Israel fears that the area – largely quiet for almost 40 years despite the continued formal state of war between the two countries – is becoming a “hot border”. The Syrian Golan is now mostly in the hands of opposition forces, with large numbers of regime troops being redeployed to other battlefronts in recent weeks. But, say Israel and western military analysts, the presence of Islamist jihadists among the opposition forces is strong.Sponsored Ads
“We are seeing terror organisations gaining footholds increasingly in the territory,” said Lt Gen Benny Gantz, Israel’s military chief, last week. “For now, they are fighting Assad. Guess what? We’re next in line.”
Essential for any healthy economy is the people to power it. And Europe, North America, Oceania — they’re all losing fuel. What will this mean for superpowers, national borders, and for xenophobia?
“If you are looking to migration to offset the low fertility rate, you are talking absolutely enormous numbers. Way above any capacity to actually absorb them.”
It’s not just about prejudice. There are big practical hurdles to importing large numbers of people of different language cultural practice. They need infrastructure, they need services, they need help. Even with the best will in the world, it takes time to assimilate migrant populations.
And over the longer term, as fertility declines in ever more countries, immigrants are going to be harder to come by
In the longer term, the world will have to adjust its economic system to cope with the novel concept of less. Fewer people, less consumption, lowered need for resources, energy, housing, roads, you name it. And Australia is singularly ill-prepared for that medium-term future.
Young men with poor prospects of ever starting a family spell danger to themselves and to their societies. Over millions of years of evolution, large numbers of women and even larger numbers of men left no offspring at all. Yet everyone alive today descends from ancestors who managed to avoid that fate. Our male ancestors were the ones who strove most frantically for status and the respect of their peers, and who won the chance to mate.
As a result, young men are hair-trigger sensitive to their circumstances, and when the number of men who will never find a mate rises, so does the intensity of the striving. Young men discount their futures and take ridiculous risks in order to improve their prospects. They also become more violent, rising more readily to perceived slights and insults, and starting more fights — often over trivial issues. These are the triggers for most man-on-man assaults and homicides.
China is known to use its missile tests to send political signals, as in 1996 when it bracketed Taiwan with missile flight tests that impacted north and south of the island prior to a presidential election.
Analysts say the DF-31A test likely was intended to bolster the Chinese military’s hardline stance toward the United States and particularly the U.S. military, regarded by Beijing as its main adversary.
The most recent DF-31 flight test occurred Aug. 30, also from Wuzhai, located in Shanxi province about 267 miles southwest of Beijing. That missile test involved a single warhead simulation.
The DF-31A development “suggests that China may be building toward a ‘counterstrike’ strategy that would require the secret buildup of many more missiles and warheads than suggested by public ICBM number estimates made available by the U.S. Intelligence Community,” he said.
Fisher said China may be stockpiling large numbers of “reload” missiles for the mobile DF-31A launchers in its large-scale underground nuclear system, estimated to include 3,000 miles of tunnels.
Everyone knows that the Obama administration has been steadily gearing up for a military campaign against Syria. Everyone also knows that Russia and China do not want to see this happen. Now Russia and China are sending military forces to Syria. It is being reported that Russia, China, Iran and Syria will be conducting the “Middle East’s largest ever military exercise” next month. Apparently tens of thousands of troops will be involved. This will be the first time that the Russians and the Chinese have jointly deployed large numbers of troops in Syria. Will this show of military power be enough to prevent Barack Obama from bombing Syria? Or will Obama go ahead anyway and risk ruining relations with the Russians and the Chinese? Tensions are rising in the Middle East and the region is a powder keg that could erupt at any time. If someone makes the wrong move we could end up with World War III.
A number of sources have reported that the Obama administration has been contemplating a military campaign in Syria similar to what happened in Libya. The U.S. would institute a no-fly zone, bomb the Syrian government and the Syrian military, and provide heavy military hardware for the rebel forces on the ground.
According to a recent Debka report, the plans for such a campaign in Syria are close to being finalized….
As the violence in Syria continued to go from bad to worse in scope and intensity, US official sources had this to say Saturday, June 16, about planned US military operations in the war-torn country:
“The intervention will happen. It is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when.’”
A Syrian Free Army rebel delegation is now in Washington to talk about their requests for heavy weapons from the Obama administration. In their meetings with US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford and the State Department’s expert on Syria Fred Hof, the rebel leaders handed in two lists for approval: types of heavy weapons capable of challenging Bashar Assad’s armed forces and selected targets of attack to destabilize his regime.
debkafile’s Washington sources disclose that the administration is very near a decision on the types of weapons to be shipped to the Syrian rebels and when. Most of the items Washington is ready to send have been purchased by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and are ready for shipment.
