Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Sweden Prepares For Nuclear War (Revelation 15)

Sweden preparing nuclear fallout bunkers across the country amid fear of Russian war

War preparations come as Nordic country reintroduces military conscription
NUCLEAR war shelters are being readied in Sweden to prepare for a surprise Russian attack, according to reports.
The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) has reportedly been ordered to carry out a review this year of bunkers the coming weeks as the Scandinavian country also reintroduces military service.
Bunkers are being reviewed in Sweden in case war breaks out with Russia
Bunkers are being reviewed in Sweden in case war breaks out with Russia to protect as many as seven million people
A system of 65,000 bunkers was established in the Cold War to protect the population from nuclear war with the Soviet Union.
According to MSB, the bunkers currently protect against blast and radiation as well as chemical or germ warfare.
With a distinctive logo, they can easily be located by civilians seeking shelter.
But with fears growing over threat posed by Vladimir Putin and his resurgent Russia they are being reviewed to make sure they are ready.
Russian military drills in the region have raised fears among neighbouring nations that an attack could happen in the coming months.
Civil defence measures are therefore being stepped up, especially in the Island of Gotland where Sweden has already re-opened a garrison.
Swedish broadcaster Sveriges Radio reported that Mats Berglund had ordered a review of the island’s 350 civilian bunkers.
Should you be in Sweden and need to take shelter this is a public nuclear bunker sign
Should you be in Sweden and need to take shelter this is a public nuclear bunker sign
The network of public bunkers originates from the Cold War but are now being dusted down, according to reports
The network of public bunkers originates from the Cold War but are now being dusted down, according to reports

The Next Big ONE: The Sixth Seal Of New York City

ON THE MAP; Exploring the Fault Where the Next Big One May Be Waiting

Ramapo Fault Line
By MARGO NASH
Published: March 25, 2001
Alexander Gates, a geology professor at Rutgers-Newark, is co-author of ”The Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes,” which will be published by Facts on File in July. He has been leading a four-year effort to remap an area known as the Sloatsburg Quadrangle, a 5-by-7-mile tract near Mahwah that crosses into New York State. The Ramapo Fault, which runs through it, was responsible for a big earthquake in 1884, and Dr. Gates warns that a recurrence is overdue. He recently talked about his findings.
Q. What have you found?
A. We’re basically looking at a lot more rock, and we’re looking at the fracturing and jointing in the bedrock and putting it on the maps. Any break in the rock is a fracture. If it has movement, then it’s a fault. There are a lot of faults that are offshoots of the Ramapo. Basically when there are faults, it means you had an earthquake that made it. So there was a lot of earthquake activity to produce these features. We are basically not in a period of earthquake activity along the Ramapo Fault now, but we can see that about six or seven times in history, about 250 million years ago, it had major earthquake activity. And because it’s such a fundamental zone of weakness, anytime anything happens, the Ramapo Fault goes.
Q. Where is the Ramapo Fault?
A. The fault line is in western New Jersey and goes through a good chunk of the state, all the way down to Flemington. It goes right along where they put in the new 287. It continues northeast across the Hudson River right under the Indian Point power plant up into Westchester County. There are a lot of earthquakes rumbling around it every year, but not a big one for a while.
Q. Did you find anything that surprised you?
A. I found a lot of faults, splays that offshoot from the Ramapo that go 5 to 10 miles away from the fault. I have looked at the Ramapo Fault in other places too. I have seen splays 5 to 10 miles up into the Hudson Highlands. And you can see them right along the roadsides on 287. There’s been a lot of damage to those rocks, and obviously it was produced by fault activities. All of these faults have earthquake potential.
Q. Describe the 1884 earthquake.
A. It was in the northern part of the state near the Sloatsburg area. They didn’t have precise ways of describing the location then. There was lots of damage. Chimneys toppled over. But in 1884, it was a farming community, and there were not many people to be injured. Nobody appears to have written an account of the numbers who were injured.
Q. What lessons we can learn from previous earthquakes?
A. In 1960, the city of Agadir in Morocco had a 6.2 earthquake that killed 12,000 people, a third of the population, and injured a third more. I think it was because the city was unprepared.There had been an earthquake in the area 200 years before. But people discounted the possibility of a recurrence. Here in New Jersey, we should not make the same mistake. We should not forget that we had a 5.4 earthquake 117 years ago. The recurrence interval for an earthquake of that magnitude is every 50 years, and we are overdue. The Agadir was a 6.2, and a 5.4 to a 6.2 isn’t that big a jump.
Q. What are the dangers of a quake that size?
A. When you’re in a flat area in a wooden house it’s obviously not as dangerous, although it could cut off a gas line that could explode. There’s a real problem with infrastructure that is crumbling, like the bridges with crumbling cement. There’s a real danger we could wind up with our water supplies and electricity cut off if a sizable earthquake goes off. The best thing is to have regular upkeep and keep up new building codes. The new buildings will be O.K. But there is a sense of complacency.
MARGO NASH

