Obama unleashes 3,853 regs, 18 for every law, record 97,110 pages of red tape
By PAUL BEDARD(@SECRETSBEDARD)•12/30/16 9:28 AM
President Obama‘s lame duck administration poured on thousands more new regulations in 2016 at a rate of 18 for every new law passed, according to a Friday analysis of his team’s expansion of federal authority.
While Congress passed just 211 laws, Obama’s team issued an accompanying 3,852 new federal regulations, some costing billions of dollars.
The 2016 total was the highest annual number of regulations under Obama. Former President Bush issued more in the wake of 9/11.
The proof that it was an overwhelming year for rules and regulations is in the Federal Register, which ended the year Friday by printing a record-setting 97,110 pages, according to the analysis from the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
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The annual “Unconstitutional Index” from Clyde Wayne Crews, CEI’s vice president for policy, said that it was much higher under Obama than under former President George W. Bush.
“The multiple did tend to be higher during Obama administration. Bush’s eight years averaged 20, while Obama’s almost-eight have averaged 29,” said his report, first provided to Secrets.
His index is meant to show that it is the federal bureaucracy, not Congress, that levies the most rules. “There’s no pattern to any of this, since the numerators and denominators can vary widely; there had been 114 laws in 2015, and a multiple of 39. The multiple can be higher with fewer laws, or with more regulations, holding the other constant. The point is that agencies do the bulk of lawmaking, no matter the party in power,” he wrote.
President-elect Trump has promised to slash federal regulations, even pledging to cut two current rules for every one he imposes. Congressional leaders have also promised to slash rules and regulations that have escalated under Obama.
Trump says “let it be an arms race” when it comes to nuclear weapons
“Absolutely Frightening”: Greenpeace on Trump’s Call for a New Nuclear Arms Race
Trump, Putin both seek to boost their nuclear capability
Published on Dec 22, 2016
President-elect Donald Trump signaled Thursday that he will look to “strengthen and expand” the US’s nuclear capability hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to enhance his country’s nuclear forces.
The exchange appeared to raise the prospect of a new arms race between the two nuclear superpowers, which between them boast more than 14,000 nuclear warheads, the still deadly legacy of their four-decades long Cold War standoff.
But the comments by Putin, who is presiding over a project to restore Russia’s lost global power and influence, and Trump, who will shortly become the US commander-in-chief, did not spell out exactly what each side is proposing or whether a major change of nuclear doctrine is in the offing.
Trump weighed in with a tweet just hours after Putin spoke following a meeting with his military advisers to review the activity of the past year.
“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” Trump wrote.
It was not immediately clear if the President-elect is proposing an entire new nuclear policy that he would begin to flesh out once he takes office next year.
Trump could also be referring to plans to modernize the current US nuclear arsenal that are currently underway and will cost hundreds of billions of dollars. The Obama administration has outlined a plan to modernize delivery systems, command and control systems and to refurbish warheads in the US nuclear triad — the US force of sea, airborne and missile delivered nuclear weapons.
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Report on Russia’s Nuclear Triad Modernization
INSIDE VIEW !!! US Air Force Minuteman Strategic Missile Silo Mini Documentary
Published on Mar 10, 2016
The LGM-30 Minuteman is a US land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), in service with the Air Force Global Strike Command. As of 2014, the LGM-30G Minuteman III version[a] is the only land-based ICBM in service in the United States.
Development of the Minuteman began in the mid-1950s as the outgrowth of basic research into solid fuel rocket motors which indicated an ICBM based on solids was possible. Such a missile could stand ready for extended periods of time with little maintenance, and then launch on command. In comparison, existing US missile designs using liquid fuels required a lengthy fueling process immediately before launch, which left them open to the possibility of surprise attack. This potential for immediate launch gave the missile its name; like the Revolutionary War’s Minutemen, the Minuteman was designed to be launched on a moment’s notice.
Minuteman entered service in 1962 as a weapon tasked primarily with the deterrence role, threatening Soviet cities with a counterattack if the US was attacked. However, with the development of the US Navy’s Polaris which addressed the same role, the Air Force began to modify Minuteman into a weapon with much greater accuracy with the specific intent of allowing it to attack hardened military targets, including Soviet missile silos. The Minuteman-II entered service in 1965 with a host of upgrades to improve its accuracy and survivability in the face of an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system the Soviets were known to be developing. Minuteman-III followed in 1970, using three smaller warheads instead of one large one, which made it very difficult to attack by an anti-ballistic missile system which would have to hit all three widely separated warheads to be effective. Minuteman-III was the first multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) ICBM to be deployed. Each missile can carry up to three nuclear warheads, which have a yield in the range of 300 to 500 kilotons.
Peaking at 1000 missiles in the 1970s, the current US force consists of 450 Minuteman-III missiles in missile silos around Malmstrom AFB, Montana; Minot AFB, North Dakota; and F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming. By 2018 this will be reduced to 400 armed missiles, with 50 unarmed missiles in reserve, and four non-deployed test launchers to comply with the New START treaty. The Air Force plans to keep the missile in service until at least 2030. It is one component of the US nuclear triad—the other two parts of the triad being the Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), and nuclear weapons carried by long-range strategic bombers.
Type Intercontinental ballistic missile
Place of origin United States
In service 1962 (Minuteman-I)
Used by United States
Unit cost $7,000,000
Weight 78,000 lb (35,300 kg)
Length 59 ft 9.5 in (18.2 m)
Diameter 5 ft 6 in (1.7 m) (1st stage)
Warhead Nuclear: W62, W78, or (2006–) W87
Air Burst or Contact (Surface)
Engine Three-stage Solid-fuel rocket engines; first stage: Thiokol TU-122 (M-55); second stage: Aerojet-General SR-19-AJ-1; third stage: Aerojet/Thiokol SR73-AJ/TC-1
approx. 8,100 (exact is classified) miles (13,000 km)
Flight altitude 700 miles (1,120 kilometers)
Speed Approximately 17507 mph (Mach 23, or 28176 km/h, or 7 km/s) (terminal phase)
Accuracy 200 m CEP
Missile Silo (MLCC)
Minuteman-III (LGM-30G): the current model 
Side view of Minuteman-III ICBM
Airmen work on a Minuteman-III’s multiple independently-targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) system. Current missiles carry a single warhead.
The LGM-30G Minuteman-III program started in 1966, and included several improvements over the previous versions. It was first deployed in 1970. Most modifications related to the final stage and reentry system (RS). The final (third) stage was improved with a new fluid-injected motor, giving finer control than the previous four-nozzle system. Performance improvements realized in Minuteman-III include increased flexibility in reentry vehicle (RV) and penetration aids deployment, increased survivability after a nuclear attack, and increased payload capacity. The missile retains a gimballed inertial guidance system.
Minuteman-III originally contained the following distinguishing features:
Armed with W62 warhead, having a yield of only 170 kilotons TNT, instead of previous W56’s yield of 1.2 megatons.
It was the first Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles (MIRV) missile. A single missile was then able to target 3 separate locations. This was an improvement from the Minuteman-I and Minuteman-II models, which were only able to carry one large warhead.
An RS capable of deploying, in addition to the warheads, penetration aids such as chaff and decoys.
Minuteman-III introduced in the
Examining the U.S. Nuclear Spending Binge | Arms Control Association
Published on Jul 31, 2016
The Arms Control Association has for years raised warning sirens about the cost and necessity of the modernization plans and have suggested a number of steps that could be taken to put the plans on a more sustainable course. The Pentagon estimates that the proposed modernization effort of the U.S. nuclear triad and its supporting infrastructure over the next 25 years will cost between $350-$450 billion.
The remainder of the Obama administration and that of the next president will likely be faced with a number of increasingly urgent questions about America’s nuclear modernization project, including its affordability, opportunity costs, impacts on global stability and more.
Speakers on this panel addressed the scope of the current nuclear weapons spending plans, challenges and options available to the next president, and the feasibility of the modernization plans given the experience of previous administrations.
• Mark F. Cancian, Senior Advisor with the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
• Hans Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists
• Andrew Weber, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs
• Amy Woolf, Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy at the Congressional Research Service
• Kingston Reif, Arms Control Association, Moderator
LGM-30 Minuteman Launch – ICBM
Published on May 31, 2016
The LGM-30 Minuteman is a U.S. land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), in service with the Air Force Global Strike Command.
As of 2014, the LGM-30G Minuteman III version is the only land-based ICBM in service in the United States.
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Trump Said the U.S. Should Expand Nuclear Weapons. He’s Right.
America needs to bolster its deterrence not to start a war, but to prevent one.
On Thursday, Donald Trump created controversy when he tweeted, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” In case anyone was confused, he followed up Friday morning with an off-air remark to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that clarified his intentions: “Let it be an arms race,” he said. “We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”
The backlash was swift and unanimous. Critics charged that there is no plausible reason to expand U.S. nuclear weapons, that Trump’s comments contradicted a decades-old bipartisan consensus on the need to reduce nuclear stockpiles, and that such reckless statements risk provoking a new nuclear arms race with Russia and China.
On this matter, however, Trump is right.
U.S. nuclear strategy cannot be static, but must take into account the nuclear strategy and capabilities of its adversaries. For decades, the United States was able to reduce its nuclear arsenal from Cold War highs because it did not face any plausible nuclear challengers. But great power political competition has returned and it has brought nuclear weapons, the ultimate instrument of military force, along for the ride.
In recent years, North Korea has continued to grow its nuclear arsenal and means of delivery and has issued chilling nuclear threats against the United States and its Asian allies. As recently as Thursday — before Trump’s offending tweet — Rodong Sinmum, the Pyongyang regime’s official newspaper, published an opinion article calling for bolstering North Korea’s “nuclear deterrence.”
The potential threats are everywhere. Washington faces an increasing risk of conflict with a newly assertive, nuclear-armed China in the South China Sea. Beijing is expanding its nuclear forces and it is estimated that the number of Chinese warheads capable of reaching the U.S. homeland has more than trebled in the past decade and continues to grow. And Russia has become more aggressive in Europe and the Middle East and has engaged in explicit nuclear saber rattling the likes of which we have not seen since the 1980s. At the height of the crisis over Crimea in 2014, for example, Russian President Vladimir Putin ominously declared, “It’s best not to mess with us … I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers.” And on Tuesday, he vowed to “enhance the combat capability of strategic nuclear forces, primarily by strengthening missile complexes that will be guaranteed to penetrate existing and future missile defense systems.” As former Defense Secretary William Perry correctly notes, “Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War.”
The United States needs a robust nuclear force, therefore, not because anyone wants to fight a nuclear war, but rather, the opposite: to deter potential adversaries from attacking or coercing the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons of their own.
Under President Barack Obama, the United States mindlessly reduced its nuclear arsenal even as other nuclear powers went in the opposite direction, expanding and modernizing their nuclear forces. Such a path was unsustainable and Trump is correct to recognize that America’s aging nuclear arsenal is in need of some long overdue upgrades.
So, what would expanding and strengthening the nuclear arsenal look like?
First, the United States must modernize all three legs of the nuclear triad (submarines; long-range bombers, including a new cruise missile; and intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs). The Obama administration announced plans to modernize the triad under Republican pressure, but critics are already trying to kill off the ICBM and the cruise missile, and production timelines for these weapon systems keep slipping into the future. The Trump administration must make the timely modernization of all three legs of the triad a top priority.
Second, the United States should increase its deployment of nuclear warheads, consistent with its international obligations. According to New START, the treaty signed with Russia in 2011, each state will deploy no more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads, but those restrictions don’t kick in until February 2018. At present, according to the State Department, the United States is roughly 200 warheads below the limit while Russia is almost 250 warheads above it. Accordingly, Russia currently possesses a nuclear superiority of more than 400 warheads, which is worrisome in and of itself and also raises serious questions about whether Moscow intends to comply with this treaty at all. The United States, therefore, should expand its deployed arsenal up to the treaty limits and be fully prepared for further expansion should Russia break out — as Moscow has done with several other legacy arms control agreements.
Third, and finally, the United States and NATO need more flexible nuclear options in Europe. In the event of a losing war with NATO, Russian strategy calls for limited nuclear “de-escalation” strikes against European civilian and military targets. At present, NATO lacks an adequate response to this threat. As I explain in a new report, the United States must develop enhanced nuclear capabilities, including a tactical, air-to-surface cruise missile, in order to disabuse Putin of the notion that he can use nuclear weapons in Europe and get away with it.
These stubborn facts lay bare the ignorance or naivety of those fretting that Trump’s tweets risk starting a new nuclear arms race. It is U.S. adversaries, not Trump, who are moving first. It is a failure to respond that would be most reckless, signaling continued American weakness and only incentivizing further nuclear aggression.
The past eight years have been demoralizing for many in the defense policy community as Obama has consistently placed ideology over reality in the setting of U.S. nuclear policy. The results, an increasingly disordered world filled with intensifying nuclear dangers, speak for themselves.
Rather than express outrage over Trump’s tweet, therefore, we should take heart that we once again have a president who may be willing to do what it takes to defend the country against real, growing and truly existential threats.
How the Pentagon Plans to Modernize the US Nuclear Arsenal
By JUSTIN FISHEL
Dec 23, 2016, 2:22 PM ET
President-elect Donald Trump’s tweets this week about strengthening and expanding America’s nuclear weapons capability are raising eyebrows, but they also highlight the Pentagon’s existing programs to update and modernize its nuclear arsenal.
The components of America’s nuclear triad of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM’s), strategic bombers, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles are decades old. While the Pentagon has undergone a modernization process to keep these systems intact over that time, the Pentagon has plans to replace each leg of the triad in the coming decades.
But the Pentagon’s plans to update and modernize the nuclear triad will be a lengthy and costly enterprise. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told Congress earlier this year that it will cost $350 billion to $450 billion to update and modernize beginning in 2021. But there are some estimates that a 30-year modernization program could cost as much as $1 trillion.
And that process has gotten underway since the lifespan of the existing delivery systems ends in the next 15 to 20 years. Replacement systems are currently in the phase of research, development, testing and evaluation.
The U.S. Air Force maintains a fleet of 450 Minuteman III ICBM missiles located in underground silos across the plains states, each carrying multiple nuclear warheads. A key leg of the nuclear triad, the Minuteman III missiles went into service in the 1970’s and have been upgraded ever since to keep them mission ready. No new ICBM missiles have gone into service since the MX missile was deployed in the 1980’s, but those missiles were retired a decade ago.
This summer, the Air Force began the process of soliciting designs for a new ICBM to replace the Minuteman III, with the first new missile scheduled to enter service by 2029.
The Air Force has already begun the process of replacing the 76 B-52 strategic bombers that have been flying since the 1960’s with the new B-21 “Raider” that will begin flying in 2025. Upgrades to the B-52, designed in the 1950’s, have allowed the aircraft to continue serving as a nuclear-capable aircraft and also allowed it to conduct airstrikes against ISIS.
The Navy has also begun the process to find a replacement for its 14 Ohio Class ballistic missile submarine fleet that first went into service in the 1980’s. But the first Columbia Class submarine is not slated to enter service until 2031.
But it is important to point out that a replacement of these systems, while incredibly expensive, does not equate to an overall growth of the nuclear arsenal.
In other words, the U.S. is looking to become more efficient — it’s not looking for more nuclear weapons. As one defense official put it, with the cost of the new systems, the Pentagon is simply not able to do a one-to-one replacement.
As of September 2015, the United States has a total of 4,571 warheads in its nuclear weapons stockpile, according to a State Department official. The United States has retired thousands of nuclear warheads that are removed from their delivery platform that are not included in this total, the official said, noting those warheads are not functional and are in a queue for dismantlement.
The 2011 New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) nuclear weapons agreement limits to 1,550 the number of nuclear warheads that can be deployed on ICBMs, submarines or heavy bombers by the U.S. and Russia. Both countries have until February 2018 to meet the New START’s reduction target levels for deployed warheads.
The United States currently has 1,361 deployed nuclear weapons while Russia has 1,796. The larger Russian number is seen as a temporary increase as Russia replaces older warheads with new ones.
Donald Trump says he wants to ‘greatly strengthen and expand’ U.S. nuclear capability, a radical break from U.S. foreign policy
Russian President Vladimir Putin praised his country’s military on Dec. 22, saying its armed forces had performed well in the fight against “international terrorists” in Syria. (Reuters)
By Carol MorelloDecember 22 at 1:05 PM
President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday called for the United States to expand its nuclear arsenal, after Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country’s nuclear potential needs fortifying, raising the specter of a new arms race that would reverse decades of efforts to reduce the number and size of the two countries’ nuclear weapons.In a tweet that offered no details, Trump said, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”During the campaign, Trump talked in one debate about the need to modernize the country’s infrastructure of nuclear weaponry, saying the United States is falling behind. But it is not clear whether Trump is thinking of increasing the number of nuclear weapons the United States possesses, or updating the existing supply.
The men and women the president-elect has selected for his Cabinet and White House team.
“We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defense systems,” Putin said.
Russia and the United States have worked for decades at first limiting, and then reducing, the number and strength of nuclear arms they produced and maintained under a Cold War strategy of deterrence known as “mutually assured destruction.” Both Republican and Democratic presidents have pursued a policy of nuclear arms reduction, said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.
Currently, the United States has just under 5,000 warheads in its active arsenal, and more than 1,550 deployed strategic warheads, a number that fluctuates, according to Kimball. In an October assessment by the State Department Bureau of Arms Control Verification and Compliance, Russia has about 400 more nuclear warheads than the United States does. But the United States has about 170 more delivery systems than Russia.
Under the New START Treaty, the main strategic arms treaty in place, both the U.S. and Russia must deploy no more than 1,550 strategic weapons by February of 2018. Kimball said both countries appear to be on track to meet that limit, which will remain in force until 2021, when they could decide to extend the agreement for another five years.
Since President George H.W. Bush’s administration, it has been U.S. policy not to build new nuclear warheads. Under President Obama, the policy has been not to pursue warheads with new military capabilities.
The U.S. military is in the beginning stages of updating its nuclear triad, which covers the delivery systems — bombers, submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles. Last year, the Pentagon estimated it must spend an average of $18 billion a year over 15 years starting in 2021, to replace weapons that already have been refurbished and upgraded beyond their original shelf life.
President-elect Donald Trump has called nuclear weapons “the single greatest problem the world has” – but he’s also made some controversial statements about them. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)
But independent experts have estimated the total cost of modernizing the aging nuclear arsenal could reach $1 trillion over 30 years, according to the Arms Control Association.
“If Donald Trump is concerned about the rising costs of the F-35, he will be shocked by the skyrocketing costs of the current plan to modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal,” Kimball said. “Trump and his people need to explain the basis of his cryptic tweet. What does he mean by expand, and at what cost?”
But others argue that nuclear weapons and the principle of deterrence are essential components of national security, and the Obama administration’s efforts to further reduce its nuclear weapons have been just wishful thinking.
Michaela Dodge, a Heritage Foundation policy analyst specializing in nuclear weapons and missile defense policy, said that the White House in its 2010 Nuclear Posture Review made the erroneous assessment that there was little likelihood of conflict with Russia. Yet Moscow is in the midst of a large-scale nuclear weapons modernization program, and has violated many arms control treaties that it signed, she said.
“There is already an ongoing nuclear arms race, except now the United States isn’t racing,” she said in a telephone interview. “It’s mostly Russia and China.”
Dodge has called for the incoming Trump administration to request funding for nuclear warheads, delivery platforms and nuclear infrastructure. She also said the United States should withdraw from treaties that have eroded defense capabilities.
Traditional components of a strategic nuclear triad
While traditional nuclear strategy holds that a nuclear triad provides the best level of deterrence from attack, in reality, most nuclear powers do not have the military budget to sustain a full triad. Only the United States and Russia have maintained nuclear triads for most of the nuclear age. Both the US and the Soviet Union composed their triads along the same lines, including the following components:
Bomber aircraft capable of delivering nuclear bombs (carrier-based or land-based; usually armed with long-range missiles).
Ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). Nuclear missiles launched from ships or submarines. Although in early years the US Navy sea leg was carrier aircraft based with a very short period using sub launched cruise missiles such as the Regulus before SLBMs were ready to be deployed.
The triad also gives the commander in chief the flexibility to use different types of weapons for the appropriate strike while also preserving a reserve of nuclear armaments theoretically safe from a counter-force strike:
ICBMs allow for a long-range strike launched from a controlled or friendly environment at a lower cost per delivered warhead and easiest targeting from a surveyed geographic location. If launched from a fixed position, such as a missile silo, they are vulnerable to a first strike, though their interception once aloft is substantially difficult, Some ICBMs are either rail or road mobile. Medium-range ballistic missiles and ground-launched cruise missiles were also assigned for strategic targets based in nations closer to the potential confrontation, but were eventually forbidden by arms control treaty to the US and Russia.
SLBMs, launched from submarines, allow for a greater chance of survival from a first strike, giving the commander a second-strike capability. Some long-range submarine-launched cruise missiles are counted towards triad status; this was the first type of submarine-launched strategic second-strike nuclear weapon before ballistic missile submarines became available. A SLBM is the most difficult to get accurate targeting for as it requires obtaining an accurate geographical fix to program targeting data to the missile, the total cost of a SLBM is increased by the cost of the submarine force, large crews and deterrence patrols.
Strategic bombers have greater flexibility in their deployment and weaponry. They can serve as both a first- and second-strike weapon. A bomber armed with AGM-129 ACM missiles, for example, could be classified as a first-strike weapon. A number of bombers often with aerial refueling aircraft kept at safe points would constitute a second-strike weapon. In some strategic contexts either with nearby potential enemies or with forward basing lighter aircraft can be used on the strategic level as either a first-strike weapon or if dispersed at small airfields or aboard an aircraft carrier can reasonably avoid a counterstrike giving them regional second-strike capacity, aircraft such as the Mirage 2000, F-15E, A-5 Vigilante, Sea Harrier, or FB-111 are or were tasked part or full-time with land or sea-based strategic nuclear attack missions. An aerial refueling fleet supports intercontinental strategic operations both for heavy bombers and smaller aircraft; it also makes possible around the clock airborne standby of bombers and command aircraft making these airborne assets nearly impossible to eliminate in a first strike. Bomber airborne alert patrols are very expensive in terms of fuel and aircraft maintenance, even non-airborne alert basing requires both crew training hours and aircraft upkeep.
Tactical nuclear weapons are used in air, land and sea warfare. Air-to-air missiles and rockets, surface-to-air missiles, and small air-to-ground rockets, bombs, and precision munitions have been developed and deployed with nuclear warheads. Ground forces have included tactical nuclear artillery shells, surface-to-surface rockets, land mines, medium and small man-packable nuclear engineering demolition charges, even man-carried or vehicle-mounted recoilless rifles. Naval forces have carried nuclear-armed naval rocket-assisted and standard depth charges and torpedoes, and naval gunnery shells. Tactical nuclear weapons and the doctrine for their use is primarily for use in a non-strategic warfighting role destroying military forces in the battle area; they are not counted toward triad status despite the possibility of many of these systems being usable as strategic weapons depending on the target.
The following nations are considered fully established triad nuclear powers, they have robust capability to launch a worldwide second strike in all three legs and can disperse their air forces and their sea forces on deterrent patrols. They possess nuclear forces consisting of land-based missiles, ballistic or long-range cruise missile submarines, and strategic bombers or long-range tactical aircraft.
Unlike the United States and Russia where strategic nuclear forces are enumerated by treaty limits and subject to verification, China, a nuclear power since 1964, is not subject to these requirements but currently has a triad structure smaller in size compared to Russia and the United States. China’s nuclear force is much smaller than the US or Russia and is closer in number and capability to that of France or the United Kingdom. This force is mainly land-based missiles including ICBMs, IRBMs, and tactical ballistic missiles as well as cruise missiles. Unlike the US and Russia, China stores many of its missiles in huge underground tunnel complexes; U.S. Representative Michael Turner referring to 2009 Chinese media reports said “This network of tunnels could be in excess of 5,000 kilometers (3,110 miles), and is used to transport nuclear weapons and forces,” the Chinese Army newsletter calls this tunnel system an Underground Great Wall of China.
Currently China has one Type 092 submarine that is currently active with JL-1 SLBM according to Office of Naval Intelligence. In addition, the PLAN has deployed 4 newer Type 094 submarines and plan to deploy up to 8 of these Jin-class SSBN by the end of 2020. The new Type 094 fleet uses the newer JL-2 SLBM. China carried out a series of successful JL-2 launches in 2009, 2012 and 2015. The United States expect the 094 SSBN to carry out its first deterrent patrol by 2015 with the JL-2 missile active. There is an aged albeit upgraded bomber force consisting of Xian H-6s with an unclear nuclear delivery role. The PLAAF has a limited capability fleet of H-6 bombers modified for aerial refuelling as well as forthcoming Russian Ilyushin Il-78 aerial refuelling tankers. China also introduced a newer and modernized H-6 variant the H-6K with enhanced capabilities such as launching long ranged cruise missile the CJ-10. In addition to the H-6 bomber, there are numerous tactical fighter and fighter bombers such as the: J-16, J-10, JH-7A and Su-30 which all capable of carrying nuclear weapons. China is also developing hypersonic glide vehicles.
