Croatian Media and Police Covering Up Migrant Violence

Political Reactionary

Croatia used to be an extremely safe country, but this appears to be bound to change. While Croatian police does not have any (public) statistics on violence and identity of perpetators, there is an obvious trend of increase in violence as number of migrants on Croatian territory increases. As usual, multiculturalism leads to violent and dysfunctional society.

Major issue is that real number of migrants in Croatia is significantly higher than the official numbers. In the last few years, only very few cases of rapes, robberies and generally migrant-caused violence had ended up in the media, yet real numbers are far greater. And this is no accident. Migrant violence is being covered up, as can be seen from now two months old case of murder in Zagreb.

Dead body had been found on a tram line 6 in New Zagreb. First information was that the cause of death was unknown…

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BEHOLD: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WORLD PROBLEMS & HUMAN POTENTIAL • Risk of Eco-Accidents

“The Great Work” = Enabled by Climate Emergency

Source: http://encyclopedia.uia.org/en/problem/132519

Risk of Eco-Accidents:

NATURE: Abrupt and widespread discontinuities exist in the fossil record of fauna and are considered evidence of widespread mass extinction of species. These low frequency events have been attributed to fluctuations in sea level, reversals of the geomagnetic fields (exposing the earth’s surface to lethal radiation), impacts of the earth by very large meteors (putting tons of dust into the atmosphere cutting off photosynthesis) and supernovae (causing catastrophic but temporary climate changes). There are also a range of potential man-made ecocatastrophes, such as triggering an earthquake with a an underground nuclear explosion. In addition, there are other more fantastic possibilities. The sun will expand into a red star engulfing Mercury and Venus and melting lead on the Earth. The moon can fall to earth, a comet, a swarm of meteorites or a black hole could collide with the earth. The earth will eventually loose its atmosphere. A life form might evolve destroying all of humankind.

This is the source material for the United Nations Agenda 2030 – the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The carrying out of the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is the partnership formed between the United Nations and the World Economic Forum known as “The Great Reset”…

See where this Masonic aptitude takes us…

Will the Military Industrial Complex Permit Good Relations Between the U.S. and China? • Strategic Culture Foundation

Source: https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2021/11/16/will-military-industrial-complex-permit-good-relations-between-us-and-china/

The world would benefit enormously if Joe Biden terminated its ascent by coming to terms with China and Russia, Brian Cloughley writes.

At the recent semi-successful United Nations COP26 conference on climate change there was an unexpected revelation that the U.S. and China had engaged in some thirty virtual meetings on the subject over the past year. Their decision to “jointly strengthen climate action” was very welcome from the environment point of view, and even more welcome because it demonstrated that Washington and Beijing could actually get along in one aspect of international relations. It also raised the question as to whether they could ever sit down together and discuss the equally pressing problem of looming conflict.

When U.S. climate envoy John Kerry announced the agreement he acknowledged that although “the United States and China have no shortage of differences” it seemed that “on climate, cooperation is the only way to get this job done.” In this, however, he seemed to be taking a different track to President Joe Biden, who played into the ever-welcoming hands of Washington hawks on November 2 when he castigated Presidents Xi and Putin for non-appearance at the COP gathering. This, he declared, was a “big mistake” and contrasted with the fact that “we showed up” but “they didn’t show up… It is a gigantic issue and they just walked away. How do you do that and claim to have any leadership mantle?”

It is barely credible that the President of the United States would state that the Presidents of the world’s other most important countries are not effective leaders. The BBC’s record of his diatribe is disturbing, as it demonstrates a desire for confrontation rather than a genuine preparedness to calm things down. He said that “the fact that China is trying to assert, understandably, a new role in the world as a world leader — not showing up, come on.” He continued by declaring that Russia’s wilderness was burning while President Putin “stays mum” about the problem. He did not know, or deliberately ignored the fact that, as the BBC reported, “before Mr Biden’s speech Mr Putin virtually addressed a meeting on forest management at the COP26 summit on Tuesday, saying that Russia takes the ‘strongest and most vigorous measures to conserve’ woodlands.”

There was little surprise that as COP26 was drawing to a close, President Xi warned against a return to “Cold War-era” divisions when it was made known that he and President Biden would meet on November 15. He said plainly that “attempts to draw ideological lines or form small circles on geopolitical grounds are bound to fail,” and China’s Ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, expanded on the subject at a function in Washington of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, saying that China “always bears in mind the fundamental interests of the people of both countries and the whole world, and handles China-U.S. relations from a strategic and long-term perspective”.

Most people are aware that China has a long-term view on its place in the world, and even President Biden, in his message to the gathering, declared that “from tackling the Covid-19 pandemic to addressing the existential threat of climate crisis, the relationship between the U.S. and China has global significance. Solving these challenges and seizing these opportunities will require the broader international community to come together as we each do our part to build a safe, peaceful and resilient future.” He did not, however, place any emphasis on bilateral negotiations, which was left to President Xi, who wrote that “China-U.S. relations are at a critical historical juncture. Both countries will gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Cooperation is the only right choice.”

President Xi’s desire that China should get together with the United States specifically to plan a joint way ahead for a peaceful future has not been echoed in Washington where, as reported by the Straits Times, “the White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that Washington and Beijing had ‘an agreement in principle’ to have a virtual summit before the end of the year.” Her explanation was that “this is part of our ongoing efforts to responsibly manage the competition between our countries,” while stressing that it was “not about seeking specific deliverables.” In other words, don’t let anybody get their hopes up that Mr Biden would pursue collaboration that will lead to improved bilateral relations. He might not go so far down into the insult sewer as to reiterate his previous public declaration that Mr Xi doesn’t have a “leadership mantle”, but it is unlikely there will be long-term substance.

It is not surprising that Mr Biden is reluctant to compromise, because the Pentagon and its associates have already notified the world they consider China to be menacing and that the United States should “meet the pacing challenge presented by the PRC’s increasingly capable military and its global ambitions”.

In its November 3 Report to Congress, the Pentagon details “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China” and presents the Pentagon’s case for continuing to expand the U.S. military and acquire even more staggeringly expensive weaponry. As the New York Times reported, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said that China “is clearly challenging us regionally, and their aspiration is to challenge us globally… they have a China dream, and they want to challenge the so-called liberal rules-based order.” The Washington Post noted the Report’s concern about China’s global vision, in that it “already has established a military base in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa. To support its goals, it wants to build more facilities overseas and is considering more than a dozen countries that include Cambodia, Pakistan and Angola. Such a network could interfere with U.S. military operations and support offensive operations against the United States.”

The Pentagon’s warning that China’s establishment of a military base in a foreign country constitutes a threat is absurd to the point of risibility, especially in the context of the U.S. military footprint which extends to “750 military base sites estimated in around 80+ foreign countries and colonies/territories.” Further, it is calculated that the U.S. spends more on its military than the combined defence budgets of eleven major countries : China, India, Russia, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and Australia.

It is not surprising that William Hartung and Mandy Smithberger wrote in TomDispatch on November 9 that “The arms industry’s lobbying efforts are especially insidious. In an average year, it employs around 700 lobbyists, more than one for every member of Congress… A 2018 investigation by the Project On Government Oversight found that, in the prior decade, 380 high-ranking Pentagon officials and military officers had become lobbyists, board members, executives, or consultants for weapons contractors within two years of leaving their government jobs.” And of even more concern for the workings of democracy it is sinister, in the words of Dan Auble, that “defence companies spend millions every year lobbying politicians and donating to their campaigns. In the past two decades, their extensive network of lobbyists and donors have directed $285 million in campaign contributions and $2.5 billion in lobbying spending to influence defence policy.”

Good luck to Mr Biden. Let us hope that he will sacrifice popularity for peace and that he will bear in mind the words of his illustrious predecessor President Eisenhower, sixty years ago, that “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” Indeed it has risen. But the world would benefit enormously if Joe Biden terminated its ascent by coming to terms with China and Russia.

Belarus migrant crisis reveals the hypocrisy of corporate and multicultural EU • Big Tech Drone and IoT Surveillance

Source: https://drone-surveillance.info/2021/11/page/4/

First a few snapshots of the situation. Reuters:

EU envoys say “hybrid attack” is legal basis for new Belarus sanctions

“EU ambassadors agreed on Wednesday that Belarus’ decision to encourage Middle Eastern migrants to enter Poland can legally be considered a “hybrid attack” that serves as a basis for a new round of sanctions on Minsk, diplomats said.”

Wall Street Journal:

Europe Sees ‘a New Type of War,’ Accusing Belarus of Weaponizing Migrants

TASS:

Poland moves heavy military equipment to Belarusian border — Belarusian Foreign Ministry

Hey, EU, what happened to the ultra-liberal slogan “No Human is Illegal“? How did immigrants go from being humans to becoming weapons? If you really want to help immigrants just let them transit through conservative Poland and let them live happily in woke Germany for example. Funny by the way that EU now basically admits that demographic warfare exists.

Corporate ultra-“liberals” in the West today have two goals: 1) exploit immigrant cheap labor, and 2) destroy white Europe. But now that they have, to a large degree, achieved these goals they are afraid of balkanization. Their own elite power is threatened by instability which they have created both in the West and in the Middle East (through criminally reckless wars the last two decades).

The surveillance-industrial complex loves balkanization, but AI drone surveillance is not fully developed yet. It will take maybe 5 to 10 years to get the panopticon one hundred percent operational. Woke elites are relatively vulnerable and very nervous in the meanwhile.

I’m against mass immigration, but today’s slower and less intense migration to Europe will gradually destroy our original Western cultures in any case, so from the viewpoint of accelerationism one might as well focus on the silver lining of Belarus letting many immigrants enter EU quickly, because it will more quickly overload the woke and libertine system until it hopefully falls apart. Conservatives can then rebuild and peacefully repatriate almost all immigrants.

I support conservative Poland, but the Polish are part of ultra-liberal EU, so my sympathy is reduced until they exit EU, like Britain did.

Some superficial and lowbrow academics may accuse me of being a “racist”, but I have more in common with a Christian African than I have with a libertine/woke white dude. Or as the rather populist Black Panthers once said:

“We say All Power to the People–Black Power to Black people and Brown Power to Brown People, Red Power to Red People and Yellow Power to Yellow People. We say White Power to White People””

Let white Europe be free and strong, and let black Africa be equally free and strong. Africa is starting to rise economically and Asia will probably be the next economic center of the world. It’s therefore very outdated and Eurocentric to claim that Europe, the second smallest continent, should tolerate mass migration in the name of “saving humanity”, as if that is the woke man’s burden. Hans Rosling writes in Factfulness: “Yes, I think the Western domination of the world economy will soon be over.”

The only immigration to Europe I “support” is the one from Belarus to EU, because it’s a black comedy, a cynically good laugh.

US Response To China’s Hypersonic Missile Test Fails For Third Time – National Justice

Source: National Justice

By: Eric Striker

Earlier this week, the Financial Times broke the story that China successfully tested a hypersonic glider capable of delivering a nuclear payload. 

The alleged launch, which Chinese officials are publicly denying, occurred in late July. American defense systems are incapable of countering the technology, which travels through space to complete a revolution around earth. 

The combination of a glider with an orbiter is not groundbreaking and has been replicated in the past by the US. What makes the Chinese prototype unique is that it is designed to strike a target with a mounted nuclear weapon that evades current radar and missile defense technology.  

The timing of the Pentagon leaking this story to the Financial Times appears to have been a deliberate act to build hype for the US’ most recent hypersonic weapons tests this week. 

Yet, in a shocking embarrassment, the booster rockets meant to propel America’s version of the device failed during a trial in Alaska. As a result, the prototype’s hypersonic body could not be tested

This is now the Pentagon’s third failed attempt at launching the space-age weapon since April. Analysts are now warning that China and Russia may be further ahead of the US in the arms race than previously thought. 

The weapons contractor Lockheed Martin has been tasked with taking the lead in developing hypersonic missiles. The company is able to secure contracts from the Pentagon by lobbying and buying off politicians in Congress.

The amount of corruption involved in the Department of Defense’s (DoD) contracts with the military defense industry appears to be catching up to Washington. Last February the US Air Force admitted that Lockheed’s expensive F-35 jet, which was meant to revolutionize American air supremacy, is a failure. The F-35 program in total is expected to waste an eye-watering $1.7 trillion by the time its over. 

China’s military budget is $252 billion a year while America’s is $733 billion. US military spending has long been criticized as a source of graft and fraud that appears to be causing problems for America’s ability to project imperial power as competitors arise.

The Biden administration’s appointment of Lloyd Austin to lead the DoD despite his massive conflicts of interest related to his deep financial ties to the weapons industry has been noted as a personification of this issue. 

Turkey’s existential choice: BRI or bust • The Cradle

By: Matthew Ehret

Source: The Cradle • Turkey’s existential choice: BRI or bust

Two destinies are pulling on West Asia from two opposing visions of the future.

As devotees of the rules-based order laid out by Zbigniew Brzezinski 40 years ago strive to uphold their dystopic model of dividing populations to feed endless wars, a more optimistic program of cooperation is being ushered in by China’s ever-evolving Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

While many nations have jumped on board this new paradigm with enthusiastic support, others have found themselves precariously straddling both worlds.

Turkey plays footsie with great powers

Chief among those indecisive nations is the Republic of Turkey, whose leader was given a harsh wake up call on 15 July, 2016. It was on this date that Russian intelligence provided Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the edge needed to narrowly avoid a coup launched by followers of exiled Islamist leader Fetullah Gulen.

The timing of the coup has been subject to much speculation, but the fact that it occurred just two weeks after Erdogan’s letter of apology to Putin went public was likely not a coincidence. The apology in question referred to Turkey’s decision to shoot down a Russian fighter jet flying in Syrian airspace in November 2015, killing a soldier and very nearly activating NATO’s collective security pact.

For years instrumental in providing weapons and logistical support to ISIS in both Iraq and Syria (via Operation Timber Sycamore), it is possible Erdogan was tiring of being used to further western interests in the Levant, when it had its own, quite different, aspirations in those territories.

Whatever the case, since that fateful day, Turkey’s behavior as a player in West Asia took on an improved (though not entirely redeemed) character on a number of levels. Chief among those positive behavioral changes is Ankara’s participation in the Astana process with Tehran and Moscow to demilitarize large swathes of Syria. Turkey then purchased Russian S400 medium-long range missile defense systems, and has recently advanced plans to jointly produce submarines, jet engines and warships with Russia, while also accelerating the construction of a nuclear reactor built by Rosatom.

That said, old habits die hard, and Turkey has been caught playing in both worlds, providing continued support for the terrorist-laden Free Syrian Army and Al Qaeda offshoot Hayat Tahrir Al Sham in Syria’s Idlib governorate. Turkey now has a total of 60 military bases and observation posts that provide protection for these and other militant groups in the country’s north.

The Middle Corridor option

On an economic level, Turkey’s ambition to become a gateway between Europe and Asia along the New Silk Road also indicates Erdogan’s resolution to break from his previous commitments to join the European Union and engage more intricately with the East.

Turkey’s 7500 km Trans-Caspian East-West Middle Corridor is an ambitious project that runs parallel to the northern corridor of the BRI connecting China to Europe.

This corridor, which began running in November 2019, has the benefit of cutting nearly 2000 km of distance off the active northern corridor and provides an efficient route between China and Europe. The route itself moves goods from the north-eastern Lianyungang Port in China through Xinjiang into Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and on to Europe via land and sea routes. Erdogan has previously stated that “the Middle Corridor lies at the heart of the BRI” and has called to “integrate the Middle Corridor into the BRI.”

Other projects that are subsumed by the Middle Corridor include the $20 billion Istanbul Canal which will be a 45km connection between the Black and Marmara Seas (reducing traffic on the Bosporus) as well as the Marmara undersea railway, Eurasian Tunnel, and the third Istanbul Bridge.

Without China’s increased involvement, not only will these projects fail to take shape, but the Middle Corridor itself would crumble into oblivion. Chinese trade with Turkey recently grew from $2 billion in 2002 to $26 billion in 2020, more than 1,000 Chinese companies have investment projects throughout the nation, and Chinese consortiums hold a 65 percent stake in Turkey’s third largest port.

Restraining Ankara’s options

These projects have not come without a fight from both internal forces within Turkey and external ones. Two major Turkish opposition parties have threatened to cancel the Canal Istanbul as a tactic to scare away potential investors at home and abroad. And internationally, financial warfare has been unleashed against Turkey’s economy on numerous levels.

