Living in Parallel Universes: Putin Plays the Nuclear Card in the Midst of the Iranian Nuclear Agreement Flurry

The key to having “progress” apparently in 21st century diplomatic initiatives is to pursue them in parallel universes. It is crucial not to connect any particular diplomatic initiative with the overall global context within which those initiatives operate.

It is an interesting diplomatic physics where actions are pursued without puzzling over reactions, ripple effects or events operate as if chaos theory did not apply to human events.

Each event and day is a fresh one, unconnected from the week, the month, the year or the epoch.

What is striking is that the forging of a “nuclear agreement” by the Obama Administration and the European powers has left aside the concerns of the GCC states and the Israelis who will ultimately determine whether any such agreement is viable or not.

I am sure the Saudis find it reassuring that Obama has offered them the opportunity to chat at Camp David later in the month.

They will determine how and in what ways Iran will live and operate or not. But back in European capitals (I am in one now) or in Washington an agreement forged by the imperial powers apparently is how history progresses.

Let us leave aside the parallel universe of ISIS and its assertion that Christian democracies are as relevant as the 12th century papacy or even more amazing the Russian redrawing of the map of Europe and the security environment.

What makes the Russian case even more striking is its absolute central significance to any question of whether an agreement with Iran is credible or not. If one lives in parallel universes this is not even a question for events in one universe have little relevance to the laws of physics in another universe unless either theoretically or empirically proven to be of relevance.

But we don’t live in parallel universes; and the lessons learned in one domain are applied to others, and even more importantly the perceived lessons learned by competing powers are often the fuel of conflict or aspirations.

The Russians have absolutely demonstrated their unwillingness to play by Western rules and in the course of so doing reintroduce nuclear threats as part of the normal discourse of diplomatic initiatives.

The failure to detect the Crimean seizure of power, one which the US intelligence agencies very publicly have declared they did not detect, suggests that the subtly of “knowing” of Iranian breakout from any agreement would be even more difficult to detect, or more to the point act upon with any decisive speed or meaning.

Just read through the analysis below and then apply it to Iran and ask yourself: why should I believe that the US and its European allies would act with decisiveness when Iran violates the agreement?

According to this article in The Daily Beast published in early 2014:

The last time Russian troops invaded one of its neighbors, the U.S. intelligence community was also caught off guard.

The year was 2008 and the country was Georgia instead of the Ukraine. And just as in 2014, back then there were early signs that Moscow was serious—it was issuing visas to ethnic Russian speakers in Georgia, like it’s doing now in Ukraine. U.S. analysts just didn’t believe Russia would go as far as it did. 

Today, as in 2008, American policy makers have found themselves burned after trying to make Vladimir Putin a partner when Putin himself sees America as a rival.

This has often led Republican and Democratic led administrations to find themselves flat footed in the face of Russian aggression and U.S. intelligence analysts racing to explain how they misread Putin’s motivations.

“This is less a question of how many collection resources we throw at Russia and more broadly about the analytic challenge of understanding Putin’s mind set,” said Michael Hayden, a former CIA director and NSA director under President George W. Bush. “Here our Secretary of State is saying this is not the Cold War, it’s win-win and it’s not zero sum. But for Vladimir Putin it is zero sum. That’s what we need to understand.”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/03/02/ex-cia-chief-why-we-get-putin-wrong.html

Let me put this another way: if the Western leaders could demonstrate that they are investing in rapid response forces with the will to use the full spectrum of modernized capabilities BEFORE signing any such agreement with Iran perhaps my confidence level would be a bit higher in a rapid response capability in place.

Strikingly, the very week an agreement was announced with Iran, the Times of London led with a major piece on Putin, the Baltics and nuclear threats. This was shortly after the Russian ambassador to Denmark threatened Denmark with nucs if they had the audacity to defend themselves against Russian missiles.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/europe/article4399758.ece

In an article entitled “Putin Threat of Nuclear Showdown over Baltics,” Ben Hoyle and Michael Evans noted:

President Putin is using the threat of a nuclear showdown over the Baltic states to force Nato to back away from Russia’s border, according to notes of a secret meeting between intelligence figures from Moscow and Washington.

Western security chiefs are braced for the Kremlin to begin a series of “destabilizing actions” in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania that would directly challenge Nato’s mutual defense pledge.

And in an analytical piece by Roger Boyes published in the same issue of The Times, the author focused on what he sees as “the Moscow rules Obama must not forget.”

Among these rules are the following:

Crimea is ours, and hands off; the Baltics are fair game and will not be protected by the words of NATO collective security, and threatening nuc strikes is part of the diplomatic game which is about gaining control over what Russia thinks is legitimately theirs and pushing the US and European capitals away from the areas where Russia has its particular interests.

Putin and Obama

Of course, none of this has relevance to the Iranian parallel universe, for Russia is not an ally of Iran, has never armed Iran, nor takes very much interest in that part of the world.

And of course, the agreement – not treaty – but just an agreement signed by President Clinton and the PM of the UK to guarantee the territorial sovereignty of Ukraine if Ukraine gave up nuclear weapons – was shredded by Putin.

The good news is that Iran will sign a binding treaty vetted by the US Senate and not simply an agreement, which can be shredded easily.

Sorry I was living in a parallel universe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asserted Facts Journalist Versus the USMC: “You Can Go Into Combat with the Asserted Facts Journalist if You Want To”

An article in Aviation Week and Space Technology and then proliferated to The Daily Beast challenges the USMC Air/Ground team’s future in a rather dismissive way.

The Marines do not have to worry about articles by Mr. Bill Sweetman for he has often been proven to be his own worst enemy.

But in publishing the article it reveals Editor-in-Chief Joe Anselmo’s failure to pay attention to recent combat history, dynamic warfighting and life-saving con-ops when profound military and diplomatic factors are in play.

Such articles are evidence of the current state of play at was once the great “must read” Aviation Week and Space Technology.

The article was republished Daily Beast article:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/17/the-marines-stealth-jump-jet-plan-is-wishful-thinking.html

Not only do we learn that the Commandant of the USMC and the Deputy Commandant of Aviation fail to grasp combat realities, in the mind of an armchair warrior, but AvWeek missed a very significant event in the value of the AV-8B in the Odyssey Dawn Air Campaign, the TRAP Mission.

This is no small thing, because aviators and other American hostages captured on the ground in enemy territory can have profound effects way beyond their numbers.

Vietnam POWs were a key factor in that war of over 60,000 U.S. causalities, direct KIA, accidents in combat zone or residual effects of Agent Orange.

Carter’s ill-fated Iranian Hostage Rescue Mission was sadly a complete debacle and a gross embarrassment to his Presidency.

In the Attack on Lebanon after Beirut bombing of Marines, an A-6 was shot down. A POW had to be released by the intervention of Rev Jesse Jackson and “Strike U” was created which led to the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center.

F-16 pilot Scott O’Grady was rescued by a USMC MEU and he did not become a captured “symbol” or bargaining chip—in fact just the opposite.

A Jordanian F-16 Pilot was captured and then burned to death to the world’s horror, and that triggered direct engagement of the King of Jordan launching his total airpower.

To be “ready on arrival” from the Sea, Rear Admiral Scott Conn, Commander of the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center said it best; when ordnance comes off an aircraft it is but the culmination of a very long training, preparedness and logistical tail that makes it all possible.

As an example, when a mission is planned that requires the delivery of ordnance, whether that ordnance be bullets, bombs or missiles, Sailors have to build up the weapons, then the weapons are loaded on an aircraft, Sailors then have to check to see that the aircraft can communicate with the weapon, then aircrew have to preflight the aircraft, take off, fly to the range, conduct airborne system checks, fight their way to the target, arm the aircraft, hit the pickle and in most cases guide the weapon to the target.

This is a brief description of the kill chain that ends up in a kinetic effect, or to state clearly, a bomb going high order on the target, and the right target at the right time.

The USMC TRAP mission stopped a war altering event, the capture of an American F-15 aircrew.

If that had occurred it would have profoundly altered the conduct of the war. Such critical success is a tribute to the innovation of the Navy/Marine Team being combat “ready now” with MV-22s and AV-ABs standing-by on the USS Kearsarge off the coast of Libya.  and the kind of training Admiral Conn spoke off was crucial to mission success.

Trap

The history of VMA-542 “Tigers” easily available with a simple “google” search was completely missed in the opinion piece which dismissed the entire history of the value of V/STOL:

“Twelve minutes after arriving overhead, the AV-8Bs struck two pursuer vehicles.”

And that was that!

A single POW in today’s global internet world has significant value, especially in Information War, see history mentioned above.

It is that significant and the overlooking of a very powerful MV-22 and Harrier insertion and extraction mission, to use the articles own words is just “Wishful Thinking.”

The USN-USMC team has driven innovation under the influence of the Osprey and clearly will do so with the F-35B.

And this will be done by real warriors, not arm chair ones.

The Maines have demonstrated throughout their history that they drive combat innovations when they get their hands on new combat kit, and one can note that the first F-35B squadron, the Green Knights, did that exactly in World War II.

It is no accident that the first squadron of F-35Bs (VMF-121) are the Green Knights.

Historically it is interesting to note that VMF-121 was activated in June 1941 and began flying air ground combat missions in August 1942, with the “Cactus Air Force” on Guadalcanal.

The Green Knights made Marine aviation history with fourteen aces, including the legendary Joe Foss CMH so IOC means just that, ready for combat.

I am more confident in the warriors of VMF-121 and their ability shape combat innovation crucial to 21st century war fighting than the verbal pings from the armchair warriors.

Editor’s Note:

When you visit the VMF-121 squadron at Yuma, in the main building there is a Joseph Foss room.

