At the Brink of Nuclear War, Who Will Lead?

Ignoring international partners, world public opinion and action, the U.S. took additional steps these past weeks to renounce another international leadership role, this time in nuclear disarmament. On the same day that Austria became the 9th nation to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran Nuclear Deal while the US House of Representatives Armed Forces Committee approved funding of the submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) "low-yield" nuclear warheads – each action fueling the new arms race and moving us closer to the brink of nuclear war.

The world’s non-nuclear nations have given up on waiting for the United States and other nuclear nations to fulfill our Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty obligation to "work in good faith to eliminate nuclear weapons." They are refusing to be held hostage any longer to the threats of the "nuclear nine" realizing from the 2013 "Nuclear Famine, 2 Billion At Risk" scientific report that there is no such thing as a "limited nuclear war." Any regional nuclear war has the potential to cause climate change potentiating a global famine. The non-nuclear nations have taken their future into their own hands, adopting last year’s "Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons" declaring nuclear weapons illegal to have, develop, use or threaten to use. Once 50 nations have ratified the Treaty, it becomes international law and the nations that continue to possess these weapons will be further stigmatized as pariah states. Vietnam became the 10th nation to ratify the Treaty on Thursday.

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Ukraine Claims ‘Loyal’ Military Dolphins Starved Themselves Rather Than Be Under Russian Control

Better dead than red? According to Ukrainian officials, that’s a choice that their fiercely loyal military dolphins faced in 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula and took the dolphins into custody.

The Ukrainian story would have you believe that even though the Russians in Crimea had the proper command whistles for the dolphins, they were so despondent to be taken by Russians they all went on a hunger strike, and starved to death en masse.

Russia’s story is quite a bit different, noting that the dolphins had been “demilitarized” long ago and didn’t care who was feeding them. They say the dolphins were sold off to commercial interests almost immediately, and aren’t in Crimea anymore.

Both the US and Soviet Union engaged in the training of military dolphins during the Cold War, and the Crimea dolphins were what was left of the Soviet program. A US facility for dolphins is still operated in San Diego, now the last site of militarized dolphins in the world.

That the dolphins went from Soviets to Ukrainians to Russians to private industry dolphins was almost certainly lost on them. Ukraine’s story seems designed both to portray the dolphins as fiercely loyal to the military oath, and Russia as so uniquely evil that even dolphins could sense it, and rebelled instinctively. There’s no good evidence for either, of course.

EU Breaks With Trump Over Iran: Good ‘Blowback’

The European Union is furious over President Trump’s “capricious aggressiveness” in foreign policy, particularly after his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement. While Washington Beltway “deep state” denizens moan over losing influence in Europe, there is a silver lining in Trump’s bombastic foreign policy: if Europe gets a divorce from the US there will be much less opportunities for US meddling. What will Russia do? Join today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Trump Trashes Diplomacy, Opens Path to War with Iran

President Trump’s decision to violate and withdraw from the Iran anti-nuclear deal is one of the most dangerous foreign policy blunders in recent memory, setting the stage for a war that one analyst has noted could “make the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts look like a walk in the park.”

The decision to go back on a U.S. commitment to a deal that even US Central Command chief Gen. Joseph Votel and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have acknowledged was working is the ultimate unforced error, and the potential consequences could not be more dire. Donald Trump is crowing about keeping his promise to scuttle the deal, but this is one promise that should never have been made.

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It’s the End of the World, and I Feel Terrible

This originally appeared on TruthDig.

I’ve written many hundreds of columns. The one below has caused me the most uncertainty about going public with it.

I’m accustomed to writing about facts, quotes, documented history, while offering assessments. But this piece extrapolates from the current zeitgeist, going into realms of events that must be speculative and—until too late—unprovable.

Diary

So lucky to be here. Tiny island of dreams.

The serenity is unbelievable, except I want to believe it. Bluest waves with silver froth. Sun through the palms is damn near orgasmic. And solitude! If I can’t finish the book here, it’ll be my own fault.

***

Sort of knew I shouldn’t bring the shortwave. That’ll teach me to donate to NPR. Just can’t resist a “thank you gift.” Will crank it tomorrow.

***

Wish I hadn’t turned on the radio. BBC World Service all there is. Downbeat.

Swim, then write. Plenty of sunblock. As for writer’s block, perish the thought.

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The ‘Bolton Effect’: From Breakthrough To Breakdown With North Korea

If President Trump is serious in his desire to seal an historic deal with North Korea then his employees are actively working against him. Based on National Security Advisor John Bolton’s bombastic CNN appearance over the weekend, the North Koreans have cancelled a high-level inter-Korea meeting scheduled for today and have suggested that the Trump/Kim summit scheduled for next month might be cancelled. Will warmongering Bolton trump Trump on Korea? Tune in to today’s Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.