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Time for Europe to put Iran’s missile programme in context



European leaders have clearly set themselves apart from the United States and the administration of President Donald J. Trump in relation to the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal. They view the deal—also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—as a success for non-proliferation and international security. In contrast, the current US Government has criticised the deal for failing to address non-nuclear issues, notably Iran’s continuing ballistic missile development, which the USA has long viewed as both a regional and a global threat.

Iran’s missile programme was also one of the main justifications for President Trump’s recent refusal to certify that continuing the suspension of sanctions—a key US commitment under the agreement—is proportionate to Iran’s respective commitments under the JCPOA. As a result, continued US adherence to the deal now depends on the US Congress.

However, while defending the JCPOA, the major European powers have joined the Trump administration in squarely condemning Iran’s missile tests and satellite launches. This commonality of views was highlighted in a joint statement on 13 October 2017 by the United Kingdom, France and Germany, which said that ‘as we work to preserve the JCPOA, we share concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile programme and regional activities [and] . . . stand ready to take further appropriate measures to address these issues’.

The Trump administration expects European countries to take a harder line on this issue. As part of an attempt to address the JCPOA’s ‘many serious flaws’, the US President has urged ‘allies to join us in . . . thorough sanctions outside the Iran Deal that target the regime’s ballistic missile program’.

Given the transatlantic disagreement over the JCPOA, European countries might feel increasing pressure to focus on Iran’s ballistic missile activities in order to find common ground with the USA. But is the Western perspective on Iran’s missile programme based on an objective threat assessment, and is a punitive approach helpful in addressing it?

Transatlantic disagreement over the JCPOA, solidarity against the missile threat

The JCPOA is a multilateral agreement negotiated between Iran, the five permanent United Nations Security Council members and Germany, with the specific aim of putting an end to concerns that Iran’s nuclear programme might be used for military purposes. Although ballistic missiles were left out of the agreement, they were mentioned in UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the JCPOA in July 2015.

More specifically, the missile-related provision in the resolution calls on Iran ‘not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons’ until 2023. This ambiguous formulation has been a source of increasing controversy. The Iranian position is that its missile testing has nothing to do with the JCPOA, because its missiles are conventional and not designed to carry nuclear weapons. This diverges from the Western expectation that Iran should have suspended missile testing for eight years.

On these grounds, the Trump administration argues that Iran’s continuing missile tests violate the spirit of the JCPOA—as well as Resolution 2231. The USA’s Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has repeatedly called for the Security Council members to punish Iran for its ‘blatant violations’ of Resolution 2231, including ‘provocative and destabilising missile launches’.

European countries, in contrast, have stressed that the JCPOA is essentially a nuclear deal, and that everything else is outside its scope. At the same time, however, they too have condemned Iran’s missile activities as inconsistent with Resolution 2231, even though they do not subscribe to the USA’s accusation of violation.

France, for example, has threatened to push for European sanctions in response to Iran’s missile tests, and has said that it would consider ‘the means to obtain from Iran the cessation of its destabilizing ballistic missile activities’. France, Germany and the UK have also joined the USA in calling for UN Security Council action in response Iran’s missile tests and satellite launches, arguing that the tested missiles are ‘inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons’, and pointing to similarities between satellite launcher and long-range missile technologies.

The link between nuclear weapons and missiles

Although there is no binding international treaty controlling ballistic missiles, they are often associated with nuclear proliferation. This is because ballistic missiles, particularly long-range ones, have historically been the most important delivery system for nuclear warheads.

At the same time, several countries rely on conventionally armed missiles as part of their national security strategies. Of the 31 countries that currently possess ballistic missile capabilities, only 9 are nuclear-armed. The arsenals of most of the remaining 22 states are not generally viewed as problematic due to their short range and small numbers. However, there are also political factors behind the lack of attention to their capabilities, which is why it is rare to hear that Israel and Saudi Arabia actually possess the longest-range ballistic missiles in the Middle East—not Iran.

Nevertheless, Iran’s missiles stand out from the rest for several reasons. Apart from having the largest arsenal of ballistic missiles in the region, Iran actively develops its missiles through testing. It also has an adversarial relationship with the USA, which has long suspected Iran of having nuclear weapon ambitions. Although it was hoped that the JCPOA would put an end to such concerns, critics argue that Iran might still develop nuclear weapons after the deal expires—in which case it could mate its missiles with nuclear warheads.

