When Iran Goes Nuclear

Failure to protect the nation would amount to dereliction of duty

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R. James Woolsey and Peter Vincent Pry – Monday, March 2, 2015

Our attention these days with regard to security is understandably riveted on the Islamic State, or ISIS, and its hideous decapitations, rapes and live immolations. We must deal with the Islamic State, but it is not the gravest threat we face. The Israelis are right — we should awaken to the fact that the coming of a nuclear Iran holds special dangers and requires particularly urgent attention. There are four driving reasons.

First, the Mideast abounds in clashing religious beliefs, but there is special danger in the Shiite doctrine held by many Iranians, including some of Iran’s national leaders: The return of the hidden Imam will bring the war that ends the world and creates heavenly bliss for believers. As America’s dean of Mideast studies, Bernard Lewis, puts it: During the Cold War, Mutual Assured Destruction was a deterrent; today it is an inducement.

Second, Iran works very closely with North Korea on its nuclear and missile programs. Consequently, it has the ballistic missile capacity to launch weapons of substantial size and intercontinental range against us, or to orbit satellites above us.

So troubling is this capability — in the hands of either Iran or North Korea — that nine years ago, based on the ability of North Korea’s Taepodong missile to carry a nuclear warhead to intercontinental range, the current secretary of defense, Ashton Carter, and a prominent former secretary, William Perry, urged in a 2006 oped a pre-emptive strike against the then-new North Korean long-range missiles on their launch pads. As the two secretaries put it then, “Intervening before mortal threats to U.S. security can develop is surely a prudent policy.” Their view was that our ballistic missile defense capabilities were unproven and should not be relied upon for such an important task. “Diplomacy has failed,” they said, “And we cannot sit by.”

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Terrorism–An Existential Threat

Family Security Matters

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by DR. PETER VINCENT PRY February 13, 2015

Terrorism is NOT an existential threat, according to Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security advisor, and according to the new White House national security strategy unveiled on Friday, February 6, 2015.  Nor does the United States face any other threats to its existence, according to the White House, except for “climate change.”Rice explained, “Too often, what’s missing here in Washington is a sense of perspective.  Yes, there is a lot going on.  Still, while the dangers we face may be more numerous and varied, they are not of the existential nature we confronted during World War II or during the Cold War.”

Polling indicates as many as one-third of Americans believe Rice and the White House, when in reality the U.S. faces existential threats of greater severity than World War II or the Cold War from terrorists, Iran, Russia, China, and North Korea.

Regular readers of Family Security Matters do not need to be told why Russia, China, and North Korea–all nuclear missile states hostile to America and U.S. allies–pose a growing existential threat to the United States.

This article shall focus on the existential dangers from terrorists like Al Qaeda and ISIS and from the world’s leading sponsor of international terrorism–Iran.  Islamic terrorists and Iran pose an even greater threat to the existence of the United States than did Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany during World War II, or than the USSR during the Cold War.

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EMP Threat From North Korea, 2013

By: Dr. Peter Vincent Pry

 

North Korea’s third illegal nuclear test on February 12, 2013, was followed  by increased international sanctions, that prompted escalating threats from  North Korea to make nuclear missile strikes against U.S. allies, South Korea and  Japan, and the mainland United States.  President Obama denied that North  Korea could deliver on these threats, claiming that North Korea does not yet  have nuclear armed missiles–despite assessments to the contrary by DIA, CIA,  and NATO.

Three months earlier, on December 12, 2012, North Korea successfully orbited  a satellite, the KSM-3, thereby demonstrating the capability to deliver a small  nuclear warhead to intercontinental ranges–against any nation on Earth.   The Congressional Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from  Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack assessed that Russia, China, and North Korea  (with help from Russia) have probably developed nuclear weapons of special  design that produce a low explosive yield and high gamma ray output in order to  generate an extraordinarily powerful EMP field.  The Russians term these  “Super-EMP” weapons.  Independently, South Korean military intelligence and  a Chinese military commentator in open sources credit North Korea with having  Super-EMP warheads.

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World War?

By: Dr. Peter Vincent Pry

Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine to seize the Crimea on February 28, 2014, reporting by the mainstream media has focused on President Obama’s threats to impose economic sanctions on Russia in retaliation.  Media pundits have spoken of the “standoff” and the “stalemate” between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine–as if economic sanctions against a handful of Russian oligarchs is somehow strategically equivalent retaliation for Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Indeed, mainstream television and newspapers have reported with grim satisfaction that President Obama is “ratcheting up” the sanctions, trying hard to create the impression that Moscow must be quaking with fear.  Mainstream media pundits have reported, largely uncritically, Obama’s claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s  seizure of Crimea is archaic behavior belonging in another century and “an act of weakness.”

Viewers of ABC, CBS, NBC, and MSNBC, and readers of the New York Times, USA Today and etc. might well get the impression that President Obama’s sophisticated use of the “soft power” of economic sanctions will inevitably prevail over Dictator Putin’s old fashioned military muscle flexing.

