Posts Tagged With: North Korea

THE NUKES IN OUR MIDST

When Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, he spoke of his aspirations of having all nations that possessed nuclear weapons to begin the process of dismantling their nuclear arsenals. A lovely sentiment to be sure; but a highly unrealistic one, given that man is still pretty far down on the evolutionary chain. The U.S. and Russia have made some token reduction of their nukes; but each country still has an arsenal sufficient to destroy every living plant and animal on Planet Earth about 2 dozen times over. So while we can all dream of what a joyful relief it would be to live in a world without nuclear bombs, it likely will never happen in most of our lifetimes. Imagine what celebration there would be if the crazies that have turned North Korea into a giant concentration camp could be stripped of their nuclear weapons. It’s just not going to happen, however.

The subject of nuclear arsenals has become germane because the U.S. has been negotiating for perhaps over 2 years with Iran, to supposedly prevent that nation from acquiring “the Bomb.” Those of you that have read previous entries on this blog know that I’ve often referred to Iran as being the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Which they undoubtedly are. The ayatollahs that run that country possess a bottomless pit of hatred toward Israel, the U.S. and all western culture. The ultimate destruction of these countries and their culture is their undying passion. So Iran has been constructing deep underground sites all over the country where it has been furiously building atomic bomb capabilities, such as enriching uranium to nuclear explosive levels. This has been going on for over 15 years. These sites are buried so deeply underground, that it’s doubtful that even our most lethal bunker-busting bombs could destroy them. Israel wanted to bomb Iranian nuclear development sites in 2006 when it still might have been doable; but President George Bush would not give his approval. Already immeshed in 2 unpopular wars, (Afghanistan and Iraq), the last thing Bush felt he needed was a third military front. Today However, Iran has so improved its military capabilities that an Israeli strike would result in nothing but the destruction of the Israeli air force.

At the present, the Obama administration appears to be in its endgame of negotiations aimed at precluding Iran from becoming a nuclear-armed state. However, the details emerging from the results of these talks are highly disturbing. Apparently any agreement reached would allow Iran to keep enriching uranium, as well as spinning thousands of centrifuges, and continue building a giant plutonium reactor. All the ingredients necessary for a world-class nuclear arsenal. Wait, the news gets even worse. If an agreement is reached, it would contain a sunset clause, wherein any restrictions placed on Iran’s nuclear development would expire in 10 years. After that, those fanatical mullahs running the country can crank up their nuclear program at will, and produce enough enriched uranium to build a 1000 bombs. Now for an old guy like me, 10 years may be enough to squeeze thru this lifetime without a nuclear holocaust. But for you younger people, or those of you that have young children, it means living in a world where a country that despises us has a vast nuclear arsenal with an itchy trigger-finger.

But wait, this apparently deeply flawed treaty would produce even worse results. All economic sanctions and restrictions that we’ve placed on Iran during the past few years would be gone. These sanctions have taken a large bite out of the Iranian economy; but now they would be dissolved. This would allow the Iran to flourish; with trade relations resumed, oil pumping and sold on a world-wide market, and foreign investment pouring into a restored economy. The Iranian government would have additional resources to further enhance their military and nuclear capabilities. But wait, the situation is even worse than that.

Along with its nuclear bomb development, Iran has also accelerated a program of building intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are not even part of the present treaty negotiations. Now, why would Iran be desperate to possess an arsenal of ICBMs when its present collection of rockets could easily reach and destroy Tel-Aviv or any other Israeli city.  Here’s a hint. You don’t build ICBMs to put a stick dynamite on its warhead. However, a nuclear tipped ICBM could reach just about any target in North America, and destroy the despised western culture once and for all. And if such aggression would be too obvious and thus invite military retaliation, Iran has another option. Just build a suitcase sized nuclear device and hand one or two off to a terror group such as ISIS. Who, you can be certain, is working day and night to get their hands on such a nuclear device. Once a terrorist slips inside the U.S. with a nuclear suitcase bomb in his possession, the rest is easy. Just place the bomb inside a hotel room in Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, or any other major U.S. city, and slip back out of the country. When the bomb is detonated killing hundreds of thousands or more, and rendering that city uninhabitable for decades, Iran could deny any knowledge or responsibility for the calamity; and claim that it was solely the work of those crazy and barbaric ISIS terrorists.

If this scenario should ever come to fruition, the U.S. stock market would plunge to zero, and our entire economy would be as devastated as the city in question. The U.S. and the rest of the western world would be a whole different place, and not for the better. The Prime Minister of Israel is due to address Congress tomorrow and will likely warn how deeply-flawed is the treaty being negotiated with Iran. The Obama administration and various Democrats have loudly protested the PM’s address, believing it’s an undesired interference in the American political system. Nevertheless, the U.S. would be wise to heed his concerns. Apparently this administration is desperate to reach any nuclear arms treaty with Iran, no matter how deeply flawed that treaty may be. It’s true that there may be no desirable options regarding Iranian nuclear development other than more tightly increasing the economic sanctions we’ve place on Iran. But at least that’s something.