Looking at the history of the squadron and Joe Foss’s role in that history, one can understand the heritage being built into the new combat capability represented by the F-35 B for the 21st Century USMC.

Tradition clearly matters.

Joseph Foss, C.O. VMF-121, Medal of Honor Recipient

By Stephen Sherman, July, 1999. Updated June 30, 2011.

Joe Foss was born on April 17, 1915 to a Norwegian-Scots family in South Dakota. He learned hunting and marksmanship at a young age. Like millions of others, 11-year old Joe Foss was inspired by Charles Lindbergh, especially after he saw Lindy at an airport near Sioux Falls.

Five years later he watched a Marine squadron put on a dazzling exhibition, led by Capt. Clayton Jerome, future wartime Director of Marine Corps Aviation.

In 1934, Joe began his college education in Sioux Falls, but he had to drop out to help his mother run the family farm. However he scraped up $65 for private flying lessons. Five years later he entered the University of South Dakota again and supported himself by waiting on tables. In his senior year he also completed a civilian pilot training program before he graduated with a Business degree in 1940.

Upon graduation he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps reserves as an aviation cadet. Seven months later, he earned his Marine wings at Pensacola and was commissioned a second lieutenant. For the next nine months he was a ‘plowback’ flight instructor. He was at Pensacola when the news of Pearl Harbor broke, and since he was Officer of the Day, he was placed in charge of base security. Thus he prepared to defend Pensacola from Jap invaders, riding around the perimeter on a bicycle.

To his distress, he was then ordered to the aerial photographers school and assigned to a VMO-1, a photo reconnaissance squadron.

But he insisted he wanted fighter pilot duty, even after being told “You’re too ancient, Joe. You’re 27 years old!” After lengthy lobbying with Aircraft Carrier Training Group, he learned all about the new F4F Wildcat, logging over 150 flight hours in June and July.

When he finished training, he became executive officer of VMF-121.

Three weeks later, he was on his way to the South Pacific, where the United States was desperately trying to turn the tide of war. Arriving in the South Pacific, VMF-121 was loaded aboard the escort carrier Copahee.

Guadalcanal

On the morning of October 9, they were catapulted off the decks, in Joe’s only combat carrier mission. Landing at Henderson Field, he was told that his fighters were now based at the ‘cow pasture.’

He was impressed with the ‘make-do’ character of the ‘Cactus Air Force. The airfield was riddled with bomb craters and wrecked aircraft, but also featured three batteries of 90mm anti-aircraft guns and two radar stations. As ‘exec’ of -121, he would normally lead a flight of two four-plane divisions, whenever there were enough Wildcats to go around.

He was the oldest pilot in the flight, four years older than the average age of 23. The flight would become known as ‘Foss’s Flying Circus’ and rack up over 60 victories. Five of them would become aces; two would die in the in the fight for Guadalcanal.

On October 13, 1942, VMF-121 scored its first victories when Lts. Freeman and Narr each got a Japanese plane. Later that same day, Joe led a dozen Wildcats to intercept 32 enemy bombers and fighters. In his first combat, a Zero bounced Joe, but overshot, and Joe was able to fire a good burst and claim one destroyed aircraft.

Instantly, three more Zeros set upon him, and he barely made it back to ‘Fighter One’, his Wildcat dripping oil. Chastened by the experience, he declared “You can call me ‘Swivel-Neck Joe’ from now on.” From the first day, Joe followed the tactics of Joe Bauer: getting in close, so close that another pilot joked that the ‘exec’ left powder burns on his targets. The next day while intercepting a flight of enemy bombers, Joe’s engine acted up and he took cover in the clouds. But suddenly a Wildcat whizzed past him, tailed by a Zero. Joe cut loose and shot the Zero’s wing off. It was his second victory in two days.

While the Wildcats’ primary responsibility was air defense, they also strafed Japanese infantry and ships when they had enough ammunition. Joe led on such mission on the 16th. Mid-October was the low point for the Americans in the struggle for Guadalcanal.

Japanese warships shelled the U.S. positions nightly, with special attention to the airstrips. To avoid the shelling, some fliers slept in the front lines. Foss grew to appreciate the Navy’s fighter doctrine and found that the “Thach Weave” effectively countered the Zero’s superior performance, because “it allowed us to point eyes and guns in every direction.”

Joe was leading an interception on morning of the 18th when the Zero top cover pounced on them and downed an F4F. But Foss was able to get above them and flamed the nearest, hit another, and briefly engaged a third. Gaining an angle, he finally shot up the third plane’s engine.

Marine Corps F4F Wildcat at Guadalcanal, marked with 19 Japanese flags.

Next he found a group of Bettys already under attack by VF-71. He executed a firing pass from above, flashed through the enemy bombers, and pulled up sharply, blasting one from below. Nine days at Guadalcanal and he was an ace! Two days later Lt. Col. Harold Bauer and Foss led a flight of Wildcats on the morning intercept. In the dogfighting, Joe downed two Zeros, but took a hit in his engine. He landed safely at Henderson Field with a bad cut on his head, but otherwise unharmed.

‘Cactus Fighter Command’ struggled to keep enough Wildcats airworthy to meet the daily Japanese air strikes. On the 23rd, it put up two flights, led by Foss and Maj. Davis. There were plenty of targets and Joe soon exploded a Zero. He went after another which tried to twist away in a looping maneuver. Joe followed and opened up while inverted at the top of his loop. He caught the Zero and flamed it. He later described it as a lucky shot.

Next he spotted a Japanese pilot doing a slow roll; he fired as the Zero’s wings rolled through the vertical and saw the enemy pilot blown out of the cockpit, minus a parachute. Suddenly he was all alone and two Zeros hit him, but his rugged Grumman absorbed the damage, permitting Foss to flame one of his assailants.

Once again, he nursed a damaged fighter back to Guadalalcanal. So far he had destroyed eleven enemy planes, but had brought back four Wildcats that were too damaged to fly again.

October 25 was the day that the Japanese planned to occupy Henderson Field; they sent their fighters over, with orders to circle until the airstrip was theirs. It didn’t work out that way, as the U.S. ground forces held their lines and ‘Cactus’ did its part. Joe Foss led six Wildcats up before 10 AM, and claimed two of the Marine’s three kills on that sortie.

Afterwards, he berated himself for wasting ammunition on long-range shooting. He kept learning how important it was to get close. (The great German ace, Erich Hartmann, said “Get close enough until the airplane fills the whole windscreen; then you can’t miss.”) In an afternoon mission on the 25th, he downed three more, to become the Marine Corps’ first ‘ace in a day’. He had achieved 14 victories in only 13 days.

Despite rugged living conditions and the stress of daily combat flying, Foss retained his enthusiasm. He and some other fliers of VMF-121 occasionally went prowling with their rifles in the jungle, looking for Japanese soldiers, but Col. Bauer stopped this activity; trained fighter pilots were too valuable to risk this way.

They slept in six-man tents and ate the wretched powdered eggs that are mentioned in almost every pilot’s memoirs. On guy had a gramophone that they played scratchy records on. They bathed in the Lunga River; many grew beards rather than try to shave in cold water. They kept the beards neatly trimmed, not for appearances, but to ensure their beards didn’t interfere with the close-fitting oxygen masks. ‘Washing Machine Charlie’ and ‘Millimeter Mike’ harassed the field nightly, so some pilots tried to sleep in the daytime.

Down!

On November 7th Foss led seven F4Fs up the Slot to attack some IJN destroyers and a cruiser, covered by six Rufe floatplane fighters. They dispatched five of the Rufes promptly and prepared to strafe the destroyers. Joe climbed up to protect the others and got involved in a dogfight with a Pete, a two-man float biplane. He shot down the slow-flying plane, but not before its rear gunner perforated the Wildcat’s engine with 7.7mm machine gun fire.

Once again, Foss’ aircraft started sputtering on the way home. But his time, it didn’t make it. As the engine died, he put it into the longest possible shallow dive, to get as close to home as he could.

As his plane went into the water off Malaita Island, Foss struggled with his parachute harness and his seat. He went under with his plane, gulped salt water, and almost drowned before he freed himself and inflated his Mae West. Exhausted and with the tide against him, he knew that he couldn’t swim to shore. While trying to rest and re-gain his strength in his life raft, he spotted shark fins nearby. He sprinkled the chlorine powder supplied for that purpose in his emergency pack and that seemed to help.

As darkness approached, he heard some searchers looking for him. They hauled him in and brought him to Malaita’s Catholic mission. There were a number of Europeans and Australians, including two nuns who had been there for forty years and had never seen an automobile. They fed him steak and eggs and invited him stay for two weeks.

The next day a PBY Catalina, piloted by Maj. Jack Cram rescued him. On his return to Guadalcanal, he learned that ‘Cactus’ had downed 15 Japanese planes in the previous day’s air battle. His own tally stood at 19. On the ninth, Admiral Bull Halsey pinned the Distinguished Flying Cross on him and two other pilots.

The Americans were bringing four transports full of infantry to Guadalcanal on November 12. The Japanese sent 16 Betty bombers and 30 covering Zeroes after them, while the American Wildcats and Airacobras defended.

Foss and his Wildcats were flying top cover CAP and dived headlong into the attackers, right down onto the deck. As Barrett Tillman described it in Wildcat Aces of WWII: Ignoring the peril, Foss hauled into within 100 yards of the nearest bomber and aimed at the starboard engine, which spouted flame. The G4M tried a water landing, caught a wingtip and tumbled into oblivion. Foss set his sight on another Betty when a Zero intervened. The F4F nosed up briefly and fired a beautifully aimed snapshot which sent the A6M spearing into the water. He then resumed the chase.

