Preparing for the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Scenario Earthquakes for Urban Areas Along the Atlantic Seaboard of the United States

The Sixth Seal: NY City DestroyedIf today a magnitude 6 earthquake were to occur centered on New York City, what would its effects be? Will the loss be 10 or 100 billion dollars? Will there be 10 or 10,000 fatalities? Will there be 1,000 or 100,000 homeless needing shelter? Can government function, provide assistance, and maintain order?

At this time, no satisfactory answers to these questions are available. A few years ago, rudimentary scenario studies were made for Boston and New York with limited scope and uncertain results. For most eastern cities, including Washington D.C., we know even less about the economic, societal and political impacts from significant earthquakes, whatever their rate of occurrence.

Why do we know so little about such vital public issues? Because the public has been lulled into believing that seriously damaging quakes are so unlikely in the east that in essence we do not need to consider them. We shall examine the validity of this widely held opinion.

Is the public’s earthquake awareness (or lack thereof) controlled by perceived low SeismicitySeismicHazard, or SeismicRisk? How do these three seismic features differ from, and relate to each other? In many portions of California, earthquake awareness is refreshed in a major way about once every decade (and in some places even more often) by virtually every person experiencing a damaging event. The occurrence of earthquakes of given magnitudes in time and space, not withstanding their effects, are the manifestations of seismicity. Ground shaking, faulting, landslides or soil liquefaction are the manifestations of seismic hazard. Damage to structures, and loss of life, limb, material assets, business and services are the manifestations of seismic risk. By sheer experience, California’s public understands fairly well these three interconnected manifestations of the earthquake phenomenon. This awareness is reflected in public policy, enforcement of seismic regulations, and preparedness in both the public and private sector. In the eastern U.S., the public and its decision makers generally do not understand them because of inexperience. Judging seismic risk by rates of seismicity alone (which are low in the east but high in the west) has undoubtedly contributed to the public’s tendency to belittle the seismic loss potential for eastern urban regions.

Let us compare two hypothetical locations, one in California and one in New York City. Assume the location in California does experience, on average, one M = 6 every 10 years, compared to New York once every 1,000 years. This implies a ratio of rates of seismicity of 100:1. Does that mean the ratio of expected losses (when annualized per year) is also 100:1? Most likely not. That ratio may be closer to 10:1, which seems to imply that taking our clues from seismicity alone may lead to an underestimation of the potential seismic risks in the east. Why should this be so?

To check the assertion, let us make a back-of-the-envelope estimate. The expected seismic risk for a given area is defined as the area-integrated product of: seismic hazard (expected shaking level), assets ($ and people), and the assets’ vulnerabilities (that is, their expected fractional loss given a certain hazard – say, shaking level). Thus, if we have a 100 times lower seismicity rate in New York compared to California, which at any given point from a given quake may yield a 2 times higher shaking level in New York compared to California because ground motions in the east are known to differ from those in the west; and if we have a 2 times higher asset density (a modest assumption for Manhattan!), and a 2 times higher vulnerability (again a modest assumption when considering the large stock of unreinforced masonry buildings and aged infrastructure in New York), then our California/New York ratio for annualized loss potential may be on the order of (100/(2x2x2)):1. That implies about a 12:1 risk ratio between the California and New York location, compared to a 100:1 ratio in seismicity rates.

From this example it appears that seismic awareness in the east may be more controlled by the rate of seismicity than by the less well understood risk potential. This misunderstanding is one of the reasons why earthquake awareness and preparedness in the densely populated east is so disproportionally low relative to its seismic loss potential. Rare but potentially catastrophic losses in the east compete in attention with more frequent moderate losses in the west. New York City is the paramount example of a low-probability, high-impact seismic risk, the sort of risk that is hard to insure against, or mobilize public action to reduce the risks.

There are basically two ways to respond. One is to do little and wait until one or more disastrous events occur. Then react to these – albeit disastrous – “windows of opportunity.” That is, pay after the unmitigated facts, rather than attempt to control their outcome. This is a high-stakes approach, considering the evolved state of the economy. The other approach is to invest in mitigation ahead of time, and use scientific knowledge and inference, education, technology transfer, and combine it with a mixture of regulatory and/or economic incentives to implement earthquake preparedness. The National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (NEHRP) has attempted the latter while much of the public tends to cling to the former of the two options. Realistic and reliable quantitative loss estimation techniques are essential to evaluate the relative merits of the two approaches.

