Two Centuries Before The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

The worst earthquake in Massachusetts history 260 years ago
It happened before, and it could happen again.
By Hilary Sargent @lilsarg Staff | 11.19.15 | 5:53 AM
On November 18, 1755, Massachusetts experienced its largest recorded earthquake.
The earthquake occurred in the waters off Cape Ann, and was felt within seconds in Boston, and as far away as Nova Scotia, the Chesapeake Bay, and upstate New York, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Seismologists have since estimated the quake to have been between 6.0 and 6.3 on the Richter scale, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.
While there were no fatalities, the damage was extensive.
According to the USGS, approximately 100 chimneys and roofs collapsed, and over a thousand were damaged.
The worst damage occurred north of Boston, but the city was not unscathed.
A 1755 report in The Philadelphia Gazette described the quake’s impact on Boston:
“There was at first a rumbling noise like low thunder, which was immediately followed with such a violent shaking of the earth and buildings, as threw every into the greatest amazement, expecting every moment to be buried in the ruins of their houses. In a word, the instances of damage done to our houses and chimnies are so many, that it would be endless to recount them.”
The quake sent the grasshopper weathervane atop Faneuil Hall tumbling to the ground, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.
An account of the earthquake, published in The Pennsylvania Gazette on December 4, 1755.
The earthquake struck at 4:30 in the morning, and the shaking lasted “near four minutes,” according to an entry John Adams, then 20, wrote in his diary that day.
The brief diary entry described the damage he witnessed.
“I was then at my Fathers in Braintree, and awoke out of my sleep in the midst of it,” he wrote. “The house seemed to rock and reel and crack as if it would fall in ruins about us. 7 Chimnies were shatter’d by it within one mile of my Fathers house.”
The shaking was so intense that the crew of one ship off the Boston coast became convinced the vessel had run aground, and did not learn about the earthquake until they reached land, according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.
In 1832, a writer for the Hampshire (Northampton) Gazette wrote about one woman’s memories from the quake upon her death.
“It was between 4 and 5 in the morning, and the moon shone brightly. She and the rest of the family were suddenly awaked from sleep by a noise like that of the trampling of many horses; the house trembled and the pewter rattled on the shelves. They all sprang out of bed, and the affrightted children clung to their parents. “I cannot help you dear children,” said the good mother, “we must look to God for help.”
The Cape Ann earthquake came just 17 days after an earthquake estimated to have been 8.5-9.0 on the Richter scale struck in Lisbon, Portugal, killing at least 60,000 and causing untold damage.
There was no shortage of people sure they knew the impretus for the Cape Ann earthquake.
According to many ministers in and around Boston, “God’s wrath had brought this earthquake upon Boston,” according to the Massachusetts Historical Society.
In “Verses Occasioned by the Earthquakes in the Month of November, 1755,” Jeremiah Newland, a Taunton resident who was active in religious activities in the Colony, wrote that the earthquake was a reminder of the importance of obedience to God.
“It is becaufe we broke thy Laws,
that thou didst shake the Earth.

O what a Day the Scriptures say,
the EARTHQUAKE doth foretell;
O turn to God; lest by his Rod,
he cast thee down to Hell.”
Boston Pastor Jonathan Mayhew warned in a sermon that the 1755 earthquakes in Massachusetts and Portugal were “judgments of heaven, at least as intimations of God’s righteous displeasure, and warnings from him.”
There were some, though, who attempted to put forth a scientific explanation for the earthquake.
Well, sort of.
In a lecture delivered just a week after the earthquake, Harvard mathematics professor John Winthrop said the quake was the result of a reaction between “vapors” and “the heat within the bowels of the earth.” But even Winthrop made sure to state that his scientific theory “does not in the least detract from the majesty … of God.”
It has been 260 years since the Cape Ann earthquake. Some experts, including Boston College seismologist John Ebel, think New England could be due for another significant quake.
In a recent Boston Globe report, Ebel said the New England region “can expect a 4 to 5 magnitude quake every decade, a 5 to 6 every century, and a magnitude 6 or above every thousand years.”
If the Cape Ann earthquake occurred today, “the City of Boston could sustain billions of dollars of earthquake damage, with many thousands injured or killed,” according to a 1997 study by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The Russian Horn Displays Her Nuclear Might

A MiG-31 fighter jet releases a Kinzhal hypersonic missile during a test at an undisclosed location in Russia in 2018
A MiG-31 fighter jet releases a Kinzhal hypersonic missile during a test at an undisclosed location in Russia in 2018. Photograph: AP

What are hypersonic missiles and why is Russia using them?

