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.

 

What Will the Lasting Legacy of a Sad Day in Ferguson Missouri?

Thus speakith a Washington Post Headline: “The saga of Shawn Parcells, the uncredited forensics ‘expert’ in the Michael Brown case.”

In the article The Post reporter points out:

“Cable news is more about stoking biases and inflaming partisans than about informing viewers.…

And bias is part of the problem as well. Highly-charged, emotional stories continue to produce some strikingly unskeptical reporting, particularly stories that include a racial/political component..”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/12/02/the-saga-of-shawn-parcells-the-uncredited-forensics-expert-in-the-michael-brown-case/?hpid=z2

No truer words were ever spoken.

However let’s not let the Main Stream Media (MSM) off the hook as compared to “Cable News.”

Many will say the same about the so called MSM after a lot of their silliness with their often reporting of opinion as fact in stories “above the fold”, which is shorthand for great prominence.

No similar words have capture the same shorthand focus for electronically presented “prominent” news.

One can speculate that the breathless Gong! Gong! “Fox News Alert” could be considered the equivalent of “above the fold.”

However, as all know reading venues the broad diversity of sources available on line  that there is good news in this 21st Century information revolution.

The internet is ever expanding to give reader access to many different sources of both fact and opinion passing as opinion.

But there is also hope for the MSM because it is important to acknowledge and commend the Washington Post in that they are trying to correct the Ferguson record that was poisoned by a lying self-serving ignorant fabulist.

In the history of bad events of US racial incidents, the fact that the Post published a picture of the fabulist with his hands in the air is a real service.

The erroneous narrative of the events that day, “Hands-up” in Missouri have even made it onto the playing fields of the NFL, shame on them, and into the Well of the US House of Representatives. Those are sad displays for all Americans.

Now it is time for some historical context by looking back at two other racially focused events in our modern media reporting.

Both of these events have given birth to rather uniquely American media personalities and very strange narratives.

The famous OJ Trial begot today’s Kardashian T&A show:

She( Kim Kardasian) added: ‘Every night I would sit in the bath and cry, I prayed my boobs would stop growing. He (Robert Kardashian one of OJ’s Attorneys) told me I had a body not many girls have, that later it would lead to attention from men, but that the most important thing was that I was a wonderful girl and I had to understand my self worth.’

And the infamous Tawana Brawley case gave us Al Sharpton, advisor to President Obama.

Wiki actually gets the Brawley incident fair and balanced:

Tawana Glenda Brawley (born 1972) is an African-American woman from Wappingers Falls, New York, who gained notoriety in 1987–88 for falsely accusing six white men of having raped her.

Brawley’s accusations were given widespread media attention in part from the involvement of her advisers, including the Reverend Al Sharpton… 

After hearing evidence, a grand jury concluded in October 1988 that Brawley had not been the victim of a forcible sexual assault and that she herself may have created the appearance of an attack. 

The New York prosecutor whom Brawley had accused as one of her alleged assailants successfully sued Brawley and her three advisers for defamation.

Brawley initially received considerable support from the African-American community. Some suggested that Brawley was victimized by biased reporting that adhered to racial stereotypes. 

The mainstream media’s coverage drew heated criticism from the African-American press and many black leaders who could brook no degree of skepticism or disbelief of the teenager and her story.

The grand jury’s conclusions decreased support for Brawley and her advisers.

So just like the OJ Trail, ( great debate show-stopping question– did OJ do it?) and the fake Brawley rape case, it will be interesting to see a decade out what barking carnival act will arise from the events in Ferguson Missouri.

The other dimension especially from the OJ Trial and Cable News saturation is that several asserted facts journalists rose to national prominence.

It looks like Ferguson may create an opportunity for someone new to have lightning strike their media career.

How else can one explain the never ending pontification of panel after panel of thoughtful looking experts belaboring over and over their remarkable insights.

Don’t they just get intellectually board from repeating each other’s platitudes and insights that continue stoke the entire event? Is America doomed to see –Ferguson Day 444 etc etc.

The answer is simple when the Media stops making money by hyping an event out of proportion to simply drive ratings that increase advertising rates it will stop.

That is unless the producers and editors make a personal value judgment that it is the singular most important story in America, then it will go on and on and on.

A unique complication to the Ferguson narrative is with President Obama, who was elected to bring healing and unity on racial issues, and is now actually trying to drive the story.

A President can TRY to do that and so far he has been successful and other significantly much more important issues are “below-the-fold” or symbolically buried on inside pages or not getting enough “Gong, Gongs” on Fox News.

With specific respect to the justified Ferguson shooting in this current cauldron of media driven coverage, with many journalist taking pride in developing their “first draft of history,” the danger is that events in Ferguson that day may quickly be moving into self-serving legend over facts.

Damage to real racial problems and issues be damned false narrative full speed ahead.

But at this moment in “the first draft” process, thank you Washington Post for reporting, the truth is the truth! In our free market society with a vibrant first Amendment that is how it should work.

So the simple question for our nation is will the truth be accurately be reported and accepted.

And with an eye to the future, will Ferguson eventually devolve into its own version of the Kardashians and/or create another Al Sharpton, to advise our President, YIKES!

America deserves better, or do we?

 

 

A Step Forward in Dealing with the Second Nuclear Age: The Sec Def Addresses the Nuclear Enterprise

You cannot address the challenges of the Second Nuclear Age by simply wishing away the nuclear deterrence challenge.

