Tag Archives: nuclear weapons

Drip, Drip, Drip Into War

Just yesterday it was reported that the Iranians had used one of their jets to “buzz” one of our aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf.  It reportedly came within 100 yards of the ship.  That is almost landing on the darn thing.   Apparently, and hopefully, we had it on our radar tracking system for a long time before it approached that close.  It has been the accepted custom on the high seas for a long time that any encounter between forces that come that close are considered a hostile act.  More often than not such a close pass by would result in opening fire on the intruder.   This is a stark reminder to the most lazy mind that we are dealing with a very dangerous and volatile situation in the Mid East.

We used to send our SAC bombers to the Soviet border regularly to test their systems and they did the same.  These events normally occurred in the Artic Ocean or the  Bering Sea area.  Such events have happened often but always with danger.  Usually the intruding party would pull back before they got too close to a border or ship to avoid a hostile reaction.  Many times such intrusions were for gathering intelligence on a broader scale.  You may recall the famous incident with Gary Francis Powers and the U-2 spy plane in 1960.  Our intellignece folks had assured the military that the Soviets didn’t have any rockets capable of reaching the spy plance because it could fly at altitudes of over 75,000 feet.  Another example of intelligence gone wrong.  They did have one and it shot him down and resulted in great embarrassment to the US and loss of prestige on the world stage.

Militaries often position their forces in locations to demonstrate to a potential enemy that they are there and ready to engage if necessary.  Usually it is ships off a coast or conducting “training exercises” of someone’s coast.  Just as the Iranians are doing now in the Gulf.   As Iran continues its development of a nuclear bomb we should all watch with horror as they flex their muscles and beat their chest.  The likelihood of nuclear confrontation with Israel is a danger of the first magnitude.  Israel has never officially acknowledged that they have a nuclear weapon(s) but everyone certainly assumes that they do.  Several decades ago when Israel was very close diplomatically with South Africa during the apartheid regime there were report of a nuclear explosion in South Africa but it was never made clear if this was an Israelis or South African device.  The nuclear device is the Israeli version of the castle keep.  Where they retreat in the last instance to preserve their existence.  It is very foolish to assume they won’t use such a device the moment they feel that their existence as a nation is on the brink.  Likewise, the Iranians have made clear their intention to bring Isarel low, very low.  It is a holy crusade for them and they don’t mind the loss of lives, even of their own citizens, 

Israel has no doubt war gamed the various scenarios under which they might launch a preemptive strike to neutralize the Iranian progress with a bomb.  Many have written about the difficulties they will face trying to make such an attack without incurring the wrath of the US or other neighboring countries by using their air space for the attack.  Yes, that will be of some concern but in the grand scheme of things it will be minor.  If you are launching an attack on Iran the dipolmatic fallout will be insignificant compared to the real dangers on the ground.  The Israelis will have to make more than one strike most likely.  Supposedly the Iranians have dispersed they facilities around the country which would be logical and prudent to avoid having everything wiped out in one attack.  It makes it harder for the attacking force.  I would think the Isarelis will ultimately take the route they deem most effective militarily and to maximize the results of the attack and diplomacy be damned.   They will be in a fight for their lives at that point. 

Geography and history tell you exactly where the Iranians will attack.  It will be Tel Aviv and mayby one or two other coastal areas. Jerusalem has too many Arabs and Muslim holy places to attack there.  Almost anyplace else would harm more Arabs than Jews.  They might go for the Golan Heights also because of its strategic location.   To prevent this the Israelis when they feel painted into a corner will strike first as they have in the past in ’73 and in Lebanon in the ’80’s.  The Iranians will make an attempt to close the Straits of Hormuz to the flow of oil but shouldn’t be successful with that in the long run.   They simply don’t have the military capability.  It would not be like the Battle of the Atlantic during WWII when we faced a real danger the German U-boats could cut off the logistical lifeline to England.  That is if “we” strike back hard at them.  The we would likely be the US and Israel and some of the western allies whether they like it or not.  It will be very messy and will roil the international markets for some time.  But the Israelis can force our hand and what else can we do?  Complete surrender is out of the question politically at home.   What President could watch Israel be destroyed and survive?   We will have to take out all the military of Iran that can threaten either Israel or the Persian Gulf area.  That means at a minimum their air force and all navy forces.  Whether we are enthusiastic or not we will have to strike a follow-up blow decisively and forcefully and quickly or else a tragedy will become an Armageddon.