Russia has deployed manoeuvrable Kinzhal missiles that can fly at 10 times the speed of sound

Jon Henley

@jonhenleySun 20 Mar 2022 11.38 EDT

Russia has said it has twice deployed its newest Kinzhal (Dagger) hypersonic missile in Ukraine, claiming on Sunday to have destroyed a fuel depot near Mykolaiv and on Saturday an underground missile and ammunition storage site in the west.

The state news agency RIA Novosti has said the attacks represented the first use of the next-generation weapon since the start of the war in Ukraine and western analysts said they were the first time hypersonic missiles had been used in combat.

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, has described the Kinzhal, designed to be from a MiG fighter jet, as “an ideal weapon”. It can fly at up to 10 times the speed of sound and – like a slower cruise missile – can manoeuvre in mid-flight, making it harder for air-defence systems to track and intercept.

The missiles can be used to deliver conventional warheads at higher speeds and more accurately than others, but could also be used to deliver nuclear weapons. Several countries are working on the technology, including China and the US.

Why is Russia using them?

Vasily Kashin, a Russian analyst, told Agence France-Presse the greater penetration and destructive power of the Kinzhal system would be more efficient than subsonic missiles at destroying underground storage sites, but other experts have suggested it would not have a major impact on the course of the conflict.

Pavel Felgenhauer, another Russian analyst, said the missile would change little on the ground in Ukraine beyond “giving a certain psychological and propaganda effect”, adding that its use may suggest Russian forces were running out of other weapons.

A Belgian defence strategy analyst, Joseph Henrotin, also tweeted that Russia might be running out of Iskander short-range ballistic missiles, or wanted to raise the stakes by deploying a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile.

Ukraine’s government has confirmed the attacks but said it was not yet able to say what type of missiles were used.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has abruptly transformed the world. Millions have already fled. A new Iron Curtain is grinding into place. An economic war deepens, as the military conflict escalates and civilian casualties rise.

It’s our job at the Guardian to decipher a rapidly changing landscape, particularly when it involves a mounting refugee crisis and the risk of unthinkable escalation. Our correspondents are on the ground in Ukraine covering the war, as well as throughout the world, delivering round-the-clock reporting and analysis during this perilous moment.

We know there is no substitute for being there – and we’ll stay on the ground, as we did during the 1917 revolution, the Ukrainian famine of the 1930s, the collapse of 1991 and the first Russo-Ukrainian conflict in 2014. We have an illustrious, 200-year history reporting throughout Europe in times of upheaval, peace and everything in between. We won’t let up now.

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Russia Prepares for Nuclear War

Russia-Ukraine war

Russia-Ukraine War: Putin Orders ‘doomsday Evacuation Nuclear Drill’; What Does It Mean?

Drill implies emergency evacuation of Kremlin’s officials and Putin by military commanders in an event of nuclear warfare on doomsday planes.

Written By

Zaini Majeed

IMAGE: AP/@RCAFOperations/Twitter

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent shockwaves among Kremlin officials on Sunday as he ordered military commanders to prepare for a “doomsday” nuclear evacuation drill as Moscow registered 17,000 military casualties in course of the 25th day of the raging war with Ukraine. The drill implies emergency evacuation of the Kremlin’s officials and the Russian Federation leader by military commanders in an event of nuclear warfare on so-called modified “doomsday” nuclear impact-resistant planes. Vladimir Putin has been “venting his rage on allies close to him,” an insider Kremlin source claimed on a telegram channel linked to the Russian Federation’s presidency and an ex-Kremlin intelligence official maintaining close ties to Russia’s Presidential circle.

