U.S. nuclear breakthrough endangers the world: America’s “surprise first strike attack” capacity

Global Research, May 01, 2017

At a time of growing tensions between nuclear powers—Russia and NATO in Europe, and the U.S., North Korea and China in Asia—Washington has quietly upgraded its nuclear weapons arsenal to create, according to three leading American scientists, “exactly what one would expect to see, if a nuclear-armed state were planning to have the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war by disarming enemies with a surprise first strike.”

Writing in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project of the American Federation of Scientists, Matthew McKinzie of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and physicist and ballistic missile expert Theodore Postol, conclude that “Under the veil of an otherwise-legitimate warhead life-extension program,” the U.S. military has vastly expanded the “killing power” of its warheads such that it can “now destroy all of Russia’s ICBM silos.”

The upgrade—part of the Obama administration’s $1 trillion modernization of America’s nuclear forces—allows Washington to destroy Russia’s land-based nuclear weapons, while still retaining 80 percent of the U.S.’s warheads in reserve. If Russia chose to retaliate, it would be reduced to ash.

Any discussion of nuclear war encounters several major problems. First, it is difficult to imagine or to grasp what it would mean in real life. We have only had one conflict involving nuclear weapons—the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945—and the memory of those events has faded over the years. In any case, the two bombs that flattened the Japanese cities bear little resemblance to the killing power of modern nuclear weapons.

The Hiroshima bomb exploded with a force of 15 kilotons. The Nagasaki bomb was slightly more powerful at about 18 kt. Between them, they killed over 215,000 people. In contrast, the most common nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal today, the W76, has an explosive power of 100 kt. The next most common, the W88, packs a 475-kt punch.

Another problem is that most of the public thinks nuclear war is impossible because both sides would be destroyed. This is the idea behind the policy of Mutually Assured Destruction, aptly named “MAD.”

But MAD is not a U.S. military doctrine. A “first strike” attack has always been central to U.S. military planning, until recently, however, there was no guarantee that such an attack would so cripple an opponent that it would be unable—or unwilling, given the consequences of total annihilation— to retaliate.

The strategy behind a first strike—sometimes called a “counter force” attack—is not to destroy an opponent’s population centers, but to eliminate the other sides’ nuclear weapons, or at least most of them. Anti-missile systems would then intercept a weakened retaliatory strike.

The technical breakthrough that suddenly makes this a possibility is something called the “super-fuze”, which allows for a much more precise ignition of a warhead. If the aim is to blow up a city, such precision is superfluous, but taking out a reinforced missile silo requires a warhead to exert a force of at least 10,000 pounds per square inch on the target.

Up until the 2009 modernization program, the only way to do that was to use the much more powerful—but limited in numbers—W88 warhead. Fitted with the super-fuze, however, the smaller W76 can now do the job, freeing the W88 for other targets.

Traditionally, land-based missiles are more accurate than sea-based missiles, but the former are more vulnerable to a first-strike than the latter, because submarines are good at hiding. The new super-fuze does not increase the accuracy of Trident II submarine missiles, but it makes up for that with the precision of where the weapon detonates.

“In the case of the 100-kt Trident II warhead,” write the three scientists, “the super-fuze triples the killing power of the nuclear force it is applied to.”

Before the super-fuze was deployed, only 20 percent of U.S. subs had the ability to destroy re-enforced missile silos. Today, all have that capacity.

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Obama slams door in Putin’s face: by his actions says if Putin doesn’t want Russia’s retaliatory forces eliminated, he’ll need to be the one to press the nuclear button first

What Zuesse describes is a duplicitous enemy, one who masquerades with pretty words and distracting gestures as a friend, while planning your downfall.

The clock is ticking down.

From Global Research

Global Research, June 06, 2016
obama-putin

Actions speak louder than mere words, and U.S. President Barack Obama has now acted, not only spoken. His action is to refuse to discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s biggest worry about recent changes in America’s nuclear strategy — particularly a stunning change that is terrifying Putin.

On Sunday June 5th, Reuters headlined “Russia Says U.S. Refuses Talks on Missile Defence System”, and reported that, “The United States has refused Russian offers to discuss Washington’s missile defence programme, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov was quoted as saying on Sunday, calling the initiative ‘very dangerous’.”

Russia’s concern is that, if the “Ballistic Missile Defense” or “Anti Ballistic Missile” system, that the United States is now just starting to install on and near Russia’s borders, works, then the United States will be able to launch a surprise nuclear attack against Russia, and this system, which has been in development for decades and is technically called the “Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System”, will annihilate the missiles that Russia launches in retaliation, which will then leave the Russian population with no retaliation at all, except for the nuclear contamination of the entire northern hemisphere, and global nuclear winter, the blowback from America’s onslaught against Russia, which blowback some strategists in the West say would be manageable probems for the U.S. and might be worth the cost of eliminating Russia.

