Dr Strangelove rides again.

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blindboy started the topic in Saturday, 20 Jan 2018 at 9:02pm

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blindboy commented Saturday, 20 Jan 2018 at 9:03pm

The announcement today by James Mattis, the US Secretary of Defence, that opposing China and Russia is now the priority in US defence, is a dangerous retreat to Cold War thinking. It will encourage the further expansion of the US nuclear arsenal, which is already large enough to render humanity extinct. To refer to this arsenal, as Mattis did, as a "nuclear deterrent", is pure newspeak. It is not a deterrent, it is a simple threat, not only to China and Russia, but to every human on the planet.

The terrifying reality of US nuclear policies is too little understood. Consider the Nuclear Posture Review recently released by the Trump administration. The main thrust of this document is to lower the threshold at which the US would initiate a nuclear response to an attack by Russia or China. While it does not explicitly state so, it implies that this could include cyberattacks.

We should be clear about exactly what is at stake here. A nuclear response by the US would, beyond any doubt, trigger a nuclear war. The arsenals involved, all of which could be deployed within a very short time frame, are beyond comprehension. To quote Daniel Ellsberg from his recent book " The Doomsday Machine".

" The bottom line is that arrangements made in Russia and the United States have long made it likely, if not virtually certain, that a single Hiroshima-type fission weapon exploding on either Washington or Moscow - whether deliberate or the result of a mistaken attack or as a result of an independent terrorist action - would lead to the end of human civilisation (and most other species)."

The world has lived largely in ignorance of the very real risk of a nuclear holocaust for over 60 years. Ellsberg's book, and numerous other histories, biographies and memoirs of the period, reveal that our survival has been much more by good luck than good management. Consider that under the Eisenhower administration, an attack by Russia on the US would have instantly unleashed the entire US nuclear arsenal against not only Russia, but also China. This was a potential genocide in which every substantial city in both nations would have been destroyed. At the same time, command and control procedures were so lax that a nuclear war could have been triggered by an error of judgement by a single US pilot.

Now we have Trump in charge. He is a narcissist of unprecedented intensity with a track record of delusional thinking, not only about his own very limited abilities, but about reality itself. He is a man who can convince himself that he did not say things that have clearly been recorded coming out of his mouth. This is the creature that has been placed in charge of the capacity to end human life. It is time to ask our politicians the hard questions and demand that they address an issue which must now rate as the greatest threat to our continued existence.

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Coaster commented Saturday, 20 Jan 2018 at 11:01pm

The news article that I read made no reference to an increase in their nuclear arsenal. It implied an increase and development of new conventional military resources. It sounds like the usual statements and justifications they issue when they want to direct more funds to defence.
Russia annexed the Crimea and China has taken the Spratleys, which don’t belong to them, and are busy building military facilities there. They’ve both ignored UN resolutions about their actions.
None of it is good news, but are you sure that new book that you’re reading isn’t colouring your concerns a bit?

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-20/china-and-russia-not-terrorism-mai...

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carpetman commented Sunday, 21 Jan 2018 at 2:04am

In trumps camp, what is the biggest threat to America’s economic power and has been for the past 20 Years?
I think trump has more people fooled than they realize.

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blindboy commented Sunday, 21 Jan 2018 at 8:06am

Coaster the review lowers the threshold for a nuclear response. With any use of nuclear weapons there is a huge risk of an escalation to all out nuclear war. The certain outcome of that is the end of civilisation and there is a very strong possibility that it would render humans extinct. In these circumstances there is no situation which justifies the use of nuclear weapons.

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Coaster commented Sunday, 21 Jan 2018 at 9:31am

Blindboy, I agree with your points about the consequences of using nuclear weapons. And I don’t mean to understate the seriousness of it as a threat to civilisation now when I say that we have been living with the same level of risk and consequences since the sixties. The USA and Russia have reduced the quantity (but not capacity) of their nuclear warheads by 85% since 1990.

I went looking for the report that you’re referring to after I read your reply and I found this:
https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4347479/Npr-2018-A.pdf
It isn’t the 11-page summary mentioned in the news articles; it’s a 64 page document with some markups.

I’ve only read the first few pages , but here is a couple of relevant excerpts:
Line 103: “In no way does this approach “lower the nuclear threshold....”
Line 188: “The United States does not wish to regard either Russia or China as an adversary....”.