Nuclear deterrence has been a mission of declining focus of attention in the US strategic community.

And Secretary of Defense Hagel has determined to refocus attention on this community and to get it more resources to modernize and to refocus its attention on the evolving challenges.

As a NPR story put it in a story published November 14, 2014:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said today that the Pentagon is aiming to invest about 10 percent more over the next five years to upgrade the nation’s nuclear deterrent, following reviews that uncovered “systemic problems” in the system.

Hagel said the U.S. was “probably looking at a 10 percent increase” in spending, according to Reuters, which said internal and external reviews have made some 100 recommendations on improving the nuclear forces.

“The root cause has been lack of sustained focus, attention and resources, resulting in a pervasive sense that a career in a nuclear enterprise offers too few opportunities for growth and advancement,” the defense secretary said at a Pentagon news conference.

The Pentagon reports “are a searing indictment of how the Air Force’s and Navy’s aging nuclear weapons facilities, silos and submarine fleet have been allowed to decay since the end of the Cold War,” The New York Times writes.

According to the newspaper, inspectors over the years “ignored huge problems, including aging blast doors over 60-year-old silos that would not seal shut and, in one case, the discovery that the crews that maintain the nation’s 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles had only a single wrench that could attach the nuclear warheads.”

The Associated Press says:

“Hagel’s reviews concluded that the structure of U.S. nuclear forces is so incoherent that it cannot be properly managed in its current form, and that this problem explains why top-level officials often are unaware of trouble below them. The senior defense officials said the reviews found a ‘disconnect’ between what nuclear force leaders say and what they deliver to lower-level troops who execute the missions in the field.”

And an Air Force Times story highlighted the raising of the command level to address the nuclear challenge as well:

Hagel approved an Air Force request to raise the billet for its commander of Air Force Global Strike Command from a three-star to four-star, and the head of the service’s nuclear integration, currently a two-star, to become a three-star billet.



“Our nuclear deterrent plays a critical role in ensuring US national security and it is DoD’s highest priority mission,” Hagel told reporters on Nov. 14.

Re-focusing the attention of the USAF, the military and strategic leadership on the nuclear enterprise is the key theme of the Sec Def’s message.

The Iraq Crisis and the Second Nuclear Age

In mid-October 2014, we had a chance to discuss with Dr. Amatzia Barama leading Israeli expert on Iraq about how the ISIL crisis was much broader than simply being an Iraq crisis.

With several years of dynamic change in the region, and the failure to create a stable Iraq during the period after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, ISIL is like throwing a match into a gas can.

And the tensions in the divisions within the Middle East itself come into play and are augmented and aggravated by both responses to ISIL and the impact of success or failure in containing the impact of the ISIL movement.

The full interview can be read on our main analytical website, Second Line of Defense.

Less noticed than the beheadings of ISIL, is the determined effort of Iran to benefit from the crisis and get closer to a core objective to become a nuclear power.

It should be understood that the regime’s quest for nuclear weapons is precisely designed to build Iran into a sanctuary protected by the possession of nuclear weapons, so that power projection of the sort evidenced already in their working relationship with the Hezbollah can be facilitated.  And in the dynamics of change in the Middle East, Iran wants to be able to power project in the 21st century way in the region.

Such an effort would be facilitated by making any attack on the homeland much more risky in the shadowy world of deterrence in the Second Nuclear Age when the have and can build up an arsenal.

In the following excerpt from out interview, Dr. Baram discusses the nuclear dimension embedded in the crisis:

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.

 

Ukraine as a Stepping Stone for the Second Nuclear Age

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.

Ed Timperlake and I recently looked back at Reagan and the Russians and asked nostalgically: how would Reagan have dealt with Putin?

This question is central because Putin learned his way ahead under the press events associated with the Euro Missile crisis which occurred under President Reagan and now he has his own version of the Euro Missile crisis and is working on President Obama.

Putin has continuity; Obama does not.

We argued in that op ed:

This week, national security experts and policy leaders gather at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to discuss the state of America’s national defense. It’s a fitting setting. Thirty years ago this month, President Reagan won reelection by a landslide and then led the United States into the final phase of our Cold War victory over the Soviet Union.

If America’s 40th president were alive to see Russia’s current resurgence and its all-too-familiar policy of intimidation against Europe, he would know exactly what to do: confront the Russians with American and allied policies designed to check their ambitions across the board.

As Russian President Vladimir Putin tries to redraw the map and establish a sphere of influence through bullying his neighbors and violating their sovereignty, Western states need to rethink their policy agenda to ensure that Russia understands that aggression has a significant cost. Key Western states need to shape new strategic realities to which Russia must adjust in order not be marginalized in the global competition.

Now the Ukrainian ambassador has warned the West of the urgency of dealing with the Russians going into the winter season and preparing not for the Arab Spring but the Ukrainian one.

According to the memo sent by the Ambassador to the European Union ambassadors and dated November 12, 2014:

Please find attached copies of verbal notes of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine that were transmitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation on 6 and 11 November 2014.

Regular air reconnaissance of the territory of Ukraine, accumulation of the personnel and military equipment on certain directions, other military activities as well as rhetoric of the Russian leadership are clearly demonstrating that Russia is planning a new full- scaled offensive operation against Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

It is high time for the European Union, which is standing on guard of the European values and principles, to undertake preemptive steps towards Russia’s blatant behavior in order to prevent a bloody catastrophe ever seen in the heart of Europe in the XXI century.

