Embargo–Going–Going–Gone

After thirteen years the UN’s arms embargo placed on Iran has now run its course and is gone….

As you would expect the warmonger-in-chief Pompeo is thumping his chest like some crazed primate….even to the point of issuing threats…..

After months of US opposition, the Iran arms embargo at the UN has expired, and despite the US opposition, UN officials are uniform in agreement that it actually has expired. Don’t tell that to the Trump Administration though, as they insist it’s still in place.

Reflecting US promises to enforce the non-existent embargo themselves, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to impose US sanctions on any nations that sell arms to Iran, or offer them training or services.

That’s been the US position since they failed to extend the embargo, but it’s not clear it will actually do anything, as the nations most likely to provide Iran with arms and services, Russia and China, will almost certainly ignore US threats the same way they do on everything else Iran-related.

Iranian officials don’t expect a huge rush to buy arms anyhow, as a decade of embargos has made them self-sufficient in a lot of things. Still, Russia and China can offer some better versions of equipment, or at a better price than Iran can make them themselves, and there is no real legal obstacle to that anymore.

The fact that the US opposes, or indeed “forbids” such sales is likely to ensure that some happen just to spite them, with Russia in particular very clear that they intended to make sales to Iran once the legal restriction was lifted.

(antiwar.com)

Parties should weigh what this cessation would mean….

European governments should carefully weigh the risks that come with the expiration of the UN arms embargo. Given the ongoing Western military support to regional partners, and the growing alignment between Israel and the Arab world, the expiration of the embargo is unlikely to alter the balance of power in the Middle East in the short term. The pragmatic way to address these concerns is by reaching side agreements with Russia and China over the timing and scope of such arms sales to Iran, in ways that prevent a rise in tension in the Middle East.

No doubt, Moscow and Beijing will sign arms deals with Tehran – and perhaps even major ones, such as those involving the Russian S-400 missile defence system, which Iran is eager to acquire. Tehran may also seek to sign deals for battle tanks, fighter jets, surface-to-air missiles, and anti-radar missile systems – which can target surface-to-air defence systems, thereby putting the forces of the US and its allies at greater risk in the Middle East. However, given precedent and a series of political and economic restraints, it is unclear whether these deals would result in delivery in the near future.

Do not expect a rush of arms sales to Iran

Now that the embargo has expired….Iran is looking at incoming cash from arms sales…..

Iran on Monday said it is more inclined to sell weapons rather than buy them, after it announced the end of a longstanding UN conventional arms embargo.

Tehran said the ban imposed more than a decade ago was lifted “automatically” as of Sunday, based on the terms of a 2015 landmark nuclear deal with world powers, from which the Islamic republic’s arch-enemy the United States has withdrawn.

“Before being a buyer in the arms market, Iran has the ability to supply” other countries, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters.

Iran Says Will Sell More Arms Than Buy After Embargo Lifted

Will this make a difference in the Middle East say?

Will this put the brakes on troop withdrawals?

Any thought?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

Not By China!

The US is the arms dealer to the world…..and we will NOT tolerate anyone trying to horn in on our monopoly in arms.

Recently the US learned that Serbia is thinking of buying some defensive missiles from China…..

Interested in modernizing their defense systems, Serbia reports they are interested in the Chinese-made FK-3, a medium-range air defense model made for export. This would be a second purchase by Serbia from China, who just sold them some attack drones.

It makes sense for Serbia to be interested, because China is the low-cost solution. The US was mad about the drones, and is even madder about the air defense, warning Serbia that this could cost them EU membership if they go through with it.

Serbia insists no final decision has been made, and it’s not clear the US warning is sincere, let alone that the EU would listen to the US opinion on membership for Serbia. It’s unlikely this would be a real obstacle, even if the US gets mad.

Serbia probably doesn’t have an alternative, either, with US options probably too expensive for them. US anger is probably more going to be for China getting a foothold in Europe in the first place.

(antiwar.com)

One question…why is it okay for the US to sell their implements of destruction to the world but not for China to do so as well?

What happen to the idea of a “free market”?

Is the US admitting that the idea of “free markets” is a total lie and nothing more than a slogan to discard when it suits those using it?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Spend China And Russian Into Submission

Since we have bowed out of every nuke deal ever made and China and Russia have stepped up to get in the nuke game….but not to worry the US is willing to spend whatever it takes to crush their rivals in the nuclear arms race….

US arms control negotiator Marshall Billingslea, far from focusing on avoiding an arms race, saying that the US “sure would like to avoid it” but is also willing to spend Russia and China “into oblivion” to win a nuclear arms race.

“The president has made clear that we have a tried and truce practice here. We know how to win these races and we know how to spend the adversary into oblivion.” This was the go-to US strategy in the Cold War, where the US vastly outpsent the Soviet Union.

With the US scrapping the INF and Open Skies treaties, it seems unlikely to extend New START, making a costly arms race an increasing risk. Since the US vastly outspends everyone on the military, there seems to be an assumption they can win by just keeping up the spending.

