Tag Archives: Nuclear Weapons

Mark Collins – Big Dragon "Yikes!"–From 2010 to 2020 "China is set to nearly double its military spending…"

This should sure get the attention of PEOTUS Trump–the rest of the headline:

…as an arms race heats up in Asia.
China’s defense spending will balloon to $233 billion in 2020, up from $123 billion in 2010, according to a new report by IHS Jane’s.

Very relevant:

Can the US Cope With a Big War Against a Major Power? Part 2

USAF “Officers Give New Details for F-35 in War With China”

RAND on War Between the Dragon and the Eagle

US Navy: Carriers or Subs, with the Dragon in Mind

Rising Sun’s Yen for Defence Spending, Part 3

Take that Dragon! Indian PM Modi Embraces the Rising Sun (plus the Eagle and the Bear)

A real Asian military cockpit, what? Meanwhile quite a few Canadians want to embrace the Chicoms.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Trump, Russia, NATO and…German Nukes?

Possible disturbing fall-out (pun intended) from The Donald’s election–guess how the Russkies would react to the prospect of Germans with their own, not dual-key American, nuclear weapons (yes Virginia, they’re still there)–at Spiegel Online:

Elephant in the Room
Europeans Debate Nuclear Self-Defense after Trump Win

For decades, American nuclear weapons have served as a guarantor of European security. But what happens if Donald Trump casts doubt on that atomic shield? A debate has already opened in Berlin and Brussels over alternatives to the U.S. deterrent. By SPIEGEL Staff

The issue is so secret that it isn’t even listed on any daily agenda at NATO headquarters. When military officials and diplomats speak about it in Brussels, they meet privately and in very small groups — sometimes only with two or three people at a time. There is a reason why signs are displayed in the headquarters reading, “no classified conversation.”

And this issue is extremely sensitive. The alliance wants to avoid a public discussion at any cost. Such a debate, one diplomat warns, could trigger an “avalanche.” The foundations of the trans-Atlantic security architecture would be endangered if this “Pandora’s box” were to be opened.

The discussion surrounds nuclear deterrent. For decades, the final line of defense for Europe against possible Russian aggression has been provided by the American nuclear arsenal. But since Donald Trump’s election as the 45th president of the United States, officials in Berlin and Brussels are no longer certain that Washington will continue to hold a protective hand over Europe.

It isn’t yet clear what foreign policy course the new administration will take — that is, if it takes one at all. It could be that Trump will run US foreign policy under the same principle with which he operates his corporate empire: a maximum level of unpredictability…

what happens if the president-elect has an even more fundamental shift in mind for American security policy? What if he questions the nuclear shield that provided security to Europe during the Cold War?

For more than 60 years, Germany entrusted its security to NATO and its leading power, the United States. Without a credible deterrent, the European NATO member states would be vulnerable to possible threats from Russia. It would be the end of the trans-Atlantic alliance.

Could the French or British Step In?

In European capitals, officials have been contemplating the possibility of a European nuclear deterrent since Trump’s election. The hurdles — military, political and international law — are massive and there are no concrete intentions or plans. Still, French diplomats in Brussels have already been discussing the issue with their counterparts from other member states: Could the French and the British, who both possess nuclear arsenals, step in to provide protection for other countries like Germany?

An essay in the November issue of Foreign Affairs argues that if Trump seriously questions the American guarantees, Berlin will have to consider establishing a European nuclear deterrent on the basis of the French and British capabilities. Germany’s respected Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, meanwhile, even contemplated the “unthinkable” in an editorial: a German bomb.

‘The Last Thing Germany Needs Now’

Politicians in Berlin want to prevent a debate at all costs. “A public debate over what happens if Trump were to change the American nuclear doctrine is the very last thing that Germany needs right now,” says Wolfgang Ischinger, head of the Munich Security Conference. “It would be a catastrophic mistake if Berlin of all places were to start that kind of discussion. Might Germany perhaps actually want a nuclear weapon, despite all promises to the contrary? That would provide fodder for any anti-German campaign.”

The debate however, is no longer relegated the relatively safe circles of think tanks and foreign policy publications…

Could be a scary new world. By the way, for quite a few years during the Cold War Canadian forces with NATO in Europe also had dual-key nukes–see “The Great Canadian Traditional Peacekeeping Myth vs Nuclear Weapons“. How many Canadians today are aware of that?

