USGS Evidence Shows Power of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Released: 

11/6/2012 8:30:00 AM USGS.gov

Earthquake shaking in the eastern United States can travel much farther and cause damage over larger areas than previously thought.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists found that last year’s magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia triggered landslides at distances four times farther—and over an area 20 times larger—than previous research has shown.

“We used landslides as an example and direct physical evidence to see how far-reaching shaking from east coast earthquakes could be,”

said Randall Jibson, USGS scientist and lead author of this study. “Not every earthquake will trigger landslides, but we can use landslide distributions to estimate characteristics of earthquake energy and how far regional ground shaking could occur.”

“Scientists are confirming with empirical data what more than 50 million people in the eastern U.S. experienced firsthand: this was one powerful earthquake,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “Calibrating the distance over which landslides occur may also help us reach back into the geologic record to look for evidence of past history of major earthquakes from the Virginia seismic zone.”

This study will help inform earthquake hazard and risk assessments as well as emergency preparedness, whether for landslides or other earthquake effects.

This study also supports existing research showing that although earthquakes  are less frequent in the East, their damaging effects can extend over a much larger area as compared to the western United States.

The research is being presented today at the Geological Society of America conference, and will be published in the December 2012 issue of the

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

The USGS found that the farthest landslide from the 2011 Virginia earthquake was 245 km (150 miles) from the epicenter. This is by far the greatest landslide distance recorded from any other earthquake of similar magnitude. Previous studies of worldwide earthquakes indicated that landslides occurred no farther than 60 km (36 miles) from the epicenter of a magnitude 5.8 earthquake.

“What makes this new study so unique is that it provides direct observational evidence from the largest earthquake to occur in more than 100 years in the eastern U.S,” said Jibson. “Now that we know more about the power of East Coast earthquakes, equations that predict ground shaking might need to be revised.”

It is estimated that approximately one-third of the U.S. population could have felt last year’s earthquake in Virginia, more than any earthquake in U.S. history.

About 148,000 people reported their ground-shaking experiences caused by the earthquake on the USGS “Did You Feel It?” website. Shaking reports came from southeastern Canada to Florida and as far west as Texas.

In addition to the great landslide distances recorded, the landslides from the 2011 Virginia earthquake occurred in an area 20 times larger than expected from studies of worldwide earthquakes. Scientists plotted the landslide locations that were farthest out and then calculated the area enclosed by those landslides. The observed landslides from last year’s Virginia earthquake enclose an area of about 33,400 km2

, while previous studies indicated an expected area of about 1,500 km2

from an earthquake of similar magnitude.

“The landslide distances from last year’s Virginia earthquake are remarkable compared to historical landslides across the world and represent the largest distance limit ever recorded,” said Edwin Harp, USGS scientist and co-author of this study. “There are limitations to our research, but the bottom line is that we now have a better understanding of the power of East Coast earthquakes and potential damage scenarios.”

The difference between seismic shaking in the East versus the West is due in part to the geologic structure and rock properties that allow seismic waves to travel farther without weakening.

Learn more

about the 2011 central Virginia earthquake.

Has the Antichrist entered confrontation with the international community?

Has Iraq’s Sadr entered confrontation with the international community?

Iraqi Shiite cleric and politician Muqtada Al-Sadr has taken bold steps this summer. In June, after a months-long effort to form a “national majority government” with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Sunni Arabs following the Oct. 2021 parliamentary elections, he ordered his 73-member bloc to resign from the 329-seat parliament. In July, his supporters stormed the parliament twice as his rivals in the Shiite Coordination Framework moved to form a government.

Sadr has since called for early elections as Iraq remains without a new government 10 months after its parliamentary polls. His readiness for confrontation does not only take aim at his domestic rivals, but also makes clear his disregard for the international dynamics—including possible blowback.

Ending the status quo

Sadr’s most notable step in past weeks has been his July 31 call for a “drastic change to the current political system.” In effect, he has urged Iraqis to revolt to end the ethno-sectarian apportionment system put in place following the US-led invasion in 2003. Under the current power-sharing arrangement, the premiership customarily goes to Shiite Arabs whereas Sunni Arabs and Kurds control the parliament’s speakership and the Iraqi presidency respectively…

U.S. and Australia Nuclear Horns Hold Major Joint Exercise

Eyes on China: U.S. and Australia Hold Major Joint Exercise

U.S. marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen recently concluded a combined arms exercise in Australia with their Australian counterparts this month, highlighting Washington and Canberra’s increasingly tight relationship and mutual concern about the future of the Indo-Pacific region.