Embattled Putin has scrambled his deterrent forces into ‘high alert’ just 24 hours after Moscow launched the nuclear-capable hypersonic aero-ballistic Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missile (dagger) for the first time capable of evading the air-defense systems. It targeted the underground Ukrainian military warehouse, storing missiles and aviation munitions in the Ivano-Frankivsk region that runs along a 50km (30 miles) long border with NATO ally state—Romania. Russian combat forces have also resorted to deploying the prohibited thermobaric vacuum bombs and non-precision weaponry banned under Article 2 of the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions ratified by over 110 state parties, and 13 countries. Both Russia and Ukraine are not signatories.

Russia has also been introducing the kamikaze drones into the war and had threatened to deploy nuclear submarines that Kremlin warned will discreetly sail outside US territorial waters should NATO and Washington deploy intermediate-range nuclear weapons in eastern flank of Europe, “Russia’s doorstep.” Moscow hosts world’s largest nuclear stockpile. Of the total 12,000 total nuclear warheads suspected to be owned by just nine countries, Russia and United States own 2,700 of them in violation to the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the International Humanitarian Law (IHC). 

As Putin ordered “doomsday” nuclear manoeuvre, “everyone who received this warning was taken aback by the President’s commands, and expressed grave concern,” the Russian Presidency-linked telegram channel claimed. On a collision course with the United States and Alliance, the ex-Soviet Union has maintained the top-secret aerial command center nicknamed the “Doomsday” and has modernized and outfitted two Ilyushin 96-400M’s under “а special military project”codenamed “Zveno-3C” (Component-3C). 

Russian Air Force’s 2 Airborne Command Posts (Doomsday Plane) on base of Il-96-400M. Code name is Zveno (Chain) -3S. Credit: Twitter/@RSS_40

Doomsday planes with 3,700 mile range missile launchers 

The former Soviet state has justified its vast atomic arsenal as securing its own strategic parameters towards the “unfriendly state” like the United States and provocative alliance ‘NATO.’ In the likely event of Moscow resorting to a nuclear strike response in waging conflict, its military troops can deploy long-range intercontinental ballistic missile RS-28 Sarmat NATO designation SS-18 Satan or an RS-28 capable of striking longer distances via the North Pole on the shortest route to Washington with a 100-ton nuclear warhead. Russia’s defense ministry announced its nuclear arms to be placed on a “special regime of combat duty” weeks after it launched an offensive in Ukraine on February 24.

The ultramodern ‘Doomsday’ aircraft, also known as “flying Kremlins” — two airborne command and control planes Ilyushin 96-400Ms — will be used in the event of a nuclear war. They will also ferry Russia’s leadership to safety in the event of an attack as they are a windowless save for the cockpit and are resistant to radioactivity. “Doomsday” weapons, of which modified fighter aircraft are a part, is a term that refers to nuclear weapon or weaponry system that deploys prohibited and dangerous hydrogen bombs that will trigger hazardous fallout on humanity, apparently ensuing a “doomsday.” 

Moscow’s State-run news agency RIA-Novosti had reported that construction on the first of the two modified Ilyushin Il-96 aircrafts that replaced the existing Doomsday Ilyushin Il-80s had been underway in the central Russian city of Voronezh. The doomsday planes comprising airborne nuclear missile launchers with 3,700 miles range have been in service since the late 1980s and reportedly underwent maintenance at an airfield in Taganrog in southern Russia.

“The aircraft’s radio complex will make it possible to deliver orders to the troops, including strategic aviation, mobile, and silo launchers, submarines, and carriers of strategic nuclear weapons within a radius of 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles),” the Russian state-affiliated agency had reported. 

Earlier in December 2020 reports emerged that parts of the radio equipment from one the Il-80 Doomsday planes were stolen during maintenance. Russia’s Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Vladimir Popov confirmed the reports with Russain daily Moskovsky Komsomolets. Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary, admitted that the episode occurred and labelled it as an “emergency situation” in a conference call. “Of course, there will be an investigation, and measures will be taken so that this does not happen again,” he said.