A former triad power, the FrenchForce de frappe possesses sea-based and air-based nuclear forces through the Triomphant-class ballistic missile submarines deployed with M45 intercontinental SLBMs armed with multiple warheads, nuclear capable Dassault Rafale F3 and Dassault Mirage 2000N fighter aircraft (armed with Air-Sol Moyenne Portée) which replaced the long-range Dassault Mirage IV supersonic nuclear bomber and KC-135 aerial refuelling tankers in its inventory. France had S2 and then S3 silo based strategic nuclear IRBMs, the S3 with a 3,500 km range, but these have been phased out of service since the dissolution of the USSR. France operates aircraft with a nuclear strike role from its aircraft carrier.
Non-triad powers are nuclear armed nations which have never developed a strategic nuclear delivery triad.
North Korea has claimed to have indigenous nuclear weapons technology since a large underground explosion was detected in 2006. The DPRK has both aircraft and missiles which may be tasked to deliver nuclear weapons. The North Korean missile program is largely based on domestically produced variants of the Soviet Scud missile, some of which are sufficiently powerful to attempt satellite launch. The DPRK also has short-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. Western researchers believe the current generation of the DPRK’s suspected nuclear weapons are too large to be fitted to the country’s existing missile stock.
Pakistan does not have an active nuclear triad. Its nuclear weapons are primarily land-based. The Minimum Credible Deterrence (MCD) is a defense and strategic principle on which the atomic weapons program of Pakistan is based. This doctrine is not a part of the nuclear doctrine, which is designed for the use of the atomic weapons in a full-scale declared war if the conditions of the doctrine are surpassed. Instead, the MCD policy falls under minimal deterrence as an inverse to Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). In August 2012, The Economist magazine wrote an article stating that Pakistan was an emerging nuclear triad state. Pakistani plans of responding to any capture or pre-emptive destruction of their nuclear defences seems to be one reason why they are determined to develop a third leg, after air- and land-based delivery systems, to Pakistan’s nuclear triad, consisting of nuclear-armed ships and submarines. As Iskander Rehman of the Carnegie Endowment, a think-tank, observes in a recent paper, Pakistani nuclear expansion and methods of delivery is drifting “from the dusty plains of the Punjab into the world’s most congested shipping lanes… It is only a matter of time before Pakistan formally brings nuclear weapons into its own fleet.”
Pakistan possesses several ballistic missiles such as the Shaheen-1A and the Shaheen-II, missiles having ranges of 900 km and 2000 km respectively. They also contain systems said to be capable of carrying several nuclear warheads as well as being designed to evade missile-defense systems. Pakistan also possesses the Babur cruise missile with a range up to 700 km. These land-based missiles are controlled by Army Strategic Forces Command of the Pakistan Army.
The PAF has two dedicated units (the No. 16 Black Panthers and the No. 26 Black Spiders) operating 18 aircraft in each squadron of the JF-17 Thunder, believed to be the preferred vehicle for delivery of nuclear weapons. These units are a major part of the Air Force Strategic Command, a command responsible for nuclear response. The PAF also operates a fleet of F-16 fighters, of which 18 were delivered in 2012 and, as confirmed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, are capable of carrying nuclear weapons. The PAF also possesses the Ra’ad air-launched cruise missile which has a range of 350 km and can carry a nuclear warhead with a yield of between 10 kilotons to 35 kilotons.
In 2004, the Pakistan Navy established the Naval Strategic Forces Command and made it responsible for countering and battling naval-based weapons of mass destruction. It is believed by most experts that Pakistan is developing a sea-based variant of the Hatf VII Babur, which is a nuclear-capable ground-launched cruise missile.
The UK never rolled out its own land based missile nuclear delivery system. It only possesses sea-based nuclear forces through its Royal NavyVanguard-class ballistic missile submarines, deployed with Trident II intercontinental SLBMs armed with multiple warheads. The Royal Air Force used to operate V bomber strategic bombers throughout the Cold War and continued airborne delivery using Tornado and Jaguar aircraft until the late 1990s. The planned UK silo-based IRBM, the Blue Streak missile, was cancelled as it was not seen as a credible deterrent, considering the population density of areas in the UK geologically suited for missile silos. The tactical Corporal surface-to-surface missile was operated by the British Army. The American made intermediate range Thor missile aimed at Soviet targets was operated briefly by the RAF but before the arrival of the Polaris SLBM. Previously having a nuclear strike mission for carrier-based Buccaneer attack aircraft and later Sea Harriers, the UK no longer deploys nuclear weapons for delivery by carrier-based naval aircraft or any other means other than the Vanguard submarine-launched Trident SLBM.
Israel has been reported in congressional testimony by the US Department of Defense of having aircraft-delivered nuclear weapons as early as the mid-1960s, a demonstrated missile-based force since the mid-1960s, an IRBM in the mid-1980s, an ICBM in the early 2000s and the suspected second-strike capability arrived with the Dolphin-class submarine and Popeye Turbo submarine-launched cruise missile. Israel is suspected of using their inventory of nuclear-capable fighter aircraft such as the long-range F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 and formerly the F-4 Phantom, Dassault Mirage III, A-4 Skyhawk and Nesher. Israel has appreciable and growing numbers of long-range tanker aircraft and aerial refueling capacity on its long-range fighter-bomber aircraft, this capacity was used in the 1985 long-range conventional strike against the PLO in Tunisia.Jane’s Defence Weekly reports that the Israeli Dolphin-class submarines are widely believed to be nuclear armed, offering Israel a second-strike capability with a demonstrated range of at least 1500 km in a 2002 test. According to an official report which was submitted to the American congress in 2004, it may be that with a payload of 1,000 kg the Jericho 3 gives Israel nuclear strike capabilities within the entire Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and almost all parts of North America, as well as within large parts of South America and North Oceania, Israel also has the regional reach of its Jericho 2 IRBM force. The existence of a nuclear force is often hinted at blatantly and evidence of an advanced weapons program including miniaturized and thermonuclear devices has been presented, especially the extensive photographic evidence given by former Israeli nuclear weapons assembler Mordechai Vanunu. There have been incidents where Israel has been suspected of testing, but so far Israel for diplomatic reasons has not openly admitted to having operational nuclear weapons, and so is only a suspect triad state.
Air Mobile ICBM Feasibility Demonstration—24 October 1974
There is nothing in nuclear strategy to mandate only these three delivery systems. For example, orbital weapons or spacecraft for purposes of orbital bombardment using nuclear devices have been developed and silo deployed by the USSR from 1969 to 1983, these would not fit into the categories listed above. However, actual space-based weapon systems used for weapons of mass destruction have been banned under the Outer Space Treaty and launch ready deployment for the US and former USSR by the SALT II treaty. Another example is the US, UK, and France do or have previously included a strategic nuclear strike mission for carrier-based aircraft, which especially in the past were far harder to track and target with ICBMs or strategic nuclear bombers than fixed bomber or missile bases, permitting some second-strike flexibility; this was the first sea-based deterrent before the SLBM. The US and UK jointly explored an air-launched strategic ballistic nuclear missile, the Skybolt, but canceled the program in favor of submarine-based missiles. In 1974 a Lockheed C-5 Galaxy successfully tested an air launch of a Minuteman ICBM; this system was not deployed, but was used as a bargaining point in the SALT treaty negotiations with the USSR.
How Tesla Builds Electric Cars | Tesla Motors Part 2 (WIRED)
Electric Car Quality Tests | Tesla Motors Part 3 (WIRED)
Fatal Telsa crash shows limits of self-driving technology
The U.S. government is investigating the first reported death of a driver whose car was in self-driving mode when he crashed. Joshua D. Brown, 40, died May 7 when his Tesla Model S, which was operating on “autopilot,” failed to activate its brakes and hit a truck in Florida.
The crash raises questions about autonomous and semi-autonomous cars, their capabilities and their limits. Here are answers to some of those questions:
Q: ARE THERE SELF-DRIVING CARS ON U.S. STREETS RIGHT NOW?
A: Yes, but in limited numbers. Various companies, including Google, Ford and Uber, have test fleets of autonomous cars running in specific areas, including Mountain View, California, and Austin, Texas. Right now, those vehicles always have a steering wheel, brakes and a driver ready to take over in case of a problem, but prototype cars without steering wheels are also being developed.
Q: HOW DO THEY WORK?
A: A network of cameras, radars and lasers feeds information to the car’s computers, helping to fill in the gaps in the GPS system, which knows how to get the car from point to point. Cameras let the car see what’s around it, while radar senses things in the dark or in inclement weather. Lasers constantly scan the road and give a three-dimensional picture of what’s going on.
Q: ARE THERE LAWS ALLOWING SELF-DRIVING CARS?
A: Right now, it’s a patchwork. Eight states — including Nevada, Michigan, Florida and Tennessee — and Washington D.C. have laws allowing autonomous vehicles. Other states have legislation in the works. Later this summer, the federal government is expected to release guidelines for the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles.
Q: WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SELF-DRIVING CARS?
A: Self-driving cars have the potential to save lives by anticipating accidents before they happen. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said Friday that 90 percent of car accidents are caused by human error, and distracted or drowsy driving accounts for some 13 percent of those crashes. The accidents cost about $870 billion a year globally.
Q: CAN I BUY A SELF-DRIVING CAR?
A: No. A few automakers offer cars and SUVs with semi-autonomous modes that can perform some functions without help from the driver, including maintaining a set speed, braking, changing lanes and even parallel parking. Semi-autonomous features can be found on high-end vehicles from Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti and Volvo. Some lower-priced models have them, too. Toyota, for example, plans to make automatic emergency braking standard on its vehicles by 2017, ahead of a self-imposed deadline of 2022 that most automakers have agreed to.
Q: WHEN WILL COMPLETELY SELF-DRIVING CARS BE AVAILABLE TO CONSUMERS?
A: That’s not yet clear. Volvo plans a large-scale test of driverless cars in Sweden next year. Google wants to make cars available to the public around the end of 2019. BMW, Intel and Israel’s Mobileye have teamed up to roll out the cars by 2021.
IHS Automotive, a consulting firm, predicts that the U.S. will see the earliest deployment of autonomous vehicles, with several thousand on the road by 2020. That number will rise to 4.5 million vehicles by 2035, IHS says. But even if the vehicles are on the road, they might not be in your garage. The earliest self-driving cars might be on-demand taxis, employee shuttles or other shared vehicles.
Q: WHAT ARE THE TECHNICAL CHALLENGES TO GETTING AUTONOMOUS CARS ON THE ROAD?
A: Driverless cars need detailed maps to follow, and companies are still mapping roads. They also can have trouble staying within lanes in heavy rain or snow. And, as the Tesla crash showed, there will always be scenarios that driverless cars can’t foresee or navigate correctly. Brown’s car didn’t see an oncoming tractor-trailer because it was white against a brightly lit sky. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the car’s radar is also designed to tune out what looks like overhead signs to prevent false braking.
Q: HOW COULD THE TESLA AUTOPILOT NOT SEE SOMETHING AS LARGE AS A TRACTOR-TRAILER?
A: Raj Rajkumar, a computer engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University who leads its autonomous vehicle research, said computers can’t be programmed to handle every situation. But Tesla may need to adjust its radar, he said.
Tesla would not comment directly on the radar and computer programs, but the company issued a statement saying that it continually advances its software by analyzing hundreds of millions of miles of driving data. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking at the design and performance of Tesla’s system as part of its investigation.
Tesla has plenty of customers, but still no profit
by Jackie Wattles
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is spending some nights in a sleeping bag on a factory floor.
He’s keeping a very close eye on the electric car maker’s production.
“My desk is at the end of the production line,” Musk told investors Wednesday after the company posted its quarterly earnings report. “I have a sleeping bag in a conference room [nearby] and I use it quite often.”
Tesla’s biggest challenge is scaling up manufacturing to meet customers’ demand — and that’s why the factory isn’t just where Musk is sleeping, it’s where Tesla is spending billions of dollars.
Tesla (TSLA) said Wednesday that it’s decided to invest more than $2 billion on production capacity this year — $750 million more than initially planned.
But that means Musk won’t be able to deliver on what he previously told investors: Tesla may finally turn a profit in 2016.
“Naturally, this will impact our ability to be net cash flow positive for the year, but given the demand for Model 3, investing to meet that demand is the best long-term decision for Tesla,” Musk said.
The company posted a net loss of $282 million for last quarter.
The automaker made a name for itself with two $70,000-plus luxury models — the Model S and Model X — but a successful mass market vehicle is the cornerstone of Musk’s plan to grow the company.
The first Model 3’s are expected to reach customers next year, and he wants the company’s new gigafactory to be churning them out “at capacity” by the end of 2017. Musk said the company plans to start making 500,000 cars per year by 2018. For comparison, the company made about 50,000 in 2015.
To do that, the company is also looking to hire top-tier manufacturing talent, which Musk said is the “most significant” factor in ensuring a bright future for Tesla.
It’s unclear why, but the company also announced earlier in the day on Wednesday that its vice presidents of production and manufacturing are leaving the company.
Musk’s production plans may face other problems. He has given Tesla suppliers a July 1, 2017 deadline to ship the parts he’s ordered, but “it’s like college term papers. There’s always late term papers.”
Musk also said he plans to start producing more car components in-house — another reason he’s investing more money in Tesla’s manufacturing capabilities.
Tesla affirmed earlier guidance that it plans to put 80,000 to 90,000 new electric cars on the road this year, and that’s despite hitting a production snag with the Model X recently that made the company miss its quarterly delivery guidance.
And the Model S is still selling well. Orders were up 45% compared to the same quarter last year.
Tesla’s stock has struggled in 2016, down more than 7% since January. Shares were essentially flat after-hours when the company issued its report.
Tesla is a hot mess—there is no path to profitability
Michael Pento, president of Pento Portfolio Strategies
Tuesday, 3 May 2016 | 1:55 PM ETCNBC.com
Tesla shares got a little pop in after-hours trading Wednesday after the electric car maker delivered an earnings report in line with expectations and an optimistic outlook.
But I think the stock’s run is already over.
The primary reason? Profitability.
Tesla stock soared for a few months starting in February following news that pre-orders for the electric-car maker’s Model 3, with a price tag of $35,000, were approaching 400,000 units.
But, as well-known short seller Jim Chanos so perfectly put it in an interview with CNBC: “We have all kinds of questions on the profitability of the business.”
First, the Model 3. This was Tesla’s play for an “affordable” electric car but it appears to be affordable for everyone EXCEPT Tesla.
Tesla loses more than $4,000 on each of its high-end Model S electric sedans; and that model’s cost is between $70 and $108k. With margins like that, one has to assume a $35k Model 3 can’t be the answer to solving Tesla’s red ink.
Tesla’s income statement reveals the company is hemorrhaging cash at a robust clip. Furthermore, according to TheStreet Ratings, they have a net profit margin of -26.38 percent and a quick ratio of 0.49, which means they have 49 cents in available cash to pay every $1 of current liabilities.
Worse than its lousy earnings and cash flow, Tesla is grossly overvalued compared to its peers. Tesla’s market cap is more than $30 billion, compared to Fiat Chrysler at around $10 billion and Ferrari at around $8 billion. Being valued at 3x more than FCAU — an established and profitable company — looks especially absurd when considering FCAU produces annual sales of over $130 billion, while Tesla produces revenue of only $4 billion.
Furthermore, Tesla’s market cap is nearly two-thirds of General Motors‘ market cap. This is despite the fact that General Motors has a history of selling 10 million cars at a profit each year and Tesla sold less than 100,000 cars last year at a loss. They would have to sell 6.6 million cars this year to justify its current valuation. With less than 400,000 cars on pre-order that doesn’t appear likely anytime soon.
First, he pointed out that, on the back of falling oil prices, demand for electric vehicles (EVs) is slowing. Second, there is growing competition that will cut into Tesla’s margins as prices for EVs fall. Tesla has a lot of competition over the next few years. The industry is already awaiting the Apple car with bated breath that is set to launch in four years. And GM’s Chevy Bolt is similarly priced with a similar range and is set to come out this year. And then we have the Nissan Leaf expected to more competitive in the coming months and years. And add to that first generation vehicles like the BMW i3.
And in China, they have the EV Company LeEco, which recently unveiled its very first electric car that includes self-driving and self-parking capability using voice commands via a mobile app. Besides LeEco, there is another Chinese EV auto maker that sold more electric cars last year than Tesla, Nissan or GM, it’s called BYD Co. and is now targeting the U.S. market.
Lutz believes that competition from industry heavyweights like these could “kill” Tesla in the future.
“The major OEMs like GM, Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen, etc … they have to build electric cars, a certain number, in order to satisfy the requirements in about half of the states. Those have to be jammed into the marketplace, otherwise they can no longer sell SUVs and full-size pickups and the stuff that they really make money on. So that is going to generically depress the prices of electric vehicles,” Lutz warned.
Lutz also explained that companies such as General Motors will not be making any money on their “Tesla killer.” They are making these vehicles to appease Washington.
“The majors are going to accept the losses on the electric vehicles as a necessary cost of doing business in order to sell the big gasoline stuff that people really want. Well, Tesla does not have that option,” Lutz said.
But Musk has a strategy for driving down the cost of his electric car that hinges on achieving economies of scale, bringing down the production cost of the battery pack by 30 percent. This hinges on the success of their future Nevada home called the “Gigafactory.”
The Gigafactory is a one-stop shopping in battery-pack production. The company currently buys battery packs through a deal with Panasonicand has partnered with Panasonic in this venture. Production volume at the Gigafactory is anticipated to be the equivalent of over 30 gigawatt-hours per year; this would mean the Gigafactory would produce more storage than all the lithium battery factories in the world combined. The $5 billion dollar plant is as big as the Pentagon Tesla, and Tesla is hoping to produce 500,000 lithium ion batteries annually.
Musk recently laid out his Energy-branded battery ambition in rock star glory. At the event spectacle, Musk declared that his batteries would someday render the world’s energy grid obsolete. “We are talking about trying to change the fundamental energy infrastructure of the world,” he said.
Musk envisions his affordable, clean energy will one day power the remote villages of underdeveloped countries as well as allowing the average homeowner in industrial nations to go off the grid.
But before you sever your ties with your electrical company, it’s worth noting that not everyone thinks Musk’s plans are achievable – at least not in the time frame he envisions.
Panasonic, the supplier of the lithium-ion cells that form the foundation of Tesla’s batteries, and partner on the company’s forthcoming battery factory — calls Musk’s claims a lot of hyperbole.
“We are at the very beginning in energy storage in general,” said Phil Hermann, chief energy engineer at Panasonic Eco Solutions. “Most of the projects currently going on are either demo projects or learning experiences for the utilities. There is very little direct commercial stuff going on. Elon Musk is out there saying you can do things now that the rest of us are hearing and going, ‘really?’ We wish we could, but it’s not really possible yet.”
And far from the grand stage with little fanfare buried in their November 10Q Tesla also sought to tamper investor’s expectations: “Given the size and complexity of this undertaking, the cost of building and operating the Gigafactory could exceed our current expectations, we may have difficulty signing up additional partners, and the Gigafactory may take longer to bring online than we anticipate.”
With a company saddled with debt and cash-strapped, who is going to shoulder the burden of a delay in the Gigafactory realizing its full potential? That would be shareholders through stock dilution or the American tax payer – but most likely a combination of both. There are those who believe that Musk’s real genius is in following government subsidies.
Tesla’s model relies strongly on a “green” administration. According to the Los Angeles Times, all of Musk’s ventures: Tesla Motors, SolarCityand Space Exploration Technologies, known as SpaceX, together have benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government support. The figure underscores a common theme running through his emerging empire: a public-private financing model underpinning long-shot start-ups.
The promise is that the Tesla stockholders and the tax subsidizing public will greatly benefit from major pollution reductions as electric cars break through as viable alternative and gain access to mass-market production.
And frankly, I’m not convinced that electric cars are even good for the environment. First, it’s important to note that at this time, these cars don’t power themselves — they are plugged into an outlet in your garage that connects to an electric power plant. Second, there are a lot of environmental questions about the lithium battery itself. In a 2012 study titled “Science for Environment Policy” published by the European Union, a comparison was made of the lithium ion batteries to other types of batteries available such as; lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal-hydride and sodium Sulphur. They concluded that the lithium ion batteries have the largest impact on metal depletion, making recycling more complicated.
Musk may be a genius and a visionary but the truth is that Tesla has an unproven business model and a stock that is massively overpriced. Even if some year in the distant future there exists the charging infrastructure and pricing available to make electric vehicles conducive to supplant the internal combustion engine, Tesla faces an onslaught of competition that will most likely drive its profit margins further into the red for years to come.
So, as far as I’m concerned, the stock is not a buy — no matter what earnings say. The math just doesn’t add up.
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Obama’s climate agenda on trial
By Devin Henry
A slate of major environmental rules rolled out by the Obama administration in 2015 will face serious challenges in the new year, as opponents look to beat back the president’s ambitious policies — a core piece of his legacy.
In the lead-up to the landmark Paris climate talks in December — an event that yielded a first-of-its-kind global agreement to cut carbon emissions — the Obama administration released a series of sweeping new environmental rules, each garnering both condemnation and deep-pocketed opposition from interest looking to torpedo the regulations in 2016.
As Obama enters the final year of his presidency, much of his focus on environmental issues will be implementing and preserving the work he’s already done. If 2015 was the year he pushed his environmental agenda forward, 2016 could be the year he looks to preserve it.
Here are some of the biggest regulations Obama finalized or proposed last year, and how they’ll be litigated in 2016.
Clean Power Plan
The most notable environmental rule issued in 2015 was the climate rule for power plants, an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation designed to cut carbon emissions from the power sector.
The rule is the centerpiece of Obama’s climate change agenda, and the biggest promise he took with him to the United Nations climate talks. It’s designed to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
Environmentalists hailed the rule, but it has met with scorching opposition from Republicans, commodity groups, businesses and utilities. Opponents have argued that, while the rule will cut carbon emissions, it will do so at the expense of jobs and American energy bills, which could go up as states shift to cleaner energy mixes.
Dozens of opponents sued against the rule the day in October that it hit the Federal Register, arguing the EPA went beyond its legal authority in assigning states carbon reduction targets.
“EPA’s rule is flatly illegal and one of the most aggressive executive branch power grabs we’ve seen in a long time,” West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said. “The EPA cannot do what it intends to do legally.”
The EPA defended the rule as one with “strong scientific and legal foundations” and has sought to protect it from the lawsuits. Opponents want federal judges to issue a stay on the rule and, with legal filings on the matter due on Dec. 23, the first judicial skirmish over the rule is set for early 2016.
Clean Water Rule
A federal court dealt a blow to another EPA rule in 2015 when it blocked implementation of a new rule setting regulatory authority over small waterways.
The so-called “Waters of the United States” rule looks to clarify which streams, wetlands and other smaller waterways the federal government has regulatory authority over.
But opponents of the rule — Republicans, red states and the agriculture industry among them — argue the rule is overly-broad and an unjust expansion of federal power. They sued against the regulation, and two federal courts issued separate injunctions against it in 2015, ruling that opponents have a strong case and could win when their challenges move forward.
The EPA and Army Corps. of Engineers have maintained that the rule is legal and plans to fight the lawsuits against it. The stay didn’t overturn the rule: the courts need to go through the process of making a full ruling on it, and the appeals process could eventually bring the water rule to the Supreme Court.
When the Obama administration finalized a new standard for acceptable concentrations of surface-level ozone particles, neither industrial groups nor public health and environmental coalitions were pleased.
Businesses and manufacturers sued over the new 70-parts-per-billion standard in December, arguing that the new standard would be hard to implement and lead to billions of dollars in compliance costs.
“The EPA’s ozone regulation, which could be one of the most expensive in history, is unworkable and overly burdensome for manufacturers and America’s job creators,” said Linda Kelly, the senior vice president and general counsel for the National Association of Manufacturers.
Greens and health officials defended the EPA’s ability to issue the new rule, which came out in October. But they filed lawsuits of their own, arguing regulators should have finalized a standard even stricter than the one they landed on.
“This standard leaves kids, seniors and asthmatics without the protection doctors say they need from this dangerous pollutant,” Earthjustice attorney David Baron said. “The EPA has a duty to set standards that assure our air is safe to breathe. We say they violated that duty here.”
Even before the ozone rule was released, both sides said they expected to sue over the final standard, citing their dueling lawsuits against the EPA the last time it updated the rule, in 2008.
Neither side succeeded then, and the rule stood.
Beyond legal challenges, the power plant, water and ozone rules could all face challenges from congressional Republicans, as well.
While legislative measures stopping the rules are dead with Obama in office, Republicans showed last year that they were willing to try using the appropriations process to block them anyway.
Key Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have said they plan to exhaust their legislative options for blocking the regulations even with Obama in office. But McConnell acknowledged in October that lawmakers’ hands are likely tied for now, despite passing a since-vetoed Congressional Review Act resolution against the power plan.
