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60 Minutes: Risk of nuclear attack rises – CBS News

What are the chances the next president would have to make a decision on whether to use nuclear weapons? It’s greater than you might think

… For generations nuclear weapons have been seen as a last resort to be used only in extreme circumstances. But in this new Cold War the use of a nuclear weapon is not as unlikely to occur as you might think.

Phillip Breedlove: They see nuclear weapons as a normal extension of a conventional conflict.

David Martin: So to them nuclear war is not unthinkable?

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Phillip Breedlove: I think to them the use of nuclear weapons is not unthinkable.

Cecil Haney: It concerns me that Russia has a lot of nuclear weapons. It concerns me that Russia has behaved badly on the international stage. And it concerns me that we have leadership in Russia, at various levels that would flagrantly talk about the use of a nuclear weapon in this 21st century.

Risk of nuclear attack rises – CBS News

Crisis & Chaos: Are We Moving Toward World War III?

“The last time I saw a pattern like this was World War II.”

“The pattern is enormously ominous.”

“There is a global region that is destabilizing in a way not seen for over 70 years.”

More than 70% of the world’s population lives in an area that is destabilizing in a way not seen since the years leading up to World War II. This “cradle of disorder” stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with crises plaguing Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and Asia.

It began with the financial crisis of 2008. Economic malaise threatened political cohesion and social stability across the Eurasian landmass, fueling worrisome developments such as rising nationalism in Europe, an increasingly belligerent Russia, and Saudi Arabia’s lost ability to manage jihadist threats. Now these—and many other—regional crises are beginning to merge and interact.

Today, Geopolitical Futures founder and renowned intelligence expert George Friedman discusses the ominous pattern of events that is calling up the ghosts of wars past… and reveals what is waiting for all of us in the troubling times ahead.

– Crisis & Chaos: Are We Moving Toward World War III?

We were warned in 2008: Entering the Age of Great Upheaval –

Will there be World War III?

George says that right now there are regional conflicts. These will intensify. He does not see a way to turn things around.

There is a forest fire with no way to put it out. What do you think that implies? World War III!

Is the summer of 2016 the calm before the storm? | Victor Davis Hanson

Obama apparently assumes he can leave office as a peacemaker before his appeased chickens come home to roost in violent fashion. He has assured us that the world has never been calmer and quieter.

Others said the same thing in the last calm summer weeks of 1914 and 1939.

War clouds are gathering. A hard rain is soon going to fall.

Aggressors are also encouraged by vast cutbacks in the U.S. defense budget.

It would be a mistake to assume war is impossible because it benefits no one, or is outdated in our sophisticated 21st century, or would be insane in a world of nuclear weapons.

Is the summer of 2016 the calm before the storm? | Albuquerque Journal

A Russian-Iranian Axis – The New York Times

THE partial cease-fire in Syria’s civil war is welcome news. But it must not be allowed to obscure a dangerous new development — the emergence from the war of a Russian-Iranian military axis that could upset hopes for stability in the Middle East, and for containing Russia’s global ambitions, into the future.

The extent of Russian-Iranian cooperation was signaled last month, when Russia used an Iranian air base to bomb targets in Syria. American officials dismissed the event as unsurprising and tactical, and some Iranian officials said Russia’s access was for a “one-time antiterrorism operation.” But a spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry attached the words “for now” to his announcement that the access “is finished,” clearly leaving room for repetition.

A Russian-Iranian Axis – The New York Times

Analysis: Is an Israeli-Syrian military conflict on the horizon? – Jerusalem Post

However, one thing is already clear: The firing of two S-200 surface-to-air missiles was not a coincidence. The Syrian Army released an official statement on the incident.

This is the first known instance of Assad’s army retaliating to Israeli military activity in Syrian territory since the country’s civil war began some five-and-a-half years ago.

The IDF is expected to respond, likely with increasing levels of force. If Assad’s army decides to retaliate like it did last night, the chances for an escalation of tensions and descent into violence on what has until now been a relatively quiet Golan Heights border also increase, despite the fact that most of the sides involved – Israel, the Assad regime, Russia, and some of the rebel groups – have no interest in heating up the border and sparking a military conflict.

