STRANGER THAN FICTION: America?s ramped up nuclear capability: Prelude to another Cold War?

by TAJ HASHMI*

While people across the world for the last three years have been watching the unbelievable resurgence in state- and non-state-actor-sponsored violence and terror across the Arab World – Libya, Egypt, Syria, Gaza, and of late, Iraq – the Obama Administration’s recent decision to ramp up its nuclear capability has almost remained unnoticed to most analysts, let alone the common people. Even if, very similar to what happened during the Cold War, America’s ramped up nuclear capability does not lead to a nuclear conflagration, this is going to signal further nuclear proliferation, arms race and a new cold war. Some American analysts find it unbelievable, that “a president who campaigned for ‘a nuclear-free-world’ and made disarmament a main goal of American defense policy”, has thumbed up a massive revitalization for new generation of nuclear warheads and weapon carriers. The price tag is estimated to be a trillion dollars over the next 30 years. The justifications for the “modernization of nuclear capabilities” – apparently not synonymous with increasing nuclear warheads – are baffling.

While Russia is alleged to be on the march; China is assumed to be pressing further its territorial claims to the detriment of its neighbors; and Pakistan is “expanding” its arsenal. Gary Samore, Obama’s nuclear adviser in his first term, has singled out Putin’s “invasion of Ukraine” as “the most fundamental game changer” in regard to America’s ramping up its nuclear capability. One assumes, thanks to the growing influence of the hawks in Washington, soon Iran’s purported nuclear capability will further rationalize America’s nuclear modernization program.

As a New York Times editorial (Sept 24, 2018) has pointed out, during the past six years Obama promised to make the world eventually nuclear arms free. And that his promises have substantially de-escalated  the arms race: 13 countries so far have completely eliminated their nuclear materials, and 15 have destroyed portions of their stockpiles. Nevertheless, there are about 2,000 nuclear weapons located in 14 countries, and 25 countries have the materials and technology to build their own bombs.

What is apparently baffling is Obama’s raising the nuclear modernization budget from $70 to $84 billion a year. Interestingly, having no qualms with spending a trillion dollars to build a dozen nuclear submarines, 100 new bombers and 400 land-based missiles, and spending billions on weapon upgrades, the Congress hardly debated the issue.

As we know, in accordance with the “Weinberger Doctrine” (Weinberger was Reagan’s Defense Secretary), America does not want to commit the Vietnam mistakes. Now, it favors using overwhelming force for a swift and decisive victory, as it achieved in Iraq in 1991 and 2003. In 2011, America spent $739.3 billion on defense, equivalent to more than 45% of what the rest of the world spent on defense that year. Obama’s latest volte-face indicates two things: a) either he has started believing in American hawks who love to see their country as an empire, which should be on the path to “permanent war”; or b) he is too vulnerable to the overpowering influence of the Military-Industrial Complex (MIC) on the Congress.

We have reasons not to blame Obama for his “ambivalence” towards arms race and nuclear escalation. The Nobel Laureate in Peace is anything but the “most powerful man in the world”. He cannot overpower the hawks and the MIC, who, as one analyst believes, want at least one major war every ten years in some distant part of the world. The hawks are good at generating fear among the bulk of Americans about the unknown or least known enemies, such as the ISIS and the Khorasan Group in Iraq and Syria.

In view of Obama’s latest “backsliding on nuclear promises”, one may argue as to why his administration and the beneficiaries of the “permanent war” should spend another trillion dollars in the next three decades on nuclear modernization while America has slowly and steadily entered into the arena of another long war in the Middle East against the ISIS, who seems to have appeared from nowhere, and despite its meager resources and manpower, captured substantial territories in Syria and Iraq. As America’s latest war is being planned – albeit with tepid support from five Arab autocracies, one of them (Saudi Arabia) also regularly behead people in the name of Islam and Shariah like the ISIS extremists – should make the hawks and MIC  happy. So, why should the Obama Administration go for the nuclear modernization?

