The Saker blog now also in Russian!

ДОРОГИЕ РУССКОЯЗЫЧНЫЕ ДРУЗЬЯ!
Читайте блог Балобана по-русски щелкнув на эту ссылку:


http://www.vineyardsaker.ru/

The Saker Blog now also in French!

AMIS FRANCOPHONES!
Vous pouvez maintenant lire le blog du Saker en Français en cliquant sur ce lien:


http://www.vineyardsaker.fr/

The Saker Blog now also in German!

ALLE UNSERE DEUTSCHEN FREUNDE!
koennen jetzt den blog des Sakers auf Deutsch lesen - bitte hier anklicken:


http://www.vineyardsaker.de/

The Saker Blog now in Oceania

TO ALL THE SAKER FRIENDS IN OCEANIA!
you can now also visit the Oceania Vineyardsaker Blog by clicking on this link:


http://www.vineyardsaker.co.nz/

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why the US-Russian nuclear balance is as solid as ever

Ok. Today I am going to address the nuclear threat canard one last time.  After that, I will just ignore this topic which, frankly, is a waste of time.  Here are two comments which were recently posted on the blog:
"Security experts in the U.S. do not agree that Russia has a credible nuclear deterrent. The story is that the Russian nuclear force is in disrepair and that the U.S. can easily destroy most of what is left. They may be wrong--but that's what seems to be the thinking by at least some officials. "

"How exactly do YOU know that the US military knows that a successful nuclear first strike against Russia is impossible? So far, Saker, you have basically merely claimed this without providing any serious evidence whatsoever."
Both of these comments are typical of the kind of nonsense which have flooded in blogosphere in the recent times. The first one quotes "experts" who speak about the state of disrepair of the Russian nuclear forces.  The second one hints at some secret capability which would make a first-strike possible.  I will address both.

The state of disrepair of the Russian nuclear forces

This is an old canard which really had it's days of glory during the Eltsin years when, indeed, so much stuff in Russia was in an advanced state of disrepair that it sounded very plausible.  The Air Force was in disrepair, the Navy was in disrepair, the Land Forces were in disrepair and, frankly, all of Russia was in a total disrepair.  I even had Russian friends who were telling me that if Eltsin pressed on the button all the Russian ICBMs would basically explode in their silos (mind you, friends with PhDs in physics!).  It was all nonsense.  How do we know it?

Because during the 1990s and later Russia often fired missile which had reached the end of their life cycle, that was a part of the normal readiness test program.  In one case a submerged Russian nuclear submarine even ripple-fired its full complement of missiles (I forgot the date, but it's on YouTube - I am sure somebody can post the link to that test).  As far as I know, this is the only case in history of a "boomer" firing its full load of missiles in one volley (correct me if I am wrong).  Every single time the missiles worked.  As far as I know (again, correct me if I am wrong) the only failed launches were during the testing of the new "Bulava" SLBM which was a real pain to develop and which had to be redesigned several times.  By the way, now the system works and, for all their efforts and pain, the Russians now have the newest and most advanced SLBM on the planet.  So why did these systems work so well?

Two things: the extraordinary quality of the Soviet engineers and the very rigorous quality control system of the Soviet nuclear forces.  I cannot go in detail here, but the fact is that the folks who worked on these systems were in a different league all together and even during the Eltins years they managed to keep the Russian nuclear weapons in working condition.  The Russian deterrence system was also in total disarray - the early warning radars were gone to the newly independent Republics, the early warning satellites were reaching the end of their lives and no new ones were sent up, the Russian military secrets were exported to the USA by the ton - and yet even in these horrible circumstances the Russians never let their weapon of last resort (intercontinental nukes) go offline.  Even at the peak of the "democratic horror" of Eltsin and his oligarchs, the US knew that Russia could - and would - strike back if attacked.

Ever since the condition of the Russian nuclear deterrence forces has dramatically improved as have the Russian second strike capabilities.  The early warning system is finally back online, Russia has build new and truly formidable intercontinental systems designed to defeat any foreseeable ABM threat (I am thinking of the road-mobile RT-2UTTKh Topol-M and the submarine launched RMS-56 Bulava and R-29RMU2 Lainer).  Furthermore, the Russian submarine fleet has been dramatically modernized including its attack submarines which can not only protect the big "boomers" but also attack US submarines and even the US mainland (with cruise missiles).  The US Naval Institute has published a good article on this topic entitled "The Russian Submarine Fleet Reborn" which I highly recommend to those still stuck in the 1990s.

Now, I will readily admit that the Russian Air Force is still not what it should be.  It's Tu-95 and Tu-160 are still adequate, but Russia does need a new bomber.  In fact, they are working on a new bomber so far referred to as PAKDA (future aviation complex of long range aviation), but I am concerned that they picked the wrong philosophy.  The choice was to go hypersonic or a subsonic "stealth" bomber similar to the B-2.  Alas, it appears that they have decided for the second version which I think is a huge mistake.  Still, the bottom line is that the Russian nuclear forces, attack weapons and early warning system, are on a very high level of readiness,  their capabilities have sharply risen over the past years, and they will rapidly continue to do so in the future.

What is weapon X negates all of that?

This argument basically says that the US can (or even has) developed some fancy technological weapon system or technology which would make the entire Russian deterrence system obsolete.  Sometimes this argument is combined with the "state of disrepair" argument for a bigger shock effect.  And if that is not enough - then the last argument is "well, how do you know?!".

The reply is really easy.  Strategic nuclear weapons are only as good as their tests shows.  Yes, maybe the USA or Russia has some super-dooper mega killer weapon hidden somewhere in a vault, but unless it has been tested, real life tested, it is useless.  Also, the testing of these missiles is a very public event, if only because Russia and the USA warn each other about them months ahead of time.  They also then spy the crap out of each other because both sides are not stupid and they really, really, care about that.  So really, there are very few secrets in this field or, better put, the many secrets which do exist are technical ones, but not of the kind which would affect the global balance.

The other thing which civilians truly struggle with is the phenomenally high degree of redundancy built into the system.  Again, the Russians and Americans who work on these systems are truly cream of the crop, the smartest and best educated people in both countries and from the moment both sides had the nuclear weapon (1949) survivability became the single most important consideration because if a nuclear weapon is the ultimate weapon it is also the ultimate target, the one target your enemy is going to try to hit really, really hard. 

You have probably heard that Russia and the USA can nuke the planet many times over.  Well, there is some truth to that.  There is an "overkill" capability on both sides and the reason for that is not a Dr Strangelove kind of insanity, but the very smart and deliberate realization that to be truly effective a nuclear deterrent needs to be strong enough to still deter the other side EVEN IF 90%+ OF IT IS DESTROYED.  This is called "first strike stability".  Here is how this works:

If I design my system with, say, 10 times over "overkill" capability and
If my opponent somehow destroys 90% of my forces
I will still have enough to inflict and unacceptable retaliation on him and
He will therefore have to renounce that option

Simple and very, very effective.

What this means today is this:

If the Russian nuclear forces are in an advance state of disrepair and
If the US builds up and effective ABM shield and
If the US hides a super-weapon in space and
If the US destroys 90% of all Russian nukes in a first strike and
If then the US also intercepts 50% of all the leftover Russian nukes
Then Russia will still have more than enough nukes to obliterate the US as a country

These are a lot of 'ifs' (which are all false!) that still result in an absolutely unacceptable 'then'.  And I don't care if McCain or Hillary are in office - if they even suggest such a move they will be told in unequivocal terms by the US "deep state" something along the lines of "shut up, sit down and get back to your business".  I also have met enough US force planners and officers (including one Chairman of the JCS) to make me confident that they would never allow such a crazy plan to proceed.  Yes, there are a lot of crazy and arrogant US politicians, and yes, there are even some lunatics in the military, but, as I said, the folks actually in charge of nuclear deterrence are really the cream of the crop, especially those on the middle level (not top commanders, not the guy who turns the key - the operational commanders, typically with a colonel rank).

So unless we assume a case of collective and suicidal insanity all this talk about a US-Russian nuclear war is absolute baseless nonsense.  Good stuff for movies, but absolute nonsense in real life.

Now, all of what I wrote is only true about the USA and Russia.  In theory, the other nuclear powers could possibly disarmed in a first counter-force nuclear strike because the China, France, Pakistan or Israel do not have that apparently stupid but in reality crucial "overkill" capability.  Nor are their weapons that survivable.  Mind you, I still would emphatically advise against trying that because what if just one or two of them get through and hit their targets?  The consequences would be disastrous.  Would you play Russian roulette if your chances of success were, oh say, 4 in 5?  

Exactly.

I really do not want to turn this blog into a nuclear deterrence theory blog.  Not that I don't find the topic interesting - I love it!  I had the immense privilege to study force planning with Bob Haffa (Col, USAF), one of the sharpest officers I ever met (I still recommend his short but extremely well written book "Rational Methods, Prudent Choices: Planning U.S. Forces"), and ever since I have loved this topic.  But, frankly, I think that right now we all have more important fish to fry and I don't want to spend any more time debunking media myths about a US nuclear attack on Russia.  So I will end with something which will probably not endear me to a lot of folks (what else is new?).