Joe Foss

Foss caught up with the next Betty in line and made a deflection shot into its wingroot; the bomber flamed up and then set down in the water. The massive dogfight continued, until Joe ran out of fuel and ammunition.

Between the fighters and the AA, the Americans destroyed almost all the bombers and many of the Zeros. No U.S. ships were seriously damaged. But that night another naval surface battle raged in Ironbottom Sound. Warships on both sides were sunk or damaged, including the IJN battleship Hiei which Marine bombers and torpedo planes finished off on the 13th. The major Japanese effort continued on the 14th, as they brought in a seven ship troop convoy. The American air forces cut this up as well.

Late that afternoon, Col. Bauer, tired of being stuck on the ground at Fighter Command, went up with Joe to take a look. It was his last flight, described by Joe Foss in a letter to Bauer’s family. No trace of ‘Indian Joe’ was ever found. Back at Guadalcanal, Foss was diagnosed with malaria. Two great leaders of Cactus Fighter Command were gone, although Foss would return in six weeks.

He recuperated in New Caledonia and Australia. He met some of the high-scoring Australian aces, who viewed the Japanese as inferior opponents and were a little dismissive of Joe’s 23 victories. After a brief relapse of malaria, Joe returned to Guadalcanal on New Year’s Day. Improvements had been made in his absence, notably pierced steel planking (PSP) for the Fighter Strip. Foss returned to combat flying on the 15th when he shot down three more planes to bring his total to 26.

He flew his last mission ten days later when his flight and four P-38s intercepted a force of over 60 Zeros and Vals. Quickly analyzing the situation, he ordered his flight to stay high, circling in a Lufbery. This made his small flight look like a decoy to the Japanese. Soon Cactus scrambled more fighters and the Japanese planes fled. It was ironic that in one of Joe Foss’ most satisfying missions, he didn’t fire a shot.

http://acepilots.com/usmc_foss.html

 

 

 

 

 

The Second Nuclear Age and Secretary Clinton

From 1992 forward, questionable actions with potential legal consequences erupted constantly during the Clinton years.

So much so, that the term “Clinton fatigue” entered into our national vocabulary.

In those days, Clinton Inc. “two for the price of one” had an advantage against opponents who were trying to get to the truth and hold them legally accountable.

The brutal fact is that in both the State Of Arkansas and then in the White House, Clinton Inc. directly controlled law enforcement actions.

Readers of American Thinker can look back to a column written on May 18, 2014 that present’s a definitive legal case of First Lady Hillary Clinton having had significant problems with pesky e-mails on a National Security “pay-to-play” scheme with PLA military intelligence.

“..on March 11, 1995, Johnny Chung and his PRC friends attended President Clinton’s weekly radio address after Chung handed a check for $50,000 made out to the DNC to Hillary’s chief of staff following a March 9 1995 photo op with the first lady.

The PRC citizens accompanying Chung were given the photos, but not until they were vetted by the CIA officer on the White House staff.

He remarked in his e-mail about “the joys of balancing foreign policy considerations against domestic politics…. I do not see any damage to U.S. foreign policy from giving Johnny Chung the pictures.”

A fellow National Security Council staffer asked if the photos could be released and the reply was that they were Chinese Officials.

It would be interesting to know who the CIA White House officer was reporting back to at Langley CIA HQ about all this. Because the PLA money, laundered through Chung and given to Hillary Clinton, comprised a felony and the Agency should have made a criminal referral to the FBI and Department of Justice.”

Unfortunately in those days ‘Clinton Inc.” controlled the Department of Justice.

Based on personal experience while on the Professional Staff for the House Rules Committee and sitting in the Chairman’s Office when the late Chairman Solomon was meeting with FBI Director Louis Freeh, I could feel the anguish of an honorable man trying to protect the integrity of the FBI and American National Security in those difficult conditions.

It was tragically simple because for many FBI investigations during those years the Department of Justice did nothing with the hard evidence.

Tragically, Kenneth Starr and the US Congress were also not focused on the real Clinton Inc. crimes against our National Security.

One just has to read the book Sellout to see the misplaced focus of Congress in those years:

“The quintessential honest man, Schippers was shocked, not so much by Clinton’s actions (which he calls a far-reaching conspiracy to obstruct justice with perjury, lies, and witness tampering), but by Republican and Democratic politicians who sold out the impeachment process. “

Because he was so frustrated with the direction of Congress, Chairman Solomon allowed me to co-author Year of the Rat, as long as I did not mention Monica Lewinsky which he saw as a very tangential distraction.

Now yet again the nightmare of Clinton Inc. transgressions are back center stage in American Politics.

But now something is very different, to use an aviation analogy, HRC is symbolically flying blind in mountainous terrain and asking all of us to fly with her at our great peril.

Clinton Inc’s traditional desire to make this scandal into “nothing to see” and then just “old news,” is vastly different in the 21st Century based on three very significant issues.

First, in this time of daily breaking news, both Bill and Hillary Clinton most definitely do not control what President Obama and his Chicago outfit can and will do with Law Enforcement.

The second is House and Senate down ballot “D” Candidates and all financial contributors to the party cannot be sure what will happen in the future.

Will they be collateral damage at the ballot box if HRC gets the nomination?

The third issue is the most important, and even more significant than legal and political calculations, it is the actual performance of Secretary Clinton during times of crisis.

American National Security issues have to adjust to challenges in what is called the 2nd Nuclear Age, because, the most important question for all Americans is how to prevail in this 2nd Nuclear Age.

The core point is rather simply put: the rules that applied to the first nuclear age do not necessarily apply to the second.

The new nuclear powers are acquiring nuclear weapons or on paths to obtain them as part of a re-shaping of global dynamics within the 21st century and to re-shape global power balances.

Rather than relegating nuclear weapons to the dustbin of history, the new nuclear powers are seeking to make them center pieces of their global aspirations and ability to position themselves within their regions and beyond.

To empower Hillary Clinton with their vote for the stewardship of the most important trust they can, the security for their families, Secretary Clinton must to show how she handles crisis.

A very simple way ahead to calibrate her potential ability to function as Commander-In-Chief can be measured by her own standard, the famous”3 AM Phone Call” campaign ad.

Congress, the Media and all fellow citizens should be presented with the time, date and fellow attendees of all of her Classified Video Teleconferences (VTCs), Classified Briefings and encrypted phone calls.

All of her visits to Situation Rooms, Command Centers and other Special Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIFs) in which she participated must be presented to the American people.

This can easily be done in a Congressional Hearing without anyone asking for or releasing any classified information.

Identify the time and date of events, and then all can look to see what Secretary Clinton did with any action based follow-up on the information provided.

If there are no e-mails then how did she follow up?

Again just time date and addresses of e-mails are enough or are we left to believe that she did nothing with critical National Security information discussed.

Do the serious members of the Democrat Party want to chance betting their future to defend the Clintons “just” one more time as three significant issues play out; potential legal jeopardy, collateral damage to down-ballot candidates and finally ever increasing very real doubt about a Democrat Presidential candidate’s ability to protect America?

Secretary Clinton was 4th in line to become President.

How was it that she was allowed to function using only private e-mails inside U.S. Continuity of Government Planing and execution in the event of a crisis involving a potential nuclear attack on the United States?

It will be interesting to watch how all this will play out as 2016 approaches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If Prime Minister Netanyahu Does Not Speak for American Jews, Who Does?

Prior to his speech to the U.S congress, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claimed to speak for all Jews.

Some American Jewish leaders believe this was the height of arrogance.

Senator Feinstein declared, “He does not speak for me on this.” She was one of several on the left who took exception to the fact that the speech appeared to be an end run around the White House, and thus an affront to President Obama.

Speaker John Boehner, a republican issued the invite.

Since American Jews tend to vote Democratic, this led to charges of a partisan republican power play.

Some American Jews believe that in supporting Netanyahu’s speech, and his objections to the administrations nuclear agreement with Iran, they are being asked to side against America.

Israel is the Jewish homeland, and the only sure refuge should any Jew need safe harbor.

As the Prime Minister stated, “For those who believe that Iran threatens the Jewish state, but not the Jewish people, listen to Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, Iran’s chief terrorist proxy. He said: If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down around the world.”

In their round ups, the Nazis identified anyone as a Jew, whether observant or assimilated or even a convert to Christianity.  Assimilated German Jews who were good citizens were sent to their deaths just as were Jews in Poland, Czechoslovakia Holland, France Austria, Hungary, Latvia and on and on, anywhere a Jew might exist.

It was not Jewish genocide that led the United States into war with Germany and Japan.

Rather, it was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The justification for this late entry was that a depression weary America did not want war, and that the President Roosevelt did not know the extent of the genocide taking place.

The recent attack on the Kosher market in Paris, was just one more event in rising anti-Semitic activity, not limited to any one nation.

There were massive protest demonstrations in Paris, but how much of the public and international protest was in response to the Charlie Hebdo murders rather than the anti-Semitic attacks.

Would the mass demonstrations even have occurred without Charlie Hebdo?

Remember the signs to show solidarity, “We Are All Charlie? “ “Why not “We Are All Jews?”

There have been many other recent attacks on Jews in France, Belgium, Denmark and across Europe, including in Germany.

With minor exceptions, where were the mass solidarity protests then?

French Jews are emigrating to Israel in record numbers, this, 70 years after the Holocaust.

In 1938, prior to the outbreak of WWII, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich agreement giving part of Czechoslovakia to Hitler. He believed, that by appeasing Germany and ceding territory to Hitler he had achieved “Peace For Our Time”

By 1939 Hitler invaded Poland, and England and France were at war.

Right now the United Nations P5+1 countries-U.S., Britain, China France, Germany and Russia are negotiating on a nuclear containment deal with Iran.