We believe the nuclear option is not for containing Russia, China or Iran. It is all about the “profits of war”. Another cold war or “cold peace” may lead to further arms race, even nuclear proliferation. Nevertheless, America and its Western allies would remain dominant militarily in the foreseeable future. It seems, America’s latest military adventure in the Arab World gives credence to what General Wesley Clark said about the Pentagon’s long-term plan to invade several countries in the region, including Iraq, Syria and Iran, without any specific reasons but – as one would guess – for the benefit of the MIC alone.

Similarly, one may argue that investing a trillion dollar on nuclear modernization would further benefit those who benefit from conventional wars as well. Conversely, one is not sure if the nuclear modernization in the long run might be more profitable (for the MIC) than waging unpopular wars against Syria and Iran! However, America’s ramping up the nuclear capability is likely to end the so-called unipolarity; and might usher in another cold war and “cold peace” hurting food supply, human rights, democracy and development across the world, especially in the Third World. Last but not least, nuclear modernization would eventually lead to nuclear proliferation. And there is no guarantee that terrorists and terrorist-states would not have access to nuclear technology.

ENDS

Related link: The Overblown ISIS Threat: Prelude To Another Long War?

* The writer teaches security studies at Austin Peay State University at Clarksville, Tennessee. Sage has recently published his Global Jihad and America: The Hundred-Year Beyond Iraq and Afghanistan.

Egypt: Advice to Vassals

Yet More Advice

If you find a?vassal?country takes a path that you dislike,
It’s your duty to divert it, with a bold preemptive strike.

Woman facing down bulldozer, standing over wounded Morsi supporter @AFP Mohammed Abdel Moneim
Woman facing down bulldozer, standing over wounded Morsi supporter @AFP Mohammed Abdel Moneim

But when bleeding troops and money, you had better think of ways,
By which to wield your influence.? A little thinking pays.
You can call for free elections and for freedom of the press.
If you don’t like who’s elected, push for freedom to repress. Continue reading “Egypt: Advice to Vassals”

Bangladesh blocks YouTube over film

Dhaka, Sep 18 (bdnews24.com)?Authorities in Bangladesh on Monday blocked YouTube’s website indefinitely to stop the people watching a US-made film that insults the Prophet Muhammad and has sparked violence in the Muslim world.
Visitors in Bangladesh could not access the site after 5:30pm on Monday, an official with telecoms regulator BTRC’s System and Service Department told bdnews24.com.
The government on Sunday asked Google Inc that owns the video website to remove the 13-minute video clip of the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ from its site. But there was no response from the search engine giant until Monday. Continue reading “Bangladesh blocks YouTube over film”

Conspiracies of convenience: what's behind the film fracas?

On both sides of the ongoing clash of bigotries and stupidity, the Prophet Muhammad is incidental to the true motives of the antagonists

By Hani Shukrallah, Thursday 13 Sep 2012. English Ahram

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I strongly sense conspiracy in the whole sordid “film maligning the Prophet” fracas, which, in a few hours, claimed the lives of three American diplomats and delivered a devastating blow to the Arab revolutionary upsurge, and to the new democratic and pluralistic awareness that both lay behind that upsurge and was its most precious product. Let me hasten to explain, however, that I use the questionable term, conspiracy, not in the sense that everyone from the makers of the film to the hysterical demonstrators that attacked the American missions in Cairo and Benghazi are in cahoots; nor do I base my argument simply on “who benefits most”, which almost invariably is the conspiracy theorist’s most crucial analytical tool.
What I really mean by “conspiracy” here is that the Prophet Muhammad is in fact wholly secondary to the real motives of the various parties to the ugly and bloody brawl. Yet, somewhat like the conspiracy theorist, I base my argument more on a reading of the events and their context, rather than on concrete, tangible facts. Continue reading “Conspiracies of convenience: what's behind the film fracas?”

Days Later: US Newspapers Run Graphic Photos Of Libya Ambassador

Posted by??- September 13, 2012 at 9:59 am -?Permalink?-?Source?via?Alexander Higgins Blog

NY Daily News Front Page - Sept 13 2012

Newspapers across the U.S. run graphic photos of the murdered U.S. Ambassador to Libya who was reportedly raped and lynched by Islamic extremists.