“Our options to stop [the Clean Power Plan] are quite limited,” McConnell said then. “We do have the possibility of a CRA. The weakness of that, obviously, is that even though we can pass it through here with a simple majority, [Obama is] likely to veto it.”
The Obama administration led off 2015 promising to take action on methane emissions from oil and natural gas drilling sites.
The EPA proposed rules in August to require drillers use new technologies to track and block accidental and purposeful leaks when producing and transmitting oil and gas. The proposal kicked up a potential fight with the gas industry.
Greens have said a strong methane rule is one of the last major climate initiatives Obama can effectively push through during his final term in office. Methane has about 25 times the global warming power of carbon dioxide, and a push to cut down on leaks will compliment Obama’s work on carbon emissions elsewhere, they say.
Drillers, though, are skeptical of the rule, saying they are already taking steps to cut methane leaks on their own. They support EPA’s opt-in programs for cutting methane emissions, but warn that actual regulations could “undermine American competitiveness” in the oil and gas sector.
“EPA’s proposal for additional methane regulations on oil and gas wells and transmission are duplicative and costly,” Howard Feldman, the senior director of regulatory and scientific affairs at the American Petroleum Institute, said in December. “They could also undermine the progress our industry has made lowering greenhouse gas emissions.”
Republicans, too, have opposed new methane rules, with House Natural Resources Committee chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) calling the proposal “another unprecedented attack” on oil and gas interests.
The agency hopes to finalize the rule by the spring.
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Steve Kroft: The last time we talked was this time last year, and the situation in Syria and Iraq had begun to worsen vis-Ã -vis ISIS. You had just unveiled a plan to provide air support for troops in Iraq, and also some air strikes in Syria, and the training and equipping of a moderate Syrian force. You said that this would degrade and eventually destroy ISIS.
President Barack Obama: Over time.
Steve Kroft: Over time. It’s been a year, and–
President Barack Obama: I didn’t say it was going to be done in a year.
Steve Kroft: No. But you said…
President Barack Obama: There’s a question in here somewhere.
Steve Kroft: Who’s going to get rid of them?
President Barack Obama: Over time, the community of nations will all get rid of them, and we will be leading getting rid of them. But we are not going to be able to get rid of them unless there is an environment inside of Syria and in portions of Iraq in which local populations, local Sunni populations, are working in a concerted way with us to get rid of them.
On the “moderate opposition” in Syria:
Steve Kroft: You have been talking about the moderate opposition in Syria. It seems very hard to identify. And you talked about the frustrations of trying to find some and train them. You got a half a billion dollars from Congress to train and equip 5,000, and at the end, according to the commander CENTCOM, you got 50 people, most of whom are dead or deserted. He said four or five left?
President Barack Obama: Steve, this is why I’ve been skeptical from the get go about the notion that we were going to effectively create this proxy army inside of Syria. My goal has been to try to test the proposition, can we be able to train and equip a moderate opposition that’s willing to fight ISIL? And what we’ve learned is that as long as Assad remains in power, it is very difficult to get those folks to focus their attention on ISIL.
Steve Kroft: If you were skeptical of the program to find and identify, train and equip moderate Syrians, why did you go through the program?
President Barack Obama: Well, because part of what we have to do here, Steve, is to try different things. Because we also have partners on the ground that are invested and interested in seeing some sort of resolution to this problem. And–
Steve Kroft: And they wanted you to do it.
President Barack Obama: Well, no. That’s not what I said. I think it is important for us to make sure that we explore all the various options that are available.
Steve Kroft: I know you don’t want to talk about this.
President Barack Obama: No, I’m happy to talk about it.
Steve Kroft: I want to talk about the– this program, because it would seem to show, I mean, if you expect 5,000 and you get five, it shows that somebody someplace along the line did not– made– you know, some sort of a serious miscalculation.
President Barack Obama: You know, the– the– Steve, let me just say this.
Steve Kroft: It’s an embarrassment.
President Barack Obama: Look, there’s no doubt that it did not work. And, one of the challenges that I’ve had throughout this heartbreaking situation inside of Syria is, is that– you’ll have people insist that, you know, all you have to do is send in a few– you know, truckloads full of arms and people are ready to fight. And then, when you start a train-and-equip program and it doesn’t work, then people say, “Well, why didn’t it work?” Or, “If it had just started three months earlier it would’ve worked.”
Steve Kroft: But you said yourself you never believed in this.
President Barack Obama: Well– but Steve, what I have also said is, is that surprisingly enough it turns out that in a situation that is as volatile and with as many players as there are inside of Syria, there aren’t any silver bullets. And this is precisely why I’ve been very clear that America’s priorities has to be number one, keeping the American people safe. Number two, we are prepared to work both diplomatically and where we can to support moderate opposition that can help convince the Russians and Iranians to put pressure on Assad for a transition. But that what we are not going to do is to try to reinsert ourselves in a military campaign inside of Syria. Let’s take the situation in Afghanistan, which I suspect you’ll ask about. But I wanted to use this as an example.
Steve Kroft: All right. I feel like I’m being filibustered, Mr. President.
President Barack Obama: No, no, no, no, no. Steve, I think if you want to roll back the tape, you’ve been giving me long questions and statements, and now I’m responding to ’em. So let’s– so– if you ask me big, open-ended questions, expect big, open-ended answers. Let’s take the example of Afghanistan. We’ve been there 13 years now close to 13 years. And it’s still hard in Afghanistan. Today, after all the investments we have there, and we still have thousands of troops there. So the notion that after a year in Syria, a country where the existing government hasn’t invited us in, but is actively keeping us out, that somehow we would be able to solve this quickly– is–
Steve Kroft: We didn’t say quickly.
President Barack Obama: –is– is– is an illusion. And– and–
Steve Kroft: Nobody’s expecting that, Mr. President.
President Barack Obama: Well, the– no, I understand, but what I’m– the simple point I’m making, Steve, is that the solution that we’re going to have inside of Syria is ultimately going to depend not on the United States putting in a bunch of troops there, resolving the underlying crisis is going to be something that requires ultimately the key players there to recognize that there has to be a transition to new government. And, in the absence of that, it’s not going to work.
Steve Kroft: One of the key players now is Russia.
President Barack Obama: Yeah.
Steve Kroft: A year ago when we did this interview, there was some saber-rattling between the United States and Russia on the Ukrainian border. Now it’s also going on in Syria. You said a year ago that the United States– America leads. We’re the indispensible nation. Mr. Putin seems to be challenging that leadership.
President Barack Obama: In what way? Let– let’s think about this– let– let–
Steve Kroft: Well, he’s moved troops into Syria, for one. He’s got people on the ground. Two, the Russians are conducting military operations in the Middle East for the first time since World War II–
President Barack Obama: So that’s–
Steve Kroft: –bombing the people– that we are supporting.
President Barack Obama: So that’s leading, Steve? Let me ask you this question. When I came into office, Ukraine was governed by a corrupt ruler who was a stooge of Mr. Putin. Syria was Russia’s only ally in the region. And today, rather than being able to count on their support and maintain the base they had in Syria, which they’ve had for a long time, Mr. Putin now is devoting his own troops, his own military, just to barely hold together by a thread his sole ally. And in Ukraine–
Steve Kroft: He’s challenging your leadership, Mr. President. He’s challenging your leadership–
President Barack Obama: Well Steve, I got to tell you, if you think that running your economy into the ground and having to send troops in in order to prop up your only ally is leadership, then we’ve got a different definition of leadership. My definition of leadership would be leading on climate change, an international accord that potentially we’ll get in Paris. My definition of leadership is mobilizing the entire world community to make sure that Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon. And with respect to the Middle East, we’ve got a 60-country coalition that isn’t suddenly lining up around Russia’s strategy. To the contrary, they are arguing that, in fact, that strategy will not work.
Steve Kroft: My point is– was not that he was leading, my point is that he was challenging your leadership. And he has very much involved himself in the situation. Can you imagine anything happening in Syria of any significance at all without the Russians now being involved in it and having a part of it?
President Barack Obama: But that was true before. Keep in mind that for the last five years, the Russians have provided arms, provided financing, as have the Iranians, as has Hezbollah.
Steve Kroft: But they haven’t been bombing and they haven’t had troops on the ground–
President Barack Obama: And the fact that they had to do this is not an indication of strength, it’s an indication that their strategy did not work.
Steve Kroft: You don’t think–
President Barack Obama: You don’t think that Mr. Putin would’ve preferred having Mr. Assad be able to solve this problem without him having to send a bunch of pilots and money that they don’t have?
Steve Kroft: Did you know he was going to do all this when you met with him in New York?
President Barack Obama: Well, we had seen– we had pretty good intelligence. We watch–
Steve Kroft: So you knew he was planning to do it.
President Barack Obama: We knew that he was planning to provide the military assistance that Assad was needing because they were nervous about a potential imminent collapse of the regime.
Steve Kroft: You say he’s doing this out of weakness. There is a perception in the Middle East among our adversaries, certainly and even among some of our allies that the United States is in retreat, that we pulled our troops out of Iraq and ISIS has moved in and taken over much of that territory. The situation in Afghanistan is very precarious and the Taliban is on the march again. And ISIS controls a large part of Syria.
President Barack Obama: I think it’s fair to say, Steve, that if–
Steve Kroft: It’s– they– let me just finish the thought. They say your–
President Barack Obama: You’re–
Steve Kroft: –they say you’re projecting a weakness, not a strength–
President Barack Obama: –you’re saying “they,” but you’re not citing too many folks. But here–
Steve Kroft: No, I’ll cite– I’ll cite if you want me, too.
President Barack Obama: –here– yes. Here–
Steve Kroft: I’d say the Saudis. I’d say the Israelis. I’d say a lot of our friends in the Middle East. I’d say everybody in the Republican party. Well, you want me to keep going?
President Barack Obama: Yeah. The– the– if you are– if you’re citing the Republican party, I think it’s fair to say that there is nothing I’ve done right over the last seven and a half years. And I think that’s right. It– and– I also think what is true is that these are the same folks who were making an argument for us to go into Iraq and who, in some cases, still have difficulty acknowledging that it was a mistake. And Steve, I guarantee you that there are factions inside of the Middle East, and I guess factions inside the Republican party who think that we should send endless numbers of troops into the Middle East, that the only measure of strength is us sending back several hundred thousand troops, that we are going to impose a peace, police the region, and– that the fact that we might have more deaths of U.S. troops, thousands of troops killed, thousands of troops injured, spend another trillion dollars, they would have no problem with that. There are people who would like to see us do that. And unless we do that, they’ll suggest we’re in retreat.
Steve Kroft: They’ll say you’re throwing in the towel–
President Barack Obama: No. Steve, we have an enormous presence in the Middle East. We have bases and we have aircraft carriers. And our pilots are flying through those skies. And we are currently supporting Iraq as it tries to continue to build up its forces. But the problem that I think a lot of these critics never answered is what’s in the interest of the United States of America and at what point do we say that, “Here are the things we can do well to protect America. But here are the things that we also have to do in order to make sure that America leads and America is strong and stays number one.” And if in fact the only measure is for us to send another 100,000 or 200,000 troops into Syria or back into Iraq, or perhaps into Libya, or perhaps into Yemen, and our goal somehow is that we are now going to be, not just the police, but the governors of this region. That would be a bad strategy Steve. And I think that if we make that mistake again, then shame on us.
Steve Kroft: Do you think the world’s a safer place?
President Barack Obama: America is a safer place. I think that there are places, obviously, like Syria that are not safer than when I came into office. But, in terms of us protecting ourselves against terrorism, in terms of us making sure that we are strengthening our alliances, in terms of our reputation around the world, absolutely we’re stronger.
On Friday, the Pentagon ended the program to train-and-equip Syrian rebels that the president told us did not work. In a moment, he talks about Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton’s emails and Joe Biden’s possible run for president.
Steve Kroft: OK. Mr. President, there are a lot of serious problems with the world right now, but I want to ask you a few questions about politics.
President Barack Obama: Yeah, go ahead.
Steve Kroft: What do you think of Donald Trump?
President Barack Obama: Well, I think that he is a great publicity-seeker and at a time when the Republican party hasn’t really figured out what it’s for, as opposed to what it’s against. I think that he is tapped into something that exists in the Republican party that’s real. I think there is genuine anti-immigrant sentiment in the large portion of at least Republican primary voters. I don’t think it’s uniform. He knows how to get attention. He is, you know, the classic reality TV character and, at this early stage, it’s not surprising that he’s gotten a lot of attention.
Steve Kroft: You think he’s running out of steam? I mean, you think he’s going to disappear?
President Barack Obama: You know, I’ll leave it up to the pundits to make that determination. I don’t think he’ll end up being president of the United States.
Steve Kroft: Did you know about Hillary Clinton’s use of private email server–
President Barack Obama: No.
Steve Kroft: –while she was Secretary of State?
President Barack Obama: No.
Steve Kroft: Do you think it posed a national security problem?
President Barack Obama: I don’t think it posed a national security problem. I think that it was a mistake that she has acknowledged and– you know, as a general proposition, when we’re in these offices, we have to be more sensitive and stay as far away from the line as possible when it comes to how we handle information, how we handle our own personal data. And, you know, she made a mistake. She has acknowledged it. I do think that the way it’s been ginned-up is in part because of– in part– because of politics. And I think she’d be the first to acknowledge that maybe she could have handled the original decision better and the disclosures more quickly. But–
Steve Kroft: What was your reaction when you found out about it?
President Barack Obama: This is one of those issues that I think is legitimate, but the fact that for the last three months this is all that’s been spoken about is an indication that we’re in presidential political season.
Steve Kroft: Do you agree with what President Clinton has said and Secretary Clinton has said, that this is not– not that big a deal. Do you agree with that?
President Barack Obama: Well, I’m not going to comment on–
Steve Kroft: You think it’s not that big a deal–
President Barack Obama: What I think is that it is important for her to answer these questions to the satisfaction of the American public. And they can make their own judgment. I can tell you that this is not a situation in which America’s national security was endangered.
Steve Kroft: This administration has prosecuted people for having classified material on their private computers.
President Barack Obama: Well, I– there’s no doubt that there had been breaches, and these are all a matter of degree. We don’t get an impression that here there was purposely efforts– on– in– to hide something or to squirrel away information. But again, I’m gonna leave it to–
Steve Kroft: If she had come to you.
President Barack Obama: I’m going to leave it to Hillary when she has an interview with you to address all these questions.
Steve Kroft: Right now, there’s nobody on either side of the aisle that is exactly running on your record. Do you want Joe Biden to get in the race and do it?
President Barack Obama: You know, I am going to let Joe make that decision. And I mean what I say. I think Joe will go down as one of the finest vice presidents in history, and one of the more consequential. I think he has done great work. I don’t think there’s any politician at a national level that has not thought about being the president. And if you’re sitting right next to the president in every meeting and, you know wrestling with these issues, I’m sure that for him he’s saying to himself, “I could do a really good job.”
Steve Kroft: I do want to talk a little bit about Congress. Are you going to miss John Boehner?
President Barack Obama: John Boehner and I disagreed on just about everything. But the one thing I’ll say about John Boehner is he did care about the institution. He recognized that nobody gets 100 percent in our democracy. I won’t say that he and I were ideal partners, but he and I could talk and we could get some things done. And so I am a little concerned that the reason he left was because there are a group of members of Congress who think having somebody who is willing to shut down the government or default on the U.S. debt is going to allow them to get their way 100 percent of the time.
Steve Kroft: Do you think you’re going to be able to get anything through Congress?
President Barack Obama: Well, given that– this Congress hasn’t been able to get much done at all over the last year and a half, two years, for that matter for the last four, it would be surprising if we were able to make huge strides on the things that are important. But I have a more modest goal, which is to make sure that Congress doesn’t do damage to the economy.
The president says that means avoiding another budget crisis and another round of threats to shut down the government, which could happen as early as December. Even with congressional Republicans in disarray, he’s hoping to reach a deal with Congress as he did two years ago, to lift some spending caps in defense and other areas while continuing to reduce the deficit.
President Barack Obama: Right now, our economy is much stronger relative to the rest of the world. China, Europe, emerging markets, they’re all having problems. And so, if we provide another shock to the system by shutting down the government, that could mean that the progress we have made starts going backwards instead of forwards. We have to make sure that we pass a transportation bill. It may not be everything that I want. We should be being much more aggressive in rebuilding America right now. Interest rates are low, construction workers need the work, and our economy would benefit from it. But if we can’t do a big multiyear plan, we have to at least do something that is robust enough– so that we are meeting the demands of a growing economy.
Steve Kroft: A few months back, at a fundraiser, you made a point of saying that the first lady was very pleased that you can’t run again.
President Barack Obama: Yeah, she is.
Steve Kroft: Do you feel the same way?
President Barack Obama: You know, it’s interesting. I– you go into your last year and I think it’s bittersweet. On the one hand, I am very proud of what we’ve accomplished and it makes me think, I’d love to do some more. But by the time I’m finished, I think it will be time for me to go. Because there’s a reason why we considered George Washington one of our greatest presidents. He set a precedent, saying that when you occupy this seat, it is an extraordinary privilege, but the way our democracy is designed, no one person is indispensable. And ultimately you are a citizen. And once you finish with your service, you go back to being a citizen. And I– and I think that– I think having a fresh set of legs in this seat, I think having a fresh perspective, new personnel and new ideas and a new conversation with the American people about issues that may be different a year from now than they were when I started eight years ago, I think that’s all good for our democracy. I think it’s healthy.
Steve Kroft: Do you think if you ran again, could run again, and did run again, you would be elected?
Story 1: Obama’s Betrayal of His Oath of Office — Traitorous Terrorist Treaty — Iranians Inspect Their Own Military Installations Building Nuclear Weapons –Obama Legacy Is A Sellout of The American People And Unconditional Surrender To Iran’s Demands — Not A Joke — Treason! — Not Trust, Not Verification — Obama Lied And Americans Will Die — Videos
The President… shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur….
ARTICLE II, SECTION 2, CLAUSE 2
“International inspections should be done by international inspectors. Period.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce
“Trusting Iran to inspect its own nuclear site and report to the U.N. in an open and transparent way is remarkably naive and incredibly reckless. This revelation only reinforces the deep-seated concerns the American people have about the agreement.”
~John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Republican senator
“President Obama boasts his deal includes ‘unprecedented verification.’ He claims it’s not built on trust. But the administration’s briefings on these side deals have been totally insufficient – and it still isn’t clear whether anyone at the White House has seen the final documents.”
~House Speaker John Boehner
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AP Exclusive: UN to let Iran inspect alleged nuke work site
By GEORGE JAHN
Aug. 19, 2015
Iran will be allowed to use its own inspectors to investigate a site it has been accused of using to develop nuclear arms, operating under a secret agreement with the U.N. agency that normally carries out such work, according to a document seen by The Associated Press.
The revelation on Wednesday newly riled Republican lawmakers in the U.S. who have been severely critical of a broader agreement to limit Iran’s future nuclear programs, signed by the Obama administration, Iran and five world powers in July. Those critics have complained that the wider deal is unwisely built on trust of the Iranians, while the administration has insisted it depends on reliable inspections.
A skeptical House Speaker John Boehner said, “President Obama boasts his deal includes ‘unprecedented verification.’ He claims it’s not built on trust. But the administration’s briefings on these side deals have been totally insufficient – and it still isn’t clear whether anyone at the White House has seen the final documents.”
Said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce: “International inspections should be done by international inspectors. Period.”
But House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi shrugged off the revelation, saying, “I truly believe in this agreement.”
The newly disclosed side agreement, for an investigation of the Parchin nuclear site by the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency, is linked to persistent allegations that Iran has worked on atomic weapons. That investigation is part of the overarching nuclear-limits deal.
Evidence of the inspections concession is sure to increase pressure from U.S. congressional opponents before a Senate vote of disapproval on the overall agreement in early September. If the resolution passes and President Barack Obama vetoes it, opponents would need a two-thirds majority to override it. Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, has suggested opponents will likely lose a veto fight, though that was before Wednesday’s disclosure.
John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Republican senator, said, “Trusting Iran to inspect its own nuclear site and report to the U.N. in an open and transparent way is remarkably naive and incredibly reckless. This revelation only reinforces the deep-seated concerns the American people have about the agreement.”
The Parchin agreement was worked out between the IAEA and Iran. The United States and the five other world powers were not party to it but were briefed by the IAEA and endorsed it as part of the larger package.
On Wednesday, White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said the Obama administration was “confident in the agency’s technical plans for investigating the possible military dimensions of Iran’s former program. … The IAEA has separately developed the most robust inspection regime ever peacefully negotiated.”
All IAEA member countries must give the agency some insight into their nuclear programs. Some are required to do no more than give a yearly accounting of the nuclear material they possess. But nations— like Iran — suspected of possible proliferation are under greater scrutiny that can include stringent inspections.
The agreement in question diverges from normal procedures by allowing Tehran to employ its own experts and equipment in the search for evidence of activities it has consistently denied — trying to develop nuclear weapons.
Olli Heinonen, who was in charge of the Iran probe as deputy IAEA director general from 2005 to 2010, said he could think of no similar concession with any other country.
The White House has repeatedly denied claims of a secret side deal favorable to Tehran. IAEA chief Yukiya Amano told Republican senators last week that he was obligated to keep the document confidential.
Iran has refused access to Parchin for years and has denied any interest in — or work on — nuclear weapons. Based on U.S., Israeli and other intelligence and its own research, the IAEA suspects that the Islamic Republic may have experimented with high-explosive detonators for nuclear arms.
The IAEA has cited evidence, based on satellite images, of possible attempts to sanitize the site since the alleged work stopped more than a decade ago.
The document seen by the AP is a draft that one official familiar with its contents said doesn’t differ substantially from the final version. He demanded anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the issue in public.
The document is labeled “separate arrangement II,” indicating there is another confidential agreement between Iran and the IAEA governing the agency’s probe of the nuclear weapons allegations.
Iran is to provide agency experts with photos and videos of locations the IAEA says are linked to the alleged weapons work, “taking into account military concerns.”
That wording suggests that — beyond being barred from physically visiting the site — the agency won’t get photo or video information from areas Iran says are off-limits because they have military significance.
While the document says the IAEA “will ensure the technical authenticity” of Iran’s inspection, it does not say how.
The draft is unsigned but the proposed signatory for Iran is listed as Ali Hoseini Tash, deputy secretary of the Supreme National Security Council for Strategic Affairs. That reflects the significance Tehran attaches to the agreement.
Iranian diplomats in Vienna were unavailable for comment, Wednesday while IAEA spokesman Serge Gas said the agency had no immediate comment.
The main focus of the July 14 deal between Iran and six world powers is curbing Iran’s present nuclear program that could be used to make weapons. But a subsidiary element obligates Tehran to cooperate with the IAEA in its probe of the past allegations.
The investigation has been essentially deadlocked for years, with Tehran asserting the allegations are based on false intelligence from the U.S., Israel and other adversaries. But Iran and the U.N. agency agreed last month to wrap up the investigation by December, when the IAEA plans to issue a final assessment.
That assessment is unlikely to be unequivocal. Still, it is expected to be approved by the IAEA’s board, which includes the United States and the other nations that negotiated the July 14 agreement. They do not want to upend their broader deal, and will see the December report as closing the books on the issue.
A report says the IAEA won’t have access to the Parchin nuclear site.
A satellite image of the Parchin facility in Iran in February 2013.PHOTO: DIGITALGLOBE/GETTY IMAGES
Aug. 19, 2015 7:20 p.m. ET
Three more Senators have declared against President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal in recent days, and don’t be surprised if more follow after Wednesday’s bombshell from the Associated Press. The news service reports that Iran will be allowed to use its own inspectors at the secret Parchin nuclear site under its secret side agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
This is a new one in the history of arms control. Parchin is the military complex long suspected as the home of Iran’s nuclear-weapons and ballistic-missile development. The IAEA has sought access to Parchin for more than a decade, and U.S. officials have said the deal requires Iran to come clean about Parchin by agreeing on an inspections protocol with the IAEA by the end of this year.
The Israel Project CEO Josh Block with an update on the Congressional whip count for the Iran vote, and whether Democrats might mount a filibuster. Photos: Getty Images
But that spin started to unravel three weeks ago with the discovery that the Parchin inspections were part of a secret side agreement between the IAEA and Iran—not between Iran and the six negotiating countries. Secretary of State John Kerry has said he hasn’t read the side deal, though his negotiating deputy Wendy Sherman told MSNBC that she “saw the pieces of paper” but couldn’t keep them. IAEA Director GeneralYukiya Amano has told Members of the U.S. Congress that he’s bound by secrecy and can’t show them the side deals.
That secrecy should be unacceptable to Congress—all the more so after the AP dispatch. The news service says it has seen a document labelled “separate arrangement II.” The document says Iran will provide the IAEA with photos and locations that the IAEA says are linked to Iran’s weapons work, “taking into account military concerns.”