The White House is also close to deciding on the format of its military operation in Syria. Some sources are defining it as “Libya lite” – that is, a reduced-scale version of the no-fly zone imposed on Libya two years ago and the direct air and other strikes which toppled the Qaddafi regime.
Iran’s ayatollahs are showing frustration with Iranians leaving Islam for Christianity in large numbers despite the threat of execution for apostasy.
A former intelligence officer in the Guards, who has now defected to Europe, told The Daily Caller that the country’s regime has ordered the domestic intelligence apparatus to use drastic measures to stop them — including imprisonment, torture and the mass-burning of Bibles.
In June of 2008, the Ecuadorian government opened its borders to foreigners and ended visa requirements to enter its territory. This opened the floodgates to nationals from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia (e.g., Afghanistan, China, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Iran, Kenya, Nigeria, Cuba, Pakistan, and Somalia). For example, according to statistics of its own National Immigration Office, in 2006 (before the policy change) there were 92 entries of Pakistani citizens, by 2008 were already 178 and in 2010, 518. This is an increase of 550 percent in 4 years. More significantly, just between 2008 and 2010 an estimated 60,000 Cubans entered Ecuador, according to intelligence sources.
Records shows that large numbers of these immigrants enter to obtain Ecuadorian nationality by naturalization and thus be able to travel freely throughout Latin America and eventually to the United States without arousing suspicion because of their original nationalities. The routes by which they enter the Americas generally include a first stop in Cuba or Venezuela, countries with highly subjective immigration controls. Two routes that are used repeatedly are Pakistan/Afghanistan-Iran-Venezuela-Ecuador, and Somalia-Dubai-Russia-Cuba-Ecuador.
After it came to light that the majority of the mosques in Italy are controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni called for a moratorium on the building of new mosques until a new national law could be written to regulate the phenomenon.
According to Manes Bernardini, a politician with the Northern League in Bologna, “Mosques are springing up like mushrooms, and mayors can do nothing about it because there is no national law to regulate the proliferation of these structures.”
It would appear that Islam is an emerging problem – a descending dark cloud – on the western world. It turns out that Islam is more of a symptom for a much bigger problem. The real problem is the rise of modern liberalism. Modern liberalism is unable to recognize threats until it is too late. In this case, modern liberals are allowing Muslims to immigrate in large numbers, and is protective of them. The modern liberal cannot imagine losing his own country to Islam or other threats.
Massive debt, game changing immigration, military reductions, inability to confront threats (political correctness) and no concern for nuclear war all point to big problems ahead for the western world.
Russia will be holding a series of military exercises in the North Caucasus, Armenia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia this fall, reportedly in preparation for a possible U.S.-Israeli attack on Iran. The exercises, called Kavkaz-2012, will be held in September and won’t be tactical/operational but strategic (i.e. won’t involve large numbers of troops). The exercises will, however, include officers from the breakaway Georgian territories. The focus on surveillance, air defense and logistics suggests that Russia is tailoring the exercise to prepare for a U.S.-Israel-Iran war, says Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta :
Meanwhile, Azerbaijan is ratcheting up the bellicose rhetoric (even by the high standards of the Caucasus) against Armenia, reports Bloomberg :
Azerbaijan is buying up modern weaponry to be able to regain control of the breakaway Nagorno- Karabakh region quickly and with few losses should peace talks with neighboring Armenia fail, President Ilham Aliyev said.
Defense spending will rise 1.8 percent this year to $3.47 billion, which Aliyev said tops Armenia’s entire state budget.
“It’s not a frozen conflict, and it’s not going to be one,” Aliyev said today in remarks broadcast on state television channel AzTV.
Would war in Iran have any effect on the Nagorno-Karabakh situation? The mind reels
As you might expect, the arms control community was up in arms about the new report from Phillip Karber, a Georgetown University professor showing that China could potentially have many more nuclear weapons than previous estimates. They were working pretty hard to find fault with it.
The most obvious fault – and one that has been widely noted – is Karber’s repetition of a fantastical estimate for the number of nuclear weapons in the PLA arsenal, which turns out to come from blogosphere speculation based on earlier misestimates that were long ago debunked.
The arms control community loves to point to Jeffery Lewis’ ArmsControlWonk.Com where Jeffery debunks estimates that include large numbers of Chinese nuclear weapons. Except the issue is more complicated than Jeffery lets on. In fact, a little digging by a commenter on ArmControlWonk.Com shows that China really could have in the neighborhood of 3,000 nuclear weapons. Of course, no one knows the real answer because China won’t tell us.
Take a look at the exchange between commenter Yale Simkin and Jeffery Lewis. Yale makes some pretty credible remarks that show us how China really could potentially have around 3,000 nuclear weapons.
