What Are Acceptable Nuclear Risks?

When I read Eric Schlosser’s acclaimed 2013 book, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, I found a tantalizing revelation on pages 170-171, when it asked, “What was the ‘acceptable’ probability of an accidental nuclear explosion?” and then proceeded to describe a 1957 Sandia Report, “Acceptable Premature Probabilities for Nuclear Weapons,” which dealt with that question.

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Transcript of Estonian FM Bombshell Revelation

My March 6 post introduced the bombshell revelation contained in Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet’s intercepted, leaked, and authenticated phone conversation, in which he says, “there is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind [the] snipers … it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition.” I have been surprised not to be able to find a complete transcript of the almost 11 minute conversation, so I produced one and include it immediately after my signature line below. I believe it to be at least 99% accurate, but if anyone finds an error or has a different interpretation of what was said, please post it as a comment, indicating where in the YouTube audio it is located. Some other useful information: Continue reading

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More Question Marks on Ukraine

As in all wars, the civil war in Ukraine has become a propaganda war, with each side striving to paint the other as solely at fault for atrocities and the war itself. The American media has done a good job of pointing out pro-Russian propaganda, but mostly has fallen flat on its face looking at the other side of the coin. Thus, even though both sides – as well as their Russian and the American cheerleaders – bear some of the blame for the ongoing horror, I have focused primarily on exposing anti-Russian, pro-Ukrainian propaganda, of which most Americans are unaware. Continue reading

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More “Strategic Insanity”?

Several of my past posts have mentioned a March 2013 article in which the highly respected Russian international relations expert Fyodor Lukyanov explained why his government is convinced that the US is engaged in “strategic insanity.”* While a recent article co-authored by my colleague and former Director of Los Alamos Dr. Siegfried Hecker doesn’t accuse our government of yet more strategic insanity, the situation he describes comes close to meeting that definition: Continue reading

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D-Day+70: Time to Repay an Overdue Debt of Gratitude

On this 70th anniversary of D-Day, I am devoting this blog to a letter from a D-Day veteran to President Obama. In it, he asked the president to “make a long overdue payment on the debt of gratitude we owe the Russians,” and noted, “I probably owe my life to the Russians’ heroic actions in weakening Nazi Germany prior to our opening the Western Front. … As bad as [the enemy fire trying to repel the landing] was, it would have been far worse if our Russian allies hadn’t kept most of the Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front. Imagine how Omaha Beach would have been with two to three times the number of defending Germans!” Continue reading

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Ukraine and Nuclear Risk

The Ukrainian crisis and Putin’s annexation of Crimea badly soured Russian-American relations. But an even more dangerous situation would result should Putin move Russian troops into additional portions of the eastern Ukraine. Certain events that are almost unknown in America increase the chance that will happen. In its own small way, this post hopes to combat that lack of information and thereby reduce the risk that the Ukrainian crisis will escalate further –  potentially even to nuclear threats. Continue reading

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The Crisis in Ukraine: What Can Be Done?

This is a repost of a few key parts of Prof. Floyd Rudmin’s post of the same title, with a recommendation that you read the whole thing: Continue reading

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