I also happen to think that most US officers, especially the real professional, are decent people who love their country and who even if they are objectively serving the AngloZionist Empire, hope that their service will also benefit their country.  I cannot imagine that enough of them would agree to go along with a lunacy like starting a nuclear war with Russia, not if that means that their families, friends, hometowns and country will go up in radioactive flames.  Call me naive if you want, but I don't see that happening.  It is one thing to (reluctantly) go alone the stupid imperial wars in Iraq of Afghanistan, quite another to take the risk of seeing your loved ones turned into dust or slowly die in horrible conditions.  Again, I know how evil the AngloZionist Empire is, but I cannot forget that the many US officers I met were honorable and fundamentally decent men (I am talking about the armed forces here, not the freaks in Langley).

Anyway, that is my last post on this topic.  I hope that I have contributed to reassure at least some of those who were sincerely worried about a possible nuclear war.  To those, like myself, who are compulsive pessimistic "worst-casers" I can "offer" this: there still is one thinkable scenario for a nuclear war - a conventional war which one sides begins to lose so badly that it feels compelled to use nukes as a last way to avoid a total defeat.  So NOT a deliberate nuclear war, but a failed conventional war which slowly creeps into a nuclear one (first tactical, then strategic).  We have plenty of credible models of escalation and no credible ones (that I am aware of) for de-escalation.  That is the problem.  Which is why I consider even a conventional war between the two superpowers as total folly to be avoided at all cost.  But screw-ups and miscalculations do happen - history is full of them.  That is what sometimes keeps me up at night.  And I sure hope that the scum in the White House will not end up stumbling into a hot war with Russia.  Lord have mercy!

Kind regards,

The Saker

87 comments:

вот так said...

"And I sure hope that the scum in the White House will not end up stumbling into a hot war with Russia."

Or with China.

Anonymous said...

Hi Saker
You forgot 2 things from this well written article. The nuclear fallout and its consequences:
-even all of the enemy missiles are intercepted the nuclear fallout will cause a 3 year long nuclear winter (no food in mild climate or in northern hemisphere);
-the planet will be inhabitable for thousands of years.

Best Regards
Oracle 911

Anonymous said...

It is one thing to (reluctantly) go alone the stupid imperial wars in Iraq of Afghanistan...

I don't think the US military really does go along with this.

What you see in Ukraine is a pure CIA/Contractor operation.

Iraq is falling apart. The largest American Embassy in the world, with 17,000 people in it on 100+ acres, is in Baghdad. It cannot contain troops because of the treaty between the two governments. Those people are all CIA and Contractors.

Tell me. Do you think the CIA/Contractors are going to come out of the Green Zone and kick ass in Iraq?

Do you think the American people are going to go along with sending more troops to Iraq?

Do you think American Generals want to send more troops to Iraq?

There will never be American troops in Ukraine. So, the question arises, will the CIA/Contractor crowd prevail? This is definitely their day in the sun. This is their chance. This is the moment for them to prove that their secret budgets and lack of oversight are justifiable. This is their zero hour.

Nora said...

Saker,

Thank you for this post. There is a certain quality of misinformation used by various trolls etc. to make people feel more passive and fatalistic -- all the nuclear prognostications here just feel like that, but it's nice to see some data and analysis backing up my gut hunches when reading them.

I do have a question though: supposedly we recently fired and replaced the SAC guys in charge of our nuclear weapons. I think I remember people here discussing whether we'd truly replaced bad guys with good guys, or vice versa.

Do you know anything about this? Please tell me the the CZ nutcakes weren't just put in charge!

Anonymous said...

If this is true, then it's bad news:

“Apparently, livejournal.com administration started mass blocking and suspending of pro-Novorossiya bloggers. Reasons - "hate speech and gathering money for questinable goals". Pro-ukrainian bloggers are untouched (yes, even those who were celebrating death of people in Odessa & Lugansk and are gathering money for RS and NG). What's interesting about this is the fact that Livejournal is owned by SUP Fabrik, a commercial entity controlled by Russian oligarch Alexander Mamut. So my gues is these actions are in line with Kremlin's policies.”

VINEYARDSAKER: said...

@Dear Nora: supposedly we recently fired and replaced the SAC guys in charge of our nuclear weapons. I think I remember people here discussing whether we'd truly replaced bad guys with good guys, or vice versa.

That I simply don't know. But remember that the layer which really counts in the military are Colonels, not Generals. General is really a political position, Colonels are the hardcore techies, the guys who really are at the crucial, central, level. You can always fire one General and appoint another one, but it is not that easily at all to fire a high-level specialist. I am not saying that it is impossible, but just harder.

Look, if even Eltsin and his oligarchs did not succeed in dismantling the Russian strategic nuclear forces or getting rid of the specialists in charge of them, do we really want to believe that Obama and the Neocons can do that to the US military?

I know that there were vicious purges under Baby Bush and that the Necons got the key positions at the Pentagon. That is what the Neocons are good at - intrigue and power plays. But they they reach deep enough into the US nuclear forces? I doubt it.

Kind regards and big hug to you and "Mr Nora"

The Saker

Anonymous said...

The neocon ideology claims that USA can get away with a first strike as ABM will prevent Russia from retaliating. This may not be true but if that's what they think then it's a problem.

dusty said...

You are the expert here and I an sure that you are correct in respect of a nuclear strike.

You touched upon nuclear escalation from a conventional conflict - that's the scary one.

When I were a lad I remember reading a book about Russian invasion across Germany (the Fulda Gap was the route as I recall). The premise of the book was that in a conventional conflict between NATO forces and Warsaw Pact forces battlefield nuclear weapons were pretty much an inevitability after just 2 or 3 days of conflict because NATO did not consider they had adequate resources to repel such an attack.

What, in principal would be different today?

It also seems to me that nuclear weapons used at battlefield level would be less predictable, even if strong protocols for their control existed because of the dynamic nature of direct conflict. It is the escalation from that point that worries me.

Админ said...

Великая и грозная армия США
Great and terrible U.S. Army

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQCFLjHxJLg#t=64

Mohamed said...

Dear Saker,

I always wondered when Jesus (as) and Imam Mahdi (as) will reappear (second coming), will we have nuclear capability?

Or we will be past that?

Also, the One Eye Dajjal. Someone was saying it is already here. One Eye Dajjal is the Camera Lens, through which the Big Brother is controlling us, for the Anglo-Zionists.

Best regards,

Mohamed.

Abraham/Avarachan said...

Hi Saker,

I am curious as to why you didn't mention India in your list of nuclear-armed countries.

India deliberately downplays its capabilities, but its capabilities are world-class. For instance, it says that its Agni-V missile, with a payload of 1000-1500 kg, has a range of 5500+ km. China says that the real range is 8000 km. Russia says that the real range is 9000 km.

I'd recommend the following articles:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agni-V
http://www.indiaresearch.org/Shourya_Missile.pdf

Robert Miller said...

There was a study a couple decades back that a "small nuclear war" between Pakistan and India would put so much particulate matter in the high atmosphere that it would bring about nuclear winter across the globe. That is, even if you win a nuclear exchange you've got to live with the mess left behind. Or, more precisely, you die slowly in the mess.

Robert Miller said...

There was a study a couple decades back that a "small nuclear war" between Pakistan and India would put so much particulate matter in the high atmosphere that it would bring about nuclear winter across the globe. That is, even if you win a nuclear exchange you've got to live with the mess left behind. Or, more precisely, you die slowly in the mess.

Abraham/Avarachan said...

Hi Saker,

I have a question regarding your response to Nora's comment.

Granted, the colonels are the techies, the guys who really know what they're doing, operationally. But would a colonel really challenge an order given by a (corrupt) general/politician?

Anonymous said...

Paul Craig Roberts just talked about a study that even if all of Russia's nukes were intercepted, the nuclear fallout of destroying Russia and China alone would destroy the environment of the planet.

One cannot simply nuke one side and declare victory. Think about how Fukushima, just one nuke plant, is destroying the pacific ocean. Any significant detonation of nuclear weapons destroys us all.

Robert Nelson said...

New reader to this essential blog. In the recent comments I have read that Obama used the Vella ship to threaten Putin with nuclear attack in Crimea.

When I looked for this on The Google, I came up with nothing. (Quelle surprise).

Can someone link me to a story on this?

tia

Anonymous said...

Do not be sure.
Kennedy was willing to start nuclear war...and many future presidents will be willing. That is in DNA American Imperial Nationalists ( AIN ).

VINEYARDSAKER: said...