Whether that is practical going forward, however, is another matter. With the US engaged in a costly battle with coronavirus, there was already talk the US would have to slash spending, particularly on arms, to deal with the deficit. A huge arms race is just not affordable.

(antiwar.com)

So the US cannot find the cash for a failing infrastructure or the fight against Covid-19….but they are willing to spend whatever it takes to embarrass their rivals….is that about it?

The US has enough nukes to make humanity suffer a bunch…..so do we really need more?  According to Donald the Orange….we do.

How does the US get Russia and China to the negotiating table? Senior administration officials came up the idea of carrying out the first US nuclear test explosion since 1992, and this conversation is still ongoing.

Carrying out nuclear tests is a hugely provocative move on the global scale, and yet the Trtump Administration thought it could “prove useful” in trying to get Russia and China into trilateral nuclear talks.

This probably was also informing the administration in accusing, without evidence, both Russia and China of conducting nuclear tests in secret. Global monitoring makes secret tests all but impossible, but allegating them of having done so would be cover for the US to do it too.

Officials said the December discussion on the matter didn’t end with any agreement to conduct a test, but that it is an “ongoing conversation” that they keep going back to as a possible idea in response to threats from Russia and China.

(antiwar.com)

For those too damn young to remember all the PR about nukes and the results…..let me refresh some memories…..

A professor at Georgetown University, he’s taught an undergraduate course on nuclear weapons and world politics for the past decade. He always asks the same question on the last day: How many of his students think they’ll see nuclear weapons used in their lifetime?

For many years, no more than one student would raise their hand. That made sense, he told me, because in those days, “talking about nuclear war was like talking about dinosaurs — it’s just something from the past that won’t be something in our future.”

But the past couple of years have been different. When he asked that question again this spring, roughly 60 percent of his students raised their hands. What’s more, he agrees with them. “If I had to bet at least one nuclear weapon would be used in my lifetime,” says the 40-year-old Kroenig, “my bet would be yes.”

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2018/10/19/17873822/nuclear-war-weapons-bombs-how-kill

We need sanity in our approaches to the rest ofm them world…not knee jerk reactions and a dash to the TV for the delivery of lies and disinformation.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

What Happened To The Arms Race?

If you are old enough to remember the Cold War then the term “arms race” is something you are aware of…..but for those youngsters here on IST….

An arms race occurs when two or more countries increase the size and quality of military resources to gain military and political superiority over one another. The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union is perhaps the largest and most expensive arms race in history……

But thank God with the end of the Cold War the dangerous game of arms race in nuclear weapons disappeared….think again!

We ended our involvement in the INF and that is an invitation to an arms race……

If you asked the Pentagon, they would tell you in no uncertain terms that the US is not engaged in any sort of nuclear arms race. At the same time, the US is spending heavily on new nuclear weapons, and is particularly scrambling to get weapons designed to target Russia.

Officials described a recent table-top war game where Russia carried out a tactical nuclear first-strike against NATO territory during a conflict in Europe. This idea of Russia attacking first seems to be informing a lot of US policy decisions.

The exercise saw a low-yield Russian nuke deployed, and the US arsenal, still limited on lower options, ultimately decided that their only response was a much bigger strategic nuclear strike on Russia, starting a civilization-ending nuclear exchange.

Though seemingly the risk of such a war would be a deterrent against a Russian first-strike, the Pentagon is arguing they need more low-yield options so they can engage in tit-for-tat nuclear wars at a lower level.

Analysts have been very concerned about these developments, because the Pentagon very publicly views lower-yield nukes as more usable, and this risks the US deploying them in attacks on non-nuclear states.

(antiwar.com)

If there is NO arms race then why would the Pentagon be begging for more funds for nukes?

The US spends tens of billions of dollars annually on nuclear weapon modernization schemes. Every year, the Pentagon complains it is insufficient, and that continued with StratCom head Admiral Chas Richard, who warned that the US is “almost on a path to disarmament.”

Given how much the US spends, this is a vastly expensive sort of disarmament. Since the US outspends all other nuclear powers, it is hard to imagine that the problem is that the US needs to spend more, and while the admiral suggested the US should “invest smartly,” it’s clear he also wanted more money.

The narrative is that if the US continues at the current heightened level of spending they’ll still end up having to virtually rebuild their entire infrastructure or no longer be a nuclear power. This seems to be overly alarmist, but is just the sort of thing that would sell Congress on bankrolling more arms.

Still, while Strategic Command is built around always spending more money on more arms, and never couches it as an option, it must be considered if proper disarmament is worth considering. After all, if tens of billions of dollars every year can’t maintain an arsenal, the US could at least save that money by no longer pretending to be modernizing it.

(antiwar.com)

In case you want more info…..

he Pentagon’s five-year nuclear weapons plan calls for requesting at least $167 billion through 2025 — building from the $29 billion sought for next year to $38 billion, according to previously undisclosed figures.