That theory, of a winnable nuclear war (which in the U.S. seems to be replacing the prior theory, called “M.A.D.” for Mutually Assured Destruction) was first prominently put forth in 2006 in the prestigious U.S. journal Foreign Affairs, headlining “The Rise of Nuclear Primacy” and which advocated for a much bolder U.S. strategic policy against Russia, based upon what it argued was America’s technological superiority against Russia’s weaponry and a possibly limited time-window in which to take advantage of it before Russia catches up and the opportunity to do so is gone.

Paul Craig Roberts was the first reporter in the West to write in a supportive way about Russia’s concerns that Barack Obama might be a follower of that theory. One of Roberts’s early articles on this was issued on 17 June 2014 and headlined “Washington Is Beating The War Drums”, where he observed that “US war doctrine has been changed. US nuclear weapons are no longer restricted to a retaliatory force, but have been elevated to the role of preemptive nuclear attack.”

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has tried many times to raise this issue with President Obama, the most recent such instance being via a public statement of his concern, made on May 27th. Apparently, the public statement by Antonov on June 5th is following up on that latest Putin effort, by Antonov’s announcement there that Obama now explicitly refuses to discuss Putin’s concerns about the matter.

The fact that these efforts on the part of the Russian government are via public media instead of via private conversations (such as had been the means used during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, when the shoe was on the other foot and the U.S. President was concerned about the Soviet President’s installation of nuclear missiles 90 miles from the U.S. border) suggests that Mr. Obama, unlike U.S. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1962, refuses to communicate with Russia, now that the U.S. is potentially in the position of the aggressor.

Russia is making its preparations, just in case it will (because of the Aegis Ashore system) need to be the first to attack. However, some knowledgeable people on the subject say that Russia will never strike first. Perhaps U.S. President Obama is proceeding on the basis of a similar assumption, and this is the reason why he is refusing to discuss the matter with his Russian counterpart. However, if Mr. Obama wishes to avoid a nuclear confrontation, then refusing even to discuss the opponent’s concerns would not be the way to go about doing that. Obama is therefore sending signals to the contrary — that he is preparing a nuclear attack against Russia — simply by his refusal to discuss the matter. In this case, his action of refusal is, itself, an answer to Putin’s question, like slamming the door in Putin’s face would be. It’s a behavioral answer, instead of a merely verbal one.

The geostrategist John Helmer discussed on May 30th the question of when the “Trigger Point” will likely be for Putin to decide whether there is no reasonable alternative but to launch — and for him then to launch — World War III.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Indications that the U.S. is planning a nuclear attack against Russia

Posted on Washington’s Blog, June 13, 2014
By Eric Zuesse
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/06/indications-u-s-planning-nuclear-attack-russia.html

Preface by Washington’s Blog:  Daniel Estulin is saying the same thing.

On Wednesday, June 11th, CNN headlined “U.S. Sends B-2 Stealth Bombers to Europe,” and reported that “they arrived in Europe this week for training.” Wikipedia notes that B-2s were “originally designed primarily as a nuclear bomber,” and that “The B-2 is the only aircraft that can carry large air-to-surface standoff weapons in a stealth configuration.”

In other words, the primary advantage of the newer, “Stealth,” version of B-2, is its first-strike (or surprise-attack) nuclear capability. That’s the upgrade: the weapon’s ability to sneak upon the target-country and destroy it before it has a chance to fire off any of its own nuclear weapons in response to that “first-strike” attack. The advantage of Stealth is creating and stationing a nuclear arsenal for the purpose of winning a nuclear war, instead of for the goal of having continued peace via “Mutually Assured Destruction,” or MAD.

Some historical background is necessary here, so that a reader can understand why this is happening — the switch to an objective of actually winning a nuclear war (as opposed to deterring one). One cannot understand what’s happening now in Ukraine without knowing this bigger picture.

(This account is written under the assumption that the reader already knows some of the allegations it contains, but not all of them, and that the reader will click on the link wherever a given allegation requires documentation and support.)

I have previously reported about “How and Why the U.S. Has Re-Started the Cold War (The Backstory that Precipitated Ukraine’s Civil War),” and, “Do We Really Need to Re-Start the Cold War?” I pointed out there that we don’t really need to re-start the Cold War, at all, since communism (against which the Cold War was, at least allegedly, fought) clearly lost to capitalism (we actually won the Cold War, and peacefully) but that America’s aristocracy very much does need to re-start a war with Russia — and why it does. (It has to do with maintaining the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, something that benefits America’s aristocrats enormously.)