Shield against nuclear and thermal effects

Putin’s doomsday aircrafts turned more frequent on Kremlin’s state-affiliated news agencies after Pentagon press secretary John Kirby tweeted a video of the mid-air refueling of a US Air Force’s doomsday E-4B command and control aircraft, a variant of Boeing 747-200. The US doomsday planes are equipped with electromagnetic pulses that shield against nuclear and thermal effects. ”An E-4B refuel mid-flight simply never gets old,” Kirby wrote on Twitter.

United States’ modified 747-200 jetliner that is a US presidential transport is also capable of acting as a doomsday plane. United States’ Doomsday planes were spotted in the early week of March on a training sortie after Russian President Putin ordered his nuclear forces on ‘special alert’. During the Cold War era’s Cuban Missile Crisis in the early 1960s, these Doomsday planes which can be refueled and fly almost 24/7 were seen on sorties prompting fears of nuclear exchanges with the Soviet Union.

Russia, in perspective, is the largest nuclear power and its arsenal is controlled by ‘Perimeter’ or automatic nuclear weapons control system that went LIVE in 1985. Should the authoritarian leader Putin order a drill of this nature, his military commanders could activate the Perimeter within a few minutes, deploying a nuclear-capable nation’s entire atomic arsenal in response to the conventional conflict implementing the Cold War doctrine. The process, widely coded as ‘Dead Hand,’ would involve command missile equipped with radio warhead to transmit signals to ICBMs designed to launch silo-based nuclear weapons for “limited use” in a threatening act of “escalation dominance.”

Back in 2017, Russia deployed the land-attack cruise missile system of “nuclear profile” designated as SSC-X-8 or Screwdriver in violation of 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. It test-fired 9M728 and 9M729 long-range cruise rockets with nuclear warheads. 

Palestinians Will Lose in Another Intifada Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israeli Commander: Palestinians Will Lose in Another Intifada

Sunday, 20 March, 2022 – 08:30

Activists set up a Palestinian flag overlooking an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank. (AFP file photo)

Ramallah – Asharq Al-Awsat

Israeli army battalion commander Eliav Elbaz said on Saturday that Palestinians will lose a lot if they decide to go back and fight another intifada, as happened in 2000.

Elbaz’ warning came in statements to the Israeli Walla website, which reported that these assessments are based on a secret tour that the commander had carried out in downtown Ramallah few months ago.

It said Elbaz toured the city in civilian clothes with an aim of getting to closely recognize the place.

“A great change has occurred in Ramallah in recent years and therefore, Palestinians today will suffer enormous losses if they decide to repeat another intifada,” he was quoted by the website as saying.

In August 2021, Elbaz and outgoing commander of the Binyamin Brigade, Col. Jonathan Steinberg, had inspected downtown Ramallah in a regular vehicle and in civilian clothes, unarmed and with no reconnaissance planes hovering in the sky.

The Israeli commanders wanted to get a close look at the great change that the city witnessed after Al-Aqsa Intifada, which started in 2000 and witnessed major Israeli invasions of the West Bank.

Ramallah is the political capital of the Palestinian Authority where the office and residence of the President is situated, and the Prime Ministry’s headquarter and the residences of several officials.

In the past years, the city has witnessed great development at the level of commerce and infrastructure and has a higher level of luxury than the rest of the Palestinian cities.

In his statements to Walla, Elbaz warned that Hamas intends to change the security situation in the West Bank.

He said several Hamas cells were discovered in the area last September and would have caused great damage if they had remained operational.

Walla says Elbaz’ statements confirm that the calm prevailing in the West Bank may be shaken at any moment.

In the past few weeks, the West Bank witnessed a series of security operations, which reinforced recent Israeli reports anticipating a major escalation in the area during the next three months.

The UK Prepares for Nuclear War

A convoy of nuclear warhead-carrying vehicles has been spotted near Glasgow, carrying up to six nuclear bombs within half a mile of the city centre

Nuclear missile convoy carrying up to six deadly warheads is spotted on motorway going through Glasgow on way to Royal Navy depot

  • A military convoy carried up to six nukes within a mile of Glasgow city centre
  • Missiles headed to the Royal Naval Armaments depot in Loch Long on Friday
  • Nuclear weapons in Russia are on high alert after Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine 
  • The nukes were being moved for refurbishment, according to NukeWatch
  • Additional Trident nuclear warheads were also reportedly spotted in May 2021


PUBLISHED: 16:43 EDT, 20 March 2022 | UPDATED: 20:46 EDT, 20 March 2022

A military convoy was spotted carrying up to six nuclear warheads headed along the motorway through Glasgow to an arms depot on Friday.