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Ukraine: Wake-up Call For NATO

By: Dr. Peter Vincent Pry

In the long history of war and peace, numbers matter.

If Ukraine is annexed or dominated by Moscow, Russia will again directly confront NATO in central Europe. New NATO members Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Poland are no match for Russia. Nor are traditional NATO members in Western Europe what they were during the Cold War. They are no match for the modernized Russian Army.

Collectively, the armed forces of NATO’s 27 members (excluding the United States) seem impressive at about 1.7 million active duty, although this is only about half their Cold War strength of 3.3 million. European NATO (including Turkey) collectively has 6,000 tanks and 2,000 fighter aircraft among 27 member nations.

However, NATO’s European members have very little power projection capability–their armed forces are largely incapable of traveling far beyond their national territories. Only the United Kingdom has significant power projection, estimated capable of sending 30,000 troops overseas.

France, after the U.K. estimated to have the greatest power projection capabilities in Europe, had great difficulty projecting even a small force numbering 2,000 Foreign Legionnaires to Mali in January 2013. France needed help with aerial refueling and logistical support from the U.S., Canada, and Britain.

When European NATO led the bombing campaign against Libya in March 2011, they quickly exhausted their ammunition. They needed resupply from the United States.

European NATO was hard pressed to conduct military operations against Libya–a helpless adversary.

Russian armed forces comprise 1.4 million active duty troops, 3,300 modern main battle tanks (18,000 more tanks in reserve), and 2,750 military aircraft.
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Nuclear Iran: The Sanctions Delusion

By: Dr. Peter Vincent Pry

The Obama Administration, and its critics, are mistaken that Iran’s nuclear negotiations are motivated primarily by economic sanctions.

Since revolutionary Iran’s seizure of the U.S. Embassy in 1979, every presidential administration has imposed on Iran new and ever more stringent economic sanctions restricting trade and seizing financial assets.  Most recently, in 2010 and 2013, President Obama imposed the latest round of economic sanctions, advertised as the most stringent ever, that include prohibiting banking transactions in the rial, Iran’s currency, and even restricting importation of Iranian caviar.

Historically, economic sanctions have had little or no discernible effect on altering Iran’s dangerous behavior, such as its world leadership of international terrorism and its development of nuclear weapons. Analyst A.E. Torbat concludes, “overall, the sanctions’ economic effect… has been significant, while its political effect has been minimal.”

Mistakenly, the Obama Administration and its critics both assume that Iran’s primary reason for initiating negotiations over its nuclear program is the coercive success of economic sanctions. Much energy is being expended, uselessly, debating whether the threat of additional economic sanctions will finally compel Iran to give up its aspiration to become a nuclear weapons state. The short answer is — economic sanctions did not bring Iran to the negotiating table in the first place.

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If Iran Already Has The Bomb, What Then?

Hardening infrastructure will be key to minimizing the threat

By: Dr. Peter Vincent Pry

A majority of Americans support a military strike to stop or slow Iran’s nuclear weapons program. But that assumes Iran doesn’t already have some.

What if Iran already has one or more nuclear weapons and the capability to make a nuclear strike on the United States – right now? If true, this would change the calculation for the American people. Then the risks of a U.S. or Israeli military attack on Iran’s nuclear program would change radically.

The truth is, no one knows for sure just how far advanced Iran’s nuclear weapons program is. There are sound reasons for doubting Washington’s official estimates that Iran does not yet have the bomb or the ability to make a nuclear strike on the United States. The U.S. Manhattan Project during World War II, working with 1940s-era technology to develop nuclear weapons that were then merely a theoretical possibility, succeeded in building two working atomic bombs of radically different designs – in just three years. Iran supposedly has been struggling to develop nuclear weapons for 20 years, with help from nuclear-armed Russia, China and North Korea.

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What America Needs to Know About EMPs

The threat of an electromagnetic attack is real, but preparing for one shouldn’t be too difficult.

By: Dr. Peter Vincent Pry

Weinberger alleges that the EMP Commission and concern about the EMP threat is strictly partisan. But the EMP Commission’s bipartisan credentials are impeccable. It was established by a Republican-dominated Congress in 2001 and re-established by a Democrat-dominated Congress in 2006. Commissioners were appointed on a bipartisan basis. The EMP threat, and the necessity to do something about it, is one of the few issues on which Democrats and Republicans in Congress are working together.

Weinberger asks why nuclear terrorists or rogue states would prefer to use a nuclear weapon for an EMP attack, instead of blasting a city. The short answer is that an EMP attack could inflict more and longer-lasting damage and kill many more Americans in the long run. Blasting a city cannot paralyze the United States and will leave forensic and other evidence that will virtually guarantee the destruction of the perpetrator. An EMP attack is the only option for a single nuclear weapon that offers terrorists or rogue states any realistic chance of defeating the United States, perhaps eliminating the United States as an actor from the world stage, permanently.

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