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Nuclear Winter (Revelation 16:10)

Nuclear Famine

Daryl Williams 
EnvironmentScience

(Image via en.wikipedia.org.)
THE COLD WAR is over, the Berlin Wall has fallen, nuclear warhead numbers have declined significantly — so the threat of nuclear catastrophe has passed, right?
Well, sadly no.
In fact, things may be more dangerous today than at the height of the Cold War.
Computer simulations of the indirect climate effects of even a “small” regional nuclear exchange indicate that the whole world would still be imperiled.
A recent 16-page scientific paper, ‘Multidecadal global cooling and unprecedented ozone loss following a ‘regional nuclear conflict‘, by Mills, Toon, Lee-Taylor and Robock, outlines the horrific unexpected consequences. Once you boil down the “science-speak” it paints a bleak picture – via an “Earth system model” which includes atmospheric chemistry, ocean dynamics and interactive sea ice and land components – which we should do everything we can to avoid.
It deserves far more attention than it has received and its findings should be informing our foreign, defence and emergency management policies. In summary, the scenario it simulates is as follows:
The black carbon heats the stratosphere (by up to an amazing 80 degrees C) and cools the lower atmosphere and surface (by 1.1 degrees C in the first four years, down to 1.6 degrees in the fifth year, slowly rising to 0.25 to 0.5 degrees 20 years later). The colder surface temperatures reduce precipitation by 6% globally for the first five years and still by 4.5% one decade on.
Oh, and hundreds of millions of Indians and Pakistanis would be incinerated to death … but let’s concentrate on the long-term climate repercussions.
It is the combination of dramatic extended drops in surface temperatures termed ‘the coldest average surface temperatures in the last 1000 years’ and precipitation with a dramatic increase in UV radiation.
That spells big trouble for Earth in the form of
That is,
As well, ‘… the average growing season is reduced by up to 40 days throughout the world’s agricultural zones over these five years’. The increased UV-B radiation would reduce plant height, shoot mass and foliage area, damage DNA and significantly increase insect losses. A 16% loss of ozone could reduce phytolankton levels in the ocean by 15%, resulting in a loss of seven million tons of fish per year.
The report also states:
And yet, I didn’t read anything about this in the 2016 Defence White Paper or in any plans by Emergency Management Australia. Why not?
The above effects are globally averaged figures. Regional extremes can be worse. Large areas of continental landmasses would experience significantly greater cooling than average:
Which is worse than any volcanic winter in the last 1000 years. There would be significant regional drying over the Asian Monsoon region, including the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, as well as the Amazon, the American South-East and Western Australia — which would be 20% to 60% drier.
All from a “minor” nuclear exchange  between India and Pakistan. Amazing, no?
Given the consequences found and the quality of the work (state-of-art climate model with stratospheric chemistry included) it is hard to understand why governments, the media and most of all, the public ignored its findings.
The report gives no estimates of death tolls but suggests they would be huge.
Another report, ‘Nuclear Famine: Two Billion People at Risk?’ by Dr Ira Helfand, puts
And this may be conservative, as possible cascading effects from social breakdown, disorder, military actions, migration upheavals don’t seem to have been considered.
In terms of probability (one in 100 year chance?) times impact (hundreds of millions dead, collapsed world economy, radioactive fallout), this problem dwarfs all other natural and man-made disasters.
Sadly, public awareness of nuclear famine seems minimal. The handful of videos on YouTube on the subject have very few views. For instance, the video Nuclear Famine by Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has had only 8490 views while Nuclear Famine – a Billion People at Risk by Physicians for Social Responsibility has had only 314 views … over three years!
We need to be more aware and if enough people make the effort, perhaps we can put these serious problems on the map and hopefully progress towards a nuclear-famine-free world.
As Winston Churchill said:

