World at War
In Stunning Strategy Reversal, Pentagon Will No Longer Rule Out Use Of Nuclear Weapons Against Non-Nuclear Threat
Well, we’re finally there: stocks are officially trading off nuclear war headlines.
Moments ago, as part of his closely-watched speech, Vladimir Putin appeared to talk down the likelihood of a nuclear attack in Ukraine:
- *PUTIN: NO POLITICAL, MILITARY REASON IN NUKE STRIKE IN UKRAINE
Which, however, is more than can be said about the US.
As Bloomberg just reported, the Pentagon’s new National Defense Strategy rejects limits on using nuclear weapons long championed by arms control advocates (and, in the not too distant past, by Joe Bide) citing burgeoning threats from Russia and China.
“By the 2030s the United States will, for the first time in its history face two major nuclear powers as strategic competitors and potential adversaries,” the Defense Department said in the long-awaited document issued Thursday. In response, the US will “maintain a very high bar for nuclear employment” without ruling out using the weapons in retaliation to a non-nuclear strategic threat to the homeland, US forces abroad or allies.
In yet another stark reversal for the senile occupant of the White House basement, in his 2020 presidential campaign Biden had pledged to declare that the US nuclear arsenal should be used only to deter or retaliate against a nuclear attack, a position blessed by progressive Democrats and reviled by defense hawks. But, like with every other position held by the pathological liar who even trumps Trump in the untruth department, this one has just been reversed as well as “the threat environment has changed dramatically since then” and the Pentagon strategy was forged in cooperation with the flip-flopping White House.
In a stunning move that should – or rather “should” – spark outrage among the so-called progressives but will at best prompt some very sternly retracted letters, the nuclear report that’s part of the broader strategy said the Biden administration reviewed its nuclear policy and concluded that “No First Use” and “Sole Purpose” policies “would result in an unacceptable level of risk in light of the range of non-nuclear capabilities being developed and fielded by competitors that could inflict strategic-level damage” to the US and allies.
The nuclear strategy document doesn’t spell out what non-nuclear threats could produce a US nuclear response, but current threats include hypersonic weapons possessed by Russia and China for which the US doesn’t yet have a proven defense.
It does spell out, however, in the strongest terms, what would happen to another nuclear power, North Korea, if it launched a nuclear attack on the US, South Korea or Japan. That action “will result in the end of that regime,” it says. US nuclear weapons continue to play a role in deterring North Korean attacks.
So, the brilliant neocon minds behind the report concluded, it is better to instill the fear of a disproportionate nuclear retaliation, thus making an outright nuclear attack far more likely (if the US will nuke you anyway, may as well go all out).
In the document, which was framed well before the invasion, the Pentagon says Russia continues to “brandish its nuclear weapons in support of its revisionist security policy” while its modern arsenal is expected to grow further. In other words, the Pentagon knew what Putin would do even before he did it and that defined the dramatic revision in US nuclear posture. Almost as if the Pentagon directed the entire sequence of events…
Meanwhile, China remains the US’s “most consequential strategic competitor for coming decades,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a letter presenting the new defense strategy. He cited China’s “increasingly coercive actions to reshape the Indo-Pacific region and the international system to fit its authoritarian preferences,” even as it rapidly modernizes and expands its military. China wants to have at least 1,000 deliverable nuclear warheads by the end of the decade, the nuclear strategy document says, saying it could use them for “coercive purposes, including military provocations against US allies and partners in the region.”
The nuclear strategy affirmed modernization programs including the ongoing replacement of the aging US air-sea-land nuclear triad. Among them are the Navy’s Columbia-class nuclear ICBM submarine, the ground-based Minuteman III ICBM replacement, the new air-launched Long-Range Standoff Weapon and F-35 fighter jets for Europe carrying nuclear weapons.
The review confirmed previous reports that the Pentagon will retire the B83-1 gravity bomb and cancel the Sea-Launched Cruise Missile program. But the review endorses a controversial Trump-era naval weapon, the low-yield W76-2 submarine-launched nuclear warhead, which is described as providing “an important means to deter limited nuclear use.”
The broader strategy report also offered gently worded criticism of major US weapons programs, which often runs years behind plans and billions of dollars over initial budgets.
“Our current system is too slow and too focused on acquiring systems not designed to address the most critical challenges we now face,” the Pentagon said. It called for more “open systems that can rapidly incorporate cutting-edge technology” while reducing problems of “obsolescence” and high costs.
The Pentagon strategy documents were sent to Congress in classified form in March so they were considered during congressional approval of the fiscal 2023 defense budget.
* * *
So how to trade all of this? Well, the initial instinct now that nuclear war headlines are being lobbed around is that it may be time to sell… but as Art Cashin so insightfully put it some time ago, “Never bet on the end of the world, because it only happens once.”
Now thanks to the Biden admin, that “once in a lifetime” event is that much closer to taking place.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
World at War
Seymour Hersh makes new Nord Stream sabotage claim
The Pulitzer Prize winner has alleged the US blew up the pipelines because it was unhappy with a lack of German support for Ukraine
US President Joe Biden ordered the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines because he was unhappy with the level of support provided by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has claimed.
Hersh first accused Washington of destroying the key European energy route in an article released in February, and made more allegations in an interview with the China Daily newspaper published on Friday.
“The [US] president was afraid of Chancellor Scholz not wanting to put more guns and more arms [forward for Kiev]. That’s all. I don’t know whether that it was anger or punishment, but the net effect is that it cut off a major power source through Western Europe,” Hersh claimed.