Analysis: Is an Israeli-Syrian military conflict on the horizon? – Jerusalem Post

A Crystallizing Russo-Chinese Alliance | The Jamestown Foundation

Taken as a whole, the latest developments strongly signify that Moscow is moving ever closer to a veritable alliance with Beijing regarding regional issues of Asian security. Russia explicitly called for such an alliance in 2014, when Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his deputy, Anatoly Antonov, openly suggested a joint Russian-Chinese effort against terrorism and “color revolutions” (Interfax, November 18, 2014). More recently, an increasingly vocal constituency in China itself has also been promoting such an alliance—particularly as Chinese foreign policy becomes both more expansive and global in its perspectives (FT, September 1). Moreover, just before the G20 Hangzhou Summit, President Putin expanded on previous qualification of Russo-Chinese bilateral ties by conspicuously referring to them as “a comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation” (, September 1).

Russian observers, too, are alert to these possibilities. Last month, Vasily Kashin, a senior research fellow at the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of the Far East, wrote that Moscow and Beijing may both avoid the term “alliance,” but he argued that the relationship is already something far greater than “neighborliness” or even “strategic partnership” (Vedomosti, August 18). The fact that Putin has openly adopted China’s positions on the South China Sea and North Korea while piling on the difficulties for a Russo-Japanese rapprochement seems to strongly support Kashin’s analysis. Moscow and others may call Russia’s policy moves a “pivot to Asia.” But in truth, these moves represent something much more specific—a “pivot to China.” And in this alliance, China will be the rider and Russia the horse.

A Crystallizing Russo-Chinese Alliance | The Jamestown Foundation

Washington does not appear to recognize the Russo-Chinese alliance. It’s certainly making no effort to adjust its nuclear forces in recognition of this alliance.

North Korea Will Have the Skills to Make a Nuclear Warhead by 2020, Experts Say – The New York Times

Remember the following: North Korea and Iran share nuclear and missile technology. It is likely that Iran will possess that same knowledge as North Korea concerning miniaturized nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them.

Military experts say that by 2020, Pyongyang will most likely have the skills to make a reliable intercontinental ballistic missile topped by a nuclear warhead. They also expect that by then North Korea may have accumulated enough nuclear material to build up to 100 warheads.

Siegfried S. Hecker, a Stanford professor who has traveled to North Korea and who formerly directed the Los Alamos weapons lab in New Mexico, the birthplace of the atomic bomb, said North Korea’s progress in missile and nuclear development signals that it has gone from seeing unconventional weapons as bargaining chips to “deciding they need a nuclear weapons fighting force.”

The Pentagon warned Congress in a report earlier this year that one of Pyongyang’s latest missiles, if perfected, “would be capable of reaching much of the continental United States.”

“That means that, rather than simply hitting the West Coast, an operational North Korean ICBM could probably reach targets throughout the United States, including Washington, D.C.,” he wrote in a blog.

North Korea Will Have the Skills to Make a Nuclear Warhead by 2020, Experts Say – The New York Times

“The textbook definition of unstable”: why North Korea’s newest nuclear test is scary – Vox

My guess is that these tests are larger than we think, because they bury them under a lot of rock and that messes up the signal. This is at least 10 kilotons, and I think it is probably 20 kilotons. There is no question that this thing succeeded.

ZB: So what does this increased size tell us?

JL: It’s a compact device that fits on a nuclear warhead. I assume they use both plutonium and highly enriched uranium. But that’s a guess based on what the North Koreans have said.

The North Koreans said, “This is the bomb that is going to go on the missile force.” The language they used is identical, or really similar, to the language they used when Kim Jong Un posed with a mock-up of a bomb. So my guess is that they are the same object: that the mock-up was a bomb that’s going to go on their missile force.

If you look at what everyone else was able to do by their fifth test, no one was unable to make a nuclear weapon that would fit on a missile.

We shouldn’t assume that countries will struggle to make a bomb that will fit on missiles. And five tests in, with pretty solid yields, I think there’s no reason to doubt them. We should be careful not to hold them to a radically different standard than we’ve held every other country.