Take a look at the numbers and you will see that the debt crisis of the US will be the same as Greece before this decade is out.  Don’t believe me, check it for yourself, it is a mathematical fact.  They have a welfare and socialist state that provides well for everyone but the problem is there aren’t enough workers in the “real” economy there to support it, thus the debt.  Our government grows by the year, oh dear me.   www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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MacArthur Was Right About N. Korea, Then and Now

In June of 1950 the North Koreans launched their suprised attack on the South and overran Seoul in a matter of days and pushed back the fledgling South Korean Army and the few US troops on hand to the extreme southern areas of the Korean Penisula.  We finally got a few more troops on the ground and our troops rallied to hold them off and secure a small enclave.  We were pretty much on the ropes because we had few troops and few supplies.  We were outnumbered by overwhelming odds but managed to stem the onslaught.  The North Koreans had been a source of concern since the end of WWII when it fell under the domination of China and Russia.  The Soviets had declared war on Japan only days before the nuclear bombs hit Japan to grab territory and power and influence in the region.  The Communist Chinese had just expelled the last of the Chinese armis of Chiang Kai Chek onto the island of Taiwan.   The North Koreans embraced the communist agenda wholeheartedly and were bent on spreading their communist beliefs and system to the rest of the penisula and believed that the West would not put up strong resistance because we were thought to be still war weary from WWII.  It would be a cheap and quick win for the Communists in Korea and for their puppet masters in Bejing and Moscow. 

This was when General MacArthur made his surprise and rather daring move to counterattack at Inchon.  That was a coastal town not far from Seoul.  The terrain and coastal area was rugged and the tides were severe which made for a very dangerous and dicey landing.  But the landing was a succes and we were behind the enemy with a substantial force.  It was a very hard fought few days but then our troops in the south of the penisula joined the fray and began their push to the north.  The military operation was a success and we and our allies pushed the North Koreans out of the south and up to the Yalu river in the far north of Korea.  We were winning and big time.  There had been much speculation from the inception of the fighting about whether or not the Chinese communists or the Soviets in Moscow would enter the battle directly or indirectly.  This was especially true with the Chinese because they had a direct border connection to North Korea.  We had made our intentions clear that we would not invade China.  We wanted no part of trying to invade and subdue the Chinese.  We might have wished it could happen but that task was beyond our means at the time and certainly beyond the enthusiasm level of the American people for the war.  We were reluctant warriors in this conflict from the beginning.

It was about this time that the Chinese did enter the war in the winter of 1950 and attacked with hundreds of thousands of soldiers.  They had far more troops than we could ever put into the region.  This produced some the finest moments in the history of the US Marine Corp.  They had to retreat but held firm throughtout and fought the famous Resevoir battle.  The temperatures were beyond frigid and their uniforms weren’t suited for such extreme cold.  We were pushed back to the lower regions of North Korean before the lines stablized.  During the period MacArthur became rather vocal about how he thought the war should be fought.  He even speculated about the use of nuclear weapons to thwart the Chinese advance and also had advocated an advance into China to create a buffer area.  He was not proposing and occupation of China.  These positions were counter to the expressed aims of Truman.   This was the first war where we started using euphemisms rather than plain talk.  The Korean War was not referred to that way by the Truman administration.  It was a “police action” by the United Nations.    Funny, how it looked like a real war to the grunts on the ground and our prisoners captured by the North Koreans.  

