The United States Geological Survey says the 3.3 magnitude quake hit several mikes south of the town of Ormstown, Quebec a little after 5:30 A.M. There are some slightly conflicting reports, as the Montreal Gazette reports that the quake was a 3.6 magnitude. Ormstown is located around 20 minutes north of the New York border.
The Times Union says the quake was felt as far south as the town of Ticonderoga in Essex County, and as far west as the city of Ogdensburg on the New York-Ontario border. The effects were also felt as far north as Montreal.
Some strike even closer to home. In April 2017, a 1.3 tremor occurred around two and half miles west of Pawling. In early 2016, an even smaller quake happened near Port Chester and Greenwich, CT. In the summer of 2019, a quake struck off the New Jersey coast.
China’s top nuclear weapons lab has bought and used American chips in its research despite being blacklisted by the U.S in 1997
Dan Strumpf Jan.Tremec T-45 five-speed manual transmissions in their ’97 Mustang GTs, but the reality of daily commuting no doubt inspired this car’s original purchaser to get the four-speed automatic.traveled to Murdoch’s town of Dalbeattie to apologize to his then-80-year-old nephew for the way the film portrayed Murdoch.RELATED: Sotheby’s ‘The One’ auction to feature Princess Diana dress, JFK birthday invitation and more Designed by couturier Victor Edelstein, the strapless number features a sculptural sweetheart neckline and a tulip-shaped skirt.
29, 2023 9:00 am ET SINGAPORE—China’s top nuclear-weapons research institute has bought sophisticated U.S.The cheapest V6 Mustang coupe started at $15,335 that year ($28,695 today), while the more powerful SVT Cobra convertible cost $28,135 ($52,645 now).computer chips at least a dozen times in the past two and half years, circumventing decades-old American export restrictions meant to curb such sales.There are countless other posts “debunking” mistakes, some of which are correct, and others that add more errors to the narrative surrounding the movie ‘Titanic.A Wall Street Journal review of procurement documents found that the state-run China Academy of Engineering Physics has managed to obtain the semiconductors made by U.The original buyer of this car probably opted for the $1,685 ($3,153 after inflation) Preferred Equipment package, which included A/C, an AM/FM/cassette audio system, power windows, and ABS.S.In the Vanity Fair story, photographed by Mario Testino, the magazine focused on the auction, calling her decision to sell the dresses “a powerful symbol of her changing life” in the wake of her high-profile divorce from Prince Charles, as she was “jettisoning a life that never was.
companies such as Intel Corp.The driver’s seat upholstery is a bit tattered, but otherwise the interior looks good.” uscurrency.and Nvidia Corp.since 2020 despite its placement on a U.It appears that the car hit a glancing but solid blow into something made of concrete.S.gov/sites/default/files/downloadable-materials/files/en/20-1914-1990-features-en.export blacklist in 1997.Let’s hope that the occupants had their belts on.Edelstein was also behind Diana’s midnight blue “Travolta Dress” – the long velvet gown she famously danced in with the actor while at the White House – which sold for 264,000 ($347,000) in 2019 to a charity after failing to sell at auction.
i24NEWSJanuary 29, 2023 at 01:13 PMlatest revision January 29, 2023 at 08:38 PM
The convoy numbering some 25 trucks was hit after it passed through a border crossing controlled by the Hezbollah terrorist group
A convoy of weapons crossing the border from Syria to Iraq was targeted by airstrikes on Sunday evening, the Saudi al-Arabiya channel reported, alleging that Israel was behind the attack.
According to the report, the convoy numbering some 25 trucks loaded up with munitions was hit after it passed through a border crossing controlled by the Hezbollah terrorist group, a proxy of the Iranian mullah regime. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
The attack came amid heightened tensions between Iran and the West over Tehran’s nuclear activity and its supply of arms—including long-range “suicide drones”—for Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, as well as months of anti-government demonstrations at home.
There is a growing consensus that talks between Iran and world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear deal have failed. Under the pact, abandoned by Washington in 2018 under then-US president Donald Trump, Tehran agreed to limit nuclear work in return for easing of sanctions.