I used to think that the only thing positive about growing old was that I didn’t have to undergo colonoscopies anymore. But I think I’ve found something else. I likely won’t have to be around when the roof finally caves in.

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ELECTRICITY JUNKIES

These days, when most of us arise in the morning, we’re likely to scan our I-Phones for any texts, or missed calls we may have received while we were sleeping. Who knows, maybe we’ve won a giant jackpot somewhere in the world during during the previous night. Or someone is texting to inform us that our long lost Uncle Willy, that we didn’t even know we had, just died and left us a fortune in his will. Then, still using our I-Phones or perhaps a laptop or tablet, we’ll next check our e-mail to see if such fortuitous news might be lurking there. Perhaps we might turn on the TV to keep up with the latest events both audibly and visually. We might also get out our ATM card because we plan to stop by the bank to obtain some cash. Or our credit card if we’re headed for the department store or the gas station. (I’m an exception to all this, since I generally read the newspaper when having breakfast.) All of this, of course, totally depends on the free flow and availability of an unseen product called electricity. Something that didn’t exist when Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, or when the U.S. Constitution was ratified.

But what would happen if the silent, unseen current of electricity that we all take for granted, suddenly vanished like the morning mist. Devastation is what would happen. Devastation beyond beyond all imagination. Planes would fall out of the sky and massive traffic jams and accidents would occur. Your ATM cards would be useless at banks no matter what your account balances were. Credit cards would also be worthless. Food inventories in stores would be ransacked by roving mobs until the shelves were empty. All this, and much, much more would occur within an hour should our electrical grid be destroyed. Unfortunately, such an event is well within the realm of possibility. Welcome to the world of EMP, or electromagnetic pulse.

A sudden burst of EMP could create an apocalyptic nightmare, which would destroy, in moments, the electronic gadgetry that civilization increasingly depends on. Here’s the scenario.  A U.S. enemy, like say North Korea or Iran, or a terrorist organization that could its hands on a nuclear weapon, could launch a nuclear missile at high altitude above the U.S. The explosion of such a weapon would release a burst of radiation that would interact with the Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere, and deliver a powerful burst of electrical current that could totally devastate our grid and all electrical appliances. And don’t think that terrorist groups around the world are not working around the clock to secure such a weapon and bring this event to fruition.

A recent report by a Congressional EMP Commission stated that: “terrorists or state actors that possess relatively unsophisticated missiles armed with nuclear warheads may well calculate that, instead of destroying a city or military base, they may gain the greatest political utility from one or a few such weapons… in an EMP attack.” And by the way, in 2012, North Korea successfully orbited a satellite, the KSM-3, compatible with the size and weight of a small nuclear warhead. The Commission further stated that within one year of a nation-wide blackout, up to 90% of the U.S. population would likely perish from starvation, disease and societal breakdown. One other thing. Even if an enemy does not strike in such fashion, the possibility exists that a catastrophic EMP could occur naturally, triggered by a severe solar flare.

Congress, in reaction to the EMP Commission’s findings, did introduce legislation in 2013, that would initiate actions that could  possibly shield our electrical grid from EMP attacks. The legislation, thus far, has gone nowhere. After all, enacting such legislation would require a spirit of cooperation, instead of the dysfunction and polarization that Congress is so well noted for. Meanwhile the vulnerability is there, and the saddest part is that most people are totally clueless that it exists in the first place. It’s far more important to keep up with the Kardashians than to worry about things like EMP attacks.

Like the assault on our ecology, electrical grid vulnerability falls into the category of ignoring the steady ecological degradation of our planet’s resources, such as the disappearance of phytoplankton from our oceans, which provide a large chunk of the Earth’s oxygen. (Most people have probably never even heard of phytoplankton.) Or the steady disappearance of our rain forests which give forth most of the rest of the planet’s oxygen. They’re only important if you decide to inhale all the time. But there is one difference, however. While ecological degradation won’t be seriously felt for perhaps decades, a successful EMP attack will impact us within minutes. So while we can pass along all the ecological damage that’s occurring on to our children or grandkids, we can’t do that in the case of EMP. In the meantime, we’ve all become electrical junkies, depending more and more each day on electronic gadgetry and appliances in the functioning of this country.

I guess Ben Franklin never fully appreciated the impact electricity would have on our lives, when the kite he was flying was supposedly struck by lightening. That event, however, would truly change the world as it had existed for tens of thousands of years.