A proper response to rule of power promoted by the Russian side could consist of two- track approach. Firstly, a lasting and persistent diplomatic pressure is needed to engage Russia into a genuine and result-oriented dialogue, in particular within the Geneva format that proved to be the most relevant framework for elaborating peaceful solution. Secondly, diplomatic efforts should be enforced by a new wave of restrictive measures to clearly show that all red lines have already been crossed. These measures should include both personal restrictions against those who undermine peace process as recently did Russian actor Mr. Porechenkov and economic to raise cost for Russia for its destabilizing actions.

On the other hand, Russia’s obvious goal is also to veto reform process in Ukraine to turn it into failed state. In view of this we do count on EU’s political, technical and financial support of Ukraine’s resolve to implement a wide package of reforms focusing on judicial, anti-corruption, constitutional, decentralization, law-enforcement reforms as priorities.

To conclude, Ukraine remains strongly committed to a peace process given that there is a credible partner on the other side strictly abiding by the spirit of the Minsk agreements that clearly stipulate key prerequisites for success of this process such as immediate withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukraine’s territory and restore of effective control over the border. 

And tactical nuclear weapons are almost certainly involved as well in preparing the defensive perimeter for Russia in dealing with the threat environment as they see it.

As Bill Gertz noted in a recent column,

Russia is moving tactical nuclear weapons systems into recently-annexed Crimea while the Obama administration is backing informal talks aimed at cutting U.S. tactical nuclear deployments in Europe.

Three senior House Republican leaders wrote to President Obama two weeks ago warning that Moscow will deploy nuclear missiles and bombers armed with long-range air launched cruise missiles into occupied Ukrainian territory.

“Locating nuclear weapons on the sovereign territory of another state without its permission is a devious and cynical action,” states the letter signed by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R., Calif.) and two subcommittee chairmen.

“It further positions Russian nuclear weapons closer to the heart of NATO, and it allows Russia to gain a military benefit from its seizure of Crimea, allowing Russia to profit from its action.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin in recent months “has escalated his use of nuclear threats to a level not seen since the Cold War,” they wrote.

And if one wishes simply to miss the point about Russian actions, Ukraine is part of a broader pattern as well.

As the Hudson Institute has noted:

Over the past few weeks, President Vladimir Putin—already seeking to modernize his nuclear forces in violation of the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Reduction Treaty—has moved Russia into an increasingly visible and aggressive nuclear posture.

In late August, Putin implicitly threatened to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear nations including Ukraine and the Baltic States. Moreover, while Russian strategic bombers repeatedly violate U.S. and Canadian air defense space, Putin is in the midst of establishing a naval base on the New Siberian Islands.

The second nuclear age is playing out in Ukraine, Korea, and in Iran.

The Russians are playing a leading role in reshaping the rules of the game.

It is time to pay attention.

 

 

 

Avoiding Eye Contact with Putin May Not be Enough: The Russians Expand Air Patrols in the Western Hemisphere

At the recent Asia-Pacific economic summit, both Obama and Putin were present.

Obviously, President Obama is not happy with Putin, although Putin seems to be surviving in the chill of his reception from the US President.

The latest Obama Administration tool in the fight: avoid eye contact!

According to a piece by Josh Lederman of the AP:

Picturesque Yanqi Lake, just outside of Beijing, became the venue for an awkward pas de deux between two of the most powerful leaders in the world. Entering an ornate, wood-paneled room for the start of the summit, Obama and Putin looked a bit like sidekicks to Chinese President Xi Jinping. The summit’s host led the way, with the American on one side and the Russian on the other.

It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Putin said in Obama’s direction. Yes, it is, concurred a reticent Obama, avoiding eye contact with Putin and addressing his response to no one in particular.

As the three presidents came to a stop at the head of the table, Putin reached out to give Obama a slap on the back. But Obama had turned in a different direction, and it didn’t appear that the Putin’s hand landed on its intended target.

A few hours later, the two again found themselves in close quarters under an overcast sky as leaders planted trees in honor of their counties. Putin strode confidently up to his tree, ahead of Obama, who clasped his hands behind his back before picking up a shovel and greeting a Spanish TV crew with a wave.

http://www.aol.com/article/2014/11/11/obama-putin-circle-each-other-warily-in-china/20992046/

 So how are the Russians dealing with this dose of tough love?

RT has an answer.

According to an RT piece published on November 13, 2014:

Russia plans to expand its air patrol missions of long-range aircrafts to cover the Gulf of Mexico, the country’s defense minister, Sergey Shoigu, says. He added that military training will include flights along the Russian border and the Arctic Ocean.

“In the current situation we have to maintain military presence in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico,” Shoigu said on Wednesday.

As part of the military training, long-range aircrafts will also fly along the Russian border and over the Arctic Ocean, the defense minister said.

This kind of expansion relies on the serviceability of aircrafts, Shoigu noted. “I approved a plan to improve the state of long-range aircrafts, including repair and serviceability.” The news follows an announcement at the end of October that Russia will be completing a network of radar stations in the Arctic by next year.

“The plan involves the building of 13 airfields, one land test range for the Air Forces, 10 radar sites and direction centers,” said Lt. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, head of the National Defense Control Center.

Shoigu added during the announcement that Russia will continue upgrading its foreign military bases as well.

Russia’s plans come as NATO has stepped up its activities near the Russian border, including in the Black Sea and Baltic waters.