Finally, Iran’s past purchases of North Korean missiles and related technology continue to fuel speculation about ongoing missile cooperation between the two countries. Iran has also reportedly provided assistance to the Syrian Government in missile technology.

Iran’s missile programme as a regional deterrent

Iran views its missiles as a counter to the military capabilities of its regional rivals—particularly their state-of the-art, Western-supplied military aircraft. Despite US and international sanctions, which have considerably restricted Iran’s ability to develop its conventional armed forces, the country has become increasingly self-sufficient in developing ballistic missiles.

The role of ballistic missiles in Iran’s national security was highlighted in the 1980s, when its cities were left defenceless against Scud missile and air attacks from Iraq under President Saddam Hussein. Iran’s acquisition and use of its own short-range missiles is regarded as a crucial turning point in the Iran–Iraq War. Since then, Iran’s ballistic missiles have gained further importance as a conventional deterrent—particularly during the escalation of the nuclear crisis in 2006–13, when Israel and the USA threatened military action against Iranian nuclear facilities.

Iran’s missile arsenal consists of short- and medium-range missiles. Its longest-reaching operational missiles have a range of 1600 kilometres, which means that they could hit Israeli or US military bases in the Middle East. Although Iran continues to develop its missile capabilities, its focus for the past decade has been on enhancing the accuracy, rather than range, of its missiles. As noted by Michael Elleman, a leading missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, there is ‘no evidence to suggest that Iran is actively developing an intermediate- or intercontinental-range ballistic missile [ICBM]’.

In other words, Iran’s pattern of missile testing—which has sought to address the long-standing problem of poor accuracy—is consistent with the programme’s stated purpose as a regional deterrent. It also reinforces the argument that Iran’s missiles are designed to be conventional, not nuclear: nuclear-armed missiles do not need to be accurate, due to their disproportionate destructive power. For conventional purposes, however, inaccuracy severely limits the missiles’ military utility.

Iran’s missile development has also been influenced by the perceived need to respond to the growing number of anti-ballistic missile systems in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and Israel. For example, Iran’s Emad missile is equipped with a manoeuvrable re-entry vehicle, and the Khorramshahr missile is reportedly able to carry multiple warheads. Such features can increase the chances of overcoming missile defences.

The link between space rockets and long-range missiles

Iran successfully used the Safir space launch vehicle (SLV) to send its first satellite into space in 2009, and has since then delivered at least three more satellites into the Earth’s orbit. In addition, Iran has launched animals into space and has plans to send humans there as well. It is currently developing a larger Simorgh SLV to reach higher orbits.

Given the technological similarities between missile and SLV technologies, Iran’s satellite programme has raised suspicions about its potential aims to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Indeed, there are many historical examples of states having converted ICBMs into SLVs, or developing the two technologies in parallel. However, the reverse scenario—that is, SLVs being turned into long-range missiles—has never happened, because ICBM development is more demanding in many ways. Missiles carry warheads that must not just reach space, but must also withstand re-entry into the atmosphere. Further, they need to work reliably under various conditions, with little advance warning.

Although having a satellite programme can contribute to ICBM development, it is not a shortcut to long-range missiles. Even if Iran converted the Simorgh SLV into a long-range missile, it would still need to undergo the normal, time-consuming routine of missile testing, which would not go unnoticed.

Iran’s missiles and NATO’s missile defence policy

Some of the current Western solidarity against the Iranian missile threat can be traced to the missile defence policy of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)—also known as the European Phase Adaptive Approach (EPAA). Introduced by the USA under the Obama administration, EPAA was preceded by the Bush administration’s plans to put large interceptors in Europe to defend the US mainland from hypothetical nuclear-armed ICBMs coming from Iran.

Instead, the aim of EPAA was to protect south-eastern parts of Europe from Iran’s existing arsenal of short- and medium-range missiles. The key idea was to adapt to changing circumstances: while systems against ICBMs were envisioned in the later stages of EPAA, President Obama said that there would be no need for the system if the threat from Iran’s nuclear and missile programs were eliminated.

The NATO Secretary General at the time, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, also referred to the Iranian threat when arguing for EPAA to be adopted as official NATO policy. However, since that decision was made at the 2010 Lisbon Summit, the alliance has avoided direct references to Iran. At the same time, NATO has never openly challenged the US argument that EPAA is essentially about Iran—except for stressing that the system ‘is not about any one country, but about the threat posed by proliferation more generally’.