Netanyahu’s speech was Israel’s seat at the negotiating table to ensure Israel is not the world’s next Czechoslovakia.

So that never again means never!

So if Prime Minister Netanyahu does not speak for American Jews, who does?

Is it credible to believe that President Obama, the U.N. P5 + 1 do?

Tina Silverman is the former Associate Director Mobilization Planning and Requirements/Office of the Secretary of Defense

 

 

 

 

Hillary Clinton’s E-Mail Crisis: Time is Not the Democrat’s Friend

Time has always been on the side of Bill and Hillary Clinton, “Clinton Inc.”

Having gone up against Clinton Inc, see “Year of The Rat,” one gets a feel for their media and political Modus Operandi (MO) in doing damage control when they are in trouble, which is usually constantly.

Both Bill and Hillary’s unbridled questing for money and power is ugly to behold, no spin or revisionist history can whitewash away their past bad behavior. They both take personal greed to a whole different level.

The old cliché actually applies to both of them; when presented with a financial conflict of interest a corrupt Pol says “Hell it doesn’t conflict with my interest.”

The evolving e-mail revaluations and questionable foreign donations bode ill for the down ballot candidates in 2016 if Hillary Clinton is at the top of the ballot.

Getting the nomination is different than holding the reins of power once in office. The primary season for both Republicans and Democrats is more wild west with all sides throwing accusations and charges out to see if they stick.

Both Clinton’s know this to their core and have previously enjoyed a tremendous political advantage.

In the primary season running up to the 1992 Presidential election, Governor Clinton and Rose Law firm Attorney Hillary Clinton had the great advantage of essentially owning state law enforcement in order to put the “fix in” when necessary.

They were able to control the Arkansas state law enforcement organization that could have brought criminal charges against them for any one of many transgressions.

In the subsequent “Year(s) of The Rat” of President Clinton they continued to exploit that tremendous advantage but this time by controlling the US Department of Justice.

Moral issues and questionable illegal actions erupted constantly during the Clinton years, so much so the term “Clinton fatigue” entered into our national vocabulary.

In those days, Clinton Inc. “two for the price of one” had an advantage against all opponents trying to get to the truth and hold them accountable.

The brutal fact is that in both the State Of Arkansas and then in the White House, Clinton Inc. directly controlled law enforcement actions.

Remember, not only was Bill Clinton Governor but he had also served as the Attorney General of Arkansas. It would be very fair to acknowledge that someone as smart and as quick a study as Bill Clinton would learn early in his career the strengths and limitations of enforcing the law.

Meanwhile, the other half of Clinton Inc. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a fellow Yale Law Graduate of Bill, had a brief and rather tainted period of service on the House Judiciary Committee.She could learn how Congress and LE worked together– or not. Readers can judge for themselves her demonstrated political acumen and veracity as a lawyer:

Hillary’s “Unethical Practices” During Watergate

According to Democrat Jerry Zeifman, Hillary “engaged in a variety of self-serving unethical practices in violation of House rules..

..More specifically, Zeifman accused Rodham of writing a fraudulent legal brief and grabbing public documents. Zeifman fired her, and later claimed that he wished he had reported her to the Bar.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/03/04/hillary-clintons-long-history-of-hiding-documents/

This all brings us to the Hillary Clinton, erupting e-mail scandal, along with an earlier announced slow burning scandal of donations to The Clinton Foundation, that slow burn at any moment can erupt into a major fire.

The Clintons when a scandal erupts immediately resort to their battle tested denial and deception campaign tactics, and everyone except Bill and Hillary are expendable. This process has now begun as HRC tweets:

“I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible”

Of course it is typical Clinton D&D because she controls what she gives to State and she can actually release them herself today.

The tweet is just a tactical move to buy time.

However, the very significant law enforcement danger is in the content of the emails, classified or not.

Over time with the power of Congressional subpoenas, along with Judicial Watch and perhaps even the media going to Court, her “private” released and Department of State “vetted” e-mails can be crossed referenced with e-mails found on various other Government computers, eventually including some found in the White House.

If an e-mail is found on a US Government computer but has not been released from Secretary Clinton’s e-mail account, then terms like obstruction of justice, perjury and conspiracy to lie to Congress will be put in play.

It is a slow motion painful process to put the country through-AGAIN.

In their playbook both Bill and Hillary are appropriately counting on the usual friendly media covering the issue and then moving on. The fact the story broke in New York Times is not good news for sensing a friendly media on these issues.

Their traditional desire is to make it into “nothing to see” and then just “old news,” but this time it is vastly different based on two very significant issues.

The first is they do not control Law Enforcement side of the Presidency: President Obama does.

The second is that the history of Elections during the Obama Presidency, except for the world class Obama political team’s skill, has been just awful for the Democrat Party.

The Democrats are not fools, in fact quite the opposite, they often run a political calculus and campaign activities better than Republicans.

Here is the simple dilemma, as the Senator Menendez pending indictment and General Petraeus plea bargain just demonstrated:

Law enforcement action or inaction, is not controlled by Clinton Inc..

It is controlled by President Obama’s Justice Department.

Remember Congress cannot prosecute, they make criminal referrals to US Department of Justice.

Both the e-mail and foreign money scandal, which will probably intercept with each other, is heading into uncharted territory for the tried and true Clinton D&D game plan.

One of thousands questions can be:

Are there any e-mails about Algeria?

If not why not or are the American people to believe that Algeria gave $500,000 in the blind based on a public statement about helping Haiti—O sure!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/us-politics/11437994/Clinton-Foundation-admits-breaking-ethical-rules-by-taking-money-from-Algeria.html

Or how about any e-mails sent to Mike Morell at CIA, or even worse magically only showing up on CIA computers during the Benghazi investigation?

“(Senator) Graham, along with his two Republican colleagues, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, have been outspoken advocates of a special investigation, because they say then-acting director of the CIA Mike Morell misled them about his role in crafting the so-called media talking points that blamed an opportunistic protest gone awry for the assault. “

Of course, Clinton loyalists will try and do their best.

However, they cannot control the thinking of House Members and those Senators up for reelection with their name in the “D” column. These serious men and women may finally be looking for a severance from all things Clinton especially after reading such a nasty comment by Paul Begala, his statement is not a rational or thoughtful confidence builder:

“Voters do not give a shit. They do not even give a fart… Find me one persuadable voter who agrees with HRC on the issues but will vote against her because she has a non-archival-compliant email system and I’ll kiss your ass in Macy’s window and say it smells like roses.”

Another group in conflict because of uncertainty are the big money donors, some of whom are probably tired of the never ending Clinton shake down, or even well-motivated donors who may see it as a terrible failed investment because they do not know what they don’t know.

But first and foremost in this time of daily breaking news, both Bill and Hillary Clinton most definitely do not control what President Obama and his Chicago outfit can and will do with Law Enforcement.

Both Clintons, Obama Administration political appointees and all Democrat Pols cannot be sure what will happen in the future.

The possibility exists that hard evidence of high level conspiracies and obstruction of justice by many parties may be handed to a new Republican President in 2016.

Lawyer bills in DC are very high.

There is now a fuse lit that can possibly blow up the Democrat Party in 2016 if Hillary Rodham Clinton is their Presidential Candidate.

Do they want to chance betting the future of their Party to defend the Clintons “just” one more time?

This issue cannot be kicked down the road especially not now with both House and Senate involved with focus and power.

This quickly festering issue best be addressed and the sooner the better.

As a former political appointee of President Reagan I actually hope The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton is given the honor of being their Party’s Candidate in 2016.

It will be fun to see how it all turns out and Election Day 2016, will be a Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night” moment.

 

 

 

The Prime Minister of Israel Addresses Congress: A Just War in the Second Nuclear Age

The Prime Minister of Israel has addressed a joint session of Congress and outlined the nature of the Iranian threat in the second nuclear age.  He provided a clear statement of how he sees the challenges and provided a solid foundation for questioning whether the Iranian state was really interested in a negotiation that removed the Iranian nuclear threat.

Put in simple terms, negotiation for negotiations sake without removing a threat only provides grounds for a second nuclear age aspirant to acquire nuclear weapons.

In effect, this is what the PM argued.

And what has been the Obama Administration response, other than providing a cold shoulder to the Prime Minister?

“The prime minister didn’t offer any viable alternatives,” Mr. Obama said.

Put in other terms, if you believe that only a negotiation — any negotiation — is the path to victory, then a head of a nation most directly threatened by a nuclear Iran can only suggest a new negotiating stance?

This circular logic is precisely what the PM believes will lead to the emergence of Iranian nuclear state.

The New York Times Editorial Board also missed the point of the speech completely:

“He offered no new insight on Iran and no new reasons to reject the agreement being negotiated with Iran by the United States and five other major powers to constrain Iran’s nuclear program.”

Israel is a sovereign state directly threatened by Iran and is not a party to the negotiations.

Why do they de facto have to accept it?

And there is a broader question of whether the Arab states involved in the current air campaign against ISIL are any more enthusiastic than Israel about the agreement being brokered without their direct involvement.

Simply put: how can an agreement negotiated over the heads of Israel, or the GCC states for that matter, determine what they will then do if they believe Iran is about to become a nuclear power?

“There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know” attributed to Jonathon Swift.

In effect, the Prime Minister was reminding his audience of what “they already knew” about Iran and what the Administration is conveniently forgetting.

It was a very powerful speech with full transparency to the US Congress, the American people and the world.

In effect, Prime Minister Netanyahu laid down the predicates for the ethical and moral construct of action under “The Just War Theory”.

