The Threat of Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

India-Pakistan Flaring Up Again

Tru News

Fighting in disputed Kashmir between Indian and Pakistani soldiers threatens to drag the U.S. and China into a conflict that could result in nuclear war.

Two nuclear-armed nations in Asia are threatening to drag the world into World War III following a new border incident in which lives were lost.

Pakistan and India, long bitter enemies, are pointing the finger of blame at each other over a border incursion that resulted in shots fired by both sides, three dead Indian soldiers, and a fragile peace between the countries shattered. Heavy fire and shelling between the two sides soon erupted.

Both India and Pakistan are nuclear armed, and have threatened to use the weapons against each other in the past. Pakistani National Security Advisor Nasser Khan Janjua said:

“The stability of the South Asian region hangs in a delicate balance, and the possibility of nuclear war cannot be ruled out. India has been stockpiling a range of dangerous weapons as it threatens Pakistan continuously of conventional warfare.”

The retired army general also accused the U.S. of conspiring with India against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of China’s “One Belt One Road” initiative, which goes through disputed Kashmir territory. He also reasserted the new Islamist government’s position that aiding the fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan had only led to increasing terrorism in its own borders, and that the U.S. now blames his country for its own failures.

President Donald Trump had recently touted his administration’s success in repairing relations with Pakistan, but it appears the relationship is in much worse condition now.

Babylon the Great Increases Her Nuclear Reach


The US agency tasked with protecting the country from missile attacks is scouting the West Coast for places to deploy new anti-missile defences, two Congressmen said on Saturday, as North Korea’s missile tests raise concerns about how the United States would defend itself from an attack.

West Coast defences would likely include Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missiles, similar to those deployed in South Korea to protect against a potential North Korean attack.

The accelerated pace of North Korea’s ballistic missile testing programme in 2017 and the likelihood the North Korean military could hit the US mainland with a nuclear payload in the next few years has raised the pressure on the United States government to build-up missile defences.

On Wednesday, North Korea tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can fly over 13,000 km (8,080 miles), placing Washington within target range, South Korea said on Friday.

Congressman Mike Rogers, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee and chairs the Strategic Forces Subcommittee which oversees missile defence, said the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), was aiming to install extra defences at West Coast sites. The funding for the system does not appear in the 2018 defence budget plan indicating potential deployment is further off.

“It’s just a matter of the location, and the MDA making a recommendation as to which site meets their criteria for location, but also the environmental impact,” the Alabama Congressman and Republican told Reuters during an interview on the sidelines of the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in southern California.

When asked about the plan, MDA Deputy Director Rear Admiral Jon Hillâ said in a statement: “The Missile Defense Agency has received no tasking to site the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense System on the West Coast.”

The MDA is a unit of the U.S. Defense Department.

Congressman Rogers did not reveal the exact locations the agency is considering but said several sites are “competing” for the missile defence installations.

Rogers and Congressman Adam Smith, a Democrat representing the 9th District of Washington, said the government was considering installing the THAAD anti-missile system made by aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corp, at west coast sites.

The Congressmen said the number of sites that may ultimately be deployed had yet to be determined.

THAAD is a ground-based regional missile defence system designed to shoot down short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles and takes only a matter of weeks to install.

In addition to the two THAAD systems deployed in South Korea and Guam in the Pacific, the U.S. has seven other THAAD systems. While some of the existing missiles are based in Fort Bliss, Texas, the system is highly mobile and current locations are not disclosed.

A Lockheed Martin representative declined to comment on specific THAAD deployments, but added that the company “is ready to support the Missile Defense Agency and the United States government in their ballistic missile defence efforts.” He added that testing and deployment of assets is a government decision.

In July, the United States tested THAAD missile defences and shot down a simulated, incoming intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM). The successful test adds to the credibility of the U.S. military’s missile defence programme, which has come under intense scrutiny in recent years due in part to test delays and failures.

Currently, the continental United States is primarily shielded by the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system (GMD) in Alaska and California as well as the Aegis system deployed aboard U.S. Navy ships. The THAAD system has a far higher testing success rate than the GMD.

The MDA told Congress in June that it planned to deliver 52 more THAAD interceptors to the U.S. Army between October 2017 and September 2018, bringing total deliveries to 210 since May 2011.

North Korea’s latest missile test puts the U.S. capital within range, but Pyongyang still needs to prove it has mastered critical missile technology, such as re-entry, terminal stage guidance and warhead activation, South Korea said on Friday.