Arguably, European countries valued EPAA primarily because it was seen to strengthen the transatlantic link and provide additional reassurance against Russia. Unlike many other forms of military cooperation, land-based missile defences have meant permanent US presence on European soil. This trade-off seemed unproblematic during the height of the Iran nuclear crisis, but the picture has changed considerably since then. Despite the landmark nuclear deal, in May 2016 NATO began to construct a new missile defence site in Poland against intermediate missiles—which Iran does not possess.

Nevertheless, US officials justify the new Polish site in terms of the Iranian threat, pointing to the possibility that Iran might still develop longer-range missiles. Meanwhile, NATO continues to talk about the generic threat of missile proliferation and points to over 30 countries with ballistic missile capabilities, without unpacking what this threat means in concrete terms.

European disinclination to subject NATO’s missile defence policy to critical scrutiny can be understood in terms of inertia, the desire to ensure US presence on the continent, as well as the heightened need to maintain transatlantic unity after the events in Ukraine. This creates a bias that makes European countries less prone to question US assessments of the Iranian missile threat, also outside the context of EPAA.

Putting Iran’s missile programme in context

The prevailing Western tendency to target Iranian missiles while ignoring the overall military balance in the Middle East reflects the historical experience of the USA and its regional loyalties. Despite mounting pressure to join this approach and the related punitive measures, European countries should put the issue of Iran’s missiles in its proper context.

Iran’s ballistic missile programme does not constitute a global threat. Rather, it is part of broader regional security dynamics, and cannot be addressed in isolation. As missiles play a key role in Iran’s national security strategy, it is unrealistic to expect that the country will forgo efforts to improve their operationality and survivability through testing.

In September 2017, President Hassan Rouhani responded to US condemnation of Iran’s missile development by stating: ‘No matter if you like it or not, we will boost our defence and military capabilities to the extent deemed necessary for defence. We will not seek permission from anyone to defend our country and our land.’

A punitive approach to Iran’s missile programme is not only likely to be ineffective, it could also undermine simultaneous European attempts to maintain the JCPOA, lending legitimacy to potential measures by the US Congress to link US adherence to the JCPOA with the missile issue. Even if the US measures do not directly impact the JCPOA, new sanctions against Iran’s missile programme might further impede international trade with Iran, thus increasing the already pervasive Iranian perception that sanctions relief is not being implemented.

Therefore, it is important that European countries do not let the missile issue distract them from seeking to maintain the JCPOA as their first priority. The former US Department of State coordinator for the deal’s implementation, Jarrett Blanc, recently argued that ‘Iran and its missiles are less dangerous because of the JCPOA. That accomplishment cannot be sacrificed for an unrealistic effort to pressure Iran on ballistic missiles’.

However, this does not necessarily mean that there is no way to constrain Iran’s missile programme. Given repeated statements by Iranian officials that the country has no need of missiles beyond the range of 2000 km, Iran could in principle agree to limit its missiles to that level. As for any further limits to Iran’s ballistic missile programme, they are unfeasible without parallel discussions with other states in the region about their respective military capabilities.

Unfortunately, it is not an optimal time to discuss either Iran’s missiles or the broader issues of regional security. As the JCPOA has shown, arms control negotiations require at least some mutual respect and trust, both of which are clearly absent from the current US–Iranian relationship and in relations among Middle Eastern countries. This also casts a shadow on any attempts by others to start a missile dialogue with Iran, which would probably be rejected as part of the controversial US plans to ‘renegotiate’ the nuclear deal. Further, any new Iranian compromises with the West should not be expected at a time when previous promises under the JCPOA are in such serious doubt.

Yet this should not discourage long-term thinking. European countries could use their political channels with Iran and other regional actors to get a more thorough understanding of their respective security concerns. Such knowledge could then be used to inform future discussions on Iran’s missiles, as well as a more comprehensive arms control dialogue in the region—a goal that has long evaded international efforts, but is still worth pursuing.

First published in

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Why At Least Two Nuclear Super-Powers Are Essential

Eric Zuesse



My distinguished colleague at Strategic Culture Foundation, Federico Pieraccini, has recently argued that “nuclear-armed powers decrease the likelihood of a nuclear apocalypse”, and this is a response to that:

Obviously, if there were no nuclear-armed powers, then the possibility of a “nuclear apocalypse” would be zero; so, that statement is false on its very face. However, in a carefully modified form, I agree with something not too far different from it; and here is that form:

In the nuclear-weapons era, at least two nuclear super-powers are essential in order for there to be any realistic possibility of warding off a nuclear apocalypse, global annihilation.