The Aging American Nuclear Horn

America's Nuclear Bombers Are Old—and in Desperate Need of an Upgrade
Will Wiley
March 19, 2017
Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. Paul Selva told the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) during a March 8 congressional hearing that “the fundamental role of U.S. nuclear forces is to deter a strategic attack against the United States, its allies and its partners. Simply put, nuclear weapons pose the only existential threat to the United States and there is no substitute for the prospect of a devastating nuclear response to deter that threat.” To deter this existential threat to the nation, the United States maintains nuclear weapons in a nuclear triad made up of submarine-launched ballistic missiles, ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, and air-launched missiles and gravity bombs carried by U.S. Air Force strategic bombers. All of these platforms are aging and require modernization. General Selva expressed the commitment of the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff to replacing the triad by stating that “there is no higher priority for the Joint Force than fielding all components of an effective nuclear deterrent, including weapons, infrastructure and personnel.” However, the modernization required to maintain effectiveness does face criticism and some are looking to eliminate a portion of the triad in an effort to save money and minimize the nation’s reliance on nuclear weapons.
During the same hearing, some HASC members pressed Gen. John Hyten, the commander of Strategic Command, to name the triad leg most in need of replacement. General Hyten said it was impossible to answer that question because it was like picking a favorite child. You just cannot pick one triad leg because the ability of the nuclear triad to provide deterrence to the nation relies on all three working together.
While General Hyten did not select a triad leg in his testimony, the nation’s sixty-six strategic bombers capable of delivering nuclear weapons constitute the oldest nuclear assets in the arsenal. These bombers are about forty-five years old and some of the bombers entered the service in the 1960s. Today, the Air Force uses two types of strategic bombers to make up the air-based leg of the nuclear triad—the Vietnam-era B-52H Stratofortress and the stealthy B-2 Spirit. These bombers are based inside the continental United States at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota and Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. The B-52H and B-2 fly strategic-bomber missions from these bases and are air refueled. The B-2 carries variants of the B61 nuclear gravity bomb, while the B-52H carries a nuclear-armed air- launched cruise missile (ALCM).
This leg of the nuclear triad provides its own vital attributes to ensure the nation has a survivable and reliable nuclear deterrent force. These attributes are unique to the bomber force and different from the sea-based and ground-based legs of the triad. First, bombers are a visible deterrent to aggressors and can influence how another country acts toward the United States or its allies. If a crisis is looming, national leadership can forward deploy these bombers to overseas bases and conduct strategic deterrent bomber missions in close proximity to the aggressive nation. The leader of the other nation and its citizens see this action and may be compelled to reverse their aggressive actions. It also visibly assures regional allies that the United States stands with them against aggressive actors. Second, bombers provide leaders a great deal of operational flexibility. Specifically, they can conduct their missions from the relative safety of bases inside the United States and refuel enroute to their targets. They have the ability to launch their weapons so they will not overfly a country which could lead to confusion in a nuclear exchange. These bombers can also carry conventional weapons. This capability minimizes the different types of bombers in the U.S. inventory and leads to cost savings through economies of scale both when the aircraft is purchased and when it is maintained. Additionally, the president can recall the bombers while enroute to their targets if the president decides not to launch nuclear weapons. This increases the president’s decision timeline. Finally, the strategic bomber force carries the complete array of weapons in the nuclear arsenal from a damage-producing standpoint. The weapons range from ones able to inflict a great deal of damage to ones that inflict a relatively small amount of damage. These weapon “yields,” which control the amount of damage caused, can be changed more easily than nuclear weapons in the other legs of the triad. This gives the president the ability to respond to a nuclear attack with a nuclear weapon that will inflict a calculated amount of damage.