Former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo’s disclosure that Pakistan and India had gotten closer to a ‘nuclear conflagration’ in February 2019 and that only Washington’s intervention prevented an escalation between them makes it more urgent for the two nuclear states and the international community to pre-empt any future outbreak of the catastrophe that is liable to threaten life on the Subcontinent.
On the other hand, two other fresh statements, one from Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and another from former President Asif Ali Zardari, have, addressed the importance of good fraternal relations between the two neighbors, whose people otherwise have a history of shared culture and social values, baring the past 75 years, during which political expediency made them bitter enemies.
“I do not think the world properly knows just how closely the India-Pakistan rivalry came to spilling over into a nuclear conflagration in February 2019,” Pompeo wrote in his memoir, Never Give an Inch, citing the outbreak of hostility four years ago following an Indian airstrike, which the Indian media had described as ‘deep inside Pakistan.’
In retaliation for a suicide attack on a bus carrying 44 Indian Central Reserve Police Force personnel in Kupwara district of Kashmiri Valley earlier this month, India struck what it described as a Kashmiri militants’ training camp in the Balakot area of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Jaish-e-Muhammad, the militant group led by Maulana Masoud Azhar, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Pompeo, who has also served as CIA chief, narrated how both India and Pakistan had started to deploy their nuclear warheads and how the then-Trump administration mobilized both to de-escalate. Media reports about the disclosure have not been disputed either by Islamabad or New Delhi. It is understandable in the light of the past wars and rivalries between the two countries that none of them would refrain if they could cause harm to the other.
However, in the long history of antagonism between the two countries, there have also been occasions when good sense has prevailed on both sides, and they have come quite close to striking agreements. During the tenure of former President Pervez Musharraf, India and Pakistan agreed on several confidence-building measures (CBMs), including restoring bus service between the two parts of Kashmir and Samjotha train service between New Delhi and Lahore. Besides the resumption of people-to-people contacts and trade interactions, the two countries had also gotten closer to signing a deal on the status of Jammu and Kashmir.
Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri, the then Foreign Minister, had even been airing the glad tidings of the two countries being on the brink of signing an agreement. But as expected in such an equation, the hawks finally prevailed over the doves, and the talks collapsed in Agra in July 2001. Earlier in February 1999, the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had invited his Indian counterpart, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to the Lahore Summit, during which both sides signed the historic Lahore Declaration, agreeing on several steps to normalize relations. But negativity won once again and the process of normalization was subverted. Signs of positivity are once again visible on the ground now. “We have three wars with India and it only brought more misery, poverty and unemployment to the people. We have learned our lesson, and we want to live in peace, provided we can resolve our genuine problems,” Shahbaz Sharif said, speaking of Kashmir as the core issue.
Much water has flown into Indus and Ganges since the 1971 and 1965 wars while the added years of miseries and impasse are perturbing those dreaming of a prosperous South Asia, serving as the hub of connectivity between Central Asia and South-East Asia.
In a recent video interview, Asif Ali Zardari recalled the good old times when ‘people used to travel from India to Europe’ urging the need for openness between the regional countries. While the political standoff between India and Pakistan has caused a sharp divide between South Asia and the Eurasian heartland, the decades of wars in Afghanistan and the big powers’ hegemonic wrangling for regional supremacy have put a stumbling block to Asia’s dream to pursue the suit of Europe, which, after centuries of savage enmities, finally realized the need to live in peace and harmony.
The fact that India and Pakistan are the central players, along with Afghanistan, in the unification of Asia, the two countries have a burden of history on their shoulders to look beyond their political expediencies and resolve problems amicably. There have been multiple proposals for Kashmir settlement in the past, one being the holding of separate regional plebiscites in Jammu, Srinagar and Ladakh and another to make Jammu River a permanent border between the two parts of Kashmir. Other options might also emerge when the two sides sit around the negotiation table.
But the first step in that direction is to restore trust between Islamabad and New Delhi. Trade and economic relations need to be instantly restored between the two countries, besides promoting people-to-people contacts, and cultural exchanges, and easing visa restrictions for businessmen, media representatives, professors, lawyers, students, and civil society activists. To allow that to happen, the two countries first need to clip the wings of their browbeating hawks, which see their vested interests best materialized in wars and destructions. End
He writer is an independent freelance journalist based in Islamabad covering South Asia/ Central Asia.
Issued on: 28/01/2023 – 10:42Modified: 29/01/2023 – 19:18
Jerusalem (AFP) – Israeli forces Sunday prepared for the demolition of the east Jerusalem family home of a Palestinian man who killed seven people near a synagogue, as part of measures to punish the relatives of attackers.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was due in Jerusalem on Monday to discuss steps for de-escalation, while Pope Francis on Sunday decried the “death spiral” and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged “maximum responsibility” in calls with his Israeli and Palestinian counterparts.
In the wake of two shooting attacks targeting Israelis, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet moved to punish “the families of terrorists that support terrorism”.
In the first concrete move, Netanyahu’s cabinet said the east Jerusalem home of Khayri Alqam, 21 — who was shot dead by police following Friday’s attack — “will be sealed immediately ahead of its demolition”.
An AFP correspondent saw Israeli forces on the property after they shuttered its entrances, with Palestinians clearing out their belongings.
Alqam’s mother was one of five people who remained in custody Sunday, police said, out of 42 suspects arrested after the shooting in the settlement of Neve Yaakov.
Although Israel already routinely demolishes the homes of Palestinians who kill Israelis, the process requires prior notice to families and allows for an appeals process.
Dani Shenhar, a legal expert at Israeli rights group HaMoked, said sealing off Alqam’s home overnight demonstrated the government’s desire for “revenge against the families”.
The government went one step further on Sunday, announcing that the home of a 13-year-old boy who shot two Israelis would also be sealed off “even though his attack caused severe injury to its victims and not their deaths”.
The boy was shot and detained after the attack in Silwan neighbourhood just outside east Jerusalem’s walled Old City.
The punitive measures announced are in line with proposals from Netanyahu’s extreme-right political partners, whose support enabled him to return to power in late December.
They are likely to apply primarily to Palestinians with Israeli nationality, known as Arab Israelis, and Palestinians with residency permits for annexed east Jerusalem.
Revoking Israeli identity cards of the relatives of attackers was on the agenda Sunday at Netanyahu’s weekly cabinet meeting.
The government also plans to make it easier for Israeli citizens to obtain permits to carry firearms.
The Jerusalem attacks came after the deadliest raid by Israeli forces in the West Bank in nearly two decades killed 10 Palestinians.
Israel said Thursday’s raid in Jenin targeted operatives from Islamic Jihad, which along with Hamas later fired several rockets from Gaza, prompting Israeli retaliatory strikes on Hamas sites. No casualties were reported.
Since the start of the year, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has claimed the lives of 34 Palestinian adults and children — including attackers, militants and civilians.
Friday’s shooting was the first fatal attack targeting Israelis this year and killed six Israeli civilians, including a child, and one Ukrainian citizen.
Way back in 2001-02, wealthy ladies in the US and the UK who were in their sunset years got subjected to a barrage of news reports about a nuclear catastrophe that was soon to befall the world in the shape of radioactive fallout. India and Pakistan were at the cusp of launching nuclear attacks against each other, and the resulting fallout would even reach the UK and the US, thereby cutting short the already limited time that such well-meaning ladies had on the planet. What was the way out? “Non-proliferation” think-tanks acted in the manner of quacks dispensing cure-all medicines in the past, medicines that were worse than placebos in that they not only did not heal but harmed anyone who took them. At soirees and lunches, those involved in getting funding for such think-tanks spoke with emphasis about how the Doomsday Clock was almost at midnight, in case the think-tanks in question did not get bursts of funding to inter alia visit India and Pakistan and keep the two nuclear powers away from making much of the world even more uninhabitable than it already was. Ironically, it was these very think-tanks that had peddled the view to policymakers in the countries where they were located that the US and other Atlanticist countries should look away from the transfers of nuclear technology and materials together with missile systems from China (often via North Korea) to Pakistan. The theory was that once Pakistan became a nuclear power, India would be so jittery that it would agree for the trade-off that both countries relinquish their nuclear programmes. They claimed that the best way to persuade India to de-nuclearise was to look the other way while Pakistan was being gifted that capability by that great friend of the US at the time, the People’s Republic of China. As with so many of the theories spun by the non-proliferation lobbies in the US in particular, this one too did not work. The closer Pakistan came to becoming a consequential nuclear power, the greater the impetus in India to go further along the road to improve its nuclear and missile capabilities At the time of the imaginary nuclear crisis of 2001-02, this columnist pointed out in the Washington Times among other newspapers that any talk of Pakistan initiating a nuclear exchange with India was delusional. The generals in Pakistan, brimming with their New York condos and plush private housing in Rawalpindi and elsewhere had no interest in watching such assets be placed at risk by launching a nuclear attack on India that would invite retaliation such as would extinguish Pakistan as a functioning state. Pakistan’s generals, who are busy in adding to their wealth overseas and their power domestically, are very rational actors. The term “actor” is apt, in that they remain experts in convincing policymakers in the western world that they are only seconds away from pressing the nuclear button by the side of the Chief of Army Staff at Rawalpindi GHQ. Among the many US Secretaries of State who have been bamboozled by such misleading threats from the generals in Pakistan is apparently Mike Pompeo when he was in that role. Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the first time in India punctured the balloon of such nuclear blackmail when he approved the Balakot strike in 2019, to the shock of GHQ Rawalpindi. It is clear that as usual, they turned to Washington for rescue, using the usual warning that if India did not desist, a nuclear attack would follow. On contacting the External Affairs Minister about this impending disaster, the sensible reply was that in that case, Pakistan would suffer unbearable consequences. This was a polite way of the EAM telling the otherwise very capable and astute US Secretary of State that he was mistaken in the way he took Pakistan’s nuclear bluff seriously. Whether it be to prevent retaliation from India for acts of terror against the world’s most populous democracy or to get more money from western donors, nuclear blackmail has become a standard weapon of army-ruled Pakistan as resort to terrorism has long been. While resorting to terror by Pakistan needs to be eliminated by the international community, nuclear blackmail should not be given any reward in the form of concessions. Rather, those making such threats need to come under international sanctions. MDN
How vulnerable are NYC’s underwater subway tunnels to flooding?Ashley Fetters New York City is full of peculiar phenomena—rickety fire escapes; 100-year-old subway tunnels; air conditioners propped perilously into window frames—that can strike fear into the heart of even the toughest city denizen. But should they? Every month, writer Ashley Fetters will be exploring—and debunking—these New York-specific fears, letting you know what you should actually worry about, and what anxieties you can simply let slip away. The 25-minute subway commute from Crown Heights to the Financial District on the 2/3 line is, in my experience, a surprisingly peaceful start to the workday—save for one 3,100-foot stretch between the Clark Street and Wall Street stations, where for three minutes I sit wondering what the probability is that I will soon die a torturous, claustrophobic drowning death right here in this subway car. The Clark Street Tunnel, opened in 1916, is one of approximately a dozen tunnels that escort MTA passengers from one borough to the next underwater—and just about all of them, with the exception of the 1989 addition of the 63rd Street F train tunnel, were constructed between 1900 and 1936. Each day, thousands of New Yorkers venture across the East River and back again through these tubes buried deep in the riverbed, some of which are nearing or even past their 100th birthdays. Are they wrong to ponder their own mortality while picturing one of these watery catacombs suddenly springing a leak? Mostly yes, they are, says Michael Horodniceanu, the former president of MTA Capital Construction and current principal of Urban Advisory Group. First, it’s important to remember that the subway tunnel is built under the riverbed, not just in the river—so what immediately surrounds the tunnel isn’t water but some 25 feet of soil. “There’s a lot of dirt on top of it,” Horodniceanu says. “It’s well into the bed of the bottom of the channel.” And second, as Angus Kress Gillespie, author of Crossing Under the Hudson: The Story of the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, points out, New York’s underwater subway tunnels are designed to withstand some leaking. And withstand it they do: Pumps placed below the floor of the tunnel, he says, are always running, always diverting water seepage into the sewers. (Horodniceanu says the amount of water these pumps divert into the sewer system each day numbers in the thousands of gallons.) Additionally, MTA crews routinely repair the grouting and caulking, and often inject a substance into the walls that creates a waterproof membrane outside the tunnel—which keeps water out of the tunnel and relieves any water pressure acting on its walls. New tunnels, Horodniceanu points out, are even built with an outside waterproofing membrane that works like an umbrella: Water goes around it, it falls to the sides, and then it gets channeled into a pumping station and pumped out. Of course, the classic New York nightmare scenario isn’t just a cute little trickle finding its way in. The anxiety daydream usually involves something sinister, or seismic. The good news, however, is that while an earthquake or explosion would indeed be bad for many reasons, it likely wouldn’t result in the frantic flooding horror scene that plays out in some commuters’ imaginations. The Montague Tube, which sustained severe damage during Hurricane Sandy. MTA New York City Transit / Marc A. Hermann Horodniceanu assures me that tunnels built more recently are “built to withstand a seismic event.” The older tunnels, however—like, um, the Clark Street Tunnel—“were not seismically retrofitted, let me put it that way,” Horodniceanu says. “But the way they were built is in such a way that I do not believe an earthquake would affect them.” They aren’t deep enough in the ground, anyway, he says, to be too intensely affected by a seismic event. (The MTA did not respond to a request for comment.) One of the only real threats to tunnel infrastructure, Horodniceanu adds, is extreme weather. Hurricane Sandy, for example, caused flooding in the tunnels, which “created problems with the infrastructure.” He continues, “The tunnels have to be rebuilt as a result of saltwater corroding the infrastructure.” Still, he points out, hurricanes don’t exactly happen with no warning. So while Hurricane Sandy did cause major trauma to the tunnels, train traffic could be stopped with ample time to keep passengers out of harm’s way. In 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed all the MTA’s mass transit services to shut down at 7 p.m. the night before Hurricane Sandy was expected to hit New York City. And Gillespie, for his part, doubts even an explosion would result in sudden, dangerous flooding. A subway tunnel is not a closed system, he points out; it’s like a pipe that’s open at both ends. “The force of a blast would go forwards and backwards out the exit,” he says. So the subway-train version of that terrifying Holland Tunnel flood scene in Sylvester Stallone’s Daylight is … unrealistic, right? “Yeah,” Gillespie laughs. “Yeah. It is.” Got a weird New York anxiety that you want explored? E-mail email@example.com, and we may include it in a future column.
A contingent of military officials is quietly pushing the Pentagon to approve sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine to help the country defend itself from Russian missile and drone attacks, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions.
Ukraine has kept American-made F-16s on its weapons wish list since the Russian invasion last year. But Washington and Kyiv have viewed artillery, armor and ground-based air defense systems as more urgent needs as Ukraine seeks to protect civilian infrastructure and claw back ground occupied by Russian forces.
As Ukraine prepares to launch a new offensive to retake territory in the spring, the campaign inside the Defense Department for fighter jets is gaining momentum, according to a DoD official and two other people involved in the discussions. Those people, along with others interviewed for this story, asked not to be named in order to discuss internal matters.
Spurred in part by the rapid approval of tanks and Patriot air defense systems — which not long ago were off-limits for export to Ukraine — there is renewed optimism in Kyiv that U.S. jets could be next up.
Biden announces U.S. will send Abrams tanks to UkraineShare
“I don’t think we are opposed,” said a senior DoD official about the F-16s, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive debate. The person stressed that there has been no final decision.
However, Ukraine has yet to declare that fighter jets are its top priority, the official stressed, noting that the Pentagon is focused on sending Kyiv the capabilities it needs for the immediate fight.
But fighter jets may be moving to the top spot soon. Kyiv has renewed its request for modern fighters in recent days, with a top adviser to the country’s defense minister telling media outlets that officials will push for jets from the U.S. and European countries.
One adviser to the Ukrainian government said the subject has been raised with Washington, but there has been “nothing too serious” on the table yet. Another person familiar with the conversations between Washington and Kyiv said it could take “weeks” for the U.S. to make a decision on shipments of its own jets and approve the re-export of the F-16s from other countries.
“If we get them, the advantages on the battlefield will be just immense. … It’s not just F-16s: fourth generation aircraft, this is what we want,” Yuriy Sak, who advises Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov, told Reuters.
A White House spokesperson declined to comment for this story, but pointed to remarks by deputy national security adviser Jon Finer. He said the U.S. would be discussing fighter jets “very carefully” with Kyiv and its allies.
“We have not ruled in or out any specific systems,” Finer said on MSNBC Thursday.
“We have nothing to announce regarding F-16s,” said a DOD spokesperson. “As always, we’ll continue to consult closely with the Ukrainians and our international Allies and partners on Ukraine’s security assistance needs to enable them to defend their country.”
Ukraine wants modern fighters — U.S. Air Force F-16s or F-15s, or their European equivalents the German Tornado or Swedish Gripen — to replace its fleet of Soviet-era jets. Dozens of the more modern planes will become available over the next year as countries such as Finland, Germany and the Netherlands upgrade to U.S. F-35 fighters.
Despite the age of Ukraine’s jets, Kyiv’s integrated air defenses have kept Russia from dominating its skies since the Feb. 24 invasion.
But now, officials are concerned that Ukraine is running out of missiles to protect its skies. Once its arsenal is depleted, Russia’s advanced fighter jets will be able to move in and Kyiv “will not be able to compete,” said the DoD official involved in the discussions.
Modern fighter jets could be one solution to this problem, argues a group of military officials in the Pentagon and elsewhere. F-16s carry air-to-air missiles that can shoot down incoming missiles and drones. And unlike the Patriots and National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems the West is currently sending, fighter jets can move around an area quickly to protect different targets.
“If they get [F-16] Vipers and they have an active air-to-air missile with the radar the F-16 currently has with some electronic protection, now it’s an even game,” the DoD official said.
Even if the U.S. decided not to send the Air Force’s F-16s, other Western nations have American-made fighters they could supply. For example, Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Wopke Hoekstra told the Dutch parliament last week that his Cabinet would look at supplying F-16s, if Kyiv requests them. But the U.S. must approve the transfer.
Senior Pentagon officials acknowledge that Ukraine needs new aircraft for the long term. But for now, some argue that Ukraine has a greater need for more traditional air defenses, such as the Patriots and NASAMs that the U.S. and other countries are supplying, because jets may take months to arrive.
Sending Ukraine F-16s “does not solve the cruise missile or drone problem right now,” the senior DoD official said.
Big push for training
Others say the need for fighter jets is more urgent. Ukraine has identified a list of up to 50 pilots who are ready now to start training on the F-16, according to a DoD official and a Ukrainian official, as well as three other people familiar with the discussions. These seasoned pilots speak English and have thousands of combat missions under their belts, and could be trained in as little as three months, the people said.
Many of them have already trained with the U.S. military in major exercises before the invasion. In 2011 and 2018, Americans and Ukrainians participated in military drills in the skies over Ukraine. In 2011, the Americans brought over their F-16s and taught the Ukrainian pilots, in their MiG-29s and Su-27s, how to protect a stadium in preparation for the 2012 Euro Cup.
After Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014, the U.S. and Ukraine held a second joint 2018 exercise aimed at teaching Ukrainian pilots homeland defense tactics and controlling the skies. The American pilots used their F-15s to replicate Russian fighter tactics.
Ukraine is pushing the U.S. to start training its fighter pilots on the F-16s now, before President Joe Biden approves supplying the jets, according to the Ukrainian official and one of the people familiar. But there is no appetite in the Pentagon for this proposal, U.S. officials said. One alternative under discussion at lower levels is to start training Ukrainian pilots on introductory fighter tactics in trainer jets.
Ukraine has also considered contracting with private companies in the U.S. to begin training pilots, according to one of the people familiar with the matter.
It’s likely U.S. military training would not start without a presidential decision to supply American fighters. One concern for the Biden administration all along is that sending advanced weapons could be seen by Russia as an escalation, prompting Vladimir Putin to use nuclear weapons.
But officials point out that the F-16 was first built in the 1980s, and the Air Force is already retiring parts of the fleet. While sending Ukraine the stealthy American F-22s or F-35s would be considered escalatory, sending F-16s would not, they said.
“Let’s face it, a nuclear war isn’t going to happen over F-16s,” the DoD official said.
One European official agreed, saying F-16s “cannot be considered escalatory.”
“It’s simply part of the toolkit of having conventional weapons,” the person said.
Yet F-16s are complex systems that also require massive infrastructure and highly skilled technicians to operate and maintain. Training Ukrainian maintainers would likely take longer than training the pilots, and the U.S. may need to bring in contractors to do some of that instruction.
Providing F-16s is likely to win some support on Capitol Hill, where Democrats and Republicans alike have chided the administration for not moving quickly enough or for withholding certain capabilities, such as longer-range artillery. Sending Russian-made MiG fighters to Ukraine, via Eastern European countries that still fly them, won bipartisan support, though a weapons swap ultimately never came to fruition.
Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), who co-chairs the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, said he’s “not against” providing F-16s to Kyiv, but broadly favors providing Ukraine with “whatever works.”
“You can’t half-ass a war. Putin’s not. You’ve got to meet Putin armor for armor, weapon for weapon, because there’s already an extraordinary disadvantage in number of troops,” Quigley said. “Whatever works, whatever they need, send to them.
“My message when I first started talking about this is what were once vices are now habits,” he said. “Everything we ever proposed was seen as escalatory.”
But the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.), cast doubt on the need to send F-16s into the conflict, where fighters haven’t proved pivotal.
“I’m not opposed to it,” Smith said. “It’s just not at the top of the list of anybody’s priorities who’s focused on what [weapons] the fight really needs right now.”
He noted that F-16s, much like older MiG jets debated last year, would be vulnerable to Russian air defenses and fifth-generation fighters. Instead, Smith underscored the need to supply ammunition for air defense batteries, longer-range missiles, tanks and armored vehicles.
“What we really need to be focused on is air defense, number one,” he said. “And number two, artillery.”
The decision to move the hand forward resulted from the progressive interconnected threats of nuclear war, climate change, and global pandemics coupled with the current war in Ukraine.
The risk of nuclear war — either by accident, intent, or miscalculation — is ever heightened in today’s world. Each of the nuclear nations is modernizing their nuclear arsenals, erroneously thinking that these weapons will make them safer or that there can be a winner in a nuclear war.
The non-nuclear nations of the world are refusing to be held hostage, bullied by the nuclear nations, and are moving forward to abolish these weapons by ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This treaty makes it illegal to use, stockpile, build, transfer, or threaten to use nuclear weapons — and just this past Sunday celebrated its second anniversary since entering into force. Currently 92 nations have signed the Treaty with 68 nations having ratified it. These countries understand the growing danger of these interrelated issues and the reality that there is no adequate medical or humanitarian response to even a limited use of nuclear weapons.
By contrast, the legal obligation to work in good faith to abolish nuclear weapons under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons, (NPT) has been ignored by the nuclear nations. Our national elected officials lacking the courage to take the bold initiatives necessary to reverse the arms race, and funded by the very manufacturers of these weapons, have made little progress, if any, toward reducing the nuclear threat.
Ultimately, it is up to the people to build the political will — and provide the political cover — for our elected officials to take these necessary steps.
While most reasonable people understand the need to abolish these weapons, few officials have been willing to suggest elimination as a first step. Fortunately, there is a voice of reason in a growing grassroots coalition in the United States, endorsed by 426 organizations, 66 cities and 7 state legislative bodies along with 329 local, state and federal elected officials. This Back from the Brink movement supports the elimination of nuclear weapons through a negotiated, verifiable time-bound process with the common sense precautionary measures necessary during the process to prevent nuclear war. It calls on the U.S. to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by:
1. Actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear armed states to eliminate their arsenals; 2. Renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first; 3. Ending the sole, unchecked authority of any U.S. President to launch a nuclear attack; 4. Taking U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert; 5. Cancelling the plan to replace the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal with enhanced weapons.
Back from the Brink can be endorsed by all persons and will be reintroduced into our national legislative process in the weeks to come.
Each of us has a role to play in the final outcome.
Remaining silent implies consent with the status quo. We must demand that our elected officials endorse these bills and work together for our future with the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. It’s 90 seconds till midnight.
Robert Dodge, M.D., is a family physician practicing in Ventura, Calif. He is the President of Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles (www.psr-la.org), and sits on the National Board serving as the Co-Chair of the Committee to Abolish Nuclear Weapons of National Physicians for Social Responsibility (www.psr.org). Physicians for Social Responsibility received the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize and is a partner organization of ICAN, recipient of the 2017 Nobel Peace Price. Dodge also sits on the Steering Committee of Back from the Brink.