In other words, the country that lied for years about its nuclear weapons program will now be trusted to come clean about those lies. And trusted to such a degree that it can limit its self-inspections so they don’t raise “military concerns” in Iran.
Keep in mind that the side deal already excludes a role for the U.S., and that the IAEA lacks any way to enforce its side deal since it has no way of imposing penalties for violations. Iran has also already ruled out any role for American or Canadian nationals on the inspection teams.
Why not cut out the IAEA middle man and simply let Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force, sign a personal affadavit?
The AP report hadn’t been contradicted by our deadline on Wednesday, and a White House spokesman told AP merely that the U.S. is “confident in the agency’s technical plans for investigating the possible military dimensions of Iran’s former program.” That sounds like a confirmation.
The news raises further doubts about a nuclear pact that is already leaking credibility. Unfettered access to Parchin is crucial to understanding Iran’s past nuclear work, which is essential to understanding how close Iran has come to getting the bomb. Without that knowledge it’s impossible to know if Iran really is a year or more away from having the bomb, which is the time period that Mr. Kerry says is built into the accord and makes it so worth doing.
Earlier this year President Obama signed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which says Congress must receive all documents related to the deal, including any “entered into or made between Iran and any other parties.” That has to mean the IAEA.
By the way, the reference in the IAEA document to “separate arrangement II” suggests there may be more than one side deal. Congress should insist on seeing every such side deal or else pass a resolution of disapproval on the principle that it can’t possibly approve a deal whose complete terms it hasn’t even been allowed to inspect.
Meanwhile, bipartisan opposition continues to build in Congress. New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez on Tuesday became the second Senate Democrat to oppose the deal, following announcements from Republicans Jeff Flake (Arizona) and Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker. Mr. Flake in particular was inclined to support the pact and was lobbied hard by the President.
“For me, the Administration’s willingness to forgo a critical element of Iran’s weaponization—past and present—is inexplicable,” said Mr. Menendez in explaining his opposition. “Our willingness to accept this process on Parchin is only exacerbated by the inability to obtain anytime, anywhere inspections, which the Administration always held out as one of those essential elements we would insist on and could rely on in any deal.”
Public opposition is also growing. And it will increase as Americans learn that the deal’s inspections include taking Iran’s word about its previous weaponization work at its most crucial nuclear-weapons site.
Iran, in an unusual arrangement, will be allowed to use its own experts to inspect a site it allegedly used to develop nuclear arms under a secret agreement with the U.N. agency that normally carries out such work, according to a document seen by The Associated Press.
The revelation is sure to roil American and Israeli critics of the main Iran deal signed by the U.S., Iran and five world powers in July. Those critics have complained that the deal is built on trust of the Iranians, a claim the U.S. has denied.
It surely will. “This establishes the exact precedent that Iran always sought and repeatedly claimed: IAEA weapons inspectors will never get physical access into any military sites,” says sanctions expert Mark Dubowitz in an email. “That the Obama administration agreed to Iranian self-inspections tells you everything you need to know about how far it caved on the essential elements of a verifiable and enforceable nuclear agreement.”
The inspection regime and dispute resolution system was already riddled with loopholes that Iran will exploit. But with this there is not even the pretense that there is a viable inspection process. With self-inspection comes the open door for Iran to cheat with impunity. The AP report continues:
The Parchin deal is a separate, side agreement worked out between the IAEA and Iran. The United States and the five other world powers that signed the Iran nuclear deal were not party to this agreement but were briefed on it by the IAEA and endorsed it as part of the larger package. Without divulging its contents, the Obama administration has described the document as nothing more than a routine technical arrangement between Iran and the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency on the particulars of inspecting the site.
Ironically, Menendez’s speech is more true in the wake of the AP report than it was when he delivered it:
For well over a decade, the world has been concerned about the secret weaponization efforts Iran conducted at the military base called Parchin. The goal that we have long sought, along with the international community, is to know what Iran accomplished at Parchin — not necessarily to get Iran to declare culpability — but to determine how far along they were in their nuclear weaponization program so that we know what signatures to look for in the future. . . .
With so much at stake, the IAEA — after waiting over ten years to inspect Parchin, speak to Iranian nuclear scientists, and review additional materials and documents — are now told they will not have direct access to Parchin. The list of scientists the P5+1 wanted the IAEA to interview were rejected outright by Iran, and they are now given three months to do all of their review and analysis before they must deliver a report in December of this year. How the inspections and soil and other samples are to be collected are outlined in two secret agreements that the U.S. Congress is not privy to. The answer as to why we cannot see those documents, is because they have a confidentiality agreement between the IAEA and Iran, which they say ‘is customary,’ but this issue is anything but customary.
“If Iran can violate its obligations for more than a decade, it can’t then be allowed to avail themselves of the same provisions and protections they violated in the first place. We have to ask: Why would our negotiators decide to negotiate access to other IAEA documents, but not these documents? Maybe the reason, as some members of Congress and public reports have raised, is because it will be the Iranians and not the IAEA performing the tests and providing the samples to be analyzed, which would be the equivalent of having an athlete accused of using performance enhancing drugs submit an unsupervised urine sample to the appropriate authority. Chain of custody doesn’t matter when the evidence given to you is prepared by the perpetrator.
Maybe this is why we did not get a look at the side deal. If Iran is going to inspect itself anyway it hardly matters if we know about PMD’s or how many days inspectors must wait.
Tellingly, according to Huffington Post reporter Sam Stein, the White House put out a weak-kneed statement saying it was “confident in the agency’s technical plans” and insisted if the IAEA was happy, it was happy. According to the Washington Free Beacon, Iran threatened an IAEA official if he revealed the nature of the side deals. No wonder.
It is hard to argue that the contents of the deal amount to anything approaching the stated aim of preventing Iran from going nuclear. Obama frankly wanted a document so badly he literally did not care what was in it, or at least what was in the critical side deal. The deal is an utter farce. Democrats who have not declared their intentions to date will be hard-pressed to justify supporting it.
UPDATE: Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, tells me, “This type of unorthodox agreement has never been done before by the IAEA and speaks to the great lengths our negotiators took to accommodate the Ayatollah despite repeated assurances from the administration that this deal is not based on trust.” House Speaker John Boehner put out a statement, which reads, “The Obama administration has a lot of explaining to do. Why haven’t these secret side agreements been provided to Congress and the American people for review? Why should Iran be trusted to carry out its own nuclear inspections at a military site it tried to hide from the world? How does this not set a precedent for future inspections at suspicious military sites in Iran?” He continued, “President Obama boasts his deal includes ‘unprecedented verification.’ He claims it’s not built on trust. But the administration’s briefings on these side deals have been totally insufficient – and it still isn’t clear whether anyone at the White House has seen the final documents. The American people and their representatives in Congress have serious questions about whether this nuclear agreement will keep our country safe, and it’s time for this administration to provide honest answers.”
The Treaty Clause has a number of striking features. It gives the Senate, in James Madison’s terms, a “partial agency” in the President’s foreign-relations power. The clause requires a supermajority (two-thirds) of the Senate for approval of a treaty, but it gives the House of Representatives, representing the “people,” no role in the process.
Midway through the Constitutional Convention, a working draft had assigned the treaty-making power to the Senate, but the Framers, apparently considering the traditional role of a nation-state’s executive in making treaties, changed direction and gave the power to the President, but with the proviso of the Senate’s “Advice and Consent.” In a formal sense, then, treaty-making became a mixture of executive and legislative power. Most people of the time recognized the actual conduct of diplomacy as an executive function, but under Article VI treaties were, like statutes, part of the “supreme Law of the Land.” Thus, as Alexander Hamilton explained in The Federalist No. 75, the two branches were appropriately combined:
The qualities elsewhere detailed as indispensable in the management of foreign relations point out the executive as the most fit in those transactions; while the vast importance of the trust and the operation of treaties as laws plead strongly for the participation of the whole or a portion of the legislative body in the office of making them.
Another reason for involving both President and Senate was that the Framers thought American interests might be undermined by treaties entered into without proper reflection. The Framers believed that treaties should be strictly honored, both as a matter of the law of nations and as a practical matter, because the United States could not afford to give the great powers any cause for war. But this meant that the nation should be doubly cautious in accepting treaty obligations. As James Wilson said, “Neither the President nor the Senate, solely, can complete a treaty; they are checks upon each other, and are so balanced as to produce security to the people.”
The fear of disadvantageous treaties also underlay the Framers’ insistence on approval by a two-thirds majority of the Senate. In particular, the Framers worried that one region or interest within the nation, constituting a bare majority, would make a treaty advantageous to it but prejudicial to other parts of the country and to the national interest. An episode just a year before the start of the Convention had highlighted the problem. The United States desired a trade treaty with Spain, and sought free access to the Mississippi River through Spanish-controlled New Orleans. Spain offered favorable trade terms, but only if the United States would give up its demands on the Mississippi. The Northern states, which would have benefited most from the trade treaty and cared little about New Orleans, had a majority, but not a supermajority, in the Continental Congress. Under the Articles of Confederation, treaties required assent of a supermajority (nine out of thirteen) of the states, and the South was able to block the treaty. It was undoubtedly that experience that impelled the Framers to carry over the supermajority principle from the Articles of Confederation.
At the Convention, several prominent Framers argued unsuccessfully to have the House of Representatives included. But most delegates thought that the House had substantial disadvantages when it came to treaty-making. For example, as a large body, the House would have difficulty keeping secrets or acting quickly. The small states, wary of being disadvantaged, also preferred to keep the treaty-making power in the Senate, where they had proportionally greater power.
The ultimate purpose, then, of the Treaty Clause was to ensure that treaties would not be adopted unless most of the country stood to gain. True, treaties would be more difficult to adopt than statutes, but the Framers realized that an unwise statute could simply be repealed, but an unwise treaty remained a binding international commitment, which would not be so easy to unwind.
Other questions, however, remained. First, are the provisions of the clause exclusive—that is, does it provide the only way that the United States may enter into international obligations?
While the clause does not say, in so many words, that it is exclusive, its very purpose—not to have any treaty disadvantage one part of the nation—suggests that no other route was possible, whether it be the President acting alone, or the popularly elected House having a role. On the other hand, while the Treaty Clause was, in the original understanding, the exclusive way to make treaties, the Framers also apparently recognized a class of less-important international agreements, not rising to the level of “treaties,” which could be approved in some other way. Article I, Section 10, in describing restrictions upon the states, speaks of “Treat[ies]” and “Agreement[s]…with a foreign Power” as two distinct categories. Some scholars believe this shows that not all international agreements are treaties, and that these other agreements would not need to go through the procedures of the Treaty Clause. Instead, the President, in the exercise of his executive power, could conclude such agreements on his own. Still, this exception for lesser agreements would have to be limited to “agreements” of minor importance, or else it would provide too great an avenue for evasion of the protections the Framers placed in the Treaty Clause.
A second question is how the President and Senate should interact in their joint exercise of the treaty power. Many Framers apparently thought that the President would oversee the actual conduct of diplomacy, but that the Senate would be involved from the outset as a sort of executive council advising the President. This was likely a reason that the Framers thought the smaller Senate was more suited than the House to play a key role in treaty-making. In the first effort at treaty-making under the Constitution, President George Washington attempted to operate in just this fashion. He went to the Senate in person to discuss a proposed treaty before he began negotiations. What is less clear, however, is whether the Constitution actually requires this process, or whether it is only what the Framers assumed would happen. The Senate, of course, is constitutionally authorized to offer “advice” to the President at any stage of the treaty-making process, but the President is not directed (in so many words) as to when advice must be solicited. As we shall see, this uncertainty has led, in modern practice, to a very different procedure than some Framers envisioned. It seems clear, however, that the Framers expected that the Senate’s “advice and consent” would be a close review and not a mere formality, as they thought of it as an important check upon presidential power.
A third difficult question is whether the Treaty Clause implies a Senate power or role in treaty termination. Scholarly opinion is divided, and few Framers appear to have discussed the question directly. One view sees the power to make a treaty as distinct from the power of termination, with the latter being more akin to a power of implementation. Since the Constitution does not directly address the termination power, this view would give it to the President as part of the President’s executive powers to conduct foreign affairs and to execute the laws. When the termination question first arose in 1793, Washington and his Cabinet, which included Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, embraced this view. All of them thought Washington could, on his own authority, terminate the treaty with France if necessary to keep the United States neutral.
A second view holds that, as a matter of the general eighteenth-century understanding of the legal process, the power to take an action (such as passing a statute or making a treaty) implies the power to undo the action. This view would require the consent of the President and a supermajority of the Senate to undo a treaty. There is, however, not much historical evidence that many Framers actually held this view of treaty termination, and it is inconsistent with the common interpretation of the Appointments Clause (under which Senate approval is required to appoint but not to remove executive officers).
The third view is that the Congress as a whole has the power to terminate treaties, based on an analogy between treaties and federal laws. When the United States first terminated a treaty in 1798 under John Adams, this procedure was adopted, but there was little discussion of the constitutional ramifications.
Finally, there is a question of the limits of the treaty power. A treaty presumably cannot alter the constitutional structure of government, and the Supreme Court has said that executive agreements—and so apparently treaties—are subject to the limits of the Bill of Rights just as ordinary laws are. Reid v. Covert (1957). InGeofroy v. Riggs (1890), the Supreme Court also declared that the treaty power extends only to topics that are “properly the subject of negotiation with a foreign country.” However, at least in the modern world, one would think that few topics are so local that they could not, under some circumstances, be reached as part of the foreign-affairs interests of the nation. Some have argued that treaties are limited by the federalism interests of the states. The Supreme Court rejected a version of that argument in State of Missouri v. Holland (1920), holding that the subject matter of treaties is not limited to the enumerated powers of Congress. The revival of interest in federalism limits on Congress in such areas as state sovereign immunity, see Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida (1996), and the Tenth Amendment, see Printz v. United States (1997), raises the question whether these limits also apply to the treaty power, but the Court has not yet taken up these matters.
Turning to modern practice, the Framers’ vision of treaty-making has in some ways prevailed and in some ways been altered. First, it is not true—and has not been true since George Washington’s administration—that the Senate serves as an executive council to advise the President in all stages of treaty-making. Rather, the usual modern course is that the President negotiates and signs treaties independently and then presents the proposed treaty to the Senate for its approval or disapproval. Washington himself found personal consultation with the Senate to be so awkward and unproductive that he abandoned it, and subsequent Presidents have followed his example.
Moreover, the Senate frequently approves treaties with conditions and has done so since the Washington administration. If the President makes clear to foreign nations that his signature on a treaty is only a preliminary commitment subject to serious Senate scrutiny, and if the Senate takes seriously its constitutional role of reviewing treaties (rather than merely deferring to the President), the check that the Framers sought to create remains in place. By going beyond a simple “up-or-down” vote, the Senate retains some of its power of “advice”: the Senate not only disapproves the treaty proposed by the President but suggests how the President might craft a better treaty. As a practical matter, there is often much consultation between the executive and members of the Senate before treaties are crafted and signed. Thus modern practice captures the essence of the Framers’ vision that the Senate would have some form of a participatory role in treaty-making.
A more substantial departure from the Framers’ vision may arise from the practice of “executive agreements.” According to the Restatement of Foreign Relations Law of the United States, the President may validly conclude executive agreements that (1) cover matters that are solely within his executive power, or (2) are made pursuant to a treaty, or (3) are made pursuant to a legitimate act of Congress. Examples of important executive agreements include the Potsdam and Yalta agreements of World War II, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which regulated international trade for decades, and the numerous status-of-forces agreements the United States has concluded with foreign governments.
Where the President acts pursuant to a prior treaty, there seems little tension with the Framers’ vision, as Senate approval has, in effect, been secured in advance. Somewhat more troublesome is the modern practice of so-called congressional–executive agreements, by which some international agreements have been made by the President and approved (either in advance or after the fact) by a simple majority of both houses of Congress, rather than two-thirds of the Senate. Many of these agreements deal particularly with trade-related matters, which Congress has clear constitutional authority to regulate. Congressional–executive agreements, at least with respect to trade matters, are now well established, and recent court challenges have been unsuccessful. Made in the USA Foundation v. United States (2001). On the other hand, arguments for “complete interchangeability”—that is, claims that anything that can be done by treaty can be done by congressional–executive agreement—seem counter to the Framers’ intent. The Framers carefully considered the supermajority rule for treaties and adopted it in response to specific threats to the Union; finding a complete alternative to the Treaty Clause would in effect eliminate the supermajority rule and make important international agreements easier to adopt than the Framers wished.
The third type of executive agreement is one adopted by the President without explicit approval of either the Senate or the Congress as a whole. The Supreme Court and modern practice embrace the idea that the President may under some circumstances make these so-called sole executive agreements. United States v. Belmont (1937); United States v. Pink (1942). But the scope of this independent presidential power remains a serious question. The Pink and Belmont cases involved agreements relating to the recognition of a foreign government, a power closely tied to the President’s textual power to receive ambassadors (Article II, Section 3). The courts have consistently permitted the President to settle foreign claims by sole executive agreement, but at the same time have emphasized that the Congress has acquiesced in the practice. Dames & Moore v. Regan (1981);American Insurance Ass’n v. Garamendi (2003). Beyond this, the modern limits of the President’s ability to act independently in making international agreements have not been explored. With respect to treaty termination, modern practice allows the President to terminate treaties on his own. In recent times, President James Earl Carter terminated the U.S.–Taiwan Mutual Defense Treaty in 1977, and President George W. Bush terminated the ABM Treaty with Russia in 2001. The Senate objected sharply to President Carter’s actions, but the Supreme Court rebuffed the Senate in Goldwater v. Carter (1979). President Bush’s action was criticized in some academic quarters but received general acquiescence. In light of the consensus early in Washington’s administration, it is probably fair to say that presidential termination does not obviously depart from the original understanding, inasmuch as the Framers were much more concerned about checks upon entering into treaties than they were about checks upon terminating them.
[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur…
One of three types of international accord
In the United States, the term “treaty” is used in a more restricted legal sense than in international law. U.S. law distinguishes what it calls treaties from congressional-executive agreements and sole-executive agreements. All three classes are considered treaties under international law; they are distinct only from the perspective of internal United States law. Distinctions among the three concern their method of ratification: by two-thirds of the Senate, by normal legislative process, or by the President alone, respectively. The Treaty Clause  empowers the President to make or enter into treaties with the “advice and consent” of two-thirds of the Senate. In contrast, normal legislation becomes law after approval by simple majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Throughout U.S. history, the President has also made international “agreements” through congressional-executive agreements (CEAs) that are ratified with only a majority from both houses of Congress, or sole-executive agreementsmade by the President alone. Though the Constitution does not expressly provide for any alternative to the Article II treaty procedure, Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution does distinguish between treaties (which states are forbidden to make) and agreements (which states may make with the consent of Congress). The Supreme Court of the United States has considered congressional-executive and sole-executive agreements to be valid, and they have been common throughout American history. Thomas Jefferson explained that the Article II treaty procedure is not necessary when there is no long-term commitment:
It is desirable, in many instances, to exchange mutual advantages by Legislative Acts rather than by treaty: because the former, though understood to be in consideration of each other, and therefore greatly respected, yet when they become too inconvenient, can be dropped at the will of either party: whereas stipulations by treaty are forever irrevocable but by joint consent….
A further distinction embodied in U.S. law is between self-executing treaties, which do not require additional legislative action, and non-self-executing treaties which do require the enactment of new laws. These various distinctions of procedure and terminology do not affect the binding status of accords under international law. Nevertheless, they do have major implications under U.S. domestic law. In Missouri v. Holland, the Supreme Court ruled that the power to make treaties under the U.S. Constitution is a power separate from the other enumerated powers of the federal government, and hence the federal government can use treaties to legislate in areas which would otherwise fall within the exclusive authority of the states. By contrast, a congressional-executive agreement can only cover matters which the Constitution explicitly places within the powers of Congress and the President. Likewise, a sole-executive agreement can only cover matters within the President’s authority or matters in which Congress has delegated authority to the President. For example, a treaty may prohibit states from imposing capital punishment on foreign nationals, but a congressional-executive agreement or sole-executive agreement cannot.
In general, arms control agreements are often ratified by the treaty mechanism. At the same time, trade agreements (such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and United States accession to the World Trade Organization) are generally voted on as a CEA, and such agreements typically include an explicit right to withdraw after giving sufficient written notice to the other parties. If an international commercial accord contains binding “treaty” commitments, then a two-thirds vote of the Senate may be required.
Between 1946 and 1999, the United States completed nearly 16,000 international agreements. Only 912 of those agreements were treaties, submitted to the Senate for approval as outlined in Article II of the United States Constitution. Since the Franklin Roosevelt presidency, only 6% of international accords have been completed as Article II treaties. Most of these executive agreements consist of congressional-executive agreements.
American law is that international accords become part of the body of U.S. federal law. Consequently, Congress can modify or repeal treaties by subsequent legislative action, even if this amounts to a violation of the treaty under international law. This was held, for instance, in the Head Money Cases. The most recent changes will be enforced by U.S. courts entirely independent of whether the international community still considers the old treaty obligations binding upon the U.S.
Additionally, an international accord that is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution is void under domestic U.S. law, the same as any other federal law in conflict with the Constitution. This principle was most clearly established in the case of Reid v. Covert. The Supreme Court could rule an Article II treaty provision to be unconstitutional and void under domestic law, although it has not yet done so.
In Goldwater v. Carter, Congress challenged the constitutionality of then-president Jimmy Carter‘s unilateral termination of a defense treaty. The case went before the Supreme Court and was never heard; a majority of six Justices ruled that the case should be dismissed without hearing an oral argument, holding that “The issue at hand … was essentially a political question and could not be reviewed by the court, as Congress had not issued a formal opposition.” In his opinion,Justice Brennan dissented, “The issue of decision making authority must be resolved as a matter of constitutional law, not political discretion; accordingly, it falls within the competence of the courts”. Presently, there is no official ruling on whether the President has the power to break a treaty without the approval of Congress, and the courts also declined to interfere when President George W. Bush unilaterally withdrew the United States from the ABM Treaty in 2002, six months after giving the required notice of intent.
Scope of presidential powers
Presidents have regarded the Article II treaty process as necessary where an international accord would bind a future president. For example, Theodore Rooseveltexplained:
The Constitution did not explicitly give me power to bring about the necessary agreement with Santo Domingo. But the Constitution did not forbid my doing what I did. I put the agreement into effect, and I continued its execution for two years before the Senate acted; and I would have continued it until the end of my term, if necessary, without any action by Congress. But it was far preferable that there should be action by Congress, so that we might be proceeding under a treaty which was the law of the land and not merely by a direction of the Chief Executive which would lapse when that particular executive left office. I therefore did my best to get the Senate to ratify what I had done.
A sole-executive agreement can only be negotiated and entered into through the president’s authority (1) in foreign policy, (2) as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, (3) from a prior act of Congress, or (4) from a prior treaty. Agreements beyond these competencies must have the approval of Congress (for congressional-executive agreements) or the Senate (for treaties).
In 1972, Congress passed legislation requiring the president to notify Congress of any executive agreements that are formed.
Although the nondelegation doctrine prevents Congress from delegating its legislative authority to the executive branch, Congress has allowed the executive to act as Congress’s “agent” in trade negotiations, such as by setting tariffs, and, in the case of Trade Promotion Authority, by solely authoring the implementing legislation for trade agreements. The constitutionality of this delegation was upheld by the Supreme Court in Field v. Clark (1892).
Jump up^The Supreme Court has said that the words “treaty” and “agreement” were technical terms of international diplomacy, when the Constitution was written. See Holmes v. Jennison, 39 U.S. 540 (1840): “A few extracts from an eminent writer on the laws of nations, showing the manner in which these different words have been used, and the different meanings sometimes attached to them, will, perhaps, contribute to explain the reason for using them all in the Constitution….Vattel, page 192, sec. 152, says: ‘A treaty, in Latin foedus, is a compact made with a view to the public welfare, by the superior power, either for perpetuity, or for a considerable time.’ Section 153. ‘The compacts which have temporary matters for their object, are called agreements, conventions, and pactions. They are accomplished by one single act, and not by repeated acts. These compacts are perfected in their execution once for all; treaties receive a successive execution, whose duration equals that of the treaty.’ Section 154….After reading these extracts, we can be at no loss to comprehend the intention of the framers of the Constitution in using all these words, ‘treaty,’ ‘compact,’ ‘agreement.'”
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Why Thursday’s Debate Matters (But Most Don’t)
“I was thinking of setting myself on fire” — that’s how former Mitt Romney strategist Stuart Stevens felt in January 2012. His candidate was in the midst of a marathon of primary debates and he despaired at the draining, repetitive nature of the events, saying they had a “‘Groundhog Day’ quality” to them.
Stevens’ despair about that campaign cycle’s torturously repetitious series of debates highlights a simple but oft-forgotten fact about these events: Candidates may put a lot of effort into preparing for debates, but they don’t usually move the polls. There were 20 Republican presidential primary debates in 2011 and 2012, and even the most knowledgeable political junkies can probably only name a handful of memorable moments from them.
