“Global critical infrastructure organizations need to take this threat seriously. The Iranian adversary is real and they’re coming, if not already here.” ~ Mark Weatherford, Former Deputy Under Secretary of Homeland Security
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We seem to be in a rut. As for the past two Thanksgivings, my email message deals again with our hapless foreign policy in dealing with Iran. We are again, for the second time, extending the talks, to what objective is unclear. After a bit of review, consider what it takes to achieve a meaningfully verifiable agreement with Iran to block their path to a nuclear weapon. Then we’ll reflect on the Thanksgiving tradition.
“It’s déjà vu all over again,” New York Yankee Yogi Berra supposedly explained after watching Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris repeatedly hit back-to-back home runs. The run-up to the November 24th due date for agreement with Iran to curtail its nuclear programs seems likely to fit Yogi’s metaphor for more U.S. foolishness. This perhaps the most dangerous of the Obama administration’s follies is masked by greater attention being given to the President’s likely Amnesty executive decision, the run-up to a possible December 12th Government shutdown, the “Gruber effect” and other foreign policy debacles.
The rise of the Islamic State and its objective of re-establishing an Islamic caliphate committed to destroying Western civilization highlights a threat the U.S. has ignored for decades. The ability to launch nuclear armed ballistic missiles is not beyond its prospective capabilities and exists already from North Korea and possibly soon from Iran. The electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from a single nuclear warhead detonated 100 miles or so over the U.S. could destroy our unhardened electric power grid—leading to the death of several hundred million Americans within the following year. It’s time to counter this threat!
“There is now an increasing likelihood that rogue nations such as North Korea (and before long, most likely, Iran) will soon match Russia and China in that they will have the primary ingredients for an EMP attack: simple ballistic missiles such as SCUDs that could be launched from a freighter near our shores; space launch vehicles able to launch low- earth-orbit satellites; and simple low-yield nuclear weapons that can generate gamma rays and fireballs. In 2004, the Russians told us that their “brain drain” had been helping the North Koreans develop EMP weapons . . .” ~Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey
As we join in the festivities of our Independence Day celebrations, we need to renew the pledges made by those who proposed the Declaration of Independence some 238 years ago today—again to “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor” to assure the birthright given to us by the Founders is passed to future Americans. Not least is to prepare for and counter the existential EMP threat posed by the current forces of tyranny.
As I watch the expanding tangled web in the Middle East drift toward including a soon to be nuclear-armed Shia Iran to help counter the al Qaeda off-shoot Sunni Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), I can’t help but note that America is drifting into an untenable situation that could end our way of life. These sworn enemies of each other agree on at least one thing—they hate Americans and would kill us all if they could. Soon they may be able to—and still we dawdle, refusing to harden the electric grid upon which our way of life depends. Who should be held accountable?
The quote “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive” refers to how complicated life becomes when people lie. It originally referred to a love triangle in the 1808 play “Marmion,” written by Sir Walter Scott. It applies in spades to previous and current policies of the Obama administration, especially those ineptly dealing with existential threats posed by the explosive conditions in the Middle East and East Asia. So, will we pay attention or find ourselves entangled and captured by the web?
We have opportunities for diplomatic initiatives to benefit the United States and our allies while defending against fractional orbital bombardment system (FOBS) attacks from North Korea and Iran. Such initiatives should be easily attached to agreements for defense cooperation, as evidenced by the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the Philippines and discussions in Abu Dhabi—both of which set the stage for rapid follow through to end our total FOBS vulnerability and cooperate on regional defenses for our allies as well.
On his trip to the Pacific Rim, President Obama should set the stage for almost immediately ending America’s current vulnerability to the existential electromagnetic pulse (EMP) threat posed by North Korea’s Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) capability. Beyond unilateral measures—the U.S. could deploy a TPY-2 radar in the Philippines to help defend them from North Korea and to empower our Aegis ships in the Pacific and our ground-based interceptors in California to shoot down a FOBS attack before it reaches U.S. Territory.
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