Abraham/Avarachan:India deliberately downplays its capabilities, but its capabilities are world-class

No, India's nuclear capabilities are still THIRD-world class, as as everybody else's besides the USA and Russia. The issue is not range or thrown-weight, the the capability of building a system redundant enough not to have to fear a first "counterforce" disarming strike. Also, and for the same reason, you NEED a full triad: land-based, sea-based and air-based. Then you also need a full-spectrum flexible response capability from very small tactic nukes to the huge mega-blasters. India has none of that. Even China, France or the UK don't have that yes, they only try to approximate it. Compared to the USA and Russia ALL the other strategic deterrences programs are in their early infancy (for most) and teenagers (for a few like France or China). Sorry :-(

But would a colonel really challenge an order given by a (corrupt) general/politician?

I don't know, but I would hope that that colonel would do the right thing when presenting the options to his general. There are other ways besides disobeying a direct order.

Kind regards,

The Saker

Nora said...

Seamus Padraig 16:32

"It appears the Russians did indeed have contingency plans ready to go in case Uncle Scam launched another 'color revolution' in Ukraine. As best I can make out, this is it:"

Oh, for gosh sakes!

In other words, keep tending your own priorities while feeding your enemies just enough rope to (very publicly) hang themselves.

Simple, elegant, and effective enough to generate a whole new swarm of trolls.

Saker,

Respect, regards and hugs back atcha!

Just imagine all the flak aimed your way as congratulatory confetti -- just as much substance and a true sign of success! ;~)

(giggle) I'm not sure I even know all the right order of military ranks, for the life of me I can't remember the name of the base (two words, maybe somewhere in the Dakotas?) where they fly the nukes out of, and Mr. Nora's taking a nap so I'm just going to sound real stupid here and say I think it's colonel-level and maybe whoever's right underneath them, but somehow something nuke-y ended up in Ellsworth and then heads rolled? I just don't trust anything out of D.C. anymore. Not anything.

Anonymous said...

http://russianforces.org/blog/2006/03/speaking_of_nuclear_primacy.shtml

---

Somewhat off-topic but very interesting:

I am almost sure that French nuclear strategists secretly kept part of the country’s nuclear potential aimed at the U.S. And I know for certain that both the French and British potentials were viewed as “Bickford fuses,” so that a hypothetical Soviet attack could not let the United States keep aloof. Nuclear theologians thus hoped to strengthen the deterrence of Moscow. But objectively, the “Bickford fuse” was also aimed against Washington’s interests; and that despite the fact that the U.S., France and Great Britain have been and are still allies. --Sergei Karaganov.
http://eng.globalaffairs.ru/pubcol/Should-We-Overcome-Deterrence-15192

P. P. P. said...

Der nukleare Erstschlag in Europa
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Bi7kYl_ays

Anonymous said...

Saker,

While I am onboard with your assessment of the state of MAD (recent news about the exam cheating scandal in US strategic forces aside) I can imagine the following scenario: Russia was prepared to invade Ukraine proper. The US said that's a red line and will result in a tactical response - are you willing to risk nuclear exchange over Ukraine? Russia decided (sensibly and appropriately) no, we will pursue other avenues. I say this only as an attempt to understand the apparent change in the Russian approach from earlier in the crisis till now. While it is possible there were only internal political/strategic reasons for the change I don't see clear evidence for that.

The US appears intent on pursuing its 'Ukraine project' and is clearly backing and assisting the attempted ethnic cleansing in the east.

US policy - what is it called? "Total spectrum dominance"?

the pessimist

Anonymous said...

Respect i uvazhukha, what you wrote is the plain, evident, well documented truth. Now let's go back to serious matters: why does gas keep flowing to Ukraine? Does Gazprom really awaits results from the thirteenth hour meeting in Bruxelles? The sooner Ukraine starts consuming its reserves - or stealing European gas - the better. May be a low intensity reply (not so much after the "Bulgarian job"), but some reply is needed, you yourself admitted it lately. Food for thought... Many congratulations on your terrific work.
Rockerduck

Nestorian said...

I must say that your impatient and patronizing attitude about this topic is rather lacking in grace. I thought that this was supposed to be a blog where important ideas can be debated in a serious, in-depth, rational, and open-minded way. That is certainly not the attitude you display on the matter of US nuclear primacy, despite the obvious centrality of the issue for the matters of most concern on this blog.

Contrary to your own attitude, the matter intrinsically warrants debate and discussion in the most exhaustive and minute fashion - starting, perhaps, with a careful, point-by-point analysis of published studies that make a seriously argued case in favor of US nuclear primacy.

If you disagree with me on this, then I can only say that the attitude on your part leading you to disagree with me runs squarely counter to all the truth-seeking ideals for which you claim to stand on your homepage.

Anonymous said...

Saker

Although you're right in terms of Russia having a massive nuclear deterrent and there being parity in terms of how many times over they can each destroy each other, I'm not so sure that you can just ignore the NeoConZioNazis craziness. A recent Paul Craig Roberts article: http://goo.gl/XTaVZj gave a chilling insight into just how demented and catastrophically ignorant they are. As you say, the biggest threat is even a small shooting match escalating out of control. This article from 2006: http://goo.gl/WFoL5 outlines how a war started by the US with China could go, with the US rapidly losing. Do you think that the NeoConZioNazis haven't got so much hubris that they wouldn't want to fire the nukes, especially when they think that they can "win" by using them?

VINEYARDSAKER: said...

@Nestorian:I must say that your impatient and patronizing attitude (...) which you claim to stand on your homepage.

There is not a single argument in your entire post, just an inventory of all my alleged wrongs. You will forgive me for not taking you seriously. Or not. I don't care :-P

Also, this is my blog and I get to decide which topics are discussed here and which topics are left out. "US nuclear primacy" as I will spend no time or space on this total nonsense.

The Saker

crazyivanreport said...

In short:

Why do you write about small potatoes when on SE Ukraine is going on de facto ethnic cleansing?

With the help of Russia!!!

Open you cool mind and hot emotions for most important subject of the days and reveal what you know about it.

Migrations, exodus and ethnic cleansing is what you have walked through in your life. Share your experience in the field with us.

VINEYARDSAKER: said...

@Anonymous: This article from 2006: http://goo.gl/WFoL5 outlines how a war started by the US with China could go, with the US rapidly losing.

China and Russia are two DRAMATICALLY different cases. In theory both Russia and the USA might (conditional!! not saying it is so) get away with a disarming nuclear strike on China. That makes this scenario comparatively more likely even though I still consider it as extremely dangerous and unlikely.

I'm not so sure that you can just ignore the NeoConZioNazis craziness.

Look, I am not denying the following fact: by definition any theory of deterrences assumes a rational actor. So if assume that the entire US leadership has "gone finishing" anything is indeed possible. But if we make that assumption there is also nothing to discuss. At that point we are in full "la-la land" were, in theory, Buthan could attempt and invasion of Mongolia through China and Papua New Guinea could declare war on Paraguay and its Martian allies. I will admit that the US leaders are dumb, ignorant, arrogant and poorly educated. But I believe that there are enough decent, rational, well-educated and smart Americans in the state apparatus to not let the crazies simply destroy the entire northern hemisphere. If I am mistaken here, there is nothing any of us can do and, really, nothing to discuss. We can express to each other our condolences, take a sheet and walk to the nearest cemetery to wait for the final BOOOM! which will terminate our wretched and self-destructive pseudo-civilization. I know it might happen, but I don't see the point in modeling it.

Kind regards,

The Saker

Anonymous said...

Russian gas, NWO and US energy mafia published by Tom Sullivan on Tue, 2014-06-10 19:04 Bulgaria’s acquiescence to the US hegemony in stopping work on the South Stream gas pipeline is another sign that the United States is effectively attempting to become the master of Europe if it is not already such. With no political or other socio-economic strings attached Russia was attempting to simply supply European consumers and states with a needed commodity to keep themselves warm and cook their meals. Russia provides Europe with very attractive prices, with no conditions attached, and was attempting to merely do business. This of course is something the US does not want.

Anonymous said...

Great answer, Saker. Neocon-zionazi craziness was also my concern but as you rightly pointed out-nothing we can do about it.

123abc said...

Very interesting interview with Nikolai Starikov.

Main topics:
1) Why doesn't Russia intervene in Ukraine?
2) Danger of colour revolutions in member-countries of Eurasian union.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUzpDLRWejc

Anonymous said...

*** DONETSK "PEOPLE'S MAYOR" PONOMARYOV DISMISSED - DONETSK DEFENSE MINISTER The "people's mayor of Slovyansk," Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, has been dismissed, the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic's defense minister, Igor Strelkov, said on Facebook on Tuesday. "The so-called people's mayor Ponomaryov has been dismissed for engaging in activities incompatible with the goals and tasks of the civil administration. I cannot provide further details for now," he writes. *** HALF OF SLOVYANSK BUILDING "RAZED TO THE GROUND" BY UKRAINE ARMY - MILITIA Militiamen of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Repubic" have claimed that the Ukrainian Armed Forces have destroyed half of buildings in the city of Slovyansk. "I can say that 50% of the city's buildings have already been razed to the ground," "Southeast Front" spokesman Kostyantyn Knyrik told Interfax on Tuesday. Furthermore, there have been disruptions to the city's electricity and water supply, he said.

