Israel is racing against an attack by Iran and Syria and is upgrading its US-backed Arrow missile shield in the wake of a possible a chemical weapon attack from Syria, a defense official told Reuters Sunday.
The new “Block 4″ generation of guided interceptor rockets, radars and technologies for synchronizing Arrow with U.S. systems was being installed in deployed Israeli batteries, a process that would take several weeks, the official told the news agency.
The Arrow system, operational since 2000, is designed to blow up incoming missiles at altitudes high enough for non-conventional warheads to disintegrate safely.
Is Israel waiting for this process to be completed before it strikes Iran?
When you are watching a clock then time slows to a crawl. Seems like that applies to the Israeli attack on Iran. I’m not real excited about the Middle East blowing up into a nuclear war with millions dead. But that is going to happen thanks to Syria’s chemical weapons. How can you gas a Jew today without an extremely violent reaction? Anything short of nuclear annihilation is unacceptable. Of course, one cannot just obliterate Syria. The other hostile neighbors have to go too. If not, then soon Iran will smuggle nuclear weapons into these areas and seek to obliterate Israel. No, everyone must go.
Several generations of Americans and Israelis have no recollection of the game of nuclear chicken played by Russia and China after World War II. In 1957, Mao Zedong said China could survive and prevail in a nuclear war.
Mega death for Mao was a shortcut to defeating capitalism and its imperial powers. He claimed he was not afraid of atomic warfare. China then had a population of 600 million extremely poor people.
Even if 200 million were killed by American atomic weapons, Mao concluded, 400 million would survive and China would still be a major power while the U.S. would lose its raison d’etre, or reason for existing.
Chinese hyperbole saw a new beautiful civilization growing on the ashes of imperialism.
During China’s “Great Leap Forward” (1958-60), 43 million died. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), one of Mao’s interpreters estimated 10 percent of a population of about 800 million had been killed. All told, 123 million were killed by order of the “Great Helmsman.”
Throughout the 1940s and ’50s, till his death in March 1953, Stalin repeatedly threatened the West with nuclear annihilation. Some analysts at the time said Stalin believed he could destroy America and inherit Europe intact.
For Stalin, 20 million people “purged” during his bloody dictatorship (1929-53) were just a statistic. Another 20 million were killed in World War II, including 11 million soldiers.
Since threats of nuclear war by Stalin and Mao were just bluffs, doesn’t that imply current day threats of nuclear attack by Russia and China are bluffs as well?
Take a look at the American arsenal versus the Russian arsenal during the 1950s.
The US had overwhelming nuclear superiority over Russia and China in the 1950s. Also, America had a civil defense program in place to help protect its people in the event of nuclear war. The current American nuclear weapons program is going back to the 1950s in size, and so is Russia’s. But China’s is unknown and could potentially have 2,000 to 3,000 nuclear warheads. Finally, Americans have no fear of nuclear war – they have changed their thinking. America is totally unprepared for nuclear war in its thinking. One can read over and over from experts that the risk of nuclear war is near zero. It’s near zero at the same time Russia and China are threatening nuclear war over Iran and Syria.
The next problem is that the people alive during the 1950s directly experinced the horrors of World War II. This is going to heavily affect their thinking. The generations of leaders who did not directly experience World War II will have different thinking about another World War.
The risk of war is not constant from year to year. Historically, major crashes including war for America have occurred in 80 year cycles. The potential crash period lasts about 20 years. The last crash period started in 1925 and lasted until 1945. Counting from 1925, adding 80 years gives us 2005. The next crash period lasts from 2005 to 2025.
In the end, a bluff in 1952 is not the same as a bluff in 2012. The world has changed. Wouldn’t it be wise and prudent to take threats of nuclear attack seriously and prepare for them? Instead, everybody just assumes that current day Russia and China are bluffing about a nuclear attack concerning Iran and Syria. This is neither wise nor prudent.
“The difficulties also depend on the precise goal of the air strike,” the report said. “A short-term, financially costly degradation of Iran’s nuclear program can be achieved in one wave of attacks, but Israeli defense analysts have estimated that a decisive blow could require hitting as many as 60 different targets with return sorties lasting up to two days.”
The analysis marked the latest effort by Israel to enhance deterrence against Iran. Middle East Quarterly said Hendel’s report reflected his personal view, but diplomats said the study was released in coordination with the Israeli government.
Hendel also envisions that Israel would target Iran’s energy sector in an attempt to prevent a massive counter-attack. He said Iran was likely to use both Hizbullah and Syria in any war with Israel.
