It begins in Pennsylvania, crosses the Delaware River and continues through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties before crossing the Hudson River near Indian Point nuclear facility.
In the past, it has generated occasional activity that generated a 2.6 magnitude quake in New Jersey’s Peakpack/Gladstone area and 3.0 magnitude quake in Mendham.
“There is occasional seismic activity in New Jersey,” said Robinson. “There have been a few quakes locally that have been felt and done a little bit of damage over the time since colonial settlement — some chimneys knocked down in Manhattan with a quake back in the 18th century, but nothing of a significant magnitude.”
“More recently, in the 1970s and early 1980s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to Indian Point,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.
Historically, critics of the Indian Point Nuclear facility in Westchester County, New York, did cite its proximity to the Ramapo fault line as a significant risk.
“Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 Earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault,” according to the New Jersey Geological Survey website.
The price spike in oil prices has hit Pakistan hard, driving up the cost of its imports by more than 85 percent, to almost $5 billion, just between 2020 and 2021, Rubin a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute wrote.
One of the reasons successive Pakistani leaders avoided reform was that they believed it easier to accept the fairytales spun by China. Far from being an economic saviour for Pakistan, however, it is now clear that Beijing used the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), foolishly acceded to by Sharif’s brother Nawaz, as a mechanism to enslave Pakistan.
“Our friendship is higher than the Himalayas and deeper than the deepest sea in the world and sweeter than honey, ” he said in words that most Pakistanis today rue, Rubin wrote.
“Instead of promoting growth in Pakistan, the CPEC has become a liability for Islamabad. Sovereign counter guarantees to Chinese independent power producers eat up the Pakistani government’s revenue, even as Pakistan continues to face lengthy power outages. CPEC project implementation is sporadic even though, for the last four years, Pakistan is the world’s largest recipient of Chinese grants and assistance, ” he added.
The World Bank has warned that Pakistan could soon face “macroeconomic instability”. Societal instability would soon follow. Pakistan’s private sector has not created enough jobs to absorb the labour pool. Anger is reaching the boiling point, and growing criminality hints at societal breakdown, Rubin said.
“Sri Lanka’s collapse worries the region, but Pakistan’s collapse should worry the world. For decades, state failure in Pakistan has been a nightmare scenario. Both Pakistan and the broader world have had a taste of that scenario as violence, extremism, and poverty engulf the former capital and commercial hub of Karachi and as Pakistani authorities lose control over many regions alongside the Afghanistan border.
“The United States, India, and Iran are right to worry about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, as military officers also begin to struggle to get by. Pakistani elite live in a state of denial believing that the status quo in which they live an affluent life insulated from broader society is permanent. It is not. The bubble is collapsing, and the result will not be pretty, ” Rubin said.
Yusuf Nazar, a former chief strategist at Citigroup’s emerging markets division, estimates that Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have dropped by half since February to just $6.3 billion, akin to what Iran suffered under the so-called “maximum pressure” campaign. For Pakistan, however, the dramatic decline is of its own making: According to Nazar, Pakistan has received more International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailouts than any other country. This shows the unwillingness or inability of the Sharifs, Bhuttos, and Khans to implement serious reform, Rubin wrote.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani rupee continues to hemorrhage value when compared to the US dollar, off more than 30 percent over the past year. In contrast, the Indian rupee has slid just over six per cent.
“International patience has worn out. The IMF no longer trusts Pakistani promises to reform, and is unwilling to throw good money after bad. Islamabad’s unwillingness to conduct reforms demanded by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) underlines how intertwined the Inter-Services Intelligence agency is with the murkier aspects of Pakistani finance, ” Rubin wrote.
Leader of the Sadrist movement Sayyed Muqtada al-Sadr demanded on Monday, a joint condemnation to end the sedition.
“As father said, “In my death, there is a mouthful and joy for Israel and America, and I also say: There is a mouthful and joy in my death for Israel, America, the terrorists and the corrupt. But, the most amazing thing is that the threat comes from (the Dawa Party), which is affiliated with al-Sadr family, and from their chief al-Maliki, a Shiite party claiming its demand for the strength of the sect,” said Al-Sadr in a tweet on his account on “Twitter”, followed by the Iraqi News Agency – INA.
He added, “So, from here, I call for extinguishing the sedition via a joint condemnation by the leaders of the blocs allied with him on one hand and by the elders of his tribe on the other. As well as, the condemnation is not limited to accusing me of working for Israel or accusing me of killing Iraqis even though I protected the blood of Iraqis, including al-Maliki in a previous clash as he was the order starter and the ender.”
“Yes, not only that, but more importantly, his attack on the Iraqi security forces and accusing the Popular Mobilization Forces of cowardice and inciting sedition and Shiite-Shiite fighting, as it was said that in subsequent leaks, he will transgress even the Marja’, and God is All-Knowing,” he pointed out.
His tweet also included, “I am innocent before God and the people of any transgression against him and of any use of violence against him, as it is possible that a third party will intervene to fuel sedition, and I am innocent of it until the Day of Judgment.”