Robin Morritt said...

Saker:

Rant. Rant. Clarification. Nuclear war. People will understand if you get emotional but there is still a need to be rational and informative.

You are losing me. What, if anything, is going on in East Ukraine?

Sincerely,
Robin.

Gayle said...

Interesting tweet:

Number of mercenaries penetrated from #Russia to #Ukraine by June 5 - 4000, Number by June 10 - 10500, including professional military men.

https://twitter.com/RutheniaRus/status/476441000697532416

Anonymous said...

"I know it might happen, but I don't see the point in modeling it."

Very well put! The counter-argument when fatalisms creep into the discussion. Not to mention the implied fearmongering therein serving the enemy. It attempts at preventing any good willing people to focus attention on what can be done and may still be in reach.

I don't entertain defeatism.

Keep it up Saker :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Saker

Awful thing to have to contemplate but how effective do you think S300/400/500's would be against incoming nuclear ballistic missiles given that they are one of the most advanced air defence systems around, with anti-ballistic missile capability?

Anonymous said...


Dear Saker,

I appreciate your thorough analysis, but I have to disagree on your assessment of the nuclear balance.

You seem to expect very rational behavior both from military officers and from those 'above'.

Military officers (at least in the U.S.) are generally smart enough to understand how to fight a war, but not smart enough to understand why they are fighting a war. Henry Kissinger calls these people useful idiots.
Military officers are even more than civilians subject to official and unofficial (CNN, FAUX) propaganda. Most of them still believe the WTC was destroyed by Arabs with box cutters. Those who doubt are unwilling to look at the evidence because they rightfully fear this may change their world view and end their career.
Military officers, just like of us, are subject to emotions such as fear, anger and so on. If they hear that 5000 U.S. service men have been killed, they will want revenge. This may cloud their judgement.
Military officers may challenge the order of a senior officer, but if the command to fire comes directly from the president, they have to obey and they will obey.

The U.S. has a history of provoking foreign nations into war.
The U.S. has a history of disproportionate revenge. Fallujah was just one example.

This brings me to the case of the USS Liberty. In 1967 the USS Liberty was send to the South East Mediterranean. The ship was attacked by multiple Israeli fighter jets and gunboats. The objective was to sink the ship quickly and to make it look like Egypt did it. As soon as the ship was attacked, the Pentagon sent planes carrying nuclear bombs to Cairo. By some miracle the USS Liberty didn't sink, and the crew was able to send a distress signal. The Soviet Union intercepted the signal and confronted the U.S. The nukes were recalled.

A similar setup or false flag may be used today. The strategic equivalent would be to nuke the Kremlin or even 'only' Sebastopol for an attack on a U.S. ship. From that point on escalation to all-in nuclear war would be a near certainty.

Of course normal people would want to avoid such an outcome. Unfortunately, at the highest levels we are not dealing with normal people but with outright psychopaths:
- They want to destroy everything that is good and healthy.
- They have already destroyed marriage, family and education.
- They have morally, economically and politically destroyed whole countries.
- They are threatening other countries with physical destruction.
- They hate Russia more than they love their own country.
- They hate Christianity and in particular the Orthodox Church.
- They want to 'keep' humanity under 500 million.
- They need to kill or sterilize at least 90% by war, hunger or vaccines.
- They have built fully equipped shelters for themselves and hope to survive whatever is coming.

Assuming these people are rational is extremely dangerous.

Anonymous said...

@ a weapon is only as "good" as the person(s) who use them. so what worth does a weapon have, if the guys who are in charge aren't willing to press the button? think about that.

Anonymous said...

An element that is missing from the nuclear 'triad' is the detonation of pre-placed nuclear devices in enemy cities.

These can also be used for blackmail:
http://www.jimstonefreelance.com/blackmail.html

geoff29 said...

Something at some point in time is going to trigger a war that turns nuclear. I believe the philosophical answer to the equation has always been, since the weapons exist, at some point they will be used. If this is the point or not, currently, who can say.

On another note, I have a problem with the notion of "evil." I believe people can be completely misguided. It happens to me all the time. Those times when I am roused from a particular ignorance that's revealed in myself are never fun, but I wouldn't live without them.

Two cases in point. One, I met a CEO of a large media empire in the early 1990s. He was at the zenith of his personal accomplishments just having brought into existence one of the largest media empires the world had ever seen up to that point, and he was shortly to die of cancer.

I was always a bit intimidated in his presence, though now 20 years on I see him as all too human. We were sitting together in the afternoon having a chat on a sofa and he turned to me and asked me if I didn't agree that the Bush Sr. war in Iraq the right thing to do. No, I didn't but I didn't say anything.

I don't think this person was evil.

Case in point 2, I met a young guy a few years later fresh out of US college having majored in Russian who was off to Kiev to set up some business there. Interestingly, his parents were the most liberal of Americans I've ever met. I was certainly appalled by his activities, though I enjoyed his company well enough. He was just a squeaky clean kid educated by a system designed to create this kind of individual. I'm sure he was or is probably under the auspices of some part of a secret government organization or other. I'm sure he would have felt that the CEO I refer to above was the best of role models.

But he wasn't or isn't evil, I don't think, even though I envision him now in Kiev endorsing the corrupt regime there in it's efforts to join Nato or the EU, so that he can further his cause and become the successful businessman his education trained him to be.

But, he's like every other college kid, life just hadn't hit him yet, and he may have successfully isolated himself for the time being from the pain it can deal out. As many of us are isolated in our safe American homes.

My question is, what are the misguided ideas that drive these folks to the point where we all sense even the remotest possibility of nuclear war. I have my suspicions, the potential collapse of the structures that keep the powerful in power for one. But, without a threat to their existence, as the Ukraine is being threatened, even the most misguided person probably wouldn't behave in such manner.

Instead of extolling the virtues of Putin, that's like defending his position. Maybe better to root out the cause of the misguided ideologies driving this conflagration, and point out the ignorance behind it all.

Surely, as there IS a God or we are all living in vain, there is a purpose for everything, and there comes a day of reckoning. Those will not be entirely joyful. Better to sort out our own problems first.

Anonymous said...

@Nora (10 June, 2014 18:04):

"In other words, keep tending your own priorities while feeding your enemies just enough rope to (very publicly) hang themselves."

Exactly! The neocons are famous for starting shit they can't finish. A year from now (if not sooner), Washington will be looking for a face-saving exit. And if the question of direct Russian military intervention ever enters the picture, no one will be able to say Moscow acted rashly. Most Europeans by then will probably see them as trying to rescue a failed state.

-Seamus Padraig

Daniel Rich said...

If my grandmother would have had 4 wheels and an engine... she would have been a car...

Anonymous said...

Just as reminder how successful US foreign policy is in other parts of world, this is a map with current ISIS´ sphere of influence:
https://twitter.com/MsIntervention/status/476412480034717696/photo/1

"I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude. That's the problem here in America. They wonder whether or not there is a gratitude level that's significant enough in Iraq." - George W. Bush, 1/14/07

“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

Nora said...

It just struck me: has anyone else noticed how much more sophisticated and *seemingly knowledgeable* (until you really look at what they're saying) the current crop of trolls are? Looks like Trollery 101 just couldn't cut it here so they've put in a better-trained (?) bunch. Higher-order and/or subtler arguments, more "data" even if it's utterly false, more supposed cooperation/less "in your face" stuff. I wonder if the courses are online or if people actually sit in desks to learn the latest approaches in online propaganda. Can you just imagine the Power Point Presentations? ;~) Wouldn't want to sit next to one of those creeps though -- scared I'd get cooties!

Nestorian said...

Actually, I did make an argument in the first of my two recent posts, which is that the recent inexplicable restraint of Russia in the face of arguably reckless US provocations suggests that there might be something to this nuclear primacy issue after all. Otherwise, why would the US be so reckless if they themselves, and maybe the Russians too, didn't at least BELIEVE that the US actually possesses nuclear primacy?

By the time of my second post, you had already made it clear that you were not interested in entertaining further arguments for US nuclear primacy on this site. So there was nothing left for me to do but call attention to the problematic nature of your attitude in dismissing this as an issue worthy of serious consideration, and its failure to conform to the ideals you have set for yourself in running this blog.

Your refusal to countenance extended discussion of the matter is a great pity. There have been serious publications that have advanced the thesis of US nuclear primacy on the basis of detailed argumentation and analyses (e.g.: the Lieber and Press pieces in Foreign Affairs), and I was hoping that this forum, with its many knowledgeable individuals, might prove a fruitful venue for exhaustively and critically evaluating all their arguments. It certainly seems a very relevant topic at this particular moment in light of the most recent turn of events in the Ukraine.

Anonymous said...