As previously stated, the current inventory of strategic bombers is already old and must be replaced to maintain the attributes of this leg of the nuclear triad. The Air Force plans to do this by purchasing a minimum of one hundred B-21 Raider long range strategic bombers with an average procurement cost of $564 million in 2016 dollars. The first B-21 is expected in the force by the mid-2020s. While the B-21s are coming into the force, the B-2s will need multiple upgrades to keep them viable until the late 2020s. The Air Force is also taking measures to upgrade and modernize the existing B-52Hs, which will allow them to remain in service until 2050. Such improvements would give this airframe an impressive ninety-year service life.
Along with upgrading the current bombers and building the B-21, the Air Force is developing a long-range standoff (LRSO) cruise missile to replace the ALCM and also working on life-extension programs for the B61 gravity bomb. The ALCM is twenty-five years beyond its life expectancy and it is in the middle of a third life-extension program to allow it to last until the LRSO is ready for use. The legacy B61 bombs in the inventory require a service-life extension, termed B61-12, which will improve the overall performance of the weapon while enabling the Air Force to save money by reducing the total stockpile of weapons through the consolidation of four weapons versions into one.
The most scrutinized portion of this modernization program is centered around the introduction of the LRSO missile. Some argue against this new weapon if the Air Force plans to also upgrade the B-61 gravity bomb and build the stealthy B-21 Raider. Opponents of this new missile fail to look to the future and realize the stealth capability of the B-21 could be obsolete while it is still in service. Adversary air defense systems are improving, and some suggest only 12 percent of the current bomber force is survivable from the air. The nonstealth B-52H bomber relies on the ALCM to launch at targets outside of the effective range of these systems. By choosing to not replace the ALCM with the LRSO, the government risks rendering this entire leg of the triad obsolete if adversaries learn how to overcome the stealth of the B-21 in the future. Additionally, the ALCM and replacement LRSO missile allows one bomber to launch multiple missiles at different targets. This is an advantage over the B61 gravity bomb, which has to be flown over or near the target prior to being dropped. Therefore, one bomber can cover several different targets with multiple ALCMs/LRSOs. This allows the overall size of the bomber force to be smaller, which minimizes the cost to modernize and maintain this leg of the triad.
The only future certainty is unpredictability. The United States will face challenges from state and nonstate actors that may not be on anyone’s radar in 2017. However, the United States must take steps today in order to maintain a deterrent against future aggressive actors. Such steps should include deciding how it wants to modernize its nuclear weapons and their delivery platforms. Because of the age of the current nuclear triad, the window for debate is ending. The oldest of all the triad’s platforms reside in the strategic bomber leg. The Air Force’s plans to upgrade and extend the life of the B-2, B-52H and associated weapons (ALCM and B61-12) while simultaneously building the B-21 and LRSO, are wise investments. The B-21 coupled with the LRSO provides the nation with an operationally flexible platform with the stealth capability to penetrate enemy air defense systems or deliver a standoff cruise missile if aircraft cannot penetrate those systems. These upgraded air assets and associated weapons, when paired with the capabilities of the other two legs of the nuclear triad, will provide the nation with a sound strategic deterrent for the majority of the twenty-first century.
Will Wiley is a submarine warfare officer in the U.S. Navy. The opinions expressed here are the author’s and do not represent the official position of the U.S. Navy, Department of Defense or the U.S. government.