“The Israelis will ultimately have to choose between launching an attack likely to spark a large-scale regional conflict and allowing Iran to go nuclear with dire long-term implications,” the report said. “Notwithstanding some disagreement about the immediacy of the threat and possible repercussions, the large majority of Israelis favor military action over living with the ubiquitous threat of nuclear annihilation.”
This is the actual report referenced in the above article:
Iran’s Nukes and Israel’s Dilemma: Israeli Defense :: Middle East Quarterly
The strategic fallout from an Israeli attack will likely be significant. Hezbollah will probably initiate hostilities across the Lebanese-Israeli border. During the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war, the Shiite Islamist group fired more than 4,000 rockets into Israel, causing extensive damage and killing forty-four civilians. Today, its arsenal is considerably larger and includes many more rockets capable of reaching Tel Aviv. Dagan estimates that the Iranians can fire missiles at Israel for a period of months, and that Hezbollah can fire tens of thousands of rockets. Hamas may also attack Israel with rockets from Gaza. It is not inconceivable that Syrian president Bashar Assad would join the fight, if still in power, in hope of diverting public anger away from his regime.
Iran has also developed an extensive overseas terrorist network, cultivated in conjunction with Hezbollah. This network was responsible for two car bombings against the Jewish community in Argentina that left 114 people dead in the early 1990s.
Jerusalem will not sit back and allow its citizens to be bombed mercilessly. Since Lebanon will probably be the main platform of any major Iranian attack, Israeli retaliation there is sure to be swift and expansive. Should Syria offer up any form of direct participation in the war, it too may come under Israeli attack. The Israelis may go so far as to bomb Iran’s oil fields and energy infrastructure. Since oil receipts provide at least 75 percent of the Iranian regime’s income and at least 80 percent of export revenues, the political shock of losing this income could lead the regime to rethink its nuclear stance, as well as erode its public support, and make it more difficult to finance the repair of damaged nuclear facilities.
On the other hand, Tehran may double down by sending its own ground troops to Lebanon or Syria to join the fight against Israel. This could draw in the Persian Gulf Arab monarchies, particularly if the Alawite-led Assad regime is still facing active opposition from its majority Sunni population.
It looks like the US is in hot water with both China and Russia. It’s back to the cold war times 2.
Last week, President Barack Obama was in Asia to declare a cold war with China. Hopefully the U.S.-China cold war won’t be like the one fought with the Soviet Union that brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation and cost trillions of dollars over 60 years.
The crux of the conflict is China’s attempt to assert its sovereignty over the South China Sea, a resource-rich conduit for roughly $5 trillion in annual global trade, of which $1.2 trillion is American, which U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared last year a matter of “national interest.”
Russia takes Cold War tone with US on European missile defence
The Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, has embraced the fiery rhetoric of the Cold War as he threatened to target and if necessary destroy America’s European missile defence shield once it is built.
In what may be the most serious blow to US-Russia relations since President Barack Obama came to power, Mr Medvedev raised the prospect of Russia launching missile attacks on European Union member states such as Poland, Romania and Spain as well as Turkey, a NATO member.
”I have given the armed forces the task of drawing up plans to destroy the information and command and control systems of the [US/Nato] anti-missile shield,” Mr Medvedev said.
“I hate to be the bearer of bad news,” he declares, “but we will all have to think about the unthinkable again.” Our holiday from history is over.
Mr. Rosenbaum charts the likely origins of a nuclear war in the short term, probably in the Middle East (where Israelis fear a second Holocaust, this time a nuclear one) or Pakistan (where stray nukes may yet land in the hands of Islamists) or in the almost marital tensions and miscommunications between the United States and Russia. He pursues thorny moral questions, including this one about nuclear retaliation: “Would it be justice, vengeance or pure genocide to strike back” once our country had been comprehensively bombed?
