China’s expanding nuclear arsenal to preempt the Australian Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

China’s expanding nuclear arsenal to preempt ‘hostile activities’ in region: Analyst
China will likely have a stockpile of 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035 if it continues with its current nuclear buildup pace, according to a report released by the Pentagon on Nov 29. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

China’s expanding nuclear arsenal to preempt ‘hostile activities’ in region: Analyst

China will likely have a stockpile of 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035 if it continues with its current nuclear buildup pace, according to a report by the Pentagon. 

Calvin Yang

30 Nov 2022 07:20PM(Updated: 30 Nov 2022 08:36PM)

SINGAPORE: Concerned with various alliances forming in its backyard, China may take on a more offensive nuclear posture, said a defence analyst on Wednesday (Nov 30).

Beijing “has to adopt a more offensive stance with regards to the use of its nuclear weapons”, as the geostrategic environment around China continues to change dramatically, said Mr Ridzwan Rahmat, principal defence analyst at defence intelligence company Janes.

According to a report out of the United States, China will likely have a stockpile of 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035 if it continues with its current nuclear buildup pace. 

The figures released by the Pentagon on Tuesday underscore mounting concerns over China’s intentions for its expanding nuclear arsenal, with a US official stating that the Asian superpower has a rapid buildup too substantial to keep under wraps. 

China is worried about the type of alliances that are currently forming in its backyard, Mr Ridzwan told CNA’s Asia Now.

This includes the AUKUS trilateral security pact between Australia, Britain and the US, which facilitates cooperation on security issues in the Indo-Pacific.

It will equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, which China views as a hostile move and has repeatedly criticised as an act of nuclear proliferation. 

“I think the Chinese nuclear programme has evolved, from a point where it was purely a defensive weapon to a point where it’s now being postured as a weapon to preempt any hostile activities surrounding that particular region,” said Mr Ridzwan. 

When its nuclear programme started more than 50 years ago, the preoccupation in China’s strategic calculations was the reunification with Taiwan and to ensure that its territorial sovereignty was not violated, he said. 

“The nuclear weapon was viewed, at that point of time, as something that might guarantee its survival.”

However, the dynamics have since shifted, with observers calling China’s rapid military buildup as a strategic breakout from its minimum deterrence nuclear posture. 

The Pentagon’s latest annual report on China’s military said the country currently has a nuclear stockpile of more than 400 warheads.

The estimate for 2035 was based on an unchanged pace of military buildup, a US official said after the report was released. 

CHINA TO BOOST ITS STRATEGIC DETERRENT

China had said that its arsenal is dwarfed by those of the US and Russia, and that it is ready for dialogue, but only if Washington reduces its nuclear stockpile to China’s level.

During the Communist Party Congress in October, Chinese President Xi Jinping noted that China would boost its strategic deterrent, a term typically used to describe nuclear weapons.

The Pentagon’s report reiterated concerns about mounting pressure by Beijing on Taiwan, but Washington does not see an invasion of the island as imminent.

Mr Ridzwan believes any reunification attempts with Taiwan will “probably be carried out by conventional forces rather than nuclear forces”. 

“While the Taiwan Strait crisis itself is the catalyst for China’s nuclear programme, I don’t think it will be the tool that China will deploy in the event that it needs to reunify with Taiwan by force,” he added. 

Meanwhile, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said earlier this week that China has what it takes to dissuade North Korea from pursuing its nuclear ambitions. 

However, Mr Ridzwan does not believe there is any interest for Beijing to curtail Pyongyang’s nuclear programme. 

He added that North Korea’s preparations for resuming the testing of nuclear weapons is going to complicate deterrence calculations for the US. 

“And from China’s point of view, any complications to the Americans will be in Beijing’s favour, given how Beijing is very concerned about the security roadblocks that have formed around its territorial areas,” he added

The China Horn Continues to Grow: Daniel 7

Chinese military vehicles carrying DF-41 ballistic missiles roll past the Great Hall of the People during a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing, October 1, 2019.

China could have 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035: Pentagon report

By Oren Liebermann, CNN

Published 12:00 PM EST, Tue November 29, 2022

Chinese military vehicles carrying DF-41 ballistic missiles roll past the Great Hall of the People during a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing, October 1, 2019.Mark Schiefelbein/APCNN — 

China’s stockpile of nuclear warheads has surpassed 400 in a fraction of the time previously estimated by the United States, a major Pentagon report revealed, with Beijing focusing on accelerating its nuclear expansion as it seeks to challenge the US as the world’s top super power.

In 2020, the US estimated that China had nuclear warheads numbering in the low-200s and expected the stockpile to double within a decade. Just two years later, China has reached that mark and could have some 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035 if they continue to expand their stockpile at the current pace, according to the 2022 China Military Power report released Tuesday.

“What we’ve seen really in the past couple of years is this accelerated expansion,” said a senior defense official.

The world’s most populous country is using its burgeoning military as one of its tools to create an international system that favors its world view, posing the “most consequential and systemic challenge to US national security,” according to the report, and the larger nuclear capability is a far cry from what China used to call a “lean and efficient” nuclear deterrent. Beijing’s investment in its nuclear triad – sea, land and air-based nuclear launch options – is cause for concern in Washington.

