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Anyone Who’d Support Going To War Over Taiwan Is A Crazy Idiot

Anyone Who’d Support Going To War Over Taiwan Is A Crazy Idiot

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Taiwan has been in the news a lot lately, and it’s really bringing out the crazy in people.

The mass media have been falsely reporting that China has been encroaching on Taiwan’s “air defense zone”, which gets stretched into the even more ludicrous claim that China “sent warplanes flying over Taiwan”. In reality Chinese planes simply entered an arbitrarily designated area hundreds of miles from Taiwan’s coast it calls its “Air Defence Identification Zone”, which has no legally recognized existence and contains a significant portion of China’s mainland. This is likely a response to the way the US and its allies have been constantly sailing war ships into disputed waters to threaten Beijing.

As Moon of Alabama reports, US warmongers inflamed this non-controversy even further by feeding a story to the press about the already public information that there are American troops in Taiwan training the military there, citing “concern” about the danger posed by China.

 

Now headlines are blaring about President Tsai Ing-wen responding to this non-event with the announcement that Taiwan will “do whatever it takes to defend its freedom and democratic way of life.” Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott just visited Taipei to advocate that “democracies stand shoulder to shoulder” with Taiwan against China. The CIA has announced the creation of a new spy center that will focus solely on China, which CIA Director William Burns says will “further strengthen our collective work on the most important geopolitical threat we face in the 21st century: an increasingly adversarial Chinese government”.

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Talkin’ About Armageddon: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Talkin’ About Armageddon: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

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The fact that our world is hurtling toward man-made obliteration on multiple fronts should probably occupy more of our conversational bandwidth than it does.

My basic overall position is that humanity is about to end itself via climate chaos or nuclear war due to global capitalism and oligarchic imperialism, that propaganda prevents people from rising up to stop this, and our only path out is a mass-scale psychological transformation.

If you’ve ever been curious why I don’t write more about this or that subject, it’s usually because the above is my area of focus. Everything I write points to this in some way. That’s what I do here.

There are a lot of narratives circulating about what’s really happening between the US and China and whether the aggressions are actually as dangerous as they seem, and all of these narratives are rendered moot by the undeniable buildup of US military weaponry around China.

If you’re more concerned about China’s domestic affairs than your own country’s aggressive foreign policy toward China it’s because you’ve been propagandized. Change your media consumption habits accordingly.

Not even the craziest imperialists want a hot war with China. They’d much rather China to bow and be absorbed into the US-centralized empire as so many other nations before, or to collapse and fragment after a decades-long subversion campaign à la the USSR. In that order.

The empire will happily make life miserable for Chinese people in coming decades to pressure Beijing into accepting that it’s in the people’s interests that the PRC kiss the ring. The problem of course is that China will be resisting these maneuvers in ways that can easily blow up in catastrophic ways…

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Spending More on Nukes: STRATCOM’s Nuclear Death Wish

Spending More on Nukes: STRATCOM’s Nuclear Death Wish

Photograph Source: Sgt Samuel Rogers (USAF/Barksdale Air Force Base) – CC BY 2.0

Being sufficiently able at your job is a good thing.  But beware the trappings of zeal.  When it comes to the business of retaining an inventory for humanity’s annihilation, the zealous should be kept away.  But there Admiral Charles Richard was in April this year, with his siren calls, urging the US Senate to consider a simple proposition.  “Sustainment of modernization of our modern nuclear forces … has transitioned from something we should do, to something we must do.”  As Commander of the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM), he was aching to impress the Senate Committee on Armed Services that the nuclear deterrent was there to be polished and improved.

Much of his address as part of the Posture Statement Review should be treated as the conventional lunacy that comes with that cretin-crusted field known as nuclear deterrence.  “Peace is our profession” remains the somewhat obscene motto of STRATCOM, and it is a peace kept by promising the potential extinction of the human species.

For the Admiral, strategic deterrence is the holy of holies.  If it fails, “we are prepared to deliver a decisive response, decisive in every possible way.”  This decisiveness will be achieved “with a modern resilient, equipped, and trained combatant-ready force.”  To avoid the failure of such deterrence also required revisiting “a critical forgotten lesson that deterrence operates continuously from peacetime, through the gray zone, worldwide, across all domains, and into conflict” [Richard’s emphasis].