NATO has conducted five military exercises near the Russian border over the past six months, according to the head of the ministry’s Department of International Cooperation, Sergey Koshelev.

http://rt.com/news/204991-russia-aviation-gulf-mexico/

For a suggestion that perhaps President Reagan might have done more than avoid eye contact in dealing with Putin see the following:

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/defense-641893-russia-united.html

 

 

South Korea and the US Address How to Deal with Evolving North Korean Threats

The United States and South Korea just completed their most important series of national security meetings this year.

On October 24, the South Korean and U.S. foreign and defense ministers held their third so-called “2+2 meeting,” which was the first such ministerial since Park Geun-hye became South Korea’s president in late 2012.

The day before, visiting South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo and U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel held the 46th United States-Republic of Korea (U.S.-ROK) Security Consultative Meeting (SCM), while on October 22, the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E. Dempsey, and the ROK Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Choi Yoon-hee, led the 39th U.S.-ROK Military Committee Meeting (MCM).

These meetings made several major decisions, such as deciding to maintain the current ROK-U.S. Combined Command arrangement under U.S. wartime leadership for at least the next decade as well as to expand their security partnership to address a wider range of functional and geographic issues.

However, they still need to take additional measures to counter North Korea’s aggressive posturing and its new asymmetric capabilities, including the DPRK’s possible development of a mobile nuclear-armed ICBMs.

The South Korean and U.S. ministers stressed their intent to keep their forces ready and strong.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who had said a few weeks earlier that the United States was prepared to reduce its military presence in South Korea if the North behaved less threatening, made sure to balance his previous remarks by emphasizing the converse—that the United States would continue its present force posture in Asia until North Korea “demonstrate[d] that it is serious about denuclearization, and we need to be certain that it is prepared to live up to its international obligations and abide by international norms of behavior.”

Hagel said that the United States would not make major reductions in the number and kind of forces stationed in South Korea.In a separate Pentagon briefing on October 23, General Curtis Scaparrotti, Commander of U.S. Forces Korea, elaborated more on the North Korean threat.

After describing the DPRK regime’s main goals as securing its survival by obtaining recognition as a nuclear weapons state, Scaparrotti highlighted how the regime emphasizes the acquisition of “asymmetric capabilities” such as “several hundred ballistic missiles, one of the world’s largest chemical weapons stockpiles, a biological weapons research program, and the world’s largest special operations force, as well as an active cyber-warfare capability.”

Scaparrotti unexpectedly told one questioner that he believed that North Korea had achieved its long-sought goal of developing a miniaturized nuclear warhead to place on a long-range missile using a mobile missile launcher.

Such a weapons system is difficult to find and destroy due to its mobility but can inflict a devastating blow on whatever target is in range.

The question of whether North Korea has a long-range, nuclear-armed, mobile missile has been hotly debated within the U.S. intelligence community and among independent observers for at least a year.

Scaparrotti acknowledged that the DPRK has never displayed or tested such a system, though he noted that the Iranians and Pakistanis might have told the North Koreans how to do this.

The DPRK have surprised many observers by its rapid progress in launching a successful space satellite in December 2012 so soon after its previous launch in April of that year failed so spectacularly.

To counter these threats, Scaparrotti said that the ROK and U.S. forces have “enhanced our readiness in the areas of combined and joint command, control, communications, computers and intelligence, an alliance counter missile defense strategy, and the procurement of precision-guided munitions, ballistic missile defense systems, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms.”

The two governments have also endorsed the Obama administration’s general strategy of allocating more U.S. resources to Asia as well as the U.S. Army’s new Pacific Pathways” concept of rotating combat units to South Korea and other U.S. Asian allies and partners.

According to the SCM Communique, “the Secretary and the Minister reaffirmed that the rotational deployments of the U.S. forces with complete combat capabilities demonstrate the U.S. defense commitment to the security of the Republic of Korea and also contribute to enhancing the U.S.-ROK combined defense posture on the Peninsula.”

The Army believes that sending whole formations rather than individual soldiers enhances overall unit readiness and training.

The Army started rotating forces into South Korea in 2013, when it deployed the 4th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, to South Korea nine months.

In February and then October 2014, the Army sent the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, and later the 800-man 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, both based at from Fort Hood, Texas. The Army is planning to begin rotating brigade combat teams to the ROK in 2015.

In their October 23 SCM session, the two defense ministries, finally agreed after years of debate that conditions were not ripe to execute the planned 2015 transition of wartime operational control (OPCON) from the U.S.-led Combined Forces Command (CFC) to a new ROK forces-led combined defense command, yet to be named, which would still have a combined ROK-U.S. staff, a U.S. Deputy Commander, and a U.S. general officers heading the main U.S. military sub-commands. 

The transfer would also return wartime OPCON of South Korean forces to ROK rather than U.S. command authority.

In May 2013, the Park administration formally requested a delay, citing the deteriorating security conditions caused by the North’s more aggressive behavior in recent years.

Although there are many examples, one need only cite the DPRK’s torpedoing of the ROK warship CHEONAN in 2010, its unprovoked cross-border artillery shelling of Yeon-pyeong Island later that year, its long-range missile launches in April and December 2012, and its third nuclear explosive test in February 2013, which was followed by months of threatening rhetoric against the United States and other countries.

Instead of setting a new date for a transfer, the two governments agreed “that the ROK will assume wartime OPCON when critical ROK and Alliance military capabilities are secured and the security environment on the Korean Peninsula and in the region is conducive to a stable OPCON transition.”