Robin

what is going in east ukraine?

Murder, bloody murder of Ukrainian genome. With multiple shots, to ensure the ukraine idea in the people heads is gone.

This is the way how countries stop existing. They have been murdered, by their own people, in order to protect country existence.

Proud EX YU Guy.

Alexis TK27 said...

Saker, you put to rest in this post (once and for good I hope !) the canard of US nuclear primacy.

One point which is not central to your post, but is important nonetheless: contrary to what you wrote, the US or Russia attempting to disarm through nuclear first strike either France or China would not stand just a significant chance of failure, but a near certainty of failure.

The French arsenal is much smaller than either US or Russian one, and the Chinese arsenal is probably too, albeit there is some uncertainty as to which degree.

However, both are centered, each in its own way, around the objective of providing secure second strike of a sufficient magnitude to reach deterrence.

- The French solution revolves around a small fleet of SSBNs, however built to the top performance, notably in terms of stealth. Whether they are the most stealthy in the world bar none, or the US also has submarines that stealthy is questionable, they anyway are stealthier, therefore more secure, than everything Russia has. Permanent patrol of at least 1, most often 2 of them ensures invulnerable uninterrupted threat of minimum 1 boatload (that is 80+ nuclear warheads) against a power that would threaten the vital interests of France. And such is enough to deter even the largest countries. In short, France has chosen to improve quality and survivability (both of SSBNs and of warheads against ABMs) so that quantity could be small and still gets the desired strategic effect of deterrence.

- The Chinese solution revolves around a network - a maze - of tunnels, whose total length may be as long as 5,000 km (sounds far-fetched, may be exaggerated, but is possible for China), holding China's mobile ICBMs. The size of the network, its secrecy, and the depth of the tunnels is such that the second strike force is secure even if the whole US nuclear force was fired on Chinese territory. Size of that second strike force is not known, estimates have been proposed up to 3,000 warheads, which maybe true or exaggerated, anyway reality is sure to be in the hundreds.

Both China and France have tactical / sub-strategic nuclear weapons, that can be used for situations lesser than would warrant full reprisal. For such "last warning strike", weapons incidentally do not need to be numerous. France is supposed to have only 40 of those, China a bit more, and that's enough.

There are at this time four countries holding second strike ability in all circumstances. No more, no less.

Britain is not in that group for the sole reason that its nuclear force is dependent on the US, which could block its use. Not only is Britain not protected in the (admittedly borderline) scenario of a hostile America, she also is not protected if for any reason the US do not wish Britain to be able to use nukes for defense... and such scenarios are much more realistic.

Israel, India and Pakistan do not have weapons that could survive a nuclear first strike.

Alexis TK27 said...

Saker, you put to rest in this post (once and for good I hope !) the canard of US nuclear primacy.

One point which is not central to your post, but is important nonetheless: contrary to what you wrote, the US or Russia attempting to disarm through nuclear first strike either France or China would not stand just a significant chance of failure, but a near certainty of failure.

The French arsenal is much smaller than either US or Russian one, and the Chinese arsenal is probably too, albeit there is some uncertainty as to which degree.

However, both are centered, each in its own way, around the objective of providing secure second strike of a sufficient magnitude to reach deterrence.

- The French solution revolves around a small fleet of SSBNs, however built to the top performance, notably in terms of stealth. Whether they are the most stealthy in the world bar none, or the US also has submarines that stealthy is questionable, they anyway are stealthier, therefore more secure, than everything Russia has. Permanent patrol of at least 1, most often 2 of them ensures invulnerable uninterrupted threat of minimum 1 boatload (that is 80+ nuclear warheads) against a power that would threaten the vital interests of France. And such is enough to deter even the largest countries. In short, France has chosen to improve quality and survivability (both of SSBNs and of warheads against ABMs) so that quantity could be small and still gets the desired strategic effect of deterrence.

- The Chinese solution revolves around a network - a maze - of tunnels, whose total length may be as long as 5,000 km (sounds far-fetched, may be exaggerated, but is possible for China), holding China's mobile ICBMs. The size of the network, its secrecy, and the depth of the tunnels is such that the second strike force is secure even if the whole US nuclear force was fired on Chinese territory. Size of that second strike force is not known, estimates have been proposed up to 3,000 warheads, which maybe true or exaggerated, anyway reality is sure to be in the hundreds.

Both China and France have tactical / sub-strategic nuclear weapons, that can be used for situations lesser than would warrant full reprisal. For such "last warning strike", weapons incidentally do not need to be numerous. France is supposed to have only 40 of those, China a bit more, and that's enough.

There are at this time four countries holding second strike ability in all circumstances. No more, no less.

Britain is not in that group for the sole reason that its nuclear force is dependent on the US, which could block its use. Not only is Britain not protected in the (admittedly borderline) scenario of a hostile America, she also is not protected if for any reason the US do not wish Britain to be able to use nukes for defense... and such scenarios are much more realistic.

Israel, India and Pakistan do not have weapons that could survive a nuclear first strike.

Anonymous said...

Why are you complicating things? The real problem is the US economy. US desperately needs an evil bad guy to move to war economy rules. US will push Russia till they get that bad guy they want, sort of an all out war. If they fail, they will try China next.

Putin so far, does not play their game.

Anonymous said...

Free gallery of Jean-Philippe Immarigeon, "Give me Montaigne and Guy Mollet! " Theatrum-belli.org : "We begin to know [the French American Foundation,] the pharmacy established in 1976, and I recommend reading his site as its objectives are clearly stated: to make infiltration in institutions French and convince our supposed elite of interest to serve U.S. interests. (...) But the ultimate reads the list of winners in 2013 published on 25 June. Y appears Commander Philip Naudet, commander of Submarine Nuclear Attack Amethyst (S-605). This means that Royal mail with Americans future Pasha of Nuclear Submarine Launcher Gear - because the curriculum is generally well in this gun (...). But the funny thing - at this stage there is nothing left to do but laugh - is that the American contingent of Young Leaders promotion 2013 our future holder of nuclear secrets rub shoulders Anne Neuberger, Special Advisor the head of the NSA. "

Source: Real fascism
http://www.dedefensa.org/article-le_fascisme_r_el_10_06_2014.html

Anonymous said...

On the subject of Ukraine, Mike Whitney has a good piece up at CounterPunch:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/06/10/obamas-attempt-at-intimidating-russia/

-Seamus Padraig

Crossvader said...

Anonymous (18.29)

How did you go from the USA threatening "tactical response" to "nuclear exchange" over the Ukraine?

Are you crazy??? If so, insert some warning in your writings. Double up on dosage.

"Tactical response" means introducing UN resolution and then publishing few hit pieces in NY Times. After that, just vague threats in the indefinite future.

Sometimes, when I read comments section of this blog, I feel like visiting a lunatic asylum.

Saker, don't take it personally. The blog itself is superb.

Crossvader said...

Saker,

You need to start endorsing certain comments as being informative and substantial. Maybe publish them in green color, as opposed to red for nonsensical ones, yellow for a pure emotional diarrhea, and black for neutral ones.

Over time that will compel people to be more careful with what they write.
Right now, at least 50 percent of the comments here are pure garbage.
Sophisticated trolls can pretend to be sympathyzers, but then post comments that are destructive and demoralizing in nature.
I suspect you've got more than few of them here.

It will be a lot of additional work for you, but by going for sheer numbers you run a risk of making the comments section totally unreadable.

VINEYARDSAKER: said...

@Alexis TK27:contrary to what you wrote, the US or Russia attempting to disarm through nuclear first strike either France or China would not stand just a significant chance of failure, but a near certainty of failure.

Maybe, maybe not. Here are my counter arguments:

FRANCE: contrary to what you write, the quietest attack submarines on the planet right now a Russian SSNs, not Americans. Even the Navy has admitted this. But more importantly, *ONE* SSBN is not enough to provide deterrence anyway, if only because of the limited number of MIRV it could deliver in the best of all conditions. Also, in that case ABM becomes a real options. Also, you are focusing on one or two boomers, but you are overlooking command and control, decapitation, early warning, redundancy in communications, etc. etc. etc. I am *NOT* dissing the French, I am just saying that their capabilities are nowhere near the US and Russian levels.

CHINA: 3000 WHs?! In 2013 the FAS estimates their holdings like so:"The authors estimate that China has approximately 250 warheads in its stockpile for delivery by nearly 150 land-based ballistic missiles, aircraft, and an emerging submarine fleet.". Secrecy? No, my friend, you can be darn sure that both the Russians and the Americans know exactly where all these ICBMs are adn where they could fire from. Finally, There are all the same problems as with the French.

Bottom line: what the two nuclear "mega-powers" have developed over many decades at absolutely immense costs cannot be simply duplicated by smaller powers. Yes, China will probably get there, they at least have the potential. As for France and the UK - they know that they are the US' bitches, so why bother, really?