Here, the concept of “nuclear super-power” is absolutely core (merely “nuclear-armed power” is not): a nuclear super-power is a nation that possesses second-strike capability, the ability to retaliate so effectively against a nuclear attack from any other nuclear power so as to annihilate that attacking country, even though this responding power might be annihilated by the attacking one.

As I have documented in prior articles (such as here), the United States, ever since at least 2006, has been virtually officially pursuing the goal of achieving “Nuclear Primacy” so as to be able to ‘win’ a nuclear war and conquer Russia — the prior military geostrategic system, called Mutually Assured Destruction or “M.A.D.,” being ended on the American side. (Russia’s Vladimir Putin says that it had actually ended when U.S. President George W. Bush made the — as was brilliantly explained here — “decision in 2001 to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and the bipartisan failure by both the Bush and Obama administrations to engage meaningfully with the Russians over their concerns about American missile defenses.”

However, I have argued that, in essence, the U.S. regime had already made the decision for nuclear primacy and secretly imposed that decision upon its allied or vassal-regimes as being henceforth the U.S. side’s aim, back on 24 February 1990, and that decision was made by George Herbert Walker Bush but has continued ever since. Putin is politic; so, he needs to filter what he says through a political screen, in which he refers to the United States as being a ‘partner,’ which I — myself an American and no politician at all and not representing any country at all — do not need to do.

Whereas the U.S. regime has been committed for a long time to achieving nuclear primacy (regardless whether it’s since 2006, or since 2001, or since 1990 — the initial decision was actually made on 24 February 1990, and has merely been in its execution-phase on the American side from that time till now), Russia has been responding to that decision as best it has been able to. A crucial effort on the part of Russian President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s to deal with it produced the so-called “NATO Founding Act,” but the U.S. regime trashed that in 2016. President Putin recognized as soon as George W. Bush trashed the ABM Treaty, that unless Russia would somehow block the U.S. from achieving nuclear primacy (if any side even is capable of achieving nuclear primacy now or in the future), then a surprise intended planned nuclear first-strike against and annihilating Russia would be the outcome (given the U.S. regime’s by-then clear record on the matter); so, he has carefully worked, ever since that time (2002), so as to not only block it, but, finally, on 1 March 2018, announced to the entire world, that Russia is now able, reasonably and with evidence, to say that Russia is securely in a position so that if the United States attempts a surprise nuclear attack against Russia, then the United States will also be annihilated.

What is crucial here, during the nuclear-military age, is that there be at least two nuclear super-powers, not just one.

As I have argued elsewhere under the heading “The Three Global Suerpowers”: “There are currently three global superpowers, three nations that lead the world: China, Russia, and US.” However, this is true regardless of whether or not China is a nuclear super-power (I don’t think it is), because China is clearly a leading economic power, and may come to lead above the United States in other fields as well. In economic matters, the trend-lines are watched with at least as much and close attention as are the absolute or current numbers, and China, in any case, is clearly one of the three global super-powers already, regardless of whether it’s a military super-power.

What, then, will be the result if China comes to be a third nuclear super-power? The problem, if any, is not whether there will come to be a third nuclear super-power: the problem is whether there will, ever again, be a nuclear super-power that is attempting military conquest of the entire world. This was the point that Putin was making in his March 1st speech.

first published at

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Why Super-Rich Rush to Buy Nuclear-Proof Bunkers

Eric Zuesse



The rush amongst the super-rich started after the key event of 2014; this single stunning event suddenly sparked that rush by the super-rich to buy nuclear-proof bunkers, and the rush has been nonstop since that event. Though many news-media in The West have reported on the existence of this suddenly booming market for luxurious and supposedly nuclear-proof bunkers, none has reported on what actually caused it — the event that had sparked it. In fact, that event is still a secret in The West — not publicly mentioned here; it is, practically speaking, banned from being publicly even mentioned, in The West. So: since that event is necessarily mentioned in this article, and is even linked-to here, so that the reader can see videos of it that were posted of it online while it was happening, and there is even “smoking gun” evidence showing government officials actually planning it, and covering it up, and blatantly lying about what they had done, this report, explaining why the super-rich rush now to buy nuclear-proof bunkers, violates that ban. As a consequence, probably none of the hundreds of major news-media in The West that this news-report is being submitted to for publication, will publish it. But perhaps a half-dozen of the small ones will publish it. After all: a few small news-media cannot have much impact. The government and media don’t need to fool everyone in order to succeed, but only to fool the vast majority of people. (However, maybe now they don’t any longer even need to continue worrying about public opinion, at all. So: maybe they no longer need to continue such bans. But they do continue them, perhaps simply out of institutionalized bad habit.)