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Canada and Missile Defence plus Russian Cruise Missile Threat

The conclusion of a November 14 presentation by CGAI Senior Analyst Dave Perry to the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence (the sort of serious discussion of broad defence issues we rarely see reflected in our media with their focus on procurement and scandal, real or potential):


With respect the Canada’s ability to counter possible air or space based threats to Canada, I think we do face some operational capability gaps.

Ballistic Missiles

Canada has no defence whatsoever against ballistic missiles. North Korea has been developing this technology for several years and is now working to launch these missiles from their submarines. While the United States has developed, a Ground Based, Mid-Course Defence against these missiles, and previously asked Canada to participate in that system, Canada declined to do so, and has subsequently never formally revisited that decision. This decision should be revisited. We should discuss the possibility of Canada joining Ballistic Missile Defence with the Americans, and if the terms are favourable, formally join.

Russian Air and Sea-Launched Cruise Missiles

The Russian military has significantly upgraded its air and naval forces in recent years and continues to do so. Over the last two years, the Russians have demonstrated this new equipment’s effectiveness as well as their willingness to use it to advance their own interests.

Russian forces successfully employed in Syria a new class of sophisticated conventional air and sea launched cruise missiles that have greatly enhanced range, are difficult to observe and are capable of precision targeting. Three aspects of this development are problematic. First, these weapons come in both nuclear and conventional variants. Second, they can be carried by Russian Long Range Patrol Aircraft and their newest and most capable submarines. Third, because of the increased distances at which these new missiles can successfully hit targets and their low observability characteristics, the current arrangements for defending North America, based on NORAD and the North Warning System, must be upgraded to counter them effectively [see “The Bear’s Bears: New NORAD Radars for Canadian North…“].

Because of this increased Russian activity around North America, we also need to enhance our ability to know what it happening in all three of our coastal approaches, and especially in the Canadian arctic. Since 2007 the Russians have conducted long range aviation patrols towards Canada’s Arctic airspace, and done so in ways that indicate an inclination on their part to link this activity to strategic confrontations with Canada elsewhere in the world. Similarly Russian submarine patrols in the Atlantic have recently reached levels not seen since the Cold War. We therefore need an expanded mix of air and space based Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance platforms [see “RADARSAT Constellation: New Canadian Satellites and Maritime, Arctic Surveillance, Part 2“].

As well, we need to maintain our ability to respond to aerial threats to North America. As Russia continues to modernize its air forces, this will require Canada to keep pace with improvements in Russian technology. As such, we need to move quickly to purchase a fleet of fighter aircraft capable of detecting the most modern Russian aircraft and sharing that information with the rest of the North American defence system [emphasis added, i.e. the F-35 which would be most compatible with the USAF]…

Very relevant:

NORAD and Russian Cruise Nukes: “de-escalation”?

US Worrying Seriously About Russian Cruise Missiles

NORAD Note: Russian Bomber (with cruise missiles) Strikes in Syria

USN “Admiral Warns: Russian Subs Waging Cold War-Style ‘Battle of the Atlantic’”–and RCN?

NORAD and Russian Cruise Nukes: “de-escalation”? Part 2

Canada Should Just Say “Yes” to Missile Defence, Cont’d (plus Russian cruise missile threat)

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Take that Dragon! Indian PM Modi Embraces the Rising Sun (plus the Eagle and the Bear)

Another azimut in the making, with a nuclear angle:

Strong Japan-India ties can help stabilize the world, says Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday [Nov. 11] praised the “growing convergence” of views between his nation and Japan, saying strong ties will enable them to play a stabilizing role in Asia.

Modi is in Japan to sign a landmark nuclear energy pact and strengthen ties as China’s regional influence grows and Donald Trump’s election has thrown U.S. policies across Asia into doubt.

India, Japan and the United States have been building security ties by holding three-way naval exercises, but Trump’s “America First” campaign promise has stirred concern about a reduced U.S. engagement in the region – an approach that could draw Modi and Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe closer.

Modi told Japanese business leaders that the 21st century is Asia’s century, urging them to invest in India.