It has always been our law and policy that the military has to be subordinate to civilian authority.  MacArthur had made known his disagreement with Truman publicly although he did continue to obey the orders and directives he was given from the Pentagon.  Truman went ballistic however because he believed MacArthur was flaunting his power as President.  The General was fired.  Shortly after his dismissal he gave that famous speech at West Point.  The one about old soldiers not dying but fading away and the call to duty and honor.  MacArthur believed that the Communists, be they Russian, Chinese or Korean, were evil and not to be trusted and that we did face a battle with them to the finish at some point.  Jong Il has not refuted the veracity of that belief.  Only today the news is filled with more accounts of their completing additional steps in the production of nuclear weapons.   The world knows about their recent missile tests and the dire threat they pose along with the rapidly approaching day when they are tipped with  nuclear arms.   The North Koreans are still a severe threat to the peace in that region and to the world because they do not hesitate to spread and sell their beliefs and weapons to enemies of the West at any opportunity. 

MacArthur was right 60 years ago and that view is correct today.  We should gird ourselves and do what is necessary to protect our people and our allies.  Our security is very much at risk with that rogue communist state flaunting its nose at the world and openly declaring its intention to bring harm and destruction to the West.  Avoiding a problem, pretending it doesn’t exist, doesn’t solve the problem.  No thoughtful person can dispute that North Korea is a problem at the moment of the first magnitude.

Now we have avowed Communists in positions of authority in the current administration, the green czar and the diversity czar.  How can that be?   www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Can Do It, Will Do It–Weapons and Economic Conflict

In the military there is the old principle about assuming for planning purposes that if there is something your enemy can do you best plan on them doing it.   If you rummaged around the bowels of the Pentagon you would find someplace where there were dozens are probably hundreds of books that were the War Plans worked up by Operations officers on staff there.  For years the military has always tried to anticipate where the next conflict might be and with whom.   They draw up detailed plans about how to respond to lots of different scenarios.  You assume that country X attacks country Y and that we have to defend Y.   They draw up the plans about which units will be deployed to the battle, how they will get there, what the logistical needs will be, the type of gear and equipment that will be required by the troops, which weapons will be the most useful and lots and lots of other details.  Often they test drive these plans with war games where different sides take to the “field” on the game board and the referree decides who handled the battle best.  When going through this exercise the planners do use the assumption that if the enemy can do something then you better plan for them doing it.  If there is a bridge that they can take because they have more troops in the area, you better assume when your forces arrive later they will have to fight for the bridge and that it will be destroyed if you defeat them on your side of the river.    So you will need an engineer battlion near by for a Baily Bridge or pontoon bridge to replace it.

That same principle and planning should apply today with regard to our dealings with Iran and N. Korea.  They clearly have nuclear capability and they have made direct threats to use them.  The really dangerous part is that they have missiles for the delivery system.  If they attack, either one, we had best plan on losses to the Navy.  The gatling gun defenses on those ships have never been tried in true combat situations and Murphey’s Law will come into play sure as the world.  You are reminded of the effectiveness of those Exocet missiles against the British Navy during the Falkland’s war.   If our political leaders will stay out of the way I trust the military to devise the best defense and response to any attack by these two.  The smart thing is to take out those weapons systems before they are operational.  Then they will not do what they cannot do.  

The same principle applies to the cyber attacks that have been launched against us.  So far those incursions into our systems have been weak and not concentrated or very sophisticated.   But you know darn well that somewhere there are hackers who are very sophisticated and and have access to the latest equipment and software and for money would be only to glad to destroy our economic infrastructure.   Our power grids  and water supplies could be subject to very severe harm that would cost us untold billions to repair not to mention the harm it would have on the population doing without power or water for a few weeks.   An attack on the Stock Exchange or the New York Federal Reserve is also a very scary thought.  What if for a period of several weeks no one could prove they owned stocks or the assets in their IRA’s or 401K’s?  If you couldn’t access your money then our economy would be ground to a halt.   If such an attack is made you better assume that you will not be able to use your credit card.  None of them will work or those that do will not be trusted by the merchants because the upstream system is so clogged.  Also imagine a world without PC’s or cell phones or Iphones for a couple of weeks.  I don’t know what preparations we are making to defend against these attacks but I sure hope someone much smarter than me is working on it very hard.   Whether I like it or not our world is dependent on the use of those computers for all our vital economic activities and indeed for the basics of life like water and power.   Those Islamist terrorists would love nothing better than to bring the West to its knees with such an attack.   Osama would do it in a heart beat.  Plan for it.