Despite attempts by the US to deny its involvement in the Nord Stream attack, “Europe is in crisis now” and Biden will receive “a lot of criticism for what he did” in the coming months, the journalist argued.
The Pulitzer Prize winner alleged that “the people that were initially asked to do the job” of destroying the pipelines were contacted by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan towards the end of 2021.
The initial purpose of mining Nord Stream 1 and 2, built to deliver Russian gas to Europe through Germany, was “to give the [US] president an option to say to [Russian] President Putin, ‘If you go to war [in Ukraine], we’re going to destroy the pipelines,’” Hersh claimed.
Biden himself publicly confirmed that stance but “unfortunately, those people in the Western press seemed to have forgotten,” the journalist stated.
Just under three weeks before the launch of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, Biden warned during a press conference on February 7 that “if Russia invades… there will no longer be a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”
According to Hersh, the US leader decided to order the detonation of mines at the bottom of the Baltic Sea last September because the conflict “wasn’t going great in Ukraine” from a US perspective. There was “at best a stalemate”during that period, in what Hersh described as “the American war that President Biden was so eager to support.”This post was originally published at RT
World at War
Russian Military Warns Uranium Shells Will Cause Irreversible Harm To All Ukrainians
The Russian military has weighed in on the UK’s plans to supply depleted uranium tank rounds to Ukrainian forces, which was announced by UK’s junior Defense Minister Annabel Goldie in a Tuesday parliament briefing.
Lt. Gen. Igor Kirillov, the head of the radiation, chemical and biological defense troops of the Russian armed forces, told a press briefing Friday that the weaponry will cause irreparable harm to all Ukrainians, whether civilian or military.
“Despite the fact that the use of such ammunition [with depleted uranium] will cause irreparable harm to the health of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the civilian population, NATO countries, in particular the UK, express their readiness to supply this type of weapon to the Kiev regime,” Kirillov said.
“As a result of the impact of a depleted uranium munition, a mobile hot cloud of a finely dispersed aerosol of uranium-238 and its oxides is formed, which, when exposed to the body in the future, can provoke the development of serious diseases,” Kirillov said.
He described that when compounds in the advanced ammunition seeps into the soil or disperses across the environment, it will be “dangerous for people, animals and the environment for a long time.”
On Wednesday, Britain responded to Russian officials saying this constitutes escalation on the nuclear front, given that Kiev will be handed “nuclear components”…
James Cleverly, Britain’s foreign secretary, told reporters on Wednesday that there was “no nuclear escalation,” adding, “The only country in the world that is talking about nuclear issues is Russia.”
Depleted uranium has for decades been used by NATO, and was known for being used against Serbian forces in the late 1990’s, as well as in Iraq. It is two-and-a-half times denser than steel, and thus can penetrate armor, for example it can cut straight through tanks.
China has previously condemned the use of depleted uranium by the Western alliance:
But it not only has radioactivity but is toxic to humans long after being dispersed on the battlefield. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova emphasized this in an initial Kremlin reaction on Tuesday…
“Yugoslav scenario. These shells not only kill, but infect the environment and cause oncology in people living on these lands,” she said, in reference to cancer and other deadly ailments.
“By the way, it is naive to believe that only those against whom all this will be used will become victims. In Yugoslavia, NATO soldiers, in particular the Italians, were the first to suffer. Then they tried for a long time to get compensation from NATO for lost health. But their claims were denied,” she said.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
World at War
Medvedev Warns Germany Arrest of Putin Will be Declaration of War on Russia
Says Moscow could bomb the International Criminal Court.
Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev has warned Germany that any attempt to arrest President Vladimir Putin will represent a declaration of war on Russia and said Moscow could respond by bombing the International Criminal Court.
Medvedev made the threat after the the International Criminal Court at the Hague issued an arrest warrant for Putin, accusing him of perpetrating war crimes by being involved in the forcible transfer of children from Ukraine to Russia.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he supported the ruling and during a visit to Japan said “no one is above the law.”
Russia, which doesn’t recognize the authority of the ICC and is not a member of it, hasn’t reacted kindly.
“Some idiots, halfwits like the German justice minister, say, ‘Well, if he comes, we’ll arrest him.’.. Does he understand what that means? Let’s imagine… the incumbent head of a nuclear state arrives on the territory of, say, Germany and is arrested. What is this? A declaration of war on the Russian Federation!” Medvedev said in an interview Russian media outlets.
Medvedev said Moscow would respond by targeting “the Bundestag, the chancellor’s office, and so on.”
The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin. No need to explain WHERE this paper should be used🧻.
— Dmitry Medvedev (@MedvedevRussiaE) March 17, 2023
The former president even suggested in a Telegram message sent to his followers that Russia could bomb the ICC headquarters.
“It is quite possible to imagine the targeted use of a hypersonic launch from the North Sea from a Russian ship at the Hague courthouse,” wrote Medvedev, describing the court as “shitty” and “useless”.
“The court is just a miserable international organization,” he added, noting that those working within it should “carefully look into the sky” to see if they can spot Russian missiles.
He went on to add that Russian relations with the west “have probably never been worse in history” and that NATO’s goal was to wipe out Russia altogether.
“They do not want to see the Russian Federation itself, they don’t need us. And this is their geopolitical, geostrategic idea of very old times. Why do they need such a country, which has a huge territory and the most serious nuclear shield, and which does not even obey the Americans?” said the former president.
Meanwhile, Russian law enforcement officials have opened up their own criminal investigation into the International Criminal Court, focusing on judges and prosecutors who made the decision to issue the arrest warrant for Putin.
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