Tag: nuclear weapons

Trump Deploys More Troops to the Middle East

Sanders Jett-Folk | United States

Amid increasing tensions with Iran, Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan announced that 1,500 additional United States troops will be sent to the Middle East. Shanahan remarked in a statement that the extra forces are being sent to combat the “ongoing threat posed by Iranian forces.”

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The U.S. Should Send Nuclear Energy to Saudi Arabia

Griffen Smith | United States

The Trump administration released a statement in mid-February expressing interest in sending nuclear energy plants across the world to the Arabian Peninsula nation, Saudi Arabia. The house immediately released a 24-page document calling the pending deal a potential nuclear arms race. Many in Washington are labeling this an indirect way of giving Saudi Arabia Nuclear weapons. Some also argue we ought to cut ties to Saudi Arabia altogether. However, there are some benefits to the world from giving Saudi Arabia technology for nuclear energy.

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Spoiler Alert: Israel Has Nukes

By Joe Brown | United States

Nuclear weapons are in season, and just like that old pair of jeggings in your mom’s closet, it doesn’t look like they will ever go out of style. While the trend originated in the United States, it’s found popularity all over the world, quickly becoming the hottest method of strategic deterrent and staying that way for over 70 years. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, there are 9 countries which possess nuclear weapons – the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, and of course everyone’s favorite – North Korea, with the combined nuclear arsenal of all of the above listed countries totaling to over 16,000 nuclear weapons. “But wait” all you clever mathematicians are saying. “That’s only eight countries. Who’s the ninth?”

If I were to ask the average American to point to a country in the Middle East which possessed nuclear weapons, half of the votes would end up in Zimbabwe…but even if we were to pretend that most Americans knew basic geography, the majority of fingers would point to Iran. But what would you think if I told you that the real culprit was in fact, the Jewish state? There are nukes in the Middle East without a doubt; but they’re owned by Israel, not Iran.

Amidst all the hullabaloo concerning forged Iranian missile blueprints and underground test sites, Israel has conveniently remained silent concerning its own history of stealing weapons grade uranium from the United States, and has declined to comment on how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was involved in smuggling nuclear triggers to develop the Israeli Nuclear Program.

Israel’s obsession with Iran has played a key role in distracting the world from its own nefarious nuclear pursuits, but Israel isn’t the only one that hypocritically denies nuclear development. American anti-proliferation think tanks regularly harass Iranian and North Korean developments, and international coalition inspector groups have conducted extensive investigations in countries who own nuclear weapons, with Israel being the exception, as always is the case.

The failure of these groups to demand transparency, or even conduct an investigation into, the possession of nuclear weapons demonstrates that these agencies are simply internationally sanctioned weapons against Iran and North Korea, and whose primary purpose is to restrict the nuclear development of select countries, rather than maintain international integrity or safety. Iran has historically practiced military conservatism, whereas Israel has repeatedly engaged in offensive campaigns in Egypt, Palestine, and Lebanon. Iran is within the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and submits itself to regular inspections from the International Atomic Energy Agency, whereas Israel neither recognizes the deal, nor accepts inspectors. Finally, and perhaps most notably, Iran possesses no nuclear weapons, whilst Israel totes up to 400.

Despite the fact that there are weapons of mass destruction in the most volatile and unstable region in the world, this is likely the first you’ve heard about Israel possessing nuclear weapons. Why is it that such crucial knowledge has been hidden from the world? What has been keeping Israel from strutting its stuff on the runway with all the other countries with nuclear weapons, and what is keeping American politicians from talking about it? The answer is simple: Politics.

The existence of Israeli nuclear weapons is the unspoken elephant in the room in American government. Everyone is aware of its existence, from the scientists working in federal laboratories, to the President himself. Likewise, everyone is equally aware that they are never to be acknowledged, or even spoken of. An investigation published by the Atlantic reported that “U.S. officials, even those on Capitol Hill, are routinely admonished not to mention the existence of an Israeli nuclear arsenal and occasionally punished when they do so.” Such was the case of James Doyle, the veteran nuclear analyst at Los Alamos National Laboratory, who paid the price for straying from Washington’s playbook. After writing an article which indirectly mentioned the existence of Israeli nuclear weapons, Doyle’s publications were made classified, his pay was docked, his home computer was searched, and he was censured, before eventually being fired from his position.