USA’s Fukushima At The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

Recent series of Indian Point shutdowns worst in years

Ernie Garcia,

BUCHANAN — Four unplanned reactor shutdowns over a two-month period at Indian Point are the most setbacks the nuclear power plant has experienced in years.

A review of unplanned shutdowns from January 2012 to the present showed this year’s events happened within a short time frame, between May 7 and July 8, in contrast with events from other years that were more spread out, according to data released by Indian Point.

So many mishaps at the Entergy-owned plant haven’t occurred since 2009, when one of two units at the Buchanan site experienced a similar series, said plant spokesman Jerry Nappi.

Besides a May 9 transformer failure that spilled some 3,000 gallons of oil into the Hudson River, this year’s shutdowns were prompted by a May 7 steam leak, a July 8 pump motor failure and a June 15 switch yard breaker failure offsite in a Consolidated Edison substation.

If a nuclear plant has more than three unplanned shutdowns in a nine-month period, its performance indicator could be changed by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which results in additional oversight. That’s what happened with Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Mass., after four unplanned shutdowns in 2013.

So far, Entergy said there doesn’t appear to be a pattern to the Indian Point shutdowns.

“You do want to look at these events holistically to see if there is something in common, but you also look individually to see what the causes were,” Nappi said. “A plant shutdown in and of itself is not a safety issue.”

One of the four recent Buchanan shutdowns triggered a special inspection by the NRC and calls to close the nuclear plant by environmental groups and elected officials. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said in the past Indian Point should close, but his office did not respond to a request for comment about whether the recent shutdowns have prompted any state scrutiny.

The NRC is expected to release a quarterly report on Indian Point this month that will address the transformer failure and, by year’s end, is planning an inspection of the transformer and an analysis of transformer issues since 2007.

Besides its transformer-related inquiries, the other three shutdowns have not raised “any immediate safety concerns or crossed any thresholds that would result in additional NRC oversight,” agency spokesman Neil Sheehan wrote in an email.

The unplanned shutdowns at Indian Point and Pilgrim in Massachusetts were mostly preventable, said Paul Blanch, a former Indian Point employee with 45 years of nuclear power experience.

“For this to happen this frequently indicates a deeper problem,” he said. “I believe it’s management oversight in the maintenance of these plants.”

Nappi said the transformer that failed May 9 and caused a fire and oil spill into the Hudson was regularly monitored. Investigators determined the failure was due to faulty insulation.

“The transformer inspection and reviews were in accordance with our standards and industry expectations, yet there was no indication the transformer was going to fail,” Nappi said.

The NRC conducted a separate, but related special inspection into the May 9 incident that focused on a half-inch of water that collected in an electrical switchgear room floor. Inspectors determined a fire suppression system’s valve failed to close properly.

Inspectors noted in their report that Entergy knew about that problem since April 2011 and replaced the valve but didn’t discover the actual cause — a dysfunctional switch — until after the fire.

Indian Point’s Unit 3 was down 19 days May through July, with the transformer failure accounting for 16 days. The shutdowns didn’t cause the public any supply problems because New York’s grid can import electricity from other states and New York has an energy plan to maintain reliability, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The nuclear energy industry judges a power plant on how continuously it produces energy, which is called a capacity factor.

There were 100 nuclear plants in the United States in 2014, a record year in terms of efficiency. In January, the Nuclear Energy Institute announced the U.S. average capacity factor was 91.9 percent.

Indian Point has an above-average efficiency rate. The plant’s Unit 2 and 3 reactors were each online more than 99 percent of the time during their most recent two-year operating cycles. They are currently in the middle of other cycles.

The Ticking Time Bomb of Prophecy (Daniel 7/8)


Around this time last year, we rang in 2017 with a in the Middle East and a :

  • Will Saudi Arabia’s experiment in economic reform outlast the low oil prices that precipitated it?
  • Is this the year that the Middle East will wind down its civil wars?
  • Will Trump unravel the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action?
  • Will Trump get his alliance with Russia to fight the Islamic State in Syria?
  • How will the region respond to the end of the two-state solution?

Here’s what we’ve learned over the year, as well as a few other themes that have emerged.

Mohammed bin Salman Makes His Move

Saudi Arabia’s ambitious crown prince has pressed ahead with his economic reform agenda, Saudi Vision 2030. The plan has —the planned IPO for Saudi Aramco could now be deferred until 2019—and foreign lenders have , especially regarding how the kingdom will manage its debt. But Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has largely been undeterred, and in October for a futurist city and new economic hubs with regulations designed to encourage investment. And, as his plans have progressed, they have gathered a growing cultural component as well. The Saudi government also plans to allow women to drive and to develop overdue laws on sexual harassment; MBS talked of shifting the country toward a more moderate form of Islam.