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simba commented Sunday, 21 Jan 2018 at 11:16am

its all about power and money.....arms industry is the biggest industry in the world i think.

simba

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Blowin commented Sunday, 21 Jan 2018 at 1:26pm

BB - You've just spent 15 months trying to convince us that Trump is Putin's puppet. Now you're telling us that all Trump wants to do is blow Putin up with nuclear devices.

Which story is true ?

China capped off a good 2017 by garnishing territory the size of Western Europe into its empire. Nothing to worry about there you say ?

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Sheepdog commented Sunday, 21 Jan 2018 at 2:09pm

Fair point, Blowin.... Yes, trump is a total disgrace, the worse U.S president since Nixon, worse than reagan.
But what about China.... What about their influence here, in our neighbouring countries..
Trump, just like muslims, just like refugees are an easy target... But it seems people wont address the ivory tusks in the room... China.... They aid North Korea.. They own Africa, Australia, are surrounding India by buying off Pakistan AND creating skirmishes on the border (which btw is a possible flashpoint for nucear war).

So...... What about China, BB?

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/will-build-doklam-infrastructure-says-ag...

Sheepdog

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inzider commented Sunday, 21 Jan 2018 at 2:41pm

Sheepy
You forgot to mention they own NZ as well

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blindboy commented Sunday, 21 Jan 2018 at 4:56pm

Blowin if you think for a minute you should come up with a reason why Trump would happily blow Putin up. More later

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Blowin commented Sunday, 21 Jan 2018 at 5:05pm

So you're recommending I assume his guilt and then look for motive ?

Wait ...is that how enlightened society operates now. ?

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Sheepdog commented Sunday, 21 Jan 2018 at 7:09pm

Yeah forgot about that Insider.. Well they basically own the south pacific.
Isn't it amazing.... A country like Australia, sidetracked fighting wars in Syria, brain dead voters falling for the "keeping Australians safe" bullshit, spooked by boats with refugees, building detention camps and stripping away freedoms and privacy, ALL FOR WHAT.
All to be "trojanned" by China, aided and abetted by the same fuck stains that were meant to be "keeping us safe". Australia ..... Perfect one day.... Mandarin the next...

Anyhooooo, I gotta fly and get on social media - complain about those freakn muslims.. HANGGG onnnnn that was last year.... Complain about those gays wanting to marry..... WHOOPS that was last year too....... I'll get it right...
Complain about those Africans.

Sheepdog

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blindboy commented Sunday, 21 Jan 2018 at 7:18pm

Guilty or not he has motive Blowin. Truth doesn't matter. Perception is all. He is a very unpopular president partly because of the perception that Putin has kompromat of some kind, probably related to money laundering, on him.

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Blowin commented Sunday, 21 Jan 2018 at 8:55pm

I agree that perception is all. But you've got to realise that not everyone's perception is the same. Not everyone's perception has Trump as compromised by Russia. So your case to cast him as guilty through kangaroo court doesn't even stack up.

I thought you hated populism ? But so far the the only evidence that you've brought to the table against Trump is your belief that others think exactly as you do and therefore he's guilty.

Evidence or not.

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blindboy commented Sunday, 21 Jan 2018 at 9:07pm

Blowin, here is the link (again) to the Brookings report on the evidence against him on obstruction of justice. This is 100 pages In which every statement is referenced and the relevant laws analysed in detail. If you genuinely believe that this does not constitute evidence then ........ I am speechless. But what the hell I scored some pretty fine waves this week. What about you?
https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/presidential-obstru...

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indo-dreaming commented Monday, 22 Jan 2018 at 7:46am

*Bangs head on door*

Naive western bubble mentality.

For further reference and common sense.