But please do not misunderstand me - while I am saying that nobody is anywhere near the level of the USA and Russia I am NOT saying that it would be safe or even sane to try to disarm China or France in a first counterforce attack. I would not even recommend that against Pakistan or India and I would advocate doing that only in the absolutely last resort against the DPRK. All I am saying is that the two "big players" are simply in a totally different league, that's all.

Cheers,

The Saker

VINEYARDSAKER: said...

@Anonymous:how effective do you think S300/400/500's would be against incoming nuclear ballistic missile

Oh this is a big number game, really. Ditto for the US ABM systems. They definitely have some anti-ballistic missile capability. But how much depends on many things such as warning time, speed/distance of the warhead, type of warhead (without/without maneuvering capability, w/wo lures, w/wo hardening, etc, etc, etc.). What is certain is that NO anti-missile system is safe "enough" to reply on it to stop an incoming nuke, even though which would be using a nuclear warhead to destroy the incoming enemy warhead).

Yes, both sides are working on countermeasures, but right now and for the foreseeable future the incoming warheads (especially the new generation WH designed to defeat ABM shields) will win, every time.

HTH, cheers,

The Saker

Anonymous said...

About the US military folks being the rational ones.

It was the military people who wanted the Cuba invasion while it was the civilians who didn't during Kennedy presidency.

Maybe learning that the Soviet Union had authorised the use of tactical nukes to defend Cuba later on might have woken some up but...

you'd never know.

An American General wanted a shootout with the Soviet troops in the Serbian war and it would have happened if not for a British pop star declining the order (became one after leaving the army). And this was after the classified information about the Soviet Union defences for Cuba was made known.

I think one must accept that ones children and grandchildren could well die in a nuclear winter.




Anonymous said...

"I also have met enough US force planners and officers"

Presumably the JCS Chairman you met wasn't Myers. Him I met, and he's fuckin nuts.

http://www.consensus911.org/point-mc-6/

WizOz said...

@take a sheet and walk to the nearest cemetery to wait for the final BOOOM!

"and the last one must turn the lights off" (the joke was current in Romania in Ceausescu's time, during a campain for electicity savings)!

VINEYARDSAKER: said...

@Anonymous: Presumably the JCS Chairman you met wasn't Myers

Correct. It was Elmo Zumwalt. A very decent and kind man indeed. Married to a Russian lady, by the way. Of course, the tragedy with his son marked him forever.

Cheers,

The Saker

Anonymous said...

Saker,

A data point of no importance, but just to add a fact. There was a salvo launch of Polaris missiles in '65 or '66. IIRC, it was a full load.

I was under the impression that the certainty of nuclear winter was established a long time ago. Of course, the planet and especially the USA is now overrun with morons who are easily talked into believing crazy stuff, such as that God created fossils just to test our faith in a 6000 year old universe. I don't think it is completely certain that all of those morons are safely excluded from positions they shouldn't be allowed anywhere near.

I think that as the threat of Thermal Armageddon from methane emissions looms large, some crazies will imagine that a nuclear winter would be just the ticket to cool things down a bit.

IMHO, this Ukraine adventure is not about NATO/OTAN or ABMs. At bottom it is the Global Order of Plutocrats needing another snort of their favorite narcotic, stolen assets. As Matt Damon's character in the movie about the CIA claimed, "our job is to keep the wars small." That seems to be the game plan in Novorossiya. The military wing of the GOP (not to be confused with the nutty political party using the same acronym) the OSS and their Kontract Killer Kohort, force the unwilling Ukrainian Army to do enough damage and killing to keep Novorossiya from setting up business, but not enough to provoke escalation to a major european war. I suspect the crying and dying is far from over.

Nora said...

Seamus Padraig,

Well, all I did was summarize your comment -- you're the one who thought it through. I've been mulling it over all afternoon, and I still think you nailed it. And in a funny (not ha-ha funny, but still) kind of a way, that makes it easier to sit through the suffering these people are going through, because at least someone in charge of something has their head on straight and is charting the course of his ship of state rather well given the awful circumstances.

What is really eating at me is not what Putin does or doesn't do -- It's. Us. We, the subjects (no longer citizens, if in fact we really ever were) of the Empire are doing exactly what we accuse the Donbass residents of doing -- waiting for Vladimir Vladimirovich to come to the rescue! But it's OUR LEADERS, dammit, and we yak and yak and bemoan this and that and argue amongst ourselves and do... precisely nothing to even figure out how to stop what WE'RE doing to Ukraine. Why should Putin? It's our tax dollars, our leaders and our responsibility to somehow get it together and bring them under control.

And we're not. We're not working on getting along better Left vs. Right, we're not organizing any effective way to pressure our Congresscritters, we're not even writing LTEs and figuring out how best to change public opinion. We don't even talk about NEEDING to do any of this! So a lot of the weight of all those horrors, frankly, rests on our all-too-passive shoulders. No, we're not indifferent, but we'd might as well be for all the good we're doing.

VINEYARDSAKER: said...

@Anonymous: There was a salvo launch of Polaris missiles in '65 or '66. IIRC, it was a full load.

I did some research on the Internet and found out the following.

The first US ripple launch was from the USS George Washington (SSBN-598) and it was not a full load, but a 4 missile launch. 4 out of 16. Here is a video of that launch: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=6db_1255637204. Later, the USS John Marshall (SSBN-611) did a 7/16 missile launch. But never a full load. This was indeed in the 1960s. In the 1990s a full load ripple salvo launch was done for the first time during "Operation Behemoth-2 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Behemoth) which saw the launch of a full load of 16 SLBMs (see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9G7LLWbsFwo).

Please let me know if you come across other info.

Cheers,

The Saker

Robin Morritt said...

Proud EX YU Guy:

Thanks. The press coverage of this is poor. I'm trying to understand.

All the best,
Robin.

Andrew said...

Saker:

I respect your opinion.

However, I think you underestimate the crazy, hubris, and beligerence present in Washington elites today.

You need to remember that these are people who believe they create reality. They also don't study history (and what little they do study is incredibly distorted) and slavish follow ideas from "thought leaders" like Zbig. Brez. Expecting rationality from such people is a stretch.

Reading the tea leaves tells me one thing for sure - Washington believes it has won a prize of such amazing significance in Ukraine that it is willing to go to any length possible to retain it, including a show down with Russia. I also think it is very clear that the saber rattling has passed beyond idle threats, and that Washington is showing the flag by showing the nukes. You can't rattle a sabre by leaving the warheads safely stowed at Earle.

As to Russia, well, did the US just demand that Russia reposition her armed forces ON HER OWN SOVEREIGN TERRITORY or not and threaten Russia move them or else or not? And did not Russia just comply with that outrageous demand/threat? What made them do that? Kind feelings towards NATO and the US and Ukraine Coup Government?

Anonymous said...

Saker,

I guess I should have consulted the all-knowing internet. I was recalling the GW ripple launch from memory, which is obviously an old memory. I failed to commit to memory have many tapes I changed.

Andrew said...

Regarding fallout and the threat of nuclear winter, please keep in mind that much of the theory is hypothetical and never tested (thank God!).

However, over 500 atmospheric nuclear detonations have been conducted up to the size of the Tsar Bomba (50 megatons). The earth has not suffered any significant long term ill from this, although I would not want to go and live on Bikini Atoll and other such places. On the other hand, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are inhabited cities today.

The entire shipload of warheads I believe is on Vella Gulf has less explosive force than the Tsar Bomba.

It seems pretty clear from history that a limited (tactical) nuclear exchange is survivable and can be recovered from. War planning for the use of such weapons has proceeded on that basis.

Alexis TK27 said...

@Saker,

Your blog not being intended primarily to discuss nuclear deterrence, I will try to be brief, as much as I can. However, a few points:

- The Navy says that US Virginia SSNs are quieter than the latest Russian Akula SSNs, which are deemed to be equivalent to the class immediately before the Virginias, that is the Improved Los Angeles. See for example: http://www.naval-technology.com/features/featurebattle-of-the-submarines-akula-versus-virginia/

- One boatload of MIRVed SLBMs is enough for deterrence of an even minimally rational opponent. We are speaking of 80+ warheads. Using airburst detonation and synergy between thermal effects, this quantity is enough to devastate 3 to 5 megapolis -provided the target country has as many - that is to kill 80% or more of their population. Anywhere from 30 to 50 millions killed + secondary effects of disorganization is enough to deter anybody. Including China

- ABM is not an option against 16 SLBMs and assorted 80+ WH, because stealth, decoys and other countermeasures are included. Obviously, a country aiming at getting second strike ability through quality rather than quantity will make sure countermeasures are top. Besides, it isn't too hard ;-) ... except against the crudest ICBMs, ABM is a losing proposition

- Command & control, communication and redundancy are not overlooked... I just did not cite them because I wanted to provide a summary :-) !
Redundancy in communication and control authorities so as to protect against decapitation is, again, not that hard. It's actually quite simple compared to the main challenge which was superior stealth for the SSBNs. Incidentally, early warning is not so crucial when the policy to launch while incoming warheads are in flight is abandoned. That policy is anyway most unreasonable if speaking diplomatically, or totally bonkers otherwise