The current efforts in the eastern U.S., including New York City, to start the enforcement of seismic building codes for new constructions are important first steps in the right direction. Similarly, the emerging efforts to include seismic rehabilitation strategies in the generally needed overhaul of the cities’ aged infrastructures such as bridges, water, sewer, power and transportation is commendable and needs to be pursued with diligence and persistence. But at the current pace of new construction replacing older buildings and lifelines, it will take many decades or a century before a major fraction of the stock of built assets will become seismically more resilient than the current inventory is. For some time, this leaves society exposed to very high seismic risks. The only consolation is that seismicity on average is low, and, hence with some luck, the earthquakes will not outpace any ongoing efforts to make eastern cities more earthquake resilient gradually. Nevertheless, M = 5 to M = 6 earthquakes at distances of tens of km must be considered a credible risk at almost any time for cities like Boston, New York or Philadelphia. M = 7 events, while possible, are much less likely; and in many respects, even if building codes will have affected the resilience of a future improved building stock, M = 7 events would cause virtually unmanageable situations. Given these bleak prospects, it will be necessary to focus on crucial elements such as maintaining access to cities by strengthening critical bridges, improving the structural and nonstructural performance of hospitals, and having a nationally supported plan how to assist a devastated region in case of a truly severe earthquake. No realistic and coordinated planning of this sort exists at this time for most eastern cities.

The current efforts by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) via the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) to provide a standard methodology (RMS, 1994) and planning tools for making systematic, computerized loss estimates for annualized probabilistic calculations as well as for individual scenario events, is commendable. But these new tools provide only a shell with little regional data content. What is needed are the detailed data bases on inventory of buildings and lifelines with their locally specific seismic fragility properties.Similar data are needed for hospitals, shelters, firehouses, police stations and other emergency service providers. Moreover, the soil and rock conditions which control the shaking and soil liquefaction properties for any given event, need to be systematically compiled into Geographical Information System (GIS) data bases so they can be combined with the inventory of built assets for quantitative loss and impact estimates. Even under the best of conceivable funding conditions, it will take years before such data bases can be established so they will be sufficiently reliable and detailed to perform realistic and credible loss scenarios. Without such planning tools, society will remain in the dark as to what it may encounter from a future major eastern earthquake. Given these uncertainties, and despite them, both the public and private sector must develop at least some basic concepts for contingency plans. For instance, the New York City financial service industry, from banks to the stock and bond markets and beyond, ought to consider operational contingency planning, first in terms of strengthening their operational facilities, but also for temporary backup operations until operations in the designated facilities can return to some measure of normalcy. The Federal Reserve in its oversight function for this industry needs to take a hard look at this situation.

A society, whose economy depends increasingly so crucially on rapid exchange of vast quantities of information must become concerned with strengthening its communication facilities together with the facilities into which the information is channeled. In principle, the availability of satellite communication (especially if self-powered) with direct up and down links, provides here an opportunity that is potentially a great advantage over distributed buried networks. Distributed networks for transportation, power, gas, water, sewer and cabled communication will be expensive to harden (or restore after an event).

In all future instances of major capital spending on buildings and urban infrastructures, the incorporation of seismically resilient design principles at all stages of realization will be the most effective way to reduce society’s exposure to high seismic risks. To achieve this, all levels of government need to utilize legislative and regulatory options; insurance industries need to build economic incentives for seismic safety features into their insurance policy offerings; and the private sector, through trade and professional organizations’ planning efforts, needs to develop a healthy self-protective stand. Also, the insurance industry needs to invest more aggressively into broadly based research activities with the objective to quantify the seismic hazards, the exposed assets and their seismic fragilities much more accurately than currently possible. Only together these combined measures may first help to quantify and then reduce our currently untenably large seismic risk exposures in the virtually unprepared eastern cities. Given the low-probability/high-impact situation in this part of the country, seismic safety planning needs to be woven into both the regular capital spending and daily operational procedures. Without it we must be prepared to see little progress. Unless we succeed to build seismic safety considerations into everyday decision making as a normal procedure of doing business, society will lose the race against the unstoppable forces of nature. While we never can entirely win this race, we can succeed in converting unmitigated catastrophes into manageable disasters, or better, tolerable natural events.

On the verge of violence outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

A MAN HOLDS a Hamas flag as he stands next to others atop a building near al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday. (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)

Hamas official: We are on verge of violence, escalation during Ramadan

Hamas called on Palestinians to confront Israeli Jews if they try to visit the Temple Mount for Purim.

Khaled Mashaal, the head of Hamas’s foreign political bureau, warned that the region is “on the verge of heated days” of violence and that the situation will escalate during Ramadan on Saturday night.

“Things are going to escalate in Ramadan, and we are on the verge of hot days due to the continued aggression and crimes of the occupation, and the Palestinian people know that there is no recovery for the homeland except through resistance in all its forms,” said Mashaal.

The Hamas official stressed that “peace cannot be achieved without resistance, and it will not last without a force to protect it,” calling on the various Palestinian factions to unite.

Mashaal’s statements come amid a wave of terrorist attacks and rising tensions ahead of the month of Ramadan, which is set to begin at the end of March. Three Israelis were murdered in two terrorist attacks last week.

On Sunday, Palestinian prisoner movements announced that they would “escalate” their protest measures against recent measures implemented in the prisons by National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, including refusing to undergo daily security checks. The prisoners are also planning to launch a hunger strike at the beginning of Ramadan.A man place a Palestinian flag on the Golden Dome after Friday prayers of the holy month of Ramadan, at the Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, Friday, April 22, 2022. (credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90)

As Temple Mount activists called for Jews to visit the Temple Mount on Purim and Shushan Purim, marked from Monday night to Wednesday evening this week, Palestinian factions called for Palestinians to confront Jewish visitors.

“We call on our people in Jerusalem to make Tuesday, Wednesday, and all the days set by the occupation to attack al-Aqsa, days for mobilizing and tightening the bond to al-Aqsa to thwart the settlers’ incursions during the upcoming Jewish holidays,” said Hamas’s spokesperson for Jerusalem, Muhammad Hamada.

The Temple Mount is open to Jewish visitors Sunday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and from 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.

On Sunday, Jordan’s Awqaf, Islamic Affairs and Holy Places Minister Mohamed al-Khalayleh stressed that Jordan would not allow “any division or change in the status quo” on the Temple Mount.

“Jordan, which offered martyrs and great sacrifices in defense of Palestine and Jerusalem in 1948 and 1967, will spare no effort in continuing to carry the trust in defending the Arabism and Islamism of Al-Quds Al-Sharif (Jerusalem),” said Khalayleh, according to Petra news. “Jordan, under the leadership of His Majesty the King, has always confronted attempts aimed at undermining al-Aqsa Mosque and imposing control over it.”

The Qatari envoy to the Gaza Strip, Mohammed al-Emadi is reportedly set to arrive in Israel on Sunday night to speak with Israeli officials, before heading to Gaza in an attempt to lower tensions and prevent an escalation. Emadi was originally supposed to visit last week, but that visit was postponed at the last minute.

Additionally on Sunday, signs reading “the intifada is already here” and “the Jews overcame their enemies” (a quote from the end of the Book of Esther) were put up in the northern West Bank, including in the Palestinian town of Huwara, where settlers torched dozens of homes and vehicles last week after two Israelis were murdered in a terrorist attack in the town.

The activists who put up the signs told Army Radio that “It’s time for the country to wake up before the situation gets worse.”

Obama’s Disastrous Iran Deal: Daniel 8

It will increase the risk of war and terrorism in the Middle East. 

Monday, July 20, 2015  5 min readBy: Richard A. Epstein

    In his famous 1897 essay, “The Path of the Law,” Oliver Wendell Holmes said that to understand the law, it would be necessary to adopt the perspective of the famous “bad man,” the one “who cares only for the material consequences” of his actions, but “does not care two straws for the axioms or deductions” of natural law. Our bad man just wants “to know what the Massachusetts or English courts are likely to do in fact.”

    Today, Holmes’s quintessential bad man is Iran, as it only cares about what happens if it gets caught,—caught, in this case, developing nuclear weapons. With most contracts, people work overtime to avoid that problem by choosing the right business partners. But there is no such luxury in international affairs.

    Last week, Iran and the six world powers—the United States, China, Russia, Great Britain, France, and Germany—plus the European Union signed a nuclear deal called the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.” Any examination of this deal has to start with the ugly but accurate assumption that Iran will, at every opportunity, act in bad faith.

    The agreement starts off on a grand note: “The goal for these negotiations is to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iranˈs nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful. Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek or develop any nuclear weapons.” But it is straight downhill from there.

    The first problem with the deal is that it gives Iran an undeserved respectability that comes simply from being allowed to sign a significant international agreement.

    Worse still, China and Russia should not be understood as adverse to Iran, their present and future ally. They are better understood as a Fifth Column against the West, and Iran’s many other foes, whose role in the negotiations is akin to the role that Vladimir Putin played in the embarrassing negotiations over chemical weapons in Syria that all but destroyed Obama’s credibility in foreign policy. Putin will be happy to take any excess uranium ore off the hands of the Iranians. But at the most opportune time, he might be prepared to return it to Iran if doing so would benefit Russia. The Chinese, for their part, also sense weakness in the United States and the West, as they build up illegal islands in the South China Sea subject to our diplomatic objections that accomplish nothing.

    The remaining parties are our nominal allies who must believe that this nuclear deal represents a retreat from the basic proposition of Pax Americana—the guarantee that the U.S. will provide meaningful guarantees for the security of its allies. Our allies may well become less hostile to Russia and China precisely because they cannot count on U.S. leadership in tough times. The situation is starker still for the Israelis, who fear that the deal will embolden the Iranians to create more mischief in the Middle East and elsewhere. The Saudis are probably next in line in this belief. And both are surely right.

    Iran’s promises count for nothing. Iran is quite happy to fund Bashar al-Assad in Syria, to back Hamas, and to launch terrorist attacks throughout the Middle East. It is eager to confront its Sunni rivals, most notably Saudi Arabia, by supporting their enemies. It is eager to annihilate Israel. Indeed now that the agreement seems in place, the Ayatollah says flat out that deal or no deal, “we will never stop supporting our friends in the region and the people of Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon.”

    Why then would anyone be surprised that Iran would be willing to make high-sounding promises that it has every intention to quickly break? Does anyone really agree with the President’s rosy view that Iran will reciprocate our respect with its respect? Putting our best foot forward makes sense with ordinary business deals where reputations count. It makes no sense when dealing with a Holmesian bad man who has no need or intention of reciprocating good will with good will.

    In this sort of negotiating environment, reviewing the counterparty’s track record is a must, and Iran’s is far from laudable. Hence the guts of this deal lie not in lofty preambles, but in its gritty details of enforcement and sanctions, two issues which should be non-negotiable—a word that President Obama never invokes to defend our position.

    One issue concerns the sequence in which the various stipulations of the agreement go into play. The black mark against this agreement is that it virtually guarantees immediate removal of the full set of economic sanctions against Iran, which will lead to an infusion of cash, perhaps in excess of $150 billion, into the country, some fraction of which will promptly flow to affiliate groups that cause mayhem around the world. But what does the President say about this substantial negative? Nothing. He just ignores it.

    In his much-ballyhooed interview with Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, he stated: “Don’t judge me on whether this deal transforms Iran, ends Iran’s aggressive behavior toward some of its Arab neighbors or leads to détente between Shiites and Sunnis. Judge me on one thing: Does this deal prevent Iran from breaking out with a nuclear weapon for the next 10 years and is that a better outcome for America, Israel and our Arab allies than any other alternative on the table?”

    In fact, we should judge President Obama and his treaty harshly on each of these points. By providing Iran with billions of dollars of immediate cash, this agreement will help Iran fund wars and terrorist attacks that could take thousands of lives. To offset this possibility, the President has indicated that he will try to bolster American assistance to the various countries that will be affected by Iranian aggression, but none of our allies can have much confidence in the leadership of a President who has made at best negligible progress in dealing with ISIS. His public vow to never put American ground forces in the Middle East turns out to be the only promise that he is determined to keep—for the benefit of our sworn enemies who have greater freedom of action given his iron clad guarantee. The objection to the President here is not that he has merely failed to curb Iranian mischief. It is that his clumsy deal will massively subsidize it.

    Second, there is no more “snap back” here. Once the sanctions set out explicitly in the agreement are lifted from Iran, they won’t be reinstated any time soon. Gone are the days of anytime, anywhere inspections. In stark contrast, Articles 36 and 37 of the agreement outline a tortuous review process to reinstate any sanctions. First the Joint Commission must act, then the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and then a nonbinding opinion by a three-member Advisory Board must be issued. If the matter is not resolved to mutual satisfaction after this process runs its course, any participant “could treat the unresolved issue as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this ICPOA.”

    Section 37 then contains a murky provision under which the UN Security Council might possibly reimpose sanctions in part. But the entire procedure could take months, and at the end of this process Iran is free to walk if it does not like the outcome. Iran would also know that reassembling the original set of sanctions would be extremely difficult. Putting this agreement in place will likely end collective sanctions irreversibly.

    And what do we get in exchange for all of the added risks we assume? The President claims that we have secured the best path possible to slow down the ability of the Iranians to make a nuclear weapon for at least ten years. But why should anyone believe that that will be the result when we are dealing with the quintessential bad man? The only safe way to slow down Iran’s nuclear capabilities is to do what the President claimed was necessary earlier, which is to knock out Iran’s total production of enriched uranium, subject to constant supervision.

    It is all too clear that what Obama has offered today is a far cry from the deal he outlined to the country before these negotiations. It was easy for the President to talk tough to Mitt Romney in the course of their 2012 debates by then claiming it was “straightforward” that Iran has to “give up” its nuclear program in its entirety. As the President once recognized, there are no peaceful ends for which Iran needs a nuclear program. It is awash in oil, and it can satisfy any desire for medical isotopes by buying off-the-shelf products from any of a dozen nations that would be thrilled to supply them for free.

    The agreement dramatically changes Iran’s status as an international aggressor. Elliott Abrams gives us the grim tally. Right off the bat, Iran’s nuclear program has gone from illegal to legal. The new agreement lets Iran keep 6,000 centrifuges and it allows the country to continue to do its own weapons research. It is likely that it can do a lot more outside the agreement as well. In five years the agreement lifts an arms embargo and in eight years all restrictions on ballistic missiles will be lifted.

    It is often said that negotiation involves the process of give and take, by which it is not meant that the United States and its allies give and Iran takes. Unfortunately, that pattern has been observed in this recent deal. Iran had no hesitation in stating in the eleventh hour that various limitations on its sovereignty, e.g. inspections, were “unacceptable.” Today its position is that the sanctions must be lifted immediately. But the Obama administration was extraordinarily reluctant to say that any Iranian proposal was unacceptable. The drama in the negotiation was how far the Iranians would push the agreement to their side of the table—which is exactly what to expect from any negotiation that relies exclusively on carrots and disdains all sticks.

    This agreement does not require detailed study to conclude that it is a dead loser. Nonetheless, the United States has put it forward in the United Nations for approval before Congress has spoken, and the President, incorrigible as ever, has announced that he will veto any Congressional legislation that seeks to block the treaty. Many members of his own party do not share the President’s unfailing instinct for self-destruction. They should join the Republicans to reject the treaty by veto-proof majorities in both houses before the President and his team can do any further harm. 

    European countries condemn trampling outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

    Israeli border police clash with Palestinians in Jerusalem
    Israeli border police clash with Palestinians in Silwan neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, March 3, 2023. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

    European countries condemn Palestinian attacks, urge Israel to stop expanding settlements

    1 minute readMarch 4, 20232:12 AM MSTLast Updated 15 hours ago

    March 4 (Reuters) – Six European countries on Saturday condemned recent Palestinian militant attacks that killed Israeli citizens in the occupied West Bank and called on Israel to halt expansion of settlements there.

    “We urge the Israeli government to reverse its recent decision to advance the construction of more than 7,000 settlement building units across the occupied West Bank and to legalise settlement outposts,” Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Poland and Spain said in a joint statement.

    On Friday, the European Union’s envoy to the Palestinians called for accountability and for perpetrators to be brought to justice after a rampage by Israeli settlers in which a Palestinian was killed and dozens of houses, shops and cars were torched.

    UN Warns of Increasing Violence outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

    UN Warns of Increasing Violence in Palestine, Israel

    Laila Afifa

    4 March 2023 11:15 WIB

    Palestinians, who took refuge in a United Nations-run school during the recent cross-border violence between Palestinian militants and Israel, return to their home following Israel-Hamas truce, in Gaza May 21, 2021. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

    TEMPO.COGeneva – Increasing violence against both the people of Israel and Palestine has had tragic consequences on the innocents, United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said on Friday, March 3.

    Speaking at the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, Turk said that the year 2022 saw the highest number of Palestinians killed in the past 17 years and Israelis killed since 2016.

    “This death toll has further, and sharply, deteriorated in the first weeks of 2023, and in the month that has just ended,” Turk said, during the interactive dialogue on his report on the occupied Palestinian territory.X

    According to Turk’s latest report, 131 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces over the past year outside any context of hostilities.

    Since 2017, fewer than 15 percent of such killings had been investigated, Turk said, and fewer than 1 percent had led to an indictment.

    He told the Council that during the same period, thirteen Israelis were killed by Palestinians, including three children.

    “On both sides, there is, I believe, a growing sense of a narrowing future, in which nobody can even hope for peace and security, for anyone’s children,” he said.

    He urged decision-makers and people on all sides to step back from the context of extremism and violence and find a two-state solution, with mutual recognition of the legitimate rights of all Israelis and Palestinians to live in dignity, peace, and security.

    “For this violence to end, the occupation must end,” he underlined.

    Russian and Chinese Nuclear Horn in an Arms Race: Daniel 7

    Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Chinese Communist Party's foreign policy chief Wang Yi during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023.

    Russia and China in unofficial arms race as US lags behind: experts

    Biden previously called Russia’s move to leave the New START treaty ‘a big mistake’

    By Haley Chi-Sing | Fox News

    China can’t afford to have Russia lose in Ukraine: Jennifer Griffin

    Fox News chief national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin discusses the war in Ukraine and the growing divide over the United States’ role on ‘Sunday Night In America.’

    China and Russia are now competing against each other in an unofficial arms race to establish nuclear dominance following Russia’s departure from the New START treaty, leaving the U.S. lagging behind in a new state of nuclear instability, experts say. 

    “What makes this so dangerous is that Xi and Putin are collaborating in new ways to threaten the U.S. alliance architectures, systems of trade and safe and secure commerce – all of which have allowed Americans to be safe, prosperous and free for decades,” Rebeccah Heinrichs, a senior fellow with the Hudson Institute and an expert on strategic deterrence, told Fox News Digital.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin announced last week the country would suspend participation in the nuclear treaty with the U.S., one day after President Biden’s surprise visit to Ukraine. Chinese and Russian diplomats have met since the treaty announcement was made to reaffirm the countries’ ties. 

    “Russia and China are strategic partners in the short term as they are joining forces to challenge the U.S., in order to deter us from interdicting their respective plans to establish dominance in their respective perceived spheres of influence in Eurasia,” former Intelligence officer Rebekah Koffler told Fox News Digital. “In the long term, Moscow and Beijing are strategic opponents, hence they’ve been modernizing their nuclear arsenals and doctrines.”

    Biden called Russia’s retreat from the treaty move “a big mistake,” with reports now surfacing that Russia may be planning to deploy new nuclear systems. Putin also announced shortly after the country backed out of the New START Treaty that he would be strengthening Russia’s nuclear forces and that his military is prepared to deploy a new intercontinental ballistic missile system with hypersonic missiles and new nuclear submarines.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Chinese Communist Party’s foreign policy chief Wang Yi during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. (Anton Novoderezhkin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

    “There should be an arms race because the Chinese are fast increasing the number of their nuclear warheads,” China expert Gordon Chang told Fox News Digital. “The Biden administration doesn’t want to increase the size of our arsenal. But unfortunately, right now we’re in a position where it is extremely dangerous for us because the two sides, Russia and China, are forming a partnership and they’re increasing their abilities to strike us with nuclear weapons. So we need to respond.”

    Koffler says Russia is currently the world’s top nuclear threat, “having the world’s largest nuclear stockpile, surpassing the U.S., if you count tactical nuclear weapons.” Chang stated that while China will not disclose the size of its arsenal, he does not believe the U.S. is currently able to “deter Vladimir Putin’s use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine.”

    “The United States security apparatus, especially under the Obama and Biden’s leadership has been pursuing a naive policy of de-nuclearization, the so-called Global Zero,” Koffler said. 

    President Joe Biden shakes hands with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as they pose with Ukraine's first lady Olena Zelenska at Mariinsky Palace in Kyiv, Feb. 20, 2023.

    President Joe Biden shakes hands with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as they pose with Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska at Mariinsky Palace in Kyiv, Feb. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

    Koffler stated that those policies have, if anything, allowed Russia to deter the U.S. from directly intervening in the war against Ukraine out of fear that Putin will authorize a nuclear strike on the Ukrainian battlefield.

    Heinrichs is now suggesting the U.S. invest in producing “large numbers of conventional weapons and defenses” as the country enters a new era of nuclear instability and both Russia and China continue to push back on transparency measures.

    A Yars intercontinental ballistic missile is test-fired from a launch site in Plesetsk, northwestern Russia, on Oct. 26, 2022.

    A Yars intercontinental ballistic missile is test-fired from a launch site in Plesetsk, northwestern Russia, on Oct. 26, 2022. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

    “We divested of key systems and production capabilities since the Cold War and we must now move with a sense of urgency to regain our ability to produce and deploy the necessary weapons to deter both of those countries,” Heinrichs said. “To return to a stable environment where both of those countries are interested in diplomacy and treaties, agreements, we should show them that they will not prevail by threatening us with nuclear weapons. It will not be worth it for them.”

    Signs of the Antichrist’s Return

    Signs Of A “Political Storm” In Iraq


    By David Sadler Last Updated Mar 3, 2023

    In the midst of a crisis in the relationship between al-Sudani and his Shiite supporters… and speculation that al-Sadr will return

    Numerous indications are accumulating in the Iraqi party offices and corridors that a political storm will topple the equation that laid the groundwork for the government of Muhammad Shia al-Sudani, after a sharp dissonance emerged between the poles of the “coordinating framework”, amid high possibilities of the return of the activity of the leader of the “Sadr movement” Muqtada al-Sadr.

    Reliable sources say that Shiite parties are trying to anticipate “unexpected big turns” by drawing a new map that may include setting a date for early elections and reaching an understanding with al-Sadr on the next stage.

    These sources indicate that the relationship between al-Sudani and the “coordinating framework” has become “turbulent” and “lacking coordination” for at least two months, while the non-public disintegration of the Shiite alliance contributed to “the emergence of competing partisan poles besieging the prime minister and restricting his effectiveness.” An informed source confirmed that Al-Sudani and Al-Attar are working in opposite directions.

    Local media reported that Al-Sudani will resort to a cabinet change that may include partisan figures that Washington has banned dealing with, due to its association with the armed factions. Politicians confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Al-Sudani’s intention to change is linked to the conflict within the “coordination framework”. Al-Sudani appeared, in a recording broadcast on state television, criticizing the performance of some ministers, noting that others had received threats from their parties. Al-Sudani said, “The minister’s relationship with the political forces ends after he is nominated and gains the confidence of Parliament (…) and whoever feels pressure or threat, I am present.” Al-Sudani had never made such explicit statements publicly, which were received by local public opinion as directed at the Coordination Framework coalition.

    A leader in the “coordinating framework” said, “Al-Sadr is ready to move, and everything he does raises the anxiety of the leaders of the Shiite parties, and they were mainly involved in major differences over the sphere of influence within the government.”