Handing Over Syria to Iran

This file photo taken on December 14, 2016 shows Syrian pro-government forces advancing during a military operation in the northern city of Aleppo. (AFP Photo/George Ourfalian)
Analysis
The civil war in Syria entered its seventh year last Wednesday.
After six years that UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein described to the UN Human Rights Council as “the worst man-made disaster since World War II,” encouraging news came from Astana, Kazakhstan, last week. The third round of Russia-led talks on reconciliation in Syria began with an announcement that a special team would be set up to supervise the implementation of the ceasefire on the ground. The members of the team will be Turkey, Russia, and Iran.
According to a statement by Alexander Lavrentiev, head of Russia’s delegation to the talks, the parties agreed to provide maps showing the location of terrorist groups such as Islamic State and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as the al-Nusra Front).
But in case anyone thought, even for a moment, that any light was visible at the end of this blood-drenched tunnel, the reports from Damascus brought them back to reality: two terror attacks, one at the Damascus court complex and the other at a nearby restaurant, that killed more than 25 people.
It was an unequivocal message from the Sunni Islamist groups to anyone who was counting on a return to the past and the re-establishment of Greater Syria. Not much is left of the Syria of six years ago. Nearly half a million people have been killed and unknown millions have been wounded. Five million people have left their homes, either displaced or as refugees (a fifth of a population of approximately 22 million). Syria’s economy is crushed, its infrastructures is in ruins, and its population suffers from constant shortages of power, water, and proper medical treatment.
What the Astana talks have made abundantly clear is that Syria is no longer in Syrian hands. An unholy mixture of superpower and other foreign interests is reshaping the map of what used to be Syria. Its coastal strip and several of its large cities are still controlled by Bashar Assad, the nominal president. That area, once known as “Alawistan” for the politically dominant Alawite branch of Islam, is now known by Israeli officials as “Assadistan” (because Sunni residents are the majority in those areas by close to 70 percent), while the rest of the territory is divided among moderate rebel groups, extremists such as Islamic State and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, Kurds and Turkey.
But the picture is even more complicated. The influence of foreign players such as Russia, the United States, and, of course, Iran, is visible in those areas as well. Islamic State’s weakness in the region and its loss of the territory that it used to control — due to massive American aerial attacks, among other things — has resulted, simultaneously, in the entrenchment of significant Iranian influence throughout Syria, mainly in the areas controlled by Assad.
The regional superpower
Thus Iran, as it takes advantage of the civil war in Syria and Islamic State’s takeover in Iraq, is looking more and more like the big winner of the Arab Spring in the region stretching from Tehran to Latakia and southward to Beirut. The Shiite crescent, which King Abdullah of Jordan warned about more than a decade ago, is amassing unprecedented power in the region even without possessing an atomic bomb and with its nuclear program frozen. If the saying “Islam is the solution” was common in the past, particularly among the Sunnis (in reference to groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas), perhaps the saying from now on should be that Shiite Islam is the solution.
The Hebrew-language Walla news site reported this week that Iran has been paving a “trans-Iraq” highway from Iran to Syria. Tehran has enormous influence over what happens in Syria militarily and economically. It operates a cellular franchise throughout Iraq, and — as was mentioned in talks between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow earlier this month — is working to build a port in Latakia, on Syria’s Mediterranean coast.
While Iran has not yet begun construction, it has submitted a draft proposal for the port to Assad, who tends toward approving it. The proposal states, in simple terms, that Iran will lease land in the city from Syria and use it to establish the maritime terminal. The port would be under Iranian sovereignty in every way, and the Syrians would have no access to it. In other words, it would be like the naval base that the Russians established in Tartus. The land would be leased to the Iranians for fifty years.
Iran’s influence in what used to be Syria does not end there, of course. Roughly 1,300 to 1,500 Iranians — combat soldiers, intelligence personnel, members of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, logistics personnel and others — currently operate there (according to Israeli assessments, 150 to 200 Iranians have been killed so far in the fighting in Syria).
In addition, there are the Iranian-funded Shiite militias, which number approximately 7,000 to 10,000 fighters who came from places as far afield as Pakistan and Afghanistan. And the Shiite fighters of Hezbollah — approximately 8,000 on Syrian soil — who take orders from Tehran (according to various estimates, between 1,700 and 2,000 Hezbollah fighters have been killed in Syria).
Iran has been doing more in recent months than merely transferring arms to Hezbollah and the Shiite militias in Syria and in Lebanon. According to a recent report in the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida, Tehran has begun speeding up its armament effort by setting up rocket-manufacturing facilities in those countries. The details provided in the report are partial, of course. Members of the IRGC supervise the facilities, which are deep underground — in both countries, not only Lebanon.
The arms that are manufactured there ought to cause Israel quite a bit of concern. These are not ordinary rockets that are being added to the usual ordinary arsenal; they are particularly precise.
Iran’s deployment in the post-Arab Spring era does not stop between Tehran and Latakia and Beirut. Indeed, its long arms also stretch to Yemen and the Gaza Strip.
Thus, as the civil war in Syria enters its seventh year, that country’s remaining citizens and the Middle East as a whole may be able to breathe a sigh of relief on one level: Islamic State’s control over the area is weakening. But the Iranian influence, which will have harsh implications for the Sunnis in the region, is growing, and neither calm nor stability is visible on the horizon.

