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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
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Israel Stays Sane while World Goes Berserk over Obama’s Dawdling

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Israelis Thursday night to stay calm despite the likelihood of a U.S. strike on Syria, reassuring the country, “At present there is no need to change daily routines.”

Following a meeting with defense officials and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, the Prime Minister stated on a YouTube video, “Despite the low assessment regarding Israel’s involvement in what is going on in Syria, we decided to deploy Iron Dome batteries as well as our other intercept systems. We are not involved in the civil war in Syria. But I would like to reiterate, if anyone one tries to harm Israel’s citizens, the IDF will respond very strongly.”

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said the IDF is “ready for any scenario.”

The calm contrasts with near-panic reaction by some citizens earlier this week when President Barack Obama all but issued a formal invitation to a war, virtually announcing that the United States would attack Syria by Thursday night.

All that was missing on the invitation was, “Please dress accordingly. Black tie optional.”

Britain already had nudged President Barack Obama to go to war, and the President’s aides told news sources that a strike was inevitable. Britain got cold feet and decided maybe it should consult with the House of Commons.

It voted late Thursday night voted 285-272 against the Government’s motion on the principle of military intervention in Syria, and Prime Minister David Cameron, after having previously said a military strike is necessary to prevent future chemical warfare, stated after the vote, “I get that, and the government will act accordingly.”

Now, Obama looks like a jerk after beating the war drums and then losing the drumsticks.

He went out on the limb several weeks ago when he said that he would intervene militarily in Syria if chemical weapons were used. Assad used them again an again, 13 times by one count, but Obama backed off because there was no “conclusive proof” that his loyalists, not the rebels, deployed poison gas.

The came last week’s catastrophe and President Obama’s bravado that made him King for Day in Western media until people started asking questions.

One of them might be no other than the man himself,  who in 2007 quoted a former professor of constitutional law as saying, “The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

Of course, Obama could say that the security of the United States is threatened by the Assad regime’s use of nerve gas to kill more than 1,000 Syrians.

The Obama administration, like others before, have no trouble declaring that moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would endanger national security, but the rules of the game change when it comes to Syria.

Russia and China, of course, bitterly oppose the idea of an attack, and Russia sent an anti-submarine ship to the Mediterranean Sea to show its strength. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated, “External military intervention is contrary to the U.N. charter aims and the basic norms governing international relations and could exacerbate instability in the Middle East.”

Iran, of course, promises to preserve stability by assisting Assad and blow up any U.S. jets that come near Syria, where Assad’s military’s knees are shaking so much that it is hurriedly removing Scud missiles from bases that might be targeted by the United States.

Everyone is trying to show he is stronger than the other, and everyone is threatening the other. Everyone is bluffing, and every government involved in this mess has lost its marbles, except for Israel. Even though Israel stands to lose the most if Assad, who already can be considered off his rocker, decides to use the opportunity of certain death to destroy Israel along the way, it feels secure.

Little Israel is not as nervous as most media makes it out to be. Yes, there were long lines at gas mask distribution centers, but there were even more people shopping at the malls.

Since Israel has a healthy population of Arabs, any poison gas attack will not discriminate between Jews and Arabs, unless it falls smack dab in the middle of Ramallah, where Jews, of course, are not allowed to live.

The biggest problem for Israel is not an American air strike, and it is difficult to see how Obama can get out of it without making the United States look like the worlds’ biggest sissy. The bigger problem will be what Israel faces on the other side of the border after an air strike.

The Shakiest Nukes in the West

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

In case everyone in Northeast Asia missed it, in spite of their intelligence and early-warning networks which have assuredly been tracking it in fine detail, the Obama Defense Department announced on Monday that the U.S. has been deterring North Korea by sending B-52 bombers on practice runs in its vicinity.  The specter of nuclear deterrence was clarified by Deputy Secretary Ashton Carter:

Deputy defense secretary Ashton Carter said during a visit to South Korea on Monday that the bomber flights are part of the U.S. “extended deterrence”—the use of U.S. nuclear forces to deter North Korea, which conducted its third underground nuclear test Feb. 12.

Nukes! I say.  Nukes!  Pay attention, dudes.

As Bill Gertz demurely puts it, “It is unusual for the Pentagon to make such overt statements about the use of strategic nuclear forces in Asia Pacific.”

Deterrence. Indeed.  That’s because such overt statements are a form of strutting and posturing that makes the U.S. look foolish.  Kim Jong-Un may be a weirdo who hangs out with Dennis Rodman, but he knows we have nukes.  North Korea wants nukes because the U.S., Russia, and China have them, and, in the crudest sense, they make us powerful – if not invincible, at least hard for anyone else to deter.

Making pointed comments about “extended deterrence” comes off as a novice’s imitation of what he thinks a tough security policy sounds like.  It’s kind of informative, in fact: this is what the political left thinks is necessary for achieving deterrence.  You have to remind everyone about your nukes.

It’s not like decision-makers in North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Russia, and China have been unaware of our big exercise with the B-52 participation.  Their radars track the B-52s all over the air space off the coast of Northeast Asia.  Each of them has a foreign-forces guide that informs every soldier and airman of the nuclear role played by the B-52 in the U.S. deterrence arsenal.  They fully understand what they’re seeing when the B-52s show up.

But to publicly emphasize the U.S. nuclear deterrent in this circumstance is misdirected anyway, if the deterrence target is North Korea.  For Pyongyang, evidence of the U.S. commitment to South Korea has been shown most effectively by our conventional military cooperation, which includes thousands of troops stationed in the South.  The nuclear threat is always implicitly there, but it isn’t needed to deter Kim Jong-Un.  We can take him down without going nuclear.  The audience for nuclear deterrence is Russia and China, and the point of it has always been to deter them from trying to settle the Korean situation themselves, to the detriment of our allies and interests in the region.

Is there any sense being fostered by anyone in the Obama administration that China or Russia needs special nuclear-deterring in the current situation with North Korea?  Does anyone at all, even outside the administration, think that’s necessary?  I don’t see that theme being retailed anywhere.  It makes no sense to rattle the nuclear saber at Kim Jong-Un.  But no case has been made that it ought to be rattled at Vladimir Putin or Li Keqiang either.

Nukes aren’t something you wave around like a drunk brandishing a knife.  The current situation has that feel to it, however.

Consider another aspect the situation. The Northeast Asian nations are sophisticated enough to understand: that U.S. nuclear-armed submarines are not sitting “near South Korean waters,” as claimed in additional South Korean news reporting cited by Gertz.  Sitting near South Korean waters would be pointless.  If a U.S nuke were ever launched at North Korea from a submarine, it would be launched from out in the Pacific by a ballistic missile submarine (SSBN).  We don’t have any other submarine-launched nukes today.

The nuclear Tomahawk missile (TLAM-N), formerly launched by attack submarines, was removed from U.S. ships and submarines in 1991 and put in storage.  Obama’s 2010 Nuclear Posture Review recommended eliminating the TLAM-N from the U.S. inventory, and, as described by the Federation of American Scientists, the new 2013 version of the Navy’s baseline instruction on nuclear weapons contains no section on the TLAM-N.  This indicates that the TLAM-N is no longer in the inventory of nuclear weapons.

All tactical nuclear weapons having now been retired from the U.S. arsenal, there is no submarine-launched nuke that could be fired from a position “near South Korean waters.”  No one in Northeast Asia lacks the intelligence or resources to figure that out.  How did that impression get left with the South Korean media?

Perhaps the Obama administration imagines that it’s appropriate to pointedly warn North Korea about our nukes because Kim has a nuclear weapon himself?  The leap of logic here is fatal to stability, if that’s the thinking.  Even if Kim expended his one or handful of nuclear warheads, it is in the highest degree unlikely that we would use nukes on him, for the simple reason that it isn’t necessary.  If Kim getting one nuke causes the U.S. to begin treating North Korea like a credible nuclear power, then that one nuke has accomplished its purpose, and everyone else across the globe will want to try it.

There might be a neighborhood in which having a crude warhead or two makes one a member of an elite nuclear-armed “club” – but it isn’t Northeast Asia.  North Korea has not achieved the ultimate goal of the nuclear-armed dictator: invulnerability to deterrence.  Kim is still badly over matched in every way by Russia, China, and the U.S. – and, in fact, is over matched conventionally by South Korea and Japan as well, if it came to that.  It is unseemly and off-kilter for the U.S. to get into a nuclear showdown with North Korea.

There might or might not be utility in giving a bit of “informational” emphasis to our exercise series with South Korea right now, with the North being so obstreperous.  But there is no need to issue reminders of our nuclear capabilities.  Doing so, in fact, comes off as uncalibrated and a bit hysterical.

Originally published at the Optimistic Conservative.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/the-shakiest-nukes-in-the-west/2013/03/24/

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