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DISUNITY

You would think that after inhabiting this planet for at least tens of millions of years, man would learn to live side-by-side with each other in peace and harmony. You would think that the evolutionary process that has supposedly brought man to a more advanced, civilized existence, would also produce enough wisdom to promote a more cooperative and benign state of affairs among the world’s nations. You would think. Sadly, however, as we all know, just the opposite is more likely the norm. Rather than living in a spirit of peace and cooperation, we live in a world populated by terrorists thirsting for the blood of innocents on a massive scale. We live in a time where tyrants and despots cause the wholesale slaughter of their own people, or threaten other countries with war or military aggression. If there’s an evolutionary process going on, it seems to be one of regression rather than advancement. So let’s examine some of the cases and causes of major disunity among the 7 billion people that currently populate this planet we call Earth.

Libya might be a good place to start. Libya was the one instance where our current Administration was willing to use force to assist the Libyan people in overthrowing one of the world’s worst despots who had ruled them for more than 3 decades. His name was Muammar Gaddafi, and he was a really, really bad guy. When the Libyan people finally rose up against Gaddafi, it looked like the rebellion might be doomed to failure until the U.S. began bombing Gaddafi’s military forces, thereby ensuring the success of the uprising. Gaddafi was killed and there was great cheering and celebration as the Libyan people tasted freedom and liberty for the first time in decades. Now fast forward to today when there’s no more celebrating in the streets. A very weak central government has resulted in Libya being broken down into a series of tribal fiefdoms, with each tribe having its own tribal dictator. Some are despotic Islamic terrorists and all the tribes appear to be at each other’s throats. There’s no more dancing in the streets, as the the hopes and dreams of the rebellion have turned to dust. Add to that the murder of our Ambassador to Libya and 3 of his aides that occurred a few years ago, and you have a prime example of a country in an advanced state of devolution.

Another prime example of disunity is the fiasco in Iraq. George W. Bush ordered our invasion of Iraq in 2003 because Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein could not be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction in his arsenal, including nuclear bombs. Now, unquestionably, Saddam Hussein was another really bad tyrant who had slaughtered tens of thousands of his fellow citizens if he felt they, in any way, opposed him. But the trouble was, no weapons of mass destruction were ever found in Iraq. We did remove Hussein from the world stage, but at a terrible price. Over 6000 American military and civilians were killed during this 10-year war. Another 30,000 Americans were so severely injured that their lives are effectively over. Things like brain injuries, blindness, lost limbs, etc. About 150,000 Iraqis also lost their lives during the war. And we also spent close to a trillion dollars, chasing WMDs that never existed. So what is the result of investing so much blood and treasure to pursue phantom WMDs and remove Saddam Hussein from office.

Similar to Libya, Iraq is totally fractured today. Different factions of the Iraqi populace, (Shia versus Sunni) are at war with each other. Almost daily occurrences of terrorist bombings kill scores people. Going shopping at the local market means literally risking one’s life. More than likely, a car bomb is set to go off. Al-qaeda terrorists now occupy large sections of the country. So once again, all the joy and celebration of of ridding the country of Saddam Hussein and his thugs have totally evaporated. Afghanistan is another country where the U.S. is involved in a similar war that is still on-going. So far, about 2200 Americans have lost their lives in that never-ending debacle. We’re scheduled to remove most American forces by the end of this year, at which time Afghanistan will likely, once again, devolve into a state of tribal dysfunction. The beat goes on.

In Syria, another tyrannical dictator named Assad has already murdered (sometimes with the use of chemical warfare) about 150,000 of his own people in order to maintain power. He supposedly crossed the red line in the sand that this Administration established when his forces used chemical acids to to destroy his opponents. Nevertheless, there was no American military response. Just a lot of finger waving an indignation. The problem is that the American public is too weary and drained by the prolonged military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has absolutely no desire for further military adventurism in Syria. So the killing continues there unabated.

Also on the current world stage is another murderous tyrant named Vladimir Putin who has achieved the first military annexation of European territory since the end of WWII. I’ve written extensively about Putin’s thuggish actions, so I won’t rehash previous entries, except to say that he is obviously getting away with the occupation of chunks of the Ukraine, with virtually little response from the U.S. or its European allies. In the Pacific, a brutal, murderous regime in North Korea terrorizes its citizenry. The dictatorship in China continues to militarily threaten Japan, South Korea, and other Asian countries. And, of course, the most dangerous regime of all, the Islamic fanatical tyranny in Iran, is inches away from acquiring nuclear weapons.  And Iran’s leaders are just fanatical and crazy enough to launch nuclear bombs against its perceived enemies such as Israel and the U.S. Kind of makes you tingle all over, doesn’t it.

I could go on about more instances of humans behaving very badly; but I’m sure you all get the picture. Perhaps I should have titled this entry as the devolution of the human spirit.

 

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