“We see, I think, a set of capabilities taking shape and new numbers in terms of what they’re looking to pursue that raise some questions about what their intent will be in the longer term,” the senior defense official said in a briefing to reporters about the latest report.

China also conducted 135 ballistic missile tests in 2021, the report said, which is more than the rest of the world combined. (The tally excludes ballistic missiles used in the war in Ukraine, the report noted.)

The official also offered new details about the Chinese test of a hypersonic missile in July 2021 that flew around the world before hitting its target, an accomplishment that drew attention to the lagging pace of US hypersonic weapons development. The official said the Chinese system flew 40,000 kilometers and demonstrated the longest flight of any Chinese land attack weapon to date.

The Chinese military, formally known as the People’s Liberation Army, is also developing space and counterspace weapons, the report said, viewing the advanced technology as a way to deter outside intervention in a regional military conflict.

China has a standing army of nearly 1 million soldiers, the largest navy in the world by number of ships, and the third largest air force in the world, according to the report.

The 2022 National Defense Strategy, released last month, identifies China as the pacing challenge for the United States, a point often reiterated by the Pentagon’s top leaders.

“China is the one country out there that geopolitically has the power potential to be a significant challenge to the United States,” said Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley at a news conference earlier this month. “Based on their population, their technology, their economy and nano and a bunch of other things, China is the greatest geopolitical challenge to the United States.”

Tensions between Beijing and Washington frequently revolve around Taiwan, a democratic, self-governing island. China sees the island as a fundamental part of its sovereign territory, including the South China Sea, and defense officials have previously said it intends to have the capability to use military force to take Taiwan by 2027.

In the latest report – officially called the Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China – the US does not anticipate an imminent invasion of Taiwan. Instead, the report said, the US has seen Beijing ramp up diplomatic, economic, political and military pressure on Taiwan.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s historic visit to the island in August marked a new stage in China’s efforts, as Beijing used the visit to attempt to establish a new normal around Taiwan.

Since the visit, China has crossed the center line of the Taiwan Strait more frequently, the defense official said, a move they would only use infrequently in the past. In addition, there is more naval activity around Taiwan and a large number of Chinese aircraft flying into Taiwan’s self-declared air defense identification zone.

“Even though we don’t see an imminent invasion, that’s sort of an elevated level of intimidating and coercive activity around Taiwan,” the official said.

Two weeks ago, President Joe Biden met Chinese President Xi Jinping in-person for the first time during his presidency at the G20 summit in Indonesia. Biden described the 3-hour meeting as “open and candid,” and he laid out the US approach to one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world as one of competition and not conflict.

Biden also focused on the need for maintaining open lines of communication between Beijing and Washington. China cut off several contacts and meetings with the US following Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who met his Chinese counterpart in Cambodia last week, also emphasized the need for communication, according to a readout of the meeting.

The report also looked at the relationship between Russia and China. The two countries issued a joint statement on February 4, signaling a desire for ongoing partnership and cooperation. Beijing and Moscow have “complementary interests” in terms of their national security and a shared approach to international relations. But the Russian invasion of Ukraine just weeks later has complicated the relationship in ways that may not be fully clear yet.

“Of course it’s going to be an area of keen interest for us and other observers in Europe and elsewhere,” the official said. “We’ve seen the PRC kind of continue to support Russia diplomatically and to amplify a lot of their propaganda and disinformation. And so those are areas of particular concern.”

AUKUS pushed the Australian Horn towards ‘nuclear confrontation’ with China

Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron warns AUKUS pushed Australia towards ‘nuclear confrontation’ with China

Australia’s AUKUS security pact with Britain and the US provided Canberra with nuclear-powered submarines instead of French ones.

By SEAN MELEADY

01:40, Sat, Nov 19, 2022 | UPDATED: 01:40, Sat, Nov 19, 2022

Chinese insider warns of ‘total war’ if Australia ‘threatens force’

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France has reignited tense diplomatic relations with Australia after President Emmanuel Macron warned that Canberra risked a “nuclear confrontation” with China by opting to purchase nuclear-powered submarines. A year ago, Australia pulled out of a deal with France to build 12 conventional submarines and announced that Britain and the US would be providing it nuclear-powered vessels instead.

    However, speaking on Thursday, Mr Macron predicted that the multi-billion dollar AUKUS security pact “will not deliver”.

    He also insisted that the French submarine deal was “still on the table”.

    Speaking to reporters in Bangkok, Mr Macron said that Canberra’s original deal with France was “not confrontational to China because they are not nuclear-powered submarines”.

    Mr Macron also blasted the actions of then-Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for agreeing to the AUKUS deal.

    Emmanuel Macron giving a speech in Bangkok on Thursday (Image: Getty Images )

    Albanese Macron

    Emmanuel Macron welcoming Antony Albanese to the Elysee Palace in July (Image: Getty Images )

    He said: “But the choice made by prime minister Morrison was the opposite, re-entering into nuclear confrontation, making himself completely dependent by deciding to equip themselves [with a] submarine fleet that the Australians are incapable of producing and maintaining in-house.”

    Last year, Mr Macron accused Mr Morrison of lying to him by not informing him until the last minute that the contract for the submarines was going to be cancelled.