How the End Begins: The Road to a Nuclear World War III
The president loses control of fifty nukes for nearly an hour. Russian nuclear bombers almost bump wingtips with American fighter jets over the Pacific coast. North Korea detonates nuclear weapons underground. Iran’s nuclear shroud is penetrated by a computer worm. Al-Qaeda goes on the hunt for Pakistan’s bomb, and Israelis debate the merit of a preemptive nuclear strike. Treaties are signed, but thousands of nuclear weapons are still on hair-trigger alert.This is how the end begins.In this startling new book, bestselling author Ron Rosenbaum gives us a wake-up call about this new age of peril and delivers a provocative analysis of how close—and how often—the world has come to nuclear annihilation and why we are once again on the brink.Rosenbaum tracks down key characters in our new nuclear drama and probes deeply into their war game strategies, fears, and moral agonies. He travels to Omaha’s underground nuclear command center, goes deep into the missile silo complexes beneath the Great Plains, and holds in his hands a set of nuclear launch keys.Along the way, Rosenbaum confronts the missile men as well as the general at the very top of our nation’s nuclear command system with tough questions about the terrifying assumptions underlying it. He reveals disturbing flaws in our nuclear launch control system, suggests remedies for them, shows how the old Cold War system of bipolar deterrence has become dangerously unstable, and examines the new movement for nuclear abolition.Having explored the depths of Hitler’s evil and the intense emotion of Shakespeare’s tragedies, Rosenbaum now has produced a powerful, urgently needed work that challenges us: Can we undream our nightmare?
Now, bizarrely, we have lost our fear of nuclear annihilation. When I was growing up, the mushroom cloud was a common image in popular culture, and there was a stream of books, films and television dramas set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
Objectively, the threat of Armageddon is far higher today, when nuclear weapons have spread from the five postwar powers to Israel, North Korea, India, Pakistan and, soon perhaps, Iran. But, for whatever reason, our attention has wandered, and the disaster-scenario du jour is Global Warming.
Fear of a nuclear war, in short, is no longer fashionable. Our interest in the agonies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has waned commensurately.
Members of Congress have been told in confidential briefings that Pakistan is rapidly adding to its nuclear arsenal even while racked by insurgency, raising questions on Capitol Hill about whether billions of dollars in proposed military aid might be diverted to Pakistan’s nuclear program.
Well, just when you thought it was safe not to worry about nuclear annihilation, a new crisis has emerged that actually poses a greater threat of an American city being obliterated by a nuclear weapon than anything that occurred during the Cold War: As Pakistan becomes engulfed in chaos, there is a real chance that its nuclear weapons will fall into the hands of extremists determined to kill as many Americans as they can. Although the public has yet to pay much attention to what is happening in Pakistan and there is nowhere near the level of hysteria that gripped the United States nearly 50 years ago, the prospect of a nuclear weapon from Pakistan exploding on American soil is much higher than a Soviet attack from Cuba ever was. If anything can make one nostalgic for the bad old days of the Cold War, what is happening in Pakistan today is surely it.
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China’s growing wealth is good for the world, and there will come a time when the influence of the United States shrinks to the level of its share of the world population, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said on Friday.
Asked at a meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank in Miami whether he regarded China’s growing influence in Latin America as a threat, Gates, one of the world’s richest people, said not at all.
I’m wondering if Mr. Gates is paying attention. China is taking their new found wealth, building nuclear tipped missiles and pointing them at us. They’ve threatened us twice with nuclear annihilation if we try to help Taiwan during a Chinese attack. Their military is growing by leaps and bounds, and they won’t tell us why. That’s because we won’t like the answer. They’re building submarines faster than we can keep up. They’re building underground shelters under many of their major cities.
What about Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang? Perhaps you should talk with people from these regions.
Is it wise to trade with countries that hate you and point nuclear tipped missiles at you?
[Updated March 19, 2012] Nuclear warfare in or around 2012 is very possible given, well, the threats of nuclear war (atomic war) coming out of Russia and China concerning Iran. Let’s look at what they have to say.
Attacking Iran: Putin Says Consequences Would be ‘Truly Catastrophic’ with Unimaginable Scale
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Russia is concerned about the “growing threat” of an attack on Iran over its nuclear program, warning that the consequences would be “truly catastrophic.”
In an article on foreign policy for publication on Monday, six days before a March 4 presidential election he is almost certain to win, Putin also warned Western and Arab nations against military intervention in Syria.
On Iran, Putin said that “the growing threat of a military strike on this country alarms Russia, no doubt. If this occurs, the consequences will be truly catastrophic. It is impossible to imagine their real scale.”
What does – “It is impossible to imagine their real scale” – mean?
We can use statements by other Russian leaders to fill in the gaps:
Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, warned Wednesday that outside encouragement of antigovernment uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa could lead to “a very big war that will cause suffering not only to countries in the region, but also to states far beyond its boundaries.”
Mr. Lavrov’s annual news conference was largely devoted to a critique of Western policies in Iran and Syria, which he said could lead to a spiral of violence.