The ROK government later explained that this required meeting three core conditions:

  1. An improvement of the regional security environment,
  2. A strengthening of the South’s “critical” military capabilities to lead a combined defense,
  3. And the deployment of an effective ROK system for countering DPRK missile and nuclear attacks early in a conflict.

These critical capabilities include enhancing South Korea’s command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities; acquiring precision-guided munitions and their associated delivery systems; and improving South Korea’s capabilities for maneuver and network-centered warfare.

Han said that South Korea would aim to “secure the core military capabilities” for OPCON transition by the mid-2020s, when the missile defense and preemption systems would be deployed.

Although Han later acknowledged that any transfer would probably not occur before then, he denied that his government aimed to postpone it “indefinitely.”

The high costs of the needed capabilities–estimated at 50 trillion won, or almost US$50 billion–could present a major barrier.

  • The KAMD and the Kill Chain would cost an estimated 17 trillion won;
  • The project to develop a new ROK-made next-generation KF-X fighter plane could cost approximately 18 trillion won;
  • Some 6 trillion won would be needed for building more warships such as Aegis destroyers and submarines;
  • While buying more mid- to long-term ground-to-air missiles, multiple rocket launchers, and F-35A stealth fighters would account for the remaining costs.

In the interim, the ROK and U.S. armed forces are creating a new U.S.-ROK Combined Division whose peacetime combined staff would activate it in wartime.

As a deterrent and to enhance readiness, they also decided to keep various CPC headquarters elements in the Yongsan Garrison until OPCON transition occurs and the 210 Fire Brigade in its current location north of the Han River until South Korea had completed its counter-fire reinforcement plan designed to ensure a robust ROK artillery barrage during the early phases of any conflict.

As a result, they announced they would aim to replace the current Strategic Alliance 2015 Base Plan with a new base plan at next year’s SCM meeting.

But they remained committed to the Yongsan Relocation Plan and the Land Partnership Plan as well as the associated Joint Environmental Assessment Procedure.

 

Military Intervention to Deal with the Ebola Contagion: Cautionary Lessons From Agent Orange to Chemical Weapons in Iraq

American combat veterans, from fighting an enemy or a disease, should always be concerned about a grateful nation not protecting them.

A generation of Vietnam Veterans were ignored and allowed to die alone waiting in the dark during their end of life years.

So active duty military and their families have every right to be concerned when the Government finds a new mission for them involving new risks.

With respect to putting the US Government front and center in helping the troops who were exposed to Agent Orange and environmental factors causing Gulf War illness one visionary DVA Secretary said not on his watch.

On May 11, 1989 DVA Secretary Derwinski held a news conference and sided with America’s Veterans; he stopped the US Government legal case that was denying disability compensation to Vietnam in-theater veterans based on exposure to Agent Orange (AO). The Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) were very appropriately aggressive in support of USG taking full responsibility to address the adverse health effects of Agent Orange.

Consequently, prior to his action there was little to no motivation for Vietnam Veterans to apply for disability compensation based on exposure to Agent Orange because the VA rejected AO service-connected disability requests.  Also, many in those days had justified distaste for the government.

http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/breaking-faith-with-vietnam-combat-veterans-and-those-veterans-soon-to-need-help?f=puball

The Washington Post in Secretary Derwinski’s obituary acknowledged his vision and leadership.

Siding with the veterans, Mr. Derwinski reversed the government’s position and authorized payments to some veterans who had suffered from a rare form of cancer linked to Agent Orange.

Secretary Derwinski corrected an historic violation of the social contract between those who protect us and all other citizens.

Now, for younger veterans, tragically, the environmental effects of the battlefield are now being seen.

Starting with Desert Storm veterans and continuing for those serving in our current wars, the Government has learned from AO.

This time the VA has created an early registry motivated by Secretary Derwinski. The American Legion was very aggressive in leading the effort to create a Gulf War registry.

I noted in an article written in 2009, that the Iraq War introduced problems of its own.

For our next generation of veterans, one cause of the growing problem of “Gulf War Illness” is exposure to Iraq chemical munitions inside bunkers that were blown up in Desert Storm.

Even today, some residual chemical munitions (yes, WMDs) have been found.

Unfortunately, the impact of chemical weapons in Iraq followed a similar pattern to AO: the US Government and Military again reverted true to form in covering up deadly agents on the battlefield. It took five more years for the New York Times to break the story:

The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons

In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs.

The American government withheld word about its discoveries even from troops it sent into harm’s way and from military doctors. The government’s secrecy, victims and participants said, prevented troops in some of the war’s most dangerous jobs from receiving proper medical care and official recognition of their wounds.

Jarrod L. Taylor, a former Army sergeant on hand for the destruction of mustard shells that burned two soldiers in his infantry company, joked of “wounds that never happened” from “that stuff that didn’t exist.” The public, he said, was misled for a decade. “I love it when I hear, ‘Oh there weren’t any chemical weapons in Iraq,’ ” he said. “There were plenty.”

There was one senior political appointee in the Bush Administration who did try and bring “sunlight” on Chemical Munitions in Iraq.

In 2004, Dr John “Jack” Shaw Deputy  Under Secretary Defense for International Technology Security/OSD focused on Chemical munitions in Iraq, and he was fired.

Bill Gertz broke the story:

Documents shown to U.S. officials in 2004 revealed that among the weapons removed by the Russians were chemical agents used in making poison gas.

