World’s Most Dangerous Nuclear Weapon Rolls Off Assembly Line
By James Carroll
February 12, 2019
Last month, the National Nuclear Security Administration (formerly the Atomic Energy Commission) announced that the first of a new generation of strategic nuclear weapons had rolled off the assembly line at its Pantex nuclear weapons plant in the panhandle of Texas. That warhead, the W76-2, is designed to be fitted to a submarine-launched Trident missile, a weapon with a range of more than 7,500 miles. By September, an undisclosed number of warheads will be delivered to the Navy for deployment.
What makes this particular nuke new is the fact that it carries a far smaller destructive payload than the thermonuclear monsters the Trident has been hosting for decades — not the equivalent of about 100 kilotons of TNT as previously, but of five kilotons. According to Stephen Young of the Union of Concerned Scientists, the W76-2 will yield “only” about one-third of the devastating power of the weapon that the Enola Gay, an American B-29 bomber, dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Yet that very shrinkage of the power to devastate is precisely what makes this nuclear weapon potentially the most dangerous ever manufactured. Fulfilling the Trump administration’s quest for nuclear-war-fighting “flexibility,” it isn’t designed as a deterrent against another country launching its nukes; it’s designed to be used. This is the weapon that could make the previously “unthinkable” thinkable.
Read more at https://truthout.org/articles/worlds-most-dangerous-nuclear-weapon-rolls-off-assembly-line/
Putin: Russia to Take Steps if US Deploys Its Short, Medium Range Missiles in EU
In an address to the Federal Assembly on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin touched upon a spate of pressing international issues related to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
During the address, the Russian president specifically touched upon the possible deployment of US missiles in Europe.
He warned that if Washington deploys its medium-and short-range missiles in Europe, it will “dramatically exacerbate international security situation” and create serious challenges to Russia.
He recalled that some classes missiles of US missiles have a flight time to Moscow of just around 10-12 minutes.
“This is a very serious threat to us. In this case, we will be forced — I want to emphasise this – forced to take tit-for-tat steps,” Putin underscored.
Read more at https://sputniknews.com/russia/201902201072585516-russia-constellation-putin/
US missile treaty withdrawal sparks global nuclear arms race
21 February 2019
A half-century after the Cuban Missile crisis that brought human civilization to within a hair’s breadth of destruction, Washington is fueling a global nuclear standoff that is, if anything, even more dangerous.
Last month, the White House announced that the United States would leave the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which prohibits the deployment of land-based missiles with ranges of up to 5,000 miles.
Military strategists and think-tanks have made clear that the Pentagon has plans to deploy short and medium-range nuclear-capable missiles in Eastern Europe, as well as on islands off the Chinese coast. Earlier this month, the Pentagon said it has accelerated its plans to deploy weapons prohibited by the treaty, declaring it “will start those steps on the systems that they couldn’t before.”
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia would retaliate proportionately “and asymmetrically” to any deployment of US missiles in Europe, making clear that it would target US launch facilities, as well as “command centers,” including Washington and possibly European capitols.
Read more at https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/02/21/pers-f21.html