But despite the relative boringness of those debates, there is significant anticipation surrounding Thursday’s inaugural GOP face-off. The sheer amount of media coverage related to who made it onto the prime-time stage, how candidates are or aren’t preparing and what to expect from Donald Trump suggests that this gathering won’t be the snooze that many past debates were. That raises a simple question – what accounts for the difference?
My take is that information makes the difference. Specifically, the 2012 debates failed to move the polls because they typically didn’t provide much new information on candidates, while Thursday’s event could provide a significant amount of new information to the party elite, the media and rank-and-file primary voters.
The 2012 Debates Didn’t Move the Polls
In 2011 and 2012, the Republican primary debates simply did not move the polls. To determine this, I calculated the difference between each candidate’s RCP average on the day of the debate and seven days after for every debate each candidate participated in. The results indicate that in most weeks following a debate, most candidates did not see a big uptick or drop in their RCP polling average. (To view a histogram demonstrating this, click here.)
Additionally, there wasn’t much difference between how much a debate and a typical week on the campaign trail changed polling numbers. To determine this, I calculated the difference between each candidate’s RCP average on every day after early April 2011 and their average seven days later. The mean was -0.24 (it was 0.41 for the post-debate weeks) and the standard deviation was 2.21 (2.47 in post-debate weeks). While debates on average moved candidates in a slightly positive direction and average weeks spent campaigning did the opposite, the magnitude of these changes was small. In other words, on average, debates changed a candidate’s standing in the polls about as much as a week on the campaign trail did.
Candidates were often unable to move polls through debates partially because those debates revealed relatively little new information about them. If Mitt Romney looked wooden on stage or Rick Santorum invoked the culture war, voters and journalists didn’t bat an eyelash. These candidates, their positions and personalities were, in many cases, known quantities at the time of the debate. In a few rare cases, candidates used good performances in debates to earn a second look from voters and the media. Both of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s moments in the sun were fueled at least partially by good debate performances. But the other candidates who surged to the front – Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Santorum, Rick Perry – typically began their ascent by performing well or getting media attention at a non-debate event. And when those candidates fell out of favor with the party, it was usually not a debate that did them in (not even in the case of Perry’s “oops” moment).
But Thursday’s Debate Could Change Things – and That Matters
While the 2012 debates didn’t provide voters with new information, Thursday’s gathering promises to provide information to three key groups – the party elite, the media and voters.
First, this debate will be an important part of the “invisible primary.” There are lots of good articles and books out there on the invisible primary, but here are the basics: In the invisible primary, “party elite” (defined broadly as anyone who uses their time, money or influence to advocate for their preferred candidate – which means everyone from Iowa door-knockers to governors of key primary states) attempt to reach consensus on which candidate to support. These party actors then use their resources and influence to give their preferred candidate a boost before primary voters head to the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire. The party elite are not all-powerful – candidates who have won the invisible primary have gone on to lose or nearly lose the nomination, and sometimes the party is too fractured to give any candidate a clear invisible primary win – but the support of these elite actors does seem to matter.
Right now the invisible Republican primary is completely unsettled, and the party elite cannot be happy about Donald Trump’s recent success in the polls. Much of the GOP elite tend to gravitate towards candidates who share their ideology, have a good record of advocating for that ideology in public office and are plausible general election candidates. It would be an understatement to say that Trump fails to meet these requirements. The Donald has never held political office, he donated to Hillary Clinton throughout the 2000s, has flipped his position on health care, abortion and taxes, fares much worse than his fellow Republicans in hypothetical general election match-ups – I could go on, but the point is clear. There are large, powerful elements of the Republican Party with a keen interest in finding a candidate who can at least stop Trump in his tracks, if not go on to win the nomination and the presidency. And Thursday’s debate is one of the party’s first good opportunities to scout out the field for such a contender.
Second, this debate will have an impact on media coverage of the candidates. Specifically, candidates have an opportunity to get good or bad press or to kick off a media-wide “discovery” of a candidate or “scrutiny” of Trump. The first possibility here is fairly straightforward. If one of the well-known and serious candidates – say, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush or Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker – performs especially well or poorly in the debate, then they could earn favorable or unfavorable press that changes their standing in the polls.
The second and third possibilities – a candidate is “discovered” or “scrutinized” – are much more interesting. The terminology here comes from “The Gamble” – an excellent book on the 2012 election by George Washington University Professor John Sides and UCLA Professor Lynn Vavreck. Sides and Vavreck studied the 2012 Republican primary and found that many of the candidates who enjoyed a brief moment atop the polls did so because of a media “discovery, scrutiny and decline” pattern. In the discovery phase, a relatively unknown candidate does something that attracts the attention of journalists (e.g. Herman Cain winning the Florida Straw Poll). These journalists become fascinated with that candidate, write a ream of stories about him or her (often neutral-to-positive in tone) and as a result that candidate rises in the polls. These same journalists then write positive stories about that candidate’s rise, and the candidate rockets to an even higher position. Thursday’s debate could focus the media’s attention on a new candidate. For example, if Ohio Gov. John Kasich has a breakout performance in the main debate or if Carly Fiorina dominates the second-tier candidate debate earlier in the evening, the media could “discover” them and cause a subsequent rise in the polls. Of course, this might not happen, but a good debate performance provides a plausible springboard for a media-fueled poll bounce.
It’s also possible that this debate kicks off the “scrutiny” phase of Trump’s candidacy. According to Sides and Vavreck, scrutiny happens after the candidate has had some time atop the polls and journalists decide to really dig into their public record and personal history. Right now Trump is firmly in the discovery phase of his candidacy. The media are still treating him as more of a celebrity than a candidate, so his policy positions and his past are getting less attention than his performance in the latest poll or his most recent bombastic statement. If the media and party establishment begin to scrutinize Trump in the way they would any other politician, it may lead to bad press and a related drop in his poll numbers – the beginning of the “decline” in Sides and Vavreck’s process.
That’s not to say that Trump will definitely be scrutinized after the debate. And the scrutiny may have a muted or delayed effect – part of Trump’s appeal is his aggression towards the mainstream media and political establishment. But it is possible that the debate marks a turning point in how Trump is viewed – and if that’s the case, then it has potentially huge consequences.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, many voters will be really introduced to these candidates for the first time. While the party and the media play a large role in influencing voters, voters themselves matter the most. There are a massive number of ways any one candidate could leverage the debate to speak to his or her desired coalition in a persuasive way, so it’s harder to play these scenarios out. But if a candidate manages to speak clearly, directly and persuasively to their coalition through this debate, that could really make a difference.
Story 2: McCain Calls Trump Supporters Crazies — Trump Calls McCain A War Hero Four Times, Loser and Dummy — Accurate Statements All — Videos
Actual Voice of General Patton starting at 1:15 vs. Hollywood
CRAZY – PATSY CLINE – HQ Stereo
Donald Trump on Fox & Friends Defends His Sentator McCain Not A Hero Comments
Donald Trump: McCain’s a War Hero Because He Was Captured, ‘I Like People That Weren’t’
Todd Starnes McCain started all of this mess
McCain: ‘Term Of Endearment’ To Call Trump Supporters ‘Crazies’
Trump: John McCain Is A Dummy & Rick Perry Needs IQ Test
Did John McCain Lie About His P.O.W Record?
McCain POW Cellmate Speaks Out on McCain’s Heroism
Former POW says McCain is “not cut out to be President”
John McCain Losing His Cool
Mean spirited McCain is known for throwing temper tantrums, flying off the handle, blowing his top,seething with anger, accusing others of lying, and of mistreating POW/MIA family members. So how will he treat U.S.? POW/MIA families report…You decide
John Mccain Exposed By Vietnam Vets And POWs
Fact Check: The Washington Post on Donald Trump and John McCain
By SHARYL ATTKISSON
Donald Trump appears to have gotten under the skin of not only Democrats, but also fellow Republicans and the news media. Has that subjected Trump, a Republican presidential candidate, to unfair and/or inaccurate reporting?
An article in the Washington Post today is headlined, “Trump slams McCain for being ‘captured’ in Vietnam.”
The article’s lead sentence states, “Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump slammed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a decorated Vietnam War veteran, on Saturday by saying McCain was not a war herobecause he was captured by the North Vietnamese [emphasis added].”
Is this report accurate?
In fact, Trump’s actual quote is the opposite of what is presented in the Post’s first sentence.
1. The Post did not provide context at the outset disclosing that McCain and Trump have been feuding, with McCain characterizing some Trump supporters as “crazies” and Trump stating that McCain graduated last in his class in Annapolis. The charged rhetoric continued at the conservative Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa this weekend.
2. When a panelist characterized McCain as a “war hero,” the Post is accurate in reporting that Trump initially said McCain is “not a war hero.” But then, Trump immediately modified his statement saying– four times– that McCain is a war hero:
“He is a war hero.”
“He’s a war hero because he was captured.”
“He’s a war hero, because he was captured.”
“I believe, perhaps, he’s a war hero. But right now, he’s said some very bad things about a lot of people.”
3. Did Trump say McCain is not a war hero because he was captured? No, not in the exchanges represented in the Post.
4. Is the Post’s characterization an accident? It would appear not, because it is repeated in the Post’s caption of the video clip, which also states: “Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a decorated Vietnam war veteran, was not a war hero because he was captured by the North Vietnamese [emphasis added].”
Further, in the Post’s second sentence, Trump is quoted as stating of McCain, “He’s not a war hero…He’s a war hero because he was captured,” but the article selectively left out the phrase Trump had uttered in between: “He is a war hero.”
Trump actually said the opposite of what the Post lead sentence and video caption claim. The Post might have been able to get away stating that Trump “implied” McCain was not a war hero because McCain was captured, but even that would have been a subjective interpretation since Trump had actually stated the opposite.
It’s true that Trump stated one time that McCain is not a war hero. But Trump stated four times that McCain is a war hero–and that was not accurately characterized in the article.
For interpreting and characterizing Trump’s true quote in a way that is at best questionable, and for selectively using some quotes and leaving others out, the Post receives Two Little Devils. (Ratings scale at end of article.)
Obviously, all are free to draw conclusions about any candidate or politician. But the news media has a responsibility to do its best to report accurately and fairly–even when reporters find a candidate and/or his positions to be personally distasteful.
Trump: I don’t need to be lectured
Donald Trump6:46 p.m. EDT July 19, 2015
McCain has abandoned our veterans. I will fight for them.
John McCain has called his own constituents who want a secure border “crazies.” No one in the news media or the establishment, including the Republican National Committee, criticized the senator for those comments.
Now, as respected reporter Sharyl Attkisson has proved point by point, the news media are also distorting my words. But that is not my point. McCain the politician has failed the state of Arizona and the country.
Trump’s low-class outburst: Our view
During my entire business career, I have always made supporting veterans a top priority because our heroes deserve the very best for defending our freedom. Our Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals are outdated dumps. I will build the finest and most modern veterans hospitals in the world. The current medical assistance to our veterans is a disaster. A Trump administration will provide the finest universal access health care for our veterans. They will be able to get the best care anytime and anywhere.
Thanks to McCain and his Senate colleague Bernie Sanders, their legislation to cover up the VA scandal, in which 1,000+ veterans died waiting for medical care, made sure no one has been punished, charged, jailed, fined or held responsible. McCain has abandoned our veterans. I will fight for them.
The reality is that John McCain the politician has made America less safe, sent our brave soldiers into wrong-headed foreign adventures, covered up for President Obamawith the VA scandal and has spent most of his time in the Senate pushing amnesty. He would rather protect the Iraqi border than Arizona’s. He even voted for the Iran Nuclear Review Act of 2015, which allows Obama, who McCain lost to in a record defeat, to push his dangerous Iran nuclear agreement through the Senate without a supermajority of votes.
A number of my competitors for the Republican nomination have no business running for president. I do not need to be lectured by any of them. Many are failed politicians or people who would be unable to succeed in the private sector. Some, however, I have great respect for.
My record of veteran support is well-documented. I served as co-chairman of the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commission and was responsible, with a small group, for getting it built. Toward this end, I contributed over $1 million so our warriors can be honored in New York City with a proper memorial. I also helped finance and served as the grand marshal of the 1995 Nation’s Day Parade, which honored over 25,000 veterans. It was one of the biggest parades in the history of New York City, and I was very proud to have made it possible.
I will continue to fight to secure our border and take care of our veterans because these steps are vital to make America great again!
A Monmouth University poll of Iowans released Monday and conducted over the weekend showed Scott Walker continues to maintain a solid lead in the Iowa Republican caucus, though Trump has gained an edge over the rest of the field and now stands alone in second place.
Of likely caucus attendees, 22% told pollsters that they’d support the Wisconsin governor in next winter’s matchup, but 13% said they would back Trump, who has suddenly catapulted to the front of some national polls. Trump only earned 4% of Republicans’ support in a Des Moines Register/Bloomberg survey conducted in May, a month before Trump announced his campaign and made a string of controversial comments that came alongside his rise.
The Monmouth poll was fielded while Trump found himself embroiled in a new controversy over a remark that seemed to disparage the military record of 2008 nominee McCain while at an event in Iowa. The poll found no change in Trump’s support before and after he made his comment this weekend in Iowa.
“Walker has been a favorite of Iowa voters ever since his well-received appearance at the Iowa Freedom summit in January. More recently, Trump has outmaneuvered the rest of the field to earn the second spot despite his controversial statements over the weekend,” said Patrick Murray, who conducted the poll.
Trailing Walker and Trump is Ben Carson at 8%, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz at 7%, and 2008 Iowa caucus winner Mike Huckabee at 6%.
Monmouth polled 452 Iowans from Thursday to Sunday for a margin of error of 4.6 percentage points.
Story 1: When Will Obama and Kerry Walk Like Men Out Of Negotiations With The World Leading Terrorist Nation The Islamic Republic of Iran? Never! — Yakety Yak– Where Is The Written Signed Agreement/Treaty Stopping Iran From Having Nuclear Weapons President Obama? — Time To Release Some Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOPs) — Bunker Busters on Iran’s Nuclear Bomb Factories — Bombs Away — Videos
Divine – Walk Like A Man (1985) HQ
Walk Like a Man – The Four Seasons
“Walk Like A Man”
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
Walk like a manOh how you tried
To cut me down to size
by telling dirty lies to my friends
But my own father
Said give her up, don’t bother
The world isn’t coming to an endHe said walk like a man
Talk like a man
Walk like a man my son
No woman’s worth
Crawling on the earth
So walk like a man my sonoo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-ooFine eyed baby
I don’t mean maybe
We’re gonna get along somehow
Soon you’ll be crying
On ‘count of all you’re lying
Oh yeah, just look who’s laughing nowI’m gonna walk like a man
Fast as I can
Walk like a man from you
I’ll tell the world
Forget about it girl
And walk like a man from youoo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
Walk Like a Man Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons Lyrics
July 2015 Breaking News USA ready to attack Iranian nuclear facilities with awe-inspiring plan B
30,000 Pound Bunker Buster Bomb designed to detour Iran Nuclear Threat
As negotiations with Iran continue towards a nuclear arms agreement, the United States still holds a trump card. The 30,000 Pound Boeing GBU-57 Bunker Buster bomb, the largest non-nuclear weapon in U.S. inventory, designed to destroy nuclear weapons bunkers in Iran and North Korea. The bunker buster, known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), is 30,000 pounds (13,608 kg.) and has been improved with “adjusted fuses to maximize its burrowing power, upgraded guidance systems to improve its precision and hi-tech equipment intended to allow it to evade Iranian air defenses in order to reach and destroy the Fordow nuclear enrichment complex.”
“Hopefully we never have to use it, but if we had to, it would work.”
The existence of a bomb that has the capability of destroying the underground facility from the air could also give the West extra bargaining power in nuclear negotiations with the Iran.
US officials believe the improved MOP will serve to convince Israel to hold off on unilaterally attacking Iran and give Washington more time to diplomatically neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat.
US military chiefs openly admitted the weapon was built to attack the fortified nuclear facilities of “rogue states” such as Iran and North Korea. Although the Pentagon insists that it is not aimed at a specific threat, unnamed officials within the ministry have repeatedly claimed the bomb is being tailor-made to disable Iranian nuclear facilities at Fordo.
Vienna talks on Iran nuclear deal will continue over weekend
U.S.’s Kerry says not in rush to get Iran nuclear deal
Iran Nuclear Deal Deadlocked Over Arms
Weapons of War: Pentagon Upgrades Biggest ‘Bunker Buster’ Bomb
Bunkers & Bunker Busting Bombs
MOP Massive Ordnance Penetrator GBU-57A-B Penetrator bunker buster bomb Iran United States
World War 3 Pentagon unveils 30,000 pound M O P Bunker Buster Bomb against Iran May 03, 2013
Boeing Delivers Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) 37,000 LB Bombs To The USAF – GBU-57
Israel Air Force Refuels Mid-air
Only on AP: US Tankers Refuel for IS Fight
WATCH OUT IRAN Israeli Air Force unveils Refueling aircraft for possible Airstrike
Israel To Buy 25 More F-35 Lockheed Stealth Fighters: Sources
December 2014 Breaking News USA F35 Israel to buy second squadron of stealth F35 jets
News Wrap: As deadline looms, Kerry says Iran nuclear talks not ‘open-ended’
Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons In Concert Live
Frankie Valli And 4 Seasons Live on Ice 2008
The Coasters – Yakety Yak – ORIGINAL MONO VERSION
Yakety Yak – The Coasters with lyrics
Where Have all the Flowers Gone: Eve of Destruction
Iran Made Illegal Purchases of Nuclear Weapons Technology Last Month
The question is not whether Iran can be trusted to uphold the nuclear deal now being negotiated in Vienna (it can’t), but whether the Obama administration and its P5+1 partners can be trusted to punish Iran when it violates the agreement?
Experience shows that unless Iran violates the deal egregiously, the temptation will be to ignore it. For instance, Iran got away with selling more oil than it should have under the interim agreement. More ominously, Tehran repeatedly pushed the envelope on technical aspects of the agreement—such as caps on its uranium stockpile—and got away with it. The Obama administration and other Western powers have so much invested in their diplomatic efforts that they’ll deny such violations ever occurred.
More evidence of Iranian violations has now surfaced. Two reports regarding Iran’s attempts to illicitly and clandestinely procure technology for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs have recently been published. They show that Iran’s procurement continues apace, if not faster than before the Joint Plan of Action was signed in November 2013. But fear of potentially embarrassing negotiators and derailing negotiations has made some states reluctant to report Tehran’s illegal efforts. If these countries have hesitated to expose Iran during the negotiations, it is more likely they will refrain from reporting after a deal is struck.
The first report was released last month by the U.N. panel of experts in charge of reporting compliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions regarding Iran. The panel noted that U.N. member states had not reported significant violations of U.N. sanctions and speculated as to why: either Iran was complying, or countries did not wish to interfere with negotiations.
Paddle, pedal, jog or Segway through North America’s largest urban parkland—Edmonton’s river valley.
The second report, released last week by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, is less ambiguous. The agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, confirmed to us that Iran continues to seek illicit technology for its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs.
Iran has had a long history of trying to obtain nuclear technology from German companies, particularly by seeking ways to transport merchandise in circumvention of international sanctions. Since November 2013, Tehran has sought industry computers, high-speed cameras, cable fiber, and pumps for its nuclear and missile program. It appears that Iran’s readiness to negotiate does not reflect any substantive policy change. Rather, it is a diplomatic tactic retreat forced by economic distress, not a strategic rethinking of its priorities.
Iran’s cheating should give Western negotiators additional resolve to impose ironclad guarantees in the agreement. They should compel Iran to reveal its past activities, including its post-JPOA procurement efforts, and impose tough, intrusive, “anytime, anywhere” inspections before sanctions are suspended, let alone lifted.
Instead, the lack of reporting to the U.N. despite evidence of cheating suggests a lack of resolve on the part of Western nations, and their willingness to downplay all but the most egregious violations. This does not bode well for the future. If Western powers are reluctant to penalize Iran for trying to evade sanctions because they’re afraid of spoiling the negotiations, what will happen in the future when Western powers have even more invested in preserving an agreement?
Emanuele Ottolenghi is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Benjamin Weinthal is a research fellow.
In 2002, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin were working on the development of a 30,000-lb (13,600 kg) earth-penetrating weapon, said to be known as “Big BLU“. But funding and technical difficulties resulted in the development work being abandoned. Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, analysis of sites that had been attacked with bunker-buster bombs revealed poor penetration and inadequate levels of destruction.This renewed interest in the development of a super-large bunker-buster, and the MOP project was initiated by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to fulfill a long-standing Air Force requirement.
The U.S. Air Force has not officially recognized specific military requirement for an ultra-large bomb, but it does have a concept for a collection of massively sized penetrator and blast weapons, the so-called “Big BLU” collection, which includes the MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Burst) bomb. Development of the MOP was performed at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Munitions Directorate, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida with design and testing work performed by Boeing. It is intended that the bomb will be deployed on the B-2 bomber, and will be guided by the use of GPS.
Northrop Grumman announced a $2.5-million stealth-bomber refit contract on 19 July 2007. Each of the U.S. Air Force’s B-2s is to be able to carry two 14-ton MOPs.
On 6 October 2009, ABC News reported that the Pentagon had requested and obtained permission from the U.S. Congress to shift funding in order to accelerate the project. It was later announced by the U.S. military that “funding delays and enhancements to the planned test schedule” meant the bomb would not be deployable until December 2010, six months later than the original availability date.
The project has had at least one successful Flight Test MOP launch. The final testing will be completed in 2012.
The Air Force took delivery of 20 bombs, designed to be delivered by the B-2 bomber, in September 2011. In February 2012, Congress approved $81.6 million to further develop and improve the weapon.
On 7 April 2011, the USAF ordered eight MOPs plus supporting equipment for $28 million.
On 14 November 2011, Bloomberg reported that the Air Force Global Strike Command started receiving the Massive Ordnance Penetrator and that the deliveries “will meet requirements for the current operational need”. The Air Force now has received delivery of 16 MOPs as of November 2011. And as of March 2012, there is an “operational stockpile” at Whiteman Air Force Base.
In 2012, the Pentagon requested $82 million to develop greater penetration power for the existing weapon. A 2013 report stated that the development had been a success, and B-2 integration testing began that year.
MOP being offloaded in preparation for its first explosive test, 2007.
Mock up of MOP inside a bomb bay of a B-2 simulator, 2007.
B-52 releases a MOP during a weapons test, 2009.
Next-generation Penetrator Munition
On 25 June 2010, USAF Lt. Gen. Phillip Breedlove said that the Next-generation Penetrator Munition should be about a third the size of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator so it could be carried by affordable aircraft. In December 2010, the USAF had a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the Next Generation Penetrator (NGP).
Global Strike Command has indicated that one of the objectives for the Next-Generation Bomber is for it to carry a weapon with the effects of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator. This would either be with the same weapon or a smaller weapon that uses rocket power to reach sufficient speed to match the penetrating power of the larger weapon.
One of the current limitations of the MOP is that it lacks a void-sensing fuze and will therefore detonate after it has come to a stop, even if it passed by the target area.
Whether Iran is racing toward nuclear weapon capabilities is one of the most contentious issues challenging the West, including the United States and Israel, which has been involved in a shadow war with the country.
April 2, 2015
April 2, 2015
Iran Agrees to Nuclear Limits, But Key Issues Are Unresolved
Iran and European nations say they have reached an understanding about next steps, but key issues need to be resolved before a final agreement by June 30.
According to European officials, roughly 5,000 centrifuges will remain spinning enriched uranium at Natanz, about half the number currently running. The underground enrichment site at Fordo — which Israeli and some American officials fear is impervious to bombing — will be partly converted to advanced nuclear research and the production of medical isotopes.
A major reactor at Arak, which officials fear could produce plutonium, will operate on a limited basis that will not provide enough fuel for a bomb.
In return the European Union and the United States will begin to lift sanctions, as Iran complies.
Kerry Announces Extension to Iran Talks Video by Reuters/ Photo by Roland Schlager/European Pressphoto Agency
U.S. and Allies Extend Iran Nuclear Talks by 7 Months
A yearlong effort to reach an enduring accord with Iran to dismantle large parts of its nuclear infrastructure fell short, forcing the United States and its allies to declare a seven-month extension, but with no clear indication of how they plan to bridge fundamental differences.
The Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, Catherine Ashton, who is representing the European Union, and Secretary of State John Kerry in Vienna. Leonhard Foeger/Reuters
Negotiators Scrambling as Deadline Looms in Nuclear Talks
As six world powers and Iran race to meet a Monday deadline for an agreement that would constrain Iran’s nuclear program, the United States stakes out an ambitious goal for what an accord should accomplish.
American officials say the agreement should slow the Iranian nuclear program enough that it would take Iran at least a year to make enough material for a nuclear bomb if it decided to ignore the accord.
