Impending danger: today’s “super-fuzed”, super-powerful U.S. thermonuclear weapons directed against Russia. How is this going to end?

Global Research, March 16, 2017
Nuclear Mushroom

Today’s thermonuclear weapons are monstrously more powerful than the 15 kiloton Little Boy and 21 Kiloton Fat Man nukes used to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

An article by nuclear experts Hans Kristensen and Matthew McKinsie, together with ballistic missiles expert Theodore Postol explained the enhanced power of US submarine-launched ballistic missiles “with more than three times the number of warheads needed to destroy the entire fleet of Russian land-based missiles in their silos.”

Super-fuzing makes these weapons super-powerful, the authors saying “even the most accurate ballistic missile warheads might not detonate close enough to targets hardened against nuclear attack to destroy them.”

Super-fuzing lets them destroy them “by detonating above and around” them instead of too far away to be effective.

The technology lets nuclear armed US submarines be hugely more lethal than years earlier. They’re all equipped with super-fuzed warheads.

Increased US nuclear strike capability “has serious implications for strategic stability and perceptions of US nuclear strategy and intentions,” the authors explained.

Russia understands it gives Washington a more feasible first-strike capability, forcing it to take appropriate countermeasures.

Super-fuzing “kill capability” poses a greater risk that nuclear weapons by either country could be used in response to a feared attack, even when one hasn’t occurred, certainly not by Russia preemptively, in self-defense only.

America can monitor missile launches from space. Russia’s early warning radar is ground-based, giving it 15 minutes warning time compared to Washington’s 30 minutes – “creat(ing) a deeply destabilizing and dangerous strategic nuclear situation,” the authors stressed.

With US hostility toward Russia unchanged under Trump, the danger of nuclear war is as great as any time during the Cold War.

Super-fuzed warheads triple their lethality. It lets US submarines perform “a wider range of missions than was the case before” super-fuzing.

It’s officially called the arming, fuzing and firing (AF&F) system. It’s a potential doomsday weapon if enough of them are detonated.

America has enough of these weapons to destroy Russia’s silo-based ICBMs and have many remaining for other missions, including Russia’s non-hardened mobile nuclear capability – devastating, if launched, with potentially catastrophic consequences far beyond Russia.

America vastly enhanced the killing power of its nuclear arsenal, with greater first-strike capability than Russia, leaving it dangerously vulnerable.

“We cannot foresee a situation in which a competent and properly informed US president would order a surprise first strike against Russia or China,” the authors explained.

But our conclusion makes the increased sea-based offensive and defensive capabilities we have described seem all the more bizarre as a strategy for reducing the chances of nuclear war with either Russia or China.

Putin’s remarks to journalists last June at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum indicate how he weighs the danger of America’s threat to Russia, saying:

No matter what we said to our American partners (to curb the arms race), they refused to cooperate with us. They rejected our offers, and continue to do their own thing.

… They rejected everything we had to offer…The Iranian threat does not exist, but missile defense systems are continuing to be positioned…

That means we were right when we said that they are lying to us.

Their reasons were not genuine, in reference to the ‘Iranian nuclear threat.’

(People in Western nations) do not feel a sense of the impending danger. This is what worries me.

A missile defense system is one element of the whole system of offensive military potential.

It works as part of a whole that includes offensive missile launchers.

One complex blocks, the other launches high precision weapons. The third blocks a potential nuclear strike, and the fourth sends out its own nuclear weapon in response.

This is all designed to be part of one system. I don’t know how this is all going to end.

What I do know is that we will need to defend ourselves.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/impending-danger-todays-super-fuzed-super-powerful-thermonuclear-weapons/5580097

Advertisements

— Pentagon panel urges Trump team to expand nuclear options; report suggests ‘tailored nuclear option for limited use’; Congress’ bills to give first strike authority also to itself

Dr. Helen Caldicott tweeted out this article with the comment: “These people are NUTS.”