Consequently, for example, a recent CNN Poll has found that Americans’ fear of Russia has soared within just the past two years. Our news media present a type of news “reporting” that places Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, into a very bad light, even when it’s unjustified by the facts.

The situation now is thus rather similar to that right before World War I, when the aristocracy in America decided that a pretext had to be created for our going to war against Germany. That War had already started in Europe on 28 July 1914, and President Wilson wanted to keep the U.S. out of it, but we ultimately joined it on the side of J.P. Morgan and Company. This was documented in detail in an important 1985 book, Britain, America and the Sinews of War, 1914-1918, which was well summarized in Business History Review, by noting that: “J.P. Morgan & Co. served as Britain’s financial and purchasing agent, and the author makes especially good use of the Morgan Grenfell & Co. papers in London to probe that relationship. Expanding British demand for U.S. dollars to pay for North American imports made the politics of foreign exchange absolutely central to Anglo-American relations. How to manage those politics became the chief preoccupation of Her Majesty’s representatives in the United States,” and most especially of Britain’s financial and purchasing agent in the U.S.

In 1917, after almost two years of heavy anti-German propaganda in the U.S. press that built an overwhelming public support for our joining that war against Germany, Congress found that, in March 1915, “J.P. Morgan interests had bought 25 of America’s leading newspapers, and inserted their own editors, in order to control the media” so that we’d join the war on England’s side. Whereas back then, it was Germany’s leader who was being goaded into providing a pretext for us to declare war against his country, this time it’s Russia’s leader (Putin) who is being demonized and goaded into providing such a pretext, though Putin (unlike Germany’s Kaiser) has thus far refrained from providing the pretext that Obama constantly warns us that he will (a Russian invasion of Ukraine). Consequently, Obama’s people are stepping up the pressure upon Putin by bombing the areas of neighboring Ukraine where Russian speakers live, who have family across the border inside Russia itself. Just a few more weeks of this, and Putin’s public support inside Russia could palpably erode if Putin simply lets the slaughter proceed without his sending troops in to defend them and to fight back against Kiev’s (Washington’s surrogate’s) bombing-campaign. This would provide the pretext that Obama has been warning about.

I also have reported on “Why Ukraine’s Civil War Is of Global Historical Importance.” The article argued that “This civil war is of massive historical importance, because it re-starts the global Cold War, this time no longer under the fig-leaf rationalization of an ideological battle between ‘capitalism’ versus ‘communism,’ but instead more raw, as a struggle between, on the one hand, the U.S. and West European aristocracies; and, on the other hand, the newly emerging aristocracies of Russia and of China.” The conflict’s origin, as recounted there, was told in its highest detail in an article in the scholarly journal Diplomatic History, about how U.S. President George H.W. Bush in 1990 fooled the Soviet Union’s leader Mikhail Gorbachev into Gorbachev’s allowing the Cold War to be ended without any assurance being given to the remaining rump country, his own Russia, that NATO and its missiles and bombers won’t expand right up to Russia’s doorstep and surround Russia with a first-strike ability to destroy Russia before Russia will even have a chance to get its own nuclear weapons into the air in order to destroy the U.S. right back in retaliation.

That old system — “Mutually Assured Destruction” or MAD, but actually very rational from the public’s perspective on both sides — is gone. The U.S. increasingly is getting nuclear primacy. Russia, surrounded by NATO nations and U.S. nuclear weapons, would be able to be wiped out before its rusty and comparatively puny military force could be mustered to respond. Whereas we are not surrounded by their weapons, they are surrounded by ours. Whereas they don’t have the ability to wipe us out before we can respond, we have the ability to wipe them out before they’ll be able to respond. This is the reason why America’s aristocracy argue that MAD is dead. An article, “Environmental Consequences of Nuclear War” was published in the December 2008 Physics Today, and it concluded that, “the indirect effects [‘nuclear winter’] would likely eliminate the majority of the human population.” (It would be even worse, and far faster, than the expected harms from global warming.) However, aristocrats separate themselves from the public, and so their perspective is not necessarily the same as the public’s. The perspective that J.P. Morgan and Co. had in 1915 wasn’t the perspective that the U.S. public had back then, and it also wasn’t the perspective that our President, Woodrow Wilson, did back then, when we were a democracy. But it’s even less clear today that we are a democracy than it was in 1915. In that regard, things have only gotten worse in America.

So, President Obama is now trying to persuade EU leaders to join with him to complete this plan to replace MAD with a first-strike nuclear capability that will eliminate Russia altogether from the world stage.

As I also documented, the IMF is thoroughly supportive of this plan to remove Russia, and announced on May 1st, just a day prior to our massacre of independence-supporters in the south Ukrainian city of Odessa on May 2nd, that unless all of the independence supporters in south and eastern Ukraine can be defeated and/or killed, the IMF will pull the plug on Ukraine and force it into receivership.

