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Obama to cut nonproliferation budget in favor of new nukes

Press TV – April 11, 2013

US President Barack Obama has reportedly requested more funding to further upgrade American nuclear weapons at the cost of reduced spending on nuclear nonproliferation measures, which it demands from other nations.

The Obama administration’s funding request for continued modernization of its atomic arsenal has reportedly been included in its 2014 federal budget proposal that was released on Wednesday, according to a report in US-based Foreign Policy magazine.

The Obama administration’s plan to further “modernize” American nuclear weapons comes nearly four years after the US president received the Noble Peace Prize in 2009 for the promotion of “nuclear non-proliferation.”

Despite massive cuts in public spending and even some Defense Department programs, under the new budget proposal, funding for US Energy Department’s nuclear arms-related programs would increase by nearly seven percent or about USD500 million, according to the report, which cited American officials that spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The current budget for such programs reportedly stands at more than USD7 billion.

The Energy Department’s nonproliferation programs, however, would be slashed by about 20 percent, or nearly USD460 million, under the new budget plan, according to the report. Its current annual budget stands at almost USD2.5 billion.

The proposed funding would reportedly cover the continuing upgrade of older American atomic warheads as well as the construction of a uranium processing plant in the State of Tennessee.

The so-called modernization program for aging US nuclear weapons is part of a deal between the Obama administration and Congress as part of the ‘New START’ (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) agreement with Russia, its major rival in maintaining massive numbers of atomic weapons.

According to the pact, both nuclear powers should slash their atomic warheads to 1,500 by 2018.

US lawmakers reportedly agreed to support the reduction of the quantity of the country’s atomic warheads if the ones remaining active are upgraded.

The only category of the US Energy Department’s nonproliferation activities that would receive increased funding is its research and development division. It is intended to finance the development of a satellite-based nuclear detonation sensor, according to the Foreign Policy report.

This is while the Energy Department’s nuclear weapon programs was reportedly hindered by mismanagement and overspending issues, prompting the department to ask the Pentagon to cover cost overruns for its W76 warhead upgrade operations, though it only received three billion of the seven billion dollars it had requested.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s 2014 budget proposal is reportedly billions of dollars higher than the spending caps mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act. It is, therefore, expected to face strong opposition from congressional members. The White House and US lawmakers have been battling for the past two years over budgetary issues, and are yet to reach a common ground.

April 10, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Those Despicable Foreigners

By Craig Murray on October 23, 2012

I have travelled this world much more extensively than either Obama or Romney, and I still do. I find everywhere, even in areas of conflict and economic difficulty, the vast majority of people are friendly, even kind, and have very similar aspirations, across cultures, to personal development and emotional fulfilment.

The striking thing about tonight’s US Presidential “foreign policy” debate, is when it did occasionally discuss foreign policy, the world out there was discussed not as a place of vast potential, but as a deeply disturbing place full of foreigners who are, apparently, all evil except the Israelis, who are perfect.

The vast benefits from cooperation and trade with “abroad” were not mentioned once that I noticed (though I confess the thing was so awful my attention wandered occasionally). Europe apparently doesn’t exist, other than Greece which is nothing more than a terrible warning of the dangers of not being right wing enough.

The correct attitude to all these foreigners that God so unfortunately and inexplicably placed on this planet, is apparently to maintain incredibly large armed forces, murder people with drones (they were both very enthusiastic on this one), place sanctions on them and declare them “currency manipulators”. The only surprising note was that both agreed that they could not kill everyone in Iran.

But “We can’t just kill our way out of this mess” was spoken with regret, rather than as an affirmation of the possibilities of cooperation instead. What a grim and joyless world view. Maybe I had better not step out of this hotel into Africa this morning; those Islamists might get me.

October 23, 2012 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | Comments Off on Those Despicable Foreigners

New Report Revives Speculation On Azerbaijan-Israel Cooperation Against Iran

By Joshua Kucera | EURASIANET | September 30, 2012

When Foreign Policy magazine reported this spring that Israel was in talks with Azerbaijan over the use of the latter’s airfields in order to carry out an attack on Iran, the bombshell report was vociferously denied by officials in Baku and derided by regional analysts. Azerbaijan would seem to not have any interest in such cooperation, and the Foreign Policy report was correctly described as “Washington-centric.”

But now Reuters has come out with the same story, but their sources are Azerbaijani and Russian:

[T]wo Azeri former military officers with links to serving personnel and two Russian intelligence sources all told Reuters that Azerbaijan and Israel have been looking at how Azeri bases and intelligence could serve in a possible strike on Iran.