It has become increasingly unlikely that any accord announced on Monday would be a complete one. And whatever deal is reached, it may not matter if Iranian hard-liners have their way. In Iran, the final decision on a nuclear deal lies with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader.
Under a proposed deal, Russia will convert uranium into specialized fuel rods for Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant.Majid Asgaripour/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Role for Russia Gives Iran Talks a Possible Boost
Iran tentatively agrees to ship much of its huge stockpile of uranium to Russia for conversion into specialized fuel rods for the Bushehr nuclear power plant, Iran’s only commercial reactor. The agreement is potentially a major breakthrough in talks that have until now been deadlocked.
A key question remains about the negotiations that American officials have been loath to discuss in public: In a final deal, would Iran be required to publicly admit its past activities, or merely provide a mechanism for monitoring its actions in the future?
Iran’s nuclear reactor in Arak, about 150 miles southwest of Tehran, is being redesigned.Hamid Foroutan/Iranian Students News Agency, via Associated Press
Iran Altering Arak Reactor in Bid for Nuclear Deal
Atomic power engineers in Iran start redesigning a partly constructed reactor in Arak to limit the amount of plutonium it produces, Ali Akbar Salehi, the director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, says, expressing hope that the change will help alleviate Western objections that the plutonium can be used in weapons.
Iran, the United States and the five other countries agree to a four-month extension of the negotiations, giving them more time to try to bridge a major difference over whether the country will be forced to dismantle parts of its nuclear infrastructure, according to senior Western diplomats involved in the talks.
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, accuses the West of trying to sabotage a reactor being built near Arak.Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Iran Outlines Nuclear Deal; Accepts Limit
As the deadline for the talks approaches on Sunday, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, says the country could accept a freeze on its capacity to produce nuclear fuel at current levels for several years, provided it could eventually produce fuel unhindered.
The proposal will effectively extend a limited series of concessions Iran made last November as part of a temporary deal to get negotiations started on a permanent accord. In return, Iran wants step-by-step relief from sanctions that have substantially weakened its economy.
Iran Is Providing Information on Its Detonators, Report Says
The I.A.E.A. releases a report stating that Iran is beginning to turn over information related to its nuclear detonators. The agency says that Iran has provided “additional information and explanations,” including documents, to substantiate its claim that it had tested the detonators for “a civilian application.”
From left, Foreign Ministers Laurent Fabius of France and William Hague of Britain, and Secretary of State John Kerry with Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh of Jordan, in Paris. Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images
Negotiators Put Final Touches on Iran Accord
Iran and a group of six world powers complete a deal that will temporarily freeze much of Tehran’s nuclear program starting Jan. 20, in exchange for limited relief from Western economic sanctions.
The agreement faced opposition from Iranian hard-liners and Israeli leaders, as well as heavy criticism from some American lawmakers, who have threatened to approve further sanctions despite President Obama’s promise of a veto.
The negotiators in Geneva early Sunday morning. President Obama hailed the agreement. Denis Balibouse/Reuters
Deal With Iran Halts Nuclear Program
The United States and five other world powers announce a landmark accord that would temporarily freeze Iran’s nuclear program and lay the foundation for a more sweeping agreement.
The aim of the accord, which is to last six months, is to give international negotiators time to pursue a more comprehensive accord that would ratchet back much of Iran’s nuclear program and ensure that it could only be used for peaceful purposes.
Iran is in a much different position now to negotiate on its nuclear program than it was four years ago when President Obama first broached the subject.
Iran Says It Agrees to ‘Road Map’ With U.N. on Nuclear Inspections
The I.A.E.A. says that Iran has agreed to resolve all outstanding issues with the agency, and will permit “managed access” by international inspectors to two key nuclear facilities. But the promise does not extend to the Parchin military site, which inspectors have been trying to see for months.
Marathon talks between major powers and Iran fail to ease sanctions on the country and produce a deal to freeze its nuclear program.
Iran and a group of six world powers say that they have engaged in “substantive” and “forward-looking” discussions on the disputed Iranian nuclear program and that they will reconvene on November 7.
The account of the two days of talks in Geneva came in a rare joint statement from Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Catherine Ashton, the foreign policy chief for the European Union, who is the lead negotiator with Iran.
President Obama says he has spoken by phone with President Hassan Rouhani, the first direct contact between the leaders of Iran and the United States since 1979. Mr. Obama, speaking in the White House briefing room, said the two leaders discussed Iran’s nuclear program and said he was persuaded there was a basis for an agreement.
Moments before Mr. Obama’s announcement, Mr. Rouhani’s Twitter account posted this now-deleted message: “In a phone conversation b/w #Iranian & #US Presidents just now: @HassanRouhani: “Have a Nice Day!” @BarackObama: “Thank you. Khodahafez.”
Rouhani, Blunt and Charming, Pitches a Moderate Iran in First U.N. Appearance
Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, turns himself into a high-speed salesman offering a flurry of speeches, tweets, televised interviews and carefully curated private meetings, intended to end Iran’s economic isolation.
At the United Nations General Assembly, he preaches tolerance and understanding, decries as a form of violence the Western sanctions imposed on his country and says nuclear weapons have no place in its future. He takes aim at Israel’s nuclear arsenal in a public – while the country’s leaders caution over what they deem as an empty charm offensive.
Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s new leader, received a private letter from President Obama about easing tensions between the countries.Vahid Salemi/Associated Press
Iran Said to Seek a Nuclear Accord to End Sanctions
Seizing on a perceived flexibility in a letter from President Obama to President Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s leaders are focused on getting quick relief from crippling sanctions, a top adviser to the Iranian leadership says.
The adviser says that Mr. Obama’s letter, delivered about three weeks ago, promised relief from sanctions if Tehran demonstrated a willingness to “cooperate with the international community, keep your commitments and remove ambiguities.”
Iran Slows Its Gathering of Enriched Uranium, Report Says
I.A.E.A. inspectors say that Iran is slowing its accumulation of enriched uranium that can be quickly turned into fuel for an atomic bomb. The report’s disclosure is significant politically because it delays the day when Iran could breach what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel last fall called a “red line” beyond which Iran would not be allowed to pass — the point at which it has enough purified uranium to quickly make a single nuclear weapon.
Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, has been elected the next president of Iran.
Iran Elects New President
Voters overwhelmingly elect Hassan Rouhani, 64, a mild-mannered cleric who advocates greater personal freedoms and a more conciliatory approach to the world.
The diplomat sheik played a key role in Iran’s voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment in 2004, which Western powers responded to by asking for more concessions from Iran.
Mr. Rouhani replaces his predecessors’ foreign minister with Mohammad Javad Zarif, an American-educated diplomat known for his understanding of the West, and makes him responsible for negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Mr. Rouhani also removes a hard-line nuclear scientists as head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, and replaces him with the former foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi. In September, Iran’s longtime ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency will be replaced as well.
The Obama administration escalates sanctions against Iran for the fourth time in a week, blacklisting what it describes as a global network of front companies controlled by Iran’s top leaders, accusing them of hiding assets and generating billions of dollars worth of revenue to help Tehran evade sanctions.
The White House also accuses Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of personally directing an effort to bypass them.
The United States also blacklists Iranian petrochemical companies, its automotive industry and more than 50 Iranian officials, and threatens to sanction foreign banks that trade or hold Iran’s national currency, the rial.
The I.A.E.A. says Iran has made significant progress across the board in its nuclear program, while negotiations with the West dragged on this spring. But it said that it has not gone past the “red line” that Israel’s leaders have declared could trigger military action.
In its last report before the Iranian elections next month, the agency also gives details that point to an emerging production strategy by the Iranians. One strategy involves speeding ahead with another potential route to a bomb: producing plutonium. The report indicates that Iran is making significant progress at its Arak complex, where it has built a heavy-water facility and is expected to have a reactor running by the end of next year.
The United States expands its roster of those violating Iran sanctions, blacklisting four Iranian companies and one individual suspected of helping the country enrich nuclear fuel. It also singles out two other companies, including a Venezuelan-Iranian bank, accused of helping Iran evade other Western-imposed prohibitions on oil sales and financial dealings.
The penalties came a day after the Senate introduced legislation that could effectively deny the Iran government access to an estimated $100 billion worth of its own money parked in overseas banks, a step that proponents said could significantly damage Iran’s financial stability.
Iranians rush to supermarkets to buy cooking oil, red meat and other staples, stockpiling the goods over new fears of price spikes from a change in the official exchange rate that could severely reduce the already weakened purchasing power of the rial, the national currency.
Prices of staples are set to increase by as much as 60 percent because of the currency change.
Economists say the result is from a combination of severe Western sanctions and what many call the government’s economic mismanagement.
Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon. Next week he will travel to the Middle East to finalize the arms sale.Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
U.S. Arms Deal With Israel and 2 Arab Nations Is Near
The Defense Department is expecting to finalize a $10 billion arms deal with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates next week that will provide missiles, warplanes and troop transports to help them counter any future threat from Iran.
Israeli Officials Stress Readiness for Lone Strike on Iran
In an interview with the BBC, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat, saying Israel has “different vulnerabilities and different capabilities” than the United States. “We have to make our own calculations, when we lose the capacity to defend ourselves by ourselves.”
Israeli defense and military officials have been issuing explicit warnings this week that Israel was prepared and had the capability to carry out a lone military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
US Blacklists an Iranian and Businesses Over Violation of Sanctions
The United States blacklists an affluent Iranian business executive, Babak Morteza Zanjani, and what it describes as his multibillion-dollar money laundering network, accusing them of selling oil for Iran in violation of the Western economic sanctions imposed over Iran’s disputed nuclear program.
On March 14, The Treasury Department, which administers the government’s Iran sanctions, blacklisted a Greek shipping tycoon, Dimitris Cambis, over what it called his scheme to acquire a fleet of oil tankers on Iran’s behalf and disguise their ownership to ship Iranian oil.
Family members of slain nuclear scientists stood with Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, far right, a nuclear official. Arash Khamoushi/Iranian Students News Agency, ISNA, via Associated Press
After Talks End, Iran Announces an Expansion of Nuclear Fuel Production
Iran’s president announces an expansion of the country’s uranium production and claims other atomic energy advances, striking a pugnacious tone in the aftermath of diplomatic talks thatended in an impasse with the big powers on April 6 in Kazakhstan.
A look, provided by the United States Navy, at how its laser attack weapon works. The video is silent.
Navy Deploying Laser Weapon Prototype Near Iran
The U.S. announces that the Navy will deploy a laser weapon prototype in the Persian Gulf, where Iranian fast-attack boats have harassed American warships and where the government in Tehran is building remotely piloted aircraft carrying surveillance pods and, someday potentially, rockets.
The laser will not be operational until next year. It has been shown in tests to disable patrol boats and blind or destroy surveillance drones.
President Obama traveled to Israel on March 20, in a symbolic two-day visit to the country, the first of his presidency.
Iran Nuclear Weapon to Take Year or More, Obama Says
President Obama tells an Israeli television station that his administration believes it would take Iran “over a year or so” to develop a nuclear weapon.
Mr. Obama’s estimated timeline contrasts with Mr. Netanyahu’s stated belief that Israel and its Western allies are likely to have to intervene by the spring or summer, when, he says, Iran’s scientists will have enriched enough uranium to become a nuclear threat.
Iran meets with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany in Kazakhstan, but talks end with no specific agreement over a proposal that would sharply constrain Iran’s stockpile of the most dangerous enriched uranium, in return for a modest lifting of some sanctions.
The six powers also agreed that Iran could keep a small amount of 20 percent enriched uranium — which can be converted to bomb grade with modest additional processing — for use in a reactor to produce medical isotopes.
Iranian oil sales have been reduced by half as a result of the international pressure on the country, and restrictions on financial transactions and transportation have created many difficulties for its leaders.
The state news agency IRNA quotes a report by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, saying that it had found significant new deposits of raw uranium and identified sites for 16 more nuclear power stations.
Iran’s raw uranium reserves now total around 4,400 tons, including discoveries over the past 18 months, IRNA quoted the report as saying.
A few weeks earlier, Ayatollah Khamenei said that his country was not seeking nuclear weapons but added that if Iran ever decided to build them, no “global power” could stop it.
Speaking to air force commanders in Tehran on Feb. 6, Ayatollah Khamenei said Iran “will not negotiate under pressure.” Khamenei Official Web site, via European Pressphoto Agency
U.S. Bolsters Sanctions
A new round of American sanctions take effect which state that any country that buys Iranian oil must put the purchase money into a local bank account. Iran cannot repatriate the money and can use it only to buy goods within that country. Violators risk severe penalties in doing business with the United States. Oil exports from Iran have already dropped by a million barrels a day.
A week earlier, Iran announces that it would deploy a new generation of centrifuges, four to six times as powerful as the current generation.
Most of that decline comes in a frenzy of speculative selling by Iranians worried that rapid inflation could render their money worthless. The government responds with a crackdown in which some money traders are arrested.
The depressed value of the rial forces Iranians to carry ever-fatter wads of bank notes to buy everyday items. But the sanctions also present a new complication to Iran’s banking authorities: they may not be able to print enough money.
Meanwhile, the European Union toughens sanctions against Iran, banning trade in industries like finance, metals and natural gas, and making other business transactions far more cumbersome.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations, displaying his red line for Iran’s nuclear program. Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
Israel’s ‘Red Line’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel tells the United Nations that Iran’s capability to enrich uranium must be stopped before the spring or early summer, arguing that by that time Iran will be in a position to make a short, perhaps undetectable, sprint to manufacture its first nuclear weapon.
The United Nations atomic agency reports that Iran has installed three-quarters of the nuclear centrifuges needed to complete a deep-underground site under a mountain near Qum for the production of nuclear fuel.
The I.A.E.A. also says that Iran may have sought to cleanse another site where the agency has said it suspects that the country has conducted explosive experiments that could be relevant to the production of a nuclear weapon.
Meanwhile, the United States imposes more punishing sanctions against Iran, aimed at its oil and petrochemical sectors, as well as its shipping trade, intensifying existing sanctions intended to choke off the revenue that Iran reaps from its two largest export industries.
The Neptune, an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, is part of a fleet of about 65 Iranian tankers serving as floating storage facilities for Iranian oil, each one given a nautical makeover to conceal its origin and make a buyer easier to find. Thomas Erdbrink
Embargo on Iranian Oil
A European Union embargo on Iranian oil takes effect, playing a large role in severely restricting Iran’s ability to sell its most important export.
In retaliation, Iran announces legislation intended to disrupt traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, a vital Persian Gulf shipping lane, and tests missiles in a desert drill clearly intended as a warning to Israel and the United States.
In January 2013, Iran’s oil minister, Rostam Qasemi, acknowledged for the first time that petroleum exports and sales had fallen by at least 40 percent in the previous year, costing the country $4 billion to $8 billion each month.
Iran’s nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, in Baghdad. Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters
Talks With West Falter
After a brief spurt of optimism, talks between Iran and six world powers on its disputed nuclear program fail to produce a breakthrough in Baghdad. The United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany wanted a freeze on Iranian production of uranium enriched to 20 percent purity, which is considered a short step from bomb grade. The Iranians wanted an easing of the onerous economic sanctions imposed by the West and a recognition of what they call their right to enrich. The countries agree to meet again in June, but talks were further slowed after a new regimen of harsh economic sanctions and a statement from the International Atomic Energy Agency that said Iran had made ”no progress” toward providing access to restricted sites it suspects of being used to test potential triggers for nuclear warheads.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad surveying the centrifuges at Iran’s underground complex at Natanz in March 2007.Office of the Iranian President
Meanwhile, I.A.E.A. inspectors are still trying to gain access to the Parchin site, 20 miles south of Tehran, to ascertain whether tests have been carried out there on nuclear bomb triggers.
But satellites images show that the site has been extensively cleaned by the Iranians.
Jan. 11, 2012
Iran’s semiofficial Fars News Agency supplied this photo of what it said was Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan’s car after the bombing.Meghdad Madadi/Fars News Agency, via Associated Press
Bomb Kills Nuclear Scientist
A bomber on a motorcycle kills Mostafa Ahmadi Rosha, a scientist from the Natanz site, and his bodyguard. Iran blames Israel and the United States. The Americans deny the accusation, but Israel is more circumspect.
Iran displayed the drone for propaganda purposes, with photographs of ayatollahs who led Iran’s revolution behind it and a desecrated version of the American flag. Revolutionary Guards, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
A Blow to U.S., as Drone Crashes
A stealth C.I.A. drone, the RQ-170 Sentinel, crashes near the Iranian town of Kashmar, 140 miles from the Afghan border. It is part of a stepped-up surveillance program that has frequently sent the United States’ most hard-to-detect drone into Iran to map suspected nuclear sites.
Iran asserts that its military downed the aircraft, but American officials say the drone was lost because of a malfunction.
Iran’s nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz.Hasan Sarbakhshian/Associated Press
Natanz Plant Recovers
After a dip in enriched uranium production in 2010 because of the cyberattacks, Iranian production recovers. While the United States and Israel never acknowledged responsibility for the cyberprogram, Olympic Games, some experts argue that it set the Iranians back a year or two. Others say that estimate overstates the effect.
With the program still running, intelligence agencies in the United States and Israel seek out new targets that could further slow Iran’s progress.
A poster of an Iranian gas field is a backdrop to passers-by in Asaluyeh. Newsha Tavakolian for The New York Times
West Expands Sanctions, and U.N. Offers Evidence on Nuclear Work
Major Western powers take significant steps to cut Iran off from the international financial system, announcing coordinated sanctions aimed at its central bank and commercial banks. The United States also imposes sanctions on companies involved in Iran’s nuclear industry, as well as on its petrochemical and oil industries.
The United Nations atomic agency releases evidence that it says make a “credible” case that “Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device” at its Parchin military base and that the project may still be under way.
Unidentified attackers riding motorcycles bomb two of Iran’s top nuclear scientists, killing one and prompting accusations that the United States and Israel are again trying to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program.
The scientist who was killed, Majid Shahriari, reportedly managed a ”major project” for the country’s Atomic Energy Organization. His wounded colleague, Fereydoon Abbasi, is believed to be even more important; he is on the United Nations Security Council’s sanctions list for ties to the Iranian nuclear effort.
The Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri, with his 7-year-old son, greeting family members in Tehran.Newsha Tavakolian/Polaris, for The New York Times
Iranian Scientist Defects to U.S., Then Reconsiders
Shahram Amiri, an Iranian nuclear scientist who American officials say defected to the United States in 2009, provided information about Iran’s nuclear weapons program and then developed second thoughts, returning to Iran. (After a hero’s welcome, he was imprisoned on treason charges and tortured, according to reports from Iran.)
The bizarre episode was the latest in a tale that has featured a mysterious disappearance from a hotel room in Saudi Arabia, rumors of a trove of new intelligence about Iran’s nuclear plants and a series of contradictory YouTube videos. It immediately set off a renewed propaganda war between Iran and the United States.
Ambassadors to the United Nations, from right: Susan E. Rice of the United States, Mark Lyall Grant of Britain and Ruhakana Rugunda of Uganda voted to affirm a Security Council resolution on Iran while Turkey’s ambassador, Ertugrul Apakan, voted against it. Mario Tama/Getty Images
U.N. Approves New Sanctions
The United Nations Security Council levels its fourth round of sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. The sanctions curtail military purchases, trade and financial transactions carried out by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which controls the nuclear program.
The Security Council also requires countries to inspect ships or planes headed to or from Iran if they suspect banned cargo. In addition, Iran is barred from investing in other countries’ nuclear enrichment plants, uranium mines and related technologies, and the Security Council sets up a committee to monitor enforcement.
The United States and Israel realize that copies of the computer sabotage program introduced in Natanz are available on the Internet, where they are replicating quickly. In a few weeks, articles appear in the news media about a mysterious new computer worm carried on USB keys that exploits a hole in the Windows operating system. The worm is named Stuxnet.
President Obama decides not to kill the program, and a subsequent attack takes out nearly 1,000 Iranian centrifuges, nearly a fifth of those operating.
Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.Herwig Prammer/Reuters
Work on Warhead
The United Nations’ nuclear inspectors declare for the first time that they have extensive evidence of “past or current undisclosed activities” by Iran’s military to develop a nuclear warhead.
The report also concludes that some Iranian weapons-related activity apparently continued “beyond 2004,” contradicting an American intelligence assessment published in 2008 that concluded that work on a bomb was suspended at the end of 2003.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in 2011. Francois Lenoir/Reuters
Leaked Gates Memo on U.S. Policy
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warns in a secret three-page memorandum to top White House officials that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear capability.
When the memo becomes public in April, Mr. Gates issues a statement saying that he wishes to dispel any perception among allies that the administration had failed to adequately think through how to deal with Iran.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and President Obama, in Pittsburgh, accused Iran of building a secret nuclear fuel plant.Doug Mills/The New York Times
Warning on Nuclear ‘Deception’
American, British and French officials declassify some of their most closely held intelligence and describe a multiyear Iranian effort, tracked by spies and satellites, to build a secret uranium enrichment plant deep inside a mountain.
The new plant, which Iran strongly denies is intended to be kept secret or used for making weapons, is months from completion and does nothing to shorten intelligence estimates of how long it would take Iran to produce a bomb. American intelligence officials say it will take at least a year, perhaps five, for Iran to develop the full ability to make a nuclear weapon.
The negotiators Saeed Jalili of Iran, left, and William J. Burns, third from right, in Geneva. Pool photo by Denis Balibouse
Talks End in Deadlock
International talks on Iran’s nuclear ambitions end in deadlock despite the Bush administration’s decision to reverse policy and send William J. Burns, a senior American official, to the table for the first time.
Iran responds with a written document that fails to address the main issue: international demands that it stop enriching uranium. Iranian diplomats reiterate before the talks that they consider the issue nonnegotiable.
President George W. Bush rejects a secret request by Israel for specialized bunker-busting bombs it wants for an attack on Iran’s nuclear program. The Bush administration is alarmed by the Israeli idea to fly over Iraq to reach Iran’s major nuclear complex at Natanz and decides to step up intelligence-sharing with Israel and brief Israeli officials on new American efforts to subtly sabotage Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Mr. Bush will hand off the major covert program to President Obama.
The United States works with Israel to begin cyberattacks, code-named Olympic Games, on computer systems at the Natanz plant. A year later, the program is introduced undetected into a controller computer at Natanz. Centrifuges begin crashing and engineers have no clue that the plant is under attack.
The Security Council unanimously approves sanctions intended to curb Iran’s nuclear program. The sanctions ban the import and export of materials and technology used in uranium enrichment and reprocessing and in the production of ballistic missiles.
The heavy-water plant in Arak, south of Tehran.Iran/Reuters
Iran Opens a Heavy-Water Reactor
Just days before Iran is supposed to suspend enrichment of uranium or face the prospect of sanctions, President Ahmadinejad formally kicks off a heavy-water production plant in Arak, 120 miles southwest of Tehran, which would put Iran on the path to obtaining plutonium, a fuel used in nuclear weapons.
In November, Iran seeks international assistance to ensure safe operation for a 40-megawatt reactor it is building. Citing broader doubts about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the United Nations atomic agency, the United States and European countries oppose offering help.
A satellite image of Natanz in 2007.GeoEye/SIME, via Associated Press
Natanz Production Is Restarted
Iran resumes uranium enrichment at Natanz after negotiations with European and American officials collapse.
The I.A.E.A. approves a resolution to report Iran’s nuclear program to the Security Council, citing “the absence of confidence” among the atomic agency’s members “that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.”
President Ahmadinejad offended Israel in his speech on the rule of law at a United Nations conference in 2012. Eduardo Munoz/Reuters
Ahmadinejad Elected President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known only as a secular conservative and a former mayor of Tehran, becomes president. He becomes a divisive figure in world affairs, cheering on the development of Iran’s nuclear program despite orders from the United Nations Security Council to halt it, calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map’’ and describing the Holocaust as “a myth.”
With Laptop Files, U.S. Seeks to Prove Iran’s Nuclear Aims
Senior American intelligence officials present the International Atomic Energy Agency with the contents of what they say is a stolen Iranian laptop containing more than a thousand pages of Iranian computer simulations and accounts of experiments — studies for crucial features of a nuclear warhead.
Intelligence reports reveal that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a little-known Iranian scientist, leads elements of Iran’s weaponization program known as Project 110 and Project 111.
But doubts about the intelligence persist among some experts, in part because American officials, citing the need to protect their source, have largely refused to provide details of the origins of the laptop beyond saying that they obtained it in mid-2004 from a source in Iran who they said had received it from a second person, now believed to be dead.
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi talking to reporters in Tehran ahead of nuclear talks in Paris. Abedin Taherkenareh/European Pressphoto Agency
Violation and New Agreement
Iran violates the agreement, charging that the Europeans reneged on their promises of economic and political incentives. After 22 hours of negotiations, an Iranian delegation and senior officials from France, Germany, Britain and the European Union come to a preliminary agreement to immediately suspend Iran’s production of enriched uranium. The Iranian foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi, praises the so-called Paris Agreement but emphasizes that any suspension will be temporary.