If Russia can cause us trouble with oil prices they will.  I don’t think they will militarily attack in the foreseeable future but they sure aren’t our pals.  I heard yesterday that the Russian were all on board with the reduction of carbon emissions and climate control efforts.  I literally almost fell out of my car when I heard that one.  The Russians don’t have an alturistic bone in their body.  The only difference between them and the French is that they don’t speak French.  They look out for themselves and no one else.  That has been their history for centuries now.   Do you believe the Russians give a tinker’s toot about the envoirnment?  Have you seen what they have done to the Aral Sea, the Caspian, and their other major waterways.  Oil is their best money source at the present time.  They want the world to need lots of oil and they want to sell it at the highest price they can get.   I don’t care what annoucement they make they will in fact not lift a finger to reduce the consumption of oil.  It is not in their best interests and only the insanely naive would believe they would sacrifice anything for polar bears or the poor Bangledeshis from rising sea waters.   I think some of that attitude goes back to their Communist heritage.  That ideology doesn’t acknowledge any Higher Power or higher purpose for man other than what it before them right now.  Food on the table and a roof over their heads and they are good to go.   What do I know.  But I will bet anyone that even though they might sign this or that envoirnmental accord that in fact they will not do anything to reduce emissions.  They love that money pouring in.  They will likewise do nothing to keep the price of oil low.  Higher prices equals  higher profits for them.  They don’t want to kill the golden goose but they sure will push it to its limits.

We are the Can Do people and we need to apply that gumption to the several tasks at hand we face these days.  We face some hard choices but so did our ancestors.  Nice words don’t make enemies into friends; nor rivals into partners in an particular enterprise.   www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Surviving Catastrophe–Plan B

I am not a survivalist.  I don’t have a bomb shelter in my back yard and don’t plan to construct one any time soon.  Although I do remember a few occasions during the Cold War when I thought it would have been nice if one was magically there.  Those under 40 or so really don’t have an appreciation of the tenseness of the Cold War from time to time.  Normally, it was nothing you thought about much and went about your daily affairs but then something would crop up like the Cuban missile crisis or the Czech revolt in ’68 or the building of the Berlin Wall right under our noses and those threats from the Communist took on a bite that got your attention.  Dr. Strangelove rang too close to reality and made us realize that we were only 30 minutes away from an Armageddon.   Like most folks though I went to bed at night worrying more about my bank balance than I did about a mushroom cloud.   I can even recall when we had those anti-missile rockets located near all our major cities during the sixties.  One battery of rockets was only about 50 miles from where we lived and you could see the facility from the highway.   It has long since gone.  They probably wouldn’t have worked very well anyway.  They were mostly designed to attack enemy aircraft more than missiles.   But it was nice to think that something was there to at least give it a try.

Everyone can remember 9/11 because that was only a few years ago.  Do you recall how devastating that was to our economy?  For about 5 days there were no planes in the sky.  That was pretty weird after so many years of looking at the sky and being able to see at least a few aircraft at any one time.  The stock market was shut down and the banks for a couple of days.  Folks were very nervous and scared.  After all it was hard to get those images out of your mind watching people jump out of windows in the Twin Towers to their death to avoid the flames.  I don’t think we have a serious worry about the Russians or the Chinese launching a nuclear attack.  But I do think with each passing year the odds of an Iran or N. Korea or an Al-Queda or Taliban type terrorist group could attack with nukes.  Sadly I don’t think that is hysteria but dealing with a likely reality.  We don’t seem to have the backbone to deal with the dissemination of those weapons on the front end so we will reap the pain on  the back end.   It would sure be possible for those enemies, and they are our enemies make no mistake about that, to mount a coordinated attack.   They will be capable in a  few years of launching missiles and then combining that with sea borne or truck borne weapons to strike some of our major cities and ports.   Imagine the destruction of “only” 10-12 such devices that were detonated on the east and west coasts and selected cities inland like Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Denver and Pittsburgh.   Our financial system would not collapse completely but would be quickly reduced to a shadow of itself.  Even if the casualties were “only” 1 percent of our population that would be a few million.  Travel would be restricted greatly and transportation of goods and services would be disrupted for a very long time.   Especially if they spaced out their attack and had another couple of devices following a month later.  The panic and upheaval would be dramatic.  It would be the Lord of the Flies.  It wouldn’t last forever but it sure would last longer than a few weeks.