Jeffery’s essay stated an “An accurate list” of Chinese fissile production facilities was at the NTI site. That page links to another NTI page of various expert estimates of actual production.
The range of HEU was 4 – 20 tons.
10 kilograms of HEU per boosted warhead yields a range of possible warheads of 400 to 2000.
The DOE estimate of 1.7 – 2.8 tons of plutonium, at 3 kg per boosted device yields 567 – 933.
This results in an outside number of +2900 potential warheads.
The above number assumes that plutonium is used separately from HEU to create more weapons. If the plutonium is used with HEU to create higher yielding bombs then fewer nuclear warheads can be created – 2,000 instead of 2,900.
… size of the stockpile is based on Pu production divided by slightly more than 3 kg per warhead.”
So, when I do stockpile estimates, I size the force to the number of Pu pits the Chinese could make.
I think I figured 3-5 kg of Pu spread across a 1.7-2.8 t stockpile for a total of 340-930 warheads.
If the Pu usage is more intense, on the order of 7 kg per primary (see De Geer for evidence that the Chinese might have more Pu per bomb), then, well, that number drops pretty low — to about 240-400.
De Geer’s numbers are based on pulling a quite small number from a great deal of noise. He also makes some big assumptions as to the elemental and isotopic composition of the primary, secondary blanket (and possible fissile sparkplug in the secondary – which he appears not to address), nor the possiblity of a failed tertiary stage with Pu sparkplug, nor fusion boosting.
That being said, he does make his point, which is not demonstrating the quantity of fissile in a Chinese nuke, rather it was showing that the H-Bomb explosion was a Teller-Ulam design rather than the Teller classical (or Sakharov layercake).
But what about the actual numbers he did derive. What are their utility in stockpile analysis?
De Geer calculated that the Chinese test left 3.09 +/- 1.01 g of primary Pu unburned per kiloton of fission. He then calculated the fission yield of the explosion was 2,500 +/- 200 kilotons.
From that you get a range of UNBURNED (not total) primary Pu of 4.784 Kgs to 11.07 kgs.
De Geer tightened the range to a likely probability of 5.1 kgs to 10.3 kgs.
This is not the amount of Pu in the primary. A reasonable yield for the primary is, lets say, 25kt. At 17.3kt/kg of fissioned Pu, this adds about 1.4 kg of Pu. (The primary may have been more powerful, but I leave it at 25kt)
So, our range is now 6.2 to 12.5 kgs. (Fat Man was 6.3 kg)
There is also the very significant quantity of Pu burned by fusion neutrons even with a primary separate and shielded from the secondary.
The bottom line is that De Geer’s numbers are very high. His lowest numbers are possible – but very inefficient. His highest numbers are very weird. They are higher than the bare-sphere critical mass quantity for Pu239!
It would mean a extremely low-density core geometry and real quick and powerful assembly.
Does any of this matter?
The quantity of Pu used in a primary for a test of 4000 kilotons 33 years ago is not necessarily identical to the current stockpile designs.
Again, none of this is relevant to the point I was trying to make in my post.
I was not claiming that China is using both HEU and Pu, nor that they are using them in efficient designs.
My post was about what is their POTENTIAL capability? – the necessary starting point for considering China’s future stockpile.
To quote myself: While I don’t see any reason for China to have built more than a few hundred warheads, what COULD they build?
And: Again, I am not promoting the view that China has that many devices or that they are efficient in per weapon fissile requirements, but Zheng may not have been way off in what they CAN do.
While we may consider their intentions and needs, good policy requires that we must not lose sight of their capabilities. (See ACW discussions like here )
If China used both its HEU and Pu, and used it in high-tech efficient designs, then without any further fissile production, it is sitting on more than 2000 bombs worth of SNM – a fact of at least passing importance.
On Georgetown Team’s China Claims: More Tunnels, Yes. More Nukes? Not Necessarily. – China Real Time Report – WSJ
The Washington Post elaborated yesterday on the research of Phillip Karber, a Georgetown University professor, and an army of students who have used commercial satellite imagery, open-source Chinese materials, and internal PLA documents to track military tunneling projects across China. Karber’s conclusion is striking and controversial: the extent of the tunneling, he says, indicates that the number of PLA nuclear weapons could be vastly more than the 200 to 400 warheads that are usually cited by researchers. One of Karber’s more questionable sources suggests a total as high as 3,500.
Kaber’s story, originally reported by The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page in late October, has sparked a firestorm of controversy among China watchers and nuclear experts. The backlash from some sectors of the arms control community has been particularly bitter, with one commentator calling Karber’s work “incompetent and lazy,” comparing it unfavorably with his son’s high school research papers.