliance in history,” NATO has had two histories. Some of us can yet recall its beginnings.

In 1948, Soviet troops, occupying eastern Germany all the way to the Elbe and surrounding Berlin, imposed a blockade on the city.

The regime in Prague was overthrown in a Communist coup. Foreign minister Jan Masaryk fell, or was thrown, from a third-story window to his death. In 1949, Stalin exploded an atomic bomb.

As the U.S. Army had gone home after V-E Day, the U.S. formed a new alliance to protect the crucial European powers — West Germany, France, Britain, Italy. Twelve nations agreed that an attack on one would be treated as an attack on them all.

Cross the Elbe and you are at war with us, including the U.S. with its nuclear arsenal, Stalin was, in effect, told. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops returned to Europe to send the message that America was serious.

Crucial to the alliance was the Yalta line dividing Europe agreed to by Stalin, FDR and Churchill at the 1945 Crimean summit on the Black Sea.

U.S. presidents, even when monstrous outrages were committed in Soviet-occupied Europe, did not cross this line into the Soviet sphere.

Truman did not send armored units up the highway to Berlin. He launched an airlift to break the Berlin blockade. Ike did not intervene to save the Hungarian rebels in 1956. JFK confined his rage at the building of the Berlin Wall to the rhetorical: “Ich bin ein Berliner.”

LBJ did nothing to help the Czechs when, before the Democratic convention in 1968, Leonid Brezhnev sent Warsaw Pact tank armies to crush the Prague Spring.

When the Solidarity movement of Lech Walesa was crushed in Gdansk, Reagan sent copy and printing machines. At the Berlin Wall in 1988, he called on Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

Reagan never threatened to tear it down himself.

But beginning in 1989, the Wall was torn down, Germany was united, the Red Army went home, the Warsaw Pact dissolved, the USSR broke apart into 15 nations, and Leninism expired in its birthplace.

As the threat that had led to NATO disappeared, many argued that the alliance created to deal with that threat should be allowed to fade away, and a free and prosperous Europe should now provide for its own defense.

It was not to be. The architect of Cold War containment, Dr. George Kennan, warned that moving NATO into Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics would prove a “fateful error.”

This, said Kennan, would “inflame the nationalistic and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion” and “restore the atmosphere of the cold war in East-West relations.” Kennan was proven right.

America is now burdened with the duty to defend Europe from the Atlantic to the Baltic, even as we face a far greater threat in China, with an economy and population 10 times that of Russia.

And we must do this with a defense budget that is not half the share of the federal budget or the GDP that Eisenhower and Kennedy had.

Trump is president today because the American people concluded that our foreign policy elite, with their endless interventions where no vital U.S. interest was imperiled, had bled and virtually bankrupted us, while kicking away all of the fruits of our Cold War victory.

Halfway into Trump’s term, the question is whether he is going to just talk about halting Cold War II with Russia, about demanding that Europe pay for its own defense, and about bringing the troops home — or whether he is going to act upon his convictions.

Our foreign policy establishment is determined to prevent Trump from carrying out his mandate. And if he means to carry out his agenda, he had best get on with it.

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The ISIS attack in Syria appears to have failed in its real mission

ISIS probably tried to get Mr. Trump to keep troops in Syria, but in reality this attack shows no compelling reason to remain there.

Seraphim Hanisch

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ISIS is one of the bloodiest, most brutal organizations to ever exist in modern history. During its meteoric rise, the “Caliphate” struck with death and fear across the deserts of Iraq and the wastes of Syria, seducing a seemingly increasing number of recruits from the West, developing its own currency and financing abilities, all the while remaining a death cult, in the conviction that their eventual destruction would trigger a far greater Islamic uprising.

But something changed for them starting in about 2013. While ISIS got quietly aided and abetted by President Obama’s (perhaps not unwitting) support through neglect and then even quieter collaboration (Obama thought ISIS could be “managed” in the effort to oust Bashar Al-Assad from Syria), its power and reach extended through much of Syria.