“I advise him to declare seclusion and retire from political work as to resort to seeking forgiveness or surrender himself and those who seek refuge from the corrupt to the judicial authorities, perhaps it will be a repentance for him before God and the Iraqi people, so he has no right after these destructive ideas to lead Iraq in any way, but rather this is ruin and destruction for Iraq and its people,” said Al-Sadr.
North Korea abandoned its previously pledged moratorium on nuclear tests or long-range missile launches this year, even announcing a nuclear first-use doctrine, implying its nuclear arsenal is for offensive purposes against Washington and Seoul. As North Korea now clarifies that its nuclear weapons are not explicitly defense weapons, five things have become very clear. First, North Korea is capable of nuclear strikes. Second, the Kim Jong-un regime will never be willing to denuclearize. Third, South Korean liberals’ appeasement policies, which benchmarked the Sunshine Policy, have failed. Fourth, the Korean Peninsula is facing its worst security crisis in decades. And finally, a nuclear arsenal is a cost-efficient deterrent that overwhelms other weapon systems.
If this regional security trend continues, the most important and highly likely possibilities are that Pyongyang, a nuclear-armed regime that is not internationally recognized as a nuclear power, will continue to ignore non-nuclear South Korea and that Seoul will suffer if it operates under the false hope that it will be protected by U.S. extended deterrence. Even though South Korea has become one of the leading economic and military powers, the country cannot escape from worsening inter-Korean relations as long as it pursues the unrealistic goal of having military superiority over a nuclear-armed regime.
In case of a security crisis, North Korea would be strongly tempted to use nuclear weapons in order to compromise Seoul’s superiority in conventional firepower. Of course, U.S. forces will retaliate in return, as agreed on in the ROK-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty, but it runs the risk of being trapped by the classic principle of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). Pyongyang could hold the U.S. mainland and Americans hostage by threatening to strike U.S. population centers, leading to a chaotic outcome on the Korean Peninsula. Facing the enemy’s nuclear arsenal right above its head, conventionally-armed Seoul will be left with no options if the United States decides not to uphold its nuclear guarantees due to the expected damage from such threats or for political reasons.
Many South Koreans do not believe that Washington is willing to sacrifice innocent Americans as a cost of waging a war with far away North Korea. These were the very doubts the United Kingdom and France had before they went nuclear themselves. More importantly, the United States never created an equivalent of the nuclear planning group that Washington provides for NATO’s nuclear sharing strategy against Russia, only providing its East Asian allies with the show of power through its strategic assets.
It is quite normal that allies are not able to have full trust in the nuclear umbrella that they have never seen unfolded in war. This is the focal point with which non-nuclear-armed allies have had fundamental questions. America’s willingness to actively engage in intertwined Korean security affairs has gradually weakened since it withdrew tactical nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula in 1991, now providing South Korea and Japan with conventional weapons and missile defense systems like bombers and aircraft carriers as guaranteed extended deterrence. Notwithstanding such a show of power, the North Korean regime did not even flinch. Pyongyang dauntlessly chose to expedite its nuclearization, delivering a message that extended deterrence is not as effective as we expected.
Taking a firm stand against Kim Jong-un’s nuclear threat requires flawless dependence on the alliance’s nuclear umbrella, but the concerns and doubts about U.S. extended deterrence have not been addressed, especially now that North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) could now reach the U.S. mainland.
China and Russia are not reliable enough to expect meaningful change from them, as they acquiesced to the North Korean nuclear problem and do not have a red line regarding Kim’s nuclear arsenal. It can be said that they are one step away from acknowledging North Korea as a de facto nuclear state—having given several green lights to nuclear tests and ICBM launches—because they perceive North Korea as a buffer zone to check the United States in the region.
The worst is that the two nuclear powers might grant immunity to Pyongyang’s reportedly upcoming seventh nuclear test. Amidst the clash between the United States and the China-Russia bloc, Beijing and Moscow are predicted to veto any UN Security Council resolution to sanction North Korea. Importantly, China believes the time to dissuade North Korean nuclearization through military means has already passed. In this case, the long-standing non-proliferation principle of Washington would become less convincing, and the U.S. government would rather feel more need to arm its East Asian allies with nuclear weapons.
In the end, there is no choice but to face nuclear bombs with something equivalent. Kim’s family in Pyongyang has already given South Korea such justifications. Ironically, the inter-Korean nuclear balance collapsed after the Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula fell apart. That year, the United States withdrew all tactical nuclear weapons from South Korean territory, just as Pyongyang started its nuclear program. Since then, Kim Jong-un has resumed nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches. As North Korea violated all articles of the Inter-Korean Agreements of 1991 and the Joint Declaration, the denuclearization principle of the Korean Peninsula has already become an obsolete echo. The dead statement is no longer alive just because only one side respects it. South Korea and the United States should point out that North Korea completely broke it, and its program is no longer reversible. This will consolidate South Korea’s position to prepare for its own nuclear security strategy.
Unlike the point of view that South Korea will follow the precedent of sanctioned North Korea if it chooses to develop nuclear weapons, the two Koreas are totally different cases, as Seoul’s nuclear armament would be ignited by the possibility of nuclear use by North Korea. South Korea is under the imminent threat of Pyongyang’s atomic bombs, which have been illegally developed. As an exemplary country that has fully respected the international non-proliferation regime, therefore, South Korea should naturally have a right to protect itself and its American ally from northern threats.
It is not an issue for South Korea to leave the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), as the treatygives members the right to withdraw if they decide extraordinary events have jeopardized their supreme interests. North Korea’s illegal nuclear acquisition and threats to its neighboring states obviously fall under the defined “extraordinary events,” thus supporting the interpretation that Seoul’s nuclear program would be a rational and proportional response for the protection of its core security interests.
All members of the eastern bloc (Russia, China, and North Korea) possess nuclear arsenals, but the United States is the only nuclear-armed state in the Western bloc of East Asia. South Korea’s nuclearization will contribute to the balance of this uneven playground. Otherwise, the imbalance of nuclear forces will lead to the failure of U.S. Asian security policy, as both Pyongyang and Beijing enhance their nuclear capabilities without pause while Asian allies that only rely on the U.S. nuclear umbrella refrain from going nuclear.
Washington should move forward together with Seoul to pursue regional strategic stability and prevent the worst scenario through South Korea’s nuclear armament. The White House does not seem to be ignorant of this, and there will be an inevitable situation where the United States will have to propose nuclear development to allied states in Asia. If Seoul chooses to accept the proposal, the United States should back it up by focusing on the Chinese and North Korean nuclear programs. As arguments for the necessity of allies acquiring nuclear bombs gain traction in the United States, South Korea’s nuclearization would be more indispensable for American interests.
It will still be difficult to find the political determination and persuade the United States, but the option of going nuclear is easier than the complete denuclearization of North Korea, and the majority of Korean citizens are favorable to such a national initiative. A Chicago Council on Global Affairs public opinion poll released this year shows that 71 percent of Korean citizens favor acquiring independent nuclear weapons.
Despite this public support for nuclear armament, the North’s leadership looks down on Seoul by taking advantage of its nuclear weapons and the acquired connivance of China and Russia, well aware that South Korea is not firmly determined to acquire the United States’ approval for nuclearization. Both the United States and South Korea should understand that extended deterrence is merely a stopgap measure at this moment and that it could have been effective only if North Korea had not initiated a nuclear program or it remained in the early stages.
WASHINGTON: The White House is worried Iran could develop a nuclear weapon in weeks, press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday, after Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted earlier in the day the country has accelerated its nuclear program. “Yes it definitely worries us,” Psaki said, adding the time needed for Iran to produce a nuclear weapon is down from about a year. Earlier, Blinken said the US still believes a return to a nuclear deal is the best path with Iran, amid a prolonged standoff in talks. Facing criticism of the deal during an appearance before Congress, Blinken called the 2015 agreement imperfect but better than the alternatives. “We continue to believe that getting back into compliance with the agreement would be the best way to address the nuclear challenge posed by Iran and to make sure that an Iran that is already acting with incredible aggression doesn’t have a nuclear weapon,” Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “We’ve tested the other proposition, which was pulling out of the agreement, trying to exert more pressure,” he said. The result, he said, is that the “breakout time” for Iran to develop a nuclear bomb if it so chooses is “down to a matter of weeks” after the deal pushed it beyond a year. Former president Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement reached under his predecessor Barack Obama and instead imposed sweeping sanctions, including trying to stop other nations from buying Iranian oil. President Joe Biden’s administration has been engaged in more than a year of indirect talks in Vienna on reviving the agreement, which had promised Iran a relief from sanctions in return for major restrictions on its nuclear work. Both US and Iranian officials say that most points have been settled. Disputes appear to include Iran’s demand that Biden undo Trump’s designation of the clerical state’s powerful Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization. (With Reuters and AFP)
DUBAI (Reuters) -Iran is technically capable of making a nuclear bomb but has not decided whether to build one, a senior adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Qatar’s al Jazeera TV on Sunday.
Kamal Kharrazi spoke a day after U.S. President Joe Biden ended his four-day trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, vowing to stop Iran from “acquiring a nuclear weapon.”
Kharrazi’s comments were a rare suggestion that Iran might have an interest in nuclear weapons, which it has long denied seeking.
Iran is already enriching to up to 60%, far above a cap of 3.67% under Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Uranium enriched to 90% is suitable for a nuclear bomb.
In 2018, former U.S. President Donald Trump ditched the nuclear pact, under which Iran curbed its uranium enrichment work, a potential pathway to nuclear weapons, in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
BAGHDAD: Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr said on Wednesday that he decided to withdraw from the political process so as not to be involved with “corrupt” politicians, the state news agency reported. Sadr’s announcement comes after he asked lawmakers from his Sadrist bloc to resign from the parliament, amid a prolonged stalemate over forming a government.