US Solution To Korea Will Be Economic

Bombing North Korea is not an option. The best ways of dealing with Pyongyang are economic and diplomatic, not military The two sides are like accelerating trains coming towards each other with neither side willing to give way.” That was how Wang Yi, the Chinese foreign minister, described the tension between the US and North Korea. The fact that the drivers of the two trains are Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump will not reassure those of a nervous disposition. 
Last weekend, the American train gave a toot on its whistle, as Rex Tillerson announced that the era of American “strategic patience” with North Korea is over. The US secretary of state made a point of emphasising that America is considering all options, including military strikes. Mr Tillerson’s statement reflected a bipartisan consensus in the US that North Korea’s nuclear ambitions must be stopped. 
The Kim Jong Un regime is widely believed to be closing in on developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could threaten the west coast of the US. It is conventional wisdom in Washington that no president could tolerate such a situation. 
The implication of Mr Tillerson’s statement is that, if the US cannot stop North Korea through diplomatic or economic pressure, it will have to take military action. But the idea of bombing the North Korean nuclear programme is dangerous folly. For the past 20 years, the US has repeatedly considered the idea and repeatedly dismissed it — for good reason. 
The North Korean nuclear and missile programmes are widely dispersed, including underground and underwater. It is unlikely that the whole programme could be destroyed in a single wave of strikes, which would immediately raise the prospect of nuclear retaliation by the North. Even if the US was miraculously able to take out the whole nuclear programme in one swoop, the North Koreans still have formidable conventional artillery. They could launch devastating barrages aimed at Seoul, the South Korean capital, a city of 10m people 35 miles from the North Korean border. Japan would also be vulnerable to missile strikes, as would US bases in the region. For that reason, the US would be unlikely to have the support of its key Asian allies if it staged a pre-emptive strike against North Korea. Tokyo and Seoul know that a war on the Korean peninsula could cost more than 1m lives. It could also draw in China, which is both a neighbour and a formal treaty ally of North Korea. 
It is worth remembering that the last time American and Chinese troops fought each other was on the Korean peninsula in the 1950s. So the idea that America “cannot tolerate” a North Korean nuclear ICBM needs to be challenged. Ever since the 1960s, the US has lived with the knowledge that Russia has nuclear missiles that could annihilate much of the country. Today, America and its allies have to live with the knowledge that Pakistan, a country that is the base for some of the most dangerous Islamist movements in the world, is churning out nuclear weapons. 
Some argue that the North Korean case is different because Kim Jong Un is “mad”. But claims that a foreign leader is crazy are a sure sign of lazy thinking — of the kind that led the west to disaster in Iraq and Libya. Mr Kim is evil, ruthless and isolated. But there is a consistent thread that runs through his actions, and that is an absolute determination to ensure the survival of his regime. It is this that explains the murder of any possible rivals, the relentless drive to secure a nuclear deterrent and the willingness to impose economic privation on his people. Given that survival is the North Korean leader’s absolute priority, there must be considerable doubt that even intensified economic sanctions can persuade him to abandon his nuclear programme. In fact, the threat of regime collapse might make North Korea even more dangerous. None of that suggests that the US should fatalistically accept that North Korea will acquire a nuclear capability that can threaten California. But the best ways of dealing with that threat are diplomatic and economic, not military. 
The Trump administration thinks that China holds the key to North Korea. It is certainly true that the regime in Pyongyang is economically dependent on its neighbour to the north. The Chinese have also shown some recent willingness to tighten economic sanctions on North Korea by stopping imports of coal. It might make sense to apply economic pressure on North Korea in the short term. But the better route, in the long run, would be to search for a deal that freezes the country’s nuclear programme, in return for economic assistance and a guarantee that the US will not seek to overthrow the regime. This is what John Delury, a leading academic specialist on North Korea, has termed a “grand bargain”. 
Any diplomatic feelers to the North Korean regime would have to be made in secret, initially, and might involve enlisting Chinese support. Efforts at striking a “grand bargain” with the Kim regime might still fail. But if diplomacy fails, the right alternative is not to launch a war. America would just have to live with the threat of North Korean nuclear weapons, as it has lived with similar threats in the past. Otherwise, we may indeed be heading for a deadly train crash.