Credit ratings agencies have downgraded Turkey to a ‘high risk’ nation, and sanctions have been launched by the US and EU. These acts have contributed to international investors pulling out from Turkish government bonds (a quarter of all bonds were held by foreign investors in 2009, collapsing to less than 4 percent today) and depriving the nation of vital productive credit to build infrastructure. These attacks have also resulted in the biggest Turkish banks stating they will not provide any funding to the megaproject.

Despite the fact that Chinese investments into Turkey have increased significantly, western Financial Direct Investments (FDIs) have fallen from $12.18 billion in 2009 to only $6.67 billion in 2021.

Dialing down its Uyghur project

As with Turkey’s relations with Russia, Erdogan’s desperate need to collaborate with China in the financial realm has resulted in a change of policy in his support for Uyghur extremists. Of the 13 million Chinese Uyghurs, 50,000 live in Turkey, many of whom are part of a larger CIA-funded operation aimed at carving up China.

For many years, Turkey has provided safe haven to terrorist groups like the East Turkmenistan Islamic Movement, which cut its teeth fighting alongside ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Operatives affiliated with the World Uyghur Congress, funded by the US National Endowment for Democracy and based in Germany, have also found fertile soil in Turkey.

In 2009, Erdogan publicly denounced China for conducting a genocide on Muslims living in Xinjiang (long before it became de rigueur to do so in western nations). After Turkey’s 2016 failed coup, things began to change. In 2017, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stated: “We will absolutely not allow in any activities in Turkey that target or oppose China. Additionally, we will take measures to eliminate any media reports targeting China.”

There are many parallels to Turkey’s protection of radical Islamic groups in Idlib, but Ankara’s protection of radical anti-China Uyghur groups was more gradual. However, recent significant moves by Erdogan have demonstrated good faith, including the 2017 extradition treaty signed with China (ratified by Beijing though not yet by Ankara), an increased clampdown on Uyghur extremist groups, and the decision to re-instate the exclusion order banning World Uyghur Congress president Dolkun Isa from entering Turkey on 19 September, 2021.

Might the INSTC bypass Ankara?

Not only is Turkey eager to play a role in China’s BRI and secure essential long term credit from Beijing – without which its future will be locked to the much diminished fortunes of the European Union – but Ankara has also factored the growing International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) into its calculus.

A multimodal corridor stretching across a dozen nations, the INSTC was launched by Russia, India and Iran in 2002 and has been given new life by China’s BRI. In recent years, members of the project have grown to also include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Syria, Belarus, Oman and Bulgaria.

While Turkey is a member of the project, there is no guarantee that the megaproject will directly move through its borders. Here too, Erdogan is keen to stay on good terms with Russia and its allies.

The Middle Corridor loses its shine
Up until now, Turkey’s inability to break with zero-sum thinking has resulted in the self-delusion that Turkey’s Middle Corridor would be the only possible choice China had to move goods through to Europe and North Africa.

This perception was for many years buoyed by the war across the ISIS-ridden region of Syria and Iraq (and the relative isolation of Iran), which appeared to ensure that no competing development corridor could be activated.

However, Iran’s entry into the BRI as part of its 25-year Comprehensive Strategic Partnership struck with China in March, and its ascension to full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in September, has provided an attractive new east-west alternative route to the Middle Corridor.

This potential branch of the New Silk Road connecting China with Europe via Iran, Iraq and Syria into the Mediterranean through Syria’s port of Latakia provides a unique opportunity to not only reconstruct the war-torn West Asian nations, but to also create a durable field of stability after decades of western manipulation.

This new route has the additional attraction of incorporating Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and other Arab states into a new strategic dynamic that connects Eurasia with an African continent desperate for real development. As of this writing, 40 sub-Saharan African nations have signed onto China’s BRI.

The first glimmering light of this new corridor took form in a small but game-changing 30 km rail line connecting the border city of Shalamcheh in Iran with Basra in Iraq. Work began this year, with its $150 million cost supplied by the semi-private Mostazan Foundation of Iran.

Foreseeing a much larger expansion of this historic connection, Iran’s ambassador to Iraq stated: “Iraq can be connected to China through the railways of Iran and increase its strategic importance in the region … this will be a very big change and Iran’s railways will be connected to Iraq and Syria and to the Mediterranean.”

Ambassador Masjidi was here referring to the provisional agreement reached among Iran, Iraq and Syria in November 2018 to build a 1570 km railway and highway from the Persian Gulf in Iran to the Latakia Port via Iraq.

Already, Iran’s construction-focused investments in war-torn and sanction-torn Syria have grown immensely, boosting estimated trade between the two nations with an additional $1 billion over the next 12 months.

Indicating the higher development dynamic that is shaping the Iraq–Iran railway, Iraq’s Prime Minister stated in May 2021 that “negotiations with Iran to build a railway between Basra and Shalamcheh have reached their final stages and we have signed 15 agreements and memorandums of understanding with Jordan and Egypt regarding energy and transportation lines.”

Indeed, both Egypt and Jordan have also looked east for the only pathway to durable peace in the form of the New Silk Road. The trio of Egypt, Jordan and Iraq began setting the stage for this Silk Road route with a 2017 energy agreement designed to connect the electricity grids of the three nations and also construct a pipeline from Basra to Aqaba in Jordan followed by a larger extension to Egypt.

Iraq and the New Silk Road
In December 2020, Iraq and Egypt agreed on an important oil for reconstruction deal along the lines of a similar program activated earlier by former Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi and his Chinese counterpart in September 2019. The latter project was seriously downgraded when Mahdi stepped down in May 2020, and although PM Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has begun to repair Chinese relations, Iraq has not yet returned to the level of cooperation reached by his predecessor.

To date, the only major power that has shown any genuine concern for Iraq’s reconstruction – and been willing to invest actual resources toward it – has been China.

Despite the trillions of dollars wasted by the United States in its brutal invasion and occupation of the country, not a single energy project has been built by US dollars there. In fact, the only power plant constructed after 2003 has been the Chinese-built 2450 mW thermal plant in Wassit which supplies 20 percent of Iraq’s electricity. Iraq requires at least 19 GW of electricity in order to supply its basic needs after years of western bombardment strategically targeting its vital infrastructure.

To this day, hardly any domestic manufacturing exists in Iraq, with 97 percent of its needs purchased from abroad, and entirely with oil revenue. If this dire situation is to be reversed, then China’s oil-for-construction plan must be brought fully back online.

The kernel of this plan involves a special fund which will accumulate sales of discounted Iraqi oil to China until a $1.5 billion threshold is reached. When this happens, Chinese state banks have agreed to add an additional $8.5 billion, bringing the fund to $10 billion to be used on a full reconstruction program driven by roads, rail, water treatment, and energy grids, as well as soft infrastructure like schools and healthcare.

Where the western economic models have tended to keep nations underdeveloped by emphasizing raw material extraction with no long-term investments that benefit its citizenry, creating no manufacturing capabilities or an increase in the powers of labor, the Chinese-model is entirely different, focusing instead on creating full spectrum economies. Where the former is zero sum and a closed system, the latter model is win-win and open.

If Turkey can find the sense to liberate itself from the obsolete logic of zero sum geopolitics, then a bright future will await all of West and Central Asia.

There is no reason to believe that the Middle Corridor will in any way be harmed by the success of an Iran–Iraq–Syria Silk Road corridor, or by its African extensions. By encouraging the development of collaborative relations, large scale infrastructure, and full-spectrum economic networks, abundance can be created in these regions to offset the underdevelopment and stagnation of recent years.

Israel-Syria war over Golan Heights could be close — BIG BROTHER in the 21. Century

Syria and Israel are seemingly edging ever closer to all-out war. But the Western media isn’t really talking about it. ———————————————————— Detailed U.N. Report on Israeli Occupation of Golan Heights CONTACT@IFAMERICANSKNEW.ORG  MARCH 22, 2019 Israeli tanks in the Golan Heights during Israel’s 1967 invasion of Syria. Occupied Syrian Golan Section V of the “UN Report of […]

Israel-Syria war over Golan Heights could be close — BIG BROTHER in the 21. Century

Turkish Imperialism: When Will Turkey Annex Northern Syria? — SYRIA 360° INTERNATIONALIST

Rauf Baker In its quest to fulfill its expansionist ambitions, Turkey is pursuing a systematic Turkification policy in areas under its control in northern Syria. This takes various forms—demographic, economic, educational—and even the orchestration of environmental extermination. Fundamental to this strategy is the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of indigenous Kurds and the resettling […]

Turkish Imperialism: When Will Turkey Annex Northern Syria? — SYRIA 360° INTERNATIONALIST

THE US IS TURNING OIL-RICH NIGERIA INTO A PROXY FOR ITS AFRICA WARS

Under The Cover Of Counterterrorism, AFRICOM Is Beefing Up Nigeria’s Military To Ensure The Free Flow Of Oil To The West

And Using The Country As A Proxy Against China’s Influence On The Continent.

Source: https://popularresistance.org/the-us-is-turning-oil-rich-nigeria-into-a-proxy-for-its-africa-wars/

Last month, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari wrote an op-ed in the Financial Times. It might as well have been written by the Pentagon. Buhari promoted Brand Nigeria, auctioning the country’s military services to Western powers, telling readers that Nigeria would lead Africa’s “war on terror” in exchange for foreign infrastructure investment. “Though some believe the war on terror [WOT] winds down with the US departure from Afghanistan,” he says, “the threat it was supposed to address burns fiercely on my continent.”

With Boko Haram and Islamic State operating in and near Nigeria, pushing a WOT narrative is easy. But counterterror means imperial intervention. So, why is the Pentagon really interested in Nigeria, a country with a GDP of around $430 billion – some $300 billion less than the Pentagon’s annual budget – a population with a 40 percent absolute poverty rate, and an infant mortality rate of 74 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to 5.6 per 1,000 in the US?

A US Naval Postgraduate School doctoral thesis from over a decade ago offers a plausible explanation: the Gulf of Guinea, formed in part by Nigeria’s coastline, “has large deposits of hydrocarbons and other natural resources.” It added: “There is now a stiff international competition among industrialized nations including the United States, some European countries, China, Japan, and India.”

Since then, the US has been quietly transforming Nigeria’s police and military into a neo-colonial force that can support missions led by the US Africa Command (AFRICOM). Buhari’s offer makes US involvement in Nigeria appear as if Nigeria is asking for help, when in fact the stage is already set for AFRICOM.

The Pentagon’s broader aim is to stop China and Russia from gaining a foothold in the continent. In the meantime, it aims to crush any and all opposition groups that disrupt energy supplies so that oil giants can continue exploiting Nigeria’s resources.

A Brief History Of A Complex Country

It’s important to get an idea of Nigeria’s ethnic and regional complexities. The country’s 206 million people, nearly half of whom are Muslim and nearly half Christian, live north of the equator in West Africa. Their country has 36 states, seven of which are coastal. The country borders Cameroon in the east, Benin in the west, Chad in the northeast, and Niger in the north and northwest.

A US Strategic Studies Institute report from the mid-‘90s describes Nigeria as “an artificial state created according to colonial exigencies rather than ethnic coherence.” Its fragility explains the country’s susceptibility to ethnic, religious, and class warfare. The majority of Nigerian Muslims are Sunni, but Islam in the country spans the spectrum, from Sufism to Salafism. The Christian population is distributed among the Protestant majority as well as Anglicans, Baptists, Evangelicals, Catholics, Methodists, and Roman Catholics. Most of Nigeria’s Muslims live in the north in 12 states whose laws are based on sharia.

Nigeria boasts hundreds of languages and ethnicities, the largest groups being the Hausa (who make up 30 percent of the population), Yoruba (15.5), Igbo (a.k.a., Ibo 15.2), and Fulani (6 percent). There are, of course, exceptions, but in general the Hausa-Fulani and Kanuri peoples tend to be Muslim and the Igbo, Ijaw, and Ogoni Christian. Islam and Christianity tend to be mixed among the Yoruba. During the late-19th century “Scramble for Africa,” the British colonized the region, Christianizing the south and leaving in place the Islamic political structures in the north both for convenience and as a useful divide and rule technique.

Black Gold, British Rule

Drawing up “contracts” for energy companies, the Foreign Office (FO) created a monopoly for Anglo-Persian oil (later BP) and particularly for Shell. Prospecting contracts were awarded by the FO in the late-1930s, but it was as late as 1956 that financially viable amounts of black gold were struck. Most of the country’s oil is in the southern, Niger Delta region populated by the Ijaw and Ogoni peoples, hence there is little militant Islam in Nigeria’s illicit oil sector. Shell operations began in Ogoniland in 1958.

Nigeria gained slow and painful independence from Britain in 1960. Seven years later, armed Igbo fought a war of secession in the oil-rich south to try to form their own country, the Republic of Biafra. Under a One Nigeria policy, the British supported the central regime of General Yakubu Gowon during the Biafra War (1967-70). Fighting and blockade  led to three million deaths. Biafra failed to secede.

The UK Labour government’s Commonwealth Minister, George Thomas, explained at the time: “The sole immediate British interest in Nigeria is that the Nigerian economy should be brought back to a condition in which our substantial trade and investment in the country can be further developed, and particularly so we can regain access to important oil installations.”

As the British Empire declined, the US gradually pursued the same policy in Nigeria. At first, the US considered supporting Biafra.

The Kennedy administration initiated $170 million in economic and military spending in Nigeria under a plan that continued until 1966, into the Johnson administration. William Haven North, who served as the Director for Central and West African Affairs for the US Agency of International Development (USAID) said: “The issue of supporting Biafra was also tied up with the question of oil interests; the major part of the oil reserves in Nigeria were in the Eastern Region with substantial American oil company investments.” In 1978, the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet began the regular exercises in the Gulf of Guinea that continue to the present.

Enter Uncle Sam

In 1990, the Nigeria-dominated Economic Community of West African States (ECO) established a military wing, the so-called Monitoring Group (ECOMOG). The George H.W. Bush administration contributed $100 million. The succeeding Clinton White House said that for so-called peace-keeping operations in other African countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone, “Nigeria provided most of the ‘muscle’.” At this point, the seeds were sown for Nigeria’s use as a delegate for US wars in Africa.

By the dawn of the new millennium, the 3rd Special Forces Group (Army Command) was training Nigerian battalions to assist United Nations support missions. The Nigerian military enjoyed tens of millions of dollars-worth of US weapons.

Meanwhile, indigenous activists suffering under oil spills and environmental destruction established the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People. Nine of this group’s leaders, including Ken Saro-Wiwa, were later arrested on trumped up charges and executed by the national military that had been funded by Shell to act as its own private army.

The murders sparked international outrage and activists successfully pressured the US to terminate military aid. General Sani Abacha, under whose dictatorship the Ogoni Nine were hanged, established a Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to fight both activists and gangs. The MNJTF was later centered in Chad and used as a base from which to fight Boko Haram.

In 1999, Nigeria ended its military rule, at least on paper. By the mid-2000s, Human Rights Watch was wrote that, under the façade of parliamentary democracy, “the conduct of many public officials and government institutions is so pervasively marked by violence and corruption as to more resemble criminal activity than democratic governance.”

With the Ogoni, Ijaw, and other Niger Delta peoples crushed with force, some turned to violence. Following lobbying by Shell, Nigeria’s old colonial master, the UK, began spending taxpayer money on military operations to counter armed groups: £12 million between 2001 and 2014, when Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) co-authored their report. CAAT documents the UK exportation of nearly £500m-worth of weapons to Nigeria in that period, including missiles and grenades. It cites increased UK arms exports as a direct reason for the failure of the southern ceasefire. UK “security contractors” including Control Risks, Erinys, Executive Outcomes, and Saladin Security were embedded with mobile police units to crush protestors.

Nigeria And The “War On Terror”

Western propaganda paid less attention to Shell’s systemic violence against the Ogoni and other peoples, focusing instead on the more headline-grabbing resistance, such as high-profile ransom kidnappings and pipeline disruption. State oppression in the drier, less fertile north, meanwhile, fed the narrative pushed by Islamic groups: that Western culture is toxic.

Founded in 2002 and led by Mohammed Yusuf who was later executed by the state, Boko Haram is officially called the Group of the People of Sunnah for Preaching and Jihad (Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād). It emerged in the northeastern city, Maidugari, close to Chad and Cameroon, where it set up semi-autonomous communities. Religious graduates who studied in Sudan attempted to form similar communes but were attacked by the police. In 2009, Boko Haram members allegedly fired at a police station in Bauchi. The government response was to trigger civil war.