The exercise, known as KOOLENDONG 22, focused on expeditionary advanced base operations and “challenged the team to command and control the force across massive distances, multiple locations, and difficult terrain,” according to a United States Marine Corps press release.

“We will have U.S. Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen alongside ADF soldiers and personnel conducting live and non-live-fire, and command and control, in Darwin, Mount Bundey, Broome, Curtin, and Yampi, across hundreds of miles of air, land, and sea lines of communication,” said Col. Chris Steele, the Marine Air-Ground Task Force commander.

“In my mind we always need to be ready to fight alongside our Australian allies and our joint partners, and KOOLENDONG 22 provided us the opportunity to practice just that,” Colonel Steele explained.

In conjunction with their Australian counterparts,the U.S. Marine Corps transported “hundreds of personnel and equipment pieces from the Northern Territory to Western Australia, encompassing a distance of over 1,000 kilometers (650 miles),” the service’s press release explained.

It added that “MRF-D utilized various air, land, and sea methods to conduct logistics throughout the exercise, including a U.S. Army logistics support vessel from the 8th Theater Sustainment Command, and Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemasters. The distance and terrain forced MRF-D to be creative, flexible, and detailed in the overall logistics plan, which replicated a plan applicable to potential future operations across the Indo-Pacific.”

“This annual exercise allows the ADF to rehearse with the US Marines in a combined arms littoral combat scenario,” said Col. Marcus Constable, the commander of Headquarters, Northern Command. “KOOLENDONG strengthens the US-Australian relationship, advances and validates USMC-ADF interoperability and demonstrates preparedness to respond to a regional crisis.”

Relations between the United States and Australia have recently become tighter. In addition to the annual cooperative exercises with Australia, Canberra is also a partner in the U.S.-led Joint Strike Fighter program, the initiative that yielded the world’s most prolific fifth-generation stealth fighter, the F-35.

Perhaps more importantly, however, the United States and the United Kingdom also gave Australia access to the crown jewels of their nuclear deterrence triad: nuclear-powered submarine technology. Though Australia is not pursuing nuclear weapons, operating even a small fleet of nuclear submarines would significantly augment the position of the United States and other nations that are concerned with China’s revanchist intentions in the Pacific region.

Though perhaps not revolutionary, the United States’ relations with Australia will become tighter over concerns about China’s intentions in the Indo-Pacific. The KOOLENDONG 22 exercise is strong evidence of the closeness of that relationship.

Caleb Larson is a multimedia journalist and defense writer with the National Interest. A graduate of UCLA, he also holds a Master of Public Policy and lives in Berlin. He covers the intersection of conflict, security, and technology, focusing on American foreign policy, European security, and German society for both print and radio. Follow him on Twitter @calebmlarson.

Image: DVIDS.

The Antichrist represents the dysfunction of Iraqi politics

Supporters of Iraqi cleric Moqtada Al Sadr. AFP
Supporters of Iraqi cleric Moqtada Al Sadr. AFP

Moqtada Al Sadr represents the dysfunction of Iraqi politics

The populist nationalist holds many of the country’s political cards, but still not enough of them to end the political stalemate

Beta V.1.0 – Powered by automated translation

The elite political consensus that has underpinned every Iraqi government since 2005 is falling apart. This is part of a long-term trend of elite fragmentation – a process accelerated by the decline in inter-sect elite competition on the one hand, and an intensification of intra-sect political contestation on the other. This has been particularly acute in Shiite politics.

Another long-term trend has been the widening gulf between the political elite and the people. This gap is rooted in the failure of the political classes to provide even a semblance of good governance or public service. It has long been recognised that the post-2003 political order and the oligarchy of actors that dominates it are no longer fit for purpose. So widespread is the sentiment that, in an attempt to tap into populist discourse, even some of the system’s established figures have had to admit as much in public.

In recent years, these two trends have converged and expanded. Long-standing public anger at the political classes’ inability to live up to the most basic responsibilities has taken the form of yearly mass protests since 2011, and more so since 2015, culminating in the enormous demonstrations of 2019-2020. In responding to public discontent – and in competing with each other – Iraq’s political actors have exploited the vocabulary of reform in a bid to appeal to populist sentiment. Where once the language of Iraqi populism was rooted in identity politics and sectarian entrenchment, today the more resonant theme is that of reform and change.

Few have adopted this theme more than Moqtada Al Sadr. Mr Al Sadr has positioned himself as the champion of reform and as a stalwart defender of the people against the political system of which he is a part. On numerous occasions, he has mobilised his considerable grassroots support base to stage protests or to co-opt and dominate non-Sadrist activism. In effect, he has strived to portray himself as the patron of the people and of public protest.

Rather than the revolutionary overhaul, the more likely scenario would be a reconfiguration of the governing elite bargain

This much has been clear in Mr Al Sadr’s manoeuvrings since the October 2021 election. The elections produced two opposing camps: a diverse alliance led by Mr Al Sadr on the one hand and, on the other, the Co-ordination Framework (CF) led by the more Iran-leaning elements of the Shiite political establishment. Both have claimed the right to form the next government but neither have been able to do so.

After an eight-month stalemate, Mr Al Sadr ordered his MPs to resign. As expected, the withdrawal from parliamentary politics meant a turn to street power: he mobilised his supporters to block the formation of a CF-led government. Shortly after, his followers occupied parliament effectively paralysing Iraqi politics. Mr Al Sadr characterises his challenge to the CF as a revolution, and he insists that there will be no dialogue or compromise in pursuit of a new political compact – music to many Iraqi ears.

The contest can be characterised as a struggle between the forces of the status quo versus the forces of change. However, the nature of the change that Mr Al Sadr seeks is unlikely to accord with popular expectations beyond his base. Mr Al Sadr has sought to tap into general anti-systemic sentiment explicitly stating that the protests are Iraqi protests and not just a Sadrist affair. The response has been ambivalent. Some social media influencers and protest activists have eagerly supported Mr Al Sadr. This is probably driven by a my-enemy’s-enemy-is-my-friend logic and a desperate yearning for the demise of the political classes and of Iranian influence, regardless of who ushers in the long desired change. Others view Mr Al Sadr as the only practical option for challenging the political system and particularly the powerful Iran-leaning political elites and their associated armed wings. However, many remain wary of him.

Supporters of Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, head of the Sadrist movement, gather inside Iraq's Parliament buliding. EPA
The cleric's followers enter the Parliament building in a show of force. EPA
A demonstrator lies on the desk of the Speaker of the Iraqi parliament. AFP
Supporters of Mr Al Sadr flash the victory sign as they gather inside the Iraqi Parliament. AFP
There's always time for a selfie. AFP
The demonstrators are protesting the recent selection of Mohammed Al Sudani as the official nominee of the Co-ordination Framework bloc. AFP
It is the largest protest since federal elections were held in October. AFP
The protesters sit in the building, in Baghdad's high-security Green Zone. AFP
A person holds a portrait of Mr Al Sadr. Reuters
Protesters raise flags and a portrait of Mr Al Sadr. Reuters
Al Sadr posted a statement on Twitter telling supporters their message had been received. Reuters
People stand outside of the Parliament building during the protest. Reuters
Supporters of Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr protest against corruption inside the Parliament building in Baghdad, Iraq. Reuters
Mr Al Sadr's supporters protest against corruption inside the Parliament building in Baghdad. Reuters
Demonstrators protest inside the Parliament building. Reuters
Protesters demonstrate inside the Parliament building. Reuters
Protesters pull down a wall with chains and ropes during a protest against corruption. Reuters
Supporters of Mr Al Sadr carry a person during a protest against corruption in the Green Zone in Baghdad. Reuters
Iraqi security forces stand outside the main gate of Baghdad's Green Zone as demonstrators protest against the nomination of Mohammed Shia Al Sudani as prime minister. AFP
Mr Al Sadr's supporters gather outside the main gate of Baghdad's Green Zone. AFP
Supporters of Mr Al Sadr protest against corruption in Baghdad. Reuters
Protesters break down barricades in Baghdad. Reuters
Supporters of Mr Al Sadr demonstrate in Baghdad. Reuters
Iraqi security forces prepare to meet the demonstrators in Baghdad's Tahrir Square. AFP
Supporters of Mr Al Sadr gather in Baghdad's Tahrir Square to protest against the nomination of Mohammed Shia Al Sudani as prime minister. AFP
Protesters demonstrate in Baghdad. AFP
Mr Al Sadr's supporters walk across a bridge to the Green Zone during a protest against corruption in Baghdad. Reuters

Supporters of Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, head of the Sadrist movement, gather inside Iraq’s Parliament buliding. EPA

Mr Al Sadr has thrown his weight behind anti-government protests in the past only to subsume them under his influence or turn on them completely, as happened during the 2019-2020 protests. More to the point, the relation between political activism and the Sadrists has long been a paradoxical one. On the one hand, Mr Al Sadr possesses the street power, political weight and coercive capital necessary to enable sustained mass protest and political pressure. On the other hand, despite his reformist rhetoric, he is a pillar of the political system and has been pivotal to the formation of every government since 2005. Indeed the Sadrists are as culpable as anyone else in the long list of grievances that animate anti-systemic sentiment from corruption to paramilitary violence to the undermining of the rule of law. Mr Al Sadr’s rhetoric essentially takes aim at a system he has helped create and sustain.

This raises the question of what his aims are moving forward. Mr Al Sadr has demonstrated his ability to paralyse Iraqi politics, but is he capable of building an alternative? He has stated that his goal is to launch a democratic revolution that includes ending consensus government and ethno-sectarian apportionment of office, dissolving parliament, holding new elections, bringing corrupt officials to account, upholding Iraq’s sovereignty and rewriting the constitution. How any of this is to come about is unclear.

This leaves the possibility that, rather than the revolutionary overhaul that many Iraqis hope for, the more likely manifestation of his declared “democratic revolution” would be a reconfiguration of the governing elite bargain in a way that excludes some of his rivals while bringing the system more closely under his overarching authority. In other words, even if Mr Al Sadr succeeds in clipping the CF’s wings and marginalising his Iran-leaning rivals, there is nothing to suggest that he is willing or capable of altering the fundamentals of Iraq’s political economy.

Nor is Mr Al Sadr operating in a vacuum. Beyond pushback from the CF and its Iranian backers, other political actors – Shiite or otherwise – may have reservations about Mr Al Sadr’s project, not least regarding his vow that the “old faces” will have “no presence [in politics] after today”. More generally, many within the political classes will probably be apprehensive about the prospects of a Sadr-dominated system regardless of how they feel about the CF. Ultimately, this is a contest over power and authority within the political system, and it is driven as much by personal rivalries as by political conviction.

In the immediate future, the worst-case scenario would be for the current standoff to spiral into an armed conflict. No one wants such a scenario given the stakes and how much all concerned stand to lose (of course accidental escalation between squabbling armed actors can never be entirely ruled out). This points to a second scenario: Mr Al Sadr reaching a deal with the CF, or parts of it, that excludes or at least marginalises those elements of the CF that Mr Al Sadr is opposed to – particularly his arch-rival, former prime minister Nouri Al Maliki. The third scenario would be for the current caretaker government to continue with a suspended parliament until early elections can be held. This would be more of a fudge than a solution as it raises many technical, legal and constitutional issues, but it does however create more time with which to pave the way for scenario two.

Ultimately, Mr Al Sadr firmly believes that he should be the senior partner in any new government. He will therefore not allow the CF to move ahead with government formation nor is he likely to allow parliament to reconvene without his resigned MPs. The most likely scenario is for a deal of some sort to be reached. The question is, with the ongoing standoff and with possible new elections on the horizon, what will the balance of power within Iraqi politics, and particularly between Shiite political actors be, and who, if anyone, could be sidelined from the bargaining process? With all the anticipation surrounding current events and hopes for revolutionary change – Mr Al Sadr’s power play is already being labelled a revolution by some observers – perhaps the easiest prediction to make is that the political aspirations of the Iraqi people will yet again remain unfulfilled.

The Obama-Iran Deal Finally Ends

Iran nuclear talks end with “final text”

Iran nuclear talks end with “final text”


The Palais Coburg where closed-door nuclear talks took place in Vienna, Austria.Associated Press/Photo by Florian Schroetter, file

Talks between the United States, the European Union, and Iran ended in Vienna on Monday with a “final text” that key negotiators will take back to their governments. The agreement is the result of 16 months of on-and-off negotiations and a weekend of closed-door discussions.

Does that mean the deal will come back? EU Foreign Affairs Chief Josep Borrell said that a final decision on whether the nonproliferation pact actually takes effect rests with the governments of Iran and the United States. The U.S. State Department said that it’s ready to sign any agreement to which Iran’s government will assent. That likely means the final decision on the fate of the deal rests with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran.

Dig deeper: Read Mindy Belz’s report in WORLD magazine about how Christians in Iranian prisons face persecution that the U.S. government can’t prevent.

China upgrades for nuclear horn Revelation 16

China Nuclear Torpedo

China to create doomsday nuclear ‘super torpedo’ to mimic Russia’s tsunami Poseidon

CHINA is set to research the possibility of developing a doomsday nuclear “super torpedo” following Russia’s revelation of their own tsunami-causing Poseidon version of the destructive weapon.

By James Lee

 13:35, Tue, Aug 9, 2022 | UPDATED: 13:48, Tue, Aug 9, 2022

The news comes following a Russian state television threat against the UK of a “nuclear tsunami” over 500m tall being used to wipe out Britain due to its support for Ukraine during the ongoing conflict. Furthermore, Vladimir Putin’s mouthpieces have also promoted the notion of a nuclear strike against London and New York using the feared multi-warhead SATAN II missile, capable of hypersonic speed, and hitting the UK within three minutes.

Recent military attention has been heavily focused on building hypersonic missiles capable of reaching the four corners of the Earth, the US, Russia, China and North Korea are all racing to produce such items.

Yet, the idea of a nuclear torpedo designed at causing a huge tidal wave is relatively new as nations seek to gain the upper hand in ever warming global Cold War.

A report by the Eurasian Times says a Chinese team has now finished the conceptual design for a compact, inexpensive nuclear reactor that would propel a swarm of torpedoes across the Pacific Ocean in about a week.

The proclamations were made in a peer-reviewed Journal of Unmanned Undersea Systems report, a journal published by the largest navy contractor in China, China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation.

Belogrod

Chinese researchers are reportedly proposing to develop a miniature version of the Poseidon autonomous submarine of Russia, the first known underwater drone driven by nuclear energy.

Experts believe the devices, which would be capable of travelling huge distances, would also pose a threat to US interests in the Indo-Pacific.

Russia’s Poseidon is the underwater equivalent of a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile and enjoys an imposing size coupled with the capability of carrying nuclear warheads.

While not as fast as an ICBM, the Poseidon, and any Chinese version of the torpedo would be highly difficult to track and stop should it be deployed in the vastness of the underwater world, in particular, the Pacific Ocean.

China insists its version would be a mini-version of the Poseidon, and could be placed into a typical torpedo tube and launched in huge numbers from virtually any submarine or battleship, in contrast to the Poseidon, which cannot be mass-produced because it is too massive, expensive, and destructive.

Beijing has stepped up its naval presence in the Indo-Pacific and South China Sea following the announcement by the US, UK and Australia to develop nuclear submarines in the South Pacific, a move seen by China as highly inflammatory.

The Chinese mini-torpedo could cruise at a speed of over 30 knots (56 km/h or 35 mph) for 200 hours using a disposable nuclear reactor before being dropped to the seafloor.

From this point on, it will turn to a battery to continue the journey prior to a conventional weapon strike.

This indicates that China does not want to use a nuclear warhead, however, there is no evidence to suggest the weapon could not be adapted to do so at a later stage.

China has also ramped up more conventional weapons in recent times, including the launch of its third aircraft carrier named the “Fujian” after the nearest province to the island of Taiwan in a deliberate attempt to remind Taipei of the “One China Policy.”

Furthermore, China has increased both naval and aerial patrols around the island of Taiwan, with fighter jets being seen close to the island.

The increase in activity was catalysed by the visit to the island of Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

China has condemned the visit and triggered both diplomatic and military protocols as a result, vowing it will continue to flex its muscles in the immediate future.

Russia Suspends U.S. Nuclear Inspections and Expands Her Nuclear Horn

A Russian Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launcher parades through Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in central Moscow on May 9, 2022.
A Russian Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launcher parades through Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in central Moscow on May 9, 2022.

Russia Suspends U.S. Nuclear Inspections

But the Kremlin “doesn’t actually want an arms race” with Washington, experts say.

August 9, 2022, 5:44 PM

In a surprise announcement on Monday, Russia suspended inspections of its nuclear arsenal by the United States, saying it was unable to properly conduct reciprocal assessments of U.S. facilities under the New START agreement because of sanctions and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement is not expected to have any immediate practical repercussions, as inspections under the arms control treaty have been suspended since early 2020 because of the pandemic. But the public announcement and timing, coming midway through a United Nations nonproliferation conference and at a time of heightened U.S.-Russian tensions, left experts scrambling to read the tea leaves as to what may have prompted the announcement.

Russia may have valid concerns over reciprocal inspections, but it may also simply be grandstanding as its war in Ukraine drags into its sixth month. “It’s not clear to me whether Russia wants the issue, or whether it wants the solution,” said James Acton, co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Many bilateral disputes on technical issues such as arms control and inspections regimes would be handled privately, but Russia’s public declarations make it seem as if it wants to further rile tensions with Washington.

“Part of the reason for being a bit pessimistic in this situation is that the fact that Russia has raised this publicly makes me worry a bit that it wants the issue,” he said. 

An announcement posted on the Russian foreign ministry website on Monday said that a ban on commercial Russian air travel to the United States, as well as visa restrictions and the closure of European airspace to Russian flights imposed in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine in February, had inhibited Russian inspectors’ ability to travel to the United States. 

“We would like to underscore that these measures are of a temporary nature. Russia is fully committed to observing all measures within the New START treaty, which is, in our eyes, the most important instrument for maintaining international peace and stability,” the statement read. 

Moscow may have decided to air its grievances in public regarding the site inspections in a bid to force a resolution. “I don’t think the Russian complaints are crazy,” Acton said. “The test that I’ve always applied is, would we be complaining if the shoe was on the other foot? And the answer is probably yes.”

The New START pact came into force in 2011, and, following the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 2019, it is the last bilateral arms control agreement in place between the Cold War foes, though both sides are party to ongoing talks for a fresh Iran nuclear deal. The agreement caps the number of long-range nuclear missiles each country can deploy and allows for up to 18 onsite visits per year. While Moscow has signaled that it will suspend access to its nuclear weapons facilities, the Russian authorities have been diligent in sending routine notifications each time one of their missiles is moved for maintenance or modernization, a transparency measure agreed upon under the treaty.

“They have been very, very good in the months since the invasion in fulfilling their other New START implementation requirements, which include sending the U.S. regular notifications of their weapons system movements,” said Rose Gottemoeller, who was the chief U.S. negotiator of the treaty. 

“I take seriously that they said in their announcement that this is by no means the final word, that they want to continue working on this,” she said. 

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian officials and anchors on state television have routinely made veiled threats to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine or beyond. Despite the incendiary rhetoric, experts agreed that behind closed doors Moscow is quietly committed to nuclear arms control. “My impression has always been that the Russian government really valued New START. For all Russia’s bluff and bluster, it doesn’t actually want an arms race with the United States,” Acton said. 

Still, even as experts are optimistic about the long-term arms control forecast, Russia’s action is another blow to nuclear talks between the superpowers, one of the Biden administration’s top foreign-policy priorities, which have taken a body blow since the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February. After meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva last summer, U.S. President Joe Biden had initially hoped to resuscitate wide-scale arms control talks with the Russians, known as the Strategic Stability Dialogue. The idea was to find a successor to New START, which expires in 2026, as well as cover novel weapons systems, such as cyberweapons. New START does not cover a host of new Russian nuclear weapons systems first unveiled by Putin in 2018, such as nuclear-powered cruise missiles and air-launched ballistic missiles.

But the talks quickly began to nosedive as the Kremlin drumbeat for war with Ukraine grew louder in the closing months of 2021. American officials familiar with the talks said that Russia began to use the talks to score points outside of the lane of arms control, including to air long-standing grievances about NATO’s military posture in Europe. 

In the hours after Putin announced the official recognition of the self-declared pro-Russian Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, the U.S. State Department curtailed the multitrack arms talks for the foreseeable future. Some celebrated the move as the U.S. administration closing off a lane for Moscow to gain policy leverage over Washington; the Obama administration also temporarily froze arms control talks with Russia after the 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. In the months since, Russia has increased its nuclear finger-wagging, suggesting it could deploy nuclear-capable Iskander missiles to Belarus, which sits on the northern border of Ukraine, and it staged drills of its nuclear forces near Moscow, in a saber-rattling move that unnerved policymakers in Washington. 

“It seems that the deterioration of relations between the U.S. and Russia got to the point where nothing is safe,” said Andrey Baklitskiy, a senior researcher with the weapons of mass destruction program at the U.N. Institute for Disarmament Research. “In retrospect it was somewhat naïve to expect that business as usual will continue regarding the New START when everything else from cooperation on the International Space Station to the work at the U.N. was falling apart.”