Obama clearly means business here, and so the government that we have installed in Kiev is bombing throughout southeastern Ukraine, in order to convince the residents there that resistance will be futile. Part of the short-term goal here is to get Russia to absorb the losses of all of Ukraine’s unpaid debts to Russia, so that far less of Ukraine’s unpaid debts to the IMF, U.S. and E.U., will remain unpaid. It’s basically an international bankruptcy proceeding, but without an international bankruptcy court, using instead military means. It’s like creditors going to a bankrupt for repayment, and the one with the most gunmen gets paid, while the others do not. This is the reason why the IMF ordered the leaders in Kiev to put down the rebellion in Ukraine’s southeast. What’s important to the IMF is not land, it’s the Kiev government’s continued control over the assets in the rebelling part of Ukraine — assets that will be worth something in a privatization or sell-off to repay that debt. However, for Obama, what is even more important than repaid debts is the continued dominance of the U.S. dollar. Wall Street needs that.

Among other indications that the U.S. is now preparing a nuclear attack against Russia is an article on May 23rd, “U.S. Tests Advanced Missile For NATO Interceptor System,” and also a June 10th report from a website with good sources in Russian intelligence, which alleges that Ukrainian President Petro “Poroshenko secretly met with … [an] American delegation headed by the Director of … the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, Frank Archibald, which also included former CIA chief in Ukraine Jeffrey Egan, the current – Raymond Mark Davidson, Mark Buggy (CIA, Istanbul), Andrzej Derlatka, a CIA agent in the Polish intelligence Agency, and member of CIA Kevin Duffin who is working as senior Vice President of the insurance company Brower. Poroshenko and Archibald signed a paper entitled an ‘Agreement on Military Cooperation between the U.S. and Ukraine’”

Furthermore, barely a month before the CIA and State Department overthrew the previous, the pro-Russian, President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, the government of Netherlands decided, after 18 years of “dithering,” to allow the U.S. to arm our F-35 bombers there with nuclear weapons. And this was already after Holland’s “Parliament in November signed off on a government plan to purchase 37 F-35As to replace the Dutch air force’s aging fleet of nuclear-capable F-16s. The Netherlands is widely understood to host about two dozen U.S. B-61 gravity bombs at the Volkel air base, as part of NATO’s policy of nuclear burden-sharing.”

Moreover, Obama isn’t only beefing up our first-strike nuclear capability, but is also building something new, called “Prompt Global Strike,” to supplement that nuclear force, by means of “a precision conventional weapon strike” that, if launched against Russia from next-door Ukraine, could wipe out Russia’s nuclear weapons within just a minute or so. That might be a fallback position, for Obama, in case the EU’s leaders (other than Netherlands and perhaps one or two others) might happen to decide that they won’t participate in our planned nuclear invasion of Russia.

As if it’s not already enough, that the U.S. has troops in many countries, which include the following nations where our soldiers are stationed (and this includes ones with missile bases located near Russia): Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan.

We also have some soldiers in other former parts of the U.S.S.R.: Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

We also have nearly 35,000 troops stationed in Japan, a nation near Russia and that claims ownership of four small Sakhalin Islands and two small Kuril Islands, from Russia.

Not to mention, of course, installations in places like Romania, Singapore, Turkey, Peru, Kenya, and Oman, totaling 185 countries throughout the world.

The United States is, of course, not surrounded by any Russian soldiers at all — not in Mexico, nor in Canada, nor anywhere near this country, except Russia itself near Alaska.

Certainly, Obama means business here, but the big question is whether he’ll be able to get the leaders of other “democratic” nations to go along with his first-strike plan.

The two likeliest things that can stop him, at this stage, would be either NATO’s breaking up, or else Putin’s deciding to take a political beating among his own public for simply not responding to our increasing provocations. Perhaps Putin will decide that a temporary embarrassment for him at home (for being “wimpy”) will be better, even for just himself, than the annihilation of his entire country would be. And maybe, if Obama pushes his indubitable Superpower card too hard, he’ll be even more embarrassed by this conflict than Putin will be. After all, things like this and this aren’t going to burnish Obama’s reputation in the history books, if he cares about that. But maybe he’s satisfied to be considered to have been George W. Bush II, just a far better-spoken version: a more charming liar than the original. However, if things come to a nuclear invasion, even a U.S. “victory” won’t do much more for Obama’s reputation than Bush’s “victory” in Iraq did for his. In fact, perhaps Americans will then come to feel that George W. Bush wasn’t America’s worst President, after all. Maybe the second half of the Bush-Obama Presidency will be even worse than the first.

———-

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.