The MNJTF mentioned above, is described as “notorious” in a British House of Commons Library report. It was reactivated, this time to fight the Islamists. The report also notes how the Nigerian Armed Forces terrorized the civilian population with raids, arrests, and indiscriminate shelling.

The UK ramped up its training of Nigeria’s military while the US used Chad as a base for its “war on terror” operations: the Pan-Sahel Initiative (covering Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger) and the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (which included Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, and Tunisia). AFRICOM’s initial operations in Nigeria involved maritime training and integrating the country’s forces with those of other African nations to foster pan-African military alliances.

In its early years, AFRICOM paid little attention to Boko Haram. But this changed as the profile of attacks got bigger.

In 2011, Boko Haram launched a formal insurgency. A report published that year by the US House of Representatives Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence outlined Boko Haram’s roots and the reasons for its popularity. They included “a feeling of alienation from the wealthier, Christian, oil-producing, southern Nigeria, pervasive poverty, rampant government corruption, heavy-handed security measures, and the belief that relations with the West are a corrupting influence.” It added that “[t]hese grievances have led to sympathy among the local Muslim population despite Boko Haram’s violent tactics.”

These grievances were met with the kind of violence that further fuels grievances.

The US Escalates Involvement

In the context of the “war on terror,” the Pentagon saw Boko Haram as an opportunity to train Nigeria’s military and employ it for its objectives. The primary US goal was ensuring that the oil-rich regions did not fall into enemy hands.

The Congressional Research Service noted that by the time AFRICOM was founded in the late-2000s, Africa “supplie[d] the United States with roughly the same amount of crude oil as the Middle East.” An Armed Services Committee report in 2011 noted: “Nigeria’s oil rich Niger Delta is a major source of oil for the United States outside of the Middle East.” The US Energy Information Administration states: “Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa. It holds the largest natural gas reserves on the continent and was the world’s fifth–largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.” The country has 37 billion barrels of proven crude, second only to Libya, which was bombed to pieces by the US and NATO in 2011.

Nigeria’s forces summarily executed Boko Haram’s leader Yusuf in 2009. A thesis published by the US Naval Postgraduate School notes that in addition to the assassination, “security forces killing or displacing thousands of Nigerian Muslims, is credited with swelling [Boko Haram BH]’s ranks.”

Yusuf’s deputy, Abubakar Shekau, took over and escalated a suicide bombing campaign. The Navy thesis also notes that “the actions of BH, along with other militant groups such as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), have reduced the country’s oil production, displacing Nigeria from 5th to 8th on the list of America’s largest foreign oil suppliers.”

In 2013, the states of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe imposed emergency powers. The Pentagon announced a $45 Million-Dollar budget to counter Boko Haram by training troops in Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria. One of the consequences is that Nigeria has been transformed from a peripheral US interest to a proxy force. Years of war, mostly in the north and border regions, have led to 2.1 million internally displaced people. The World Food Program calculates that 3.4 million face hunger and that 300,000 children are malnourished.

Building A Sparta State

In June 2014, it was reported that a 650-person unit, the Nigerian Army’s 143rd Battalion, was set up on the ground and trained by US Special Forces from the California Army National Guard’s Special Operations Detachment-US Northern Command and Company A, 5th Battalion 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne). By then the Nigerian Army was active in 30 out of the country’s 36 states.

Chief of the US Army Africa’s Security Cooperation Division, Colonel John D. Ruffing, said: “It is not peacekeeping … It is every bit of what we call ‘decisive action,’ meaning those soldiers will go in harm’s way to conduct counterinsurgency operation[s].” One US soldier said: “This is a classic Special Forces mission—training an indigenous force in a remote area in an austere environment to face a very real threat.”

In 2015, Boko Haram’s leader Shekau reportedly pledged allegiance to Islamic State, rebranding the organization IS West African Province (ISWAP). A Congressional Research Service report notes that ISWAP “has surpassed Boko Haram in size and capacity, and now ranks among IS’s most active affiliates.”

It’s not as if strategists don’t understand that violence doesn’t work. They understand that violence escalates violence which can then be used as pretexts for more violence. A US Council on Foreign Relations article from 2020 notes: “the last two years have been deadlier than any other period for Nigerian soldiers since the Boko Haram insurgency began.”

As the war against Boko Haram waged on, Niger Delta gangs in the south threatened to resume attacks on oil infrastructure. US “aid” expanded to include training the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) across the country. In November 2016, 66 officers graduated from the Fingerprint Analysis and Forensics training program, an initiative run by the US Embassy in collaboration with the Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement and Atlanta Police Department.

In March 2017, 28 Nigerian officers graduated from courses offered by the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs division, led by US police from Prince William County, Virginia. The program also provided “equipment, training, mentoring, and capacity-building support to various Nigerian law enforcement and justice sector institutions.”

Expanding AFRICOM’s Role

In what the US State Department calls a “whole of government” approach, military operations continued as police training expanded. In early-2018, 12 US Army soldiers, led by Captain Stephen Gouthro, trained 200 Nigerians at the Nigerian Army’s School of Infantry. Facilitated by the US Army Africa, eight Security Assistance and Training Management Organization soldiers and four 1st Brigade Combat Team soldiers shared “ground-combat tactics” with the Nigerian Army’s 26th Infantry Battalion.

In July this year, US Army Special Forces trained 25 officers of the Nigerian Navy Special Boat Service as part of JCET: a five-week Joint Combined Exchange Training program.  The Acting US Consulate Political and Economic Chief, Merrica Heaton, says that the training is designed to help the Nigerian military stop crime in the Gulf of Guinea and “counter violent extremists in the Northeast and enforce the rule of law throughout the region.”

As observers seemingly spotted the top-secret US stealth drone—Northrop Grumman’s RQ-180—over the Philippines, the Department of Defense sold nearly $500 million-worth of propeller planes to Nigeria, marking what the US Embassy and Consulate describes as “an historic level of cooperation …  between the U.S. and Nigerian militaries.” AFRICOM recently confirmed that the inauguration of twelve A-29 Super Tucanos into the Nigerian Air Force will serve a “critical role in furthering regional security and stability.”

The Pentagon allocated $36.1 million to the US Army Corps of Engineers to renovated Kainji Air Base, which will host the Super Tucanos. In addition to training simulator and small arms storage units, the Base includes “aircraft sunshades, a new airfield hot cargo pad, perimeter and security fencing, airfield lights, and various airfield apron, parking, hangar, and entry control point enhancements.”

“Gray Zone” Warfare Against China

Having left operations to Special Forces, AFRICOM is now tasked with overseeing an expanding footprint in Nigeria. But in addition to preventing oil supply disruptions, the US seeks to counter Russian but particularly Chinese involvement. According to the US state-run outlet, Voice of America (VOA), the China National Offshore Oil Corporation began investing in Nigeria’s state oil sector in 2005.

A 2007 US Army War College thesis expressed concern that, following “donations” of Chinese military equipment to Nigeria, China had helped the government to drill hundreds of boreholes in a goodwill gesture to provide clean drinking water. The US acted to tarnish China’s image. As part of what is now called the “whole of government” approach, the US 96th Civil Affairs Battalion, US Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command, networked with Nigerian civilians, private industry, and aid agencies. The US Army War College implies that this was to psychologically counter China’s influence.

Nigeria signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China in 2018 to integrate into China’s global infrastructure and investment project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). More recently, the VOA has said that China took advantage of Nigeria’s crime- and terror-related oil instability, investing billions of dollars in oil to stabilize supply lines.

From the US military perspective, this so-called “political warfare” creates what they famously call a “gray zone” of conflict in which areas traditionally thought of as economic and civilian are weaponized. Analyst Kaley Scholl of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisitions writes that in one war game, the 91st Civil Affairs Battalion coordinated with the 3rd Special Forces Group to uncover “a Chinese conglomerate active in Nigeria who announced a deep-water port being constructed in one month as part of China’s BRI.” In the war game, US PSYOPs beat back the Chinese.

Scholl claims that “Chinese gray zone operations are eroding the US’s legitimacy and challenging the liberal rules-based world order.” In reality, US imperial aggression and wars by proxy erode whatever legitimacy Pentagon planners think they have.

But such analysts seem to forget that both the US and China are armed with nuclear weapons and possess the intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of delivering them. The Pentagon might consider Nigeria to be just another pawn in the new cold war chess game. However, any escalation of tensions in flashpoints, like Taiwan, could unintentionally trigger nuclear catastrophe. This appears to be a risk the Pentagon is willing to take to enforce “full spectrum dominance.”

Thermonuclear Cyberwar • JournaL of Cybersecurity

Journal of Cybersecurity, Volume 3, Issue 1, March 2017, Pages 37–48, https://doi.org/10.1093/cybsec/tyw017

By: Erik Gartzke & Jon R. Lindsay

Abstract
Nuclear command and control increasingly relies on computing networks that might be vulnerable to cyber attack. Yet nuclear deterrence and cyber operations have quite different political properties. For the most part, nuclear actors can openly advertise their weapons to signal the costs of aggression to potential adversaries, thereby reducing the danger of misperception and war. Cyber actors, in contrast, must typically hide their capabilities, as revelation allows adversaries to patch, reconfigure, or otherwise neutralize the threat. Offensive cyber operations are better used than threatened, while the opposite, fortunately, is true for nuclear weapons. When combined, the warfighting advantages of cyber operations become dangerous liabilities for nuclear deterrence. Increased uncertainty about the nuclear/cyber balance of power raises the risk of miscalculation during a brinksmanship crisis. We should expect strategic stability in nuclear dyads to be, in part, a function of relative offensive and defensive cyber capacity. To reduce the risk of crisis miscalculation, states should improve rather than degrade mutual understanding of their nuclear deterrents.


Introduction
In the 1983 movie WarGames, a teenager hacks into the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) and almost triggers World War III. After a screening of the film, President Ronald Reagan allegedly asked his staff, “Could something like this really happen?” The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff replied, “Mr. President, the problem is much worse than you think.” The National Security Agency (NSA) had been hacking Russian and Chinese communications for years, but the burgeoning personal computer revolution was creating serious vulnerabilities for the United States too. Reagan directed a series of reviews that culminated in a classified national security decision directive (NSDD-145) entitled “National Policy on Telecommunications and Automated Information Systems Security.” More alarmist studies, and potential remedies, emerged in recent decades as technicians and policymakers came to appreciate the evolving threat [1–3].

Cyber warfare is routinely overhyped as a new weapon of mass destruction, but when used in conjunction with actual weapons of mass destruction, severe, and underappreciated, dangers emerge. One side of a stylized debate about cybersecurity in international relations argues that offensive advantages in cyberspace empower weaker nations, terrorist cells, or even lone rogue operators to paralyze vital infrastructure [4–8]. The other side argues that operational difficulties and effective deterrence restrains the severity of cyber attack, while governments and cybersecurity firms have a pecuniary interest in exaggerating the threat [9–13]. Although we have contributed to the skeptical side of this debate [14–16], the same strategic logic that leads us to view cyberwar as a limited political instrument in most situations also leads us to view it as incredibly destabilizing in rare situations. In a recent Israeli wargame of a regional scenario involving the United States and Russia, one participant remarked on “how quickly localized cyber events can turn dangerously kinetic when leaders are ill-prepared to deal in the cyber domain” [17]. Importantly, this sort of catalytic instability arises not from the cyber domain itself but through its interaction with forces and characteristics in other domains (land, sea, air, etc.). Further, it arises only in situations where actors possess, and are willing to use, robust traditional military forces to defend their interests.

Classical deterrence theory developed to explain nuclear deterrence with nuclear weapons, but different types of weapons or combinations of operations in different domains can have differential effects on deterrence and defense [18, 19]. Nuclear weapons and cyber operations are particularly complementary (i.e. nearly complete opposites) with respect to their strategic characteristics. Theorists and practitioners have stressed the unprecedented destructiveness of nuclear weapons in explaining how nuclear deterrence works, but it is equally, if not more, important for deterrence that capabilities and intentions are clearly communicated. As quickly became apparent, public displays of their nuclear arsenals improved deterrence. At the same time, disclosing details of a nation’s nuclear capabilities did not much degrade the ability to strike or retaliate, given that defense against nuclear attack remains extremely difficult. Knowledge of nuclear capabilities is necessary to achieve a deterrent effect [20]. Cyber operations, in contrast, rely on undisclosed vulnerabilities, social engineering, and creative guile to generate indirect effects in the information systems that coordinate military, economic, and social behavior. Revelation enables crippling countermeasures, while the imperative to conceal capabilities constrains both the scope of cyber operations and their utility for coercive signaling [21, 22]. The diversity of cyber operations and confusion about their effects also contrast with the obvious destructiveness of nuclear weapons.

The problem is that transparency and deception do not mix well. An attacker who hacks an adversary’s nuclear command and control apparatus, or the weapons themselves, will gain an advantage in warfighting that the attacker cannot reveal, while the adversary will continue to believe it wields a deterrent that may no longer exist. Most analyses of inadvertent escalation from cyber or conventional to nuclear war focus on “use it or lose it” pressures and fog of war created by attacks that become visible to the target [23, 24]. In a US–China conflict scenario, for example, conventional military strikes in conjunction with cyber attacks that blind sensors and confuse decision making could generate incentives for both sides to rush to preempt or escalate [25–27]. These are plausible concerns, but the revelation of information about a newly unfavorable balance of power might also cause hesitation and lead to compromise. Cyber blinding could potentially make traditional offensive operations more difficult, shifting the advantage to defenders and making conflict less likely.

Clandestine attacks that remain invisible to the target potentially present a more insidious threat to crisis stability. There are empirical and theoretical reasons for taking seriously the effects of offensive cyber operations on nuclear deterrence, and we should expect the dangers to vary with the relative cyber capabilities of the actors in a crisis interaction.

Nuclear command and control vulnerability

General Robert Kehler, commander of US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) in 2013, stated in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, “we are very concerned with the potential of a cyber-related attack on our nuclear command and control and on the weapons systems themselves” [28]. Nuclear command, control, and communications (NC3) form the nervous system of the nuclear enterprise spanning intelligence and early warning sensors located in orbit and on Earth, fixed and mobile command and control centers through which national leadership can order a launch, operational nuclear forces including strategic bombers, land-based intercontinental missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and the communication and transportation networks that tie the whole apparatus together [29, 30]. NC3 should ideally ensure that nuclear forces will always be available if authorized by the National Command Authority (to enhance deterrence) and never used without authorization (to enhance safety and reassurance). Friendly errors or enemy interference in NC3 can undermine the “always-never” criterion, weakening deterrence [31, 32].

NC3 has long been recognized as the weakest link in the US nuclear enterprise. According to a declassified official history, a Strategic Air Command (SAC) task group in 1979 “reported that tactical warning and communications systems … were ‘fragile’ and susceptible to electronic countermeasures, electromagnetic pulse, and sabotage, which could deny necessary warning and assessment to the National Command Authorities” [33]. Two years later, the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering released a broad-based, multiservice report that doubled down on SAC’s findings: “the United States could not assure survivability, endurability, or connectivity of the national command authority function” due to:

major command, control, and communications deficiencies: in tactical warning and attack assessment where existing systems were vulnerable to disruption and destruction from electromagnetic pulse, other high altitude nuclear effects, electronic warfare, sabotage, or physical attack; in decision making where there was inability to assure national command authority survival and connection with the nuclear forces, especially under surprise conditions; and in communications systems, which were susceptible to the same threats above and which could not guarantee availability of even minimum-essential capability during a protracted war. [33]

The nuclear weapons safety literature likewise provides a number of troubling examples of NC3 glitches that illustrate some of the vulnerabilities attackers could, in principle, exploit [34–36]. The SAC history noted that NORAD has received numerous false launch indications from faulty computer components, loose circuits, and even a nuclear war training tape loaded by mistake into a live system that produced erroneous Soviet launch indications [33]. In a 1991 briefing to the STRATCOM commander, a Defense Intelligence Agency targeteer confessed, “Sir, I apologize, but we have found a problem with this target. There is a mistake in the computer code … . Sir, the error has been there for at least the life of this eighteen-month planning cycle. The nature of the error is such that the target would not have been struck” [37]. It would be a difficult operation to intentionally plant undetected errors like this, but the presence of bugs does reveal that such a hack is possible.

Following many near-misses and self-audits during and after the Cold War, American NC3 improved with the addition of new safeguards and redundancies. As General Kehler pointed out in 2013, “the nuclear deterrent force was designed to operate through the most extreme circumstances we could possibly imagine” [28]. Yet vulnerabilities remain. In 2010, the US Air Force lost contact with 50 Minuteman III ICBMs for an hour because of a faulty hardware circuit at a launch control center [38]. If the accident had occurred during a crisis, or the component had been sabotaged, the USAF would have been unable to launch and unable to detect and cancel unauthorized launch attempts. As Bruce Blair, a former Minuteman missileer, points out, during a control center blackout the antennas at unmanned silos and the cables between them provide potential surreptitious access vectors [39].