In a few weeks, the I.A.E.A verifies Iran’s suspension of its enrichment activities, with one exception: its request to use up to 20 sets of centrifuge components for research and development.
An Iranian missile displayed by the Revolutionary Guards under a portrait of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, in September 2003. Henghameh Fahimi/Agence France-Presse
Nuclear Program Is Suspended
Possibly in response to the American invasion of Iraq, which was originally justified by the Bush administration on the grounds that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, Ayatollah Khamenei orders a suspension of work on what appear to be weapons-related technologies, although he allows uranium enrichment efforts to continue.
Inspectors with the United Nations atomic agency find traces of highly enriched uranium at the Natanz plant, and Iran concedes to demands, after talks with Britain, France and Germany, to accept stricter international inspections of its nuclear sites and to suspend production of enriched uranium.
Discovery of Secret Plants
Mujahedeen Khalq, an Iranian dissident group also known as the M.E.K., obtains and shares documents revealing a clandestine nuclear program previously unknown to the United Nations.
The program includes a vast uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy water plant at Arak. In December, satellite photographs of Natanz and Arak appear widely in the news media. The United States accuses Tehran of an “across-the-board pursuit of weapons of mass destruction,” but takes relatively little action because it is focused on the approaching invasion of Iraq the next year.
Iran agrees to inspections by the I.A.E.A. It also signs an accord with Russia to speed up completion of the nuclear power plant at Bushehr.
Mohammad Khatami in 2009. Hasan Sarbakhshian/Associated Press
Proposal for Nuclear-Free Mideast
President Mohammad Khatami of Iran goes to Saudi Arabia, becoming the first Iranian leader since 1979 to visit the Arab world.
He issues a joint statement with King Fahd expressing concerns about Israel’s nuclear weapons program and support for ridding the Middle East of nuclear weapons. In 2003, Iran supports such a proposal initiated by Syria.
President Bill Clinton addressing reporters in July 1996. Joe Marquette/Associated Press
Sanctions Against Iran and Libya
With growing intelligence estimates that Iran may secretly be trying to build a nuclear weapon, President Bill Clinton signs a bill imposing sanctions on foreign companies with investments in Iran and Libya. Such rules are already in place for American companies.
A Russian engineer checking equipment at the Bushehr nuclear plant in April 2007.Behrouz Mehri/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Iran and Russia Sign Nuclear Contract
Iran announces that it will sign an $800 million contract with Russia to complete construction on one of two light water reactors at the Bushehr nuclear plant within four years. After many delays, the project was completed in 2010.
The United States has been persuading countries like Argentina, India, Spain, Germany and France to prohibit the sale of nuclear technology to Iran’s civilian program.
In 2005, the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency is on the verge of reviewing Tehran’s nuclear program when Iranian officials admit to a 1987 meetingwith Dr. Khan’s representatives. But Tehran tells the agency that it turned down the chance to buy the equipment required to build the core of a bomb.
Iraqi gunners used a Soviet 130-milllimeter field gun to shell the Iranian cities of Abadan and Khurramshahr.United Press International
Nuclear Program Restarts
The Iran-Iraq war, from 1980 to 1988, changes Iran’s thinking about the nuclear program. With Saddam Hussein pursuing a nuclear program in Iraq, Ayatollah Khomeini secretly decides to restart Iran’s program and seeks the assistance of German partners to complete the construction at Bushehr, which was damaged by bombs during the war.
Feb. 11, 1979
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini descending from the Air France plane that returned him to Tehran after 15 years in exile.United Press International
Khomeini Comes to Power
Prime Minister Bakhtiar is overthrown by followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, an exiled cleric, after bloody clashes in Tehran.
The new leader is uninterested in the nuclear program and ends the shah’s effort. Many nuclear experts flee the country.
The Bushehr nuclear plant on Aug. 21, 2010, as its first fuel rod was loaded. Getty Images
Creation of Atomic Energy Body
The shah creates the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, which conducts training for its personnel and nuclear deals with countries including the United States, France, West Germany, Namibia and South Africa. By training engineers in Iran and abroad, the country gains a solid understanding of nuclear technologies and capabilities.
A year later, Kraftwerk Union, a West German company, agrees to construct two light water reactors to produce nuclear energy at the Bushehr complex, 470 miles south of Tehran. Construction begins in 1974 but the contract is not signed until 1976.
By the late 1970s, the United States becomes worried that Iran may harbor nuclear weapon ambitions.
July 1, 1968
Iran Signs Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
With the American-provided research reactor running, starting in 1967, Iran becomes one of 51 nations to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, agreeing to never become a nuclear-weapon state.
Iran begins a civilian nuclear program in the 1950s, led by Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who reaches a deal through the Eisenhower administration’s Atoms for Peace program. Under the agreement, the United States agrees to provide a nuclear research reactor in Tehran and power plants.
Story 1: Part 2, Obama The Big Liar (The Great Pretender) Vs. Trump The Great Truth Teller (We Will Rock You) — Make America Great Again! — Could Not Have Said It Better Myself — Three Cheers For Trump — Videos
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“The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc. This was evident just this week when, as an example, a young woman in San Francisco was viciously killed by a 5 time deported Mexican with a long criminal record, who was forced back into the United States because they didn’t want him in Mexico. This is merely one of thousands of similar incidents throughout the United States. In other words, the worst elements in Mexico are being pushed into the United States by the Mexican government. The largest suppliers of heroin, cocaine and other illicit drugs are Mexican cartels that arrange to have Mexican immigrants trying to cross the borders and smuggle in the drugs. The Border Patrol knows this. Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border. The United States has become a dumping ground for Mexico and, in fact, for many other parts of the world. On the other hand, many fabulous people come in from Mexico and our country is better for it. But these people are here legally, and are severely hurt by those coming in illegally. I am proud to say that I know many hard working Mexicans—many of them are working for and with me…and, just like our country, my organization is better for it.”
– Donald Trump, Written Statement released July 6, 2015
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• Donald Trump • One On One • Hannity • 6/17/15 •
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Billionaire mogul Donald Trump announced his 2016 presidential run Tuesday. Below is the text of his speech:
Last quarter, it was just announced, our gross domestic product – a sign of strength, right? But not for us.
It was below zero. Who ever heard of this? It’s never below zero.
Our labor participation rate was the worst since 1978.
But think of it, GDP below zero, horrible labor participation rate, and our real unemployment is anywhere from 18-20%. Don’t believe the 5.6. Don’t believe it.
That’s right – a lot of people up there can’t get jobs. They can’t get jobs because there are no jobs because China has our jobs and Mexico has our jobs. They all have our jobs. But the real number, the real number, is anywhere from 18-19 and maybe even 21% and nobody talks about it because it’s a statistic that’s full of nonsense.
Our enemies are getting stronger and stronger by the day and we as a country are getting weaker. Even our nuclear arsenal doesn’t work.
It came out recently. They have equipment that’s 30 years old and they don’t even know if it works. And I thought it was horrible when it was broadcast on television because boy does that send signals to Putin and all of the other people that look at us and they say ‘OK, that is a group of people and that is a nation that truly has no clue. They don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t know what they’re doing.’
We have a disaster called the big lie – Obamacare, Obamacare.
Yesterday it came out that costs are going, for people, up 39, 39, 49 and even 55%. And deductibles are through the roof. You have to get hit by a tractor, literally a tractor, to use it because the deductibles are so high it’s virtually useless. It’s a disaster.N
As an example, I’ve been on the circuit making speeches and I hear my fellow Republicans and they’re wonderful people. I like them. They all want me to support them.
They don’t know how to bring it about, they come up to my office. I’m meeting with three of them in the next week and they don’t know: Are you running, are you not running, could we have your support, what do we do, how do we do it?
And I like them. I hear their speeches. And they don’t talk jobs. They don’t talk China. When was the last time you heard ‘China’s killing us?’ They’re devaluing their currency to a level that you wouldn’t believe it makes it impossible for our companies to compete. Impossible.
They’re killing us, but you don’t hear that from anyone else. You don’t hear that from anybody else.
And I watch the speeches. I watch the speeches and they say ‘the sun will rise. The moon will set. All sorts of wonderful things will happen.’
And the people are saying ‘What’s going on? I just want a job. I don’t need the rhetoric, I just want a job.’
And it’s going to get worse because remember, Obamacare really kicks in in 2016, 2016.
Obama is going to be out playing golf. He might even be on one of my courses – I would invite him. I have the best courses in the world. So I say, you know what, if he wants to – I have one right next to the White House. Right on the Potomac. If he wants to, if he’d like to play, that’s fine. In fact I’d love him to leave early and play. That would be a very good thing.
But Obamacare kicks in in 2016, really bigly. It is going to be amazingly destructive.
Doctors are quitting.
I have a friend who’s a doctor and he said to me the other day: ‘Donald, I never saw anything like it. I have more accountants than I have nurses. It’s a disaster. My patients are besides themselves. They had a plan that was good. They had a plan. They have no plan now.’
We have to repeal Obamacare and it can be replaced with something much better for everybody. Let it be for everybody, but much better and much less expensive for people and for the government. And we can do it.
So I’ve watched the politicians. I’ve dealt with them all my life. If you can’t make a good deal with a politician, then there’s something wrong with you. There’s something certainly not very good and that’s what we have representing us.
They will never make America great again. They don’t even have a chance. They are controlled fully, they are controlled fully by the lobbyists, by the donors and by the special interests. Fully. They control them.
Hey, I have lobbyists. I have to tell you, I have lobbyists that can produce anything for me. They’re great. But you know what? It won’t happen. It won’t happen because we have to stop doing things for some people, but for our country it’s destroying this country.
We have to stop and it has to stop now.
Our country needs, our country needs a truly great leader and we need a truly great leader now.
We need a leader that wrote the Art of the Deal. We need a leader that can bring back our jobs, can bring back our manufacturing, can bring back our military, can take care of our vets – our vets have been abandoned. And we also need a cheerleader.
You know, when President Obama was elected I said ‘Well, the one thing I think he’ll do well – I think he’ll be a great cheerleader for the country. I think he’d be a great spirit. He was vibrant. He was young. I really thought he would be a great cheerleader.
He’s not a leader, that’s true. You’re right about that. But he wasn’t a cheerleader. He’s actually a negative force. He’s been a negative force. He wasn’t a cheerleader, he was the opposite.
We need somebody that can take the brand of the United States and make it great again. It’s not great.
We need, we need, we need somebody that literally will take this country and make it great again. We can do that.
And, I will tell you, I love my life. I have a wonderful family. They’re saying, ‘Dad, you’re going to do something that’s so tough.’
You know, all of my life I’ve heard that a truly successful person, a really, really successful person – and even modestly successful – cannot run for public office. Just can’t happen.
And yet, that’s the kind of mindset that you need to make this country great again.
So, ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for President of the United States and we are going to make our country great again.
It can happen. Our country has tremendous potential. We have tremendous potential.
We have people that aren’t working. We have people that have no incentive to work. But they’re going to have incentive to work. Because the greatest social program is a job. And they’ll be proud, and they’ll love it, and they’ll make much more money than they would have ever made. And they’ll be doing so well, and we’re going to be thriving as a country. Thriving. It can happen.
I will be the greatest jobs president that god ever created, I tell you that.
I’ll bring back our jobs from China, from Mexico, from Japan, from so many places. I’ll bring back our jobs, and I’ll bring back our money.
Right now, think of this – we owe China $1.3 trillion. We owe Japan more than that. So they come in, they take our jobs, they take our money and then they loan us back the money and we pay them in interest. And then the dollar goes up, so their deal’s even better.
How stupid are our leaders? How stupid are these politicians to allow this to happen? How stupid are they?
Business mogul Donald Trump announces his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on Tuesday in New York. Trump is the 12th Republican who has announced running for the White House.
I’m going to tell you a couple of stories about trade, because I’m totally against the trade bill for a number of reasons.
Number one: the people negotiating it don’t have a clue. Our president doesn’t have a clue. He’s a bad negotiator. He’s the one that did Bergdahl. We get Bergdahl, they get five killer terrorists that everybody wanted over there. We get Bergdahl. We get a traitor. We get a no-good traitor and they get the five people that they wanted for years. And those people are now back on the battlefield trying to kill us. That’s the negotiator we have
Take a look at the deal he’s making with Iran. He makes that deal, Israel maybe won’t exist very long. It’s a disaster and we have to protect Israel.
So we need people – I’m a free trader. But the problem with free trade is, you need really talented people to negotiate for you. If you don’t have talented people, if you don’t have great leadership, if you don’t have people that know business – not just a political hack that got the job because he made a contribution to a campaign, which is the way all jobs just about are gotten, free trade is terrible.
Free trade can be wonderful if you have smart people. But we have people that are stupid. We have people that aren’t smart, and we have people that are controlled by special interests and it’s just not going to work.
So here’s a couple of stories. Happened recently, a friend of mine is a great manufacturer, and you know, China comes over and they dump all their stuff.
I buy it. I buy it because, frankly, I have an obligation to buy it, because they devalue their currency so brilliantly. They just did it recently and nobody thought they could do it again, but with all our problems with Russia, with all our problems with everything, everything, they got away with it again.
And it’s impossible for our people here to compete. So I want to tell you this story. Friend of mine if a great manufacturer. Calls me up a few weeks ago, he’s very upset.
I said, ‘What’s your problem?’
He said, ‘You know, I make a great product.’
I said, ‘I know, I know that, because I buy the product.’
He said, ‘I can’t get it into China. They won’t accept it. I sent a boat over and they actually sent it back. They talked about environmental, they talked about all sorts of crap that had nothing to do with it.’
I said, ‘Oh, wait a minute, that’s terrible. Did anyone know this?’
He said, ‘They do it all the time with other people.’
I said, ‘They send it back?’
He said, ‘Yea, so I finally got it over there, and they charged me a big tariff.’
They’re not supposed to be doing that. I told him. Now they do charge you tariffs on trucks when we send trucks and other things over there.
Ask Boeing. They wanted all their patents and secrets before they agreed to buy planes from Boeing.
Hey, I’m not saying they’re stupid. I like China. I just sold an apartment for $15 million to somebody from China. Am I supposed to dislike them?
I own a big chunk of the Bank of America building at 1290 Avenue of Americas that I got from China in a war. Very valuable. I love China.
The biggest bank in the world is from China. You know where their United States headquarters is located? In this building, in Trump Tower.
I love China. People say, ‘Oh, you don’t like China.’ No, I love them, but their leaders are much smarter than our leaders. And we can’t sustain ourselves with that.
There’s too much – it’s like, it’s like take the New England Patriots and Tom Brady and have them play your high school football team. That’s the difference between China’s leaders and our leaders.
They are ripping us. We are rebuilding China. We are rebuilding many countries.
China, you got there now – roads, bridges, schools. You never saw anything like it. They have bridges that make the George Washington Bridge look like small potatoes.
And they’re all over the place. We have all the cards, but we don’t know how to use them. We don’t even know that we have the cards, because our leaders don’t understand the game.
We would turn off that spigot by charging them tax until they behave properly.
Now they’re going militarily. They’re building a military island in the middle of the South China Sea – a military island. Now, our country could never do that because we’d have to get environmental clearance and the environmentalists wouldn’t let our country – we would never be able to build in an ocean.
They built it in about one year, this massive military port. They’re building up their military to a point that is very scary.
You have a problem with ISIS, you have a bigger problem with China.
And in my opinion, the new China, believe it or not, in terms of trade is Mexico.
So this man tells me about the manufacturing. I say, ‘that’s a terrible story, I hate to hear it.’
But I have another one, Ford. So Mexico takes a company, car company, that was going to build in Tennessee, rips it out. Everybody thought the deal was dead. Reported in the “Wall Street Journal” recently.
Everybody said that it was a done deal. It’s going in, and that’s going to be it, going into Tennessee -. great state, great people. All of a sudden, at the last moment, this big car manufacturer, foreign, announces they’re not going to Tennessee, they’re going to spend their billion dollars in Mexico instead. Not good.
Now Ford announces a few weeks ago that Ford is going to build a $2.5 billion car and truck and parts manufacturing plant in Mexico. $2.5 billion. It’s going to be one of the largest in the world. Ford – good company.
So I announced that I’m running for President. I would, one of the early things I would do, probably before I even got in, and I wouldn’t even use – you know, I know the smartest negotiators in the world.
I know the good ones, I know the bad ones, I know the overrated ones. You’ve got a lot that are overrated. They get good stories because the newspapers get buffaloed. But they’re not good.
But I know the best negotiators in the world and I’d put them one for each country. Believe me folks, we will do very, very well. Very, very well.
But I wouldn’t even waste my time with this one. I would call up the head of Ford, who I know. If I was President I’d say ‘Congratulations, I understand that you’re building a nice, $2.5 billion dollar factory in Mexico and that you’re going to take your cars and sell them to the United States. Zero tax – just across the board.’
And you say to yourself, ‘How does that help us, right? Where is that good.’ It’s not.
So I’d say ‘Congratulations, that’s the good news. Let me give you the bad news. Every car, and every truck and every part manufactured in this plant that comes across the border, we’re going to charge you a 35% tax. Okay? And that tax is going to be paid simultaneously with the transaction, and that’s it.’
Now here’s what’s going to happen. If it’s not me in the position, if it’s one of these politicians that we’re running against, you know, the 400 people that we’re – and here’s what going to happen. They’re not so stupid. They know it’s not a good thing. And they may even be upset by it,
But then they’re going to get a call from their donors or probably from the lobbyists for Ford and say ‘you can’t do that to Ford, because Ford takes care of me, and I take care of you, and you can’t do that to Ford.’
And you know what? No problem. They’re going to build in Mexico, they’re going to take away thousands of jobs. That’s very bad for us. So under President Trump, here’s what would happen: The head of Ford will call me back, I would say within an hour after I told him the bad news, but it could be he’d want to be cool and he’ll wait until the next day. You know, they want to be a little cool.
And he’ll say, ‘Please, please, please.’
He’ll beg for a little while, and I’ll say, ‘Sorry, no interest.’
Then he’ll call all sorts of political people and I’ll say ‘Sorry fellas, no interest.’
Because I don’t need anybody’s money. It’s nice. I don’t need anybody’s money. I’m using my own money. I’m not using lobbyists, I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich.
And by the way, I’m not even saying that to brag. That’s the kind of mindset, that’s the kind of thinking you need for this country.
So, because we’ve got to make the country rich. It sounds crass. Somebody said ‘oh, that’s crass.’ It’s not crass.
We’ve got $18 trillion in debt, we’ve got nothing but problems.
We’ve got a military that needs equipment all over the place. We’ve got nuclear weapons that are obsolete.
We’ve got nothing.
We’ve got social security that’s going to be destroyed if somebody like me doesn’t bring money into the country. All these other people want to cut the hell out of it. I’m not going to cut it at all. I’m going to bring money in, and we’re going to save it.
But here is what’s going to happen. After I’m called by 30 friends of mine who contributed to different campaigns, after I’m called by all of the special interests and by the donors and by the lobbyists – and they have zero chance at convincing me. Zero. I’ll get a call they next day from the head of Ford.
He’ll say, ‘Please reconsider.’
I’ll say, ‘No.’
He’ll say, ‘Mr. President, we’ve decided to move the plant back to the United States. We’re not going to build it in Mexico.’
That’s it. They’ll have no choice. They have no choice. There are hundred of things like that.
I’ll give you another example: Saudi Arabia. They make a billion dollars a day, a billion dollars a day.
I love the Saudis, many are in this building. They make a billion dollars a day. Whenever they have problems, we send over the ships. We send, we’re going to protect – what are we doing? They got nothing but money.
If the right person asked them, they’d pay a fortune. They wouldn’t be there except for us.
And believe me, you look at the border with Yemen – you remember Obama a year ago, Yemen was a great victory. Two weeks later the place was blown up. Everybody.
And they kept our equipment. They always keep our equipment. We ought to send used equipment, right? They always keep our equipment, we ought to send some real junk because, frankly, it would be – we ought to send our surplus. We’re always losing this gorgeous, brand-new stuff.
But look at that border with Saudi Arabia. Do you really think that these people are interested in Yemen? Saudi Arabia without us is gone. They’re gone.
And I’m the one that made all of the right predictions about Iraq. You know, all of these politicians that I’m running against now, it’s so nice to say I’m running as opposed to if I run, if I run – I’m running.
But all of these politicians that I’m running against now, they’re trying to dissociate. I mean, you look at Bush – it took him five days to answer the question on Iraq. He couldn’t answer the question. He didn’t know.
I said, ‘Is he intelligent?’
And then I looked at Rubio. He was unable to answer the question. He didn’t know.
How are these people going to lead us? How are we going to go back and made it great again? We can’t They don’t have a clue. They can’t lead us. They can’t.
They can’t even answer simple questions. It was terrible, but Saudi Arabia is in big, big trouble.
Now, thanks to fracking and other things, the oil is all over the place. And I used to say it, there are ships at sea, and this was during the worst crisis, that were loaded up with oil. And the cartel kept the prices up because, again, they were smarter than our leaders.
They were smarter than our leaders. There is so much wealth out there that we can make our country so rich again and, therefore, make it great again.
Because we need money. We’re dying. We’re dying. We need money. We have to do it and we need the right people.
So Ford will come back. They’ll all come back. And I will say this – this is going to be an election, in my opinion, that’s based on competence.
Somebody said to me the other day, a reporter, very nice reporter – ‘But Mr. Trump, you’re not a nice person.’
But actually, I am. I think I’m a nice person. Does my family like me? I think so. Look at my family.
I’m proud of my family by the way. Speaking of my family – Melania, Barron, Kai, Donny, Dunn, Vanessa, Tiffany, Ivanka did a great job. Did she do a great job? Jarrett, Laura and Eric. I’m very proud of my family. They’re a great family.
So the report said to me the other day ‘But Mr. Trump, you’re not a nice person. How can you get people to vote for you?’
I said, ‘I don’t know. I think that, number one, I am a nice person. I give a lot of money away to charities and other things.’
I think I’m actually a very nice person, but I said ‘This is going to be an election that’s based off competence. Because people are tired of these nice people and they’re tired of being ripped of by everybody in the world and they’re tired of spending more money on education than any nation in the world per capita. Than any nation in the world.’
And we’re 26th in the world. Twenty-five countries are better than us at education, and some of them are like, third-world countries.
But we’re becoming a third-world country because of our infrastructure, our airports, our roads, everything.
So one of the things I did, and I said, you know what I’ll do? I’ll do it. And a lot of people said ‘he’ll never run. Number one, he won’t want to give up his lifestyle.’
They’re right about that, but I’m doing it.
Number two – I’m a private company, so nobody knows what I’m worth. And the one thing is, when you run, you have to announce and certify to all sorts of governmental authorities, your net worth.
So I said, ‘that’s okay, I’m proud of my net worth.’
I’ve done an amazing job. I started off in a small office with my father in Brooklyn and Queens. And my father said – and I love my father. I learned so much. He was a great negotiator.
I learned so much just sitting as his feet playing with blocks, listening to him negotiate with subcontractors. But I learned a lot.
But he used to say ‘Donald, don’t go into Manhattan. That’s the big leagues. We don’t know anything about that. Don’t do it.’
But I said, ‘Dad, I gotta go into Manhattan. I gotta build those buildings. I’ve got to do it, Dad, I’ve got to do it.’
And after four or five years in Brooklyn, I ventured into Manhattan and did a lot of great deals: the Grand Hyatt hotel, I was responsible for the convention center on the west side.
I did a lot of great deals and I did them early and young, and now I’m building all over the world. And I love what I’m doing.
But they all said, a lot of the pundits on television, ‘well Donald will never run and one of the main reasons is, he’s private, and he’s probably not as successful as everybody thinks.’
So I said to myself, ‘you know, nobody’s ever going to know unless I run because I’m really proud of my success, I really am.’
I’ve employed tens of thousands of people over my lifetime. That means medical, that means education, that means everything.
So a large accounting firm and my accountants have been working for months because I’m big and complex and they put together a statement, a financial statement. It’s a summary, but everything will be filed eventually with the government. And we don’t need extensions or anything, we’ll be filing it right on time.
We don’t need anything. And it was even reported incorrectly yesterday, because they said he had assets of nine billion.
I said, ‘no, that the wrong number. That’s the wrong number, not assets.’
So they put together this, and before I say it, I have to say this: I made it the old-fashioned way. It’s real estate. it’s labor and it’s union – good and some bad – and lots of people that aren’t unions and it’s all over the place and building all over the world.
And I have assets, big accounting firm – one of the most highly respected – $9,240,000,000.
And I have liabilities of about $500 – that’s long-term debt, very low interest rates.
In fact, one of the big banks came to me, said, ‘Donald, you don’t have enough borrowing, can we loan you $4 billion.”
I said ‘I don’t need it. I don’t want it. I’ve been there. I don’t want it.”
But in two seconds, they give me whatever I wanted. So I have a total net worth, and now with the increase, it’ll be well-over $10 billion. But here, a total net worth of — net worth, not assets, not — a net worth, after all debt, after all expenses, the greatest assets — Trump Tower, 1290 Avenue of the Americas, Bank of America building in San Francisco, 40 Wall Street, sometimes referred to as the Trump building right opposite the New York — many other places all over the world.