The American political machine guards Israel’s secret like OJ Simpson guards his innocence. The problem is that in both cases, everyone knows the truth.

At this point, if you’re like me you would ask “But if everyone knows the truth, why does it matter? What is the purpose in pretending otherwise?”

If you’re like me, you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that like almost everything else in American politics, the Israeli lobby is heavily involved in the issue. The motivation of the secrecy can be found in legislation drafted in 1976 regarding U.S. foreign aid and assistance. The law, known as the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, made it illegal to supply aid to countries found in violation of the National Proliferation Treaty, which was signed in 1968. In order to maintain the supply of weapons and diplomatic support between the U.S. and Israel, American officials are counseled to never acknowledge the existence of the Israeli nuclear program, and instead pretend as if such a thing doesn’t exist. You don’t hear about Israeli nukes because Israel doesn’t want you to know that they are in violation of not only U.S. policy, but international law as well.

But then again, since when has Israel cared about international law?

American officials may be aware of the presence of Israeli nukes, but the figures regarding how many nuclear units remains unclear, partially due to the fact that politicians in both Israel and the U.S. deny their very existence. Rising above the BS and the obvious facade are whistle blowers from different origins, professing the truth about Israel’s nuclear program, and denouncing the lies that Israeli lobbyists have been spoon feeding American politicians for years. One such man is Mordechai Vanunu, the former Israeli nuclear technician who revealed his country’s secret nuclear program as early as 1986. Vanunu claimed that the number of nuclear weapons possessed by the Israeli government is near 200, with media outlets in Jerusalem reporting 115, and American Intelligence Agencies estimating as many as 400 nuclear weapons.

You’ve heard of bureaucratic incompetence, but miscounting 400 nukes as opposed to zero takes some Ralph Wiggum levels of stupidity. Far worse than clumsy government ineptness, this involves a more calculated and conscious lie that is being used to justify the support of an ethno-nationalistic state.

Trump may have paraded the concept of “America First”, but don’t let the enthusiastic slogans or his trade deals fool you. This is Israel’s America, and it has been since the moment American politicians prioritized the support of the Jewish state over the needs of the American people. Decades of hidden deals and billions of dollars have created a system that serves those who can afford it, and as of now, Israel wants America to stay silent.

Yes, Israel has nukes…but you didn’t hear it from me 😉

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Rocket Man and Agent Orange Should Find a New Playground

By Ryan Lau | USA

Looking for a nice, lighthearted article? The title of this piece sure would suggest it to be so, but it is with no shortage of embarrassment that I must declare it all too seriously. American foreign relations with North Korea have taken another turn for the worse, and it appears that each time this happens, the level of sophistication and class used by our world leaders drops considerably. Every time it appears our leaders have reached rock bottom, a new insult is born, or in this case, President Donald Trump now feels the need to insist that his office nuclear button is bigger than Kim Jong Un’s. It is frankly unsettling that someone needs to step forward and say this, but these two world leaders need to leave their pettiness on the playground, preferably not one with millions of children and adults. 

Simply stated, the level of informality and clear childish behavior that presidents of major world players have taken on needs to be greatly altered. Just this Tuesday, Un stated that “the nuclear button is on his desk at all times”. I’m not entirely sure where President Trump is confused by this statement, but it appears that it means that, well, the nuclear button is on his desk at all times. Though there is a significant diplomatic advantage in bluffing about these sorts of statements and letting them impact American decisions without evidence of their veracity would be a foolish move. However, there are countless more sophisticated manners of response than to simply brag about the size and capabilities of his own nuclear button. Shortly after Un’s brash tweet, Trump’s response was an embarrassment:

“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

-President Donald Trump, January 2, 2018

Though seemingly playing the tough guy, Trump does not tell anyone anything they are not already well aware of with this tweet. Though North Korea, like most authoritarian left-wing regimes, has dealt with significant food shortages, this matter is entirely irrelevant to the presence or absence of a nuclear threat. It is entirely an attempt to draw sympathy towards the people and against the North Korean leader. While a valid strategy, it does not belong in such a heated and important matter. There is also obviously no doubt by Un, his regime, or anyone else in the world that the United States has a larger nuclear capability than does North Korea. Considering that we have been stockpiling our nuclear arsenal since the end of World War II, this once again is simply a line added to infuriate Un, which is the last thing that should be done to someone with nuclear capabilities of their own.

