Doomsday Clock Moves to Less Than 2 Minutes to Midnight…But With A Catch

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The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC on Thursday and revealed time on the allegorical Doomsday Clock has been advanced to a point less than two minutes before midnight, making the time on the clock roughly 11:58:20. Pushing the clock past the two-minute mark is a symbolic warning to the world that a human-caused nuclear annihilation  is more probable now than at any point since the clock was originally set in 1947. In fact, this is the closest to midnight that the clock has ever been.

The president and CEO of the Bulletin said in a statement, “”We are now expressing how close the world is to catastrophe in seconds — not hours, or even minutes. We now face a true emergency — an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for error or further delay.” Added to the scientists’ grave concerns about nuclear weapons was climate change. Specifically, global leaders who have denied the science of global warming. How climate change, or opponents of global warming tie into nuclear doomsday isn’t too clear. My personal opinion is that the Bulletin’s board of sponsors, who are consulted before a decision on the clock is finalized, have decided the time is right to throw climate change in with other doomsday and apocalyptic scenarios. This is a continuation of the trend we are seeing in legislative bodies around the Free World in the past eighteen months. Left wing, and liberal lawmakers have been pressing for the funds to combat climate change before it is too late. Here in the US, freshman Representative  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has relentlessly pushed a New Green Deal that would stop climate change before it is too late. Cortez has warned that civilization has just twelve years remaining in which to do something about climate change otherwise it will wipe out humanity. She also believes that cows need to be banned because their flatulence leaves a massive carbon footprint.

Personally, I think she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. But I’m not a scientist or climatologist. Then again, neither is she….

As for the threat of nuclear war, it has always been there and will remain until the last nuclear weapon is dismantled. I just think it’s sad that the Bulletin is now using the Doomsday Clock to advertise and push its climate change agenda. But to be frank, scientists have never fully understood or grasped geopolitics or the role nuclear weapons play in today’s world.

Pakistan’s Leader Adding Fuel to the Kashmir Fire

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Last week at the UN General Assembly Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan placed Kashmir back on the global stage with a thinly veiled warning. If the world does not pay attention to events in Kashmir, a nuclear war that engulfs the entire world will be the result:

“If a conventional war starts between the two countries … anything could happen. But supposing a country seven times smaller than its neighbor is faced with the choice either you surrender, or you fight for your freedom till death? What will we do? I ask myself this question … and we will fight. … and when a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, it will have consequences far beyond the borders.”

Khan’s contentious address to diplomats and world leaders in the general assembly hall was generally viewed as a threat wrapped in a warning about Kashmir following India’s move to integrate the territory with the rest of the nation. In spite of Khan, and many other Pakistani politicians’ efforts, India continues to charge ahead with its plans.

For its part, India responded to Khan’s rhetoric with calm and poise. Indian diplomat Vidisha Maitra called the Pakistani leader’s speech “brinkmanship, not statesmanship.” She also addressed Khan encouraging Muslims in Kashmir to rise up against the Indian occupiers, reminding him of Pakistan’s reputation as the home base for most terrorist groups in the region.

Pakistan has failed to muster collective outrage from fellow Muslim nations in Asia and the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has informed India that it understands New Delhi’s actions in Jammu & Kashmir. This position was personally conveyed by the Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman to India’s senior security adviser Ajit Doval during a meeting in Riyadh Wednesday.

The real concern for the time being is not Pakistan and India turning the region into a pane of glass via nuclear weapons. The true danger is that Khan and Pakistan will encourage Muslim groups in Kashmir to launch attacks against Indian security troops and other government targets in the state. Action such as that could prove to be a catalyst which eventually makes Khan’s words last Friday prophetic in nature.

Putin And US/NATO Missile Defense Part 2

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Over the weekend, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said that the United States has refused Russia’s requests to discuss the US/NATO missile defense system being constructed in Eastern Europe. His comments were made while attending the International Institute for Strategic Studies Shangri-la 15 Dialogue in Singapore. He was also quoted as calling the system ‘very dangerous’.  The public statements by Antonov, as well as those made by Putin last month were likely intended to nudge the Obama administration towards reconsidering its decision. Unfortunately for Moscow, President Obama refuses to discuss Russia’s concerns about missile defense. For all intents and purposes, the diplomatic avenue for Vladimir Putin to seek a compromise on the US-led initiative is closed.