“Just war theory (jus bellum iustum) is a doctrine, also referred to as a tradition, of military ethics studied by theologians, ethicists, policy makers, and military leaders. The purpose of the doctrine is to ensure war is morally justifiable through a series of criteria, all of which must be met for a war to be considered just. The criteria are split into two groups: “the right to go to war’’ (jus ad bellum) and ‘’right conduct in war’’ (jus in bello). The first concerns the morality of going to war and the second with moral conduct within war.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_war_theory

He described, not told, the history of both Jewish survival-often a very near thing-and Iranian deadly aggression against Israel, the US and many innocents who are being targeted worldwide.

He presented “-jus ad bellium;” The right to go to war.

The President of the United States a Harvard trained lawyer must surly know the “Test for Relevant Evidence”:

Evidence is relevant if:

(a) it has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence; and

(b) the fact is of consequence in determining the action.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rule_401

Prime Minister Netanyehu addressed the most powerful Legislative Body in the World and with sound irrefutable judgment presented the facts under the first guiding principle of a Just War.

The case for Israel doing what it may need to do for its very survival is now made.

Future events that may lead to a combat strike on Iran by the Israeli Air Force are yet to be determined, and may never come to pass.

However, the hard evidence has been presented, and that Mr President is what is new in the debate:

We’re an ancient people.

In our nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people.

Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we’ll read the Book of Esther.

We’ll read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago.

But a courageous Jewish woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against their enemies.

Iran’s founding document pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad.

And as states are collapsing across the Middle East, Iran is charging into the void to do just that.

Prime Minister Netanyahu listed very specific examples of Iran doing actual harm to Israel, America and innocents around the world and making no apologies.

In fact the Iranian position is the exact opposite it is bold defiance in stating they want to kill all Jews.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology.

He tweets that Israel must be annihilated — he tweets.

You know, in Iran, there isn’t exactly free Internet.

But he tweets in English that Israel must be destroyed. 

After presenting irrefutable evidence of Iran’s previous actions and future quest to destroy Israel the PM stated:

“We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation and terror.”

Echoes from history under the US Capital dome about very specific justification rang out to the world.

On an unseasonable cold day in early March in Washington DC just like President Roosevelt’s stating that December 7th is “a day that will live in infamy,” an historic speech was given.

FDR

Or just like Winston Churchill addressing Congress in World War II

“By singleness of purpose, by steadfastness of conduct, by tenacity and endurance, such as we have so far displayed, by these, and only by these, can we discharge our duty to the future of the world and to the destiny of man”.

The Prime Minister of a nation under threat of annihilation gave his country the right to go to war.

Churchill

The second pillar of a Just War , it’s conduct, was also presented for all to see.

The conduct of a war by Israel, if necessary, went way beyond “all rhetoric, no action.”

An anonymous White House official gave a pretty stern, if anonymous, quote to CNN’s Jake Tapper, telling him that the speech offered “literally, not one new idea,” and was “all rhetoric, no action.

The anonymous White House Official who made such an ignorant comment obviously never served in the military.

It is very simple, the conduct of the war “jus in bello,” is that the Prime Minister announced to the world a target list.

The Obama Administration and their enablers repeating White House “spin” or talking points fail to see that Israel reserves the right to destroy infrastructure and are not specifically targeting humans.

If the IDF flies people in the Middle East will die, some innocents.

But the focus unlike Iran and their surrogates killing Jews because they are Jewish will be directed at facilities.

His car and plane analogy tell the world that:

Well, nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn’t get you very much.

A racecar driver without a car can’t drive.

A pilot without a plan can’t fly.

Without thousands of centrifuges, tons of enriched uranium or heavy water facilities, Iran can’t make nuclear weapons.

The car and plane analogy works perfectly in targeting technology not the driver or pilot 

Without making any of this a religious war, the Just War theory comes from one of the great theologians in history St Augustine and is described in his epic work “The City of God,” and are perfectly captured in a Catholic Education essay, “Moral Clarity in a Time of War” by George Weigel:

International terrorism of the sort we have seen since the late 1960s, and of which we had a direct national experience on September 11, 2001, is a deliberate assault, through the murder of innocents, on the very possibility of order in world affairs.

That is why the terror networks must be dismantled or destroyed.

The peace of order is also under grave threat when vicious, aggressive regimes acquire weapons of mass destruction weapons that we must assume, on the basis of their treatment of their own citizens, these regimes will not hesitate to use against others.

That is why there is a moral obligation to ensure that this lethal combination of irrational and aggressive regimes, weapons of mass destruction, and credible delivery systems does not go unchallenged.

That is why there is a moral obligation to rid the world of this threat to the peace and security of all. Peace, rightly understood, demands it.

Obama, and all his spinning enablers by saying -“nothing new” and asserting that” negotiations are the only game.” missed the real message.

They do understand “never again” but now the moral and ethical justification for action to enforce “never again” has been expressed by the Prime Minister of Israel with full transparency.

“The greatest dangers facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons.”

Note: The Israeli government has been very clear about the Iranian threat for a considerable period of time and sees this as both enabling and arming militant Islam.

A particularly clear statement was made by the Israeli Finance Minister last year and we published this article highlighting that presentation.

nformation War is of growing significance in determining the outcomes of conflicts and their global impacts.

Because most of what we know is second hand, and the internet and images are proliferating rapidly and manipulated by those who wish to shape a message, fighting in the world of images and words is an increasingly important part of 21st century conflict.

IW is a key non-kinetic element to prevailing in conflict.

In this powerful speech by Israel’s Finance Minister Yair Lapid, which was delivered at Platform 17 in Berlin on August 20, 2014 in Memory of Holocaust Victims, the Minister addresses the IW challenge.

The key point is remembering the Holocaust Victims; both Jewish and Non-Jewish is important.

But fighting evil in the modern world even more so.

What follows are excerpts from the presentation which highlight the IW challenge:

Our moral test is not taking place in a sterile laboratory or upon the philosophers’ page.

In the past weeks the moral test put before us has taken place during intense fighting.

Thousands of rockets were fired at our citizens and armed terrorists dug tunnels next to kindergartens with the aim of killing or kidnapping our children.

Anyone who criticizes us must ask themselves one question: “What would you do if someone came to your child’s school with a gun in their hand and started shooting?”

Hamas, as opposed to us, wants to kill Jews. Young or old, men or women, soldiers or civilians. They see no difference, because for them we are not people. We are Jews and that is reason enough to murder us.

Our moral test, even under these circumstances, is to continue to distinguish between enemies and innocents. Every time a child in Gaza dies it breaks my heart. They are not Hamas, they are not the enemy, they are just children.

There for Israel is the first country in military history that informs its enemy in advance where and when it will attack, so as to avoid civilian causalities. Israel is the only country that transfers food and medication to its enemy while the fighting continues. Israel is the only country where pilots abandon their mission because they see civilians on the ground. And despite it all, children die, and children are not supposed to die.

Here in Europe, and elsewhere in the world, people sit in their comfortable homes, watching the evening news, and tell us that we are failing the test. Why? Because in Gaza people suffer more. They don’t understand – or don’t want to understand – that the suffering of Gaza is the main tool of evil. When we explain to them, time after time, that Hamas uses the children of Gaza as human shields, that Hamas intentionally places them in the firing line, to ensure they die, that Hamas sacrifices the lives of the young to win its propaganda war, people refuse to believe it. Why? Because they cannot believe that human beings – human beings who look like them and sound like them – are capable of behaving that way. Because good people always refuse to recognize the totality of evil until it’s too late.

Time after time we ask ourselves why people in the world prefer to blame us when the facts so clearly indicate otherwise. Across the world fanatic Muslims are massacring other Muslims. In Syria, in Iraq, in Libya, in Nigeria more children are killed in a week than they die in Gaza in a decade. Every week, women are raped, homosexuals are hung and Christians are beheaded. The world watches, offers its polite condemnation, and returns obsessively to condemning Israel for fighting for our lives.

http://www.idfblog.com/hamas/2012/01/21/hamas-propaganda/

Some of the criticism stems from anti-Semitism. It has raised its ugly head once more. To those people we say: we will fight you everywhere. The days when Jews ran away from you are over. We will not be silent in the face of anti-Semitism and we expect every government, in every country, to stand shoulder to shoulder with us and fight this evil with us.

Other critics, perhaps more enlightened in their own eyes, prefer to blame only us for what happens in Gaza because they know we are the only ones who listen. They prefer to focus their anger upon us not in spite of but because we are committed to the same human values which Hamas rejects – compassion for the weak, rationality, protection of gay people, of women rights, of the freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

Let us not fool ourselves. Evil is here. It is around us. It seeks to hurt us.

Fundamentalist Islam is an ultimate evil, and like the evil which came before it learnt how to use all our tools against us: Our TV cameras, our international organizations, our commissions of inquiry and our legal system. Just as terror uses rockets and suicide bombers, it uses our inability to accept that someone would sacrifice the children of their people just to get a supportive headline or an eye-catching photograph.

Standing here, in this place, I want to say clearly – that the leaders of Hamas, an anti-western, anti-Semitic terrorist organization cannot be safe while they continue to target innocent civilians. Just as every European leader would do, just as the United States did with Osama Bin Laden, so we will pursue every leader of Hamas.

This is the evil which we all face and Israel stands at the front. Europe must know, if we will fail to stop them, they will come for you. We must do everything to avoid suffering and the death of innocents but we stand in the right place from which to say to the entire world: We will not board the train again. We will protect ourselves from total evil.

Also see the following: http://www.sldinfo.com/isis-and-information-war-shaping-the-battlespace/

 

 

 

 

 

Stop the Noise: Awaiting the Israeli Prime Minister’s Speech to the US Congress

The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, has invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to speak before a Joint Session of Congress.