As the violence continues to flare in the Middle East news outlets that originally paid little attention to the murder of U.S. Ambassador Stephens is now the top headline nationwide. Continue reading “Days Later: US Newspapers Run Graphic Photos Of Libya Ambassador”

Assassination attempt on Clinton suppressed by media

Israeli and U.S. Media Conspired to Block Attempted Assassination of Clinton
Political Perspective by Tim King Salem-News.com
Hiding the event from the public makes the media guilty of treason.

Hilary Clinton meets politicians during her recent trip to Israel. There are reports that an assassination attempt had been made, which went largely unreported.vosizneias.com

(SALEM) – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton survived an assassination attempt during an official visit to Israel this week, according to Israel Radio and Reuters.
Israel Radio broke the story. Normal security procedures that should have prevented any vehicle on open regions from coming within 200 meters of Clinton were not observed.
Those who follow news from the Middle east are probably not surprised by this. The United States as it turns out, is as devout in its support of Israel as it claims. The recent multiple standing ovations for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Congress, when he is an accused war criminal, apparently apparently mark an even greater dedication to Israel than the United States itself.
Ignoring an assassination attempt and hiding the event from the public makes the media guilty of treason. It really does. They have had their pants around their ankles for years, but this really takes the cake.
The media; CNN, BBC, all of the major networks and the New York Times itself, are worthless today. I have to admit I am shocked that the press actually chose to suppress and thus, misrepresent the event to the public.
Many critics of Israel claim that its political leaders are not working in the interest of anything except war and domination. They have remained determined first and foremost, to take physical possession of Palestine; and Clinton is willing to throw her dignity under the bus in support of it. What a bunch of dishonest deceivers they are.
According to Zee News in India,

  • There was an assassination attempt on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while she was on an official visit to Israel, according to Israel Radio and a news agency.
  • Israel Radio broke the story earlier in the week, which was confirmed by sources inside Israel, but never mentioned again.
  • According to World Mathaba, the purported attack on Hillary was related to the current political upheaval in Israel — the aim being kill Hillary, blame Iran and take the focus off the domestic political meltdown in Tel Aviv.

The story grows darker. As we all know, at least five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria were murdered in a bus blast this week;
One of the only things we in this world can be sure of, is that Israel wants to wage a war on Iran. That is so exceedingly clear. Zee News is an established news agency in India.

  • According to sources, the attack on Hillary?s convoy, a minimum of three to five vehicles, travelling from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, follows the story earlier of an attack on a bus loaded with Israeli tourists that exploded in Bulgaria, which killed six persons.
  • According to World Mathaba, both the Bulgaria attack and the attempted assassination of Hillary was a Mossad “false flag” operation.

If Americans are so determined to support Israel, perhaps they should move there, and that suggestion applies to all who value Israeli interests on a high level than those of the United States of America.
Israel is an apartheid state like South Africa; it is founded on the concept of racial superiority, it is not a nation of Holocaust survivors, and most of those who survived the horrors of the Nazi death machine do not favor Israel’s genocidal position toward Palestine, and they especially deplore Israel’s separate laws and roads for Jews and non-Jews.
Did Clinton make the mistake of driving on a Jewish-only road?
Was there an assassination attempt on Hillary in Israel? – Zee News
Was there an assassination attempt on Hillary Clinton in Israel? – News Track India
The rest of Hillary’s trip didn’t go too smoothly either. This was reported from Egypt.
The protesting crowds hailed the motorcade with vegetables and other objects, reportedly hitting one of the Egyptian officials in the convoy in the face. The American armored motorcade suffered only superficial damage while Hillary Clinton?s car remained intact.
There have been reports of the protesters chanting “Leave, Clinton? and “Monica, Monica,” presumably referring to the scandal with the secretary?s husband, former US President Bill Clinton?s extra-marital affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

We all helped suppress the Egyptians. So how do we change?

