Friday, December 9, 2016

Nuclear Weapons

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Hiroshima

President Obama is planning a trip to Japan later this month and will be the first president in office to visit the site of the first atomic bomb attack in history.

The visit reminds all of us the troubled past of this world and the role America took.

World War II seems so far away but for the people of Japan, the site of Hiroshima is a constant reminder of the tragedy–much like ground zero in New York.

Obama has done a lot of things wrong as president, but this is something that needs to happen.

Hopefully this gesture will go to strengthen our ties with the Japanese people and remind us the devastation behind nuclear weapons.

The White House has made an announcement that Obama won’t apologize on America’s behalf during the visit.

Obama will be in Japan for a Group of 7 economic summit at the end of May.

The visit will surely garner international attention and it is curious how the world will interpret the visit.

What do you think?

Do you think Obama visiting Hiroshima is a good idea?

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Nuclear Weapons

North Korea makes a huge claim just days after Kim Jung Un orders all his nuclear weapons on the ready.

North Korea is making the news again but this time with a small claim. The young leader, Kim Jung Un announced that his country’s scientists have created a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit on a missile.

Kim posed next to a model to show off this great technological triumph, despite majority his people live in extreme poverty.

The feat would be quite impressive if in fact it has been accomplished. There is doubt. South Korea’s Defense Minister almost immediately disputed the claim.

If North Korea has miniaturized a nuclear weapon it would mark a big step in their military capability. A miniaturized warhead could make a missile become a much more powerful weapon.

Nukes detonated in the atmosphere causes and electromagnetic pulse (EMP), which can knock out all electrical circuits in an area. A weapon like that detonated over the west coast of America could be devastating.

Kim Jung Un shows us a great looking model, but we have yet to see any real evidence of the weapon itself.

Despite the lack of evidence of the new bomb, North Korea is becoming fore reckless and again causing problems. South Korea’s Defense Minister spoke about North Korea’s claim and said that action of the North was an “intolerable direct challenge” to the entire global community.

All of this is coming on the heels of Kim Jung Un calling to ready all his nuclear weapons last week in preparation for an attack. The boasting and aggressive behavior is gaining headlines, but any real immediate threat is not apparent.

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nuclear-isis

An alarming report comes from the Australian Intelligence community: The radical Islam terrorist group ISIS has collected enough nuclear material to assemble a “dirty” bomb. Said material was likely seized from captured government facilities in Iraq including hospitals and research labs.

Julie Bishop, Australia’s foreign minister, told The Australian that NATO is concerned over this development. As she put it, “the insurgents did not just clear out the cash from local banks.”

This troubling development comes on the heels of Ms. Bishop expressing trepidation that ISIS has weaponized chlorine gas, among other chemicals. In a speech in Perth on June 5, 2015, Ms. Bishop said “The use of chlorine by Da’esh [Arabic name for ISIS], and its recruitment of highly technically trained professionals, including from the West, have revealed far more serious efforts in chemical weapons development.

“Da’esh is likely to have amongst its tens of thousands of recruits the technical expertise necessary to further refine precursor materials and build chemical weapons.”

The former commander of the British army’s chemical weapons unit, Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, backed up Bishop’s dire warning according to The Australian.

There has been no response yet from US officials to these developments. In fact, De Bretton-Gordon said that Bishop was the “first senior politician from a major Western government” to speak on the issue.

The news of these WMDs in ISIS hands is especially troubling for two reasons. First, the group has declared that Ramadan will be a time of great conquest, and intelligence communities around the world are anticipating big, headline-grabbing actions. Equally worrisome is the nature of a dirty bomb itself. Less destructive than a conventional nuke, a dirty bomb is far easier to assemble from far more available materials. This means that the component parts of the bombs can be easily transported to new objectives, possibly across borders, to be assembled at the target areas. The unpredictability of ISIS’s terror tactics fits the use of these weapons perfectly.

ISIS may have another source of WMDs in the pipeline, too. Indian Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh told the Shangri-La Regional Security Conference in Singapore that India is concerned ISIS could get conventional nukes from a sympathetic state like Pakistan. Pakistan and India rank near the bottom, globally, in the security of their nuclear armaments.

A silver lining for the US in these developments is that ISIS wouldn’t have a delivery system capable of reaching North America for these potential nukes, although allies in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe aren’t likely to take comfort from that. More likely, those allies will take umbrage with the lack of US response.

With valuable allies like India and Australia and the traditionally US-led NATO all voicing concern, it is incumbent on the Obama administration to support America’s allies with more than just a token force moved in for a “training mission.” John McCain’s assertion that we “have no strategy” is terribly damning to the administration in light of previous gains surrendered to the advancing terrorist state.

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