- FAS estimates of Chinese warheads numbers are, to put it politely, not up to date. They haven't been changed in decades, at the same time when China was investing much increased resources in her defense. They haven't been changed since the time China was the 10th economic power in the world or even less!
But the definitive proof that China has many more warheads is her tunnels network built specially to host the second strike force. That network, even if smaller than the 5,000 km China announced, is much more expensive than a mere 20 ICBMs... therefore it would just not make any sense at all for China to have built that network and to not invest the comparatively puny sums necessary to build 100, or 200, or who knows how many ICBMs, each of them with 3 WH

- How to find many mobile ICBMs moving in a network of tunnels whose map you don't know, whose entrances you may not know all and anyway more could be dug very quickly... How to destroy them, even if you could magically know their position, when they are located under hundreds of meters of rocks... There just isn't a solution to this problem. Which is the protection of the Chinese deterrent

- Now I am NOT saying that France, nor even China, has got as many nuclear warheads as US or Russia... All I am saying is that the strategic objective of being able to threaten unacceptable destruction in every circumstance against an aggressor is MUCH less expensive to reach than what either the US or Russia immense piles of -mostly useless- nukes could let imagine, and what obviously the military-industrial complex in each of those countries would like to make believe! Both France and China reach the same deterrent effect via much cheaper route - though of course still expensive.

Truth be told, most of the expenses to maintain thousands of nuclear weapons at the ready are just waste

Mulga Mumblebrain said...

I'm with Andrew. The ruling elites in the West have been culled of all but the most deranged Atlanticist Zionist stooges. The process hit over-drive with the murder of Olof Palme. The synergy between Israel and its puppet hyperpower the USA has spilled over into Europe. The Zionists control France to an embarrassing extent. In there last Presidential election they had a 'choice' of two Jews, Hollande and Sarkozy with another Strauss-Kahn side-lined by scandal, and under Hollande, France has become a cats-paw for the 'Zionist Plan for the Middle East' with Libya destroyed and another Jew Fabius, the Foreign Minister, positively slavering to destroy Syria. Canada is similarly controlled by Jews, through the Christian Zionist, Harper, and the UK and Australia to lesser but increasing extent. Germany was taken over decades ago, and full revanchist and resurgent fascism is on the march there,again.
The great problem is both these malignant regimes, Israel and the USA, despite still retaining a majority of basically decent citizens, are ruled by psychopaths. Even more alarmingly, these are increasingly religious fundamentalist psychopaths. Israel's elites are increasingly being infiltrated by Judaic supremacists allied to the 'settler' Judaic Taliban and the likes of Ovadia Yosef, the king-maker head of Shas, whose utter contempt for the goyim was never disguised. And US politics is also increasingly influenced by religious fanatics, Dominionists, theocrats and, most worrying, fanatics for the End-Times, the Apocalypse and the Final Confrontation with Gog and Magog (Russia and China). One of the alleged influences on Gorbachev's decision to, in fact, surrender, was said to be his knowledge that insane Apocalypticists inside the Reagan Administration were itching to bring on Armageddon by attacking the Soviet Union. I would say that, judging by the lunatic aggression displayed in Ukraine, that there must be a new generation of such lunatics at work. No other explanation seems to me sufficient to explain their madness.

Mulga Mumblebrain said...

I'm with Andrew. The ruling elites in the West have been culled of all but the most deranged Atlanticist Zionist stooges. The process hit over-drive with the murder of Olof Palme. The synergy between Israel and its puppet hyperpower the USA has spilled over into Europe. The Zionists control France to an embarrassing extent. In there last Presidential election they had a 'choice' of two Jews, Hollande and Sarkozy with another Strauss-Kahn side-lined by scandal, and under Hollande, France has become a cats-paw for the 'Zionist Plan for the Middle East' with Libya destroyed and another Jew Fabius, the Foreign Minister, positively slavering to destroy Syria. Canada is similarly controlled by Jews, through the Christian Zionist, Harper, and the UK and Australia to lesser but increasing extent. Germany was taken over decades ago, and full revanchist and resurgent fascism is on the march there,again.
The great problem is both these malignant regimes, Israel and the USA, despite still retaining a majority of basically decent citizens, are ruled by psychopaths. Even more alarmingly, these are increasingly religious fundamentalist psychopaths. Israel's elites are increasingly being infiltrated by Judaic supremacists allied to the 'settler' Judaic Taliban and the likes of Ovadia Yosef, the king-maker head of Shas, whose utter contempt for the goyim was never disguised. And US politics is also increasingly influenced by religious fanatics, Dominionists, theocrats and, most worrying, fanatics for the End-Times, the Apocalypse and the Final Confrontation with Gog and Magog (Russia and China). One of the alleged influences on Gorbachev's decision to, in fact, surrender, was said to be his knowledge that insane Apocalypticists inside the Reagan Administration were itching to bring on Armageddon by attacking the Soviet Union. I would say that, judging by the lunatic aggression displayed in Ukraine, that there must be a new generation of such lunatics at work. No other explanation seems to me sufficient to explain their madness.

Alexis TK27 said...

@Saker,

Your blog not being intended primarily to discuss nuclear deterrence, I will try to be brief, as much as I can. However, a few points:

- The Navy says that US Virginia SSNs are quieter than the latest Russian Akula SSNs, which are deemed to be equivalent to the class immediately before the Virginias, that is the Improved Los Angeles. See for example: http://www.naval-technology.com/features/featurebattle-of-the-submarines-akula-versus-virginia/

- One boatload of MIRVed SLBMs is enough for deterrence of an even minimally rational opponent. We are speaking of 80+ warheads. Using airburst detonation and synergy between thermal effects, this quantity is enough to devastate 3 to 5 megapolis -provided the target country has as many - that is to kill 80% or more of their population. Anywhere from 30 to 50 millions killed + secondary effects of disorganization is enough to deter anybody. Including China

- ABM is not an option against 16 SLBMs and assorted 80+ WH, because stealth, decoys and other countermeasures are included. Obviously, a country aiming at getting second strike ability through quality rather than quantity will make sure countermeasures are top. Besides, it isn't too hard ;-) ... except against the crudest ICBMs, ABM is a losing proposition

- Command & control, communication and redundancy are not overlooked... I just did not cite them because I wanted to provide a summary :-) !
Redundancy in communication and control authorities so as to protect against decapitation is, again, not that hard. It's actually quite simple compared to the main challenge which was superior stealth for the SSBNs. Incidentally, early warning is not so crucial when the policy to launch while incoming warheads are in flight is abandoned. That policy is anyway most unreasonable if speaking diplomatically, or totally bonkers otherwise

- FAS estimates of Chinese warheads numbers are, to put it politely, not up to date. They haven't been changed in decades, at the same time when China was investing much increased resources in her defense. They haven't been changed since the time China was the 10th economic power in the world or even less!
But the definitive proof that China has many more warheads is her tunnels network built specially to host the second strike force. That network, even if smaller than the 5,000 km China announced, is much more expensive than a mere 20 ICBMs... therefore it would just not make any sense at all for China to have built that network and to not invest the comparatively puny sums necessary to build 100, or 200, or who knows how many ICBMs, each of them with 3 WH

- How to find many mobile ICBMs moving in a network of tunnels whose map you don't know, whose entrances you may not know all and anyway more could be dug very quickly... How to destroy them, even if you could magically know their position, when they are located under hundreds of meters of rocks... There just isn't a solution to this problem. Which is the protection of the Chinese deterrent

- Now I am NOT saying that France, nor even China, has got as many nuclear warheads as US or Russia... All I am saying is that the strategic objective of being able to threaten unacceptable destruction in every circumstance against an aggressor is MUCH less expensive to reach than what either the US or Russia immense piles of -mostly useless- nukes could let imagine, and what obviously the military-industrial complex in each of those countries would like to make believe! Both France and China reach the same deterrent effect via much cheaper route - though of course still expensive.

Truth be told, most of the expenses to maintain thousands of nuclear weapons at the ready are just waste

Mulga Mumblebrain said...

Andrew, the problem with even a 'limited' nuclear war is the 'nuclear winter', that would destroy agriculture across the northern hemisphere for several years, leading to mass starvation and, inevitably, more war and further nuclear exchanges. Moreover every report on 'tactical'nuclear exchange makes plain the almost inevitable escalation that would surely follow, as one side or the other imagines itself to be 'losing'.

Mulga Mumblebrain said...

Andrew, the problem with even a 'limited' nuclear war is the 'nuclear winter', that would destroy agriculture across the northern hemisphere for several years, leading to mass starvation and, inevitably, more war and further nuclear exchanges. Moreover every report on 'tactical'nuclear exchange makes plain the almost inevitable escalation that would surely follow, as one side or the other imagines itself to be 'losing'.