You and your loved ones need your plan B in the event such an episode would ever occur.   It is not being paranoid or pessimistic but merely realisitc.   Those weapons are out there and in the hands of people who wish us nothing but death and destruction.  Not only that but they have said they will use them.  Forget about all those batteries.  A few would be great but they won’t last long enough.  You are better off with candles.  In the affected areas power and water could be out of service for months, not days.   Communications will be sporadic at best because of this.   It takes power to communicate.  Generators will need new fuel after only a few days and where will it come from?   You would do well to have a remote area for your family, a lake house or ranch or even a vacant lot somewhere.  You’ll need water don’t forget.  You will need access to a lake or river or creek.  A Boy Scout Field Manual would be worth its weight in gold as would the US Army Field Manual.   You’ll need guns for hunting game.  Bows would be even better if you have them.  You make your own plans but you folks younger than me should think about these things.  I am not recommending that it become an obsession but a bit of prudent planning in advance is only rational.  At a minimum have a plan were those you love will meet.  You won’t be able to call on your cell phone.   If somethning bad does happen at least they will know where to meet.  Hopefully, it will be like so many of the War Game Plans that the military does in anticipation of possible events that never occur.

Ben Franklin gave us so much.  Some of the most common words in the electrical jargon of today were coined by him–battery, charge, and conductors were all his words and we still use them to this day.  He was as great a scientist as he was a statesman which is often forgotten.  He was even a member of the Royal Society in London which was the Nobel prize of its day.  wwlw.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Eradicate Iran?–Then What?

The constant concern about the nuclear program and threats from Iran and the current turmoil on the streets there keep that country in the headlines and rightly so.   From all available  information Iran is on track to develop its own nuclear capacity for atomic weapons in a matter of a couple of years at most.  It is not only that they are developing that potential nuclear arsenal but their announced intentions about the possible use of that weapon that cause concern.  Virtually every nuclear power except for Iran and North Korea is very circumspect with regard to any comment about the possible use of such a weapon.  Indeed all those countries say that they have no intention to ever use such a weapon and that they exist only for defensive purposes to ensure the continued existence of their respective nations.   You never read of the US, Great Britain, France or Russia or the Ukraine making any threats remotely implying the use of any nuclear devices.  Even Pakistan and India when at loggerheads, which is often, don’t make threats of such a use againt each other.  The Chinese never issue public statements rattling the nuclear sword against anyone.  Ah, but the Iranis are in a class by themselves (well, maby North Korea shares a desk in that classroom with them).   The Iranian authorities and leaders regularly threaten the existence of Israel and others they perceive to be their allies or supporters with anniliation, nuclear or otherwise.   Are those threats enough to justify a pre-emptive strike against Iran by the US or Israel or any other nation?

Let’s start by looking at the map.  As the real estate salesmen would say everything is location, location, location.   Yes, Iran does have some oil production but it is not essential to the general welfare of the world.  They have operated their oil fields so incompetently for years now that the production is far below what it could be with improved technology and procedures.  Their current production of about 2 million barrels a day is significant but if it was terminated completely it would not adversely affect the world supply that greatly.  Heck, it might even be a good thing and make the US look  more closely at using the abundant natural gas reserves we have for vehicle fuel.  Iran is important because of where it is, not what it can produce.  It sits right below the Caspian Sea and stretches from there all the way to the Persian Gulf and in fact the entire eastern shore of that Gulf is Iranian territory, over 600 miles of coastline  is Iranian.  It straddles the land and coastal routes between the Asian lands, (India, Indonesia, etc.) and the near Mid East lands of Iraq, Israel, Turkey and Syria.   An irrational and hostile Iran can foment troubles out of proportion to its size or military power or economic power because it touches so many important areas or is close enough to influence those areas.   The fact that it is Shia also carries tremendous weight in the Muslim world that adheres to those doctrines.   It is the largest by far of those Shia lands.