President Obama already approved “modernizing” the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Hillary Clinton would have been fully on board with these recommendations, but would “liberals” have complained? Sen. Dianne Feinstein is a notorious hawk with flagrant conflicts of interest; her remarks in this article cannot be believed. 

From Roll Call

A blue-ribbon Pentagon panel has urged the Trump administration to make the U.S. arsenal more capable of “limited” atomic war.

The Defense Science Board, in an unpublished December report obtained by CQ Roll Call, urges the president to consider altering existing and planned U.S. armaments to achieve a greater number of lower-yield weapons that could provide a “tailored nuclear option for limited use.”

The recommendation is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but it foreshadows a raging debate just over the horizon.

Fully one-third of the nuclear arsenal is already considered low-yield, defense analysts say, and almost all the newest warheads are being built with less destructive options. But experts on the Pentagon panel and elsewhere say the board’s goal is to further increase the number of smaller-scale nuclear weapons — and the ways they can be delivered — in order to deter adversaries, primarily Russia, from using nuclear weapons first.

Critics of such an expansion say that even these less explosive nuclear weapons, which pack only a fraction of the punch of the bombs America dropped on Japan in 1945, can still kill scores of thousands of people and lead to lasting environmental damage. They worry that expanding the inventory of lower-yield warheads — and the means for delivering them — could make atomic war more thinkable and could trigger a cycle of response from adversaries, possibly making nuclear conflict more likely. And, they say, such an expansion would cost a lot of money without necessarily increasing security.

The issue will gain greater prominence in the next several years as an up-to-$1 trillion update of the U.S. nuclear arsenal becomes the biggest Pentagon budget issue. That update, as now planned, mostly involves building new versions of the same submarines, bombers, missiles, bombs and warheads. Support for the modernization effort is bipartisan.

But any effort to create new weapons, or even to modify existing ones, in order to expand the arsenal of potentially usable nuclear weapons is likely to trigger opposition.

There’s one role — and only one role — for nuclear weapons, and that’s deterrence. We cannot, must not, will not ever countenance their actual use,” said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. “There’s no such thing as limited nuclear war, and for the Pentagon’s advisory board to even suggest such a thing is deeply troubling.”

I have no doubt the proposal to research low-yield nuclear weapons is just the first step to actually building them,” she added. “I’ve fought against such reckless efforts in the past and will do so again, with every tool at my disposal.”

Conservatives on the congressional defense committees generally support exploring new nuclear options.

We know from testimony that Russia, among others, are fielding new nuclear weapons with new capabilities for new employment doctrines,” said Alabama Republican Rep. Mike D. Rogers, the chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee. “We would be irresponsible not to evaluate what these developments mean for the U.S. and our modernization programs.”

Dustin Walker, a spokesman for Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, chairman of Senate Armed Services, said, “It has been the policy of Republican and Democratic presidents since the end of the Cold War to retain a range of nuclear capabilities, both in terms of explosive yield and method of delivery. Such a range of capabilities strengthens deterrence by signaling to potential adversaries that we can respond to a wide range of scenarios.”

Worries about Trump

The Defense Science Board’s nuclear recommendation is buried inside a report titled “Seven Defense Priorities for the New Administration,” which also addresses homeland security, protecting information systems and more. The board has made similar nuclear recommendations before, but the new report adds volume to a growing chorus of hawkish experts calling for a nuclear arsenal they say is more “discriminate.”

The board’s latest statement comes at a pivotal time because Trump rattled many Americans with comments during the campaign about nuclear weapons. He suggested that atomic arms might be an appropriate response to an Islamic State attack and that it’s good for a president to be “unpredictable” about nuclear weapons. He also said, referring to nuclear weapons in general, that “the power, the destruction is very important to me.”

Thirty-four former nuclear launch control officers wrote an open letter during the campaign arguing that Trump “should not have his finger on the button.” And lawmakers are weighing legislation this year that, for the first time, would give Congress, not just the president, authority to launch a nuclear first strike, though those bills’ chances of passing either chamber are scant.

Continue reading