The convoy was seen only a mile south of Glasgow city centre, heading to Royal Naval Armaments Depot Coulport on Loch Long, according to NukeWatch, an organisation that tracks and monitors the convoys that transport the UK’s Trident nuclear warheads. 

The weapons of mass destruction were a ‘reminder of the UK’s contribution to nuclear terror,’ the group said, amid heighting tensions between NATO and Russia – which recently put its own nuclear weapons on high alert.

A convoy of nuclear warhead-carrying vehicles has been spotted near Glasgow, carrying up to six nuclear bombs within half a mile of the city centre

The nuclear-armed convoy passed over Erskine Bridge, heading up along the M6 motorway near Kendal, before being spotted on the M74 at Lesmahagow and arriving in Loch Long at approximately 11:30pm on Friday

The nuclear-armed convoy passed over Erskine Bridge, heading up along the M6 motorway near Kendal, before being spotted on the M74 at Lesmahagow and arriving in Loch Long at approximately 11:30pm on Friday

The nukes were likely being moved for replenishment. The route is a common one for the movement of nuclear warheads, but it comes at a time of heightened risk of nuclear war between NATO and Russia following the February 24 invasion of Ukraine

The nukes were likely being moved for replenishment. The route is a common one for the movement of nuclear warheads, but it comes at a time of heightened risk of nuclear war between NATO and Russia following the February 24 invasion of Ukraine

The route is a common one for UK defense vehicles, where Trident nuclear warheads were also spotted in May 2021, according to Glasgow Live.

The nuclear-armed convoy passed over Erskine Bridge, heading up along the M6 motorway near Kendal, before being spotted on the M74 at Lesmahagow and arriving in Loch Long at approximately 11:30pm on Saturday.

‘I think there were four warhead carriers I believe. Our reckoning is that each of those trucks can carry two but one of the trucks is empty as a spare in case breaks down,’ Nukewatch UK Campaigner Jane Tallents said. 

‘So if there’s four we expect there to be six warheads, or up to six warheads anyway.’

NukeWatch said the timing was ‘alarming’ given Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, but added the transportation of nuclear weapons along the route is ‘routine’.

‘There hasn’t been one since October last year which is a bit strange. But there was a bit of a flurry in the end,’ said Tallents. ‘There must be some reasoning in their madness but they’d never enlighten us [as to] what that is.’


April 1973 in Scotland:

Near the Royal Naval Armament Depot (RNAD) Coulport, a land rover reversed into a RAF nuclear weapon loaded with nuclear warheads for Polaris missiles.

February 1974 off Malta:

Two Mk44 torpedoes being removed from a storage rack fell onto a nuclear missile. Investigation of the incident concluded that the torpedo handling equipment was incorrectly rigged.

1974 at sea:

The diaphragm of a missile tube compressed on to a Polaris missile. There was no damage to missile or warheads. 

August 1977 in Scotland:

A Polaris missile fell a few inches when it was being lifted during re-alignment. 

1981 at sea:

A number of missile diaphragms compressed onto Polaris missiles, but did no damage to the missiles or warheads.

August 1983 in Scotland:

A RAF nuclear weapon load carrier carrying two warheads for Polaris missiles drove into a private car.

January 1987 in Wiltshire:

A RAF nuclear weapons carrier carrying two nuclear weapons skidded on ice and rolled on to its side. A second carrier, which was also carrying two weapons, skidded on the road and came to rest partly off the road. 

 February 2009 at sea: 

The UK submarine HMS Vanguard and the French sub Le Triomphant crashed into each other in the Atlantic in the night between 3–4 February 2009. Both sustained damage, but no injuries or radioactivity releases were reported

Nukewatch said the purpose of the nuclear movement was likely refurbishment, not an attempt to arm the warheads in anticipation of a Russian attack. 