    This week the French President reiterated his claim that Mr Morrison had been economical with the truth insisting “I don’t think, I know.”

    Although the comments were aimed at Mr Morrison and his Liberal administration, his most recent comments were also aimed at Anthony Albanese’s Labor Government which is sticking with AUKUS.

    Scott Morrison

    Scott Morrison pictured at a press conference in 2020 (Image: Getty Images )

    Akus

    An anti-Aukus demonstration in Sydney in December 2021 (Image: Getty Images )

    Following a meeting with Mr Macron on the sidelines of the G20 summit, Mr Albanese reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to the AUKUS deal on Friday.

    He said: “President Macron is entitled to put forward his views, as he does in a very forthright way.

    “He’s entitled to make whatever comments he wants as the leader of France.

    “I think President Macron answered that question when he noted Australia has not decided to change strategy on the subject.”ever, it is expected to opt for a US model rather than a British one.

    Canberra has insisted that the agreement will comply with Australia’s nuclear proliferation obligations as the submarines will not be armed with nuclear weapons.

    China warns the Russian Nuclear Horn

    Xi Jinping and Joe Biden shake hands.
    China’s leader Xi Jinping shakes hands with US President Joe Biden at their meeting on Monday during the G-20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. 

    China wants Putin to stop threatening nuclear war over Ukraine, according to the White House

    Mattathias Schwartz 

    Nov 14, 2022, 10:06 AM

    • President Biden of the US and Chairman Xi of China met for more than three hours on Monday morning.
    • The two leaders opposed the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, as Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened, according to the White House’s account.
    • On Taiwan, the two leaders reiterated their existing positions and said they sought to avoid military conflict.

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    As Vladimir Putin’s threat of nuclear conflict continued to hang over the invasion of Ukraine, the American and Chinese leaders met for more than three hours Monday morning on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, and apparently did what they could to encourage some Russian restraint.

    The discussion between Xi Jinping and Joe Biden was private, but much can be gleaned from readouts published by the White House, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Biden’s press conference following the meeting. Most notable was Xi’s “agreement” with Biden that “a nuclear war should never be fought and can never be won,” a view that “underscored” the two leaders’ “opposition to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” according to the White House’s account of the meeting.

    Xi reportedly took the same position on Russia’s nuclear threats during a meeting with the German chancellor earlier this month. But for him to again call out the nuclear blackmail of President Vladimir Putin — who has referenced the 1945 US nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and threatened to use Russia’s nukes in Ukraine — carries particular significance in a meeting with Biden.

    The Chinese readout of the Xi-Biden meeting was more vague when it came to Russia and Ukraine. It noted that China was “highly concerned” and that “confrontations between major countries must be avoided.” It did not call on Russia to withdraw from its unprovoked invasion, instead calling for negotiations. Despite worries early on by Western countries that the so-called “no-limits friendship” between Xi and Putin meant that China would take Russia’s side in the Ukraine conflict, China has taken a more neutral line.

    On Taiwan, the US and China publicly reiterated their pre-existing positions. China took a hard line against an independent Taiwan while the US criticized China for “coercive and increasingly aggressive actions.” In his press conference, Biden said that he and Xi were “candid and clear with one another” and that “there need not be a new Cold War.” US officials have recently claimed that China has accelerated its preparations to potentially seize Taiwan by force. In his remarks, Biden turned down the heat. “I do not think there’s any eminent attempt by the part of China to invade Taiwan,” he said.

    The high-level meeting came on the same day as a US-Russia discussion to try to reduce the chances the Ukraine war could escalate. In Turkey, CIA Director William Burns met with his Russian counterpart and warned against Russia using nukes or other terror weapons in its arsenal against Ukraine.

    Military buildup in the Australian horn stirs fears: Daniel 7

    People are silhouetted against the Sydney Opera House at sunset in Australia, on Nov 2, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

    Military buildup in Australia stirs fears

    By KARL WILSON in Sydney | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-11-09 09:53

    Reports of nuke-equipped US aircraft for base fit with secretive tradition

    The pandemic and rising household bills have left most Australians blissfully blind to a military buildup that has been taking place in the country’s north.

    The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s flagship current affairs program Four Corners aired on Oct 31 a report outlining how the United States is upgrading a major Australian air force base near Darwin in the Northern Territory that will house at least six nuclear-capable B-52 bombers.

    The initiative will also involve major infrastructure upgrades at the Tindal Royal Australian Air Force base and a massive fuel storage depot near Darwin.

    In addition, the report exposed a major upgrade to the highly secretive Pine Gap intelligence-gathering facility near Alice Springs in Central Australia. So secretive is this facility that only a few Australians have clearance to enter it. During the Cold War, the former Soviet Union had the facility marked as a “must “target in the event of a nuclear war.

    Greg Sheridan, foreign editor of the right-wing, Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper The Australian, wrote in a commentary on Nov 1 that the reports of the B-52 deployment heralded a “growing ‘prewar’ environment”.

    Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles, in a media conference on Nov 2, tried to play down the significance of the military buildup, saying that nuclear-capable US bombers had been visiting Australia since the 1980s.

    In a media briefing on Oct 31, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, when asked to comment on the reports, said the move by the US and Australia “escalates regional tensions, gravely undermines regional peace and stability, and may trigger an arms race in the region”.