The unclassified summary of a 2015 audit of US NC3 stated that “known capability gaps or deficiencies remain” [40]. Perhaps more worrisome are the unknown deficiencies. A 2013 Defense Science Board report on military cyber vulnerabilities found that while the:

nuclear deterrent is regularly evaluated for reliability and readiness … , most of the systems have not been assessed (end-to-end) against a [sophisticated state] cyber attack to understand possible weak spots. A 2007 nuclear deterrent is regularly evaluated for reliability and readiness … , most of the systems have not been assessed (end-to-end) against a [sophisticated state] cyber attack to understand possible weak spots. A 2007 Air Force study addressed portions of this issue for the ICBM leg of the U.S. triad but was still not a complete assessment against a high-tier threat. [41]

If NC3 vulnerabilities are unknown, it is also unknown whether an advanced cyber actor would be able to exploit them. As Kehler notes, “We don’t know what we don’t know” [28].


Even if NC3 of nuclear forces narrowly conceived is a hard target, cyber attacks on other critical infrastructure in preparation to or during a nuclear crisis could complicate or confuse government decision making. General Keith Alexander, Director of the NSA in the same Senate hearing with General Kehler, testified that:

our infrastructure that we ride on, the power and the communications grid, are one of the things that is a source of concern … we can go to backup generators and we can have independent routes, but … our ability to communicate would be significantly reduced and it would complicate our governance … . I think what General Kehler has would be intact … [but] the cascading effect … in that kind of environment … concerns us. [28]

Kehler further emphasized that “there’s a continuing need to make sure that we are protected against electromagnetic pulse and any kind of electromagnetic interference” [28].


Many NC3 components are antiquated and hard to upgrade, which is a mixed blessing. Kehler points out, “Much of the nuclear command and control system today is the legacy system that we’ve had. In some ways that helps us in terms of the cyber threat. In some cases it’s point to point, hard-wired, which makes it very difficult for an external cyber threat to emerge” [28]. The Government Accountability Office notes that the “Department of Defense uses 8-inch floppy disks in a legacy system that coordinates the operational functions of the nation’s nuclear forces” [42]. While this may limit some forms of remote access, it is also indicative of reliance on an earlier generation of software when security engineering standards were less mature. Upgrades to the digital Strategic Automated Command and Control System planned for 2017 have the potential to correct some problems, but these changes may also introduce new access vectors and vulnerabilities [43]. Admiral Cecil Haney, Kehler’s successor at STRATCOM, highlighted the challenges of NC3 modernization in 2015:

Assured and reliable NC3 is fundamental to the credibility of our nuclear deterrent. The aging NC3 systems continue to meet their intended purpose, but risk to mission success is increasing as key elements of the system age. The unpredictable challenges posed by today’s complex security environment make it increasingly important to optimize our NC3 architecture while leveraging new technologies so that NC3 systems operate together as a core set of survivable and endurable capabilities that underpin a broader, national command and control system. [44]

In no small irony, the internet itself owes its intellectual origin, in part, to the threat to NC3 from large-scale physical attack. A 1962 RAND report by Paul Baran considered “the problem of building digital communication networks using links with less than perfect reliability” to enable “stations surviving a physical attack and remaining in electrical connection … to operate together as a coherent entity after attack” [45]. Baran advocated as a solution decentralized packet switching protocols, not unlike those realized in the ARPANET program. The emergence of the internet was the result of many other factors that had nothing to do with managing nuclear operations, notably the meritocratic ideals of 1960s counterculture that contributed to the neglect of security in the internet’s founding architecture [46, 47]. Fears of NC3 vulnerability helped to create the internet, which then helped to create the present-day cybersecurity epidemic, which has come full circle to create new fears about NC3 vulnerability.

NC3 vulnerability is not unique to the United States. The NC3 of other nuclear powers may even be easier to compromise, especially in the case of new entrants to the nuclear club like North Korea. Moreover, the United States has already demonstrated both the ability and willingness to infiltrate sensitive foreign nuclear infrastructure through operations such as Olympic Games (Stuxnet), albeit targeting Iran’s nuclear fuel cycle rather than NC3. It would be surprising to learn that the United States has failed to upgrade its Cold War NC3 attack plans to include offensive cyber operations against a wide variety of national targets.

Hacking the deterrent
The United States included NC3 attacks in its Cold War counterforce and damage limitation war plans, even as contemporary critics perceived these options to be destabilizing for deterrence [48]. The best known example of these activities and capabilities is a Special Access Program named Canopy Wing. East German intelligence obtained the highly classified plans from a US Army spy in Berlin, and the details began to emerge publicly after the Cold War. An East German intelligence officer, Markus Wolf, writes in his memoir that Canopy Wing “listed the types of electronic warfare that would be used to neutralize the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact’s command centers in case of all-out war. It detailed the precise method of depriving the Soviet High Command of its high-frequency communications used to give orders to its armed forces” [49].

It is easy to see why NC3 is such an attractive target in the unlikely event of a nuclear war. If for whatever reason deterrence fails and the enemy decides to push the nuclear button, it would obviously be better to disable or destroy missiles before they launch than to rely on possibly futile efforts to shoot them down, or to accept the loss of millions of lives. American plans to disable Soviet NC3 with electronic warfare, furthermore, would have been intended to complement plans for decapitating strikes against Soviet nuclear forces. Temporary disabling of information networks in isolation would have failed to achieve any important strategic objective. A blinded adversary would eventually see again and would scramble to reconstitute its ability to launch its weapons, expecting that preemption was inevitable in any case. Reconstitution, moreover, would invalidate much of the intelligence and some of the tradecraft on which the blinding attack relied. Capabilities fielded through Canopy Wing were presumably intended to facilitate a preemptive military strike on Soviet NC3 to disable the ability to retaliate and limit the damage of any retaliatory force that survived, given credible indications that war was imminent. Canopy Wing included [50]:

  • “Measures for short-circuiting … communications and weapons systems using, among other things, microscopic carbon-fiber particles and chemical weapons.”
  • “Electronic blocking of communications immediately prior to an attack, thereby rendering a counterattack impossible.”
  • “Deployment of various weapons systems for instantaneous destruction of command centers, including pin-point targeting with precision-guided weapons to destroy ‘hardened bunkers’.”
  • “Use of deception measures, including the use of computer-simulated voices to override and substitute false commands from ground-control stations to aircraft and from regional command centers to the Soviet submarine fleet.”
  • “Us[e of] the technical installations of ‘Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’ and ‘Voice of America,’ as well as the radio communications installations of the U.S. Armed Forces for creating interference and other electronic effects.”

Wolf also ran a spy in the US Air Force who disclosed that:

the Americans had managed to penetrate the [Soviet air base at Eberswalde]’s ground-air communications and were working on a method of blocking orders before they reached the Russian pilots and substituting their own from West Berlin. Had this succeeded, the MiG pilots would have received commands from their American enemy. It sounded like science fiction, but, our experts concluded, it was in no way impossible that they could have pulled off such a trick, given the enormous spending and technical power of U.S. military air research. [49]

One East German source claimed that Canopy Wing had a $14.5 billion budget for research and operational costs and a staff of 1570 people, while another claimed that it would take over 4 years and $65 million to develop “a prototype of a sophisticated electronic system for paralyzing Soviet radio traffic in the high-frequency range” [50]. Canopy Wing was not cheap, and even so, it was only a research and prototyping program. Operationalization of its capabilities and integration into NATO war plans would have been even more expensive. This is suggestive of the level of effort required to craft effective offensive cyber operations against NC3.


Preparation comes to naught when a sensitive program is compromised. Canopy Wing was caught in what we describe below as the cyber commitment problem, the inability to disclose a warfighting capability for the sake of deterrence without losing it in the process. According to New York Times reporting on the counterintelligence investigation of the East German spy in the Army, Warrant Officer James Hall, “officials said that one program rendered useless cost hundreds of millions of dollars and was designed to exploit a Soviet communications vulnerability uncovered in the late 1970’s” [51]. This program was probably Canopy Wing. Wolf writes, “Once we passed [Hall’s documents about Canopy Wing] on to the Soviets, they were able to install scrambling devices and other countermeasures” [49]. It is tempting to speculate that the Soviet deployment of a new NC3 system known as Signal-A to replace Signal-M (which was most likely the one targeted by Canopy Wing) was motivated in part by Hall’s betrayal [50].

Canopy Wing underscores the potential and limitations of NC3 subversion. Modern cyber methods can potentially perform many of the missions Canopy Wing addressed with electronic warfare and other means, but with even greater stealth and precision. Cyber operations might, in principle, compromise any part of the NC3 system (early warning, command centers, data transport, operational forces, etc.) by blinding sensors, injecting bogus commands or suppressing legitimate ones, monitoring or corrupting data transmissions, or interfering with the reliable launch and guidance of missiles. In practice, the operational feasibility of cyber attack against NC3 or any other target depends on the software and hardware configuration and organizational processes of the target, the intelligence and planning capacity of the attacker, and the ability and willingness to take advantage of the effects created by cyber attack [52, 53]. Cyber compromise of NC3 is technically plausible though operationally difficult, a point to which we return in a later section.

To understand which threats are not only technically possible but also probable under some circumstance, we further need a political logic of cost and benefit [14]. In particular, how is it possible for a crisis to escalate to levels of destruction more costly than any conceivable political reward? Canopy Wing highlights some of the strategic dangers of NC3 exploitation. Warsaw Pact observers appear to have been deeply concerned that the program reflected an American willingness to undertake a surprise decapitation attack: they said that it “sent ice-cold shivers down our spines” [50]. The Soviets designed a system called Perimeter that, not unlike the Doomsday Device in Dr. Strangelove, was designed to detect a nuclear attack and retaliate automatically, even if cut off from Soviet high command, through an elaborate system of sensors, underground computers, and command missiles to transmit launch codes [54]. Both Canopy Wing and Perimeter show that the United States and the Soviet Union took nuclear warfighting seriously and were willing to develop secret advantages for such an event. By the same token, they were not able to reveal such capabilities to improve deterrence to avoid having to fight a nuclear war in the first place.

Nuclear deterrence and credible communication

Nuclear weapons have some salient political properties. They are singularly and obviously destructive. They kill in more, and more ghastly, ways than conventional munitions through electromagnetic radiation, blast, firestorms, radioactive fallout, and health effects that linger for years. Bombers, ICBMs, and SLBMs can project warheads globally without significantly mitigating their lethality, steeply attenuating the conventional loss-of-strength gradient [55]. Defense against nuclear attack is very difficult, even with modern ballistic missile defenses, given the speed of incoming warheads and use of decoys; multiple warheads and missile volleys further reduce the probability of perfect interception. If one cannot preemptively destroy all of an enemy’s missiles, then there is a nontrivial chance of getting hit by some of them. When one missed missile can incinerate millions of people, the notion of winning a nuclear war starts to seem meaningless for many politicians.

As defense seemed increasingly impractical, early Cold War strategists championed the threat of assured retaliation as the chief mechanism for avoiding war [56–59]. Political actors have issued threats for millennia, but the advent of nuclear weapons brought deterrence as a strategy to center stage. The Cold War was an intense learning experience for both practitioners and students of international security, rewriting well-worn realities more than once [60–62]. A key conundrum was the practice of brinkmanship. Adversaries who could not compete by “winning” a nuclear war could still compete by manipulating the “risk” of nuclear annihilation, gambling that an opponent would have the good judgment to back down at some point short of the nuclear brink. Brinkmanship crises—conceptualized as games of Chicken where one cannot heighten tensions without increasing the hazard of the mutually undesired outcome—require that decision makers behave irrationally, or possibly that they act randomly, which is difficult to conceptualize in practical terms [63]. The chief concern in historical episodes of chicken, such as the Berlin Crisis and Cuban Missile Crisis, was not whether a certain level of harm was possible, but whether an adversary was resolved enough, possibly, to risk nuclear suicide. The logical inconsistency of the need for illogic to win led almost from the beginning of the nuclear era to elaborate deductive contortions [64–66].

Both mutually assured destruction (MAD) and successful brinksmanship depend on a less appreciated, but no less fundamental, feature of nuclear weapons: political transparency. Most elements of military power are weakened by disclosure [67]. Military plans are considerably less effective if shared with an enemy. Conventional weapons become less lethal as adversaries learn what different systems can and cannot do, where they are located, how they are operated, and how to devise countermeasures and array defenses to blunt or disarm an attack. In contrast, relatively little reduction in destruction follows from enemy knowledge of nuclear capabilities. For most of the nuclear era, no effective defense existed against a nuclear attack. Even today, with evolving ABM systems, one ICBM still might get through and annihilate the capital city. Nuclear forces are more robust to revelation than other weapons, enabling nuclear nations better to advertise the harm they can inflict.

The need for transparency to achieve an effective deterrent is driven home by the satirical Cold War film, Dr. Strangelove: “the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you keep it a secret! Why didn’t you tell the world, eh?” During the real Cold War, fortunately, Soviet leaders paraded their nuclear weapons through Red Square for the benefit of foreign military attaches and the international press corps. Satellites photographed missile, bomber, and submarine bases. While other aspects of military affairs on both sides of the Iron Curtain remained closely guarded secrets, the United States and the Soviet Union permitted observers to evaluate their nuclear capabilities. This is especially remarkable given the secrecy that pervaded Soviet society. The relative transparency of nuclear arsenals ensured that the superpowers could calculate risks and consequences within a first-order approximation, which led to a reduction in severe conflict and instability even as political competition in other arenas was fierce [61, 68].

Recent insights about the causes of war suggest that divergent expectations about the costs and consequences of war are necessary for contests to occur [69–73]. These insights are associated with rationalist theories, such as deterrence theory itself. Empirical studies and psychological critiques of the rationality assumption have helped to refine models and bring some circumspection into their application, but the formulation of sound strategy (if not the execution) still requires the articulation of some rational linkage between cause and effect [19, 62, 74]. Many supposedly nonrational factors, moreover, simply manifest as uncertainty in strategic interaction. Our focus here is on the effect of uncertainty and ignorance on the ability of states and other actors to bargain in lieu of fighting. Many wars are a product of what adversaries do not know or what they misperceive, whether as a result of bluffing, secrecy, or intrinsic uncertainty [75, 76]. If knowledge of capabilities or resolve is a prerequisite for deterrence, then one reason for deterrence failure is the inability or unwillingness to credibly communicate details of the genuine balance of power, threat, or interests. Fighting, conversely, can be understood as a costly process of discovery that informs adversaries of their actual relative strength and resolve. From this perspective, successful deterrence involves instilling in an adversary perceptions like those that result from fighting, but before fighting actually begins. Agreement about the balance of power can enable states to bargain (tacit or overt) effectively without needing to fight, forging compromises that each prefers to military confrontation or even to the bulk of possible risky brinkmanship crises.

Despite other deficits, nuclear weapons have long been considered to be stabilizing with respect to rational incentives for war (the risk of nuclear accidents is another matter) [77]. If each side has a secure second strike—or even a minimal deterrent with some nonzero chance of launching a few missiles—then each side can expect to gain little and lose much by fighting a nuclear war. Whereas the costs of conventional war can be more mysterious because each side might decide to hold something back and meter out its punishment due to some internal constraint or a theory of graduated escalation, even a modest initial nuclear exchange is recognized to be extremely costly. As long as both sides understand this and understand (or believe) that the adversary understands this as well, then the relationship is stable. Countries engage nuclear powers with considerable deference, especially over issues of fundamental national or international importance. At the same time, nuclear weapons appear to be of limited value in prosecuting aggressive action, especially over issues of secondary or tertiary importance, or in response to aggression from others at lower levels of dispute intensity. Nuclear weapons are best used for signaling a willingness to run serious risks to protect or extort some issue that is considered of vital national interest.

