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Nuclear Weapons

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  Consider it a marriage made in hell. Start with the groom, Donald Trump, the man who once wondered why in the world we make nuclear weapons if we can’t use them; who wouldn’t rule out using nukes, even in Europe; who insisted that a president should be “unpredictable” on the subject; who suggested that... Read More
The Most Dangerous Weapon Ever Rolls Off the Nuclear Assembly Line
Last month, the National Nuclear Security Administration (formerly the Atomic Energy Commission) announced that the first of a new generation of strategic nuclear weapons had rolled off the assembly line at its Pantex nuclear weapons plant in the panhandle of Texas. That warhead, the W76-2, is designed to be fitted to a submarine-launched Trident missile,... Read More
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The Doomsday Machine, the title of Daniel Ellsberg’s superb book is not simply an imaginary contraption from a movie masterpiece. A Doomsday Machine uncannily like the one described in Dr. Strangelove exists right now. In fact, there are two such machines, one in US hands and one in Russia’s. The US seeks to hide its... Read More
Living the Nuclear Past -- and Future
Landing at Nagasaki Airport last November, I joined a line of Japanese men, women, and children waiting to disembark from our plane. Most were likely returning home on this holiday weekend or arriving to visit family and friends. I wondered how many of them remembered or thought about the nuclear annihilation of this city 73... Read More
Let me tell you a little story about Hiroshima and me: As a young man, I was anything but atypical in having the Bomb (we capitalized it then) on my brain, and not just while I was ducking under my school desk as sirens howled their nuclear attack warnings outside. Like many people my age,... Read More
He was the candidate who, while talking to a foreign policy expert, reportedly wondered“why we can’t use nuclear weapons.” He was the man who would never rule anything out or take any “cards,” including nuclear ones, off the proverbial table. He was the fellow who, as president-elect, was eager to expand the American nuclear arsenal... Read More
Donald Trump Welcomes in the Age of “Usable” Nuclear Weapons
It was only an announcement, but think of it as the beginning of a journey into hell. Last week, President Donald Trump made public his decision to abrogate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), a 1987 agreement with the Soviet Union. National Security Advisor John Bolton, a Cold Warrior in a post-Cold War world, promptly... Read More
The US military/security complex has taken another step toward Armageddon. The Pentagon has prepared a nuclear posture review (NPR) that gives the OK to development of smaller “useable” nuclear weapons and permits their use in response to a non-nuclear attack. As Reagan and Gorbachev understood, but the warmongers who have taken over America do not,... Read More
Speaking of the situation on the Korean peninsula, he predicted that there would be “the greatest slaughter.” He later requested 34 nuclear weapons for possible use in connection with the Korean situation. He would later claim that he had considered dropping “30 to 50 tactical atomic bombs” and had suggested laying a “belt of radioactive... Read More
Making Nuclear Weapons Usable Again
Maybe you thought America’s nuclear arsenal, with its thousands of city-busting, potentially civilization-destroying thermonuclear warheads, was plenty big enough to deter any imaginable adversary from attacking the U.S. with nukes of their own. Well, it turns out you were wrong. The Pentagon has been fretting that the arsenal is insufficiently intimidating. After all -- so... Read More
A Shelter-in-Place Mentality Is the New American Normal
Has there ever been a nation as dedicated to preparing for doomsday as the United States? If that’s a thought that hasn’t crossed your mind, maybe it’s because you didn’t spend part of your life inside Cheyenne Mountain. That's a tale I’ll get to soon, but first let me mention America’s “doomsday planes.” Last month,... Read More
Let’s say you know someone who wears funny blue suits and doesn’t share your views on politics. So you decide to stick this person in a cage and put him on a diet of bread and water until he agrees to change his wardrobe and adjust his thinking. And when he sits quietly on the... Read More
North Korea’s fifth nuclear test produced an explosion fury and hysteria around the world, more empty threats against the Hermit Kingdom, and a giant sell-off in stock markets by foolish investors. No wonder gleeful North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was having such a big laugh. It’s not often that a small nation of only 24.8... Read More