This invitation came on the heels of President Obama’s State of the Union speech in which he threatened to veto any legislation sanctioning Iran.

Many argue that the failure to inform the White House prior to issuing the invitation is a serious breach of protocol and that the speech should be shelved.

However, The Washington Post has done a very good job in bringing clarity to the process of the initial invitation, and made reference to a correction for the record in the original New York Times reporting on the issue of how the invitation was reported.

Correction: January 30, 2015

An earlier version of this article misstated when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel accepted Speaker John A. Boehner’s invitation to address Congress.

He accepted after the administration had been informed of the invitation, not before.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/02/08/did-the-obama-administration-lie-about-netanyahu/

It is no secret that President Obama is not a fan of Bibi Netanyahu, nor a staunch supporter of the state of Israel.

The Speaker of the House and the Israeli Prime Minister. Credit Photo: US News and World Report

The Speaker of the House and the Israeli Prime Minister. Credit Photo: US News and World Report

So why do some American Jewish leaders feel it their duty to oppose the speech?

The Democrat constituencies who voted for Obama, twice, seem unwilling to believe that President Obama is not the supporter of Israel they hoped he would be. American Jews should applaud Speaker Boehner for enabling the Israeli Prime Minister to articulate to the American people, as only he can, the threat all democracies face.  Put politics to the side, the threat of Iran getting a nuclear device is very real.

A core principle of Jewish learning is an emphasis on questioning and dialogue.

Discussing and arguing is in the Jewish DNA.

It is an important way that knowledge is acquired.  At this moment in history, with Jews facing growing anti-Semitism worldwide, and mounting Islamic terrorism, now would be a good time just to stop arguing and give everyone the chance to listen to the Israeli Prime Minister.

If the Israeli electorate wishes to debate internally that is another matter.

The Israeli Prime Minister has been offered a powerful podium to make his case about the gathering danger, not just for Israel, but the Middle East, Europe and America.

The threat from Iran is that serious.

Unfortunately, the Obama White House attacked all involved in the invitation, and some interest groups are leveraging the issue to their own political and fundraising advantage. Criticism of Israel by Obama supporters is spilling over to the wider American electorate, the last thing that Israel needs.

Surely American Jews should not feel they must choose between supporting our President versus supporting Israel as some are trying to parse the issue. 

Moreover, President Obama does not need to have his honor defended; the record shows he is not now the insulted party.  In fact his Administration has used this as an opportunity to make very nasty personal attacks against the elected leader of a free country. Any fissure among Jews is likely a source of great delight for him and his political operatives, especially, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, some of whom are piling on against the speech as if it is a personal affront to the President.

The hullaballoo over protocol distracts from the serious concerns about a threatening situation in the Middle East.

Creating a rift in the Jewish community with the leader of the only democracy in the Middle East is a gift to Israel’s enemies, who are the very same enemies of the United States. As the only democratic bulwark in a very dangerous neighborhood, Israel’s security corresponds to our own.

Not only should the Israeli Prime Minister speak, he should have the support of the American Jewish Community.

So it is way past time to stop the bickering and focus on what he has to say to Congress and the American people.

Tina Silverman is the former Associate Director Mobilization Planning and Requirements/Office of the Secretary of Defense

American Sniper: Reviewing the Distractors

By J. E. (Jer) Yates

American Sniper is an excellent, extremely well directed fast -paced movie illustrating the stress and emotional impact of combat.

The attention to detail by Director Clint Eastwood is a key point in the movie. The actors perfectly capture the dark, as well as the comradery of good spirited verbal interactions among the troops in their stressful combat environment.

The move works on a very basic level of art –it shows and doesn’t tells.

It’s worldwide success also shows that even those who haven’t experienced combat or foreign military service in a War Zone will see it and take a kinder and more appreciative look at the Americans who have.

The true face of the Iraq war is seen in the brutal use of children, women and even old ladies as shields in combat.

Sadly for the American military this is nothing new.

The history of the Vietnam War shows American troops facing the same moral dilemmas of similar combat practices. “Uncle Ho” (Ho Chi Min) NVA supreme leader and NVA commander General Jiap encouraged the same tactics in their total war approach. As the movie shows such combat in Iraq captures the same stress in protecting innocents while killing a vicious enemy that the fathers and grandfathers of some of today’s warriors experienced in Vietnam

Bradley Cooper appears in a scene from "American Sniper." (Keith Bernstein / Warner Bros. Pictures)

Bradley Cooper appears in a scene from “American Sniper.” (Keith Bernstein / Warner Bros. Pictures)

The back-story in the movie of the impact and relationship with Chris Kyle, the American Sniper” with his wife and children. That part of the movie was handled honestly and with tremendous respect for both the warriors and their families who are asked to sacrifice so much.

However, many reviewers were critical of the movie and Eastwood because the main character, Chris Kyle did not fit their desired stereotype.

He wasn’t portrayed as red neck, drunk, Christian zealot or remorseful emotionally paralyzed victim and his wife as a bar room hussy.

One review reflects this viewpoint:

“If only the rest of the film were as strong and troubling as that bar scene. “

American Sniper” gins up all sorts of conflict, treating Kyle’s beady-eyed Syrian sniper counterpart, Mustafa (Sammy Sheik), as a skillful but vaguely subhuman adversary.

The climactic showdown between these two leads to Eastwood’s most shameless techniques — clichéd slow motion just when you expect it, an audience-baiting “kill” shot”…”

Actually, Mr. Phillips, Al-Qaeda and ISIS are behaving like subhuman adversaries.

But what Eastwood also captures is the fact that Chris Kyle didn’t just function as a Sniper he lead in door to door clearing missions, urban combat sweeps.

This type of combat is universally acknowledged by infantry warriors as one of the most dangerous missions they can have on today’s battlefield.

Up-close and personal engagements in urban environments are stressful and very deadly.

For those who want to trivialize that, try going into building or apartment where a highly armed and fanatical murderer or rapist is lurking and compute your chances of escape and survival.

In launching an attack on the movie some try to denigrate Chris because of a very murky barroom engagement between Kyle and Jesse Ventura.

Even if true it could easily add up to a PTSD event. And of course that has nothing to do with his documented combat service and valor.

The movie stands the test of combat accuracy in principle.

Reviewer Phillips and Filmmaker Michael Moore, who said snipers are cowards, have once again demonstrated that they are propagandists who will personally denigrate anyone they disagree with.

Some critics are even making disparaging comments about his widowed wife as they hide behind their smartphone tweets and computer keyboards.

Most critics certainly have no record in combat yet they are quoted widely as experts on what it means to be a sniper.

Any review of a movie about Chris Kyle brings us to Jesse Ventura, who successfully sued Chris Kyle, and then his estate for defamation in a barroom incident that does not need repeating.

“Jesse Ventura” was born James George Janos and served honorably in the US Navy. He was discharged as a Petty Officer Third Class (– equal to an Army Corporal, E-4)—after six years.

Yet a Wikipedia post show that he never was decorated for Valor or even Meritorious Service –and in fact never served in Combat.

“In January 2002, Ventura, who never specifically stated whether he fought in Vietnam, disclosed that he had not seen combat.

He was stationed at Subic Bay in the Philippines.

Ventura served in the United States Navy from December 1, 1969, to September 10, 1975, during the Vietnam War era.

He graduated in BUD/S class 58 in December 1970[11] and was part of Underwater Demolition Team 12[4][12].

Those teams were incorporated into the SEALS in 1983—and then only after additional SEAL Training.

Critics have used the Ventura incident to attack the legacy of the American Sniper Chris Kyle while it has nothing to do with Chris’s documented war record.

In fact as a fellow veteran I find “Ventura” pursuing Chris Kyle’s widow for damages in a civil case rather disgusting and for a fellow vet to zealously financially attack a combat decorated widow and children it is actually reprehensible.

Especially since the family now has to live through the trial of the man who killed their husband and father.

But with the movie making a very significant amounts of money, both in the US and worldwide, individuals are voting with their pocketbook that a great move has been made.

In spite of petty detractors that says it all.

The Second Nuclear Age: What Will be the Rules of Deterrence?

2014-12-15 by Robbin Laird

There is a long history and strategic culture associated with nuclear deterrence.

The question is whether the history and the culture are more of hindrance than a help into thinking about second nuclear age deterrence and warfighting?

Paul Bracken has argued persuasively that nuclear weapons have returned clearly as an agent of global influence.

What’s taking place isn’t disarmament; rather it’s nuclear modernization. 

These countries are building nuclear postures, which in their view will be suited to 21st century conditions.  They may be wrong about this, certainly.

But the larger point is that the United States effort to design a world order that was free of nuclear weapons hasn’t worked out….

Put another way, nuclear weapons have returned as a source of influence and power in the international system. 

If we go back to the earlier years of establishing “rules” of deterrence, we might recover a sense of what a new round of nuclear modernization in a multi-polar world might entail.

We can begin by understanding the context within which the US first used nuclear weapons. 

After bloody island campaigns, the voluntary suicides Marpi Point, Saipan and the bloody fight on Okinawa, and the defense of Okinawa in part by the widespread attacks on the US fleet by Kamikaze pilots, President Truman reached the conclusion that a nuclear attack made a great deal of sense.

The alternative was to face massive destruction and death on the Japanese mainland as the Japanese fought to the last man.

In other words, the US used nuclear weapons to meet a strategic purpose not well met by conventional means. 

This clearly can fit someone’s calculus today.

A kamikaze attack on a US warship during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, October 1944

A kamikaze attack on a US warship during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, October 1944

A second example was the French desperate struggle in Indochina where the French government asked President Eisenhower to use tactical nuclear weapons in helping defeat the Vietnamese Communists.