As his agenda has unfolded, so have his royal prospects. In June, MBS was formally as his father’s immediate successor, pushing Mohammed bin Nayef, a close partner of Washington, out of the way. The move prompted speculation that King Salman might to allow MBS to rule from the throne rather than from behind it, but that hasn’t happened yet. Instead, MBS has used the past several months to consolidate his control of the country, and particularly the royal family. He on political dissent, and, over the course of an in November, arrested dozens of senior officials and members of the royal family and held them at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh. MBS described the arrests as a crackdown on corruption, and some of those arrested were after signing away 70 percent of their fortunes, but the swift move was also a shot across the bow of any potential rivals that might try to block MBS’ agenda or accession. After the accompanying political shakeup, the crown prince now controls all the major military forces that could be used to unseat him.

MBS has doubled down on his aggressive foreign policy over the past year. His regional agenda has had two primary goals: confront Iran and to get on board. In January, Bruce Riedel noted that the Saudis were Oman, which has tried to stake out a position as a neutral broker in the Saudi-Iranian cold war, to Riyadh’s camp. King Salman made a through Asia and the Middle East, including an unusual stop in Iraq to tend to the between Baghdad and Riyadh (including with political opportunist ). President Trump also made clear his support, traveling to Riyadh on his .

The partners Saudi Arabia hasn’t won with carrots, it’s beating with sticks. There were the in Lebanese politics in November, as Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri abruptly resigned in Riyadh (possibly under duress), then weeks later returned to Beirut and rescinded his resignation. One of the strangest sagas in the region this year , when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates manufactured a diplomatic crisis with Qatar and quickly escalated a dormant feud to a concerted campaign to isolate Doha—made all the more complicated by mixed messages from the Trump administration. The play-by-play as it happened:

  • A Qatari news site is in late May, touching off the dispute.
  • Saudi Arabia to cut off Qatar economically.
  • Qatar for a long fight.
  • Kuwait as a potential mediator. (Six months later, Kuwait is still trying.)
  • The feud into a public relations battle in U.S. opinion pages.
  • Saudi Arabia exorbitant demands. (They weren’t met.)
  • The crisis begins to affect Gulf states’ .
  • The hajj becomes a .
  • Saudi Arabia and the Emirates and move to keep the feud within the Gulf family.
  • Trump the dispute during a meeting with the Kuwaiti emir, but both sides are engaged in bizarre public relations stunts.
  • The PR war with a conference and a diplomatic ceremony in Washington.
  • Qatar to the World Trade Organization for resolution.

Now seven months into the crisis, both sides seem resolved to continue the dispute into the new year as a back-burner issue.

War Winds Down in Syria, but Not in Yemen

The Trump administration’s decision to launch a limited military strike in April against the Assad regime’s chemical weapons stockpile in Syria prompted discussion of a potential U.S. escalation and intervention that never came. Instead, the United States has moved to support to Syrian rebel groups and further ceded the diplomatic process to Russia. What lingered longest after U.S. strike in April was the legal debate, covered extensively here at Lawfare:

Though violence has continued through the year, the Assad regime, in partnership with Russia, Iran, and Turkey, has expanded “de-escalation zones” and local truces. Moscow is forging ahead with its own diplomatic process, separate from the United Nations’ efforts. In August, the Assad regime held an investment conference “to signal the start of reconstruction.” The conflict is subsiding for now, but Steven Heydemann earlier this year that unless a politically inclusive settlement can be reached Syria will remain at risk of relapse.

The civil war in Yemen, though, has escalated in recent months as the rebel coalition between the Houthis and loyalists to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh has fractured. There were signs of the impending break in late August, when Saleh’s efforts to assert more control over the partnership , but those differences were smoothed over for a time. Then, in December, Saleh broke decisively with his fair-weather allies—and was promptly by them as he tried to flee the capital. Saleh was a vicious and cruel dictator who partnered with his worst enemies to fight a civil war to cling to power, but his death has not made Yemen any more peaceful. Without him, his faction could splinter, making diplomacy even more difficult. Saudi Arabia has escalated its air campaign against the Houthis since Saleh’s death. As the war has dragged on, the humanitarian crisis has deepened. Thousands have died of malnutrition and the outbreak of preventable diseases, including cholera.

