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Archive for the ‘treaties’ category

Sep 30, 2019

How to dismantle a nuclear bomb: Team successfully tests new method for verification of weapons reduction

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, military, treaties

How do weapons inspectors verify that a nuclear bomb has been dismantled? An unsettling answer is: They don’t, for the most part. When countries sign arms reduction pacts, they do not typically grant inspectors complete access to their nuclear technologies, for fear of giving away military secrets.

Instead, past U.S.-Russia arms reduction treaties have called for the destruction of the delivery systems for nuclear warheads, such as missiles and planes, but not the warheads themselves. To comply with the START treaty, for example, the U.S. cut the wings off B-52 bombers and left them in the Arizona desert, where Russia could visually confirm the airplanes’ dismemberment.

It’s a logical approach but not a perfect one. Stored nuclear warheads might not be deliverable in a war, but they could still be stolen, sold, or accidentally detonated, with disastrous consequences for human society.

Sep 21, 2019

Greta Thunberg: Most Important Message Ever

Posted by in categories: climatology, education, energy, environmental, existential risks, geopolitics, government, homo sapiens, lifeboat, policy, treaties

If you are a Lifeboat subscriber or have been reading these pages for awhile, you may know why it’s called “Lifeboat”. A fundamental goal of our founder, board, writers and supporters is to sustain the environment, life in all its diversity, and—if necessary—(i.e. if we destroy our environment beyond repair, or face a massive incoming asteroid), to prepare for relocating. That is, to build a lifeboat, figuratively and literally.

But most of us never believed that we would face an existential crisis, except perhaps a potential for a 3rd World War. Yet, here we are: Burning the forests, killing off unspeakable numbers of species (200 each day), cooking the planet, melting the ice caps, shooting a hole in the ozone, and losing more land to the sea each year.

Regading the urgent message of Greta Thunberg, below, I am at a loss for words. Seriously, there is not much I can add to the 1st video below.

Information about climate change is all around us. Everyone knows about it; Most people understand that it is real and it that poses an existential threat, quite possibly in our lifetimes. In our children’s lives, it will certainly lead to war, famine, cancer, and massive loss of land, structures and money. It is already raising sea level and killing off entire species at thousands of times the natural rate.

Continue reading “Greta Thunberg: Most Important Message Ever” »

Sep 4, 2019

What the new arms race will look like in a post-INF world

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, military, treaties

Washington ending the INF arms control treaty has raised fears of a new “arms race.” This time it will be about more than just missiles, with China presenting strong competition to the US and Russia, a military expert tells RT.

Last week’s test of a ground-launched Tomahawk cruise missile showed that the US is eager to field a system banned by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, even as it accused Russia – without offering evidence – of being in violation as a pretext to rip up the 1987 pact.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a “symmetrical response” to this threat, citing the presence of US launchers in Poland and Romania. Meanwhile, the Russian delegation to the UN has warned that the US actions have brought the world “just one step away from an uncontrolled arms race.”

Jul 17, 2019

Secret locations of US nuclear weapons hidden in Europe are revealed

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, military, treaties

The secret locations of US nuclear weapons hidden in Europe have been revealed in a NATO document.

A draft report for the NATO parliamentary assembly’s defence and security committee seen by AFP gave details of six air bases in Europe and Turkey where it said the US stores 150 nuclear weapons, specifically B-61 gravity bombs.

The news comes amid fears of a new nuclear arms race in Europe, as a landmark Cold War treaty between Moscow and Washington is on the brink of collapse.

Jul 6, 2019

How Will We Govern Ourselves in Space?

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, law, space travel, treaties

A new golden age of space exploration is upon us, with growing numbers of countries and private enterprises eager to establish themselves in space for the sake of scientific inquiry, national prestige, adventurous tourism, billionaires’ bragging rights, mineral riches, and even as a hedge against any future calamity that might devastate our home planet.

Our motivations for exploration may vary, but the spaceward rush raises questions about how we will govern ourselves beyond the bonds of Earth. Cold War-era space treaties, vague notions of how legal frameworks on Earth might migrate to settlements in space, and cautionary tales from both history and science fiction offer some guidance, but we could benefit from a larger conversation about how we want to govern them.

Continue reading “How Will We Govern Ourselves in Space?” »

May 4, 2019

The Otso Incident with Donovia in 2030

Posted by in categories: computing, finance, geopolitics, treaties

“If we don’t study the mistakes of the future, we’re doomed to repeat them the first time :(” — Ken M, comedian.