The fate of the US (Richard humourlessly calls it safety and security) is indelibly linked to an “effective nuclear triad; a reliable and modern nuclear command, control and communications (NC3) architecture; and a responsive nuclear weapons infrastructure.”

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Phrasing the Question Right is the First Step to Find an Answer. How to Prevent Nuclear War

Phrasing the Question Right is the First Step to Find an Answer. How to Prevent Nuclear War

Professor Bernard Lown died this February at 99. A great man by all means: Physician, cardiologist, professor at Harvard University, and a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He was the inventor of the defribrillator, the proposer of many successful ways to help people suffering from heart failure. He was also the recipient of the Nobel prize for peace for his activity against nuclear war.

 
It was in the 1980s when I attended a seminar in Berkeley given by a member of the group called “International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.” Some decades later, I am not sure the talk was given by the founder of the group, Dr. Bernard Lown, but it may have been him. In any case, I was impressed by the clarity of the talk. The speaker said it very simply: “it is not a question of being left or right: nuclear war is the greatest medical emergency I can imagine.” 
 
It is the way you frame a problem that gives you the tools to solve it! Just like “The Seneca Effect” gives a name to a typical behavior of complex systems, that of collapsing, framing the nuclear confrontation as a medical emergency and not as a political struggle brought it to the realm of concrete problems that people could understand. We might also frame nuclear war as an especially nasty kind of Seneca Cliff affecting humankind and the whole planet.
 
Probably because the problem was framed right, the Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War had a remarkable success…

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“The Coming War On China”  –  Watch John Pilger’s Powerfully Relevant Documentary

“The Coming War On China”  –  Watch John Pilger’s Powerfully Relevant Documentary

“The aim of this film is to break a silence: the United States and China may well be on the road to war, and nuclear war is no longer unthinkable,” Pilger says in his 2016 documentary The Coming War on China, which you can watch free on Youtube here or on Vimeo here.

“In a few years China has become the world’s second-biggest economic power,” Pilger’s introduction continues. “The United States is the world’s biggest military power, with bases and missiles and ships covering every continent and every ocean. China is a threat to this dominance, says Washington. But who is the threat? This film is about shifting power, and great danger.”

As we’ve been discussing for years now, the relentless quest of the US-centralized empire-like power alliance for total world domination has put it on a collision course with the surging economic powerhouse of China which refuses to be absorbed into the imperial blob. The empire’s continued existence depends upon its ability to undermine China before it grows too powerful or the empire grows too weak to stop its ascent, at which point global hegemony becomes impossible and we are living in a truly multipolar world.

China has therefore always been the final boss fight in the global campaign of violence and domination by what Pilger calls the “empire which never speaks its name”. And the ramping up of anti-China narrative management by the US government indicates that we are being psychologically primed to accept this world-threatening confrontation, just as Pilger warned in 2016.

“The danger of confrontation grows by the day,” Pilger says.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Pakistan Threatened India With Nuclear War and No One Noticed

Pakistan Threatened India With Nuclear War and No One Noticed

A nuclear-armed state threatened another nuclear armed-state with nuclear war and no one’s talking about it. 

Pakistan India Nuclear War

(TMU Op-Ed) — In a recent interview with Al-Jazeera, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan made some controversial statements regarding the use of nuclear weapons against India.

First, Khan started off by saying he was anti-war—a “pacifist.” He then developed his stance, stating that “when two nuclear-armed countries fight, if they fight a conventional war, there is every possibility that it is going to end up into nuclear war.” However, this scenario, as Khan described, is “the unthinkable.”

Khan went on to say:

“If say Pakistan, God forbid, we are fighting a conventional war, we are losing, and if a country is stuck between the choice; either you surrender or you fight ‘til death for your freedom, I know Pakistanis will fight to death for their freedom.

So when a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, to the death, it has consequences.”

Granted, Khan spoke to RT not long after in an attempt to provide a disclaimer to these eye-opening statements. But for all intents and purposes, the nuclear elephant in the room is no longer hiding.

Throughout the last week, the top global news story was the recent drone attack on a major Saudi Aramco facility, which was unanimously pinned on Iran. The whole world appears to be bracing for a regional confrontation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Iran, and what would inevitably be another disastrous war in which the U.S. finds itself intervening heavily on the side of Riyadh, if it doesn’t take the lead and strike Iran directly itself.