The other major problem with Iran is the fact that it is a theocracy.  That is such a foreign concept to the Western world.  I like James Dobson and think he is a great guy with wonderful ideas but I would not want him to be in complete charge of the US.  By its very nature a theological agenda is not rational because it is based on faith and beliefs that go beyond the rational.   When objective reality clashes with religious beliefs the beliefs more often prevail in such a society.  Hence the suicide bombers.  Do we need more evidence than that?   The religious leaders of Iran and the secular leaders to the extent there is any such thing there all rattle the sword constantly and threaten war and destruction on those they believe to be infidels.  I think we should take people at their word.  The mistake the world made with Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin was not taking them at their word.  When they get the nuclear weapons they will use them.  We should accept that as a fact.  They say that is what they will do and we ignore their announced intentions at our own peril.   

It would the be the height of stupidity to simply sit by and watch your confirmed enemy build their weapons to destroy you.   They are not developing those weapons for defense but offense.  There is no rational basis that they can posit that nuclear weapons are needed to defend Iran from attack.  Who the hell is hell is going to attack them? 
They are on a jihad and religious mission and that doesn’t comport well with traditional diplomacy.   It would be wonderful if diplomacy could be used to deter their goals but alas that is the classic pipe dream.  Read all you want about the various proposals for dealing with them and show me just one strategy that has a chance of success.   We or the Israelis should destroy their nuclear capabilities now while there is time.  Once they have them everything will freeze up until the Iranis decide to deploy their weapon. It will be the classic sword of Damacles hanging over the head of the world.  At the same time we should take out their entire air force and naval forces.  We should not even attempt to invade the place.  They would be left with their sizable army to defend themselves against their neighbors.  There would be no regime change imposed by the West.  They could do as they like with their country except to develop those weapons that would destroy hundreds of thousands or millions.  I know many would say such a course of action will only create more Islamist terrorists because of the desire for revenge the Iranians would want.  Maybe so.  But is that alternative any worse than them using 2 or 3 nuclear weapons on selected targets in the Mid East or elsewhere?    The latter is what they say they will do and there is nothing to indicate they don’t mean exactly what they say.  Destroying the potential threat is the highest priority.   Such an action would casue trouble but so would the use of their weapons.  Some nations would get all mad but the bottom line is no one would come to their rescue and no nation would go to war over Iran if all we did was take the course of action outlined here.   Behind closed doors most of the world would breathe a sigh of relief.

The recent riots in the streets and election disputes don’t change anything even if that Mousavi fellow were to prevail.  Remember he was vetted and approved by the Aytollah or he would never have been on the ballot in the first place and he has made no denounciation of the nuclear program or the national goal of eliminationg Israel.  That would only change the horse but not the destination that Iran is pursuing. www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Reduced Nukes–Nirvana or Increased Danger?

Again the idea of a reduction in the number and quality of nuclear weapons has been pushed to the fore by the recent announcement of the new guy that he will negotiate anew with the Russians over a mutual reduction in nuclear weapons.  That sounds like a really good idea in principle and on paper.  I mean who wants to get blown apart  with a force like a blast of TNT or zapped to a crisp like overdone bacon in the microwave?   We do need to proceed quite carefully however.  You don’t want to end up being the guy that brings a knife to a gun fight.  

So many today don’t appreciate the sense of dread and fear that loomed over the world for decades during the Cold War.  The thought of a nuclear missile flashing out of the sky suddenly or a flight of high altitude bombers was quite real.  I even recall in the early ’60’s when we had a  most stunning display from a meteor that fell in our area.  The flash and brillance of the disintergrating “falling star” was spectacular.  I was a witness that evening but sheer chance along with thousands of others.  I remember distinctly that the immediate thought that went through my mind was that the  Soviets had made a launch and I was watching the last thing I would see on this earth.  Within seconds I realized what it was but the instantaneous reaction was of nuclear attack.  That was the atmosphere of the times.