    “China urges parties concerned to abandon the outdated Cold War zero-sum mentality and narrow geopolitical mindset, and do more things that are good for regional peace and stability and mutual trust among all parties,” he said.

    Zhao said that any defense and security cooperation between countries must “contribute to regional peace and stability and must not target any third party or undermine their interests”.

    But Marles said that those against the buildup should “take a deep breath”.

    “What we’re talking about is a US investment in the infrastructure at Tindal, which will help make that infrastructure more capable for Australia as well,” the minister said.

    Objection voiced

    David Shoebridge, an Australian Greens senator and the group’s defense spokesman, objected to the B-52 deployment, saying in a tweet: “This is a dangerous escalation. It makes Australia an even bigger part of the global nuclear weapons threat to humanity’s very existence — and by rising military tensions it further destabilizes our region.”

    Indonesia has, in the past, voiced its concern over Australia’s nuclear direction, especially following the formation of the AUKUS security pact for military cooperation with the United Kingdom and the US.

    Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with environmental and social justice organization Friends of the Earth Australia, said: “The plan to base nuclear-capable B-52 bombers at RAAF Tindal escalates and worsens a pattern of Australia providing practical and political support for the US nuclear weapons program.”

    In an email to China Daily, Green said: “Australia should refuse to allow US nuclear weapons to be located on Australian territory under any circumstances. The federal Labor government has committed to signing and ratifying the UN’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The stationing of nuclear weapons on Australian soil flies in the face of the government’s commitment to the UN Treaty.”

    Reports of the impending deployment came days after the administration of US President Joe Biden released a Nuclear Posture Review that nonproliferation advocates said makes catastrophe more, rather than less, likely.

    When it comes to the US’ deployment of weapons of mass destruction in the region, Australia is not alone.

    The Saipan Tribune noted in a report in January that during the Cold War, Guam was a target of the Soviet military in part because it was home to US Navy submarines that carried intercontinental ballistic missiles containing nuclear warheads. “The United States has not spent … money to fully protect Guam and the Chamorro people from military attack,” the report said, referring to the Indigenous people in Guam.

    And the same holds true for Australia.

    George Bush’s imaginary WMD: will the press ever admit its role?

    Saddam Hussein’s imaginary WMD: will the press ever admit its role?

    There is plenty of mainstream media vitriol nowadays aimed at ‘fake news’ and conspiracy theories from amateur outlets — outrageous when it has never owned up to the pro-war nonsense it published about Iraq, writes SOLOMON HUGHES

    NEXT year is the 20th anniversary of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, so after Christmas we will see lots of newspaper articles looking back on the start of the ugly war built on lies.

    That means this year is the anniversary of when the lies about Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD) were spread, because it took at least a year to push the propaganda needed for war.

    But I don’t think we will see so much “20 years on” reflection in the media about the spread of those lies, because the media itself did the spreading. The British media like to talk about the British and US governments spreading lies about Iraq, but has always avoided taking responsibility for its own, even wilder lies.

    Let’s take one example. Around 20 years ago the Spectator claimed Nelson Mandela’s South Africa was helping Hussein build nuclear weapons. It was a completely mad claim made without evidence. But neither magazine nor author has ever reflected on, or faced any consequence for, spreading this dangerous “fake news,” which was part of a huge “conspiracy theory” — supposedly two ills the media likes to fight.

    The basic story about Hussein’s WMDs was this elaborate conspiracy theory: Hussein was importing materials to make nuclear weapons, nerve gases and germ bombs. He would share materials made in his secret subterranean factories with al-Qaida terrorists. It was unhinged stuff.

    Hussein was pictured like a James Bond villain with underground bases, secretly working with his sworn enemy, Osama Bin Laden, to attack the West. This elaborate chain of lies was an attempt to link Hussein to the September 11 terrorist attacks and justify a war.

    Literally none of it was true. Hussein didn’t have WMDs and wasn’t in league with al-Qaida. But this fake tale was made to look more substantial by a big patchwork of ludicrous stories, including this contribution from the Spectator.

    South Africa’s ANC government, like many, opposed the drive to war. So, Mark Steyn, a right-wing columnist who is still a figure in that world — he now presents a show on GB News — set out to discredit South Africa.

    Steyn wrote a substantial, two-page article in the Spectator on October 5 2002, with the outlandish claim South Africa was helping Iraq enrich uranium to produce nuclear weapons.

    He wrote: “Mr Mandela’s country has been busy selling aluminium tubes for uranium enrichment centrifuges to Hussein. The first secretary of the South African embassy in Jordan is serving as the local sales rep to Iraqi procurement agents.

    “Thanks to these sterling efforts, they’re bringing significantly closer the day when the entire Middle East, much of Africa and even Europe will be under the Husseinite nuclear umbrella and thus safe from Bush’s aggression.”

    Enriching uranium in powerful centrifuges is a crucial part of making nuclear bombs. But there was no evidence here. South Africa was not selling aluminium tubes for uranium enrichment centrifuges to Iraq, which was not making atomic weapons.

    Iraq did once have a nuclear weapons programme, including during the years when Iraq was a western ally. But this programme had been entirely dismantled in 1992, after the first Gulf War, as Hussein’s government repeatedly stated.

