News commentary and predictions of political trends and what the future holds

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Nuclear Threat

July 29, 2017

Does North Korea pose a genuine threat to the USA with a handful of nuclear missiles pointed in its general direction?

Does the USA pose a genuine threat to North Korea?

Both bear the scars of a dreadful war in the early 1950s; a war that has not officially ended. In the intervening years, South Korea has emerged as a powerhouse exporting nation with advanced technology competing with Japan and China boasting companies such as Samsung. North Korea, in comparison, has locked itself into a military specialisation to the detriment of its own people who slavishly admire their leader or land up in a gulag, starved to death.

And now they are testing ICBM missiles and it is only a matter of time before they are able to use one against its enemy, the sponsor of South Korea, the USA. And now both countries have belligerent leaders who want to prove themselves with a “good war”.

The USA accuse Russia and China of responsibility here. Russia and China would rather not be at war with the USAA, so having a proxy threat is perhaps useful. All out nuclear war, of course, is in the interests of nobody.

What is the endgame for this terrible standoff? It seems unlikely that either party would not blink due to the nature of Nuclear weapons. If North Korea were to risk launching one, the retaliation could be complete and final. They will never have enough weapons to stop a systematic invasion let alone a nuclear response, but America would most likely have to live with the threat until it can justify action to China and Russia or better yet, engage with them to finally oust the military regime of North Korea.

Guardian article

Reunification turned Germany into a world leader. It is time for Korea to reconsider its path for mutual benefit between the North and the South. Is it in the interests of the West, Japan or anyone for North Koreans to suffer so and for the shroud of death to hang over the region? Does Trump style diplomacy help or is there a better way to help the Koreans to unify?

Fear drives North Korea to act


Fukushima revisited

March 11, 2014

Read this in the Guardian just now.

Currently about 400 tonnes of groundwater is streaming into the reactor basements from the hills behind the plant each day. The plant has accumulated about 300,000 tonnes of contaminated water, which is being stored in 1,200 tanks occupying a large swath of the Fukushima Daiichi site.

Eventually Tepco hopes to have enough space to store 800,000 tonnes, but fears are rising that it will run out of space sometime next year because it can’t keep up with the flow of toxic water.

The Guardian.

They think it would be safer to pour contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. The trouble with the Nuclear Power industry is that it has no real solutions the problems imposed by meltdowns. How much will nuclear safety have cost us 100 years from now? If Nuclear Energy is costed honestly it must incorporate premiums for accidents that can be bought back by safety record. It only takes one disaster to bankrupt a power company.

A better solution is to make all homes self sufficient using renewable energy. Power is still required for industry, but it is a politically achievable and meaningful result that has a positive effect on everyones’ life.


Trident

April 4, 2013

The problem with Cameron’s argument is that a nuclear weapon is only effective if you do not use it.  Can you imagine a non-nuclear state being attacked by a nuclear state?  Can Cameron imagine giving the order if he was told that a possibly nuclear missile was headed toward Newcastle?   How would he respond?  We assume that nuclear weapons protect us from nuclear war, but it is more correct to consider that they make conventional war far more of a risk with a nuclear armed state.

A nuclear exchange we presume would come from somewhere else, but it was the USA and UK that occupied Iraq in no small part due to being able to sell the fear of their (fictional) WMD stockpile. We were more likely to use WMD than Saddam.  North Korea and Iran may well be a threat.  If Iran attacked the UK with nuclear bombs many innocents and many many Muslims would be killed so it not likely.  North Korea can not bomb the targets they keep boasting about, and then have enough to bomb the UK as well.   It is also hard to imagine what an enemy would want from a radioactive Britain.  It is the balance of our actions and theirs that is the real deterrent.
In the end progress and civilisation have overtaken barbarity but we still do not believe we can trust other human beings because they are like us.
Why even worry about a new Trident?  The older bombs still deter fairly effectively.  Why not spend the dosh intelligently so that we can protect vessels from pirates, air planes from terrorism and and our citizens from road accidents.  More lives would be saved.
And in response to a post with the usual rational argument supporting Trident as an effective deterrent when the rest of the military seems to be under equipped in the aircraft carrier department.
Respectfully, these are very well trod arguments for spending money in a way that produces nothing of any value except to scare off dictators.   There simply has to be a better way to deter potential adversaries than threatening to kill every living thing if they became too hard to beat with conventional weapons.  Strong conventional forces are also a deterrent – one that can actually be employed.  The argument should not be won by the logic of threatening to use weapons that we can not. It should be in comparison with spending those funds differently to protect ourselves successfully.

Doomwatch: North Korea

January 25, 2013

North Korea is rattling sabres at the US by conducting ballistic missile tests and describing them as partly tests for satellite launches and also now as preparation for attacks on the USA. Recent UN resolutions to tighten sanction in light of the recent rocket tests have included their primary ally China who are suggesting that it is not the time to make threats. The history of the North/South Korean war and partitioning remains the bitter theme in the heart of the North Korean regime.

North Korea has demonstrated its prowess in technology but is still an infant when it comes to diplomacy. A military regime that basically starves its people into military service appears to operate as a cult of personality around its anointed despotic family.

They are many miles ahead of Iran in the atomic game. Their direct threats to the USA appear to make little sense now, 21st century political thinking would suggest that amalgamation of North and South under a common government could do so much for the Korean people. It seems very simple from the outside but it obviously is not. North Korea a state with aims to invade as nakedly obvious as it is, it does not have the resources to attack America effectively. But it does have a terrible bargaining advantage if it were to try to invade South Korea with nuclear menace. It it were to show itself to be such a malign power with its huge army, it would become a threat to China, Russia and Japan as well as the US.