Wherever you’re so fortunate as to be reading this: here is the reason why the market for luxurious deep-underground nuclear-resistant bunkers has so suddenly blossomed:

In February 2014, an extremely violent, and US-engineered but ‘democracy’-masked, coup in Ukraine on Russia’s very doorstep, was successfully culminated by its overthrowing Ukraine’s neutralist and democratically elected leader, and then by its installing there a rabidly anti-Russian government, out for Russian blood, just like Hitler had been, and, in fact, strongly inspired by him, in many ways, including an ethnic-cleansing campaign. Within less than a month, Russia responded to that coup by accepting the still predominantly Russian Crimea back into Russia. (Crimea had been part of Russia until the Soviet dictator had arbitrarily transferred it to Ukraine in 1954.) For Russia’s having done that, US President Barack Obama (and America’s foreign vassals) slapped economic sanctions against Russia and mobilized NATO troops and weaponry onto and near Russia’s borders — as if they wanted to out-do 1962’s Cuban Missile Crisis, which they are doing, but in reverse direction (against not America, but, this time, against Russia).

Ever since that singular 2014 event — that coup (which destroyed Ukraine) — the hottest market amongst the super-rich has been nuclear-resistant bunkers deep underground: such as here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here.

I think that the three best of these articles about luxury nuclear bunkers, are this (with the best pictures of one of these facilities) and this (with the best commentary about the entire phenomenon), and this, which discusses the increasing number of builders of these facilities. Some billionaires, however, are instead moving to New Zealand.

So: ever since 2014, private planning to survive a nuclear war is the most booming field amongst the super-rich. This is a real-estate market that no ordinary person could afford to buy into. These people are either principals themselves in the aristocracy, or else prime agents for them and thus likewise extremely wealthy and already well on their own personal ways to entering the aristocracy — the aristocracy of extreme wealth. They’re thus all well-connected; they’ve got the best contacts and sources inside governments. And, since 2014, they are rushing to prepare: to prepare for a nuclear war.

If these people aren’t well-informed about the global situation, then no one is. And they’re investing accordingly. Lots of people invest in stocks, bonds, gold, etc, but only the richest few can afford to invest in nuclear-resistant bunkers, and that’s where the boom nowadays especially is, amongst only the super-rich. (We’re not talking here about high government-officials; they’ve got their Spartan nuclear bunkers long-since paid for by US taxpayers; but these are all just private and extremely wealthy individuals.) Maybe their attitude is: if you’ve got three-or-more homes, then at least one of them should be designed for the post-WW-III world and near enough to your main home so that maybe you can reach it before any missiles will be flying.

A nuclear war between US and Russia would be over within less than 30 minutes, start-to-finish; so, there won’t be any time to plan if the nuclear phase of the NATO-v.-Russia (plus, maybe China) war appears to be imminent — waiting that long in order to depart for one’s private bomb-shelter would already be too late. A quick ‘vacation’ to the secret location would thus necessarily be of the unplanned sort, which means that the system by which the owner will reach the spot, needs to be operational 24 hours every day, and needs to be maintained continuously, until — if and when — the nuclear exchange starts. Therefore, these facilities have airports and helicopter-access, and are continuously staffed, so that the richest people in the US and its allied countries, can arrive there at any moment’s notice and receive the full range of services that they are accustomed to.

Any of these billionaires and centi-millionaires could have chosen instead to establish (either alone or in combination with one-another) the first foundation or other propaganda-operation to publicize the fraudulence of the US-and-allied case for sanctions against Russia, and the fraudulence of NATO’s continuing assertions after 1991 that it’s a ‘defensive’ military alliance (it’s no longer that, at all), and the fact (contrasted against that fraud) of NATO’s being nowadays purely an alliance for aggression against Russia and China, as if the Cold War had never ended (and it never really did end except on the Russian and Chinese side, which now recognize that the US and its allies had lied in 1990); so, all of these billionaires rather buy private nuclear-bomb shelters, than establish a foundation to expose to the public the US side’s apocalyptic lies, which actually cause the danger that’s heading to destroy the entire world.