General Social issues: Rita Panahi & Lauren Southern
Indigenous issues: Jacinta Price and Anthony Dillion
Gender: Debra Soh.
Islam: Armin Navabi & Brigitte Gabriel
Population: Dick Smith

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blindboy commented Monday, 22 Jan 2018 at 2:08pm

Coaster it has taken me a while to get back to your point about the Nuclear Posture Review. A couple of points. First the US has never renounced first use of nuclear weapons. The second is in lines 898-900.
" Potential adversaries must understand that: 1)........2) we will defeat non-nuclear strategic attacks 3)"
The key point here is that the US could not defeat non-nuclear attacks either in the Baltic or in East Asia with conventional forces. So the take away message is that any attack in those areas will be turned into a nuclear war by US first use. So the judgement of Russia and China in assessing how hard they can push the US before it reacts is now the only real protection against nuclear war. It is easy to criticise the behaviour of both Russia and China but, in the context of the historical and current abuse of US power globally, they are insignificant. Do you really think the US would tolerate having its major shipping lanes surrounded by Chinese bases without acting? The US has large military bases in Japan, South Korea and the Phillipines. China, as a rising power, has taken aggressive action to make it clear to the US at that they are no longer the dominant power in the area. We are perfectly entitled to condemn this just as US aggression should be condemned, but the Chinese will pay no more attention to our condemnation than the US does. Russia has even less justification than China for its revanchist aggression, but is in a strong strategic position. The US and NATO cannot match its conventional forces and it has a nuclear arsenal equal or larger than the US.

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Gaz1799 commented Tuesday, 23 Jan 2018 at 10:15pm

The proposed Chinese social credit system has me backing trump at the moment.

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Coaster commented Wednesday, 24 Jan 2018 at 9:07pm

Blindboy, has any nuclear-armed nation ever renounced first use of their nuclear weapons? It would have to be a poor strategic move militarily to tell your potential adversaries that you won’t use your weapons unless they go first. Why would they give away that advantage; the weapon is a deterrent first and a last resort later.
Secondly, if the US did what you suggest is a good thing and renounce a first strike, and China and Russia believe as you do that they can win any war with conventional weapons on their home turf, what’s to stop Russia deciding to take the rest of the Ukraine and China taking Taiwan?
Following on from your point about China and Russia judging how far they can go without provoking a nuclear strike as the only real protection against nuclear war, you could take your logic (and assumptions about the outcome of a conventional war) and say that it is the only real protection that their neighbours have from being invaded.
I don’t think the US would tolerate having their shipping bases surrounded but there hasn’t been any new ones in the South China Sea for decades and it could be argued that their presence has provided stability. What trouble have they caused China?
The US Posture document is an pen reaction to the actions of China and Russia taking territory that doesnt belong to them thumbing their noses at diplomatic complaints and UN resolutions.
I still think that new book is magnifying your concerns.

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blindboy commented Wednesday, 24 Jan 2018 at 9:29pm

Interesting points Coaster. India currently has a no first use policy. China also has a no first use policy and has repeatedly approached the US to agree to a bilateral arrangement which the US continues to reject. Russia renounced first use briefly under Brezhnev but now will go to first use of the survival of the state is threatened. The question of regional aggression is worth deep consideration. Do you honestly believe that the results of a US nuclear strike to protect the Ukraine would end in anything less than a full scale nuclear war with, at best billions of dead, and at worst human extinction? In that case the equation is save the Ukraine from a Russian invasion by destroying the world or let the Russians have it. Reapolitik is that, until now we could be confident that no US President would be stupid enough to do it. Now who knows. An interesting note is that in the Cuban missile crisis both Kennedy and Khrushchev were desperately trying to avoid a nuclear war, but it nearly happened anyway as command and control procedures were so poor. I could go on but hopefully you get the picture.

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Coaster commented Wednesday, 24 Jan 2018 at 10:27pm

Blindboy, I don’t think the US would use nuclear weapons if Russia took the Ukraine. They empasize the benefits of the deterrent factor in their document and the graphs show the substantial reduction in lives lost to war after the development of nuclear weapons to back up their point.
As for agreements to renounce first strikes (nuclear or otherwise) they’re fine until they’re broken and WW2 is an example of how often that occurs - I’m referring to conventional attacks.
Trump won’t order an attack. You can rest assured he’s always got his own interests at the top of his list. Why would a billionaire with the freedom to strut the stage, roam around the world, stay in the best places, eat the best food, lounge around in his private golf resort and gaze at the ocean from his Florida home, swap all that for a prolonged stay in an underground US survival shelter eating preserved food from a tin. And when he eventually emerged his former life would be irretrievable.
Nah, he’ll deal with them on Twitter.

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blindboy commented Wednesday, 24 Jan 2018 at 10:39pm

Well let's assume Putin is of the same opinion as you, that is he knows that the US will not use their arsenal in those circumstances. So where is the deterrent? What is the point of all those nuclear weapons which no-one wants to use and which their enemies believe will not be used unless they use first, which they have no intention of doing? This is collective madness and historically the blame rests with the US. They developed them first. They are the only ones to have used them and they led the arms race which has brought us to the present absurd situation.