“The growing convergence of views between Japan and India and our special strategic and global partnership have the capacity to drive the regional economy and development, and stimulate global growth,” he said.
“Strong India and strong Japan will not only enrich our two nations, it will also be a stabilizing factor in Asia and the world.”

The nuclear agreement, which Modi and Abe are set to sign later in the day, follows a similar one with the United States in 2008 which gave India access to nuclear technology after decades of isolation, a step seen as the first big move to build India into a regional counterweight to China…

The two countries have also been trying to close a deal on the supply of amphibious rescue aircraft US-2 [website here, cool looking amphibian] to the Indian navy, which would be one of Japan’s first sales of military equipment since Abe lifted a 50-year ban on arms exports.

India’s Defence Acquisitions Council met earlier this week to consider the purchase of 12 of the planes made by ShinMaywa Industries, but failed to reach a decision.

Earlier on another major azimut (and of course there is still the Russian one; the Indians are playing their own long game, as the Americans need to grok):

Eagle’s India Full Court Press (unhappy Paks)

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – US Navy: Carriers or Subs, with the Dragon in Mind

Further to these posts,

RAND on War Between the Dragon and the Eagle
[note links at start]

War Between the Dragon and the Eagle: USN Carriers up to It?

some recommendations for the USN’s future ships (USMC, USAF and US Army also considered):

Why America Must Overhaul its Military

…Given America’s asymmetric advantage undersea, we aggressively expanded the Navy’s undersea warfare capabilities, increasing submarines from 58 to 74 and expanding undersea strike capacity by 680 cruise missile tubes. We funded these investments by terminating the Ford- and America-class carrier production lines in light of their costs and vulnerability to anti-access/area denial (/AD) threats. This does not mean that we eliminated aircraft carriers from the force, but rather set up a process of steadily riding the carrier inventory downward over the next 50 years as existing carriers retire [very good for engaging second or third rate opponents and projecting power generally against non-peers] . We also curtailed the current amphibious fleet (/LSD) in light the challenging environment in the littorals. We preserved Marine expeditionary and crisis response missions by shifting to cheaper commercial-derivative (“black hull”) expeditionary sea bases, resulting in a larger overall expeditionary lift capacity…

But even if the USN had some 2,000 or more conventionally-armed cruise missiles–1,000 lb. warhead–on subs could they effect any decisive damage on China? Or Russia? How many would be at sea in position to fire at the onset of hostilities? And just think how long it would take to reload those boats once they had shot their, er, bolts.

So to “win” in a serious war a need to end up nuclear? Help.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Syria: Russia Threatening Nuclear "De-Escalation"? NATO?

Further to this post,

Syria: POTUS be Prudent vs Assad and Bad Vlad

we now see this:

Russia’s top spin doctor in nuclear warning
Russian state TV host Dmitry Kiselyov [more here] has a reputation for attacking the West.

Critics call him the “Kremlin’s chief propagandist”. And like many other top Russian officials, he is on the Western sanctions blacklist.

But the warning he delivered to Washington in last night’s edition of his show News of the Week was, even for him, particularly dramatic. “Impudent behaviour” towards Russia may have “nuclear” consequences, he said.

“A Russian takes a long time to harness a horse, but then rides fast,” said the news anchor, quoting a famous Russian saying.

By “riding fast”, Kiselyov was referring to a string of recent Russian military deployments:

*Last week, Moscow sent three warships from the Black Sea Fleet to the Mediterranean: on board, cruise missiles that can carry nuclear warheads

*Russia deployed nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles into the Kaliningrad region bordering Poland…

Kiselyov said that in recent days there had been a “radical change’ in the US-Russian relationship.

Moscow was taking action, he said, because of “the loud talk in Washington of a ‘Plan B’ for Syria. Everyone understands what this plan means: direct military force in Syria against President Assad’s forces and the Russian military”…

As for Russia and nukes, they have a strategic rationale:

NORAD and Russian Cruise Nukes: “de-escalation”? 

NORAD and Russian Cruise Nukes: “de-escalation”? Part 2

And what about NATO and nukes?

Tough Question for NATO: “Would we really go nuclear to protect Estonia?”

Just remember those Canadian Forces going to Latvia. The planned NATO Baltic strengthening certainly could not beat the Bear conventionally according to an earlier RAND study. One hopes the NATO presence can deter, trip-wire in the nuclear sense.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds