Trump goes nuclear!
The spread of nuclear weapons beyond the core countries that have historically possessed these “seeds of the apocalypse” is the greatest threat to world safety this early to mid-2017.
Nuclear weapons capability in the hands of an aggressor in terms of offensive military strategy is a very scary proposition to an enemy. It offers a nuclear armed state’s opponents without the ability to respond in similar terms, a frightening prospect: mass destruction and total annihilation.
Consequently, as nuclear weapons proliferate, and are obtained by unscrupulous tyrannies such as Iran and North Korea, we are all a step closer to Armageddon. Recently the doomsday clock moved closer to midnight.
Now, in terms of the global nuclear threat, it is neither Russia nor China that the west needs fear. History has proven these nuclear powers mature and contemplative, even diligent and supremely cautious, in their management of these horrific weapons.
India and Pakistan possess nuclear weapons. India is a stable democracy. Pakistan is an unstable country that is plagued by Islamic terrorism.
Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities are concerning yes, but India acts as a deterrent to Pakistan. Both countries aim their nuclear missiles at each other. Hopefully, they will wipe each other out in terms of a nuclear conflagration before a rogue missile leaves for some other destination, triggering the Apocalypse. Two nuclear powers going on the offensive with the aid of effective missile capability means the mutual assured destruction of both states: MAD.
Iran on the other hand is a bad actor. It is also a lone wolf. It is a country with an anti-western values matrix that is based on fundamentalist Islam. It sits in the most volatile region on earth: the Middle East. It is a country bent on destabilizsing the region. Iran is a clear and present danger to modern civilisation.
Iran’s main enemy in the region, Saudi Arabia, is also a destabilising regional power with a culture that is intolerant and reactionary. But Saudi Arabia, unlike Iran, is far from obtaining nuclear capability. It bears no threat to western interests in a nuclear context, apart from its support for the Wahabi type of Islam that has seen death unleashed in and outside the region, most evidently manifested in 911. A terrorist with a Kalashnikov is much less of a danger than a terrorist head of state with a nuclear device.
Terror can be contained by conventional means, but not nuclear terror. Once a nuclear tipped ballistic missile has been launched, there are few options for preventing a nuclear holocaust, potentially killing tens of millions of people in a first strike.
That ominous scenario of an insane nuclear missile launch is the fear with Iran and North Korea. Both are fanatical and suicidal regimes. Worse still, North Korea has already crossed the nuclear threshold with a nasty and narcissistic leader at its helm. North Korea already possesses nuclear weapons and missile capabilities. Currently the “hermit state” is pursuing intercontinental, ballistic nuclear missile capability.
The great paradox in nuclear diplomacy has been that the more the appeasement to bad actors such as Iran and North Korea, the closer to the various thresholds for nuclear missile strike capability these rogue nations get. The world becomes a much more dangerous place as a result.
A mushroom cloud from a hydrogen bomb detonating over Charlotte Amalie in the United States Virgin Islands would wipe out the entire Virgin Islands population of over 100,000 souls in a few seconds. Everything at the core of the detonation would vaporise. That is how terrible nuclear weapons are.
Thankfully, Donald J. Trump’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley has indicated a change in policy with her aggressive stance against Russia.
As an aircraft carrier battle group with nuclear capability heads towards the seas washing the North Korean coastline, the recent release of tomahawk cruise missiles from US warships in the Mediterranean into Syria has signaled a significant change in the US offensive military posture. Add the dropping of a massive ordinance air blast system – MOAB- over Afghanistan in April 2017. It is a warning to the North Korean mad man that the US will act aggressively in protecting its strategic and vital interests in the region.
Rex Tillerson is the US Secretary of state. Tillerson recently asserted that the USA may have to conduct a preemptive strike against North Korea. That would be a very devastating and hugely destabilising military expedition costing hundreds of thousands of lives potentially. It could further go nuclear, creating frightening and unpredictable consequences. However, preemptive action may have to take place to prevent a nuclear tipped missile one day reaching the west coast of the Americas and beyond from a devilish regime. There are no good options, only bad options, with the North Korean nuclear conundrum.
Emily B. Landau, a Cato Institute Scholar and Researcher, has written that “determined nuclear proliferators are very determined: they are bent on attaining the strategic value they attribute to a nuclear weapons capability, and are loath to give up the pursuit.” Despite agreements with North Korea in 1994 and Iran in 2015, both countries are determined to continue to pursue their nuclear ambitions.
In fact, Landau has stated that indeed, the lack of response to provocations seems only to foster additional aggression, as Iran and North Korea increasingly feel emboldened by the fact that they have been given a relatively free ride.
Since late 2016, Iran has significantly stepped up its military campaign in Syria, including war crimes against Syrian civilians, and attempts to set up a new presence near Israel’s border, while transferring prohibited weaponry to Hezbollah.
Iran is involved in the civil war in Yemen, and is arming and training Shia rebels in Bahrain. Iran has been harassing US naval vessels in the Gulf on a regular basis. Iran has also been guilty of minor violations of the nuclear agreement reached in 2015 and Iran is suspected of trying to circumvent the Procurement Working Group set up by the nuclear deal, to illicitly procure components and technologies that can be used in a nuclear-weapons programme.
Landau further stated that “the Trump administration’s response is essential in the face of Iran’s ongoing provocations. Indeed, the non-response of the Barack H. Obama administration is what has enabled Iran to continue its provocations and aggressions unhindered, and to feel free to continue in this vein.
Iran has been informed that the United States will no longer be turning a blind eye to what it is doing in the region. An initial indication that the message has been received is that shortly after this threat Iran pulled a ballistic missile readied for launch from a launch pad. Iran launched a short-range missile instead. The Iranian media advised against “giving Trump an excuse” to attack.
Unlike Iran, North Korea is already a nuclear state due to the repeated failures of diplomacy for twenty-five years, including eight years of Obama’s “strategic patience,” which merely provided North Korea with the opportunity to advance its capabilities: it conducted four more nuclear tests and many missile tests.
Getting North Korea to agree to rollback its nuclear capabilities at this late stage is pretty near impossible, because it has already crossed the nuclear threshold. However, North Korea probably understands there is a New Harry Truman in the White House. Trump is the type of Leader who will not hesitate to drop a nuclear bomb if that is what is required.
Peace through strength clearly works.
A stronger America always means a safer world for you and me.
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