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Coaster commented Thursday, 25 Jan 2018 at 6:43pm

The deterrent in the case of Ukraine is non nuclear: further economic sanctions - the ones in place are already hurting and affecting Putin’s popularity at home; elections are due in the near future - as well as the unpredictable reaction from neighbouring states that will fear that they’re next and start bolstering their own defences, perhaps inviting allies in to help and access their bases.
The nuclear deterrent is to discourage attacks on the US and it’s allies and the line isn’t defined.
The point of holding all the weapons is to prevent world war 3. The Posture Paper goes into this.
Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) was a term coined in the sixties and the only real change is the increasing number of members in the nuclear club.
I don’t see how the US can be blamed for the whole arms race. You can’t have a race unless there is more than one player.
Germany had the notion of creating the bomb first but one or two of their key scientists, such as Einstein, left and ended up in the US.
The situation is absurd but would we have had the long period of peace over the past 70 years if there wasn’t the fear of such devastation if another all-in war was started?
Anyway, we’ve wandered away from the original assertion that Trump is likely to launch an attack. And we’ll just have to disagree on that.

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blindboy commented Thursday, 25 Jan 2018 at 7:10pm

The whole point of my previous post was that no-one has anything to gain by starting a nuclear war......and if there is to be one, then someone has to start it. Bottom line, before Trump Russia knew that the US would not use its weapons first and the US knew that Russia would not use its weapons first. Regardless of the degree of conventional conflict, nuclear weapons were off the table as both sides understood the catastrophic consequences of using them. The reality then has been that in any realistic scenario there has never been a nuclear deterrent. As for US responsibility, the history is clear. Khrushchev spent the entire time he was in office trying to talk the US into mutual nuclear disarmament. This was when neither side had anything like the destructive power that came later. The US completely ignored him, just as they have totally ignored Chinese offers of a bilateral no first use agreement. Further, US war plans in the late 1940s and early 1950s were to annihilate Russia AND China if Russia started a non nuclear war. We now know that had that happened, the following nuclear winter, in all probability, would have rendered humans extinct. It was only when Kennedy came to power that these plans were slightly modified. This is not paranoia or over-statement it is the well documented history of the times.

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Coaster commented Thursday, 25 Jan 2018 at 9:24pm

If your whole point is summarised by your first statement then I agree with it completely.
The second statement though is a subjective view on Trump and Russia and doesn’t logically follow the first.

As for Kruschchev, he had a way with words, didn’t he?

A quote from Wikipedia:
While addressing Westerners at the embassy on November 18, 1956, in the presence of Polish Communist statesman Władysław Gomułka, Khrushchev said: "About the capitalist states, it doesn't depend on you whether or not we exist. If you don't like us, don't accept our invitations, and don't invite us to come to see you. Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you!"The rant prompted the envoys from twelve NATO nations and Israel to leave the room.

“During Khrushchev's visit to the United States in 1959, the Los Angeles mayor Norris Poulson in his address to Khrushchev stated: "We do not agree with your widely quoted phrase ‘We shall bury you.’ You shall not bury us and we shall not bury you. We are happy with our way of life. We recognize its shortcomings and are always trying to improve it. But if challenged, we shall fight to the death to preserve it". Many Americans meanwhile interpreted Khrushchev's quote as a nuclear threat.”

No doubt a rant that he regretted, but as the successor of Stalin, whose word couldn’t be trusted, you can’t blame the US from balking at an agreement. They didn’t ignore him.
Command and control systems have improved immensely in the last 50 years. The biggest risk of a nuclear war is a leader or a group of radicals with access to weapons and nothing to lose.