As mentioned previously, both superpowers in the Cold War considered the warfighting advantages of nuclear weapons quite apart from any deterrent effect, and the United States and Russia still do. High-altitude bursts for air defense, electromagnetic pulse for frying electronics, underwater detonations for anti-submarine warfare, hardened target penetration, area denial, and so on, have some battlefield utility. Transparency per se is less important than weapon effects for warfighting uses, and can even be deleterious for tactics that depend on stealth and mobility. Even a single tactical nuke, however, would inevitably be a political event. Survivability of the second strike deterrent can also militate against transparency, as in the case of the Soviet Perimeter system, as mobility, concealment, and deception can make it harder for an observer to track and count respective forces from space. Counterforce strategies, platform diversity and mobility, ballistic missile defense systems, and force employment doctrine can all make it more difficult for one or both sides in a crisis to know whether an attack is likely to succeed or fail. The resulting uncertainty affects not only estimates of relative capabilities but also the degree of confidence in retaliation. At the same time, there is reason to believe that platform diversity lowers the risk of nuclear or conventional contests, because increasing the number of types of delivery platforms heightens second strike survivability without increasing the lethality of an initial strike [78]. While transparency is not itself a requirement for nuclear use, stable deterrence benefits to the degree to which retaliation can be anticipated, as well as the likelihood that the consequences of a first strike are more costly than any benefit. Cyber operations, in contrast, are neither robust to revelation nor as obviously destructive.

The cyber commitment problem

Deterrence (and compellence) uses force or threats of force to “warn” an adversary about consequences if it takes or fails to take an action. In contrast, defense (and conquest) uses force to “win” a contest of strength and change the material distribution of power. Sometimes militaries can change the distribution of information and power at the same time. Military mobilization in a crisis signifies resolve and displays a credible warning, but it also makes it easier to attack or defend if the warning fails. Persistence in a battle of attrition not only bleeds an adversary but also reveals a willingness to pay a higher price for victory. More often, however, the informational requirements of winning and warning are in tension. Combat performance often hinges on well-kept secrets, feints, and diversions. Many military plans and capabilities degrade when revealed. National security involves trade-offs between the goals of preventing war, by advertising capabilities or interests, and improving fighting power should war break out, by concealing capabilities and surprising the enemy.

The need to conceal details of the true balance of power to preserve battlefield effectiveness gives rise to the military commitment problem [79, 80]. Japan could not coerce the United States by revealing its plan to attack Pearl Harbor because the United States could not credibly promise to refrain from reorienting defenses and dispersing the Pacific Fleet. War resulted not just because of what opponents did not know but because of what they could not tell each other without paying a severe price in military advantage. The military benefits of surprise (winning) trumped the diplomatic benefits of coercion (warning).

Cyber operations, whether for disruption and intelligence, are extremely constrained by the military commitment problem. Revelation of a cyber threat in advance that is specific enough to convince a target of the validity of the threat also provides enough information potentially to neutralize it. Stuxnet took years and hundreds of millions of dollars to develop but was patched within weeks of its discovery. The Snowden leaks negated a whole swath of tradecraft that the NSA took years to develop. States may use other forms of covert action, such as publicly disavowed lethal aid or aerial bombing (e.g. Nixon’s Cambodia campaign), to discretely signal their interests, but such cases can only work to the extent that revelation of operational details fails to disarm rebels or prevent airstrikes [81].

Cyber operations, especially against NC3, must be conducted in extreme secrecy as a condition of the efficacy of the attack. Cyber tradecraft relies on stealth, stratagem, and deception [21]. Operations tailored to compromise complex remote targets require extensive intelligence, planning and preparation, and testing to be effective. Actions that alert a target of an exploit allow the target to patch, reconfigure, or adopt countermeasures that invalidate the plan. As the Defense Science Board points out, competent network defenders:

can also be expected to employ highly-trained system and network administrators, and this operational staff will be equipped with continuously improving network defensive tools and techniques (the same tools we advocate to improve our defenses). Should an adversary discover an implant, it is usually relatively simple to remove or disable. For this reason, offensive cyber will always be a fragile capability. [41]

The world’s most advanced cyber powers, the United States, Russia, Israel, China, France, and the United Kingdom, are also nuclear states, while India, Pakistan, and North Korea also have cyber warfare programs. NC3 is likely to be an especially well defended part of their cyber infrastructures. NC3 is a hard target for offensive operations, which thus requires careful planning, detailed intelligence, and long lead-times to avoid compromise.

Cyberspace is further ill-suited for signaling because cyber operations are complex, esoteric, and hard for commanders and policymakers to understand. Most targeted cyber operations have to be tailored for each unique target (a complex organization not simply a machine), quite unlike a general purpose munition tested on a range. Malware can fail in many ways and produce unintended side effects, as when the Stuxnet code was accidentally released to the public. The category of “cyber” includes tremendous diversity: irritant scams, hacktivist and propaganda operations, intelligence collection, critical infrastructure disruption, etc. Few intrusions create consequences that rise to the level of attacks such as Stuxnet or BlackEnergy, and even they pale beside the harm imposed by a small war.

Vague threats are less credible because they are indistinguishable from casual bluffing. Ambiguity can be useful for concealing a lack of capability or resolve, allowing an actor to pool with more capable or resolved states and acquiring some deterrence success by association. But this works by discounting the costliness of the threat. Nuclear threats, for example, are usually somewhat veiled because one cannot credibly threaten nuclear suicide. The consistently ambiguous phrasing of US cyber declaratory policy (e.g. “we will respond to cyber-attacks in a manner and at a time and place of our choosing using appropriate instruments of U.S. power” [82]) seeks to operate across domains to mobilize credibility in one area to compensate for a lack of credibility elsewhere, specifically by leveraging the greater robustness to revelation of military capabilities other than cyber.

This does not mean that cyberspace is categorically useless for signaling, just as nuclear weapons are not categorically useless for warfighting. Ransomware attacks work when the money extorted to unlock the compromised host is priced below the cost of an investigation or replacing the system. The United States probably gained some benefits in general deterrence (i.e. discouraging the emergence of challenges as opposed to immediate deterrence in response to a challenge) through the disclosure of Stuxnet and the Snowden leaks. Both revelations compromised tradecraft, but they also advertised that the NSA probably had more exploits and tradecraft where they came from. Some cyber operations may actually be hard to mitigate within tactically meaningful timelines (e.g. hardware implants installed in hard-to-reach locations). Such operations might be revealed to coerce concessions within the tactical window created by a given operation, if the attacker can coordinate the window with the application of coercion in other domains. As a general rule, however, the cyber domain on its own is better suited for winning than warning [83]. Cyber and nuclear weapons fall on extreme opposite sides of this spectrum.

Dangerous complements

Nuclear weapons have been used in anger twice—against the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki—but cyberspace is abused daily. Considered separately, the nuclear domain is stable and the cyber domain is unstable. In combination, the results are ambiguous.

The nuclear domain can bound the intensity of destruction that a cyber attacker is willing to inflict on an adversary. US declaratory policy states that unacceptable cyber attacks may prompt a military response; while nuclear weapons are not explicitly threatened, neither are they withheld. Nuclear threats have no credibility at the low end, where the bulk of cyber attacks occur. This produces a cross-domain version of the stability–instability paradox, where deterrence works at the high end but is not credible, and thus encourages provocation, at low intensities. Nuclear weapons, and military power generally, create an upper bound on cyber aggression to the degree that retaliation is anticipated and feared [22, 83, 84].

In the other direction, the unstable cyber domain can undermine the stability of nuclear deterrence. Most analysts who argue that the cyber–nuclear combination is a recipe for danger focus on the fog of crisis decision making [85–87]. Stephen Cimbala points out that today’s relatively smaller nuclear arsenals may perversely magnify the attractiveness of NC3 exploitation in a crisis: “Ironically, the downsizing of U.S. and post-Soviet Russian strategic nuclear arsenals since the end of the Cold War, while a positive development from the perspectives of nuclear arms control and nonproliferation, makes the concurrence of cyber and nuclear attack capabilities more alarming” [88]. Cimbala focuses mainly on the risks of misperception and miscalculation that emerge when a cyber attack muddies the transparent communication required for opponents to understand one another’s interests, redlines, and willingness to use force, and to ensure reliable control over subordinate commanders. Thus a nuclear actor “faced with a sudden burst of holes in its vital warning and response systems might, for example, press the preemption button instead of waiting to ride out the attack and then retaliate” [85].

The outcome of fog of decision scenarios such as these depend on how humans react to risk and uncertainty, which in turn depends on bounded rationality and organizational frameworks that might confuse rational decision making [89, 90]. These factors exacerbate a hard problem. Yet within a rationalist framework, cyber attacks that have already created their effects need not trigger an escalatory spiral. While being handed a fait accompli may trigger an aggressive reaction, it is also plausible that the target’s awareness that its NC3 has been compromised in some way would help to convey new information that the balance of power is not as favorable as previously thought. This in turn could encourage the target to accommodate, rather than escalate. While defects in rational decision making are a serious concern in any cyber–nuclear scenario, the situation becomes even more hazardous when there are rational incentives to escalate. Although “known unknowns” can create confusion, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, the “unknown unknowns” are perhaps more dangerous.

A successful clandestine penetration of NC3 can defeat the informational symmetry that stabilizes nuclear relationships. Nuclear weapons are useful for deterrence because they impose a degree of consensus about the distribution of power; each side knows the other can inflict prohibitive levels of damage, even if they may disagree about the precise extent of this damage. Cyber operations are attractive precisely because they can secretly revise the distribution of power. NC3 neutralization may be an expensive and rarified capability in the reach of only a few states with mature signals intelligence agencies, but it is much cheaper than nuclear attack. Yet the very usefulness of cyber operations for nuclear warfighting ensure that deterrence failure during brinksmanship crises is more likely.

Nuclear states may initiate crises of risk and resolve to see who will back down first, which is not always clear in advance. Chicken appears viable, ironically, because each player understands that a nuclear war would be a disaster for all, and thus all can agree that someone can be expected swerve. Nuclear deterrence should ultimately make dealing with an adversary diplomatically more attractive than fighting, provided that fighting is costly—as would seem evident for the prospect of nuclear war—and assuming that bargains are available to states willing to accept compromise rather than annihilation. If, however, one side knows, but the other does not, that the attacker has disabled the target’s ability to perceive an impending military attack, or to react to one when it is underway, then they will not have a shared understanding of the probable outcome of war, even in broad terms.

Consider a brinksmanship crisis between two nuclear states where only one has realized a successful penetration of the rival’s NC3. The cyber attacker knows that it has a military advantage, but it cannot reveal the advantage to the target, lest the advantage be lost. The target does not know that it is at a disadvantage, and it cannot be told by the attacker for the same reason. The attacker perceives an imbalance of power while the target perceives a balance. A dangerous competition in risk taking ensues. The first side knows that it does not need to back down. The second side feels confident that it can stand fast and raise the stakes far beyond what it would be willing to if it understood the true balance of power. Each side is willing to escalate to create more risk for the other side, making it more likely that one or the other will conclude that deterrence has failed and move into warfighting mode to attempt to limit the damage the other can inflict.

The targeted nature and uncertain effects of offensive cyber operations put additional pressure on decision makers. An intrusion will probably disable only part of the enemy’s NC3 architecture, not all of it (which is not only operationally formidable to achieve but also more likely to be noticed by the target). Thus the target may retain control over some nuclear forces, or conventional forces. The target may be tempted to use some of them piecemeal to signal a willingness to escalate further, even though it cannot actually escalate because of the cyber operation. The cyber attacker knows that it has escalation dominance, but when even a minor demonstration by the target can cause great damage, it is tempting to preempt this move or others like it. This situation would be especially unstable if only second strike but not primary strike NC3 was incapacitated. Uncertainty in the efficacy of the clandestine penetration would discount the attacker’s confidence in its escalation dominance, with a range of possible outcomes. Enough uncertainty would discount the cyber attack to nothing, which would have a stabilizing effect by returning the crisis to the pure nuclear domain. A little bit of uncertainty about cyber effectiveness would heighten risk acceptance while also raising the incentives to preempt as an insurance measure.

Adding allies into the mix introduces additional instability. An ally emboldened by its nuclear umbrella might run provocative risks that it would be much more reluctant to embrace if it was aware that the umbrella was actually full of holes. Conversely, if the clandestine advantage is held by the state extending the umbrella, allies could become unnerved by the willingness of their defender to run what appear to be outsize risks, oblivious of the reasons for the defender’s confidence, creating discord in the alliance and incentives for self-protective action, leading to greater uncertainty about alliance solidarity.

The direction of influence between the cyber and nuclear realms depends to large degree on which domain is the main arena of action. Planning and conducting cyber operations will be bounded by the ability of aggressors to convince themselves that attacks will remain secret, and by the confidence of nuclear nations in their invulnerability. Fears of cross-domain escalation will tend to keep instability in cyberspace bounded. However, if a crisis has risen to the point where nuclear threats are being seriously considered or made, then NC3 exploitation will be destabilizing. Brinksmanship crises seem to have receded in frequency since the Cuban Missile Crisis but may be more likely than is generally believed. President Vladimir Putin of Russia has insinuated more than once in recent years that his government is willing to use tactical nuclear weapons if necessary to support his policies.

Cyber power and nuclear stability
Not all crises are the same. Indeed, their very idiosyncrasies create the uncertainties that make bargaining failure more likely [75]. So far our analysis would be at home in the Cold War, with the technological novelty of cyber operations. Yet not every state has the same cyber capabilities or vulnerabilities. Variation in cyber power relations across dyads should be expected to affect the strategic stability of nuclear states.

The so-called second nuclear age differs from superpower rivalry in important ways [91]. There are fewer absolute numbers of warheads in the world, down from a peak of over 70 000 in the 1980s to about 15 000 today (less than 5000 deployed), but they are distributed very unevenly [92]. The United States and Russia have comparably sized arsenals, each with a fully diversified triad of delivery platforms, while North Korea only has a dozen or so bombs and no meaningful delivery system (for now). China, India, Pakistan, Britain, France, and Israel have modest arsenals in the range of several dozen to a couple hundred weapons, but they have very different doctrines, conventional force complements, domestic political institutions, and alliance relationships. The recent nuclear powers lack the hard-won experience and shared norms of the Cold War to guide them through crises, and even the United States and Russia have much to relearn.

Cyber warfare capacity also varies considerably across contemporary nuclear nations. The United States, Russia, Israel, and Britain are in the top tier, able to run sophisticated, persistent, clandestine penetrations. China is a uniquely active cyber power with ambitious cyber warfare doctrine, but its operational focus is on economic espionage and political censorship, resulting in less refined tradecraft and more porous defenses for military purposes [16]. France, India, and Pakistan also have active cyber warfare programs, while North Korea is the least developed cyber nation, depending on China for its expertise [93].

It is beyond the scope of this article to assess crisis dyads in detail, and data on nuclear and cyber power for these countries are shrouded in secrecy. Here, as a way of summing up the arguments above, we offer a few conjectures about how stylized aspects of cyber power affect crisis stability through incentives and key aspects of decision making. We do not stress relative nuclear weapon capabilities on the admittedly strong (and contestable) assumption that nuclear transparency in the absence of cyber operations would render nuclear asymmetry irrelevant for crisis bargaining because both sides would agree about the terrible consequences of conflict [94]. We also omit domestic or psychological variables that affect relative power assessments, although these are obviously important. Even if neither India nor Pakistan have viable cyber–nuclear capabilities, brinksmanship between them is dangerous for many other reasons, notably compressed decision timelines, Pakistan’s willingness to shoot first, and domestic regime instability. Our focus is on the impact of offensive and defensive cyber power on nuclear deterrence above and beyond the other factors that certainly play a role in real-world outcomes.

First, does the cyber attacker have the organizational capacity, technical expertise, and intelligence support to “compromise” the target’s NC3? Can hackers access critical networks, exploit technical vulnerabilities, and confidently execute a payload to disrupt or exploit strategic sensing, command, forces, or transport capacity? The result would be some tangible advantage for warfighting, such as tactical warning or control paralysis, but one that cannot be exercised in bargaining.

Second, is the target able to “detect” the compromise of its NC3? The more complicated and sensitive the target, the more likely cyber attackers are to make a mistake that undermines the intrusion. Attribution is not likely to be difficult given the constricted pool of potential attackers, but at the same time the consequences of misattributing “false flag” operations could be severe [95]. At a minimum, detection is assumed to provide information to the target that the balance of power is perhaps not as favorable as imagined previously. We assume that detection without an actual compromise is possible because of false positives or deceptive information operations designed to create pessimism or paranoia.

Third, is the target able to “mitigate” the compromise it detects? Revelation can prompt patching or network reconfiguration to block an attack, but this assumption is not always realistic. The attacker may have multiple pathways open or may have implanted malware that is difficult to remove in tactically meaningful timelines. In such cases the cyber commitment problem is not absolute, since the discovery of the power to hurt does not automatically disarm it. Successful mitigation here is assumed to restore mutual assessments of the balance of power to what they would be absent the cyber attack.

Table 1 shows how these factors combine to produce different deterrence outcomes in a brinksmanship (chicken) crisis. If there is no cyber compromise and the target detects nothing (no false positives) then we have the optimistic ideal case where nuclear transparency affords stable “deterrence.” Transparency about the nuclear balance, including the viability of secure second strike forces, provides strategic stability. We also expect this box to describe situations where the target has excellent network defense capabilities and thus the prospect of defense, denial or deception successfully deters any attempts to penetrate NC3. This may resemble the Cold War situation (with electronic warfare in lieu of cyber), or even the present day US–Russia dyad, where the odds of either side pulling off a successful compromise against a highly capable defender are not favorable. Alternately the attack may be deemed risky enough to encourage serious circumspection. However, the existence of Canopy Wing does not encourage optimism in this regard.

Conversely, if there is a compromise that goes undetected, then there is a heightened risk of “war” because of the cyber commitment problem. This box may be particularly relevant for asymmetric dyads such as the United States and North Korea, where one side has real cyber power but the other side is willing to go to the brink where it believes, falsely, that it has the capability to compel its counterpart to back down. Cyber disruption of NC3 is attractive for damage limitation should deterrence fail, given that the weaker state’s diminutive arsenal makes damage limitation by the stronger state more likely to succeed. The dilemma for the stronger state is that the clandestine counterforce hedge, which makes warfighting success more likely, is precisely what makes deterrence more likely to fail.

The United States would face similar counterforce dilemmas with other dyads like China or even Russia, although even a strong cyber power should be more circumspect when confronted with an adversary with a larger/more capable nuclear and conventional arsenal. More complex and cyber savvy targets, moreover, are more likely to detect a breach in NC3, leading to more ambiguous outcomes depending on how actors cope with risk and uncertainty. Paradoxically, confidence in cyber security may be a major contributor to failure; believing one is safe from attack increases the chance that an attack is successful.

If the successful compromise is detected but not mitigated, then the target learns that the balance of power is not as favorable as thought. This possibility suggests fleeting opportunities for “coercion” by revealing the cyber coup to the target in the midst of a crisis while the cyber attacker maintains or develops a favorable military advantage before the target has the opportunity to reverse or compensate the NC3 disruption. Recognizing the newly transparent costs of war, a risk neutral or risk averse target should prefer compromise. The coercive advantages (deterrence or compellence) of a detected but unmitigated NC3 compromise will likely be fleeting. This suggests a logical possibility for creating a window of opportunity for using particular cyber operations that are more robust to revelation as a credible signal of superior capability in the midst of a crisis. It would be important to exploit this fleeting advantage via other credible military threats (e.g. forces mobilized on visible alert or deployed into the crisis area) before the window closes.

One side may be able gain an unearned advantage, an opportunity for coercion via a “bluff,” by the same window-of-opportunity logic. A target concerned about NC3 compromise will probably have some network monitoring system and other protections in place. Defensive systems can produce false positives as a result of internal errors or a deception operation by the attacker to encourage paranoia. It is logically possible that some false positives would appear to the target to be difficult to mitigate. In this situation, the target could believe it is at a disadvantage, even though this is not in fact the case. This gambit would be operationally very difficult to pull off with any reliability in a real nuclear crisis.

Cyber–nuclear coercion and bluffing strategies are fraught with danger. Detection without mitigation might put a risk-acceptant or loss-averse target into a “use-lose” situation, creating pressures to preempt or escalate. The muddling of decision-making heightens the risk of accidents or irrational choices in a crisis scenario. Worry about preemption or accident then heightens the likelihood that the initiator will exercise counterforce options while they remain available. These pressures can be expected to be particularly intense if the target’s detection is only partial or has not revealed the true extent of damage to its NC3 (i.e. the target does not realize it has already lost some or all of what it hopes to use). These types of scenarios are most usually invoked in analyses of inadvertent escalation [23–27]. The essential distinction between “use-lose” risks and “war” in this typology is the target’s knowledge of some degree of NC3 compromise. Use-lose and other cognitive pressures can certainly result in nuclear war, since the breakdown of deterrence leads to the release of nuclear weapons, but we distinguish these outcomes to highlight the different decision making processes or rational incentives at work.

A “spiral” of mistrust may emerge if one side attempts a compromise but the defender detects and mitigates it. Both sides again have common mutual estimates of the relative balance of power, which superficially resembles the “deterrence” case because the NC3 compromise is negated. Unfortunately, the detection of the compromise will provide the target with information about the hostile intentions of the cyber attacker. This in turn is likely to exacerbate other political or psychological factors in the crisis itself or in the crisis-proneness of the broader relationship. The strange logical case where there is no compromise but one is detected and mitigated could result from a false positive misperception (including a third-party false flag operation) that could conflict spiraling [96, 97]. The bluff and coercion outcomes are also likely to encourage spiraling behavior once the fleeting bargaining advantage dissipates or is dispelled (provided anyone survives the interaction).

The risk of crisis instability is not the same for all dyads. It is harder to compromise the NC3 of strong states because of the redundancy and active defenses in their arsenal. Likewise, strong states are better able to compromise the NC3 of any states but especially of weaker states, because of strong states’ greater organizational capacity and expertise in cyber operations. Stable deterrence or MAD is most likely to hold in mutually strong dyads (e.g. the United States and the Soviet Union in the Cold War or Russia today to a lesser extent). Deterrence is slightly less likely in other equally matched dyads (India–Pakistan) where defensive vulnerabilities create temptations but offensive capabilities may not be sufficient to exploit them. Most states can be expected to refrain from targeting American NC3 given a US reputation for cyber power (a general deterrence benefit enhanced by Stuxnet and Snowden). The situation is less stable if the United States is the attacker. The most dangerous dyad is a stronger and a weaker state (United States and North Korea or Israel and Iran). Dyads involving strong and middle powers are also dangerous (United States and China). The stronger side is tempted to disrupt NC3 as a warfighting hedge in case deterrence breaks down, while the weaker but still formidable side has a reasonable chance at detection. The marginally weaker may also be tempted to subvert NC3, particularly for reconnaissance; the stronger side is more likely to detect and correct the intrusion but will be alarmed by the ambiguity in distinguishing intelligence collection from attack planning [98]. In a brinksmanship crisis between them, windows for coercion may be available yet fleeting, with real risks of spiral and war.

Policy implications
Skeptics are right to challenge the hype about cyberwar. The term is confusing, and hacking rarely amounts to anything approaching a weapon of mass destruction. Cyberspace is most usefully exploited on the lower end of the conflict spectrum for intelligence and subversion, i.e., not as a substitute for military or economic power but a complement to it. Yet the logic of complementarity has at least one exception regarding conflict severity, and it is a big one.

Offensive cyber operations against NC3 raise the risk of nuclear war. They do so because cyber operations and nuclear weapons are extreme complements regarding their informational properties. Cyber operations rely on deception. Nuclear deterrence relies on clear communication. In a brinksmanship crisis, the former undermines the latter. Nuclear crises were rare events in Cold War history, thankfully. Today, the proliferation and modernization of nuclear weapons may raise the risk slightly. Subversion of NC3 raises the danger of nuclear war slightly more. Cyberwar is not war per se, but in rare circumstances it may make escalation to thermonuclear war more likely.

NC3 is a particularly attractive counterforce target because disruption can render the enemy’s arsenal less effective without having to destroy individual platforms. US nuclear strategy in practice has long relied on counterforce capabilities (including Canopy Wing) [48, 99]. Deterrence theorists expect this to undermine the credibility of the adversary’s deterrent and create pressures to move first in a conflict [100, 101]. If for some reason deterrence fails, however, countervalue strikes on civilian population centers would be militarily useless and morally odious. Counterforce strikes, in contrast, aim at preemptive disarmament or damage limitation by attacking the enemy’s nuclear enterprise. Counterforce capabilities are designed for “winning” a nuclear war once over the brink, but their strategic purpose may still include warning if they can somehow be made robust to revelation. During the Cold War, the United States found ways to inform the Soviet Union of its counterforce ability to sink SSBNs, hit mobile ICBMs, and show off some electronic warfare capabilities without giving away precise details [102]. This improved mutual recognition of US advantages and thus clearer assessment of the consequences of conflict, but the military commitment problem was real nonetheless. The problem is particularly pronounced for cyber disruption of NC3. As one side builds more sophisticated NC3 to improve the credibility of its nuclear “warning,” the other side engages in cyber operations to improve its capacity for nuclear “winning,” thereby undermining the warning.

The prohibitive cost of nuclear war and the relative transparency of the nuclear balance has contributed to seven decades of nuclear peace. If this is to continue, it will be necessary to find ways to maintain transparency. If knowledge of a shift in relative power is concealed, then the deterrent effect of nuclear capabilities is undermined. This will tend to occur in periods where concern over nuclear attack is heightened, such as in the midst of a militarized crises. Yet there is no reason to believe that states will wait for a crisis before seeking to establish advantageous positions in cyberspace. Indeed, given the intricate intelligence and planning required, offensive cyber preparations must precede overt aggression by months or even years. It is this erosion of the bulwark of deterrence that is most troubling.

What can be done? Arms control agreements to ban cyber attacks on NC3 might seem attractive, but the cyber commitment problem also undermines institutional monitoring and enforcement. Even where the United States would benefit from such an agreement by keeping this asymmetric capability out of the hands of other states, it would still have strong incentives to prepare its own damage limitation options should deterrence fail. Nevertheless, diplomatic initiatives to discuss the dangers of cyber–nuclear interactions with potential opponents should be pursued. Even if cyber–nuclear dangers cannot be eliminated, states should be encouraged to review their NC3 and ensure strict lines of control over any offensive cyber operations at that level.

Classified studies of the details of NC3, not just the technical infrastructure but also their human organizations, together with wargames of the scenarios above, may help nuclear war planners to think carefully about subverting NC3. Unfortunately, the same reconnaissance operations used to better understand the opponent’s NC3 can be misinterpreted as attempts to compromise it [98]. More insidiously, private knowledge can become a source of instability insofar as knowing something about an adversary that improves one’s prospects in war increases the incentive to act through force or to exploit windows of opportunity in a crisis that could inadvertently escalate.

Anything that can be done to protect NC3 against cyber intrusion will make the most dangerous possibility of successful but undetected compromises less likely. The Defense Science Board in 2013 recommended “immediate action to assess and assure national leadership that the current U.S. nuclear deterrent is also survivable against the full-spectrum cyber … threat” [41]. Defense in depth should include redundant communications pathways, error correction channels, isolation of the most critical systems, component heterogeneity rather than a vulnerable software monoculture, and network security monitoring with active defenses (i.e. a counterintelligence mindset). Older technologies, ironically, may provide some protection by foiling access of modern cyber techniques (Russia reportedly still uses punch-cards for parts of its NC3 [103]); yet vulnerabilities from an earlier era of inadequate safeguards are also a problem. For defense in depth to translate into deterrence by denial requires the additional step of somehow advertising NC3 redundancy and resilience even in a cyber degraded environment.

Cyber disruption of NC3 is a cross-domain deterrence problem. CDD might also be part of the solution. As noted above, CDD can help to bound the severity of instability in the cyber domain by threatening, implicitly or explicitly, the prospect of military, economic, law-enforcement, or diplomatic consequences. Cyber attacks flourish below some credible threshold of deterrence and rapidly tail off above it. CDD may also help in nuclear crises. CDD provides policymakers with options other than nuclear weapons, and perhaps options when NC3 is compromised. A diversity of options provides a variation on Schelling’s classic “threat that leaves something to chance.” In some dyads, particularly with highly asymmetric nuclear arsenals and technical capabilities, CDD may provide options for “war” and “coercion” outcomes (in the language of our typology) short of actual nuclear war. CDD does not necessarily improve deterrence and in many ways is predicated on the failure of deterrence, but the broadening of options may lessen the consequences of that failure (i.e. if a machine asks, “Do you want to play a game?” it would be helpful to have options available other than “global thermonuclear war”). The implications of choice among an expanded palette of coercive options in an open-ended bargaining scenario is a topic for future research.

Finally, every effort should be made to ensure that senior leaders—the President and the Secretary of Defense in the United States, the Central Military Commission in China, etc.—understand and authorize any cyber operations against any country’s NC3 for any reason. Even intrusions focused only on intelligence collection should be reviewed and approved at the highest level. Education is easier said than done given the esoteric technical details involved. Ignorance at the senior level of the implications of compromised NC3 is a major risk factor in a crisis contributing to false optimism or other bad decisions. New technologies of information are, ironically, undermining clear communication.

Acknowledgements
We thank Scott Sagan, William J. Perry, the participants of the Stanford Cyber Policy Program (SCPP) Workshop on Strategic Dimensions of Offensive Cyber Operations, and the anonymous reviewers for their comments. This research was supported by SCPP and the Department of Defense Minerva Initiative through an Office of Naval Research Grant [N00014-14-1-0071].

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Lebanon Is Under Maximum Pressure, and the Target Is Hezbollah: Iran Sends Its Support • Katehon

Lebanon is under unprecedented economic and social pressure, paying the price for Hezbollah’s military capability that causes a threat to “Israel”. The options offered by those (US, EU and “Israel”) effectively participating in cornering Lebanon -notwithstanding decades of domestic corruption and mismanagement – are limited to two: either disarm Hezbollah or push Lebanon toward a failed state and civil war. However, the “Axis of the Resistance” has other options: Iran has responded to the request of Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah by regularly sending to Lebanon food supplies and medicine. It is now sending oil tankers, which are expected to reach the country in the coming weeks via the Syrian port of Tartous. Iran is rushing to support one of its strongest allies in the “Axis of the Resistance”, Hezbollah, which is suffering severe domestic pressure, as are the entire Resistance Axis members in their respective countries. Hezbollah’s supporters of all persuasions are affected by the acute socio-economic crisis. But will Hezbollah succeed in overcoming the inevitable result of the current long-term crisis? How serious are the challenges?

In one of his private meetings, Sayed Nasrallah said: “Israel considered that Hezbollah’s military capability constituted a “vexing danger” at the first years of its existence. The level of danger moved up to “challenge” in 2000 when “Israel” withdrew from Lebanon, to the “serious menace” level after the 2006 war, and to “existential danger” after the wars in Syria and Iraq.”

In line with what the Secretary-General of Hezbollah believes, it is common knowledge that “Israel” possesses nuclear weapons. Therefore, no other power in the Middle East can be considered an “existential threat” to “Israel”. However, according to the Israeli military leadership, Hezbollah possesses accurate missiles carrying hundreds of kilograms of explosives each. Thus, Hezbollah needs only ten missiles – not hundreds – to hit 6 electric stations and 4 water desalination plants over the entire geography to render life impossible for a vast number of Israelis. The Israeli leadership stated that there is no need to count the precision missiles that could hit any oil platform, ship or harbour and destroy any airport control tower in any future war.

Consequently, there will be not many Israelis willing to stay, and it is conceivable to believe that a considerable number of Israelis would leave. This scenario constitutes an existential threat to “Israel”, indeed. In this case, as the military command says, “Israel” will never be able to coexist with such an existential threat looming over its head generated from the other side of the Lebanese border. Hezbollah possesses hundreds of precision missiles spread over a wide area in Lebanon, Syria, and mainly along the fortified eastern mountainside that offer ideal protection for these missiles. So what are “Israel’s” options?

Following the failure to subdue Hezbollah in 2006 in the 3rd war, the victory of the “Axis of Resistance” in the Syrian conflict, the prevention of the division of Iraq and the fall of Yemen under Saudi Arabia’s control, the area of ​​influence of the Resistance Axis expanded, as well as its theatre of operations. Consequently, the danger to “Israel”, to the US’s goals and hegemony in West Asia, significantly increased.

The nuclear dossier is not that far away from the threat the “Axis of the Resistance” is confronted with. By increasing its nuclear capability, Iran forced President Joe Biden to put the nuclear negotiation at the top of its agenda during (former) President Hassan Rouhani’s mandate. Whatever has been said about the possibility of future progress in the nuclear talks in Vienna, lifting sanctions on Iran – while Iraq is labouring under heavy financial debt, Syria is subjected to a severe economic blockade, and Lebanon faces a becoming degraded state -seems unrealistic to the US.

To the west and “Israel”, releasing Iran’s frozen funds – which exceed $110 billion – at a time of maximum financial pressure and heavy sanctions, is not logical. Moreover, allowing Iran to sell and export its oil and lifting the maximum pressure means that all the previous US efforts to curb Iran’s will and progress are due to fail just when the results of these sanctions are turning in favour of the US in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Consequently, maintaining economic pressure on the “Axis of Resistance” has become a US necessity and strategy. With this in mind, the US failed to comply with the nuclear agreement, to improve the leverage of the US negotiator and impose its conditions over Iran to include, above all, its relationship with its allies and the maintenance of hundreds of sanctions in place.

With the arrival of President Ibrahim Raisi to power and his plans to give little time for the nuclear negotiation, the US sees itself faced with two very bitter choices: either allowing Iran to become a nuclear power or removing all sanctions so as to persuade Iran to delay its entire nuclear capability. Both decisions are impossible choices and inconvenient for the US administration. Thus, the US needs to hit Iran’s allies without negotiating with Tehran, because it refuses to include it – as well as Iran’s missile program – in any nuclear talks.

Suppose the maximum pressure on Lebanon fails to weaken Hezbollah. In that case, Washington needs to evaluate future steps to choose between the nuclear threat or the “Axis of the Resistance” threat to “Israel”. And if the US opts for the 2015 nuclear agreement –which is unlikely – then “the Axis of Resistance” will experience a strong revival, recovering from the extreme US pressure. Whatever America’s choice is, it has become more than evident that Iran will eventually become a nuclear power and offer more than adequate support to its allies to keep them strong enough to face whatever challenges.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah cannot provide and has no intention of replacing the services provided by the state. Nevertheless, it is involved in the food supply through “al-Sajjad” cards delivered to families needing to buy food at a sharply reduced price, which raised the number from 150 000 to 200 000. It is supporting thousands of families who have reached the level of extreme poverty. Moreover, Hezbollah brought medication from Iran (more than 500 types) to cover some of the country’s needs when pharmacies are closing their doors and lacking essential medical supplies.

Furthermore, in the coming weeks, Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah have agreed on delivering Iranian oil to Lebanon. Hezbollah will receive the gasoline from the supply to its forces and for covering its daily movements. Hospitals are at the top of the list of those expected to receive the Iranian oil distributed by Hezbollah to prevent their shutting down. Many hospitals closed more than half of their departments. Other medical facilities transferred their patients to hospitals that still have fuel to generate electricity for the next few days. In various parts of Lebanon, hospitals are asking many patients to leave due to the lack of diesel fuel for electricity. The American University of Beirut Medical Centre stopped ventilators and other lifesaving medical devices for the lack of fuel oil.

Also, Hezbollah is expected to deliver Iranian oil to the owners of tens of thousands of private electric generators. The lack of electricity in the country boosted the presence of thousands of privately-owned generators who, for decades, offer their paid services to compensate for the lack of electricity. These are expected to benefit from the oil delivered by Hezbollah to secure electric power supply for people. The shortage of diesel fuel for the owners of generators reached a critical degree in the current hot summer, raising the level of discontent among the population.

Also, diesel fuel will be provided to some municipalities to secure waste removal from the streets for fear of the spread of disease. Al-Amanah Company is also expected to distribute the Iranian oil and diesel to dozens of stations approved by it and other local gasoline stations spread throughout the Lebanese territory.

But Hezbollah will not satisfy everyone in the country and is not able to prevent internal deterioration within the Shia society (-the majority of Shia stand with Hezbollah, but there are others in the Amal movement under the control of Speaker Nabih Berri and not Hezbollah) in the first place and among its allies in the second place. The social decline is at a peak, and Iran’s support is insufficient unless Iran fully achieves its own recovery – if sanctions are fully lifted – and its domestic economy recovers. As far as it concerns Iran, the consent to its allies is mandatory because the “Axis of the Resistance” is united and all share the same vocation.

However, it is not in Iran’s capability to take on the entire burden of Syria and Lebanon’s economy. Iran supported Syria financially throughout the decade of war but is in no position to finance all the needs of the state. Also, Hezbollah started as a popular resistance force against the Israeli occupation, intending to impose deterrence and protect the state from Israeli violations and ambitions. It has been heavily involved in social support to the deprived Shia sect and managed to cover many infrastructure and service holes left by the incapability of the state. But the challenge faced in the last couple of years is beyond Hezbollah’s competencies and probably beyond the means of the state itself.

It should be borne in mind, though, that the flow of the Iranian oil into Lebanon carries with it several potential risks:

First: The risk of an Israeli strike on the supply lines. This will require Hezbollah to strike back “Israel” to maintain the balance of terror and deterrence equation. The tension in the military situation between “Israel” and Hezbollah will reach its climax without going to an all-out war because “Israel” prefers “campaigns between wars” to control the damage that may result from the confrontation. However, if “Israel” strikes the Iranian oil tankers or other countries try to stop the oil from reaching Lebanon, Iran would reply and it is not expected to stop sending its tankers to Lebanon.

Second: The supply route passes through areas not controlled by Hezbollah. What will the other anti-Hezbollah groups do? Will Hezbollah find a solution to convince the (hostile) Druze, Sunni and Christians spread along its supply road to avoid intercepting its trucks, or would it be forced to face groups and be dragged into an internal battle? How will Hezbollah guarantee the cohesion of its areas from the Beqaa to the southern suburbs of Beirut and even to the South of Lebanon so that its environment would be safe from the sectarian incitement the US manipulates and drags the country toward it?

There is no doubt that Lebanon is heading toward the dissolution of the state in a fast-paced manner. This will lead to the security forces’ weakness in general and push each sect or party to provide the necessary support to the membership of its society. Lebanon is expected to live again in the 1980s era when social services were reduced, waste spread in the streets, health and education levels declined, security forces were inefficient and hopeless, and warlords were emerging out of it.

From a specific aspect, the US-Israeli blockade is relatively in the interests of Hezbollah because it receives its financial support in foreign currency. Hezbollah is a regular and coherent organisation, and it will increase its revenue from the sharp devaluation of the local currency, the selling of medicine, oil and food. Hezbollah is expected to sell gasoline and diesel at prices relatively lower than the market price. Furthermore, it is also expected to allow other areas in Lebanon to have access to all the reached products. That will permit Hezbollah to expose greedy Lebanese merchants who monopolise and stockpile medicines and gasoline to starve the market and increase prices. These Lebanese merchants will be forced to sell their goods if these are no longer a rarity in the market. The goods are currently sold on the black market at prices unaffordable to the majority of the inhabitants.

What Lebanon is suffering from is the result of decades of corruption conducted by the US friends who held the political power in the country. The downgrading of Lebanon is primarily due to the US and Israeli interventions and influence in this country: It has lost the name “Switzerland of the East” forever. The disadvantage for Hezbollah will be the security chaos, the fragmentation of the security forces and their inability to impose their authority, and the spread of poverty to hit all walks of life. It is also expected to see the country suffer different sabotage acts, bribes, further corruption- and to become a fertile platform for the Israeli intelligence to operate in. A possible and potential scenario will force Hezbollah to “clean up” the roads to ensure the continuity of its supplies, link all Shia areas together and impose “self-security” to reduce their vulnerability.

Time’s arrow cannot be reversed, and Lebanon will not return to what it was before, not for the next ten years at least. There is a possibility to create Lebanese cantons with different warlords without engaging in a civil war. Each Lebanese party would end up arming its group to support its people and area, not to engage in a battle with other parties, but to defend itself.

The collapse is the master of the situation. The US has prevented Lebanon from benefiting from Chinese and Russian offers to rebuild the country and stop it from deteriorating further. Moreover, the US forbad Europe and the oil-rich Middle Eastern countries from helping Lebanon in this crisis as they used to in the past. After all, Lebanon needs 3 to 4 billion dollars to stand on its feet and regain some of its strength after halting subsidies on various items that gobble up its cash resources.

But the challenge remains for the “Axis of Resistance” members, struggling to survive and resist the US hegemony and confront the US projects to dominate West Asia. Unless the “Axis of Resistance” members take the initiative and move from a defensive to an offensive position and impose new equations that prevent starvation of the population, this pressure will remain and even increase with time. However, supposing the US pressure is maintained, and the “Axis of the Resistance” adopts only survival mode: In that case, Lebanon’s people and the country’s stability will pay an increasingly heavy price, both now and in the years to come.

https://english.almayadeen.net/articles/opinion/lebanon-is-under-maximum-pressure-and-the-target-is-hezbolla

Source: Lebanon Is Under Maximum Pressure, and the Target Is Hezbollah: Iran Sends Its Support

Europa: The Last Battle (2017 Documentary)

This documentary has fallen victim to Zio-Censorism all over the internet. The description from the producer:

Since the mid-20th century, the world has only ever heard one side of the most horrific war in human history. During the 75 years that have now passed, only a single narrative of the great conflict has been heard. This over simplistic narrative totally ignores the previous decades of critical history leading up to World War II, ignores vital information from the actual war years, and outright fabricates lie after lie after lie.

We are today living in the world of the victors of that war and without an objective, rational and balanced view of our history, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes. After World War Two, the victors of the war not only went on to write our history books, infiltrate our media and public education but even going so far as to criminalize the mere questioning of the official story’s orthodoxy. The truth is, that our world today can only be understood through a correct understanding of World War II, the architects of it and the conflicts between Globalism and Nationalism. Between the old-and-new world order. The Traditional and the “Progressive”.

Day in and day out, has the post-war propaganda been pounded into the minds of three subsequent generations. Every medium of mass indoctrination has been harnessed to the task of training the obedient masses as to what the proper and “acceptable” view of this event should be. Academia, news media, public education, book publishing, TV documentaries, Hollywood films and politicians of every stripe all sing the same song.

For very good reasons, most people don’t trust the mainstream media anymore. You have already heard the official history millions of times.

This documentary gives an overview of how Europe has been shaped in modern history. In it, you will find the secret history, where you will find the real causes of the events. Watch this series and uncover the real root causes of World War II. It will take you on an epic timeline that will transport you back in time and lead you on the journey through the Bolshevik Revolution, the communist attempts to take over Germany; hyperinflation during the Weimar Republic, widespread unemployment and misery, Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, World War I & II – all the way to the modern world. It presents the true historical events that lead to this world catastrophe known as the second world war, as well as the aftermath.

Do be forewarned though, your worldview might never be the same. As always, the Truth Fears No Investigation.

This documentary consists of 9 (10) parts, read all about it on
https://europathelastbattle.wordpress.com/watch/

Timestamps:
00:00:00 – Introduction
00:01:39 – Part 1
01:14:55 – Part 2
02:23:51 – Part 3
03:03:32 – Part 4
04:50:04 – Part 5
05:43:15 – Part 6
06:43:02 – Part 7
07:51:19 – Part 8
09:56:22 – Part 9
11:52:15 – Sources & Credits

Heim ins Reich – Pax Germania

—————————— ᛭ —————————— Wappenbund – The Eternal Empire In Heaven [Full Album] Pax Germania – In memoriam somnium. March 12th, 1938 Anschluss Österreichs. Sections: A brief history of the German Reich – Contrasting to the importance of Unity. Anti-German propaganda machine & Ultimate Responsibilities (Hard Truths). Looking back at Aktion T4 – Dekonstruktion des Autismus […]

Heim ins Reich – Pax Germania

US Senator Chris Murphy says Washington should deprioritize hostility toward Iran, cut down its military presence in the Middle East, and urge Saudi Arabia to “come to terms” with Hezbollah in Lebanon. — BIG BROTHER in the 21. Century

News   /   Persian Gulf US should rejoin Iran deal, decrease ‘militaristic footprint’ in Middle East, says senator Friday, 13 August 2021 6:48 AM  [ Last Update: Friday, 13 August 2021 6:53 AM ] US Senator Chris Murphy speaks during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the nomination of Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be the United States Ambassador to the […]

US Senator Chris Murphy says Washington should deprioritize hostility toward Iran, cut down its military presence in the Middle East, and urge Saudi Arabia to “come to terms” with Hezbollah in Lebanon. — BIG BROTHER in the 21. Century

Syrian President Forms his New Government Despite the Challenges and Western Threats

Syria

Syrian President Bashar Assad issued a decree today, Tuesday 10 August 2021, forming his new government after his re-elections, a major step in facing the ever-mounting US and EU threats, economic challenges, and continuous fighting terrorism and Israeli aggression.

There were much fewer changes than hoped for by the Syrian people in this new government, most of the ministers kept their posts and only five were changed out of the 29, this can be slightly justified that most of those ministers have only assumed their posts in August last year when the last government was formed after the President sacked the former prime minister and some of his ministers.

Keeping both foreign and defense ministers indicates that there would be no change in Syria’s policies in dealing with other countries and in fighting terrorism and foreign occupation forces in Syria, I can say there would be an increase on these…

View original post 178 more words

Why Does Israel Have an Arsenal of Nuclear Weapons? – from Strategic Culture

It is far from inconceivable that Israel would employ its nuclear arsenal. After all, for what other reason does it have ninety nuclear weapons?

The main result of the meeting between Presidents Putin and Biden in Geneva on June 16 was the joint statement that “we reaffirm the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” This welcome recognition that nuclear war would probably destroy the world is especially relevant now, because August sees the 76th anniversary of the first — and so far the last — use of nuclear weapons in war. On 6 August 1945 a U.S. atomic bomb exploded over the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing some 70,000 people. On August 9 another bomb destroyed Nagasaki city, causing about 40,000 deaths. Japan surrendered on August 15, thereby ending a world war that resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people, mainly civilians. Estimates vary from 35 to 60 million, but whatever the number, the war was a major catastrophe — but not as great as the cataclysm that would befall the world if nuclear weapons are ever again employed.

While many of us may be confident that the U.S. and Russia will not make use of nuclear weapons against each other, even in the event of major confrontation, that sanguinity cannot extend to other situations, and it is notable that there are four nations that refuse to abide by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which the UN describes as “a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.”

The nuclear-armed nations that refuse to adhere to the NPT are North Korea (which signed but then withdrew), India, Israel and Pakistan. Of these, only Israel denies having nuclear weapons and it is notable that neither the U.S. State Department nor the CIA makes mention of Israel’s nuclear arsenal, programme or capabilities in any of their public material.

The State Department writes effusively that “Israel is a great partner to the United States, and Israel has no greater friend than the United States. Americans and Israelis are united by our shared commitment to democracy, economic prosperity, and regional security. The unbreakable bond between our two countries has never been stronger.” The CIA, whose Israel Factbook was updated on July 20, states that “the U.S. is by far the leading supplier of arms to Israel” which “has a broad defence industrial base that can develop, produce, support, and sustain a wide variety of weapons systems for both domestic use and export, particularly armoured vehicles, unmanned aerial systems, air defence, and guided missiles.”

Washington sees no evil and hears no evil where Israel is concerned, and when Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met Israel’s National Security Advisor, Dr Eyal Hulata and Senior Foreign Policy Advisor Shimrit Meir on August 3 she reiterated U.S. policy and made yet more Arab enemies by emphasising the “U.S. government’s unwavering support for Israel’s security.” Which presumably includes support for its nuclear weapons’ programme.

In February the Times of Israel carried an Associated Press report that “a secretive Israeli nuclear facility, supposedly at the centre of the nation’s undeclared atomic weapons program, is undergoing what appears to be its biggest construction project in decades.” There was much international speculation concerning the clandestine development, which was detected through satellite imagery, but nothing consequential was revealed.

The 2021 Yearbook of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) records that “Israel has a long-standing policy of not commenting on its nuclear arsenal” and estimates it has ninety warheads of which about 30 “are estimated to be gravity bombs for delivery by F­16 aircraft.” According to the Times of Israel, the IAF now operates 27 F-35 multi-role strike aircraft, with a total of 50 to be in service by 2024, and Defence World reported that “In a dozen photos published by the F-35 Joint Program Office, the U.S.AF stealth fighter can be seen testing its ability to deploy the latest iteration of the B61-12 thermonuclear gravity bomb. The weapon, with a maximum explosive yield of 50 kilotons, is small enough to fit inside the F-35’s internal bomb bay.”

U.S. support is part of a longtime assistance programme which can be expected to continue under whatever government is in power in Jerusalem/Tel Aviv, because in June, after the election of Prime Minister Naftali Bennet, President Biden “expressed his firm intent to deepen cooperation between the United States and Israel on the many challenges and opportunities facing the region”, declaring that “the United States remains unwavering in its support for Israel’s security.”

It is hardly coincidental that both Israel and the U.S. are energetically opposed to Iran and are determined that its government be overthrown and replaced by something along the lines of the corrupt regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi who ruled as a U.S. puppet until his ousting by an equally autocratic Islamic theocracy. To this end, the administrations in Washington and Jerusalem are endeavouring to make life for ordinary Iranians as difficult and miserable as possible, with one of their targets being Iran’s nascent and inconsequential nuclear power programme.