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Putin, Lavrov and Xi Call for an End to MAD. Lord Russell’s Spectre Frowns

Putin, Lavrov and Xi Call for an End to MAD. Lord Russell’s Spectre Frowns 

The spectre of nuclear war has long hung over the world like a nightmarish sword of Damocles offering humanity much cause for despair at the dual nature of science as a beautiful source of creative power that uplifts and ennobles on the one hand and acts as a harbinger of death and chaos on the other.

However, it would be wrong to blame science for the crisis which mankind unlocked with the atom, when the reality is that we have never freed ourselves from the pest of oligarchical systems of rule. Going back to records of the Roman, Persian and Babylon empires, such systems have always sought to manipulate the masses into patterns of behaviour of self-policing and constant conflict.

Whether we are talking about the Crusades, European religious wars, Napoleonic wars, Crimean War, Opium Wars, or WWI and WWII, it has always been the same recipe: Get victims to define their interests around material constraints, diminishing resources, or religious/ethnic/linguistic biases that prevent each person from recognizing their common interests with their neighbor and then get them to fight. Classic divide and conquer.

By the close of WWII, that ancient recipe for managed chaos no longer functioned as a new ingredient was introduced into the geopolitical “great game”. This atomic ingredient was so powerful that those “game masters” managing the affairs of the earth from above like detached Olympian gods, understood that they could now be annihilated as fast as their victims and a new set of rules had to be created post haste.

Lord Russell’s Nuclear Gamble

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The Most Dangerous Place on Earth

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth

A nuclear Armageddon in the making in South Asia

Undoubtedly, for nearly two decades the most dangerous place on Earth has been the Indian-Pakistani border in Kashmir. It’s possible that a small spark from artillery and rocket exchanges across that border might — given the known military doctrines of the two nuclear-armed neighbors — lead inexorably to an all-out nuclear conflagration. In that case the result would be catastrophic. Besides causing the deaths of millions of Indians and Pakistanis, such a war might bring on “nuclear winter” on a planetary scale, leading to levels of suffering and death that would be beyond our comprehension.

Alarmingly, the nuclear competition between India and Pakistan has now entered a spine-chilling phase. That danger stems from Islamabad’s decision to deploy low-yield tactical nuclear arms at its forward operating military bases along its entire frontier with India to deter possible aggression by tank-led invading forces. Most ominously, the decision to fire such a nuclear-armed missile with a range of 35 to 60 miles is to rest with local commanders. This is a perilous departure from the universal practice of investing such authority in the highest official of the nation. Such a situation has no parallel in the Washington-Moscow nuclear arms race of the Cold War era.

wib mushroom small

When it comes to Pakistan’s strategic nuclear weapons, their parts are stored in different locations to be assembled only upon an order from the country’s leader. By contrast, tactical nukes are pre-assembled at a nuclear facility and shipped to a forward base for instant use. In addition to the perils inherent in this policy, such weapons would be vulnerable to misuse by a rogue base commander or theft by one of the many militant groups in the country.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

UN Arms Chief Says Nuclear War is Closer Than Ever Since WW2

UN ARMS CHIEF SAYS NUCLEAR WAR IS CLOSER THAN EVER SINCE WW2

A United Nations arms official has declared nuclear war to be closer than it has ever been since World War II. The geopolitical climate is so divisive and disturbing right now, that globalists are actually telling us a nuclear war could be coming.

The head of the United Nations’ Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) Director Renata Dwan said in an interview that the use of nuclear weapons is more likely today than any time since the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in 1945, adding that the use of such weapons today carried a greater risk than ever, according to Reuters. 

“I think that it’s genuinely a call to recognize — and this has been somewhat missing in the media coverage of the issues — that the risks of nuclear war are particularly high now, and the risks of the use of nuclear weapons, for some of the factors I pointed out, are higher now than at any time since World War II,” she told the news service, speaking about a call from 122 nations to ban such weapons entirely. Dawn says that the UN should be doing more to ban nuclear weapons. “How we think about that, and how we act on that risk and the management of that risk, seems to me a pretty significant and urgent question that isn’t reflected fully in the (U.N.) Security Council,” she told Reuters according to The Hill.

Of course, a ban only works if countries are going to obey. Should nations defy a UN nuclear weapons ban, there is literally nothing the UN can do about it. There are far too many nukes out there for the UN’s words to matter.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Tomgram: Dilip Hiro, India, Pakistan, and a Planet in Peril

Tomgram: Dilip Hiro, India, Pakistan, and a Planet in Peril

There are a few genuinely upbeat news stories when it comes to this planet and people trying to figure out how to save us from ourselves and our fossil-fuel addiction.  This at a moment of record global surface temperatures and record ocean heating when, despite the Paris climate accord of 2015, carbon dioxide from those fossil fuels is once again entering the atmosphere in record amounts.  Take little Costa Rica, where Claudia Dobles, an urban planner who just happens to be the wife of the country’s president, has launched a model national decarbonization plan aimed at fully weaning that country off even the slightest reliance on fossil fuels by 2050.  Or consider Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital, whose mayor, Frank Jensen, is working to make it “carbon neutral” by 2022.  Or think about the scientists now exploring far more controversial and futuristic geo-engineering schemes to try to deal with a world that could, in the decades to come, run amuck in global-warming terms — including the possibility of spraying planet-cooling aerosols like sulfur dioxide (in imitation of the gases emitted by volcanoes) into the atmosphere to reverse the effects of global warming.

Of course, while all of the above are hopeful, none of them offer full-scale solutions to a crisis that threatens to quite literally sink not just cities, but potentially civilization itself.  As it happens, there is an obvious solution to the climate-change crisis staring us all in the face, one that TomDispatch regular Dilip Hiro (author of a particularly timely new book, Cold War in the Islamic World: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Struggle for Supremacy), brings up today.  Forget Costa Rica, Copenhagen, aerosols, even that climate accord.  Forget Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal.  Forget it all. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Billions Dead: 5 Times Russia and America Nearly Started a Nuclear War

Billions Dead: 5 Times Russia and America Nearly Started a Nuclear War

Some history that should never be forgotten.

Each crisis was eventually resolved in favor of peace, but in every case both sides relied on gambles, and survived as much by luck as by strategy.

An international “crisis” is the anxious space between peace and war. It is defined by three things: time, threat, and the likelihood of violence. The shorter the time, the greater the sense of threat to important interests, and the greater the chance of physical harm, the more intense the crisis. By definition, it cannot go on indefinitely: like the analogous medical term, it’s the point at which things must get better or worse. The July crisis of 1914 lasted only weeks, for example, but plunged the Great Powers into their first global war.

During the Cold War, “crisis” had a special connotation, because each moment of political conflict raised the possibility of nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Every confrontation carried the potential not only for war, but for the extermination of human civilization. While we look back on these periods now as something like curios in a museum, they were moments of existential fear for both American and Soviet leaders.

At least those days are over. Or maybe not: at this moment, Russian forces under the command of President Vladimir Putin are poised on the border of Ukraine. If they begin to move west, time, threat, and interest will collide once again. Europe, and the world, will be plunged into a real crisis, the likes of which we have not seen since the Cold War. Before the next crisis begins, it might worth reviewing the five worst crises of the Cold War before we find ourselves once more playing for time in the face of war.

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Nuclear Powers Need to Disarm Before It’s Too Late

Nuclear Powers Need to Disarm Before It’s Too Late

Photograph Source United States Department of Energy

The recent military clash between India and Pakistan underscores the need for the major nuclear powers — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, and France — finally to move toward fulfilling their obligations under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The Treaty’s purpose was not simply to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, but to serve as a temporary measure until Article VI could take effect: the “cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

The 191 countries that signed the NPT — the most widely subscribed nuclear treaty on the planet — did so with the understanding that the major powers would de-nuclearize. But in the 50 years since the Treaty was negotiated, the nuclear powers have yet to seriously address eliminating weapons of mass destruction.

While over the years the Americans and the Russians have reduced the number of warheads in their arsenals, they — along with China — are currently in the midst of a major modernization of their weapon systems. Instead of a world without nuclear weapons, it is a world of nuclear apartheid, with the great powers making no move to downsize their conventional forces.

For non-nuclear armed countries, this is the worst of all worlds.

There Are No “Local” Nuclear Wars

The folly of this approach was all too clear in the recent India and Pakistan dustup. While both sides appear to be keeping the crisis under control, for the first time in a very long time, two nuclear powers that border one another exchanged air and artillery attacks.