    Steyn produced no proof for his tubular tall tale or his other claim that South Africa’s embassy in Jordan was helping arm Iraq. It was made-up rubbish.

    The tale was slightly related to a more mainstream, but also fake story. The US government claimed an Iraqi attempt to import many aluminium tubes from China in 2001 showed it wanted to use them in uranium enrichment for a nuclear bomb.

    All serious experts could see Iraq actually did have a military use for the tubes — for battlefield rockets — that was nothing to do with WMD. But at least the widely repeated fake US story involved real tubes.

    The Spectator “scoop” was a complete fantasy. It added to the WMD panic that helped start the war — but then simply disappeared from the record. Neither Steyn nor the Spectator ever referred to it again. The story isn’t even on the Spectator website.

    Steyn is still taken seriously despite writing “fake news” — he was recently interviewed on Radio 4 Today as an “expert.” The Spectator itself trundles on.

    Steyn trying to bring Mandela into the WMD fake stories was an outlier. But media promotion of stories too absurd for any government dossier was common in more supposedly “respectable” outlets.

    Take, for example, the Observer splashing on “evidence linking Iraqi intelligence to the September 11 hijackers,” asserting “several apparent links between Iraq, the September 11 hijackers and bin Laden’s al-Qaida network” including multiple meetings between Iraqi intelligence officers and the hijackers and a claim foreign terrorists were “training to hijack aircraft using only knives or bare hands” inside an old Boeing 707 on a secret Iraqi government base near Baghdad. All fantasies based on unconvincing claims by pro-war propagandists.

    Or the BBC Panorama programme promoting fake tales from an Iraqi fraudster — who had been rejected by the CIA — claiming he helped build underground WMD storage sites “hidden away in heavily populated areas, even under a hospital in Baghdad.”

    Or the Times promoting a supposed former Iraqi nuclear scientist who had been “Saddam’s bomb-maker” saying Iraq “could be in a position to make three nuclear weapons within the next few months.” Only the “scientist’s” stories were fake. He had already been linked to another set of forged documents and fake nuclear claims exposed by the International Atomic Energy Authority in 1995.

    These are just a sample of the fake tales of Hussein’s weapons pumped out by the media, 2002-3. They went well beyond any official government claim and were based on transparently unconvincing “evidence” — usually just unchecked assertions by Iraqi “exiles.”

    The media felt happy to tell any lies about an “official enemy” like Iraq, were unembarrassed when it led to a bloody war, and has never even admitted it published “fake news,” let alone tried to understand why or stop itself from doing it again.

    The US and German Horn’s Unify: Daniel 7

    US, Germany Draw Close Over Iran, Ukraine

    20 hours ago3 minutes

    Author: Iran International Newsroom

    IranWorldForeign RelationsUkraine Crisis

    Iran sits amid a crowded agenda at the G7 meeting in Munster, Germany, as the bloc grapples with multiple challenges centered on Ukraine.

    After tensions during the Donald Trump presidency, the two-day gathering concluding Friday shows a tight relationship between the United States and Germany, currently chairing the G7 bloc that also includes Canada, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.

    German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock, from Alliance 90/The Greens, has spoken out over protests in Iran since mid-September, and Thursday Berlin warned citizens in Iran to leave due to a “concrete risk of being arbitrarily arrested.” In another sign of deteriorating relations, Iran-Iraq war veterans gathered outside the German embassy in Tehran this week to highlight German firms helping Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons.

    At a US-German Futures Forum Friday in Munster with Antony Blinken, Baerbock described the US Secretary of State, whom she has met ten times since taking office ten months ago, as a friend. Blinken praised as “extraordinary” the “the leadership of the German foreign minister.”

    Blinken said that in setting “rules for how technology is used,” the US and Germany had to “make sure that the values we stand for…carry the day.” He noted that the “vast democratization of information technology” and highlighted recent US decisions to lift any threat of sanctions against those supplying internet-access technology to Iran.

    Baerbock referred to opportunities for online education she had recently seen in Egypt, where the COP27 United Nations climate conference begins Sunday. The German foreign minister said the G7 meeting had linked information technology to “democracy and freedom,” which she said underlay Berlin’s approach to Iran.

    Baerbock pledged to bring “atrocities” to UN bodies and said “democratic economic powers” needed a majority on UN human rights bodies. The US has called for Iran to be removed from the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

    In recognition of recent blows to Germany and European Union expectations of trade bringing states together politically – which underlay both Russian energy supplies and the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement – Baerbock said “we have learned” this was not always true.

    Tanks, jets, drones

    The US and Germany, respectively the largest and second largest arms supplier to Kyiv, appear to be the same page over Ukraine. Wary of Russian escalation, both have resisted calls for advanced weapons, with Ukraine seeking Leopard 2 tanks and Marder armored infantry vehicles from Berlin, and F-16 jets from Washington.

    The US and Germany, along with France and the UK, have raised the issue of Iranian-made drones at the UN Security Council, arguing that any supply contravenes the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement and justifies ‘snapback’ of UN sanctions on Tehran. Given vagaries over ‘snapback,’ and experts’ disagreements as to whether drones as relatively light weapons violate the 2015 agreement, the move may be intended to deter Iran from sending missiles.