The United States maintained its involvement in the war in Yemen, starting the year with a that resulted in the death of a Navy SEAL and a Yemeni tribal leader. Experts against a potential escalation of the U.S. role in the Saudi intervention and an assault on Hodeida that never materialized—and likely would have tipped Yemen decisively into famine if it had. But the United States has remained quietly engaged and earlier this month that U.S. troops had carried out multiple ground operations in the country over the past 12 months.

The Trump Administration Whittles Away at the Iran Nuclear Deal

The Trump administration spent much of its first year in office debating what to do about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. After reluctantly the agreement in July, the administration circulated talking points that argued that Iran was violating the “spirit” of the deal and reportedly started preparing an internal report to “lay the groundwork for decertification.” The IAEA has Iran to be in compliance with the terms of the agreement, but that has not moved the opinion of some of the deal’s opponents. “If it was up to me, I would have had them noncompliant 180 days ago,” Trump said at the time.

The administration tried to of the agreement, imposing new non-nuclear sanctions and requesting additional inspections of military sites. The pressure stoked frustrations in Tehran and concern from the United States’ European partners in the agreement. Amb. Nikki Haley with European diplomats in August, but emerged as one of the leading critics of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) within the administration. In September, she at the American Enterprise Institute that, though she claimed not to be making the case for decertification, laid out the administration’s plan to decertify the agreement and pass responsibility for the deal to Congress. Others, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis argued that the deal was working and should be maintained. After some —Trump made it a point to tell British Prime Minister Theresa May, when they met on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in September, that he had already decided how to proceed regarding the JCPOA, but wouldn’t tell her his decision—Trump he would decertify the agreement in October. As I wrote at the time in the Middle East Ticker, “The ‘adults in the room’ … lost out to a confluence of Bannonites and foreign-policy hawks pushing for decertification from both within the administration and without.”

With decertification, the Trump administration a policy to coerce Iran and the other parties to the agreement to accept additional terms—possibly through legislation passed by the U.S. Congress. Some members of the Senate drafted a bill that would have unilaterally changed the terms of the JCPOA, scrapping provisions the Trump administration doesn’t like and adding additional requirements. But that proposal appears to have gone nowhere. Decertification and the reported plans to rewrite the deal without consulting with U.S. partners or Iran have understandably frustrated the other parties to the agreement; after the administration’s announcement, European diplomats told reporters and their Iranian counterparts that they stood by the deal despite the Trump administration’s actions.

With the issue now on the back burner for Congress, it is unclear how the administration will proceed. For now, they seem content to ignore the JCPOA and focus on Iran’s other actions in the Middle East, particularly its role supporting the Houthis in Yemen. But Trump also warned in October that, if Congress does not “come back with something that’s very satisfactory to me … within a very short period of time, I’ll terminate the deal.” As Bonnie Jenkins at the time, that would be a mistake; instead, the United States and its European partners should be working to strengthen the agreement, not trying to scuttle it. Suzanne Maloney that the whole debate misses the point, and rather than fixate on the JCPOA, the United States should be focusing more on how best to push Tehran to play a more constructive role both at home and abroad.

The Islamic State Loses Its Caliphate

Despite the Trump administration’s campaign rhetoric of a new secret strategy to defeat the Islamic State and threats to “” to subsidize U.S. intervention, the U.S.-led coalition campaign against the terrorist group proved to be mostly a continuation of the strategy initiated by the Obama administration. And it was a success. The year was punctuated by battlefield victories as the Islamic State’s territory receded. Iraqi forces the Tigris River in January, then Mosul. Across the border in Syria, Syrian forces their attack on Raqqa in June, and in October, the Islamic State its de facto capital. At the close of the year, the Pentagon the New York Times that the Islamic State had been pushed from all of its territory in Iraq and that U.S. and coalition forces were hounding an estimated 3,000 remaining terrorist fighters in a small enclave along the Euphrates River in Syria.

As the caliphate collapsed, though, the Islamic State has continued its campaign of attacks abroad, starting with in Istanbul and Baghdad. In May, an attacker in Manchester, killing 22 people, including many children, and a cell in Spain a rampage in August that targeted tourists and police and killed 13 people, but could have been much worse had not two of the terrorists been killed when a bomb they were building detonated prematurely. The Islamic State’s Egyptian affiliate the deadliest attack in Egypt’s modern history in November, storming a mosque and massacring more than 300 worshippers. And late in the year, ISIS sympathizers carried out two attacks in New York: a that killed eight people and a in a subway station that only injured the bomber. Experts, including Lawfare’s own Dan Byman, have that the Islamic State will remain a persistent terrorist threat that will look for opportunities to strike both in the Middle East and the West. “It is planning to go underground, as it did before in Iraq, and wage an insurgent and terrorist campaign in the territory it once held,” Byman in October after the fall of Raqqa.