Russia’s actions and behavior over the past two and a half years severely limit its diplomatic currency with the US and Europe. In the face of Russia deliberately increasing tensions with NATO member states, its annexation of Crimea, support of Ukrainian separatists, and its involvement in Syria, why should Washington want to open serious talks with Moscow on this matter? Putin needs to understand the box he has placed himself in. He has used a US missile defense system in Europe to whip up anti-US and nationalistic sentiments in Russia. With a fraction of the system now operational, Putin has to be seen by his constituents as doing something about it. Diplomatic efforts were his best avenue to reach a compromise on the missile shield, even though he cannot bargain from a position of strength. For the time being, that option is off the table, however. Putin will have to consider an alternative approach for contending with the missile shield.

Unfortunately, the non-diplomatic alternatives leave much to be desired. All of them come equipped with a hearty helping of risk and danger, while others are blueprints for nuclear war. If Putin chooses to launch a conventional strike against the Aegis Ashore components, a nuclear war could be the result. A Russian attack against a NATO member will force the alliance to respond accordingly. Russian air strikes against the Aegis Ashore site in Romania, for example, would be answered by NATO airstrikes against Russian bases in Crimea. Where the situation goes from there is anyone’s guess. Escalation leading to a wider NATO-Russia conflict perhaps, or worse.

If Putin sincerely believes that the missile defense system will effectively negate Russia’s strategic forces, the nuclear option becomes a very possible course of action for him. One of the reasons why the US refuses to open talks on its missile defense is that it does not believe Putin would risk a nuclear war over Aegis Ashore, despite what he says publicly. Most people would like to assume the same, however, it is anyone’s guess what the Russian President’s mode of thinking is. He has won on risky foreign policy gambles in the past. Who is to say he would not take a calculated risk now when the stakes are so high?

In spite of the fact that the US claims its missile defense system is in place to defend against Iranian missiles, Putin remains skeptical. Inside of the Russian Federation the majority of citizens view the US reassurances suspiciously. Those same people are looking to Putin right now in expectation of a response, and at the moment his options are limited to non-existent. As more Aegis Ashore components are constructed, and a new administration takes the helm in Washington next January, Putin could approach the US again, in a more conciliatory manner, and encourage talks.

At current, Russia’s only viable option is to accept the placement of the system on its front doorstep. Moscow needs to exercise patience and sound judgement in the coming year and show the West that it is no longer a potential threat. It cannot rely on coercive leverage, and the application of economic and military pressure upon NATO, and Europe to achieve its strategic objectives. None of those actions have been successful. Instead, they have had the opposite reaction and helped recommission containment as the predominant Western defense policy regarding Russia.

Wargames: Joshua’s Nuclear War Scenarios 120-140

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This is it. The list of scenarios from the movie Wargames has been laid out and analyzed. It took nearly three years and as far as side projects go, this one was a lot of fun. All good things must come to an end, however, and here we are. The final twenty nuclear war scenarios from Wargames.

  • ALASKAN DISCRETIONARY– A low profile operation by the Soviets to disrupt the Alaskan pipeline or possibly disable US early warning radars in preparation for a first strike. As Alaska is US territory, this would be a direct attack upon the United States and the possibility of escalation is very high.

 

  • CANADIAN THRUST– A Soviet military move into Canadian territory. With East Bloc forces on North American soil the situation would become volatile very fast.

 

  • ARABIAN LIGHT– A regional conflict spills over and provides the spark for a global conflict. The Iran-Iraq War certainly had the potential to serve as a catalyst.

 

  • AFRICAN DOMESTIC– Apartheid was ugly. The South African government was a pariah and the ANC was backed indirectly by the Soviet Union. If Apartheid had exploded, the superpowers would have been drawn in. While the US had no love for the South African government, it could not allow the Soviets to gain total control of resource-rich South Africa.

 

  • TUNISIAN INCIDENT– Libya and Tunisia clash in an isolated action on land or at sea and it escalates.

 

  • MALAYSIAN MANEUVER– China begins making political and military moves to gain control of Malaysia.

 

  • JAMAICA DECOY– Cuba instigates an action in Jamaica to divert attention away from Soviet action elsewhere. The US responds with a Grenada-like operation and it’s all downhill from there.

 

  • MALAYSIAN MINIMAL– Communist insurgency rekindles in Malaysia

 

  • RUSSIAN SOVEREIGNTY– This could refer to an invasion of Russia by the PRC. Possible during the time period. It’s the only realistic possibility.

 

  • CHAD OPTION– In the late 70s and early 80s, the Libyan-Chad conflict raged. French involvement increased the potential of a wider clash between the US and Soviet Union.

 

  • BANGLADESH WAR– Bangladesh’s leader moved away from his country’s strong ties with India and the Soviet Union in the early 80s in favor of a strong relationship with the West. It could have sparked war with India.

 

 

  • BURMESE CONTAINMENT– Again, Burma’s inclusion on this list mystifies me.