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By Johann Hari
The Independent
Friday, 4 February 2011

Very few British people would beat up a poor person to get cheaper petrol. But our governments do it all the time. Why?
The old slogan from the 1960s has come true: the revolution has been televised. The world is watching the Bastille fall on 24/7 rolling news. An elderly thug is trying to buy and beat and tear-gas himself enough time to smuggle his family’s estimated $25bn in loot out of the country, and to install a successor friendly to his interests. The Egyptian people ? half of whom live on less than $2 a day ? seem determined to prevent the pillage and not to wait until September to drive out a dictator dripping in blood and bad hair dye.
The great Czech dissident Vaclav Havel outlined the “as if” principle. He said people trapped under a dictatorship need to act “as if they are free”. They need to act as if the dictator has no power over them. The Egyptians are trying ? and however many of them Mubarak murders on his way out the door, the direction in which fear flows has been successfully reversed. The tyrant has become terrified of “his” people.
Of course, there is a danger that what follows will be worse. My family lived for a time under the torturing tyranny of the Shah of Iran, and cheered the revolution in 1979. Yet he was replaced by the even more vicious Ayatollahs. But this is not the only model, nor the most likely. Events in Egypt look more like the Indonesian revolution, where in 1998 a popular uprising toppled a US-backed tyrant after 32 years of oppression ? and went on to build the largest and most plural democracy in the Muslim world.
But the discussion here in the West should focus on the factor we are responsible for and can influence ? the role our governments have played in suppressing the Egyptian people. Your taxes have been used to arm, fund and fuel this dictatorship. You have unwittingly helped to keep these people down. The tear-gas canisters fired at pro-democracy protesters have “Made in America” stamped on them, with British machine guns and grenade launchers held in the background.
Very few British people would praise a murderer and sell him weapons. Very few British people would beat up a poor person to get cheaper petrol. But our governments do it all the time. Why? British foreign policy does not follow the everyday moral principles of the British people, because it is not formulated by us. This might sound like an odd thing to say about a country that prides itself on being a democracy, but it is true.
The former Labour MP Lorna Fitzsimons spoke at a conference for Israel’s leaders last year and assured them they didn’t have to worry about the British people’s growing opposition to their policies because “public opinion does not influence foreign policy in Britain. Foreign policy is an elite issue”. This is repellent but right. It is formulated in the interests of big business and their demand for access to resources, and influential sectional interest groups.
You can see this most clearly if you go through the three reasons our governments give, sometimes publicly, sometimes privately, for their behavior in the Middle East. Explanation One: Oil. Some 60 per cent of the world’s remaining petrol is in the Middle East. We are all addicted to it, so our governments support strongmen and murderers who will keep the oil-taps gushing without interruption. Egypt doesn’t have oil, but it has crucial oil pipelines and supply routes, and it is part of a chain of regional dictators we don’t want broken in case they all fall taking the petrol pump with it. Addicts don’t stand up to their dealers: they fawn before them.
There is an obvious medium-term solution: break our addiction. The technology exists ? wind, wave and especially solar power ? to fuel our societies without oil. It would free us from our support for dictators and horrific wars of plunder like Iraq. It’s our society’s route to rehab ? but it is being blocked by the hugely influential oil companies, who would lose a fortune. Like everybody who needs to go to rehab, the first step is to come out of denial about why we are still hooked.
Explanation Two: Israel and the “peace process”. Over the past week, we have persistently been told that Mubarak was a key plank in supporting “peace in the Middle East”. The opposite is the truth. Mubarak has been at the forefront of waging war on the Palestinian population. There are 1.5 million people imprisoned on the Gaza Strip denied access to necessities like food and centrifuges for their blood transfusion service. They are being punished for voting “the wrong way” in a democratic election.
Israel blockades Gaza to one side, and Mubarak blockades it to the other. I’ve stood in Gaza and watched Egyptian soldiers refusing to let sick and dying people out for treatment they can’t get in Gaza’s collapsing hospitals. In return for this, Mubarak receives $1.5bn a year from the US. Far from contributing to peace, this is marinating the Gazan people in understandable hatred and dreams of vengeance. This is bad even for Israel herself ? but we are so servile to the demands of the country’s self-harming government, and to its loudest and angriest lobbyists here, that our governments obey.
Explanation Three: Strongmen suppress jihadism. Our governments claim that without dictators to suppress, torture and disappear Islamic fundamentalists, they will be unleashed and come after us. Indeed, they often outsourced torture to the Egyptian regime, sending suspects there to face things that would be illegal at home. Robert Baer, once a senior figure in black ops at the CIA, said: “If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear, you send them to Egypt.”
Western governments claim all this makes us safer. The opposite is the truth. In his acclaimed history of al-Qa’ida, The Looming Tower, Lawrence Wright explains: “America’s tragedy on September 11th was born in the prisons of Egypt.” Modern jihadism was invented by Sayeed Qutb as he was electrocuted and lashed in Egyptian jails and grew under successive tyrannies. Mohammed Atta, the lead 9/11 hijacker, was Egyptian, and named US backing for his country’s tyrant as one of the main reasons for the massacre.
When we fund the violent suppression of people, they hate us, and want to fight back. None of these factors that drove our governments to back Mubarak’s dictatorship in Egypt have changed. So we should strongly suspect they will now talk sweet words about democracy in public, and try to secure a more PR-friendly Mubarak in private.
It doesn’t have to be like this. We could make our governments as moral as we, the British people, are in our everyday lives. We could stop them trampling on the weak, and fattening thugs. But to achieve it, we have to democratise our own societies and claim control of our foreign policy. We would have to monitor and campaign over it, and let our governments know there is a price for behaving viciously abroad. The Egyptian people have shown this week they will risk everything to stop being abused. What will we risk to stop our governments being abusers?
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-we-all-helped-suppress-the-egyptians-so-how-do-we-change-2203579.html