But then came Russia. Russia didn’t think ISIS should be managed. Russia determined that ISIS should be destroyed. And in 2015, invited by Syria, the Russians came and went to work. They did most of the heavy lifting in terms of driving ISIS back, while (inconveniently for the US and West) also carefully taking back Syrian territory from antigovernment groups that were supported by the US and its coalition of forces operating in the country, including Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, and all the names it took on afterwards. This was quietly carried out because the Americans also had face to save, owing to Obama’s clumsy decision to send American forces into the country, which gradually grew and metastasized into a significantly sized fighting force.

With an extremely complicated group of alliances and enemies, the American forces were forced to quietly abandon their mission of removing Bashar al-Assad from power and to pivot to actually destroying ISIS. President Trump does deserve some credit for his part in helping this to happen. He also deserves a lot of credit for his recent decision to pull American troops out of Syria.

This move was severely condemned by the US hawks, resulting in the resignation / firing / retirement of former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and, in an amusing show of hypocrisy, the pundits from the Anti-Trump crowd at CNN and other news outlets characterized this decision as the US President proving once and for all that he is a Putin operative, a real-life Manchurian President.

ISIS evidently wanted the US not to leave either, so it conducted an attack on Wednesday, January 16th, tragically killing 19 people, with four Americans among the dead. The New York Times was lightning-fast to jump into the fray to carry out what was probably ISIS’ real mission with this attack: to sow seeds of doubt among the US authorities, and to keep American forces in the region (emphasis added).

Four Americans were among 19 people killed in Syria on Wednesday in a suicide bombing that was claimed by the Islamic State, just weeks after President Trump ordered the withdrawal of United States forces and declared that the extremist group had been defeated.

The attack targeted an American military convoy in the northern city of Manbij while troops were inside the Palace of the Princes, a restaurant where they often stopped to eat during patrols, residents said. While the Americans were inside, a nearby suicide attacker wearing an explosive vest blew himself up.

The bombing raised new questions about Mr. Trump’s surprise decision last month to end the American ground war in Syria. Critics of the president’s plans, including members of his own party, said Mr. Trump’s claim of victory over the Islamic State may have emboldened its fighters and encouraged Wednesday’s strike… Mr. Trump’s withdrawal announcement, made over the objections of his top national security officials, “set in motion enthusiasm by the enemy we’re fighting,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a prominent Trump ally who has nonetheless criticized the military drawdown.

“I saw this in Iraq. And I’m now seeing it in Syria,” Mr. Graham said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday.

The rest of the article, of course, had the Trump Administration defending itself, with Vice President Mike Pence as the spokesman of that defense.

However, already only two days later, the noise about this seems to have faded. There is no ongoing media fury about the President’s decision to remove troops. In fact, aside from the ongoing investigation to confirm that ISIS indeed did carry out this attack, there is no indication of a change in the troop withdrawal process.

If this situation remains as it is, it is a very good sign for these reasons:

  1. President Trump is showing his resolve and confidence in a decision he knows to be right (to withdraw) and not to accede to the War Party wishes.
  2. ISIS is losing its reputation as a significant fighting force as far as the US population is concerned, as it probably should. With the US gone, Russia can prosecute this war full force without risk of creating more serious incidents with the Americans.
  3. The possibility exists that this attack, already heinous in what we know, could have been a false flag, designed specifically to provoke the US troop withdrawal to stop and be reversed.

This last scenario has oddly not been visibly mentioned, but it should be, because it probably happened in April 2018 and earlier. The Duran covered this quite extensively, and while the “official” (Western) investigation has come up curiously silent on the alleged chemical weapons attack last April in Ghouta, the overwhelming body of reports from the region suggested that the “gas” attack was nothing at all but drama to keep the US ensnared in the region. Remember, President Trump at that time also expressed the intention of withdrawing US troops from the area, and this event caused a reversal for a time.

ISIS tried to become a nation. It operates on terror and theater, but it considers itself free to kill people along the way as it creates its pageantry. For the souls of all those innocent people who perished in this attack, we must pray and not forget.

But ISIS is substantially done, and what is left will be dealt with by Russian and Syrian forces.

For once, the definition of “American courage” might be not to fight. President Trump’s decision to remove the troops remains one of the most significant achievements of his presidency, and one of the most important in terms of restoring balance to the United States that it deserves to have.

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