As the BBC reports, in 2015 Iran reached a deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with the U.S., UK, France, China, Russia and Germany that saw it limit its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief. This was going well until the unstable Trump abrogated the arrangement and imposed further sanctions. Iran, understandably, remains intent on developing nuclear power, but the U.S. and Israel affect to believe that this is a road to speedy production of nuclear weapons.

Accordingly, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz declared that “Iran has violated all of the guidelines set in the JCPOA [which Trump rendered void] and is only around 10 weeks away from acquiring weapons-grade materials necessary for a nuclear weapon,” which was utter nonsense but has the value of indicating where the new Israeli regime is heading.

Israel and the U.S. and the UK have blamed Iran for an attack on a tanker off the Oman coast on July 29, with Gantz claiming he has “hard evidence” of Iranian responsibility, thus proving that “the Iranian regime is threatening us and sparking a regional arms race… Iran is a global and regional problem and an Israeli challenge. We need to continue to develop our abilities to cope with multiple fronts, for this is the future.”

It cannot be denied that the theocratic regime in Teheran is blinkered and bigoted and that the new President, Ebrahim Raisi, is outrageously hardline, but the international problem is that we now have two extremist governments vehemently opposing each other at a time of rising tension.

Israel’s “abilities” include the capability to strike Iran with nuclear weapons. Given that Bennet and Gantz claim that Israel is threatened by Iran, what happens after the next “incident”?

It is far from inconceivable that Israel would employ its nuclear arsenal. After all, for what other reason does it have ninety nuclear weapons?

US Foreign Policy Adrift: Why Washington No Longer Calls the Shots – from Anti-War Blog

Original: Article Here

Jonah Goldberg and Michael Ledeen have much in common. They are both writers and also cheerleaders for military interventions and, often, for frivolous wars. Writing in the conservative rag, The National Review, months before the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, Goldberg paraphrased a statement which he attributed to Ledeen with reference to the interventionist US foreign policy.

“Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business,” Goldberg wrote, quoting Ledeen.

Those like Ledeen, the neoconservative intellectual henchman type, often get away with this kind of provocative rhetoric for various reasons. American intelligentsias, especially those who are close to the center of power in Washington DC, perceive war and military intervention as the foundation and baseline of their foreign policy analysis. The utterances of such statements are usually conveyed within friendly media and intellectual platforms, where equally hawkish, belligerent audiences cheer and laugh at the warmongering muses. In the case of Ledeen, the receptive audience was the hardline, neoconservative, pro-Israel American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Predictably, AEI was one of the loudest voices urging for a war and invasion of Iraq prior to that calamitous decision by the George W. Bush Administration, which was enacted in March 2003.

Neoconservatism, unlike what the etymology of the name may suggest, was not necessarily confined to conservative political circles. Think tanks, newspapers and media networks that purport – or are perceived – to express liberal and even progressive thought today, like The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN, have dedicated much time and space to promoting an American invasion of Iraq as the first step of a complete US geostrategic military hegemony in the Middle East.

Like the National Review, these media networks also provided unhindered space to so-called neoconservative intellectuals who molded American foreign policy based on some strange mix between their twisted take on ethics and morality and the need for the US to ensure its global dominance throughout the 21st century. Of course, the neocons’ love affair with Israel has served as the common denominator among all individuals affiliated with this intellectual cult.

The main – and inconsequential – difference between Ledeen, for example, and those like Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, is that the former is brazen and blunt, while the latter is delusional and manipulative. For his part, Friedman also supported the Iraq war, but only to bring “democracy” to the Middle East and to fight “terrorism.” The pretense “war on terror,” though misleading if not outright fabricated, was the overriding American motto in its invasion of Iraq and, earlier, Afghanistan. This mantra was readily utilized whenever Washington needed to “pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall.”

Even those who genuinely supported the war based on concocted intelligence – that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, possessed weapons of mass destruction, or the equally fallacious notion that Saddam and Al-Qaeda cooperated in any way – must, by now, realize that the entire American discourse prior to the war had no basis in reality. Unfortunately, war enthusiasts are not a rational bunch. Therefore, neither they, nor their “intellectuals,” should be expected to possess the moral integrity in shouldering the responsibility for the Iraq invasion and its horrific consequences.

If, indeed, the US wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan were meant to fight and uproot terror, how is it possible that, in June 2014, an erstwhile unknown group calling itself the “Islamic State” (IS), managed to flourish, occupy and usurp massive swathes of Iraqi and Syrian territories and resource under the watchful eye of the US military? If the other war objective was bringing stability and democracy to the Middle East, why did many years of US “state-building” efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, leave behind nothing but weak, shattered armies and festering corruption?

Two important events have summoned up these thoughts: US President Joe Biden’s “historic” trip to Cornwall, UK, in June, to attend the 47th G7 summit and, two weeks later, the death of Donald Rumsfeld, who is widely depicted as “the architect of the Iraq war.” The tone struck by Biden throughout his G7 meetings is that “America is back,” another American coinage similar to the earlier phrase, the “great reset” – meaning that Washington is ready to reclaim its global role that had been betrayed by the chaotic policies of former President Donald Trump.

The newest phrase – “America is back” – appears to suggest that the decision to restore the US’ uncontested global leadership is, more or less, an exclusively American decision. Moreover, the term is not entirely new. In his first speech to a global audience at the Munich Security Conference on February 19, Biden repeated the phrase several times with obvious emphasis.

“America is back. I speak today as President of the United States, at the very start of my administration and I am sending a clear message to the world: America is back,” Biden said, adding that “the transatlantic alliance is back and we are not looking backward, we are looking forward together.”

Platitudes and wishful thinking aside, the US cannot possibly return to a previous geopolitical standing, simply because Biden has made an executive decision to “reset” his country’s traditional relationships with Europe – or anywhere else, either. Biden’s actual mission is to merely whitewash and restore his country’s tarnished reputation, marred not only by Trump, but also by years of fruitless wars, a crisis of democracy at home and abroad and an impending financial crisis resulting from the US’ mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately for Washington, while it hopes to “look forward” to the future, other countries have already staked claims to parts of the world where the US has been forced to retreat, following two decades of a rudderless strategy that is fueled by the belief that firepower alone is sufficient to keep America aloft forever.

Though Biden was received warmly by his European hosts, Europe is likely to proceed cautiously. The continent’s geostrategic interests do not fall entirely in the American camp, as was once the case. Other new factors and power players have emerged in recent years. China is now the European bloc’s largest trade partner and Biden’s scare tactics warning of Chinese global dominance have not, seemingly, impressed the Europeans as the Americans had hoped. Following Britain’s unceremonious exit from the EU bloc, the latter urgently needs to keep its share of the global economy as large as possible. The limping US economy will hardly make the substantial deficit felt in Europe. Namely, the China-EU relationship is here to stay – and grow.

There is something else that makes the Europeans wary of whatever murky political doctrine Biden is promoting: dangerous American military adventurism.

The US and Europe are the foundation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) which, since its inception in 1949, was almost exclusively used by the US to assert its global dominance, first in the Korean Peninsula in 1950, then everywhere else.

Following the September 11 attacks, Washington used its hegemony over NATO to invoke Article 5 of its Charter, that of collective defense. The consequences were dire, as NATO members, along with the US, were embroiled in their longest wars ever, military conflicts that had no consistent strategy, let alone measurable goals. Now, as the US licks its wounds as it leaves Afghanistan, NATO members, too, are leaving the devastated country without a single achievement worth celebrating. Similar scenarios are transpiring in Iraq and Syria, too.

Rumsfeld’s death on June 29, at the age of 88, should serve as a wake-up call to American allies if they truly wish to avoid the pitfalls and recklessness of the past. While much of the US corporate media commemorated the death of a brutish war criminal with amiable noncommittal language, some blamed him almost entirely for the Iraq fiasco. It is as if a single man had bent the will of the West-dominated international community to invade, pillage, torture and destroy entire countries. If so, then Rumsfeld’s death should usher in an exciting new dawn of collective peace, prosperity and security. This is not the case.

Rationalizing his decision to leave Afghanistan in a speech to the nation in April 2021, Biden did not accept, on behalf of his country, responsibility over that horrific war. Instead, he spoke of the need to fight the “terror threat” in “many places,” instead of keeping “thousands of troops grounded and concentrated in just one country.”

Indeed, a close reading of Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan – a process which began under Trump – suggests that the difference between US foreign policy under Biden is only tactically different from the policies of George W. Bush when he launched his “preemptive wars” under the command of Rumsfeld. Namely, though the geopolitical map may have shifted, the US appetite for war remains insatiable.

Shackled with a legacy of unnecessary, fruitless and immoral wars, yet with no actual “forward” strategy, the US, arguably for the first time since the inception of NATO in the aftermath of World War II, has no decipherable foreign policy doctrine. Even if such a doctrine exists, it can only be materialized through alliances whose relationships are constructed on trust and confidence. Despite the EU’s courteous reception of Biden in Cornwall, trust in Washington is at an all-time low.

Even if it is accepted, without any argument, that America is, indeed, back, considering the vastly changing geopolitical spheres in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, Biden’s assertion should, ultimately, make no difference.

Iran Opens 1st Specialized Nuclear Industry Innovation Center – from FARS

TEHRAN (FNA)- The First Specialized Nuclear Industry Innovation Center was inaugurated in Tehran on Monday in the presence of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Chief Ali Akbar Salehi and Vice-President for Science and Technology Sourena Sattari.

Source: https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000504000843/Iran-Opens-s-Specialized-Nclear-Indsry-Innvain-Cener

The First Specialized Nuclear Industry Innovation Center was launched with the aim of commercializing the research achievements of the country’s nuclear scientists.

The establishment of this Center is the first step in forming the innovation ecosystem in the nuclear industry and supporting the process of innovation development in this industry.

The nuclear industry of the country will benefit from developing peaceful applications of nuclear technology in medicine, agriculture, industry, etc.

In a relevant development in late May, Salehi said his country continues uranium enrichment at 5%, 20% and 60% levels of purity.

“The %5, 20% and 60% enrichments still continue and the quantity of our stored %20 enriched uranium is now over 90 kilograms,” Salehi said, adding that the 90-kilogram uranium was achieved in four months.

“The quantity of Iran’s 60% enriched uranium is over 2.5 kilograms and our stored 5% uranium weighs more than five tons,” he noted.

In relevant remarks in late April, a senior Iranian lawmaker lauded the country’s scientists for their capability to enrich uranium to the purity level of 60%, stressing that it showed the enemies’ failure to stop Iran’s scientific progress.

“60% uranium enrichment showed that the sabotage and terrorist acts of the Zionists and the arrogant powers cannot harm the scientific power of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Mousavi Ahmadi told FNA on Saturday April 24.

“60% enrichment showed that we are able to do whatever we determine and our enemies should be assured that enrichment of uranium to higher levels is accessible to us as easy as the 60% enrichment,” he added.

Mousavi Ahmadi said that the Western countries should accept that they are facing a powerful Iran.

Strategic Culture Foundation – The US will continue to confront China; chances of explosion are rising

Brian Cloughley

August 3, 2021

U.S. provocations in the East are likely to continue and only Beijing knows how much more it will take before there is an explosion.

In July there were senior representatives of the Washington Administration bouncing about the globe like a bunch of ping-pong balls, lecturing in one place, suborning in another and announcing everywhere that the U.S. wants a “Rules-Based International Order”, as Secretary of State Blinken told China last March.

Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin was one of the bouncing balls, and before arriving in Vietnam stopped off in Singapore where on July 27 he declared “We will not flinch when our interests are threatened. Yet we do not seek confrontation.” On the same day, the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (18 U.S.-supplied problem-ridden F-35 strike aircraft, 8 of them British, 10 U.S. Marine Corps), arrived at Singapore en route for the South China Sea to confront any Chinese forces it might meet. (Certainly, the UK carrier group is a joke that could not fight its way out of a paper bag, but it’s the presence that is intended to send the message.) Next day, when Austin arrived in Vietnam, the guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold trailed its coat in the Taiwan Strait in what the U.S. Navy called a “routine” transit that “demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

As can be seen on the site Marine Traffic, the Taiwan Strait is packed all day and night with transiting commercial ships from countless countries, and the right of passage is guaranteed. There is no need whatever for any U.S. guided missile destroyer to “demonstrate freedom and openness.” It was obvious that the Benfold — the seventh U.S. warship to transit the Strait so far this year — had been sent to attempt to provoke China to take action.

Washington has been open about its aggressive China policy, and the State Department’s official notification is that “Strategic competition is the frame through which the United States views its relationship with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The United States will address its relationship with the PRC from a position of strength in which we work closely with our allies and partners to defend our interests and values.” The embrace of challenge could not be clearer, and the Defence Department fully agrees, declaring that U.S. National Defence Strategy is “To restore America’s competitive edge by blocking global rivals Russia and China from challenging the U.S. and our allies” and “To keep those rivals from throwing the current international order out of balance.” In other words, so far as Washington is concerned, U.S. global hegemony is here to stay because it is regarded as beneficial for the world — and above all for America.

But there are some countries that would disagree, including, quite understandably, the People’s Republic of China which objects to such condescending policy statements as “When it is in our interest, the United States will conduct results-oriented diplomacy with China on shared challenges such as climate change and global public health crises.” The world needs diplomacy, not tub-thumping policies that confine international negotiations to national interests, and it was regrettable that one of the bouncing balls visited China to deliver yet another lecture on how that country’s government should behave.

It had been hoped that the visit to China by Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman might open some doors to constructive dialogue, but such was not to be. On July 25-26, as the State Department later announced, “the Deputy Secretary and State Councillor Wang had a frank and open discussion about a range of issues, demonstrating the importance of maintaining open lines of communication between our two countries.” Ms Sherman, according to the State Department, “underscored that the United States welcomes the stiff competition between our countries . . .” but this sort of platitude is entirely at variance with the overall tenor of her presentation to State Councillor Wang and Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng.

As reported by the New York Times, she was mega-critical of China on counts of alleged human rights abuses and “also raised China’s demands over Taiwan, its military operations in the South China Sea, and the accusations last week by the United States and other nations that China’s Ministry of State Security was behind the hacking of Microsoft email systems and possibly other cyberattacks.” She declared that “This is very serious — that the Ministry of State Security would assist criminals to hack Microsoft and potentially others,” adding that “many” countries had joined the United States in saying that “such behaviour is absolutely irresponsible, reckless and has no place in our world.”

Ms Sherman had of course been told what to say at the meeting, presumably approved at the highest level, and it is apparent that Washington had no intention whatever of engaging in meaningful dialogue but was intent on showering China with insults.

It is yet to be understood in Washington that insults, sanctions and aggressive military manoeuvres do not have positive effects on the nations against whom they are directed. They invariably result in anger, resentment and retaliation of some sort. It is as yet unknown for retaliation to take the form of direct military action, because Washington’s targets are generally so weak as to be incapable of such riposte, but in the case of modern China, U.S. pressure and Chinese strength are rising to the extent that this is now a distinct possibility.

On July 28 the newly-appointed Chinese ambassador to the U.S., Qin Gang, said he believes “the door of China-U.S. relations, which is already open, cannot be closed” but no matter Beijing’s good intentions there are many in Washington who want to slam that door because they are confident that the national policy of “blocking global rivals Russia and China from challenging the U.S. and our allies” will succeed.

But it won’t.

During the disastrous visit by Deputy Secretary Sherman to China, Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng said bluntly that the Biden administration’s policies are nothing but a “thinly veiled attempt to contain and suppress China,” which was an extension of Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s cautionary statement that “The United States always wants to exert pressure on other countries by virtue of its own strength, thinking that it is superior to others. However, I would like to tell the U.S. side clearly that there has never been a country in this world that is superior to others, nor should there be, and China will not accept any country claiming to be superior to others. If the United States has not learned how to get along with other countries on an equal footing by now, then it is our responsibility, together with the international community, to give the U.S. a good tutorial in this regard.”

And if the U.S. does not moderate its policy of outright and usually arrogant confrontation in every sphere it is likely that the tutorial will begin very soon. Washington forgets that no matter how much some segments of the Chinese population may disagree with aspects of their government’s policies and performance, they are a proud people who strongly object to their country being insulted and treated as a maverick obstacle to world development. It seems that U.S. provocations in the East will continue and only Beijing knows how much more it will take before there is an explosion.