A lot of people think the recent implied threats are related to Putin’s reelection. He’s only pandering to the nationalist crowd. But there is a problem. This reelection is becoming difficult. There are a lot of unhappy people. There is a real risk of revolution in the next few years. If Putin loses the support of the nationalist crowd, then that could mean the country tips into revolution. And revolution means death or prison for Putin and his cronies. So Putin might be forced to follow through on his nuclear war threats for his own regime survival if the west crosses the line he has drawn in the sand – western interference in the Middle East and North Africa. It is fairly common for autocratic regimes to put regime security above national security. In this case leading to disaster for Russia and America.
It is likely that the US and Europe will not test Russia’s nuclear threats, but what about Israel? An article in the New York Times Magazine comes to the chilling conclusion that Israel will attack Iran on 2012. The Atlantic magazine put together a panel of experts to predict the probability of an attack in 2012:
War or peace in the Middle East amounts to a coin toss. The probability that the United States or Israel will strike Iran in the next year is 48 percent according to a new project that predicts the chances of conflict–the Iran War Clock. And as a result, the clock is set to 10 minutes to midnight.
How does the Iran War Clock work?
We’ve assembled a high-profile panel of experts from the policy world, academia, and journalism to periodically predict the odds of conflict. They include: Daniel Byman, Shahram Chubin, Golnaz Esfandiari, Azar Gat, Jeffrey Goldberg, Amos Harel, Ephraim Kam, Dalia Dassa Kaye, Matthew Kroenig, John Limbert, Valerie Lincy, James Lindsay, Marc Lynch, Gary Milhollin, Trita Parsi, Paul Pillar, Barry Rubin, Karim Sadjadpour, Kenneth Timmerman, Shibley Telhami, Stephen Walt, and Robin Wright.
The next problem is that the historical signs of war are present today. Historian Niall Ferguson found three key signs present before major 20th century war: Empires in decline, economic volatility and ethnic conflict. These are the three Es. Niall goes on to explain that the three Es are present today, and the age of upheaval has started.
Historical signs suggesting that a US-China war may be on the horizon.
Great power rivalries in history:
1. Spain versus Holland in the 16th century. [War]
2. Holland versus England in the 17th century. [War]
3. Britain versus France in both the 18th and 19th centuries. [War]
4. France and Britain versus Germany in the 20th century. [War]
5. Germany versus Russia in 1914. [War]
6. Germany versus Russia (Soviet Union) in 1941. [War]
7. Soviet Union versus the US and its allies in the Cold War after 1945. [No War]
The rise of China almost certainly means conflict with America. There is a good chance this conflict will lead to war. Historically, when an empire runs into conflict with a rising power, then war has occurred 6 out of 7 times.
This video explains how 9/11 represents a harbinger of doom:
The Foundation for War
The reason you should be worried about threats of nuclear attack is that the world is now in a pre-collapse state after a long period of peace and stability. This is like a giant sandpile that is ready to collapse after a long period of time but is just waiting for one more grain of sand to land in the right spot.
Another way to look at the world is like a forest. The world moves into the future just like a forest (or sandpile) moves into the future. What happens to a forest after a long time of no (or small) fires? Does it mean a big fire will never happen, or does it mean that a catastrophic fire is coming? Later I explain why societies move into the future like a forest.
It is during the time of peace and stability that the seeds of collapse are sown. An example of this is the economic collapse of 2008. The government suppression of economic collapses (recessions) since 1945 sowed the seeds (bad decisions and corruption) of economic collapse. Not trying to suppress collapses would have burned out much of the bad decisions and corruption. Instead, they were allowed to build until the resulting economic collapse was unstoppable. This collapse is not finished.
A forest becomes susceptible to a major forest fire if a lot of dead wood and dead bushes build up. This happens when there are no fires to clear them out – during peace and stability. You can see the signs that a major collapse is possible by looking for the same signs present before historical collapses.
Historian Niall Ferguson talks about the historian signs present before 20th century war:
“Economic volatility, plus ethnic disintegration, plus an empire in decline: That combination is about the most lethal in geopolitics. We now have all three. The age of upheaval starts now.”
The above quote comes from the March/April 2009 edition of Foreign Policy magazine on page 58. The author had earlier explained how the three E’s described the reason for conflict in the 20th century. The three E’s being: economic volatility, ethnic conflict or disintegration and empires in decline.