 

  • ASIAN THEATERWIDE– Asia explodes. Korea, PRC-USSR, US-USSR, PRC-USA….choose your poison.

 

  • BULGARIAN CLANDESTINE-NATO or independent Turkish covert actions against Bulgaria, a Warsaw Pact member at the time.

 

 

  • GREENLAND INCURSION– Soviet assault to seize and destroy US military assets in Greenland. Considering that Thule AB and the BMEWS radar site are located there, escalation would’ve been assured in this scenario.

 

  • EGYPT SURGICAL– Libyan surgical strike against an Egyptian target. Political or economic.

 

  • CZECH HEAVY– Confrontation between NATO and the Warsaw Pact in Southern Germany and Czechoslovakia. NATO incursion perhaps.

 

  • TAIWAN CONFRONTATION– The PRC launches an offensive to reclaim the ‘lost province.’

 

  • GREENLAND MAXIMUM– Greenland Incursion times 5.

 

  • UGANDA OFFENSIVE– The Ugandans go on the offensive and occupy Congo.

 

  • CASPIAN DEFENSE– A NATO offensive on its southern flank, or alternatively, perhaps an Iranian offensive into the southern Soviet Union.

 

Wargames: Joshua’s Nuclear War Scenarios 100-119

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We’re getting towards the end of the list unfortunately. After this, only one set remains.

  • LIBYAN ACTION– Think Gulf of Sidra in the 1980s. In 1981, US Navy F-14s shot down two Libyan fighters during a period of heightened tension. In 1986, US and Libyan air and naval forces mixed it up and later, USAF and US Navy aircraft bombed targets in Tripoli and Benghazi. In 1989, Navy F-14s shot down Libyan fighters again. Any of these incidents could’ve spilled over into a much larger conflict.

 

  • PALESTINIAN TACTICAL– What if the First Intifada had gone beyond protests and riots? What if Syria had contributed equipment, weapons and advisors to the PLO and the uprising took the form of a more organized and deadly offensive against Israel?

 

  • NATO ALTERNATE– Confusing title. A Soviet move against NATO using an alternative to its war plans or vice versa?

 

 

  • CYPRUS MANEUVER– Cyprus was a bastion of instability from the 1974 coup onward into the 80s. If either Greece or Turkey had moved unilaterally to take over the island there it could have escalated quickly and gone in a direction that nobody had thought possible.

 

  • EGYPT MISDIRECTION– An Egyptian move against Libya goes awry and brings in Soviet assistance for its Libyan allies.

 

  • BANGLADESH THRUST– In the late 1970s, when this list was originally put together (years before the movie) Bangladesh was in a period of political disarray. Ziaur Rahman came to power in 1979 and was a popular president. It’s not inconceivable to imagine that Rahman, had he not been assassinated in 1981, could have prepared and executed an offensive against one of the nation’s South Asian neighbors.

 

  • KENYA DEFENSE– Kenya finds itself under attack by an external or internal enemy.

 

  • BANGLADESH CONTAINMENT– Unlike the Bangladesh scenario previous, this one revolves around containing an aggressive and outward looking Bangladesh.

 

  • VIETNAMESE STRIKE– Vietnam moves against one of its neighbors.

 

  • ALBANIAN CONTAINMENT– This one is a bit hard to swallow; Hoxa and Albania’s aspirations needing to be checked.
  • GABON SURPRISE– Omar Bongo was unpredictable and deadly. He could have taken Gabon over the edge at any time.

 

  • IRAQ SOVEREIGNTY– An internal uprising (Iranian backed?) against the Ba’ath party and Saddam Hussein.

 

  • VIETNAMESE SUDDEN– Similar to STRIKE, only faster

 

  • LEBANON INTERDICTION– This one actually became reality. Think Lebanon 1982-834

 

  • TAIWAN DOMESTIC- Chinese backed opposition groups sew political chaos on Taiwan

 

  • ALGERIAN SOVEREIGNTY– Social unrest was common in Algeria from the late 70s through the 80s. Libya or another outside nation-state player might have tried to turn the situation to its favor and chip away at Algeria’s status as a sovereign nation.

 

  • ARABIAN STRIKE– A Soviet move into the Arabian Peninsula to seize the Saudi oil fields.

 

  • ATLANTIC SUDDEN– The Soviets begin a war against NATO with a major, sudden effort to close the Atlantic.

 

  • MONGOLIAN THRUST– Either Mongolia moving against China or the Soviet Union, or perhaps a Sino-Soviet encounter within the borders of Mongolia.

 

  • POLISH DECOY– A Soviet gambit to take attention away from another region where it will be making moves in the near future.