“The textbook definition of unstable”: why North Korea’s newest nuclear test is scary – Vox

Iran’s Partnership With North Korea On Nukes And Missiles May Scuttle Any Deal – Forbes [Feb. 20, 2015]

While negotiators haggle over the number of centrifuges Iran should keep in its inventory, North Korean engineers, technicians and laborers remain in Iran assisting in constructing and operating the facilities that are the point of all the debate. South Korean intelligence sources estimate hundreds of North Koreans are in Iran as part of an exchange of nuclear know-how as well as missiles made in North Korea.

Still, North Korea and Iran are believed to be exchanging critical stuff – North Korean experts and workers remaining in place while Iran sends observers to check out intermittent North Korean missile launches and see what North Korea is doing about staging a fourth underground nuclear explosion.

Iran’s Partnership With North Korea On Nukes And Missiles May Scuttle Any Deal – Forbes

China’s Non-Peaceful Rise Already In Play?

The People’s Republic of China is headed on a tragic trajectory that should be familiar to anyone with even cursory exposure to history. Due to a complex composition of factors – a century of torment at the hands of western powers and Japan as well as a toxic brew of nationalism – the PRC is not content with its place as the world’s second largest economy, or even largest when using purchasing-parity power, or PPP, as the benchmark. Nor is China happy with its standing as the planet’s second largest military armed with advanced weapons like “carrier-killer” missiles, a budding hypersonic weapons program and other top-tier offensive platforms. Beijing doesn’t even seem to regard its undertaking of major initiatives like the “One Belt, One Road” project and the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank as signs of its rise to global superpower stature.

No, Beijing wants more, and could soon seek to transform the status-quo in Asia, especially in the South China Sea, in its favor. Indeed, recent reports suggest that Beijing’s surge for hegemony might be around the corner, as its leaders take advantage of a window of opportunity during the final weeks of the US presidential election as America’s gaze turns inward.

“Beijing’s best window to take advantage of certain trend lines and cement its claims in the South China Sea is right after the G20. American newspapers won’t give front-page status to a China story during the heart of the election, well, unless they start shooting, and they won’t be that stupid. For Beijing, the timing is perfect.”

China’s Non-Peaceful Rise Already In Play?

Get the Full PDF File: The World Before World War II Re-Emerges

The Eurasian landmass is in crisis. The last time the world looked like this was on the eve of World War II. Crises simmering in Europe, Russia, the Middle East and China are beginning to interact with each other. There is nothing to stop the momentum of these crises. The global order is poised for a major reconfiguration. That will not necessarily mean a new world war, but the possibility of war cannot be dismissed.

  • The instability that preceded World War II was similar to the conditions that prevail in Eurasia today.
  • Russia, China, the Middle East and Europe all face varying degrees of political, economic, social and institutional crisis. These crises are beginning to interact.
  • The United States was an emerging power on the eve of World War II; it is the global hegemon today. Then, as now, it will avoid direct intervention until the last possible moment.
  • There appears to be nothing that can or will halt the momentum of these crises.

The World Before World War II Re-Emerges

The Kremlin Really Believes That Hillary Wants to Start a War With Russia | Foreign Policy

Let’s not mince words: Moscow perceives the former secretary of state as an existential threat. The Russian foreign-policy experts I consulted did not harbor even grudging respect for Clinton. The most damaging chapter of her tenure was the NATO intervention in Libya, which Russia could have prevented with its veto in the U.N. Security Council. Moscow allowed the mission to go forward only because Clinton had promised that a no-fly zone would not be used as cover for regime change.

Russia’s leaders were understandably furious when, not only was former Libyan President Muammar al-Qaddafi ousted, but a cellphone recording of his last moments showed U.S.-backed rebels sodomizing him with a bayonet. They were even more enraged by Clinton’s videotaped response to the same news: “We came, we saw, he died,” the secretary of state quipped before bursting into laughter, cementing her reputation in Moscow as a duplicitous warmonger.

The Kremlin Really Believes That Hillary Wants to Start a War With Russia | Foreign Policy