PART I THE END OF AUTHORITARIANISM IN THE ARAB WORLD?

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`Go, Mubarak go!’ ?USA’s tottering user-friendly tyrants…


By Rahnuma Ahmed

Having grown up amidst popular uprisings, such as the Civil Disobedience movement in 1969, and much later, having participated in mass uprisings, foremost among them, the one against general HM Ershad’s regime in 1990, witnessing scenes of the unfolding peoples’ revolt against the US-bolstered 30-year old Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt, relayed live, courtesy of al-Jazeera television, is, well…, just great!

Protestors at Tahreer square, Cairo?

Every passing moment contributes to our history on earth, but some moments are crucial for they change history, writes Ashraf Ezzat, medical doctor and political analyst, from Alexandria. What the world now witnesses in Egypt, is not only the crumbling down of a dictatorship that stifled Egyptians for decades but “a whole age of authoritarianism in the Arab world.”
It all began in Tunisia. Mohammed Bouazizi, 26, a vegetable-seller, set himself on fire on December 17, 2010 after police confiscated his unlicensed produce stand; he died on Jan 3. Protests against unemployment, police brutality and the regime’s corruption increased, leading to the toppling of president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali’s regime, a dictator who had ruled for 23 years, was re-elected president five times, each time winning 99.9%-89.62% votes, who amended the constitution in 2002 to allow the president (read, himself) to stay in power until the age of 75, to be re-elected unlimited times. After a 29 day popular uprising, Ben Ali, who headed “one of the Arab world’s most repressive regimes” (Guardian, January 15, 2011), ?who was a “stalwart US ally” (Foreign Policy, February 5, 2011)?was forced to flee, to take refuge in Saudi Arabia. Prime minister Mohamed Ghannouchi took over as interim president as soldiers guarded ministries, public buildings and the state TV building, as security forces were authorised to fire live rounds.
“Freedom is expensive and my brother paid the price of freedom,” said Salem, Bouazizi’s brother. “My brother has become a symbol of resistance in the Arab world.”
So true he was, as instances of self-immolation followed soon. An Egyptian man set himself alight near the parliament, a Mauritanian in front of the presidential palace in Nouakchott, the capital, while four unemployed young men reportedly immolated themselves in Algeria.
Continue reading “PART I THE END OF AUTHORITARIANISM IN THE ARAB WORLD?”