Conclusion to Economic Consequences of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:15)

Scenario Earthquakes for Urban Areas Along the Atlantic Seaboard of the United States: Conclusions

NYCEM.org
New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation

The current efforts in the eastern U.S., including New York City, to start the enforcement of seismic building codes for new constructions are important first steps in the right direction. Similarly, the emerging efforts to include seismic rehabilitation strategies in the generally needed overhaul of the cities’ aged infrastructures such as bridges, water, sewer, power and transportation is commendable and needs to be pursued with diligence and persistence. But at the current pace of new construction replacing older buildings and lifelines, it will take many decades or a century before a major fraction of the stock of built assets will become seismically more resilient than the current inventory is. For some time, this leaves society exposed to very high seismic risks. The only consolation is that seismicity on average is low, and, hence with some luck, the earthquakes will not outpace any ongoing efforts to make eastern cities more earthquake resilient gradually. Nevertheless, M = 5 to M = 6 earthquakes at distances of tens of km must be considered a credible risk at almost any time for cities like Boston, New York or Philadelphia. M = 7 events, while possible, are much less likely; and in many respects, even if building codes will have affected the resilience of a future improved building stock, M = 7 events would cause virtually unmanageable situations. Given these bleak prospects, it will be necessary to focus on crucial elements such as maintaining access to cities by strengthening critical bridges, improving the structural and nonstructural performance of hospitals, and having a nationally supported plan how to assist a devastated region in case of a truly severe earthquake. No realistic and coordinated planning of this sort exists at this time for most eastern cities.
The current efforts by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) via the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) to provide a standard methodology (RMS, 1994) and planning tools for making systematic, computerized loss estimates for annualized probabilistic calculations as well as for individual scenario events, is commendable. But these new tools provide only a shell with little regional data content. What is needed are the detailed data bases on inventory of buildings and lifelines with their locally specific seismic fragility properties. Similar data are needed for hospitals, shelters, firehouses, police stations and other emergency service providers. Moreover, the soil and rock conditions which control the shaking and soil liquefaction properties for any given event, need to be systematically compiled into Geographical Information System (GIS) data bases so they can be combined with the inventory of built assets for quantitative loss and impact estimates. Even under the best of conceivable funding conditions, it will take years before such data bases can be established so they will be sufficiently reliable and detailed to perform realistic and credible loss scenarios. Without such planning tools, society will remain in the dark as to what it may encounter from a future major eastern earthquake. Given these uncertainties, and despite them, both the public and private sector must develop at least some basic concepts for contingency plans. For instance, the New York City financial service industry, from banks to the stock and bond markets and beyond, ought to consider operational contingency planning, first in terms of strengthening their operational facilities, but also for temporary backup operations until operations in the designated facilities can return to some measure of normalcy. The Federal Reserve in its oversight function for this industry needs to take a hard look at this situation.
A society, whose economy depends increasingly so crucially on rapid exchange of vast quantities of information must become concerned with strengthening its communication facilities together with the facilities into which the information is channeled. In principle, the availability of satellite communication (especially if self-powered) with direct up and down links, provides here an opportunity that is potentially a great advantage over distributed buried networks. Distributed networks for transportation, power, gas, water, sewer and cabled communication will be expensive to harden (or restore after an event).
In all future instances of major capital spending on buildings and urban infrastructures, the incorporation of seismically resilient design principles at all stages of realization will be the most effective way to reduce society’s exposure to high seismic risks. To achieve this, all levels of government need to utilize legislative and regulatory options; insurance industries need to build economic incentives for seismic safety features into their insurance policy offerings; and the private sector, through trade and professional organizations’ planning efforts, needs to develop a healthy self-protective stand. Also, the insurance industry needs to invest more aggressively into broadly based research activities with the objective to quantify the seismic hazards, the exposed assets and their seismic fragilities much more accurately than currently possible. Only together these combined measures may first help to quantify and then reduce our currently untenably large seismic risk exposures in the virtually unprepared eastern cities. Given the low-probability/high-impact situation in this part of the country, seismic safety planning needs to be woven into both the regular capital spending and daily operational procedures. Without it we must be prepared to see little progress. Unless we succeed to build seismic safety considerations into everyday decision making as a normal procedure of doing business, society will lose the race against the unstoppable forces of nature. While we never can entirely win this race, we can succeed in converting unmitigated catastrophes into manageable disasters, or better, tolerable natural events.