‘I don’t think this convoy is of any more concern than the fact that we are always, 24/7, armed and ready to start a nuclear war,’ said Tallents, later adding: ‘All the things that some of us have worried about constantly since the 60s, they come to pass really. People have forgotten about it but they are there.’

The nuclear spotting comes at a time when nuclear missiles in Russia have been put on high alert following Vladimir Putin’s stalled invasion of Ukraine, starting a war analysts fear could bring nuclear-armed NATO powers like the UK to clash with the Kremlin. 

Only five days ago, the UK’s Ministry of Defence began advertising for a £40k-a-year chief to oversee threat of nuclear warheads, calling the current geopolitical climate a ‘genuinely exciting time’.

The £40,000-per-year role at the Defence Nuclear Organisation focused on mitigating ‘threats across the nuclear spectrum’.

According to the posting on the website, the DNO oversees ‘all aspects of nuclear business within the MoD’, including submarines, nuclear warheads and ‘day-to-day nuclear policy’.

The Royal Naval Armament Depot Coulport is the site of a nuclear near-miss involving a rare traffic accident in April 1973, according to the Secretary of State for Defence.

Near the Coulport site in April 1973, a Scottish Electricity Board Land Rover reversed into a RAF nuclear weapon load carrier transporting nuclear warheads.

The vehicle contained UGM-27 Polaris missiles, with each missile able to deliver three ET.317 thermonuclear warheads

The crash damaged the load carrier, but the nuclear weapons were reported unharmed.

In another incident at the same site, a Polaris missile fell when it was being lifted during re-alignment in 1977.

On the M8 near Glasgow in August 1983, a RAF nuclear weapons carrier moving two warheads crashed into a private car.

In another near miss, the British submarine HMS Vanguard collided with a French nuclear submarine in 2009, damaging the vessels, but with no radioactivity leaks reported.

There have been seven accidents involving British nuclear weapons in total since 1966. None have yet resulted in radioactive leaks.

British submarine HMS Vanguard (pictured) crashed into a French nuclear submarine in the Atlantic Ocean on February 16, 2009

Putin’s war force will complete the nuclear horns of prophecy: Daniel

Will Putin’s war force more medium-sized states to seek nuclear weapons?

21 Mar 2022|Mateo Szlapek-SewilloRussia–Ukraine war

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has generated significant debate about deterrence, focused principally on Ukraine’s non-membership of NATO and the extent to which its membership aspirations represent a legitimate security concern to Russia.

But another salient detail has not escaped attention. In 1994, Ukraine agreed to destroy the nuclear stockpile—the world’s third largest—it inherited from the dissolution of the Soviet Union, in exchange for security guarantees from Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom. The aim here is not to relitigate that decision; the point is that, deprived of the two gold standards of deterrence (its own nuclear weapons or a NATO membership card), Ukraine was invaded. That won’t be lost on the handful of other medium-sized states trying to balance strategic interests in the shadow of menacing neighbours. In light of Putin’s invasion, will more states seek the ultimate deterrent?

To begin, let us define our terms. I have in mind states that satisfy the following criteria:

  • They don’t already possess nuclear weapons.
  • They are constrained by a large state that they perceive as a threat or might come to perceive as a threat.
  • They are large enough that their acquisition of nuclear weapons is plausible.
  • Their constitution doesn’t explicitly forbid the acquisition of nuclear weapons.
  • They seek an independent foreign policy or are showing signs of seeking such a policy.
  • They have no obviously superior means of outsourcing nuclear deterrence (that is, NATO membership).

Run the algorithm and it generates the following: Iran, Taiwan, Finland and Vietnam. Include states that satisfy some but not all of the criteria and the group extends to states such as Indonesia, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Bangladesh and the two largest Central Asian states—Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

The four members of the first group all warrant closer analysis.

Let’s begin with Iran. As I have written elsewhere, Iran and the US are edging closer to reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action which was effectively torn up by Donald Trump. But who’s to say that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi won’t be reconsidering those moves in light of the invasion of Ukraine? The war in Ukraine is likely to further destabilise the Middle East in two ways: by putting economic pressure on Arab leaders who are dependent on Russian and Ukrainian wheat to feed their people, and by expanding the economic power of Iran’s Gulf rivals as the West seeks to wean itself from Russian fossil fuels.

Both of these factors, together with the harsh lesson being dished out to Russia that participation in the global financial system creates significant interdependency risks, may convince Iran’s rulers that the leverage and deterrence that the bomb brings are worth whatever costs further sanctions might bring.

In a class of special cases, Taiwan is a particularly special one. There’s no evidence that it possesses or seeks to possess nuclear weapons. There has been virtually no talk of Taiwan developing domestic nuclear capabilities since the Taiwan Strait crisis of the mid-1990s. But, as its prowess in chip manufacturing demonstrates, Taiwan is highly technologically sophisticated. There’s little doubt that it could produce nuclear weapons if it wished. And, as China continues to stir up nationalist zeal and bolster its military capabilities while the US turns its gaze inward, Taiwan’s leaders may conclude that the deterrent value of strategic ambiguity has declined to the point where it should pursue its own path towards nuclearisation.

As for Finland, the defensive wars it fought against the Soviet Union have calcified into a wariness of Russian intentions. It is not a member of NATO or the EU, nor is it a party to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. True, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed public support for NATO membership to record highs. But that support may subside. Finns cherish their independence. They may yet conclude that acquiring nuclear weapons is the sole means of preserving it.

Vietnam is a slightly speculative inclusion. Indeed, it is today party to most relevant non-proliferation treaties and agreements, including the Treaty of Bangkok. But it is also poised to be the first Southeast Asian state to generate its own nuclear energy—thanks in part to Russian assistance. It fought wars against China and the US within living memory, shares a 1,300-kilometre border with the former, and abstained from the UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s invasion. Hanoi may decide that, despite its treaty commitments, the only way to truly guarantee its security is with its own nuclear weapons.

What about Australia? As recently as the late 1960s, Prime Minister John Gorton wanted Australia to develop its own nuclear weapons. Despite Australia signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1970 and being under the implied protection of the US nuclear umbrella, today there’s occasional debate about Australia acquiring its own weapons (strong recent pieces include one in the Australian Financial Review and another in The Strategist).

Certainly, China’s aggression is driving strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific to new levels. But I’m not convinced that Canberra’s calculations have been altered substantially by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. First, it’s clear that the acquisition of nuclear submarines as part of the AUKUS agreement is partly intended to enhance Australia’s powers of deterrence. Second, Australia’s leaders are likely to conclude that there’s too much uncertainty about how Putin’s invasion will influence China’s actions in the region. While it’s true that the government has sought to make national security an election issue, there is no serious talk of developing our own nuclear weapons.

The countries mentioned here are likely to seek their security by other, non-nuclear means. But accumulate enough tiny probabilities and you will be confronted by an event with a low to medium probability of occurring. Leaders around the world may well have drawn the lesson that the seeds of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine were sown the day Kyiv willingly ceded its nuclear weapons. After all, only the most ardent hawk today seriously contemplates an invasion of North Korea.

Even a 5% probability that a new member will join the nuclear club—or even signal a desire to do so—should alter strategic calculations in Washington, Beijing, Moscow, Brussels and Canberra. When the stakes are so high, even a small possibility of a more multipolar nuclear order is worth taking seriously.


Mateo Szlapek-Sewillo is a Melbourne-based writer who has a keen interest in the politics of Eastern Europe. Image: Jonathan McIntosh/Flickr.

The Biden-Obama Deal is a Total Disaster

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden insists on letting go of Iran’s sanctions imposed from the Trump administration.NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden’s Iran plan is a total disaster

Michael Goodwin

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it does. The Biden administration is working on a plan that would make the world a far more dangerous place.

March 19, 2022 10:09pm 

It’s a plot with three steps, all terrible and each arguably worse than the previous one. 

Step One is the determination to make a new sweetheart nuclear deal with Iran. There is no good reason, only the fetish to undo everything Donald Trump did.

He wisely scuttled the first bad deal, so President Biden is hellbent on making a new one, and is close to the finish line, meaning Iran could escape sanctions and its oil could hit the world market.

Step Two in the budding disaster is that the White House is letting the butcher of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin, broker the talks between America and Iran. As I noted last week, on one hand, Putin is a war criminal raining death and destruction on millions of civilians, and on the other hand, we trust him to make an ironclad deal that blocks the mad mullahs from getting the ultimate weapons of mass destruction.

Oh, and in consideration of Putin’s efforts for world peace, any construction work Russia does in Iran related to the nuke deal would be exempt from sanctions imposed over Ukraine. As Biden would say, no joke.

If this sounds absolutely insane, get a load of Step Three. The Biden bots are actively considering, as a bonus to the mullahs, removing the terrorist designation of their main military group, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Recall that Trump droned the longtime commander of the Guards’ elite Quds Force, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who was responsible for killing and maiming thousands of American soldiers in Iraq. Soleimani had spread terror in the region for decades, yet Biden said during the 2020 campaign he would not have ordered the hit.

In this file photo taken on September 22, 2018 shows members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) marching during the annual military parade which markins the anniversary of the outbreak of the devastating 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, in the capital Tehran.
Under the Iran deal, the dangerous Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps force will no longer be designated as terrorists.

His objection is probably relevant to the fact that Iran added the demand about removing the terror label. They figured they were pushing on an open door with the appeaser in chief.

For Biden, he’ll likely say yes to the demand for the same reason he wants a whole new deal in the first place: Trump. The former president put the terror designation on the Revolutionary Guards in 2019, a year before he eliminated Soleimani.

Reports say all the group must do is pledge to make nice and stop killing Iran’s enemies across the Middle East and a separate agreement will lift the sanctions blocking its financing, travel, etc., as if it’s the Chamber of Commerce.

The whole notion is so far off the charts that the Jewish News Syndicate reports that Israeli leaders, already unhappy about the prospect of any deal with Iran, initially refused to believe the White House would even consider giving a free pass to the Revolutionary Guards. 

A crowd gathers during commemorations marking the second anniversary of the killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (posters), in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, on January 8, 2022.
Iranians still honor Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi Cmdr. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis two years after former President Donald Trump ordered their assassinations.

Convinced the proposal is real, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid issued a furious statement denouncing the group as “responsible for attacks on American civilians and American forces throughout the Middle East” and said it was “behind plans to assassinate senior American government officials.”

Bennett and Lapid continued: “The IRGC were involved in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians; they destroyed Lebanon and they are brutally oppressing Iranian civilians. They kill Jews because they are Jews, Christians because they are Christians, and Muslims because they refuse to surrender to them.”

Former American diplomats who have advised both Democrats and Republicans in the region agreed the idea stinks. 

Dennis Ross tweeted that the concept “makes us look naive” and, citing the group’s recent rocket attacks in Iraq that nearly struck an American consulate, added: “For the IRGC, which admitted this week to firing rockets into Erbil, to promise to de-escalate regionally is about as credible as Putin saying Russia would not invade Ukraine.”

Iran claimed responsibility for firing ballistic missiles near the US consulate in Erbil, Iraq in response to an Israeli strike on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Syria.
Iran claimed responsibility for firing ballistic missiles near the US consulate in Erbil, Iraq, in response to an Israeli strike on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Syria.

Ambassador Martin Indyk tweeted that removing the Guards from the terror list would be seen as a “betrayal” by many US allies who suffered from their brutal terrorism.

Nonetheless, it looks as if Biden wants to give the terrorists a pass in exchange for a vague promise. The White House has said no decision has been reached, which probably means it has but officials won’t defend it publicly until the agreement is signed.

There is one potential roadblock to all the madness, and that is the Senate. Because the entire package is new, Senate approval is required. 

Many people believe it should be considered a formal treaty, which would require two-thirds support. Instead, Democrats are likely to try to use an end run similar to the one they used in 2015 to get the first deal through.

After a GOP-led filibuster effort failed, 58 to 42, the pact was deemed approved through what one critic called “brilliant political subterfuge.” That critic, Eric R. Mandel, director of the Middle East Political Information Network, writes in The Hill: “So, let’s recap: Forty-two senators were able to bind America to an agreement that should have required the votes of 66 senators for a treaty.”

If the Senate lets anything like that happen again, it will prove that Biden’s love of extremely bad ideas is contagious.