While so far things have not gotten out of hand, both countries recently introduced military policies that make the possibility of a serious escalation very real.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Modest Proposal: Don’t Start a Nuclear War

A Modest Proposal: Don’t Start a Nuclear War

In a matter of minutes, as easily as sending a tweet, a sitting U.S. president could decide to launch a nuclear attack, without anyone else’s approval or authorization. In a matter of minutes, millions of lives would be lost, and millions of futures halted permanently.

At my organization, Physicians for Social Responsibility, we believe that we must prevent what we can’t cure. And there’s no cure for a nuclear war.

No nation on earth, including the United States, would have an adequate emergency response in the event of a nuclear exchange. Most Americans don’t want us to ever engage in a nuclear war, and the vast majority of us certainly don’t want the United States to be the ones to start a nuclear war.

The United States, like every other nation, has a vested interest in avoiding a nuclear conflict.

Yet unlike other countries, we currently have no policy against starting a nuclear war — or what experts call a “No First Use” policy.

This opens the door to a possible preemptive nuclear strike. That weakens our national security, and it puts all our health and safety at risk — for a nuclear war no one (except maybe President Donald Trump and John Bolton) wants.

Luckily, some people in Congress are looking to change the reckless status quo. This year, Rep. Adam Smith and Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduced legislation that would establish a “No First Use” policy for nuclear weapons in the United States.

“Our current nuclear strategy is not just outdated — it is dangerous,” said Smith and Warren. “By making clear that deterrence is the sole purpose of our arsenal, this bill would reduce the chances of a nuclear miscalculation and help us maintain our moral and diplomatic leadership in the world.”

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How Many Minutes to Midnight?

How Many Minutes to Midnight?

Consider it a marriage made in hell. Start with the groom, Donald Trump, the man who once wondered why in the world we make nuclear weapons if we can’t use them; who wouldn’t rule out using nukes, even in Europe; who insisted that a president should be “unpredictable” on the subject; who suggested that it might not be “a bad thing for us” if Saudi Arabia, Japan, and South Korea all became nuclear powers; who threatened North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen” before he became a chummy correspondent with its dictator; and who called for a nearly 10-fold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal (among many other, often contradictory, comments he’s made on nuclear matters).

Now, think about the bride, National Security Advisor John Bolton, a “statesman” who never saw a nuclear agreement he didn’t want to nuke. Those included President Richard Nixon’s Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, President Bill Clinton’s Agreed Framework with North Korea, President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal (all of which he helped to deep-six), and most recently President Ronald Reagan’s Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, Treaty (a pact that had actually resulted in thousands of ready-to-use nuclear weapons being scrapped). With the help of his neocon bro, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Bolton recently succeeded in sticking a knife directly in the back of that treaty. He’s undoubtedly now eying the New START treaty, which put limits on long-range nukes and is up for renewal in 2021. (The president has already called it “one of several bad deals negotiated by the Obama administration.”)

As TomDispatch regular and former Boston Globe columnist James Carroll points out today, the first new member of Trump’s and Bolton’s nuclear family, a “low-yield” nuke, was only recently born and given the less-than-apocalyptic name, W76-2.

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What are the chances of a war that would exterminate most of humankind? It could be more likely than you may think

What are the chances of a war that would exterminate most of humankind? It could be more likely than you may think

Recently, together with my coworkers I have been engaged in a statistical analysis of war over the past 600 years. The results were sobering: war, it seems, is a statistical phenomenon similar to earthquakes and forest fires. It strikes according to well defined statistical patterns and there is very little that can be done about it. Aaron Clauset is another scientist who has been working on the same subject and, in a sobering analysis of his, he calculates the probablities of future wars. According to his calculations, a war as large as the Second World War has more than 40% chances to occur within 100 years from now. Then, a war causing more than billion battle deaths, that is exterminating most of humankind, has a probability of 5% to occur in less than 4 centuries from now. That doesn’t mean we can relax for 4 centuries, not at all. It means we can expect it at any moment in the future.

From Aaron Clauset, 2018. (highlighting mine)

…. a stationary model may be used to estimate the likelihood of a very large war occurring over 100 years, one like the Second World War, which produced x* = 16,634,907 battle deaths. Using the ensemble of semiparametric models for the sizes of wars and assuming a new war onset every 1.91 years on average (43), the probability of observing at least one war with x* or more deaths is p* = 0.43 ± 0.01 (Monte Carlo), and the expected number of these events over the next 100 years is 0.62 ± 0.01. Hence, under stationarity, the likelihood of a very large war over the next 100 years is not particularly small.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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