The Soviets made  threats of nuclear attack often enough and tensions were escalated and then abated during every conflict around the world where the Soviets or their puppets were facing off against any friend or even perceived friend of the West.  The Soviets made a point of displaying their prowess every May Day parade.  The most publicized event was the Cuban missile crisis but there were many others over those decades that didn’t receive the same notice–more than once we went to a higher alert over conflicts in the middle east involving Israel for example.   How many movies were made and how many books written about this topic from 1950 to about 1990?  “On the Beach” by N. Shute was probably the most famous.  It was a great story but terrible on the science. 

Recall that when the first nuclear explosion was tested at White Sands that the scientists were dealing with a known/unknown.  They knew the explosion would occur if the engineering was correct.  They even had a pretty good estimate of its power but the exact dimensions of it were speculative.   We advanced our knowledge of the nukes tremendously over the following years.  Several of those later experiments were even televized live in the early ’50’s.   I remember as a teenager getting up very early in the morning to watch the explosions on TV with the breathless voice of a commentator giving the blow by blow.   Radioactivity is very dangerous.  It can kill silently.  Just ask Madame Curie.  But it does not last foever from a nuclear bomb.  So many of the early commentators and protesters used terrible science to justify their opposition to nukes that myths arose in the public mind about what nukes do in fact.   We were told that the land under a nuclear attack would be a “dead zone” for centuries because of the half-life of the nuclear material.  Well you can go to White Sands today and you won’t die a few weeks later.  Same is true with Hiroshima.   In fact the bombs are made “cleaner” than every before.  That doesn’t make them safe or a warm fuzzy.  A nuclear war would be a mass destruction on a scale we can’t even  imagine.  But the world would not die.  Even in the targeted countries most people would survive.   They might not like what they see out their window but they would survive.  Many of the modern nukes are specially designed to accomplish specific missions.  Such as those for creating EMP’s, electro-magnetic pulse, emissions that would destroy all modern devices that use electricity or the electro-magnetic spectrum to function–computers, cars, and almost every conceivable piece of equipment used for a modern society.  Only those devices with special protection would survive and even then the protections are mostly guess work; we don’t know how effective they would be.

If we are to be involved in a nuclear disarming program it must have 100% fail safe verification programs.  We should not do it at all if it is only us and Russia.  The risks to the US are too high.  The French must take a seat at the table and join the program.  The Brits we can trust and they have a modest nuclear program, if any such program can be decribed as modest.   The French have been as active as we have over the decades developing their nuclear capabilities and it is quite formidable.   They conducted the last of the above ground testing in the West, in the far reaches of the South Pacific.   The Israelis are going to be a problem also.  Understandably they believe the nukes are their last line of defense against the
Arabs and Muslims who threaten to eliminate them on a regular basis.  If there is to be meaningful disarmament then they have to at least agree to strict conditions about the use of those weapons and verification. 

With regard to Iran and N. Korea we should enter into agreements with the other nuclear powers that make it clear to them that they are both No. 1 on our target lists.  They are going to develop those nukes.  To assume otherwise is naive.  A balance of terror is the realpolitik strategy with them.   If they every activate their weapons they should know that they won’t be able to launch because they will be struck first.  Yes, that would result in the deaths of millions of people.  But their launch would also result in the death of millions.  Sometimes you have to make hard choices in this world.  I would rather it be them than others around the world.  That action would produce very difficult and unpleasant consequences but so would a successful launch by either of those two.  I would rather deal with the results of our eliminating their weapons than their strikes on California, Israel, Japan or even Eastern Europe.  I think our allies would agree.  You can rest assured the French would.  There is no country on earth more attuned to the concept of realpolitik than the French.  That has been true at least since the days of Tallyrand if not earlier.

Let’s all hope for the safety of our progeny that we move carefully in any nuclear stand down agreement.  It can’t be unilateral or even bi-lateral with Russia.   Those other major powers have to be involved for it to truly promote a safer world.

The latest is that Government, Inc. is going to convert some of its debt into stock in GM.  Not surprising and means of course that the US will be not just the de facto owner of GM but de jure.  It also means that Ford will have to compete with Government, Inc. who will subsidize any losses to protect union jobs for how long?   As long as there are politicians seeking union votes.

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