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blindboy commented Thursday, 25 Jan 2018 at 9:53pm

The "We will bury you" has been widely misunderstood. From William Taubman's Pulitzer Prize winning biography.
" The context, a reference to the Soviet idea of peaceful coexistence, suggested that he was referring to victory in economic and political competition but many in the West took the remark literally." This is clearly true if you follow his career. He was obsessed with raising living standards in the USSR to those prevailing in the US at the time. To categorise him as a successor of Stalin is to miss the significance of his achievement in, almost overnight, ending Stalinism. The statement about the understanding that nuclear weapons would not be used is historically accurate and is documented for US Presidents from Kennedy to Bush Snr. There is no reason to believe that this changed prior to Trump. My reading of the NPR is that it is a clear weakening of that position, for the reason I posted above. This is destabilising and increases the risk of nuclear war. It is also worth considering the difference between a terrorist weapon or a few weapons used by a rogue state compared to an unleashing of the thousands of weapons that the US and RussIa possess. The first scenario is an unprecedented disaster. The second is human extinction. The stakes are simply too high for either side playing games, particularly when one of the players Is a narcissistic, cognitively challenged incompetent and the other is an ex-KGB macho murderer capable of blowing up apartment buildings in his own capital for political gain.

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Coaster commented Friday, 26 Jan 2018 at 10:41am

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists shares your concerns:
http://www.smh.com.au/world/were-now-closer-than-ever-to-the-apocalypse-...

Here’s a good quote from George Soros at the Davos conference:
"Mankind's ability to harness the forces of nature, both for constructive and destructive purposes, continues to grow while our ability to govern ourselves properly fluctuates, and is now at a low ebb. The survival of our entire civilisation is at stake."

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blindboy commented Friday, 26 Jan 2018 at 11:16am

Coaster it is hard to overstate the degree of recklessness shown by both scientists, military leaders and politicians during the nuclear era. Consider that when the first atomic bomb was exploded the scientists were unable to rule out the possibility that it would trigger fusion reactions in the atmosphere and ocean turning the entire planet into a fireball. The risk was calculated by some physicists as high as 10%, and they didn't even bother to tell the politicians.

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blindboy commented Friday, 26 Jan 2018 at 7:28pm

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists stated that the new NPR lowers the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons. A little further reading!

Some excepts from "The Doomsday Machine" Daniel Ellsberg

On the nuclear winter.

" It is the smoke, after all (not the fallout, which would remain mostly limited to the northern hemisphere), that would do it worldwide : smoke and soot lofted by fierce fire storms in hundreds of burning cities into the stratosphere where it would not rain out and would remain for a decade or more, enveloping the globe and blocking most sunlight , lowering annual global temperatures to the level of the last Ice Age and killing all harvests worldwide, causing near-universal starvation within a year or two.
US plans for thermonuclear war in the early sixties, if carried out in the Berlin or Cuban missile crises, would have killed many times more than the six hundred million people predicted by the JCS (joint chiefs of staff). ............. even a fraction of the existing smaller arsenals would be enough to cause a nuclear winter today."

About Nixon's threats to use nuclear weapons against North Vietnam in 1969 during which he kept SAC bombers armed with nuclear weapons flying around the clock knowing that this would be detected by the Soviets.

"This was, after all, exemplary of what I understand to have been the major purpose of US strategic weapons since the early fifties: to deter, with confidence, Soviet second use retaliation to US first use of tactical (nuclear) weapons against Soviet forces or their allies by threatening that if the Soviets made a response in kind with its own tactical weapons SAC (Stategic Air Command) might escalate to a full first strike against the Soviet Union."

A full first strike, at that time, meant the unleashing of thousands of thermonuclear warheads against every major Soviet city.

From an account of a National Security Council in 1953, discussing planning for the Korean War.

" Secretary Dulles discussed the moral problem and the inhibitions on the use of the A-bomb and Soviet success to date in setting atomic weapons apart from all other weapons as being in a special category. It was his opinion that we should try to break down this false distinction."

" Among military planners in the US government , thinking about nuclear war has in fact been continuous over the last 72 years: and not only, or even mainly, with respect to deterring or responding to a Soviet nuclear attack on the United States or its forces or allies. Preparations and commitments to initiate nuclear war ' if necessary ' have been the basis of fundamental, longstanding US policies and crisis declarations and actions not only in Europe but in Asia and the Middle East as well. "

" In reality, every President from Truman to Clinton has felt compelled at some point in his time in office - usually in great secrecy - to threaten and/or discuss with the Joint Chiefs of Staff plans and preparations for possible imminent US initiation of tactical or strategic nuclear warfare, in the midst of an on-going non-nuclear conflict or crisis." followed by a list of 25 occasions when this occurred.

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blindboy commented Saturday, 27 Jan 2018 at 8:20am

Did someone fart?