Despite this, Trump continues down the road of poking a stick at an angry man with nuclear weapons. Now, if North Korea’s nuclear claims were not veritable, this strategy may do more to subdue the nation. However, the United States government has confirmed multiple times that North Korea’s tests have been successful, with tests of everything from hydrogen bombs to ballistic missiles. This threat is not a joke. Conversely, many fellow non-interventionists will cite the principle of Mutually Assured Destruction as a rationale for why a nuclear war is impossible. Essentially, MAD suggests that out of fear of retaliation and great total human casualty, two nuclear powers will both permanently hesitate in firing the first shot, thus avoiding great loss of human life and preventing nuclear war through unadulterated fear of fallout. However, the principle implies rational human decision. Rationality is never a given, especially when two world leaders, both quick to ignite, begin taking irrelevant yet brutal shots against each other’s country.

If a pair of adults desires to engage in childish arguments regarding the state of each other’s possessions, so be it. If those two adults just so happen to be the leaders of nuclear powerhouses, so be it. If those two adult leaders of nuclear powerhouses are engaging in such behaviors in regards to their nuclear capabilities? It is at this point which we now have a serious societal problem. The eventual loser of such a spar could not simply laugh it off or even retreat in anger, for there is a serious possibility of their being a great deal of blood on the hands of both parties.

While Trump is absolutely correct in saying that his nuclear arsenal could absolutely devastate North Korea, is it really worth the millions of innocent lives that would be lost in the process, just to kill one oppressive leader? Is is worth the millions of potential American lives, if Un was to be provoked into attacking first, ignoring MAD in a fit of rage? The simple answer to both of these questions is no. Trump and Un are using human lives as gambling chips, each hoping that the other will be afraid, yet not enough to strike. Fear has limits. Nuclear war, though not necessarily probable, is not impossible, and thus should never be remotely a part of a conversation. In a bar, two fighting men with guns would provoke significantly less fear and overall potential aggression than two men would without guns. Multiply that fear and overall potential aggression infinitely, and give the two men nuclear weapons. This is a nightmare waiting to happen. Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un are threatening the future of humanity due to a petty human desire to one-up each other. These men should not be sitting behind nuclear buttons in their offices. They should be finding a new playground and returning to their positions when they are capable of acting like mature adults who recognize the sanctity of human life, and the permanency of death.

Japan is Strengthening its Defense Arsenal Amid North Korean Weapon Tests

By Vaughn Hoisington | JAPAN

In an attempt to increase national security against the threat of North Korea’s missiles and nuclear program, Japan’s Defense Ministry has requested an additional 730 million yen ($6.4 million) to be added to the initial budget for 2018. The budget was already their highest ever, at ¥5.26 trillion ($47.6 billion), with an increase of 2.5 percent from last year’s initial budget.

The addition to the budget will be used to scout potential land-based sites in Akita and Yamaguchi Prefectures to deploy Aegis Ashore missile-defense units, which are believed to be the defense system Japan will purchase two of, with a portion of their originally requested budget. These units cost around ¥80 billion ($728 million) and were originally planned to be deployed in 2023, but the Japanese Government is allocating ¥2.1 billion ($18 million) from its supplementary budget to accelerate preparation for the development of missile defense complexes.

With Aegis Ashore missile-defense units, Japan’s missile defense system would become three-tiered. Japan’s current two-tiered system involves “ships armed with SM-3 interceptor missiles, which must knock down a ballistic missile on the middle part of its trajectory. If this is not done, the second level of missile defense will be deployed using the Patriot PAC-3, which must intercept the missile at the final stage of its flight.”

Along with plans to purchase Aegis Ashore missile-defense units from the U.S., the Defense Ministry will seek to use the budget to develop an improved anti-stealth radar system that can distinguish ballistic missiles that are more difficult to detect and improve detection capabilities on the Japan Aerospace Defense Ground Environment automatic alert control system. Japan’s Defense Ministry also plans to purchase six F-35A stealth fighters, maintain facilities on the southwestern island of Okinawa Prefecture for units of the Self-Defense Forces, and study the development of high-speed glide bombs with the remaining amount of the budget.