America’s own leading scientists on strategic weaponry have recently (on 1 March 2017) documented that the US nuclear-weapons-modernization program against both Russia and China is “planning to have the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war by disarming enemies with a surprise first strike.” Obviously, only the most-insiders of insiders will know in advance about this “surprise first strike.” (Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a surprise, and the advantage of being the first to attack will be gone.) However, nuclear-proof bunker-space is presumably so limited so that the people who are buying these few spots will be amongst those few. (Of course, high federal officials will be taken care of elsewhere.)

Ever since at least 2006, America’s Establishment — its billionaires and their agents — have been virtually unanimously and actively supporting the abandonment of the “Mutually Assured Destruction” concept that had long dominated nuclear thinking on both sides (not only on the Soviet and continuing under the Russian side, but also on that of America and its NATO military alliance) and have been replacing that paradigm, the “M.A.D.” paradigm (which has staved off WW III ever since 1945). They replaced it by the US-NATO paradigm (ever since at least 2006) of “Nuclear Primacy,” in which The West’s nuclear weapons are to be used not to stave off WW III, but instead so as to achieve ‘victory’ in an actual US-v.-Russia nuclear war. Ever since 2014, US-and-allied military moves cannot be coherently explained on any other basis than that the US and NATO are planning a blitz nuclear attack against at least Russia — and perhaps also against China.

Clearly, whoever are buying these luxury-pads for the post-apocalypse, are hoping for a NATO ‘victory’ in WW III, and are certainly not favorably inclined to preventing that armageddon, which they know is based on lies (unless they’re too stupid to be able to distinguish between their own propaganda versus the actual historical reality, which is documented in the links here, which links show that any decent billionaire in The West would instead be publicly exposing the horrific fraud that’s perpetrated by all of themselves, not trying to protect themselves from that fraud’s immediate global consequences).

Unfortunately, these people are the ultimate “conformists.” It’s clear by their 100% unity on this. They’ve become so gated-community, one-way-glassed, that they’ve no concern remaining (if they ever did) for the billions of people (not to mention entire planet) that they’re placing into the severest form of danger: global annihilation. Instead, their only concern (quite evidently) is to be ‘winners’. (Like I had said at that last link: “In military parlance, the side that suffers the less harm is the ‘winner’, regardless of any other factor. That’s the basic reality of military strategy: it’s inevitably win-lose, not win-win.” However, M.A.D. was the first-ever exception to that strategic principle; and, now, it’s gone — as of 2006 in US, and by now also in Russia (if not also in China). M.A.D. is gone; it’s been replaced by a real insanity, which is clearly psychopathic and clearly pervasive amongst the super-rich: “Nuclear Primacy”.

The psychological reality that had long staved off a WW III is completely gone. And the people who have caused it to end are now buying all these nuclear bunkers for themselves.

In a rare exception to the unanimity of the US aristocracy’s voices regarding what’s behind this change (which cause is the stifling nazi or racist-fascist ideology at the top in America), the capitol-hill newspaper, The Hill, allowed to be published on 9 November 2017, an article — even with numerous links to high-quality sources — titled “The reality of neo-Nazis in Ukraine is far from Kremlin propaganda”. An indication of just how extraordinarily thorough the takeover of the US Government by nazis has become, is that both under President Barack Obama and under President Donald Trump, the US has been among the only 3 countries (in Obama’s case) and the only two countries (in Trump’s) that officially stood up at the United Nations in support of nazism, even of its Holocaust-denial. On both occasions, Ukraine joined with the US on that vote. On one occasion, Canada also did (thus being the third). This scandal was virtually entirely ignored in the Western ‘news’ media.

This is the world we are living in today. How many ‘news’ media are reporting this reality? How many have reported it? Just one billionaire standing out from the pack, so as to reach the masses with these truths, could make a whole world of difference. But, instead, perhaps they’re all just buying nuclear bunkers, so as to be amongst the few ‘winners’, in a war on behalf of the global regime that represents, actually, only themselves.

This is the catastrophe of our times.