Building upon his previously acclaimed volumes on empire, economics, and financial history, Professor Ferguson argues that three things seem necessary to explain the extreme violence of the twentieth century: ethnic conflict, economic volatility, and the decline of empires. He argues that the confluence of these factors helps us to understand why so much happened at certain times, especially between the years 1904 and 1953, and why this savagery was so heavily concentrated in certain places. Professor Ferguson uses these themes to reinterpret and resolve the central paradox of why extraordinary progress in science and technology coincided with unprecedented violence, and why the seeming triumph of the West in reality planted the seeds for the decline of Western dominance over Asia, which he believes is leading towards an inexorable shift in the global balance of power towards the East.
A large part of the world has moved to a pre-collapse state. Russia and China are in danger of collapse. America, Europe and Japan are in danger of economic collapse. The Middle East is now in the state of collapse. The UN predicts “global social crisis” stemming from the 2008-2009 economic downturn. If the world is a big sandpile, then it’s coming down soon.
The decline of America is real this time, says Foreign Policy magazine. The decline of an empire is a sign of bad things to come, like war. The Congressional Budget Offfice says the US could face a European-style debt crisis.
Russia has moved to a pre-collapse state similar to the one that occurred right before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The return of Putin to power is one reason that Russians are starting to leave the country in droves. The exodus is so large, “it’s comparable in numbers to the outrush in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution.”
Russia is starting to get friendly with Germany.
History is consistent on this point: Germany and Russia are not close friends. Any appearance that they are is a herald of war. Truth is, this forming Russian-German axis is one of the most significant and underrated trends on the world scene! History tells us where this will end. The formation of a peace pact between Russia and Germany is a sure sign that one or both are preparing for an imperialistic, violent mission.
Why would anybody want to start a nuclear war? Because they think war is inevitable anyway, and waiting will mean a much more unfavorable outcome. For example, both Russia and China are very worried about the missile defense system in the West. It is surrounding both Russia and China. Initially, it will not be much of a threat, but later it could potentially neutralize much of their second-strike capability if upgraded.
Another problem is confusing national security with regime security. Regimes will often go to great lengths to ensure their own security to the detriment of the rest of the country.
Looking into the Future
As any society moves one day into the future it is heavily influenced by history. History being all the prior days that people can remember. History provides a feedback loop for each new day. Events of each new day pile on all the prior days and provide the influence for yet another day.
It turns out that a lot of systems move into the future in the same way. For example, forests, sandpiles, earth movement, financial markets, societies and more. These types of systems exhibit Self-Organizing Criticality (SOC). They automatically go from a stable state to an unstable without any help. Then they just collapse.
If you track the collapses of forests (fires), sandpiles, financial markets, earthquakes, wars and attacks within wars, they all follow the power law distribution. Count the number of collapses of a given size within a given period, and plot the results on a log-graph. You will get an almost perfectly straight line. For example, a plot of attacks within wars is a straight line with a slope of -2.5.
What happens to a forest if you try really hard to put out every fire – you suppress all collapses? Eventually the forest builds up to a pre-collapse state that is so big that the next fire will be unstoppable.
The forest never stops growing and expanding. Because the system never stops, suppressing a collapse means that the future builds on an unstable base.
Suppressing collapses in forests, sandpiles, economies or societies (war) produces the same result – bigger collapses. Suppressing collapses makes the system unstable and prone to bigger collapses. Eventuality the system will experience a collapse so large that it is unstoppable. The policies of most countries is to suppress economic collapses (recessions). This explains why the West is in trouble now, and why China will soon be in big trouble.
The suppression of war in countries works the same way. Countries that don’t directly experience war for a long time get lulled to sleep. Eventually a country will become susceptible to defeat – the big collapse of society. The US and the West are in this boat.
If all collapses for a system are suppressed, then it should run into a major crisis at a given frequency. For example, a forest should have a massive fire every set number of years, or more likely a range of years. The forest may get wiped out every 90 to 100 years. We see this same phenomena with the US.
The US runs into a crisis period every 80 to 100 years according to “The Fourth Turning“. In 2005 we entered another 20 year crisis period. “Winter’s Coming for the Boomers” is an article that discusses the theories in “The Fourth Turning”. Each new crisis period is due to the impact of crises on the generations over an 80 to 100 year period. Each new generation increasingly forgets the lessons from the past. Since smaller collapses (recessions and wars) tend to be suppressed, eventually the country must experience a large crisis. You can read more stories here.
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