[Editor’s Note: Today’s blog post is an excerpt from Mr. Robert J. Hranek’s short story entitled “Angry Engineer,” submitted to the 2019 Mad Scientist Science Fiction Writing Contest. The underlying premise of this contest was that, following months of strained relations and covert hostility with its neighbor Otso, Donovia launched offensive combat operations against Otso on 17 March 2030. Donovia is a wealthy nation that is a near-peer strategic competitor of the United States. The U.S. is a close ally of Otso and is compelled to intervene due to treaty obligations and historical ties. Among the many future innovations addressed in his short story, Mr. Hranek includes a “pre-mortem” in the form of two dozen lessons learned, identifying potential “mistakes of the future” regarding the Battle for Otso, so that we’re not “doomed to repeat them the first time!” Enjoy!]

The U.S. responded to Donovia’s invasion of Otso by initiating combat operations against the aggressors on 1 April 2030 — April Fools’ Day. Thousands of combatants died on both sides, mostly on ships; hundreds more were wounded, primarily from the land battle, and an unverifiable number of casualties occurred worldwide due to the sabotage of power grids and other infrastructure. An accurate civilian count was impossible in the chaos of reestablishing power, computer, and financial systems worldwide.

Continue reading “The Otso Incident with Donovia in 2030” »

Feb 5, 2019

Russian media threatens US with 100 megaton nuclear doomsday device after key arms treaty fails

Posted by in categories: existential risks, geopolitics, military, treaties

With the dropping of the INF treaty, Putin and Trump have brought the dangers of nuclear war back into a more realistic possibility. I’m not posting this to engage in a political discussion but nuclear war is definitely a lifeboat type of issue.


Russia’s military and state-sponsored media have reacted with a fire and fury of their own to the news that the US will exit the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaties, one of the last barriers to a full-on Cold War-like arms race in Europe — and there’s already talk of a nuclear doomsday device visiting the US.

The INF treaty banned land-based nuclear capable missiles with a range between 300 and 3,200 miles in 1987 when Russia and the US had populated much of Europe with intermediate-ranged nuclear missiles. The ban eliminated this entire class of missiles and went down as one of the most successful acts of arms control ever.

Continue reading “Russian media threatens US with 100 megaton nuclear doomsday device after key arms treaty fails” »

Feb 5, 2019

The Air Force’s ‘rods from god’ could hit with the force of a nuclear weapon — with no fallout

Posted by in categories: biological, geopolitics, military, treaties

The 107-country Outer Space Treaty signed in 1967 prohibits nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons from being placed in or used from Earth’s orbit.

What they didn’t count on was the US Air Force’s most simple weapon ever: a tungsten rod that could hit a city with the explosive power of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

During the Vietnam War, the US used what it called “Lazy Dog” bombs. These were simply solid-steel pieces, less than 2 inches long, fitted with fins.

Continue reading “The Air Force’s ‘rods from god’ could hit with the force of a nuclear weapon — with no fallout” »

Feb 4, 2019

These Four Universities Are Trying to Figure Out Space Law

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, law, military, space, treaties

Jack Beard, a professor in the University of Nebraska College of Law’s Space, Cyber and Telecommunications Law Program, told Politico that the Woomera Manual on the International Law of Military Space Operations “will become the definitive document on military and security law as it applies to space.”

The Woomera Manual won’t actually lay out any new guidelines. Instead it will organize and present the laws that are already on the books so that politicians, industry leaders, and others can make better informed decisions regarding activity in space.

Given the fact that the Outer Space Treaty, which banned military actions in outer space, has all but been tossed aside, it’s unclear how much they’ll actually listen.

Continue reading “These Four Universities Are Trying to Figure Out Space Law” »

Nov 5, 2018

Global governance must overcome ‘zeitgeist of mistrust’ to tackle world’s environmental issues

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, governance, sustainability, treaties

Ha…which would be the bigger challenge? 🤔.


The growing mistrust and hostility towards global intuitions must be overcome if the world is to successfully tackle the environmental challenges it faces, the head of the University of Sussex’s global sustainability research centre has warned.

Professor Joseph Alcamo, Director of the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP), said high-quality research and closer engagement with citizens around the world was needed to overcome the growing zeitgeist that viewed organisations such as the UN as meddling amid a geopolitical backdrop of cancelled treaties, neglected obligations and frozen negotiations.

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