Eisenhower refused, for perfectly good reasons, but clearly made the point that nuclear weapons are a sovereign national solution, not an allied one or international one for that matter.  It is only sovereign national decisions, which raises fundamental questions as Asian allies face a persistent Chinese and Russian nuclear modernization trajectory about whether or not they too need access to nuclear weapons to defend their interests or to trigger U.S. actions in the broader alliance defense.

A third example involved the Korean War and the request by Chou En-Lai to Stalin of whether he was willing to use nuclear weapons in defense of Chinese troops in Korea if the US used tactical nuclear weapons against those troops?

The answer was a clear no and again this pointed out the limits of alliance solidarity when it came to tying war with the potential use of nuclear weapons below the strategic threshold.

These were fundamental realities of the beginnings of the first nuclear age; and after a long transformation through the Cuban Missile Crisis and into the demise of the Soviet Union, the second nuclear age might look more like the beginning of the first.

There are recent developments as well, which are triggering significant rethinks about the nuclear threshold or at least the political utility of possessing nuclear weapons.

Odyssey Dawn

First, there is Odyssey Dawn, a military attack on Gaddafi, which would be unthinkable if he had not given up nuclear weapons.

As Ed Timperlake has argued:

What lessons are other countries that are not currently directly involved learning from observing the situation?

It can also be noted that some countries without troops have the right to also kibitz from the side like Putin is currently doing, because of the Administration is using a UN Security Council imprimatur to justify the attack.

But what do other thuggish countries think and what will they do? And this is literally a life and death question.

The world now knows that when the U.S. decides the leader of a country is an “evil doer” about to stage a massacre  a forceful military attack can be justified and launched. This is the emerging “Obama Doctrine. ” Ironically, it is reinforced by the observed experience of the Bush Doctrine and the Clinton Doctrine. The goal is to stop a negative by pointing out the massacre that does not happen.

Now visualize a meeting after the U.S. Military successfully attacked both the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussain Iraq. At that table of world class thuggish leaders sits Moammar Gadhafi, Kim il Jong, the Dear Leader of North Korea, and Mahmoud Ahmadmejad of Iran. They see a huge problem –what will the Americans do next?

Gadhafi, knowing Saddam had WMD, specifically poison gas that he had used and a nuke R&D effort, decides his best course is to welcome the western nations into his country to deactivate his nuclear research and development program. The Dear Leader of North Korea leaves their meeting and shows the world that he has credible nuclear devices along with trying to build ICBMs. Mahmoud Ahmadejad had a choice when he left that table –he could follow the lead of the Libyan leader or play catch up to the Dear Leader.

With the attack on Libya, the Obama Administration has just made Kim il Jong look like a strategic genius. It also totally confirmed a lesson learned to the Iranian Leadership. The lesson is the only thing that can stop the Obama Administration deciding, with no U.S. Congressional notification, to attack a sovereign nation, is credible WMD.  Iranian leaders must now quickly double down on their belief that they need credible deterrence against an attack.

The Russian Seizure of Ukraine

Second, there is the Russian seizure of Crimea, which is a direct violation of agreements signed by the United States and the United Kingdom.

What remains of the non-proliferation treaty and its value when a state gives up its nuclear weapons in return for a promise of the protection of its territorial integrity by so doing?

When one produces the academic reader for the Second Nuclear Age in about 15 years, this action by Russia will have its own chapter as a stepping stone to a new era. With Russian actions in Crimea, the agreement seems to be going the way of Kellogg-Briand Pact signed in 1928 to abolish war.

In fact, the collapse of the agreement in the face of Russian seizure of Crimea is a key lesson learned for states regarding nuclear weapons: if you have go them keep them; if you don’t have them you might want to get them to prevent “aggression” against your interests.

In an agreement signed in 1994, Ukraine gave up its access to nuclear weapons in part for security assurances he United States, Russia and Britain would provide security assurances to Ukraine, such as to respect its independence and to refrain from economic coercion. Those assurances were formally conveyed in the Budapest Memorandum of Security Assurances signed in December 1994.

In an agreement signed in 1994, Ukraine gave up its access to nuclear weapons in part for security assurances he United States, Russia and Britain would provide security assurances to Ukraine, such as to respect its independence and to refrain from economic coercion. Those assurances were formally conveyed in the Budapest Memorandum of Security Assurances signed in December 1994.

In a clear example of reverse historical logic whereby the “banning” of war by states in in the Kellogg-Briand created the preconditions for a clear marker for the return of war, the Russian seizure of Crimea has ripped apart a key agreement which was designed to reduce the risks of nuclear proliferation.

And being denigrated, such an agreement not only appears worthless but makes clear that proliferation will be viewed in a desirable manner by aspiring nuclear states.

Clearly, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was facilitated by Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons.

The agreement crafted by the United States and the UK to guarantee the territorial integrity of Ukraine if it gave up its nuclear weapons was as worthless as the Munich agreement of 1938.

This will have lasting consequences for the Second Nuclear Age.

At an event celebrating the Non Proliferation Treaty hosted by Kazhkhstan, arms controller Rose Gottemoeller, the current Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security was asked about the impact of not honoring this agreement.

She sidestepped the issue and told the audience that we still have the START agreement and that we needed to work with the Russians.

Nicely avoiding the point is a rather brutal fact: if the Russians who signed the Ukraine agreement honored it as much as did the US and the UK — which is to say not at all — why does the START agreement matter?

Put bluntly, agreements and words do not matter a great deal when you can invade the country you have the agreement with and reset the agenda.

The question really is HOW you work with the Russians which matters.

Iran and the ISIL Crisis

Third, there is the Iranian stake in the acquisition of nuclear weapons, which may well be facilitated and abetted by the preoccupation of the West with regard to the ISIL crisis.

As Dr. Amatzia Baram put it in an interview earlier this year with us:

Question: We have discussed Iran in passing with regard to the GCC states, but obviously Iran has a big stake in the crisis as well.

Baram: They do.

And one of the ironies of the current situation is that American policy against ISIL actually helps Iran.

Baghdad is now mostly an Iranian issue, more so than an American one.

You have to be aware of what America is doing.

America is getting Iran out of trouble by helping the government of Baghdad to push the ISIS back.

You are serving Iranian interests, not just yours.

So I’m not against it, as long as you understand what you are doing.

Iran will allow you to save it from ISIS, and in return they want you to allow them to continue to develop nuclear weapons.

Question: The ISIL crisis and its ongoing consequences will affect the great powers outside of the region as well; how do you see the stance of the major players?

Baram: With regard to Russia, they have little concern about Iran having nuclear weapons.

The Russians see this from the perspective of their conviction that they can unilaterally counter an Iranian nuclear threat effectively.

But what they have not calculated well is what others are going to do.

After Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and very likely also Turkey will acquire nukes.

A multi-player nuclear crisis is extremely difficult to control.

Even a nuclear war between Iran and Israel alone is dangerous for neighboring Russia, and one should bear in mind that unlike the Cuban missile crisis, there is no direct communication between Teheran and Jerusalem to provide key elements for negotiation as a crisis unfolds.

What does deterrence mean to Tehran as opposed to an old nuclear power like the United States or Russia?

How would a crisis management emerge that could manage these two very different poles?

And if Iran were to have access to nuclear weapons, notably with the onslaught of ISIL,or another similar anti-Shi`i movement, the use of nuclear weapons cannot be ruled out, and all this in close proximity to Russia.

 In other words, second nuclear age issues are part and parcel of regional conflicts even if they are not the dominant motif.

There are part of the changing calculus of key players with regard to the role which nuclear weapons can play with regard to protecting or projecting one’s interests.

In the case of Iran, clearly the possession of nuclear weapons is perceived as part of a regional power projection strategy as they would understand it.

By possessing nuclear weapons, the sanctity of Iranian territory is preserved from which actions within other countries in the region can be encouraged without fear of reprisals against Iranian territory through traditional conventional means.

North Korea and Going After the Dear Leader

A fourth example is clearly the evolution of North Korea and the question of what happens if war comes.

Unfortunately, for many strategists the North Korea of today is perceived as fighting the last war with a wave of conventional forces coming South.

This ignores not only the possession of nuclear weapons and missiles by the North, and the very isolated regime which will have its own calculus on war which will have to be affected by minutes and hours not days of actions by the UN, the South Koreans and the United States.

One way to let the North know that the US recognizes the new realities of the Second Nuclear Age is to change the command structure

It makes no sense to have an Army officer in charge of US forces in South Korea; it is time to have an Air Force officer in charge and directly focused on the capability of the US and the allies to strike North rapidly and effectively in the very early moments of the coming of war.

n spite of a fantasy of a nuclear free world , the reality is that nuclear weapons are becoming a more important element in the world. Iran is close to having nuclear weapons, and the Israelis and the conservative Arab States are shaping policies to deal with Iran. North Korea and China are two key nuclear powers able to shape a fluid environment because of those weapons.

In spite of a fantasy of a nuclear free world , the reality is that nuclear weapons are becoming a more important element in the world. Iran is close to having nuclear weapons, and the Israelis and the conservative Arab States are shaping policies to deal with Iran. North Korea and China are two key nuclear powers able to shape a fluid environment because of those weapons. 

It is not about the US Army defending South Korea in depth; it is about the South Koreans doing that and the US and allied air, naval and army air defense systems integrated in a strike and defense enterprise than can defeat North Korea’s missile and strike force.

Ironically, the ghost of McArthur has returned: in the case of war, there is no substitute for victory, but this time it is against a Second Nuclear Age power.

The current 7th USAF commander, Lt. General Jouas, put the challenge this way:

Question: You are sitting in a theater which is characterized by what Paul Bracken has referred to as a second nuclear age power facing you directly. This is not 1954, and one cannot assume that if conflict unfolds that the “Dear Leader” will follow a ladder of escalation approach. How does this affect your thinking about and approach to the theater?

