By Dr. Chuck Missler
Iran's plot to kill a Saudi Arabian ambassador in the United States has prompted the Obama government to refocus attention on Iran's nuclear program. A 2012 conference on nuclear weapons will be held in Finland. Nations from the U.S. to the Koreas are seeking to use new weapons, even as the world frowns on nuclear proliferation. Protecting the security of their countries remains a perpetual goal of the world's leaders and getting weapons out of the other guys' hands is part of that goal.
A conference geared toward making the Middle East a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction will take place in 2012, and Finland has been appointed as the conference host government. Why pick on the Middle East? Because the West trusts very few dictatorships, and because radical Islamists seem determined to bring the rest of the world under the domination of Allah.
Specifically, the conference picks up where the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference left off after adopting the 1995 Middle East Resolution. It's been a few years since then.
Not that work toward getting big scary weapons out of the Middle East has not been important to the West since 1995. Iran is once again under special scrutiny because the U.S. recently had to stop an alleged planned attack on a Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington D.C.. President Obama has jumped again at a chance to keep Iran in its place and has asked the United Nations nuclear inspectors to give the public a view into classified intelligence on Iran's nuclear weapons programs.
"Iran is escalating, I believe, its nuclear development. Iran is increasingly hostile. They have not ceased supporting Hezbollah or Hamas or participating in the - well, bringing of missiles and rockets into Lebanon through Damascus (Syria). It's a very dangerous situation," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee.
Of course, the Middle East is not the only global location where the production of nuclear weapons is dangerous for the whole world. Russia has its share of nuclear technology and old nuclear weapons and a whole lot of troublesome corruption.
In 2009, President Obama made a speech in Prague promising "to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons." Whether his speech should be called ambitious or whether it should be called unrealistic, it included a specific agenda, including three major treaties: an arms control agreement with Russia, a global ban on nuclear testing, and a treaty against the production of fissile materials for weapons.
Shortly after the Prague speech, the US moved forward by negotiating the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia. The treaty required a great deal less of Russia than of the United States, but the U.S. Senate still ratified it in December 2010. The United States and NATO are in the process of examining their strategic requirements. "While this work is proceeding... the United States is ready for serious discussion with Russia of the conceptual, definitional and technical issues that will face us in the next phases of negotiation," said Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller.
Gottemoeller also reaffirmed that the Obama Administration is still committed to the Senate's ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), a contentious treaty that was rejected in the Senate after President Clinton pushed for it in 1999.
Negotiations on the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty have not gotten far yet, to the frustration of some U.S. officials. The Conference on Disarmament - a 65-member forum that works toward multilateral arms control and disarmament – hasn't gotten very far, but the United States is still putting its eggs there as the right venue for pursuing negotiations on the cutoff treaty.
The U.S. and Russia still have major disagreements about missile defense, tactical nuclear weapons, and conventional global strike weapons. What's more, getting full approval on any negotiated treaties may not be a simple thing in the heavily divided Senate.
Not all weapons are nuclear. South Korea has launched a radar spy plane it calls 'Peace Eye', and North Korea is not happy about it. Peace Eye is not just a radar. The modified Boeing 737 can also act as an airborne command and control center for South Korea's fighter squadrons, and it can do simultaneous scans of the air, sea, and ground. Seoul has ordered four spy planes in total.
South Korea is also busy building anti-jamming equipment to deal with North Korea's troublesome signal-jamming attacks on the South's GPS systems, which have affected cell phones and car GPS systems along with military equipment.
The U.S. Army has focused for some time on jamming the signals that trigger roadside bombs. Col. Jim Ekvall, chief of the Army’s Electronic Warfare Division, said the Army is developing its Integrated Electronic Warfare System, which includes the ability to disrupt the enemy's communications and command capabilities. This would mean more than just jamming the cordless phones that are used to detonate IEDs, it could mean jamming anything from cellphones to aerial drone uplinks and extensive radar systems.
"It’s a family of systems that will operate in the full spectrum of conflict against a variety of targets, which far exceeds the $3 walkie-talkie," Ekvall told Army Times.
The world is not a safe place to live, and each country wants to protect itself. No country wants to give up its defense abilities, and yet all want the opposing team to drop their arms. At the same time, most citizens of most of the world's countries want to avoid a nuclear holocaust, and a lot of people believe that getting rid of nuclear weapons will solve the problem. It might, but it might also open up the door to other big scary problems. As long as weapons of mass destruction exist, though, there will be occasional madmen at risk to push one of those wide variety of big red buttons.
Iran's war to win - CarolineGlick.com
U.S. Must Not Accept Russia’s Restrictions on Missile Defense - Heritage.org
South Korea Unveils 'Peace Eye' - The Daily Mail
New Army Electronic Warfare System Steps Up - Army Times
US accusations turn up heat in simmering Gulf - Jerusalem Post