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Boats 09-01-2021 12:00 PM

Is Biden bringing the world closer to nuclear war?
Is Biden bringing the world closer to nuclear war?
By: Grady Means - Opinion Contributor - The Hills News - 08-30-21

Over the past six months, the world has edged closer to nuclear war than it has been since the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Doomsday Clock is ticking toward midnight. The global power balance has been dramatically reshuffled, and the potential for disastrous miscalculation hasn't been so high in 80 years. The match and fuse for this is instability — an exaggerated sense of U.S. weakness and lack of capability and resolve — that could lead to huge, aggressive military miscalculations and mistakes by our enemies. The Biden administration has set the table for such a catastrophe.

The timing could not be more dangerous. China has changed strategic direction and has been building its nuclear stockpile and delivery systems. China also has continued to develop hypersonic weapons, including stand-off “carrier killers,” space weapons and cyber capabilities to blind opponents’ strategic and conventional systems. Russia has been advertising (mostly for domestic consumption, but nonetheless worrying) its “unstoppable” delivery systems, and has a very capable nuclear stockpile and military. Iran will continue to move forward with building nuclear weapons. Pakistan and India both have significant nuclear capability in an increasingly unstable part of the world. Nuclear-armed North Korea is again assuming a more belligerent posture. Israel has a full nuclear triad (land, air, subs) to respond to existential aggression. The U.K. and France have significant nuclear deterrents. The world is a powder keg.

In Hollywood terms, today’s capacity for nuclear holocaust is thousands of times greater than the era portrayed in the Armageddon films “On the Beach,” “Fail Safe,” or “Dr. Strangelove.” There would not be anything left for “Mad Max.” Climate disasters may be unfolding over the next hundred years. Nuclear disaster is unfolding now. COVID-19 has killed more Americans than the flu typically does. Nuclear war could kill us all. Our leaders must get their priorities straight.

The danger lies in the growing global perception of weakness and incompetence in the Biden administration, combined with claims of the politicized weakening of the FBI, CIA, State Department and Defense Department. This has crystallized in Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s unsure Anchorage meeting with the Chinese, Biden’s wooden Geneva summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, the colossal failure of the Afghan withdrawal, which may devolve into a humiliating hostage crisis for America, and the budget- and inflation-based defunding of Defense. In addition, the fully politicized Intelligence and Armed Services committees on Capitol Hill add to the danger. Our enemies may decide that now is the time to move.

It would be a huge miscalculation.

Catastrophic mistakes at this scale often unfold when isolated events light powder kegs, which then inexorably explode into global conflict.

An incident in Sarajevo lit a powder keg of nationalistic, economic and ambitious personality struggles in Europe to unleash World War I. A century later, possible “Sarajevos” are numerous: China’s overly aggressive and self-confident People’s Liberation Army pushing for the use of military force against Taiwan, calculating a weak and ineffective U.S. response, leading to the sinking of a U.S. carrier and a potential march toward nuclear exchange. Major North Korean aggression against South Korea, or an off-course North Korean missile hitting a Japanese city. A successful Iranian (Hamas, Hezbollah) terrorist attack against an Israeli city. The seizure of one or more Pakistani nuclear weapons systems by a Taliban or another terrorist-linked group. Overt aggression or a “misunderstanding” between Pakistan and India. A “Crimson Tide” communications error. Proof that a devastating bioterror attack was intentional. The list of potential doomsday scenarios is endless.

The one powerful factor holding back such miscalculations has been coherent U.S. foreign policy and resolve, combined with pragmatists in Moscow and Beijing. But in the past six months, the world’s confidence in the U.S. leadership has begun to slip. An agonizing hostage crisis would make it even more dangerous. Added to that is the potential that a stubborn and wounded U.S. administration might overreact to try to show its strength. The U.S. has devastating countermeasures for all enemy strategies, and an enemy underestimating that power, combined with a White House trying to prove itself, could be disastrous.

* Some will say it started with Donald Trump.* That may be true, but it’s irrelevant, and there is some evidence from China, Russia and North Korea that Trump’s loud, unpredictable behavior kept things far more in check than Joe Biden’s overt weakness and blunders.*

In addition, there is no room for “disarmament,” “peace movement” or “the squad” nonsense politics. Today, “treaties” are useful but cannot prevent disaster. The return to safe global strategic balance will require America regaining the world’s respect, and our enemies’ fear. That is the only course to create the strategic balance to avert Armageddon. And it requires full bipartisan support — recent patterns of cynical opportunism have no place when facing these threats.

The only way forward is to fully recognize the growing danger and for this administration to immediately replace the inept National Security Council, State Department, Defense and perhaps intelligence teams with truly capable, first-class, experienced leaders. Most of the current team should go. Global security demands an immediate leadership, strategy, organization and process reset.

Grady Means is a writer ( and former corporate strategy consultant. He served in the White House as a policy assistant to Vice President Nelson Rockefeller.



Personal note:

I didn't like Trump from day one - he's blow-heart, con-man - womanizer - and a draft dodger; who doesn't know the first thing about fighting a war - and yet he's calling shots in our behalf - is absolutely ridiculous.
Biden on the other hand once served and yet his demeanor of late seems weak and a bit too soft for me. Both men are not the right ones for this current position. Rather we need someone whose been in there and done it. And yet finds the strength to manage the issues at hand. I won't vote for neither of these two guys and hope like hell there's another in the background that will run for office - and bring America back to its standard of Truth and Justice for All.
I'd also like to see an Amendment to our Constitution that states - No President can be younger and no older than 56 years of age. Those 65 and older will no longer be allowed to run for office. This should also apply to both sides of Congress (lots of dead wood there for sure).
Then the next President - may still have all his facilities - and not hungry for power and glory - but rather - a Man or Woman - who can manage the issues of the day and yet present him or herself as a strong leader to NATO - and yet ensure our country remains stable and prosperous.
The lay of the land of late is moving into a stormy weather of constant warfare. Today our world is locked and loaded - ready to nuke those who step over the line. The leaders of the world are not looking for a resolve - but rather warfare. This will not resolve the world order of things. Stalemate or checkmate - will work - for awhile but someone will eventually push that button - and all hell will break loose.
Monies spent on weapons of mass destruction have no payback - rather they are destroyer's of the planet. To have a nuclear war will contaminate the planet while killing off their people. To what advantage? The mindset of the leaders in this world are super insecure and showing bravado doesn't fix the issues - rather ignites them.
The five superpower's of this world today really need a real ass kicking - for being so repugnant - that in order keep their positions - they feel these condemnations - will make them look stronger and better - rather then trying to find some better resolve.
The whole planet is suffering from either brutality or starvation in most cases. What once was - is no more. Warfare is all they think about. Infrastructure means nothing to them - nor their people in most cases - who are forced to support these words of wisdom from these so-called leaders.
I foresee an up and coming war of which little if anything will remain. It will result in highly contaminated areas and starvation. All the Gold in China will be worthless then as you can't eat that.
I've often stated my feelings before on this and yet - its like - making a speech in a room with no listen's.

Boats 09-01-2021 12:17 PM

Lethal Autonomous Weapons and World War III
Lethal Autonomous Weapons and World War III
By: Toby Walsh - Professor of AI as the University of New South Wales - 08-12-21

Last year, according to a United Nations report published in March, Libyan government forces hunted down rebel forces using “lethal autonomous weapons systems” that were “programmed to attack targets without requiring data connectivity between the operator and the munition”. The deadly drones were Turkish-made quadcopters about the size of a dinner plate, capable of delivering a warhead weighing a kilogram or so.

Artificial intelligence researchers like me have been warning of the advent of such lethal autonomous weapons systems, which can make life-or-death decisions without human intervention, for years. A recent episode of 4 Corners reviewed this and many other risks posed by developments in AI.

Around 50 countries are meeting at the UN offices in Geneva this week in the latest attempt to hammer out a treaty to prevent the proliferation of these killer devices. History shows such treaties are needed, and that they can work.

The lesson of nuclear weapons

Scientists are pretty good at the warning of the dangers facing the planet. Unfortunately, society is less good at paying attention.

In August 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing up to 200,000 civilians. Japan surrendered days later. The second world war was over, and the Cold War began.

The world still lives today under the threat of nuclear destruction. On a dozen or so occasions since then, we have come within minutes of all-out nuclear war.

Well before the first test of a nuclear bomb, many scientists working on the Manhattan Project were concerned about such a future. A secret petition was sent to President Harry S. Truman in July 1945. It accurately predicted the future:

The development of atomic power will provide nations with new means of destruction. The atomic bombs at our disposal represent only the first step towards this direction, and there is almost no limit to this destructive power which will become available in the course of their future development. Thus, a nation that sets the precedent of using these newly liberated forces of nature for purposes of destruction may have to bear the responsibility of opening the door to an era of devastation on an unimaginable scale.

If after this war a situation is allowed to develop in the world which permits rival powers to be in uncontrolled possession of these new means of destruction, the cities of the United States, as well as the cities of other nations, will be in continuous danger of sudden annihilation. All the resources of the United States, moral and material, may have to be mobilized to prevent the advent of such a world situation …

Billions of dollars have since been spent on nuclear arsenals that maintain the threat of mutually assured destruction, the “continuous danger of sudden annihilation” that the physicists warned about in July 1945.

A warning to the world

Six years ago, thousands of my colleagues issued a similar warning about a new threat. Only this time, the petition wasn’t secret. The world wasn’t at war. And the technologies weren’t being developed in secret. Nevertheless, they

The threat comes this time from artificial intelligence, and in particular the development of lethal autonomous weapons: weapons that can identify, track and destroy targets without human intervention. The media often like to call them “killer robots”.

Our open letter to the UN carried a stark warning.

The key question for humanity today is whether to start a global AI arms race or to prevent it from starting. If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, then a global arms race is virtually inevitable. The endpoint of such a technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow.

Strategically, autonomous weapons are a military dream. They let a military scale its operations unhindered by manpower constraints. One programmer can command hundreds of autonomous weapons. An army can take on the riskiest of missions without endangering its own soldiers.

Nightmare swarms

There are many reasons, however, why the military’s dream of lethal autonomous weapons will turn into a nightmare. First and foremost, there is a strong moral argument against killer robots. We give up an essential part of our humanity if we hand to a machine the decision of whether a person should live or die.

Beyond the moral arguments, there are many technical and legal reasons to be concerned about killer robots. One of the strongest is that they will revolutionize warfare. Autonomous weapons will be weapons of immense destruction.

Previously, if you wanted to do harm, you had to have an army of soldiers to wage war. You had to persuade this army to follow your orders. You had to train them, feed them and pay them. Now just one programmer could control hundreds of weapons.
In some ways, lethal autonomous weapons are even more troubling than nuclear weapons. To build a nuclear bomb requires considerable technical sophistication. You need the resources of a nation-state, skilled physicists and engineers, and access to scarce raw materials such as uranium and plutonium. As a result, nuclear weapons have not proliferated greatly.

Autonomous weapons require none of this, and if produced they will likely become cheap and plentiful. They will be perfect weapons of terror.

Can you imagine how terrifying it will be to be chased by a swarm of autonomous drones? Can you imagine such drones in the hands of terrorists and rogue states with no qualms about turning them on civilians? They will be an ideal weapon with which to suppress a civilian population. Unlike humans, they will not hesitate to commit atrocities, even genocide.

It's Time for a treaty:

We stand at a crossroads on this issue. It needs to be seen as morally unacceptable for machines to decide who lives and who dies. And for the diplomats at the UN to negotiate a treaty limiting their use, just as we have treaties to limit chemical, biological, and other weapons. In this way, we may be able to save ourselves and our children from this terrible future.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

About the Author:

Toby Walsh is a Laureate Fellow and Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and author of the recent book, “2062: The World that AI Made” which explores the impact AI will have on society, including the impact on the war.


Personal note: So I guess I'm not alone - many know what's coming - but stopping it seems impossible - more or less - its inevitable
So much for Mankind

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