North Korea must return to the negotiating table and grow up into the 21st century. Then again it would be good if all the other nuclear armed countries did the same.

Guardian news item


Nuclear Famine

May 12, 2012

A limited exchange of nuclear weapons could kill a billion people in ensuing famines as the climate destabilises is the latest horror story about the greatest human mistake. Investing in racist murder. Genocide is the crime committed by any Government using nuclear weapons, and if so isolated would make themselves a target of every major nuclear power, but if retaliated against, would risk collapsing a house of cards sufficient to cause genocidal murder.

Therefore, any state that uses nuclear weapons is committing an international crime and makes itself a target. In the final analysis, the nuclear deterrent is a waste of money, a waste of energy, a waste of human effort.

CNN


The Nuclear Roulette Table

April 13, 2012

America declaring war on Iran because it may be developing nuclear weapons is a war without precedent or meaning. MAD is total faith in an endgame scenario. Iran would be extremely stupid to get a bomb, but then look who is in the club of the stupid. Gambling is stupid and the stakes are so high it would be robbing a future in the same way that the USSR collapsed and the economies of the West appear to be in terminal tailspin. Nuclear proliferation is the game with no winner like that one with a revolver, five bullets and four players.

Nuclear proliferation is an expensive shield and humanity hides under a shadow of total annihilation for idealogical enforcement or redundant residual racism? The world does not want a nuclear Iran, nor the tens of thousands of these weapons pointed at each other. Nuclear proliferation is an extremely expensive path.


Nuclear Warming

March 7, 2012

The risk to the nuclear industry posed by flooding caused by global warming has entered the media in the UK, in the Guardian, it is reported that by 2080 12 of 19 reactors will be flooded. The cost of decommissioning far outweighs the benefits of nuclear over using nature to generate energy. The economic crisis that this will create appears to be beyond imagination.


Nuclear War – how are we going to avoid it?

March 16, 2008

The effect of one small nuclear bomb


www.NuclearTerrorism.org

Nuclear Terrorism

What is a Nuclear Bomb?


Nuclear Inflation

January 30, 2008

“The cost of decommissioning Britain’s 19 ageing nuclear plants has jumped from £61bn to £73bn in two years and could land the taxpayer with even higher bills in the future, a report by the National Audit Office reveals today.”

What? How? Why? Is the cost to the taxpayer of the nuclear industry figured into the real costs of this energy source. Put another way, this kind of cost differential when its not exactly a moving target, is £12bn.

So, the cost of decommisioning goes up by 10% per annum. The UK had better get cracking before they can not afford to do it.


No love lost

September 26, 2007

Perhaps President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a little taken aback to be diminished by a university chancellor, no matter how qualified. It was an extraordinary snub on the face of it, a foreign President visits and instead of finding a path to resolve differences it appears that the Iranian President was reduced, by diplomatic snub. It was not however delivered by the US Government (well, not visibly).

It is the aggressive stance made by Lee Bollinger, Chancellor of the University of Columbia (within the diplomatic 25 mile circle) the man who invited President Ahmadinejad to speak, and opened by calling him no less than an uneducated and dangerous tin pot leader, or words to that effect. In the eyes of the Iranian people, this is seen as bullying – and that meme should extend into accepting that it was the very intention of it, that the snub not be delivered by anyone of rank like the President, but it be delivered by a man of letters on the day before the UN address by both Presidents Ahmadinejad and Bush.

Constitutional freedom of speech is not a blood-right of Americans but the Constitution of the land. Think of it like this, the Forefathers believed it was necessary to not so much limit speech but to ensure the opportunity to listen to it. The Constitutional Amendments also ensure the right to bear arms, and thus the implicit acceptance that a certain percentage (of the American people) will be shot as a result. The Second Amendment is not the specific cause of shootings but guns are there to be fired as a result of it. They may of course be fired by American citizens or foreigners. The risks of free speech should not be realistically limited to American mouthed ideas only. That is small minded.

The staged event appears to be a precursor to further attacks by the Bush administration upon American Freedom and Democracy. The President of Iran may have his own political agenda, that is accepted as fact. But exactly what elements of life in Iran are so oppressive as to warrant war?

Iran is quite a different kettle of fish than either Iraq or Afghanistan. How much intelligence is there that genuinely supports the theory that Iran is developing nuclear weapons? America can not be pulled into war just because die-hard Bush fans think it should.

Has the U.S tabled significant evidence at the UN of the need to upset Iran again, or does it plan to do more extending the “war on terror” to include Iran with ground forces facing military engagement with the US or worse, something much worse.

And if President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could consider this – if the West believes Iran is developing the potential for carrying out your words that Israel would be knocked off the map – it may eventually form a coalition to fight Iran, and that would be stupid and tragic. Nobody objects to you having enough power for your people, but why make an example and consider other options than oil or coal or nuclear – for the sake of your people.

Nuclear energy has many hidden costs. Solar Energy is an investment and the wind is free.


Invading Iran

February 5, 2007

Al Jazeera English – Americas reports an ex-US general warning against the US launching an attack on Iran. The consequences for security in the region were severe, the retired army lieutenant general Robert Gard said. He is a former military assistant to US defense secretary, Robert McNamara, and he urged the US government to “engage immediately in direct talks with the government of Iran without preconditions.”