Lt. General Jouas: We have a tough problem with North Korea, obviously. You have to understand that this is a different type of adversary with capabilities that concern us, and we need the best tools possible in order to contend with it.

We should not mirror image when we consider the North Korean nuclear strategy.

North Korea has seen what happened in Libya, and with Gaddafi, and that’s reinforced their strategy.

And while this may be a North Korean problem right now, there’s a strong possibility it won’t remain so. And that creates real danger to our allies and our homeland. We have to think about a world in which we have more than one North Korea, in which those capabilities are held by other nations whose interests and strategy are very different from ours.

PRC Nuclear Modernization and Power Projection

A fifth example is clearly the conjunction of the Chinese nuclear buildup with their nuclear modernization.

Because of their nuclear modernization, the Chinese are clearly working to protect their territory against classic conventional strikes and by so doing, then providing bases from which to then project power in the region.

Yet amazingly this conjunction is blown by in analyses that simply assert that the US needs a long range strike force to go after Chinese territory.

Such a strategy is based on an implied belief that the Chinese will accept a conventional phase before any nuclear response if an adversary strikes its territory. 

This is an assumption, but precisely an assumption.

Paul Bracken's book on the Second Nuclear Age has introduced a rethink of some fundamental questions.

Paul Bracken’s book on the Second Nuclear Age has introduced a rethink of some fundamental questions. 

There is no wishing this away, but clearly many precisely do this.

The basic bottom line is that the Chinese are clearly trying to extend reach from a more secure homeland base. 

And they’re doing this in a couple of different ways; one way is building their nuclear deterrent by having a more survivable force hidden in tunnels and deployed via mobile systems.

And at the same time, they are building what is referred to as anti-access, anti-denial capabilities, which at this point in history, is largely is an extension of the homeland.

They are trying to secure the area from which they can operate over time.

This provides them then with a base; the policy is based on the concept that adversaries will accept the sanctuary and demonstrate a lack of interest or capability in intruding into the sanctuary.

It forms the basis for projection power further into the Pacific and the South China Sea up into Japanese waters, up to the Arctic and towards the Malacca Straits and further south.

In short, the work of Dr. Bracken and the essays, which we have written to extend some of his analysis on our Second Line of Defense Forum on the Second Nuclear Age, is designed to think about the challenges; and not wish them away.

As Bracken puts it:

The larger danger for the United States is a narrow framing of the nuclear problem. 

As an example of this, the belief that all that is needed is a second strike capacity against Russia or China is an extremely narrow framing of the strategic problem.

It overlooks crisis management, provocations, escalation and counter escalation, communication and bargaining, and political perceptions of nuclear equality.

For the United States dealing with other country’s nuclear forces may best be done with our non-nuclear forces.

But the specific ways of doing this need to be worked out and linked to our nuclear strategy.

The band of possibilities here is much wider than in the cold war, and that’s why better scenarios are needed.

There are so many countries with nuclear weapons now, and technologies that can be used to attack them.

The approach used in the cold war was to separate conventional and nuclear options, and to strategically link them using a framework of escalation.   The old escalation ladder flagged the major thresholds, and this allowed political and military leaders to strategize in the same framework.  That wasn’t a bad solution.

But things are a lot more complicated now.

 

Thinking About a Second Nuclear Age: Shaping a Way Ahead

A turn in attitudes about nuclear weapons is taking place. 

There is a growing realization that we are entering a multipolar nuclear world.  Despite pious U.S. appeals to other countries to give up nuclear arms, this isn’t happening.  And there’s little sign that it will anytime soon.

New missile and other weapons in Russia and China, continued nuclear programs in Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, and Israel, and India’s nuclear triad are hard to square with the conviction that the world is marching toward some kind of global disarmament regime.

What’s taking place isn’t disarmament; rather it’s nuclear modernization. 

These countries are building nuclear postures, which in their view will be suited to 21st century conditions.  They may be wrong about this, certainly.

But the larger point is that the United States effort to design a world order that was free of nuclear weapons hasn’t worked out. 

Even as the United States fought a war in Iraq to forestall it’s nuclear program, and even as it has declared that a nuclear weapon free global order was beginning, the powerful fact is that sovereign nations make their own choices.  Trying to discourage or overturn these choices is exceedingly difficult.

Put another way, nuclear weapons have returned as a source of influence and power in the international system. 

There are some fundamental questions we need to ask about this second nuclear age.  One of the most basic is whether or not it is possible to even live in such a world.  Crises and shocks could develop that major powers would find intolerable.  We are talking about nuclear weapons here.  This isn’t like some terrorist attack that kills three-thousand people.

It’s a capacity to annihilate an entire country in a day.  Major powers might find that certain possibilities are simply too dangerous to tolerate — and act accordingly with their powerful forces, conventional and nuclear.

Below the level of nuclear war, i.e. where someone fires nuclear weapons, crises much more dangerous than the Cuban Missile Crisis are easily imaginable. 

Indeed they are quite readily imaginable.  And this is the point.  It’s time to start doing just that, to begin to think about the shocks and crises of a nuclear world.

I can suggest three ways to approach this problem.  They share a common theme.

The United States needs to build intellectual capital about a multipolar nuclear world.  This is a tall order.  There’s going to be serious resistance to even beginning to think about such things.  It will look to some as if the United States has given up on the promise of a nuclear weapon free world.  The argument will be made that it contradicts the dream of disarmament.

This is where the turn in attitudes is important.  Both U.S. elite and mass opinion has changed.

As people look at Russia and China, and all of the others they know that the time has come to again do some serious thinking about this subject, no matter how distasteful it is.

Here are three suggestions to advance our understanding of how to manage the risks in this second nuclear age:

First, is to recognize that since the end of the cold war the United States has grown careless when it comes to nuclear weapons. 

The Air Force, for example, has had a number of embarrassing mishaps with nuclear arms and personnel problems in this area.  Yet something far deeper has been happening than merely a breakdown in procedure.  The procedures are being fixed, but this isn’t the hard part of the problem.

The United States has left its nuclear forces to rot, both technologically and intellectually.  Every study that has examined the Air Force mishaps of recent years has reached this conclusion.

The problem isn’t in the force, at least, it’s not only there.

At the top of the DoD there’s been little thinking about the nuclear forces. 

More, there’s been a hope in some political quarters that allowing the force to disintegrate is a viable path toward a nuclear free future.  At some point, the argument goes, nuclear weapons will simply disappear.

But thinking about nuclear weapons hasn’t atrophied — not in North Korea, Pakistan, India, China, Russia, Iran, or Israel. 

I would add Britain and France to this list, as I’m continually impressed by discussions with experts in London and Paris who have actually thought through what they expect of their nuclear deterrents in the 21st century.  (There’s actually quite a lot the United States can learn from them.)

The good news is that the carelessness problem is easy to fix once political sentiments recognize that we are not rushing into some new non-nuclear global order.

That time is now.

There is bipartisan support in the Congress for recognizing that sloppy thinking in this area is dangerous, and that even more dangerous is to operate in a world where enemies and rivals are modernizing their nuclear arms for the 21st century — while we are not.

University and think tank centers are changing their attitudes as well.

My prediction is that we are going to have a vigorous debate in this country about the future shape of the nuclear posture and about how precision strike, cyber warfare, drones, and other weapons fit in to the challenge of dealing with other nation’s nuclear forces.

Second, we need to broaden the range of the scenarios considered.

People often argue against using what they declare are unlikely, fanciful scenarios.

The larger danger for the United States is a narrow framing of the nuclear problem. 

As an example of this, the belief that all that is needed is a second strike capacity against Russia or China is an extremely narrow framing of the strategic problem.

It overlooks crisis management, provocations, escalation and counter escalation, communication and bargaining, and political perceptions of nuclear equality.

For the United States dealing with other country’s nuclear forces may best be done with our non-nuclear forces.

But the specific ways of doing this need to be worked out and linked to our nuclear strategy.

The band of possibilities here is much wider than in the cold war, and that’s why better scenarios are needed.

There are so many countries with nuclear weapons now, and technologies that can be used to attack them.

The approach used in the cold war was to separate conventional and nuclear options, and to strategically link them using a framework of escalation.   The old escalation ladder flagged the major thresholds, and this allowed political and military leaders to strategize in the same framework.  That wasn’t a bad solution.

But things are a lot more complicated now.

That’s why more scenarios are needed, to get these complications and differences out on the table for open discussion.

Finally, there is a significant role in this nuclear rethink for the professional military colleges and institutes.

The services are going to be asked about these issues, what weapons to buy and what strategies to use.  The military has the ultimate responsibility for U.S. national security.  The service leaders are certain to be asked about these matters by Congress.

In short, the military has to restore the thought leadership it once had on where nuclear weapons fit in. 

This includes how other countries see nuclear arms in their own strategy.

The logical place for this kind of thinking is the professional military education system, at places such as the Air, Naval, and Army War Colleges and institutes.

The military should not cede the debate about nuclear strategy to universities or think tanks.  It’s too important for that.

Nuclear strategy is fundamental to U.S. strategy for the simple reason major powers have these weapons. 

If the United States doesn’t have a flexible, reliable nuclear posture it can’t deal effectively with other countries who do.  It is the ultimate vulnerability that shapes other security choices.  It’s also an issue that if we get wrong can change the world to our disadvantage.

What’s needed is a diversity of opinion and judgment.

A mistake can have catastrophic consequences because there isn’t any do over when it comes to nuclear weapons and international order.

Deliberative arguments and thinking are needed, and we can’t make up for this in a crisis.

The time to take on this challenge is now.