“Where planes would fly from – from here, from there, to where? – that’s what’s being planned now,” a security consultant with contacts at Azeri defense headquarters in Baku said. “The Israelis … would like to gain access to bases in Azerbaijan.”

….

Rasim Musabayov, an independent Azeri lawmaker and a member of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said that, while he had no definitive information, he understood that Azerbaijan would probably feature in any Israeli plans against Iran, at least as a contingency for refueling its attack force:

“Israel has a problem in that if it is going to bomb Iran, its nuclear sites, it lacks refueling,” Musabayov told Reuters.

“I think their plan includes some use of Azerbaijan access.

“We have (bases) fully equipped with modern navigation, anti-aircraft defenses and personnel trained by Americans and if necessary they can be used without any preparations,” he added.

The same skepticism applies now as applied with the Foreign Policy piece: it’s very hard to imagine what Azerbaijan would gain from participating in an Israeli strike on Iran. Azerbaijan has its own serious problems with Iran, but they’re pretty separate from Israel’s and have little to do with the nuclear program. And participating in an Israeli attack would just open Azerbaijan up for retaliation, for which Baku is not at all prepared.

What could be worth it to Baku? This is 100 percent speculation, but what if Israel were able to provide something totally game-changing vis-a-vis Nagorno Karabakh? Taking Karabakh back from the Armenians who control it now is Azerbaijan’s top priority by far, and Baku may find it worthwhile to risk Iranian retaliation if it could get Karabakh. I have no idea what that game-changing something Israel might be able to provide, but it’s the only way I can see this making any sense. No doubt we’ll hear a lot more about this.

September 30, 2012 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

FP 50 Inadvertently Reveals Israel’s Dominance of GOP

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | August 31, 2012

Foreign Policy magazine has compiled a list of the 50 Republicans who have the greatest influence on the GOP’s foreign policy. “Politics is mostly about people — and nowhere is that more true than when it comes to foreign policy,” explains Foreign Policy in its introduction. With the U.S. presidential election looming, the magazine offers “to peel back the curtain on this rarefied part of the Establishment” to better inform American voters about “the advisers who will determine the country’s course in the world” in the event that they elect Mitt Romney. The FP 50, it says, are “all GOP partisans” from the different “ideological traditions” — namely, realism, neoconservatism, and “even” isolationism — that are “currently fighting for the soul of their party’s foreign policy.” A cursory look at the list, however, shows that a far more influential ideological tradition — Zionism — holds sway over the Republican Party.

Although only about 20% of American Jews supported the GOP in 2008, the FP 50 features as many as 20 Jewish partisans of Israel, including Weekly Standard editor William Kristol (#2), Brookings Institution senior fellow Robert Kagan (#4), and casino mogul and mega-donor Sheldon Adelson (#9) who make its top 10 most powerful Republicans on foreign policy. Also at number 8 is Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the stridently pro-Israel chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, whose maternal grandfather was a “pillar” of Cuba’s Jewish community who helped found several synagogues there. More importantly, several of the most passionate Israel partisans are close advisors to the Romney team, including Kagan, Dan Senor (#13), Dov Zakheim (#27), Eliot Cohen (#29), and Elliott Abrams (#35).

Moreover, the careers of many of the non-Jewish individuals on Foreign Policy’s list have been inextricably linked to their staunch support of the Jewish state. Topping the FP 50 is Senator John McCain who not only continues the family tradition of covering up Israel’s deliberate June 8, 1967 attack on the USS Liberty but invariably leads the call — in unison with Senator Joe Lieberman — for U.S. intervention in countries surrounding the Jewish state. At number 26 is Senator Mark Kirk, “the Israel lobby’s favorite senator” whose office this year served as a conduit for an Israeli initiative to redefine Palestinian refugees out of existence. And coming in in 46th place is John Hagee, the founder and chairman of Christians United for Israel, which, as FP points out, “has done more than just about any other organization to make Israel a defining foreign-policy issue for evangelical Christians in the United States.”

Indeed, out of the 50 Republicans who have the greatest influence on the GOP’s foreign policy, Congressman Ron Paul — who, along with his son, Senator Rand Paul, is ranked #25 — appears to be one of the very few who could be relied upon to put U.S. interests ahead of Israel’s. Yet Foreign Policy, a division of the pro-Israel Washington Post, never explicitly refers to the decisive — and potentially catastrophic — influence Tel Aviv would have over a Romney administration. However, those familiar with the operations of the Israel lobby know that, as the magazine puts it, “the relentless lobbying and insider machinations of surprisingly few people can often end up defining the foreign policy of entire administrations.”

August 31, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on FP 50 Inadvertently Reveals Israel’s Dominance of GOP