Thinking the Unthinkable: Is the Gulf Next?

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By James M. Dorsey | 02 FEB 2011

Thinking the Unthinkable: Is the Gulf Next?
It?s time to think the unthinkable: Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Gulf states may be getting in line for their turn at confronting widespread popular discontent.
As a wave of mass protests sweeps the Arab world, shaking the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to the core, rumblings of popular restlessness are bubbling to the service in the Gulf.
Shiite opposition groups in Bahrain, a strategic island kingdom that hosts the U.S. Navy?s 5th Fleet, have called for?protests on February 14 to demand greater political freedom, a halt to attempts to redress the sectarian balance in a Shiite-majority country ruled by a Sunni minority, an end to human rights abuses and improved economic opportunities.
Over the past month,?Saudi Arabia?s dismal soccer performance in the Asian Cup, unemployment, floods in Jeddah that killed at least four people and the granting of asylum to the ousted Tunisian leader have sparked protests and criticism on newspaper op-ed pages as well as on blogs and in Internet chat rooms.
Read more of the story at?The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer
——–
James M. Dorsey, a former Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent, writes about ethnic and religious conflict. He is the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog.
======================================================

=======================================================
Dear friends,
Millions of brave Egyptians are right now facing a fateful choice. Thousands have been jailed, injured or killed in the last few days. But if they press on in peaceful protest, they could end decades of tyranny.
The protesters have appealed for international solidarity, but the dictatorship knows the power of unity at a time like this ? they?ve desperately tried to cut Egyptians off from the world and each other by completely shutting down the internet and mobile networks.
Satellite and radio networks can still break through the regime blackout — let?s flood those airwaves with a massive cry of solidarity showing Egyptians that we stand with them, and that we?ll hold our governments accountable to stand with them too. The situation is at a tipping point — every hour counts — click below to sign the solidarity message, and forward this email:
Yasmine Jaffri
?https://secure.avaaz.org/en/democracy_for_egypt/97.php?cl_tta_sign=887eb39ee0031d3012345f2fa90c21cf?
People power is sweeping the Middle East. In days, peaceful protesters brought down Tunisia?s 30-year dictatorship. Now the protests are spreading to Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and beyond. This could be the Arab world’s Berlin Wall moment. If tyranny falls in Egypt, a tidal wave of democracy could sweep the entire region.
Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak has tried to crush the rallies. But with incredible bravery and determination, the protesters keep coming.
There are moments when history is written not by the powerful, but by people. This is one of them. The actions of ordinary Egyptians in the coming hours will have a massive effect on their country, the region, and our world. Let?s cheer them on with our own pledge to stand with them in their struggle:
?https://secure.avaaz.org/en/democracy_for_egypt/97.php?cl_tta_sign=887eb39ee0031d3012345f2fa90c21cf
?Mubarak?s family has left the country, but last night he ordered the military into the streets. He?s ominously promised 0 tolerance for what he calls ?chaos?. Either way, history will be made in the next few days. Let?s make this the moment that shows every dictator on our planet that they cannot stand long against the courage of people united.
With hope and admiration for the Egyptian people,
Ricken, Rewan, Ben, Graziela, Alice, Kien and the rest of the Avaaz team
More Information:
Egypt unrest: Alert as mass protests loom
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12303564
Egyptian government shuts down the Internet
http://www.renesys.com/blog/2011/01/egypt-leaves-the-internet.shtml
North Africa: Will dominoes fall in the region?
http://allafrica.com/stories/201101280659.html
‘Beginning of the end’ for Egypt’s Mubarak as son and wife flee
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/105117/20110126/beginning-of-the-end-for-egypt-s-mubarak-as-son-and-wife-flee.htm
Amnesty International condemns the crackdown on demonstrations
http://amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/egypt-must-stop-crackdown-protesters-2011-01-26
Regular updates are being posted by Egyptian activists here:
http://www.elshaheeed.co.uk
ACCESS campaign for digital freedom in Egypt:
https://www.accessnow.org/page/s/help-egypt