Now, Iraq and Syria must turn to rebuilding. As communities recover from occupation by a terrorist state, authorities from the local to the international level will have to grapple with how to restore damaged cities, infrastructure, and economies, while addressing the grievances that the Islamic State leveraged in its rapid rise to power. Experts offered advice here at Lawfare on reconstruction in ,  and more generally, and how the United States can play a constructive role.

Kurdistan’s Independence Bid Collapses

An impediment to resolving those post-ISIS grievances and divisions in Iraq played out this fall, as the Kurdistan Regional Government, under the leadership of President Masoud Barzani and his Kurdistan Democratic Party, rushed ahead with a referendum on Kurdish independence. Barzani saw the referendum as an opportunity to of territory contested by Baghdad, including the recently liberated city of Mosul, and a way to write himself into the history books as the father of a Kurdish nation-state. But even strong supporters of the Kurdish cause warned that the bid for secession was poorly timed, and Barzani failed to line up any prominent allies for the national project, except for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Despite concerted pressure from the United States, Turkey, Iraq and Iran to cancel or at least defer the referendum, the vote on Sept. 25. Though Kurds voted of independence, the shared goal of a Kurdish national home could not overcome divisions in Kurdish politics and the swift backlash from Baghdad and its neighbors. The central Iraqi government immediately cut off air travel to airports in contested areas, demanded that Kurdish officials cede control of border crossings, and encouraged countries to sever economic ties with KRG. Turkey and Iran sent troops to the border. After three weeks of political deadlock, Iraqi forces and seized several nearby oil facilities. Though a few skirmishes with peshmerga were reported, the Iraqi advance was mostly peaceful; Baghdad had reached an arrangement with Barzani’s rivals, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, to hand over control of the territory. Baghdad then quickly moved to try to with the implementation of international deals to develop the oil industry in Kirkuk. With his political influence and credibility collapsing, Barzani he would step down at the end of October, leaving a vacuum in Kurdish politics. Two months later, the situation has settled into a tenuous stasis, and Kurdish officials are working to open a dialogue with Baghdad to bring a formal resolution to the crisis.

The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process as Diplomatic Bludgeon

2017 began with the brouhaha over the Obama administration’s parting vote on United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2334 criticizing Israel’s settlement policy and John Kerry’s about his frustrating engagement with the peace process. The prospects for a two-state solution, or really any meaningful peace talks, seemed bleak. Paul Rosenzweig, reflecting on a recent trip to Israel, the process “mostly dead.”

The past year seemed to confirm this. A regular drumbeat of small-scale attacks against Israelis, mostly targeting security personnel, in two weeks of protests after an incident in which three Arab Israeli attackers killed two Israeli police officers and then fled into the al-Aqsa mosque complex. Israeli officials responded by limiting access to the Temple Mount and installing metal detectors at the entrance to the mosque. The move was perceived by many Palestinians and Arab Israelis as a further winnowing of their access to Jerusalem, of a piece with the rise of Israeli far-right groups like the Temple Movement, which advocates greater Jewish access and calls for removing “pagan shrines” (like the Dome of the Rock) from the Mount. Protests after Israeli authorities arrested a group of Palestinians who barricaded themselves in the mosque and refused to leave and more than two-dozen activists believed to be organizing the protests.

Despite the skepticism about the peace process, the Trump administration has been for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and reports suggested it could be ready early next year. But it already appears to be a non-starter. Drafts floated to Palestinian officials and Arab Israeli politicians outline a non-contiguous Palestinian state with limited rights of self-governance that would allow Israel to maintain most of its settlement blocs in the West Bank. Saudi Arabia is reportedly pressing hard for the Trump administration’s proposal, even threatening to pressure Mahmoud Abbas to resign if he does not cooperate with Trump’s team.

But all of that has been overtaken by the Trump administration’s announcement in December that it would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv. The decision seems to have been motivated almost exclusively by domestic politics; it certainly has not benefitted the Trump administration’s foreign policy. Scott Anderson and Yishai Schwartz for Lawfare that, if integrated into a broader diplomatic strategy to reach an agreement, the announcement might not have been a big deal. Instead, the Trump administration is closing out 2017 with a at the United Nations.

