• World
    The Guardian

    Deployment of new US nuclear warhead on submarine a dangerous step, critics say

    First submarine to go on patrol armed with the W76-2 warhead makes a nuclear launch more likely, arm control advocates warnThe US has deployed its first low-yield Trident nuclear warhead on a submarine that is currently patrolling the Atlantic Ocean, it has been reported, in what arms control advocates warn is a dangerous step towards making a nuclear launch more likely.According to the Federation of American Scientists, the USS Tennessee – which left port in Georgia at the end of last year – is the first submarine to go on patrol armed with the W76-2 warhead, commissioned by Donald Trump two years ago.It has an explosive yield of five kilotons, a third of the power of the “Little Boy” bomb droped on Hiroshima and considerably lower than the 90 and 455 kiloton warheads on other US submarine-launched ballistic missiles.The Trump administration’s nuclear posture review (NPR) in February 2018, portrays this warhead as a counter to a perceived Russian threat to use its own “tactical” nuclear weapons to win a quick victory on the battlefield.Advocates of W76-2 argued that the US had no effective deterrent against Russian tactical weapons because Moscow assumed Washington would not risk using the overwhelming power of its intercontinental ballistic missiles in response, for fear of escalating from a regional conflict to a civilian-destroying war.The critics of the warhead say it accelerates a drift towards thinking of nuclear weapons as a means to fight and win wars, rather than as purely a deterrent of last resort. And the fielding of a tactical nuclear weapon, they warn, gives US political and military leaders a dangerous new option in confronting adversaries other than Russia.Trump’s NPR says the US could use nuclear weapons in response to “significant non-nuclear strategic attacks”, including but not limited to “attacks on US, allied or partner civilian population or infrastructure”.The US Navy and Strategic Command did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Hans Kristensen, the director of the nuclear information project at FAS, said the report on the arming of the USS Tennessee is based on briefings from officials.“We have had conversations with people inside and they’ve been pretty clear that this has happened,” Kristensen said. “They see a need to talk about it to some extent because if people don’t know it’s out there, then how can it deter?”“This is a very rapid mind quick turnaround for a nuclear weapon, and that’s obviously because it was a fairly simple adjustment of an existing warhead,” he added. “They have argued that this is to deter Russia, but it also has clear implications or potential use against other adversaries, not least North Korea and Iran.”Kristensen said: “Certainly the low-yield collateral effect that would come from this weapon would be very beneficial to a military officer who was going to advise to the president whether we should cross the nuclear threshold.”

  • Politics
    The Daily Beast

    ‘Oh God!’: Whoopi Goldberg Threatens to ‘Cut Off’ Rambling Dershowitz in Contentious Interview

    Fresh off his latest stint arguing against impeachment on the floor of the Senate, Alan Dershowitz appeared on The View via satellite from Washington, D.C. on Wednesday morning and the interview was just as insane as you may have imagined. From the start, the hosts had an unusually hard time keeping Dershowitz on track as his filibustered about the framers’ intentions and his newfound theory that the president must commit a crime to be removed from office. Asked to name one other constitutional scholar who believes that, Dershowitz began talking about, “In 1867 the dean of the Columbia Law School…” “Wait, wait, wait,” moderator Whoopi Goldberg interrupted. “In 1492, Columbus sailed the seas of blue, but listen, I need us to move on.” When he refused to move on, she told him, “Here’s the thing, Alan, you’re not going to get any time because you’ve got four people trying to ask questions. So I’m asking you to move faster.” Trevor Noah Destroys Alan Dershowitz’s Impeachment HypocrisyHe continued to press his point, arguing that scholars are only taking that position because Donald Trump is being impeached. “If Hillary Clinton were being impeached, they'd all be on my side,” he said, to which Joy Behar yelled, “That’s just baloney!” “So I'm moving you on or I'm cutting you off, one or the other is going to happen,” Goldberg added to cheers from the audience “I don't want to make this contentious but we only have several minutes.” When Dershowitz chortled in response, she said, “You're laughing. I've always been respectful to you and you've always been respectful to me. So I need to move us on.” With that, she played a clip of Dershowitz making the exact opposite argument about the necessity of a crime during the Clinton impeachment. All he could really do was make a joke about his appearance in 1998—“First of all, I want to admit one thing, I was dead wrong about my haircut”—and say that he’s “changed his mind” about a lot of things over the years. But as Sunny Hostin then pointed out, even if you did need a “crime” to convict Trump, the Government Accountability Office already determined that Trump’s decision to withhold aid to Ukraine was illegal. “They didn't say that, no, no, no,” Dershowitz said. “Sunny, I'll tell you what, let's bet $1,000 to be contributed to the peace of Israel and Palestine.” As she maintained her position, he contradicted that organization by saying, “They have no jurisdiction to conclude it's a crime. Moreover, the GAO is dead wrong. The president conducts foreign policy. He has the right to withhold funds.” By the time Dershowitz started quoting Abraham Lincoln, Goldberg could be heard groaning, “Oh god!” And all of that was before Meghan McCain got her chance to ask a question. Newt Gingrich and Whoopi Goldberg Go at It Over Trump’s ‘Lynching’ CommentsRead more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.