Mr. Shaw was removed from his position shortly after going public with the disclosures.

The Defense Intelligence Agency dismissed the claims of covert Russian-Iraqi weapons transfers to Syria and Lebanon as Israeli propaganda, officials said at the time.

Consequently, for another decade troops were being exposed to chemical munitions and the Department of Defense covered it up.

Now the President, as Commander-in-Chief has ordered US military into one of the most dangerous Ebola hot zones in the world.

To be fair to President Obama he gave the order with full transparency, and has had some very public Congressional support.

But it is a good idea to “trust but verify” when dealing with exposing troops to new risks.

Learning from the ugliness of Agent Orange and Chemical Munitions in Iraq it is very important to ask some very hard questions up front.

And checking official US Government publications on Ebola can provide significant insight into exactly how much a risk Ebola is to our troops.

The entry for Ebola designates it as a Bio Safety Level (BSL) 4 agent.

http://www.cdc.gov/biosafety/publications/bmbl5/BMBL5_sect_VIII_f.pdf See, p. 251

Bio

The definition of what “Bio Safety Level 4 Agent” is:

Biosafety Level 4 is required for work with dangerous and exotic agents that pose a high individual risk of aerosol-transmitted laboratory infections and life-threatening disease that is frequently fatal, for which there are no vaccines or treatments, or a related, agent with unknown risk of transmission.

http://www.cdc.gov/biosafety/publications/bmbl5/BMBL5_sect_IV.pdf See, p. 45,

For a counterpoint, here’s the CDC’s press release: “Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food.”

In essence the press release highlights it that :

Airborne transmission of Ebola virus has been hypothesized but not demonstrated in humans.

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/transmission/human-transmission.html

In dealing with Ebola, the Government has prepared guidelines for dealing with “Selected Agents.”

The select agent program requires adherence to the BMBL for any entity registered with the CDC Division of Select Agents and Toxins.

Select agents and toxins are a subset of biological agents and toxins that the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA) have determined to have the potential to pose a severe threat to public health and safety, to animal or plant health, or to animal or plant products.

The protective regulations covers industry, although diagnostic clinics may be exempt.  Note that it says “should consider” the BMBL.  There is some flexibility in implementation, but significant variance from the BMBL can get a lab put on a “Performance Improvement Plan” or have their registration suspended or revoked.

42 C.F.R. §73.12   Biosafety.

(a) An individual or entity required to register under this part must develop and implement a written biosafety plan that is commensurate with the risk of the select agent or toxin, given its intended use. The biosafety plan must contain sufficient information and documentation to describe the biosafety and containment procedures for the select agent or toxin, including any animals (including arthropods) or plants intentionally or accidentally exposed to or infected with a select agent.

(b) The biosafety and containment procedures must be sufficient to contain the select agent or toxin (e.g., physical structure and features of the entity, and operational and procedural safeguards).

(c) In developing a biosafety plan, an individual or entity should consider:

(1) The CDC/NIH publication, “Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories.” This document is available on the National Select Agent Registry Web site at http://www.selectagents.gov.

(2) The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations in 29 CFR parts 1910.1200 and 1910.1450. This document is available on the National Select Agent Registry Web site at http://www.selectagents.gov

(3) The “NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules,” (NIH Guidelines). This document is available on the National Select Agent Registry Web site at http://www.selectagents.gov

(d) The biosafety plan must include an occupational health program for individuals with access to Tier 1 select agents and toxins, and those individuals must be enrolled in the occupational health program.

(e) The plan must be reviewed annually and revised as necessary. Drills or exercises must be conducted at least annually to test and evaluate the effectiveness of the plan. The plan must be reviewed and revised, as necessary, after any drill or exercise and after any incident.

[70 FR 13316, Mar. 18, 2005, as amended at 77 FR 61114, Oct. 5, 2012]

Remembering the Agent Orange and currently breaking Chemical Munition health debacle the military is preparing for engaging against Ebola.

However, currently it doesn’t sound very good, realizing that the adverse health effects of Ebola can move at light speed compared to toxin exposure in previous wars.

As the U.S. military rushes to combat Ebola in West Africa, soldiers are receiving on-the-fly instructions on how to protect themselves against the deadly virus.

So a key question–Where is the Military published Ebola “Bio-Safety Program?”

And if the US Army can spend $52 Billion on building 22,000 MRAPS mostly abandoned and rusting off shore where are the protective suits for all troops actually having even a remote possibility of being exposed.

This is what Industry wears to deal with Ebola:

http://www.ilcdover.com/personal-protection-equipment/chemturion-suits

They call these space suit labs, in part because Dover makes both space suits for NASA and protective suits for maximum-security bio facilities.

Any pundits, reporters and Pols in favor of engaging Ebola in Africa relying on what is being reported about protecting the troops should have no problem being embedded with the front line troops-or would they?

How does the Army medical protocol bible get rewritten to support an insertion of troops into an Ebola contagion zone?

https://www.scribd.com/doc/243228798/US-Army-Medical-Management-Of-Biological-Casualties-Handbook-USAMRIID-BlueBook-7th-Edition-Sep-2011-1

Clearly, the US Army  “protocol’s” should be compared with other USG procedures, guidance and protocols  to see Army comportment  with other written guidance along with actual employed training, practice and actions in Africa.

In addition, a publicly available inventory of gear available with the troops going into Ebola infested territory should be made known and any difference between  level 4 pathogen treatment research and exposure gear and battlefield Chem/Bio gear be presented.