So the total is $8,737,540,000.
Now I’m not doing that, I’m not doing that to brag, because you know what? I don’t have to brag. I don’t have to, believe it or not.
I’m doing that to say that that’s the kind of thinking our country needs. We need that thinking. We have the opposite thinking.
We have losers. We have losers. We have people that don’t have it. We have people that are morally corrupt. We have people that are selling this country down the drain.
So I put together this statement, and the only reason I’m telling you about it today is because we really do have to get going, because if we have another three or four years — you know, we’re at $8 trillion now. We’re soon going to be at $20 trillion.
According to the economists, who I’m not big believers in, but, nevertheless, this is what they’re saying, that $24 trillion. We’re very close, that’s the point of no return. $24 trillion.
We will be there soon. That’s when we become Greece. That’s when we become a country that’s unsalvageable. And we’re gonna be there very soon. We’re gonna be there very soon.
So, just to sum up, I would do various things very quickly. I would repeal and replace the big lie, Obamacare.
I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively, I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.
Mark my words.
Nobody would be tougher on ISIS than Donald Trump. Nobody.
I will find, within our military, I will find the General Patton or I will find General MacArthur, I will find the right guy. I will find the guy that’s going to take that military and make it really work. Nobody, nobody will be pushing us around.
I will stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. And we won’t be using a man like Secretary Kerry that has absolutely no concept of negotiation, who’s making a horrible and laughable deal, who’s just being tapped along as they make weapons right now, and then goes into a bicycle race at 72 years old, and falls and breaks his leg.
I won’t be doing that. And I promise I will never be in a bicycle race. That I can tell you.
I will immediately terminate President Obama’s illegal executive order on immigration, immediately.
Fully support and back up the Second Amendment.
Now, it’s very interesting. Today I heard it. Through stupidity, in a very, very hard core prison, interestingly named Clinton, two vicious murderers, two vicious people escaped, and nobody knows where they are.
And a woman was on television this morning, and she said, ‘You know, Mr. Trump,’ and she was telling other people, and I actually called her, and she said, ‘You know, Mr. Trump, I always was against guns. I didn’t want guns. And now since this happened,’ it’s up in the prison area, ‘my husband and I are finally in agreement, because he wanted the guns. We now have a gun on every table. We’re ready to start shooting.’
I said, ‘Very interesting.’
So protect the Second Amendment.
End, end Common Core. Common Core should, it is a disaster. Bush is totally in favor of Common Core.
I don’t see how he can possibly get the nomination. He’s weak on immigration. He’s in favor of Common Core. How the hell can you vote for this guy? You just can’t do it.
We have to end, education has to be local.
Rebuild the country’s infrastructure. Nobody can do that like me. Believe me. It will be done on time, on budget, way below cost, way below what anyone ever thought.
I look at the roads being built all over the country, and I say I can build those things for one-third. What they do is unbelievable, how bad.
You know, we’re building on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Old Post Office, we’re converting it into one of the world’s great hotels. It’s gonna be the best hotel in Washington, D.C. We got it from the General Services Administration in Washington. The Obama administration. We got it. It was the most highly sought after — or one of them, but I think the most highly sought after project in the history of General Services.
We got it. People were shocked, Trump got it. Well, I got it for two reasons. Number one, we’re really good. Number two, we had a really good plan. And I’ll add in the third, we had a great financial statement. Because the General Services, who are terrific people, by the way, and talented people, they wanted to do a great job. And they wanted to make sure it got built.
So we have to rebuild our infrastructure, our bridges, our roadways, our airports.
You come into LaGuardia Airport, it’s like we’re in a third world country. You look at the patches and the 40-year-old floor. They throw down asphalt, and they throw.
You look at these airports, we are like a third world country. And I come in from China and I come in from Qatar and I come in from different places, and they have the most incredible airports in the world. You come to back to this country and you have LAX, disaster. You have all of these disastrous airports. We have to rebuild our infrastructure.
Save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts. Have to do it.
Get rid of the fraud. Get rid of the waste and abuse, but save it. People have been paying it for years. And now many of these candidates want to cut it.
You save it by making the United States, by making us rich again, by taking back all of the money that’s being lost.
Renegotiate our foreign trade deals.
Reduce our $18 trillion in debt, because, believe me, we’re in a bubble. We have artificially low interest rates. We have a stock market that, frankly, has been good to me, but I still hate to see what’s happening. We have a stock market that is so bloated.
Be careful of a bubble because what you’ve seen in the past might be small potatoes compared to what happens. So be very, very careful.
And strengthen our military and take care of our vets. So, so important.
Sadly, the American dream is dead. But if I get elected president I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before, and we will make America great again.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Remarks by the President on Progress in the Fight Against ISIL
4:10 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend — especially our men and women in uniform. This Fourth of July we were honored to once again welcome some of our incredible troops and their families to share Fourth of July and fireworks at the White House. It was another chance for us, on behalf of the American people, to express our gratitude for their extraordinary service around the world every day.
And that includes the work that brings me here today — our mission to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group ISIL. This is a cause, a coalition, that’s united countries across the globe — some 60 nations, including Arab partners. Our comprehensive strategy against ISIL is harnessing all elements of American power, across our government — military, intelligence, diplomatic, economic, development and perhaps most importantly, the power of our values.
Last month, I ordered additional actions in support of our strategy. I just met with my national security team as part of our regular effort to assess our efforts — what’s working and what we can do better. Secretary Carter, Chairman Dempsey, I want to thank you and your team for welcoming us and for your leadership, including General Austin who’s leading the military campaign. And I want to summarize briefly where we stand.
I want to start by repeating what I’ve said since the beginning. This will not be quick. This is a long-term campaign. ISIL is opportunistic and it is nimble. In many places in Syria and Iraq, including urban areas, it’s dug in among innocent civilian populations. It will take time to root them out — and doing so must be the job of local forces on the ground, with training and air support from our coalition.
As with any military effort, there will be periods of progress, but there are also going to be some setbacks — as we’ve seen with ISIL’s gains in Ramadi in Iraq and central and southern Syria. But today, it’s also important for us to recognize the progress that’s been made.
Our coalition has now hit ISIL with more than 5,000 airstrikes. We’ve taken out thousands of fighting positions, tanks, vehicles, bomb factories, and training camps. We’ve eliminated thousands of fighters, including senior ISIL commanders. And over the past year, we’ve seen that when we have an effective partner on the ground, ISIL can be pushed back.
In Iraq, ISIL lost at the Mosul Dam. ISIL lost at Mount Sinjar. ISIL has lost repeatedly across Kirkuk Province. ISIL lost at Tikrit. Altogether, ISIL has lost more than a quarter of the populated areas that it had seized in Iraq. In Syria, ISIL lost at Kobani. It’s recently endured losses across northern Syria, including the key city of Tal Abyad, denying ISIL a vital supply route to Raqqa, its base of operations in Syria.
So these are reminders that ISIL’s strategic weaknesses are real. ISIL is surrounded by countries and communities committed to its destruction. It has no air force; our coalition owns the skies. ISIL is backed by no nation. It relies on fear, sometimes executing its own disillusioned fighters. Its unrestrained brutality often alienates those under its rule, creating new enemies. In short, ISIL’s recent losses in both Syria and Iraq prove that ISIL can and will be defeated.
Indeed, we’re intensifying our efforts against ISIL’s base in Syria. Our airstrikes will continue to target the oil and gas facilities that fund so much of their operations. We’re going after the ISIL leadership and infrastructure in Syria — the heart of ISIL that pumps funds and propaganda to people around the world. Partnering with other countries — sharing more information, strengthening laws and border security — allows us to work to stem the flow of foreign fighters to Syria as well as Iraq, and to stem, obviously, the flow of those fighters back into our own countries. This continues to be a challenge, and, working together, all our nations are going to need to do more, but we’re starting to see some progress.
We’ll continue cracking down on ISIL’s illicit finance around the world. By the way, if Congress really wants to help in this effort, they can confirm Mr. Adam Szubin, our nominee for Treasury Under Secretary to lead this effort. This is a vital position to our counterterrorism efforts. Nobody suggests Mr. Szubin is not qualified. He’s highly qualified. Unfortunately, his nomination has been languishing up on the Hill, and we need the Senate to confirm him as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, we continue to ramp up our training and support of local forces that are fighting ISIL on the ground. As I’ve said before, this aspect of our strategy was moving too slowly. But the fall of Ramadi has galvanized the Iraqi government. So, with the additional steps I ordered last month, we’re speeding up training of ISIL [Iraqi] forces, including volunteers from Sunni tribes in Anbar Province.
More Sunni volunteers are coming forward. Some are already being trained, and they can be a new force against ISIL. We continue to accelerate the delivery of critical equipment, including anti-tank weapons, to Iraqi security forces, including the Peshmerga and tribal fighters. And I made it clear to my team that we will do more to train and equip the moderate opposition in Syria.
Now, all this said, our strategy recognizes that no amount of military force will end the terror that is ISIL unless it’s matched by a broader effort — political and economic — that addresses the underlying conditions that have allowed ISIL to gain traction. They have filled a void, and we have to make sure that as we push them out that void is filled. So, as Iraqi cities and towns are liberated from ISIL, we’re working with Iraq and the United Nations to help communities rebuild the security, services and governance that they need. We continue to support the efforts of Prime Minister Abadi to forge an inclusive and effective Iraqi government that unites all the people of Iraq — Shia, Sunnis, Kurds and all minority communities.
In Syria, the only way that the civil war will end — and in a way so that the Syrian people can unite against ISIL — is an inclusive political transition to a new government, without Bashar Assad — a government that serves all Syrians. I discussed this with our Gulf Cooperation Council partners at Camp David and during my recent call with President Putin. I made it clear the United States will continue to work for such a transition.
And a glimmer of good news is I think an increasing recognition on the part of all the players in the region that given the extraordinary threat that ISIL poses it is important for us to work together, as opposed to at cross-purposes, to make sure that an inclusive Syrian government exists.
While the focus of our discussions today was on Iraq and Syria, ISIL and its ideology also obviously pose a grave threat beyond the region. In recent weeks we’ve seen deadly attacks in Tunisia, Kuwait and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. We see a growing ISIL presence in Libya and attempts to establish footholds across North Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Southeast Asia. We’ve seen attacks in Ottawa, Sydney, France and Copenhagen.
So I’ve called on the international community to unite against this scourge of violent extremism. In this fight, the United States continues to lead. When necessary to prevent attacks against our nation, we’ll take direct action against terrorists. We’ll continue to also partner with nations from Afghanistan to Nigeria to build up their security forces. We’re going to work day and night with allies and partners to disrupt terrorist networks and thwart attacks, and to smother nascent ISIL cells that may be trying to develop in other parts of the world.
This also includes remaining vigilant in protecting against attacks here in the homeland. Now, I think it’s important for us to recognize the threat of violent extremism is not restricted to any one community. Here in the United States, we’ve seen all kinds of homegrown terrorism. And tragically, recent history reminds us how even a single individual motivated by a hateful ideology with access to dangerous weapons can inflict horrendous harm on Americans. So our efforts to counter violent extremism must not target any one community because of their faith or background, including patriotic Muslim Americans who are our partners in keeping our country safe.
That said, we also have to acknowledge that ISIL has been particularly effective at reaching out to and recruiting vulnerable people around the world, including here in the United States. And they are targeting Muslim communities around the world. Numerous individuals have been arrested across the country for plotting attacks or attempting to join ISIL in Syria and Iraq. Two men apparently inspired by ISIL opened fire in Garland, Texas. And because of our success over the years in improving our homeland security, we’ve made it harder for terrorists to carry out large-scale attacks like 9/11 here at home.
But the threat of lone wolves or small cells of terrorists is complex — it’s harder to detect and harder to prevent. It’s one of the most difficult challenges that we face. And preventing these kinds of attacks on American soil is going to require sustained effort.
So I just want to repeat, the good news is that because of extraordinary efforts from law enforcement as well as our military intelligence, we are doing a better job at preventing any large-scale attacks on the homeland. On the other hand, the small, individual lone wolf attacks or small cells become harder to detect and they become more sophisticated, using new technologies. And that means that we’re going to have to pick up our game to prevent these attacks.
It’s also true why, ultimately, in order for us to defeat terrorist groups like ISIL and al Qaeda it’s going to also require us to discredit their ideology — the twisted thinking that draws vulnerable people into their ranks. As I’ve said before — and I know our military leaders agree — this broader challenge of countering violent extremism is not simply a military effort. Ideologies are not defeated with guns; they’re defeated by better ideas — a more attractive and more compelling vision.
So the United States will continue to do our part, by working with partners to counter ISIL’s hateful propaganda, especially online. We’ll constantly reaffirm through words and deeds that we will never be at war with Islam. We’re fighting terrorists who distort Islam and whose victims are mostly Muslims. But around the world, we’re also going to insist on partnering with Muslim communities as they seek security, prosperity and the dignity that they deserve. And we’re going to expect those communities to step up in terms of pushing back as hard as they can, in conjunction with other people of goodwill, against these hateful ideologies in order to discredit them more effectively, particularly when it comes to what we’re teaching young people.
And this larger battle for hearts and minds is going to be a generational struggle. It’s ultimately not going to be won or lost by the United States alone. It will be decided by the countries and the communities that terrorists like ISIL target. It’s going to be up to Muslim communities, including scholars and clerics, to keep rejecting warped interpretations of Islam, and to protect their sons and daughters from recruitment. It will be up to all people — leaders and citizens — to reject the sectarianism that so often fuels the resentments and conflicts upon which terrorists are currently thriving. It will be up to governments to address the political and economic grievances that terrorists exploit.
Nations that empower citizens to decide their own destiny, that uphold human rights for all their people, that invest in education and create opportunities for their young people — those can be powerful antidotes to extremist ideologies. Those are the countries that will find a true partner in the United States.
In closing, let me note that this Fourth of July we celebrated 239 years of American independence. Across more than two centuries, we’ve faced much bigger, much more formidable challenges than this — Civil War, a Great Depression, fascism, communism, terrible natural disasters, 9/11. And every time, every generation, our nation has risen to the moment. We don’t simply endure; we emerge stronger than before. And that will be the case here.
Our mission to destroy ISIL and to keep our country safe will be difficult. It will take time. There will be setbacks as well as progress. But as President and Commander-in-Chief, I want to say to all our men and women in uniform who are serving in this operation — our pilots, the crews on the ground, our personnel not only on the ground but at sea, our intelligence teams and our diplomatic teams — I want to thank you. We are proud of you, and you have my total confidence that you’re going to succeed.
To the American people, I want to say we will continue to be vigilant. We will persevere. And just as we have for more than two centuries, we will ultimately prevail.
Thank you very much, everybody. And thanks to the team up on the stage here with me — they’re doing an outstanding job.
Q Take a question?
THE PRESIDENT: You know what, I will take a question. Go ahead.
Q Every servicemember who is listening to you today, Mr. President, is wondering, are you going to veto the defense bills that are going to pay me? What is your latest thinking on that? Because we’ve heard secondhand through statements of policy that your advisors would threaten a veto. What’s your take, sir? Would you veto the appropriations bills?
THE PRESIDENT: Our men and women are going to get paid. And if you’ll note that I’ve now been President for six and a half years and we’ve had some wrangling with Congress in the past — our servicemembers haven’t missed a paycheck.
But what is also important in terms of our budget is making sure that we are not short-changing all the elements of American power that allow us to secure the nation and to project our power around the world. So what we’re not going to do is to accept a budget that short-changes our long-term requirements for new technologies, for readiness. We’re not going to eat our seed corn by devoting too much money on things we don’t need now and robbing ourselves of the capacity to make sure that we’re prepared for future threats.
I’ve worked very closely with the Chairman and the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop a budget that is realistic and that looks out into the future and says this is how we’re going to handle any possible contingency. And we can’t do that if we’ve got a budget that short-changes vital operations and continues to fund things that are not necessary.
We also have to remind ourselves that the reason we have the best military in the world is, first and foremost, because we’ve got the best troops in history. But it’s also because we’ve got a strong economy, and we’ve got a well-educated population. And we’ve got an incredible research operation and universities that allow us to create new products that then can be translated into our military superiority around the world. We short-change those, we’re going to be less secure.
So the way we have to look at this budget is to recognize that, A, we can’t think short term, we’ve got to think long term; and B, part of our national security is making sure that we continue to have a strong economy and that we continue to make the investments that we need in things like education and research that are going to be vital for us to be successful long term.
Q As an Army reservist, I’m curious to know if you have any plans to send any more American troops overseas right now, any additional forces.
THE PRESIDENT: There are no current plans to do so. That’s not something that we currently discussed. I’ve always said that I’m going to do what’s necessary to protect the homeland.
One of the principles that we all agree on, though, and I pressed folks pretty hard because in these conversations with my military advisors I want to make sure I’m getting blunt and unadultered [sic] uncensored advice. But in every one of the conversations that we’ve had, the strong consensus is that in order for us to succeed long-term in this fight against ISIL we have to develop local security forces that can sustain progress.
It is not enough for us to simply send in American troops to temporarily set back organizations like ISIL, but to then, as soon as we leave, see that void filled once again with extremists. It is going to be vital for us to make sure that we are preparing the kinds of local ground forces and security forces with our partners that can not only succeed against ISIL, but then sustain in terms of security and in terms of governance.
Because if we try to do everything ourselves all across the Middle East, all across North Africa, we’ll be playing Whack-a-Mole and there will be a whole lot of unintended consequences that ultimately make us less secure.
All right? Thank you. I didn’t even plan to do this. (Laughter.) You guys got two bonus questions.
Trump was born on June 14, 1946, in Queens, New York, one of five children of Mary Anne (née MacLeod) and Fred Trump, who married in 1936. His oldest brother, Fred Jr., died in 1981 at the age of 43. Trump’s mother was a Scottish immigrant, born on the Isle of Lewis, off the west coast of Scotland, and Trump’s paternal grandparents were German immigrants. His grandfather, Frederick Trump (né Friedrich Drumpf), immigrated to the United States in 1885, and became a naturalized United States citizen in 1892. Frederick married Donald’s grandmother, Elisabeth Christ (October 10, 1880 – June 6, 1966), at Kallstadt, Bavaria, Germany, on August 26, 1902. They had three children.
Trump began his career at his father’s real estate company, Elizabeth Trump and Son, which focused on middle-class rental housing in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. One of Trump’s first projects, while he was still in college, was the revitalization of the foreclosed Swifton Village apartment complex in Cincinnati, Ohio, which his father had purchased for $5.7 million in 1962. Trump became intimately involved in the project and with a $500,000 investment, turned the 1200-unit complex with a 66 percent vacancy rate to 100 percent occupancy within two years. In 1972 the Trump Organization sold Swifton Village for $6.75 million.
In 1971, Trump moved to Manhattan and became involved in larger building projects and used attractive architectural design to win public recognition. He made plans to acquire and develop the old Penn Central for $60 million with no money down. Later, with the help of a 40-year tax abatement from the New York City government, he turned the bankrupt Commodore Hotel into the Grand Hyatt and created The Trump Organization.
New York City had a plan to build the Javits Convention Center on property for which Trump held a right-to-buy option. Trump estimated his company could have completed the project for $110 million but the city rejected his offer and Trump received a broker’s fee on the sale of the property instead. Repairs on The Wollman Rink in Central Park (built in 1955) were started in 1980 with an expected 2½-year construction schedule but was nowhere near completion by 1986. Trump took over the management of the project, at no cost to the city, and completed it in three months for $1.95 million, which was $750,000 less than the initial budget.
By 1989, poor business decisions left Trump unable to meet loan payments. Trump financed the construction of his third casino, the $1 billion Taj Mahal, primarily with high-interest junk bonds. Although he shored up his businesses with additional loans and postponed interest payments, by 1991 increasing debt brought Trump to business bankruptcy and to the brink of personal bankruptcy. Banks and bond holders had lost hundreds of millions of dollars, but opted to restructure his debt to avoid the risk of losing more money in court. The Taj Mahal emerged from bankruptcy on October 5, 1991, with Trump ceding 50 percent ownership in the casino to the original bondholders in exchange for lowered interest rates on the debt and more time to pay it off.
In 2015, Forbes estimated his net worth at $4.1 billion. In June 2015, Business Insider published a June 30, 2014, financial statement supplied by Trump. The statement reflects his net worth as $8.7 billion. Of that amount, $3.3 billion is represented by “Real Estate Licensing Deals, Brand and Branded Developments”, described by Business Insider as “basically [implying] that Trump values his character at $3.3 billion”.
Beyond his traditional ventures in the real estate, hospitality, and entertainment industries and having carved out a niche for the Trump brand within these industries, Trump has since then moved on to establish the Trump name and brand in other industries and products. Trump has succeeded in marketing the Trump name on a large number of products, including Trump Financial (a mortgage firm), Trump Sales and Leasing (residential sales), Trump Restaurants (located in Trump Tower and consisting of Trump Buffet, Trump Catering, Trump Ice Cream Parlor, and Trump Bar), GoTrump (an online travel website), Donald J. Trump Signature Collection (a line of menswear, men’s accessories, and watches), Donald Trump The Fragrance (2004), Trump magazine, Trump Golf, Trump Chocolate, Trump home (home furnishings), Trump Productions (a television production company), Trump Institute, Trump The Game (1989 board game), Donald Trump’s Real Estate Tycoon (a business simulation game), Trump Books, Trump Model Management, Trump Shuttle, Trump Ice, Trump Mortgage, Trump Vodka, and Trump Steaks. In addition, Trump reportedly receives $1.5 million for each one-hour presentation he does for The Learning Annex.
In 2011, Forbes’ financial experts estimated the value of the Trump brand at $200 million. Trump disputes this valuation, saying that his brand is worth about $3 billion. Many developers pay Trump to market their properties and to be the public face for their projects. For that reason, Trump does not own many of the buildings that display his name. According to Forbes, this portion of Trump’s empire, actually run by his children, is by far his most valuable, having a $562 million valuation. According to Forbes there are 33 licensing projects under development including seven “condo hotels” (the seven Trump International Hotel and Tower developments).
In April 2011, amidst speculation whether Trump would run as a candidate in the US presidential election of 2012, Politico quoted unnamed sources close to him stating that, if Trump should decide to run for president, he would file “financial disclosure statements that [would] show his net worth [was] in excess of $7 billion with more than $250 million of cash, and very little debt.” (Presidential candidates are required to disclose their finances after announcing their intentions to run.) Although Trump did not run as a candidate in the 2012 elections, his professionally prepared 2012 financial disclosure was published in his book stating a $7 billion net worth.Estimates of Trump’s net worth have fluctuated along with real estate valuations: In 2015, Forbes listed it as $4.1 billion. On June 16, 2015, just prior announcing his candidacy for President of the United States, Trump released professionally prepared financial disclosure statements to the media stating a net worth of almost $9 billion. Some business journalists have expressed skepticism of the higher net worth estimate.
In 2011, Trump made a rare foray into the stock market after being disappointed with the depressed American real estate market and facing poor returns on bank deposits. He stated that he wasn’t a stock market person, but he also stated that prime real estate at good prices is hard to get. Among the stocks Trump purchased, he stated he bought stock in Bank of America, Citigroup, Caterpillar Inc., Intel, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble. In December 2012, Trump revealed that he also added shares of Facebook to his stock portfolio.
The USFL planned to play its 1986 schedule in the fall, directly opposite the NFL, thanks mostly to Trump’s strong advocacy of direct competition with the older, established league. Two years earlier, Trump sold most of his fellow owners on a move to the fall by arguing that it would eventually force a merger with the NFL—in which the owners of any USFL teams included in a merger would see their investment more than double.
Following the death of Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. in March 2014, Trump expressed public interest in purchasing the team. When speaking to the media, Trump has made it clear that should he purchase the team, the Bills would remain in Buffalo.Ultimately, the team was sold to Kim and Terrence Pegula in September 2014.
Turnberry Hotel, Ayrshire, Scotland
The Trump Organization operates many golf courses and resorts in the United States and around the world. On February 11, 2014, it was announced that Trump had purchased Doonbeg Golf Club in the Republic of Ireland. It was confirmed that Doonbeg Golf Club would be renamed Trump International Golf Links, Ireland. In 2006, Trump bought the Menie estate in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland creating a highly contentious golf resort. In April 2014, Trump purchased the Turnberry hotel and golf resort in Ayrshire, Scotland, which is a regular fixture in the Open Championship rota. In June 2015, Trump’s appeal objecting to an offshore windfarm (Aberdeen Bay Wind Farm) within sight of the golf links was denied.
The Miss Universe and Miss USA have been owned by Donald Trump since 1996 and are among the most recognized beauty pageants. The pageant was founded in 1952 by the California clothing company Pacific Mills. In 2015, Trump awarded the Reelz Channel exclusive rights to air the Miss Universe and Miss USA Pageants.