The commitment includes research, development, procurement, sustainment and operations. It reflects a major boost to an effort started under President Barack Obama to replace aging nuclear systems, such as Minuteman III missiles and command and control systems.

It doesn’t include funding for the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration, which is requesting $19.8 billion for fiscal 2021, including $15.6 billion for nuclear weapons activities.

https://time.com/5790901/pentagon-nuclear-weapons-spending/

So all indications are that we are still in an arms race with the USSR….my bad….Russia.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

A New Arms Race

Over the Summer Trump decided in his wisdom to pull out of a decades old treaty limiting missiles, the INF Treaty…..and now after the Russia tested a new missile and now the US felt obligated to do the same….

The Pentagon on Thursday flight-tested a missile that had been banned under a treaty that the United States and Russia abandoned last summer, the AP reports. Some US arms control advocates said the test risks an unnecessary arms race with Moscow. The prototype missile was configured to be armed with a non-nuclear warhead. The Pentagon declined to disclose specifics beyond saying thew missile was launched from a “static launch stand” at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and landed in the open ocean. The Defense Department said the ballistic missile flew more than 500 miles. The test comes amid growing uncertainty about the future of arms control. The last remaining treaty limitation on US and Russian nuclear weapons—the New Start treaty of 2010—is scheduled to expire in February 2021. That treaty can be extended for as long as five years without requiring a renegotiation of its main terms. The Trump administration has indicated little interest in doing so.

The Pentagon declined to reveal the maximum range of the missile tested. Last spring, when US officials disclosed the testing plan, they said it would be roughly 1,860 miles to 2,480 miles. That is sufficient to reach potential targets in parts of China from a base on Guam, for example. The Pentagon has made no basing decisions and has suggested that it will take at least a few years before such a missile would be ready for deployment. Under the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty, land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range between 310 miles and 3,417 miles were prohibited. The Trump administration chose to abandon the INF treaty, saying that while it had adhered to the treaty’s limitations, Russia had violated it by deploying a noncompliant cruise missile aimed at US allies in Europe. Shortly after exiting the treaty in August, the Pentagon flight-tested an INF-range cruise missile.

Oh crap!

Here we go again!

How much will this cost the American taxpayer?

Arms experts see the danger of this ill-advised policy…..

Arms experts warned of negative global implications after the Pentagon on Thursday test-launched a second missile that would have been banned under a Cold War-era treaty that U.S. President Donald Trump ditched in early August.

Trump ignored concerns about the impacts on global security and formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty after suspending U.S. obligations under the deal in February and giving Russian President Vladimir Putin six months to destroy weapons that the U.S. government and NATO deemed noncompliant with the bilateral agreement. The deal outlawed land-launched missiles with a range of 500–5,500 kilometers or about 310–3,400 miles.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/12/13/arms-expert-warns-reckless-and-unnecessary-escalation-after-pentagon-tests-missile

The drama continues…..

Watch This Blog!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

The INF In The Rear View Mirror

As we slowly remove ourselves from the international treaties of our past….and the newest one is the INF Treaty…..a nuke and missile treaty from the 1980s….

Personally I think it is stupid to pull out yet another nuke treaty……but do not take my word for  it…..

President Donald Trump’s announcement that he intends to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was cast in contractual logic: the U.S.-Russian agreement prohibits land-based short-and-intermediate-range ballistic and cruise missiles, both nuclear and conventional, which are difficult to track and make unintentional nuclear war more likely. Washington, with support from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, alleges that Moscow has breached that ban, and, as Trump put it , “we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to.”

If Russia has violated the deal, why should America maintain it? While there is a good reason to think National Security Advisor John Bolton would want out of the INF Treaty regardless of Russian compliance—he has argued as much in the past—the basic logic of leaving an already broken treaty seems straightforward. Nevertheless, there are three strategic reasons to proceed with extreme caution.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/skeptics/three-reasons-not-leave-inf-treaty-34287

His, Trump’s, withdrawal should not be the end of arms control as we know it…..

Even before President Trump reversed his position and announced (at a campaign rally for Republican congressional candidates in Nevada, no less) that he was pulling the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Agreement (INF), the era of significant nuclear arms control agreements between the United States and Russia was in danger of ending. Such a development must be forestalled at all costs, because arms control efforts have over the last 50 years shown themselves to be remarkably effective.

From the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty, which banned nuclear testing in the atmosphere, to the 2011 New START Agreement, which limited the two countries to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear weapons on no more than 700 deployed delivery vehicles, the two major nuclear powers have concluded dozens of bilateral agreements and supported several multilateral arms pacts.

https://thebulletin.org/2018/10/why-it-could-but-shouldnt-be-the-end-of-the-arms-control-era/

Hopefully Trump  will come to his senses about nukes and arms control…..but truthfully I am not holding my breath….are you?