Essentially do the troops have enough of what is best for their protection and how are all being trained?

If National Guard Units are called up Governors are also responsible for safe pattern and practices to protect their troops.

Let’s get this right and not make Ebola the third strike after AO and chemical weapons in violating the sacred trust of protecting those who has borne the battle to his widow and orphans.
 

 

 

 

 

Hong Kong Protests for Democracy: The Johnson School Embraces the Panda?

When a world class University has one of their Schools lose its moral compass it is a tragedy for a generation.

One of the greatest gifts and opportunities of my life was being accepted at Cornell University for their MBA program. Having been in uniform since 1965, until 1975 first at the US Naval Academy then as a Marine Officer I saw firsthand the ugly and very personal generational rift over the Vietnam War. A country did allow and encourage blaming the warriors for the war and at times it was personal and vicious. So I did not know what to expect entering Cornell in the summer of 1975.

What I encountered every day at Cornell was a wonderful experience, I found a place where all were accepting and focused on acquiring knowledge. All I came into contact with at Cornell respected my military service and Cornell University to this day is very supportive of US Military Veterans. During my years in Ithaca, the Professors and my fellow classmates were first class individuals and Cornell was a unique place living up to its motto-

“I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.”
-Ezra Cornell, 1865.

I just received a solicitation for an Alumni donation remarking proudly that the Johnson School had entered into a cooperative degree granting partnership with Tsinghua University in the Peoples Republic of China.

it was alarming and sad to receive such a solicitation apparently with little recognition of the context within which they were forging such a relationship.

http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/About/News-Publications/Article-Detail/ArticleId/24417/Johnson-at-Cornell-University-to-Launch-Dual-Degree-Program-with-Tsinghua-University-PBC-School-of-Finance-Beijing-China

From various sources condensed into a wiki blurb about the contribution of Tsinghua University to educating the ruling elite of a one-party Totalitarian Government:

“Tsinghua alumni include the current General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and Paramount Leader Xi Jinping, who graduated with a degree in chemical engineering in 1979, as well as the CPC General Secretary and former Paramount Leader Hu Jintao, who graduated with a degree in hydraulic engineering in 1964”

Tsinghua University is an institution in the Peoples Republic of China where leadership elite are trained. Regardless of any PRC “charm offensive” the PRC is a totalitarian one party rule dictatorship. The PRC is evolving much like pre-WWII Germany, into National Socialism. It should also never be forgotten that Chairman Mao is accredited in the French book The Black Book of Communism as the most successful mass murder in history.

For over two decades, directly applying skills I learned at Cornell, I have been involved in fighting the Peoples Republic of China in trying to bring sunlight on their criminality while serving at times as a senior Counterintelligance official in the US Government, one example;

Top 10 Chinese gangsters

7. Henry Fok (霍英东)

He is reported to be a member of the 14K Triad. According to Ed Timperlake and Bill Triplett, co-authors of “Red Dragon Rising”: “Henry Fok first made his name by running United Nations-embargoed goods to China during the Korean War. His son was later convicted for trying to bring Chinese machine guns into the United States.”

Fok

After the 2010 election I was asked to make a presentation to the US Congress:

Testimony on Cyber-attacks, Espionage, and Technology Transfers to the People’s Republic of China, Foreign Affairs Committee, United States House of Representatives:

The PRC had an agenda to not only curry favor with agents of influence but also collect information and conduct espionage operations, a select Congressional committee was created. The extensive report issued by that committee covered significant aspects of US military and commercial dual-use technology that was targeted by PRC collectors. The PRC agent’s success in the 90s and continuing to this day is being seen in the continued rapid modernization of all military forces of the Peoples Liberation Army….

Collectors and agents of influence from the PRC can go after objectives many ways as I have discussed. But beyond the scope of my paper they can also buy their way into America through acquisitions and joint ventures-the money offered in those deals is huge.

So when I received the Johnson School letter I had to just read headlines to see that PRC pattern and practices, yet again, are stifling freedom and they are still cheating in worldwide business.

Two major events were occurring while the Johnson School was soliciting money.

First students asking for promised freedom in Hong Kong are faced with actions by the Peoples Armed Police and Peoples Liberation Army and all can possible see the potential for another Tiananmen Square student massacre.

The New York Times has a very insightful and powerful story:

“Among Tibetans and Uighurs, beleaguered ethnic minorities in China’s far west, there is hope that the protests will draw international scrutiny to what they say are Beijing’s broken promises for greater autonomy.

The central government’s refusal to even talk with pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong, exiled activists add, also highlights a longstanding complaint among many ethnic minority groups in China: the party’s reliance on force over dialogue when dealing with politically delicate matters.

The same week of October 5th 2014, FBI Director Comey discussed PLA spying during a 60 Minutes interview:

“FBI director James Comey talked about Chinese hacking — and how basically every American company has been targeted — last night on 60 Minutes. Comey said that it’s not the Chinese are so good, it’s that they’re “prolific.” He likened their hacking style to a “drunk burglar.” 

“Well, I don’t want to give you a complete list. But the top of the list is the Chinese. As we have demonstrated with the charges we brought earlier this year against five members of the People’s Liberation Army. They are extremely aggressive and widespread in their efforts to break into American systems to steal information that would benefit their industry,” said FBI director Comey.

“What are they trying to get?”

“Information that’s useful to them so they don’t have to invent. They can copy or steal to learn about how a company might approach negotiations with a Chinese company, all manner of things,” said Comey. “

Over the last two decades individuals concerned about the military rise of the PLA have had to face two shallow bumper sticker intellectual statements.

Both statements using proven hollow words are embraced by enablers and apologists for the PRC. The first was in all things commerce, “If we teach them about capitalism they will become a free capitalist society”. The second was military, “if we treat them as an enemy they will become an enemy.”

Unfortunately teaching free-market capitalism did not work, as the PRC has continued to employ their criminal and unfair trade practices, as the Director of FBI points out. Their illegal profits are funding the most aggressive military modernization build-up in the history of the world.

The other bumper sticker mantra was if you treat China like an enemy they will become one and the NYT accurately shows when China leaders get concerned they can be vicious. Nations around the Pacific Rim have not treated China like an enemy but now as a matter of survival they have to react to PLA aggression and look to America as their proctor.

Wired Magazine accurately quoted me—and it is even more important now:

“The right and left were unified over China,” remembers Ed Timperlake, a former congressional and Pentagon staffer who co-wrote harsh anti-China books like Year of the Rat: How Bill Clinton Compromised U.S. Security for Chinese Cash. The House intelligence committee has a new inquiry into trojan horses packed in Chinese telecom tech. But for the most part, Timperlake dismisses the occasional congressional concern with China as “pretty shallow.”

But the China hawks haven’t adapted. Timperlake rejects out of hand the idea that U.S. economic ties with China ought to temper a confrontational posture. “I don’t want to get in that argument, because if you do, they win,” he says. “If we lose sight of deterring China in combat, we lose. It’s not abstract.”

And for a Reagan Appointee to be quoted favorable in Mother Jones, a reader can see that human rights can bridge across both US Political Parties in standing up against the well-funded trade “uber alis” money driven squishy and greedy middle.

When Deng’s daughter, Deng Rong, visited the United States in 1995, Haig threw a party for her at Worldwide’s Washington offices. “His remarks that day were extraordinary,” says a person who attended. “He was dripping with contempt for human rights activists who try to influence China policy.” Ironically, it is conservatives — those who share Haig’s sensibilities on so many other issues — who are angriest with him on this score.

“It’s tragic that a man who has contributed so much to his country would now become an apologist for China,” says Ed Timperlake, a former high-level Pentagon administrator under Ronald Reagan.

To be very specific, while American pols who are questing for a Presidential Nomination in both parties, have to first see if the voters in New Hampshire and Iowa find them acceptable, a graduate of Tsinghua U made his political mark in questing for power by attacking Tibetans.

The South China Morning Post reported on March 8, 1989, that the central government had deployed 170,000 troops (17 divisions of the PLA) to Lhasa. The divisions include artillery equipped with howitzers, mortars and anti-aircraft guns, infantry, and paratroopers. Aircraft in the region include fighters, bombers, and helicopters. In addition to the military, two or three divisions of the People’s Armed Police (PAP) numbering 30,000 were also stationed in the area

But the situation was slipping into chaos, Hu feared. On February 20, Hu ordered 1,700 armed police to parade in formation through Lhasa in a show of force to discourage further unrest. Hu Jintao anticipated massive demonstrations on the 30th anniversary of the 1959 Chinese occupation of Tibet on March 10. On March 5, a demonstration in Lhasa turned into a riot and police opened fire on civilians, killing ten. One policeman died. At least 40 Tibetans were killed by police in bloody rioting in the days that followed. From the beginning of the crisis, Hu had coordinated with the Chengdu Military Region command to move as many as seventeen divisions, or about 170,000 men, into Tibet.

So when President Xi Jinping, a proud Tsungia U grad, recently tells the PLA to improve their combat readiness the United States and our Pacific allies should be very concerned:

BEIJING, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) — President Xi Jinping stressed the loyalty of headquarters of the PLA at a meeting with PLA chiefs of staff here on Monday. Headquarters of PLA forces must have absolute loyalty and firm faith in the Communist Party of China, guarantee a smooth chain of command and make sure all decisions from the central leadership are fully implemented, said Xi, also CMC chairman.

Headquarters of all PLA forces should improve their combat readiness and sharpen their ability to win a regional war in the age of information technology, he said. The PLA chiefs of staff met in Beijing on Sunday, discussing how to improve the efficiency of military command under new circumstances. Fang Fenghui, chief of the PLA general staff, attended the meeting. Military commanders should have a better understanding of international and domestic security situations as well as the latest military development, Xi said.

On a personal note I find all of this morally indefensible but there is little I can do about it except hope if China ever becomes free they have long memories on all who did not stand for freedom for all Chinese citizens. A simple question to bring transparency and clarity can be asked right now.

On January 6 1941 President Franklin Roosevelt gave his State-of-the-Union Speech and he brilliantly articulated “The Four Freedoms” Speech

  1. Freedom of Speech
  2. Freedom of Worship
  3. Freedom from Want
  4. Freedom from Fear

Would the Peoples Republic of China accept the Four Freedoms?

Let a global IW battle begin in support of the Four Freedoms and let a public record be established.

http://www.sldinfo.com/conducting-an-information-war-against-islamic-extremists/

Professors at The University of Chicago certainly understand the challenge:

China’s Confucius Institute regrets closure of University Of Chicago center:

The article mentioned a petition signed by about 100 University of Chicago professors who had expressed concern over the Institute’s impact on academic freedom and urged its closure.