The unforced error has now resulted in a U.N. resolution reiterating the existing policy that the status of Jerusalem should be decided by peace talks and should not be prejudiced by the establishment of embassies in the city. The Trump administration has tried to pivot to an issue of sovereignty—who is the United Nations to tell Washington where it can build its embassies?—but that hasn’t gone over well in Turtle Bay. Amb. Haley vetoed the resolution when it came before the Security Council, voting against all 14 other members who reaffirmed the U.N. policy. The resolution was then brought to the General Assembly, and Haley and Trump threatened to slash aid to any countries that voted against the United States. Rather than cowing states into opposing the resolution, the gambit backfired and further isolated the United States. Only eight countries joined the United States in voting against the resolution: Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Togo. “The following things are true and not mutually exclusive: 1) The United Nations General Assembly has a pronounced anti-Israel bias. 2) It was stupid and petulant for Haley/Trump to publicly threaten to withhold aid over a UNGA vote,” Dan Drezner after the vote.

Even as the U.N. kerfuffle subsides, it will cast a shadow over the prospects for any negotiations. The Palestinians have not only walked away from the table, Abbas says that he will not consider U.S. proposals. “The United States has proven to be a dishonest mediator in the peace process and we will no longer accept any plan from the United States,” Abbas at a press conference this past week.

Iran Will be a Much Bigger Problem than Korea (Daniel 8)


The Middle East is in a shambles, as Iranian proxy wars and other wars dominate Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Mali and Egypt.

Iran is on the march in the Middle East following the P5 + 1 nuclear agreement that brought billions in sanctions relief, which means the Iranian regime is now the biggest threat to regional stability. Iranian proxies, which include Hezbollah, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Houthis in Yemen, allow the Iranian regime to project force on an unprecedented scale in the Middle East and emboldens other bad actors on the world stage.

The Middle East is in a shambles, as Iranian proxy wars and other wars dominate Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Mali and Egypt, along with a Palestinian civil war possibly being around the corner. Now that the United States has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and Turkish prime minister Erdogan has called Israel “a terrorist state,” passions are on the rise, which has allowed Iran to escalate its attacks on Israel and Sunni nations that disagree with its Shia interpretation of Islam.

The geopolitical situation with Iran has seen tensions increase further the second half of 2017. In October, the U.S. Navy defended itself from missile strikes by Houthi rebels, backed by Iran off Yemen’s coast. The P5+1 agreement was intended to usher in the dawn of a new era for relations between Iran, the West and Sunni-led Middle East nations; instead, other bad actors have perceived weakness in the United States and Western resolve to ensure the post–World War II order.

Iran recalcitrant actions in the Middle East have seemingly emboldened the Russians to threaten nuclear war, and the Chinese to crackdown on freedom of speech. Moreover, the overthrow of international law in the South China Sea continues unabated along with rising tensions involving the Japanese government and the North Koreans testing an ICBM.

When the sanctions were in place the Iranian government understood Western global military force and political fortitude to fight terrorism and bring its economy to the brink of disaster. Unless the EU, NATO, Western-aligned Asian allies re-engage Iran on the world stage with military strength, crippling economic sanctions, deterrence and forceful balance of power, then Iran’s future nuclear program will be a bigger problem than the North Koreans. When small countries like the Philippines openly mock the United States, EU, and NATO that is an example that allows the Iranians to believe they can march forward in the Middle East the way they have in Iraq and Syria.

The Iranian nuclear deal, led by President Obama, was built upon false information and the unreliable narrative that Iran would give up being the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. The book: The Iran Wars: Spy Games, Bank Battles and the Secret Deals that Reshaped the Middle East, by Jay Solomon details the inept schmoozing during negotiations, sordid details and unbelievable danger the United States and world are now in since this agreement has been executed.

It’s also believed the Iranians got the best of the United States and Western nations at the negotiating table. This also benefits the Chinese, Russians and North Koreans by opening up illicit funds to sponsor terrorism and proxies that are reshaping the Middle East. Germany intelligence officials have said that Iran has “continued trying to illegally procure nuclear equipment from Germany after forging the landmark nuclear agreement with world powers.”

Angelo Codevilla, in his book Character of Nations, wrote about a multi-polar world instead of the current post–World War II order if the west appeased Iran. Codevilla saw a future where America no longer polices the world that is advocated by Anders Fogh Rasmussen in a piece for the Wall Street Journal titled, “The United States Must Be The World Policemen.” Even Gen. Martin Dempsey, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has openly opined about needing to invade the Iranians, because the nuclear deal with them only made them more—not less—hostile towards peace-loving nations.