    In an interview with Dubai-based al-Arabiya published Friday, Rob Malley, the US Iran special envoy, said Iran was “embarrassed” as it had become “clear to the world” that it had “sided with Russia and its war of aggression against Ukraine.”

    Domestic criticism

    Further underlying US-Germany cooperation is shared experience of center-left governments facing domestic criticism. With US aid to Ukraine at $50 billion so far, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy last month ruled out a “blank check,” and some Republican candidates in November 8 Congressional elections are critical of such support for Ukraine when Americans face rising bills. In Germany opposition politicians have queried the €200 billion allocated to citizens and companies over energy price hikes due to the Ukraine war.

    A further complication facing both the German-US relationship and the G7, is the rise of China. While the US has cautioned other countries over Beijing’s involvement in key sectors, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, a Social Democrat, arrived in China Saturday seeking “economic ties as equals, with reciprocity.” Chinese-made parts in globally manufactured items may include some, alongside European and US components, in Iranian drones, the Institute for Science and International Security said in a recent report.

    Australia Plays Down Her Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

    Australia Plays Down US B-52 Bomber Plan Condemned by China
    A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber, assigned to the 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, lands during exercise Lightning Focus at Royal Australian Air Force Base (RAAF) Darwin, Australia, Dec. 6, 2018.Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail

    Australia Plays Down US B-52 Bomber Plan Condemned by China

    Defense Minister Richard Marles said “everyone needs to take a deep breath” after China condemned U.S. plans to deploy up to six of the long-range bombers in Australia.

    By Rod McGuirk

    November 03, 2022

    Australia’s defense minister on Wednesday played down the significance of a major upgrade of B-52 facilities planned for northern Australia that has raised China’s ire, saying the nuclear-capable U.S. bombers have been visiting since the 1980s.

    China this week condemned U.S. plans to deploy up to six of the long-range bombers at Royal Australian Air Force Base Tindal in the Northern Territory, arguing the move undermined regional peace and stability. China also warned of a potential arms race in the region.

    Asked if the upgrade could prove too provocative, Defense Minister Richard Marles told reporters, “I think everyone needs to take a deep breath here.”

    The multibillion-dollar U.S. investment is part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation Program, which has built on a range of air exercises and training activities between the two countries since early 2017.

    “What we’re talking about is a U.S. investment in the infrastructure at Tindal, which will help make that infrastructure more capable for Australia as well,” Marles said.

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    “In terms of U.S. bombers, they’ve been coming to Australia since the 1980s. They’ve been training in Australia since 2005. All of this is part of an initiative which was established in 2017,” he said.

    Australia would be a “significant beneficiary” of the Tindal upgrade, Marles said.

    Some Australian critics argue the B-52s’ increased presence in northern Australia, made possible by the new facilities, would make the country a bigger target in a war between the United States and China.

    Malcolm Davis, a senior analyst in defense strategy and capability at the Australian Security Policy Institute think tank, said China and other observers were “hyping” and “over-egging” the significance of what was proposed.

    “This is not significant in terms of the hardware side of things. It is significant in terms of the strategic importance of the fact that we are now able to more easily support the U.S. in its operations in the region,” Davis said.

    The U.S. Air Force would be able to operate B-52s for longer and with more ease from Tindal with an expanded parking apron, hangars, and fuel storage tanks, Davis said.

    “It also means that in a crisis, Australia is then one of the few locations that the B-52s can more easily operate from to support U.S operational requirements,” he said.

    Tindal, like the U.S. Pacific military bases in Guam, is within range of Chinese long-range missiles.

    But the greater distance the missiles would have to fly makes Tindal an easier target to defend, Davis said.

    Speaking during a visit to Thailand, Foreign Minister Penny Wong said governments led by both of Australia’s major parties “have worked to increase coordination and interoperability with the United States and with others.”

    She said that contributes to “the strategic equilibrium” in the Asia-Pacific region, and the basing of B-52s “is consistent with the approach Australia has taken over a number of years to increase our capacity to operate with the United States.”

    She said Australia welcomes increased U.S. involvement in the region under the Biden administration.

    Wong said she hoped that deteriorating relations between Australia and China would improve.

    “I’ve put the view publicly that we think it’s in both countries’ interest for the relationship to be stabilized,” she said.

    The Saudi Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

    Military truck carrying intermediate-range ballistic missile of Pakistani army, November 27, 2008 (Courtesy SyedNaqvi90)

    Military truck carrying intermediate-range ballistic missile of Pakistani army, November 27, 2008 (Courtesy SyedNaqvi90)

    And What If Saudi Arabia Were The Owner Of Nuclear Missiles? – OpEd

       IDN  0 Comments

    By IDN

    By Jonathan Power

    In any body politic there will be a group of powerful people who, if not in the inner circle of the president or prime minister, can win access to it at regular intervals. Security is their profession, and they can be met at discrete academic conferences where they tend to stand out as rather earnest, if sombre, figures.

    It is they who bend the ear of those in authority, consistent in their solicitations even as governments change, arguing that their country will only have true security if they possess a nuclear deterrent and that if their advice is not heeded one day there will be an enemy who will take advantage of their country’s naiveté.

    The politicians whose ears they bend have won their authority not by knowing about the world outside their own country and its discontents but by climbing the ladder in domestic politics, perhaps becoming expert in one or two things e.g. tax law, civil rights, transport, climate change or the economy, very rarely in military and geo-political matters. They are often putty in the hands of these would-be nuclear strategists and nuclear bomb makers.

    One of these I knew reasonably well, the erudite and charming nuclear physicist, the late Dr Munir Khan, one of the fathers of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, who, it was said—although no proof was ever forthcoming—had used his previous position as a high official in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to build clandestine contacts for Pakistan’s bomb makers. He explained to me, long after he was retired, how he and his fellow nuclear scientists manipulated the civilian leadership.

    The late Olof Palme, prime minister of Sweden for many years, told me of how he had to “de-fang” the nuclear bomb establishment that was well under way with its plans when he came to power. It is not easy to roll back the nuclear lobby even when one is prime minister—there is always the danger, if you don’t take the scientists along with you, that they, believing they love the country more than the prime minister does, will conduct their future researches clandestinely or, if not in secret, under the guise of using it for “peaceful purposes” and await for the political currents to turn in their favour. This happened in white-ruled South Africa.

    This is also in essence what happened in India. An authoritative study, The Politics of Nuclear Weapons in India and Pakistan” (Praeger) written by Haider Nizamani makes clear that their nuclear bomb programmes did not originate in response to specific security problems. Adversaries were not the cause. Rather, they had to be found. This explains India’s remarkable decision to put its bomb development on ice after its successful “peaceful” nuclear test in 1974. The “threat” from China had gone quiet and Pakistan, for all the acrimony, did not seem a real threat.

    Only in the 1990s, by arguing that China with its nuclear weapons was becoming an enemy, were the bomb advocates able to win the ear of the politicians and alterative voices were gradually marginalized as “unpatriotic”. One of the pivotal figures was the strategic thinker K. Subrahmanyam who by sheer doggedness transformed a minority opinion into a mainstream assumption.

    His calculation, correct as it turned out, is once a certain threshold has been crossed popular opinion, invariably nationalistic, will succumb to the call of patriotism. With the rise of the Hindu-nationalist party, the BJP, the bomb became inevitable.

    We now see the same process afoot in Saudi Arabia. A couple of dozen years ago in this column I tried to draw attention to Saudi Arabia’s purchase of Chinese CSS-2 rockets. I wrote then that there could be no question these had not been purchased for conventional military activity, as they were unnecessarily powerful and, moreover, inaccurate with a normal explosive warhead. Their sole real purpose was to carry a nuclear weapon.

    The Saudi military and strategists in effect hoodwinked the king and the ruling princes, persuading them that these rockets were the best deal on the market and the fact they could carry nuclear warheads was at that time irrelevant since they worked well with conventional warheads

    For years, Western nuclear powers have connived to keep this, if not secret, quiet. Saudi Arabia has been a strategic ally, most important and long-standing, in the oil business. As successive administrations in Washington have viewed it, discretion has been the better part of valour, even though one of the targets for a Saudi bomb could be the Middle East’s other nuclear-bomb power, Israel, America’s staunch friend.

    An article by Richard Russell in Survival, the quarterly of the influential International Institute for Strategic Studies, argued that whilst Saudi Arabia has not yet put nuclear warheads on these rockets it is probably only a matter of time before it does. Self-serving security issues are far more important in such decision-making that “an innate friendship” with the U.S.

    For the desert kingdom with its small population and army but huge territory, nuclear weapons appear a sensible option.

    After Washington belatedly discovered the purchase of the CSS-2s from China, 31 senators called on the Reagan Administration to suspend American arms sales to Saudi Arabia. But the Saudis were not intimidated. Requests by Washington to inspect the missiles have been refused. Saudi Arabia this year has become even more self-assertive, linking up with Russia to keep oil prices high. These days Saudi Arabia seems not to care a hoot what Washington wants of it.

    As Israel long has, Saudi Arabia will always deny the intention to build a nuclear armoury. But common sense and much circumstantial evidence suggest that this is the way it will go. It is not the so-called “rogues” who pose the threat of uncontrolled nuclear proliferation; it is some of the Western powers’ “nearest and dearest”.

    With Saudi Arabia now being led by the quite unscrupulous, not to say amoral, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, I would not be surprised to see him making the decision to go nuclear. A warhead would be easily purchasable from Saudi Arabia’s friend, Pakistan, a country that also likes to keep its distance from America.

    What is Washington going to do about that?

    About the author: The writer was for 17 years a foreign affairs columnist and commentator for the International Herald Tribune, now the New York Times. He has also written dozens of columns for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times. He is the European who has appeared most on the opinion pages of these papers. Visit his website: www.jonathanpowerjournalist.com

    The Saudi Arabian Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

    Photo: Pakistan Ballistic Missile. Source: International Relations Insights & Analysis (IRIA)

    And What If Saudi Arabia Were the Owner of Nuclear Missiles?

    Viewpoint by Jonathan Power

    LUND, Sweden (IDN) — In any body politic there will be a group of powerful people who, if not in the inner circle of the president or prime minister, can win access to it at regular intervals. Security is their profession, and they can be met at discrete academic conferences where they tend to stand out as rather earnest, if sombre, figures.

    It is they who bend the ear of those in authority, consistent in their solicitations even as governments change, arguing that their country will only have true security if they possess a nuclear deterrent and that if their advice is not heeded one day there will be an enemy who will take advantage of their country’s naiveté.

    The politicians whose ears they bend have won their authority not by knowing about the world outside their own country and its discontents but by climbihttp://andrewtheprophet.comng the ladder in domestic politics, perhaps becoming expert in one or two things e.g. tax law, civil rights, transport, climate change or the economy, very rarely in military and geo-political matters. They are often putty in the hands of these would-be nuclear strategists and nuclear bomb makers.

    One of these I knew reasonably well, the erudite and charming nuclear physicist, the late Dr Munir Khan, one of the fathers of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, who, it was said—although no proof was ever forthcoming—had used his previous position as a high official in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to build clandestine contacts for Pakistan’s bomb makers. He explained to me, long after he was retired, how he and his fellow nuclear scientists manipulated the civilian leadership.

    The late Olof Palme, prime minister of Sweden for many years, told me of how he had to “de-fang” the nuclear bomb establishment that was well under way with its plans when he came to power. It is not easy to roll back the nuclear lobby even when one is prime minister—there is always the danger, if you don’t take the scientists along with you, that they, believing they love the country more than the prime minister does, will conduct their future researches clandestinely or, if not in secret, under the guise of using it for “peaceful purposes” and await for the political currents to turn in their favour. This happened in white-ruled South Africa.

    This is also in essence what happened in India. An authoritative study, “The Politics of Nuclear Weapons in India and Pakistan” (Praeger) written by Haider Nizamani makes clear that their nuclear bomb programmes did not originate in response to specific security problems. Adversaries were not the cause. Rather, they had to be found. This explains India’s remarkable decision to put its bomb development on ice after its successful “peaceful” nuclear test in 1974. The “threat” from China had gone quiet and Pakistan, for all the acrimony, did not seem a real threat.

    Only in the 1990s, by arguing that China with its nuclear weapons was becoming an enemy, were the bomb advocates able to win the ear of the politicians and alterative voices were gradually marginalized as “unpatriotic”. One of the pivotal figures was the strategic thinker K. Subrahmanyam who by sheer doggedness transformed a minority opinion into a mainstream assumption.

    His calculation, correct as it turned out, is once a certain threshold has been crossed popular opinion, invariably nationalistic, will succumb to the call of patriotism. With the rise of the Hindu-nationalist party, the BJP, the bomb became inevitable.

    We now see the same process afoot in Saudi Arabia. A couple of dozen years ago in this column I tried to draw attention to Saudi Arabia’s purchase of Chinese CSS-2 rockets. I wrote then that there could be no question these had not been purchased for conventional military activity, as they were unnecessarily powerful and, moreover, inaccurate with a normal explosive warhead. Their sole real purpose was to carry a nuclear weapon.

    The Saudi military and strategists in effect hoodwinked the king and the ruling princes, persuading them that these rockets were the best deal on the market and the fact they could carry nuclear warheads was at that time irrelevant since they worked well with conventional warheads

    For years, Western nuclear powers have connived to keep this, if not secret, quiet. Saudi Arabia has been a strategic ally, most important and long-standing, in the oil business. As successive administrations in Washington have viewed it, discretion has been the better part of valour, even though one of the targets for a Saudi bomb could be the Middle East’s other nuclear-bomb power, Israel, America’s staunch friend.

    An article by Richard Russell in Survival, the quarterly of the influential International Institute for Strategic Studies, argued that whilst Saudi Arabia has not yet put nuclear warheads on these rockets it is probably only a matter of time before it does. Self-serving security issues are far more important in such decision-making that “an innate friendship” with the U.S.

    For the desert kingdom with its small population and army but huge territory, nuclear weapons appear a sensible option.

    After Washington belatedly discovered the purchase of the CSS-2s from China, 31 senators called on the Reagan Administration to suspend American arms sales to Saudi Arabia. But the Saudis were not intimidated. Requests by Washington to inspect the missiles have been refused. Saudi Arabia this year has become even more self-assertive, linking up with Russia to keep oil prices high. These days Saudi Arabia seems not to care a hoot what Washington wants of it.

    As Israel long has, Saudi Arabia will always deny the intention to build a nuclear armoury. But common sense and much circumstantial evidence suggest that this is the way it will go. It is not the so-called “rogues” who pose the threat of uncontrolled nuclear proliferation; it is some of the Western powers’ “nearest and dearest”.

    With Saudi Arabia now being led by the quite unscrupulous, not to say amoral, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, I would not be surprised to see him making the decision to go nuclear. A warhead would be easily purchasable from Saudi Arabia’s friend, Pakistan, a country that also likes to keep its distance from America.

    What is Washington going to do about that?

    About the author: The writer was for 17 years a foreign affairs columnist and commentator for the International Herald Tribune, now the New York Times. He has also written dozens of columns for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times. He is the European who has appeared most on the opinion pages of these papers. Visit his website: www.jonathanpowerjournalist.com [IDN-InDepthNews — 25 October 2022]

    Photo: Pakistan ballistic missile. Source: International Relations Insights & Analysis (IRIA)

    IDN is the flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.