I consider North Korea to be America’s stalking horse for its China strategy. If I’m right, things aren’t looking too good. I have a piece up at Asia Times, Will We Have to Nuke Asia in Order to Save It? It reviews the recent excitement over the fifth North Korean nuclear test and addresses the... Read More
Everything grows old. I’m told one day the stars and planets will turn to dust. So I suppose it’s no surprise that America’s arsenal of nuclear weapons is also showing signs of advancing age, and may have to be replaced. One would think that the growing decrepitude of our nukes would be a fine time... Read More
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Nuclear Weapons, Climate Change, and the Prospects for Survival
[This essay is excerpted from Noam Chomsky’s new book, Who Rules the World? (Metropolitan Books).] In January 2015, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists advanced its famous Doomsday Clock to three minutes before midnight, a threat level that had not been reached for 30 years. The Bulletin’s statement explaining this advance toward catastrophe invoked the... Read More
He hadn’t been in office three months when he went to Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, and delivered remarks on the world’s nuclear dilemma. They proved to be of a sort that might normally have come from an antinuclear activist or someone in the then just-budding climate change movement, not the president of the... Read More
I have an article up exclusively on Asia Times, The Case of the Missing Nukes…and a Disappearing US Mission in Asia, concerning an interesting and, I fear, transitory lack of tactical nuclear weapons in theater in Asia. I see tactical nukes making a comeback in Asia, probably courtesy of the Long Range Stand Off weapon... Read More
Should Japan and South Korea be permitted to develop nuclear weapons? That was the very good question posed last week by candidate Donald Trump. Washington’s elite and neocon war party threw up their hands in horror at Trump’s heretical question. The media, heavily influenced by neocons who hate Trump’s call for even-handed US policy in... Read More
Once upon a time, if a war was going to destroy your world, it had to take place in your world. The soldiers had to land, the planes had to fly overhead, the ships had to be off the coast. No longer. Nuclear war changed that equation forever and not just because nuclear weapons could... Read More
A Nuclear Armageddon in the Making in South Asia
Undoubtedly, for nearly two decades, the most dangerous place on Earth has been the Indian-Pakistani border in Kashmir. It’s possible that a small spark from artillery and rocket exchanges across that border might -- given the known military doctrines of the two nuclear-armed neighbors -- lead inexorably to an all-out nuclear conflagration. In that case... Read More
Sputnik News.com interview with PCR The Real Likelihood of a Nuclear War BRAVE NEW WORLD John Harrison, Host Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, who served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan administration, shares his view that there is a real likelihood of a nuclear war breaking out. Below are... Read More
“Let’s begin 2016…with the thrilling explosion of our first hydrogen bomb, so that the whole world will look up to our socialist, nuclear-armed republic and the great Workers’ Party of Korea!” Kim Jong-un North Koreans may be happy, but the rest of the world certainly is not. Predictably, the US, Japan, China, Australia and South... Read More
Putting Threats into Perspective for 2016
It’s time to panic! As 2015 ended, this country was certifiably terror-stricken. It had the Islamic State (IS) on the brain. Hoax terror threats or terror imbroglios shut down school systems from Los Angeles to New Hampshire, Indiana to a rural county in Virginia. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, citing terror attacks in Paris and San... Read More
Fear? Tell me about it. Unfortunately, I’m so old that I’m not sure I really remember what I felt when, along with millions of other schoolchildren of the 1950s, I ducked and coveredlike Bert the Turtle, huddling under my desk while sirens howled outside the classroom window. We were, of course, being prepared to protect... Read More
Thinking the Parentally Unthinkable
"What did you do at school today, Seamus?" It’s a question I ask him everyday. "Well," my proud preschooler begins, "we did not have a lockdown drill today." And that’s about as far as he gets in the art of storytelling. Sometimes I'll get something about "bim" (gym) or how "Bambi" (Jeremy) pinched him during... Read More
How Nuclear Weapons Companies Commandeer Your Tax Dollars
Imagine for a moment a genuine absurdity: somewhere in the United States, the highly profitable operations of a set of corporations were based on the possibility that sooner or later your neighborhood would be destroyed and you and all your neighbors annihilated. And not just you and your neighbors, but others and their neighbors across... Read More
They’ve run the most profitable companies in history and, to put it bluntly, they are destroying the planet. In the past, given an American obsession with terrorists, I’ve called them “terrarists.” I’m referring, of course, to the CEOs of the Big Energy companies, who in these years have strained to find new ways to exploit... Read More
The Nagasaki Experience
[This essay has been adapted from chapters 1 and 2 of Susan Southard’s new book, Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War, with the kind permission of Viking.] Korean and Chinese workers, prisoners of war, and mobilized adults and students had returned to their work sites; some dug or repaired shelters, others piled sandbags against the windows... Read More
So many decades later, it’s hard to remember the kind of nuclear thinking top American officials engaged in during the Cold War. In secret National Security Council documents of the early 1950s, for instance, the country’s top strategists descended willingly into the charnel house of futuristic history, imagining life on this planet as an eternal... Read More
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In the 1960s the US was far from blindly supporting Israeli interests in the Middle East
Recently declassified documents reveal that consideration of how and when the White House can or should pressure Israel over policies damaging to the United States has been a contentious issue for quite some time. The 107 pages of formerly top secret memos, dating from 1968-9, relate to deliberations over what to do about the Israeli... Read More
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Hiroshima Day 2014
If some extraterrestrial species were compiling a history of Homo sapiens, they might well break their calendar into two eras: BNW (before nuclear weapons) and NWE (the nuclear weapons era). The latter era, of course, opened on August 6, 1945, the first day of the countdown to what may be the inglorious end of this... Read More
As US-Iran rapprochement inches toward at least partial consummation in Geneva, I wish to offer a few observations: 1) The Iran nuclear weapons threat has always been a McGuffin, an excuse for various powers to advance an anti-Iran agenda. 2) Chief among the usual suspects is, of course, Israel under PM Netanyahu. If the Israeli... Read More
Is the US Thinking About Backpedaling on North Korean Nukes?  Will the Pivot Go Wobbly?
Will President Obama become a late and unlikely convert to realpolitik and allow John Kerry to sacrifice America’s nuclear non-proliferation principles on the battered altar of North Korean diplomacy? And will the fearsome pivot to Asia turn into a dainty pirouette, an American pas de deux with China as the two great powers search for... Read More
The movie GI Joe: Retaliation is crap. To call it a video game movie is an insult to good video games.  It is a bad video game movie. The expository scenes—where the characters move their mouths and words come out—are treated as cut scenes i.e. brief pauses to reward players with a bathroom break after... Read More
“Israel to attack Iran” is a hardy if never-blooming perennial. I rerun this post (originally written on the occasion of Israel’s bombing of an alleged nuclear facility in Syria in 2007) every year as a reminder of the rather daunting technical issues involved in flying from Israel to Iran and blowing things up in a... Read More
The World Doesn’t Have a Pakistan Nukes Problem…It Has a David Albright Problem As AFP tells us, the Institute for Science and International Security just published a report on Pakistan’s nuclear program that seems designed to pour gasoline on the “the Pakistani nuclear program is outta control” story. And, when you look at the story,... Read More
Fry and Laurie (or Laurel and Hardy) could do it nicely: - The Chosen have got nukes. They've gone nuclear! - Well, is that news? Israel has had hundreds of nuclear bombs for some twenty years, according to Vanunu, but only antisemites ever mention it. - Sorry, I did not mean the Chosen People, I... Read More
I was interested to see, in a recent copy of The Nation, … What's that? You want to know what an honest reactionary like Derb is doing, reading a lefty whine-list like The Nation? Well, in the first place, like Walt Whitman, I am large, I contain multitudes: humani nihil a me alienum puto. In... Read More
Category Classics
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
While other top brass played press agents for the administration’s war, William Odom told the truth about...
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?