First published at

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5 Missile Test in Two Months: India’s Attempt to create Credible Minimum Deterrence in South Asia



In 2018, the world is more concerned about nuclear issues that the Trump administration is generating whether it is regarding fast growing capabilities of North Korea or infamous Nuclear Posture Review by residing government in Capitol Hill. The focus of all nuclear issues around the globe is the US, which is of the view that its total inventory of 6800 nuclear warheads is not enough to deter North Korea whose total stock of nuclear weapon is not more than 2 dozen.

With all the limelight on the US, continuous and rapid nuclearization by South Asian dark horse is ignored completely. May be this ignorance is a pathway provided to India, to sail freely in the ocean of arms buildup to seize every possible opportunity. India is also not shy of taking advantage of deliberate ignorance of international community on arms race in South Asia. It is improving its nuclear arsenals inventory with rapid speed before Trump administration loses its charm of capturing wider attention. By giving hype to Trump administration’s foolish ideas many international issues of significance are sidelined which requires a lot more attention and efforts for greater peace. One of the most important issues is arms race in South Asia and inability of conflicting parties to control it.

Year 2018 is also not very different for South Asia’s nuclear pattern, that started two months ago and so far, one side has tested 5 missiles including 4 nuclear capable missile tests and one anti-tank missile tests. This series of test was started by India with rather big explosion by testing its intercontinental ballistic missile Agni V. Agni V is a three-stage solid fueled missile with an estimated operational range of 5,500 to 5,800 km. it is capable of carrying 1,500 kilotons of nuclear payload and is declared as an Indian attempt to strive for credible minimum deterrence against China. Since 2012 it was the fifth time Agni V was tested; it was a developmental test to induct ICBM into operational service.

After the test of ICBM Agni V in January 2018, India tested three more nuclear capable missiles in the month of February. On 6th February 2018, Agni-I which is a short range ballistic missile was test fired by India’s Strategic Force Command at annual training cycle to test the operational readiness of India’s missile force. Range of Agni-I is 700 to 900 km and can be armed with 1000 kilograms of conventional or nuclear payload. After testing its long range and short-range missile systems India was not satisfied with the effect of these tests and went further ahead with some more display of its credible minimum deterrence. On the very next day of testing Agni-I, India test fired third nuclear capable ballistic missile of 2018. This time India’s weapon of choice was surface to surface short range tactical ballistic missile with 350 km range which is single stage, liquid fuel missile capable of carrying 500-1000 kilogram of nuclear or conventional payload and is already in service since 2003.

Then on February 20, 2018 India again tested it’s another nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-II which is medium or intermediate range from Integrated Test Range on Abdul Kalam Island in Bay of Bengal. Agni-II is a two stage, solid fueled with estimated range of 2000-3000 km which can carry conventional or nuclear warhead of 1000 kilogram. Agni-II is considered as a backbone of India’s land based deterrent force. Thus, it is road, rail mobile and according to media reports entire trajectory of trial was tracked with sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations and two naval ships located near impact point in the down range area of Bay of Bengal.

After tests of nuclear capable ballistic missiles ranging from ICBMs to short range, it was not enough and India went one step ahead in display of credibility of its nuclear arsenals and tested its third generation anti-tank guided missiles in desert condition against two tanks.

Testing its nuclear arsenals to display the credibility of its nuclear deterrence to ward off the enemy is the right of every state. However, India’s display of its nuclear capability in such massive and fast manner must not be compared to credible minimum deterrence. As on India’s part testing all kinds of nuclear missiles and hurrying to operationalize them is the quest for credible deterrence rather than credible minimum deterrence. When India’s former National Security Advisor, Shivshankar Menon mentioned in his book “Inside the Making of India’s Foreign Policy” that India’s nuclear doctrine is much flexible than it is given the credit for, was right. So, even after testing 5 missiles India is linking credible minimum deterrence to military ambitiousness and declaring that these threats are its lowest possible efforts in response to the two tier threat originating from China and Pakistan

Alarming in this regard is silence of international community that is preoccupied with issues Trump administration is causing to seek attention. Moreover, lack of interest by international spectators to resolve the issues in South Asia is triggering the arms race in the region. Another significant aspect of conflict resolution approach suggested by international scholars is the imposition of a lot of conditions on Pakistan which is not a sensible approach for attaining peace and stability as peace and stability are hardly acquired on the basis of discrimination.

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