Tar and Feather The Bastards said...

Just a quickie Saker - haven't had time to read the comments & some may already have mentioned it. Over the last 6 months or so there have been a lot of the nuclear boys sacked / stood down /replaced. The question is have they replaced honest, principled men who would refuse first strike orders with psychopaths would love to push the buttons. The reasons I think along these lines is that the excuses given for the replacements sound like bullshit ! Had an affair, gambling, blah blah - ignoring the slight chances of blackmail it doesn't sound kosher

Gotta go

Chris in Ch-Ch

Abraham/Avarachan said...

@Alexis TK27,

The Chinese position is similar to the Indian perspective. According to India, nuclear weapons are not useful for waging war, due to their environmental impact and the way they would escalate any conflict.
They are useful to prevent nuclear blackmail.

By the way, nukes are not the only way to maintain deterrence. For instance, Syria has deterrence against Turkey through the Syrian missiles targeting Turkish dams and other critical infrastructure. Nowadays, cyber-warfare opens up new possibilities, even for
small countries.

Regarding India's arsenal, I will simply say this. "Dhanush," which became operational in the early 2000's, is often described as a navalized short-range ballistic missile. That's not entirely true. Supposedly, it's a
program to allow short-range ballistic missiles to be launched from commercial vessels. And India has progressed
considerably since then.

VINEYARDSAKER: said...

@Alexis TK27:

1) To compare the Virginia class built in 2000 to the Improved Akula built in the late 1980s in unfair. A more fair comparison would have been with the Yasen class.
2) 80 WH are *already* within the possible parameters of an ABM system.
3) With one boomer out there you got all your eggs in one basket. That is by definition very dangerous. We all know that stealth is stealth only until it is discovered that it is not. Besides, sound is not the only way to find a sub. If the French model was truly that viable, it would mean that a triad is useless and yet for some reason the big guys don't trust any scheme with all of your eggs in one basket.

FAS estimates of Chinese warheads numbers are, to put it politely, not up to date.

Russian sources say 240-400 WH (http://inosmi.ru/fareast/20111025/176565146.html) 180-240 (http://www.military-informant.com/index.php/force/598-chinanuclear.html)

SIPRI says 200 (http://www.sipri.org/yearbook/2012/07)

I found the problem: you are counting intermediate range warheads.

Anyway, you can chose to believe that attacking China or France would be crazy and I would agree. But for these countries every single nuclear warhead counts. The Russians and Americans can lose 90% of them and still destroy their enemy EVEN if he has ABM. If you don't see the difference then I am giving up :-)

Cheers,

The Saker

Andrew said...

Mulga:

Andrew, the problem with even a 'limited' nuclear war is the 'nuclear winter', that would destroy agriculture across the northern hemisphere for several years, leading to mass starvation and, inevitably, more war and further nuclear exchanges.

As long as both the US and Russia include tactical nuclear response as a reasonable action, this is not viewed as a real problem by those in power. The types of environmentalist people in the US want to reduce world population to 500 million would actually think this a bonus effect if it occurred.

You can see US elite thinking on this in the actions of the government since the nuclear age - dispersal of the population into the countryside via exurban development and concentration of undesirables in the cities. American suburban sprawl and diffusion of industry into the deep countryside was actually conceived in part as a nuclear survivability strategy.

Nora said...

Mulga,

I'm not so sure the majority of Israeli or American citizens are basically decent. Perhaps in terms of their own lives but to be so wrapped up in themselves and utterly incurious about the welfare of anyone else, anyone labelled "different", inside or outside their borders -- that's not decent at all! And "different" includes people with varying political views as well as ethnicity, skin color, etc., etc. Yes, it is difficult here to find out what's really going on, but how many people on this blog have tried to get discussions going about Ukraine with their friends, family, co-workers -- and gotten much more than polite indifference? You can call them brainwashed but it's their choice to remain that way. Narcissistic to the max.

Nora said...

Mulga,

I'm not so sure the majority of Israeli or American citizens are basically decent. Perhaps in terms of their own lives but to be so wrapped up in themselves and utterly incurious about the welfare of anyone else, anyone labelled "different", inside or outside their borders -- that's not decent at all! And "different" includes people with varying political views as well as ethnicity, skin color, etc., etc. Yes, it is difficult here to find out what's really going on, but how many people on this blog have tried to get discussions going about Ukraine with their friends, family, co-workers -- and gotten much more than polite indifference? You can call them brainwashed but it's their choice to remain that way. Narcissistic to the max.

The TruthSearcher said...

For those of you who speak Russian. A few more reasons why the US is not too eager to start a nuclear conflict with Russia. You may be somewhat surprised...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNRFf_v1yG4#t=109

Alexis TK27 said...

@Saker,

The first Yasen has been admitted to service a few months ago and the mainstay of Russian SSN force will remain for quite some time Akula, while America has about 10 Virginia and continues building them.

More importantly, 80 WH of the "right" kind are not within the parameters of any even prospective ABM system, and submarine quietness at the "right" level is enough protection, when combined with some additional measures. But let me not discuss it further, anyway I couldn't go into more details.

I think we'll have to "agree to disagree" on that topic :-)

In the past, both America and the SU have thrown immense fortunes at nuclear buildup of basically useless arsenals, while much smaller ones would have been enough to ensure deterrence. No monster is more difficult to kill than an oversized bureaucracy :-D !

It's a safe bet that future nuclear forces of Russia, and even of America, will be closer to what France calls "strict sufficience". Budget limits are what they are, especially after economic crises which are very effective at killing the monsters that seemed invulnerable ;-)

Regarding China, the English version of the first link you gave is here:
http://www.china-defense-mashup.com/2350-or-3500-how-many-nukes-warheads-does-china-have.html
It contains an expose of the reasons to doubt official low estimates of Chinese intercontinental arsenal, and is very good reading.

Thanks for your answers and your time,

Best,


Alexis

VINEYARDSAKER: said...

@Alexis:I think we'll have to "agree to disagree" on that topic :-)

Yup, though this was fun (forced me to look into China which I had not done in 20 years or so) and interesting.

The important thing is that we both agree on one thing: a first disarming (counter-force) strike is a myth and a crazy thing to advocate. Put in simple terms: nobody wins a nuclear war and only an ignorant, delusional psychopath would advocate for one.

Kind regards,

The Saker

Nora said...

Mulga,

Andrew's purveying anti-Left misinformation again. The trucking industry wanted interstate highways and realtors pushed real hard too. White flight and increased status created suburbs and exurbs, not Leftish elitists (who were generally quite happy to stay in cities, actually). And if anyone in "the government" was into controlling our population, it would be Bush 41, a biggie in the eugenics movement. But mostly, most on the Right assume a lot more planning by higher-ups than our government has ever done for anything but war because they're used to top-down, authoritarian models for everything.

Anonymous said...

Suppose Russian intelligence comes to the conclusion the neocons are right, they could get away with a first strike.

What should then be the next step for Russia ? Fire first ?

Anonymous said...

There was this news a couple of years ago that I just learned about. I guess the US did not want prople top konw:

Russian attack submarine slipped past US Navy and patrolled Gulf of Mexico for weeks undetected
“A Russian attack submarine slipped into the Gulf of Mexico undetected and sailed through US strategic waters for weeks without the US Navy noticing, it was reported on Wednesday. The US military didn't even know about the presence of the Akula-class nuclear submarine earlier this year until after it had already left the gulf, still carrying a payload of long-range missiles. The revelation is part of a startling trend of Russian incursions as the former Cold War foe ramps up its military might under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin.

Anonymous said...

Russia will nuked the US. This event is shown to these people.
1) Dumitru Duduman (a Romanian)
http://www.ubm1.org/?page=russia

2) Henry Gruver (an American)
http://americaslastdays.blogspot.com/p/henry-gruver-russian-invasion-of-america.html

3) A.A Allen (an American)
http://heavenawaits.wordpress.com/a-a-allens-1954-vision-of-america/

4)A C Valdez (an American)
http://www.fivedoves.com/letters/nov2010/A.%20C.%20VALDEZ%20VISION.pdf

5)David E Taylor (an American)
http://www.joshuamediaministries.org/prophecytoamerica/thewarningandrestoration

It's not a nice subject to talk about. However, people can observe and understand what the world has become. The US is getting weaker not stronger. A powerful tsunami created by an asteroid will devastate the eastern seaboard of the US. Also, after the USD (petrodollar) collapse, the US will be very vulnerable indeed.

Ivan Lukic said...


For the possible nuclear complications of conventional war against Russia that US is contemplating, read this:

http://vpk-news.ru/news/19567

I never learned Russian language and I only can reed some of the text (Serbian language is similar enough for that) but may be US readers should know what dangerous adventures their Government is preparing.

Anonymous said...

Operation BEGEMOT: 16 missiles starting from Russian submarine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Behemoth

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ath0oT-4bns

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFihkDXzTew