The Pronk Pops Show 1393, February 6, 2020, Story 1: President Trump Speaks At National Prayer Breakfast — Slams Pelosi and Romney For Using Their Faith To Justify Their Actions — Faith Based Adoption — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Acquitted Forever By Senate Takes A Well Deserved Victory Lap Over Failed Coup Attempts By Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy — Nobody Including Democrats Are Above The Law — American People Demanding The Indictments of The Conspirators — The Trump Way — Videos — Story 3: DNC Chair Demands Iowa Recheck The Vote Count and Bernie Sanders Won By More Than 8,000 — Videos

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Story 2: President Trump Acquitted Forever By Senate Takes A Well Deserved Victory Lap Over Failed Coup Attempts By Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy — Nobody Including Democrats Are Above The Law — American People Demanding The Indictments of The Conspirators — The Trump Way — Videos —

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President Trump Delivers Remarks

President Trump delivers remarks at White House | USA TODAY

‘The Five’ on Trump taking marathon victory lap after his acquittal

 

This linguist studied the way Trump speaks for two years. Here’s what she found.

Keiser Report: Canceling Debt to Avoid Economic Crisis (E1320)

Ep. 1548 David Stockman on Impeachment, the Democrats, the Fed, and More

 

Triumphant Trump lashes out ‘horrible person’ Pelosi and attacks ‘dirty cops’ in wild post-acquittal speech as he slams ‘Mueller top scum’ Russia probe and ‘evil’ impeachment as ‘all bulls**t’

  • President Trump gathered his political allies in the White House’s East Room Thursday to celebrate being acquitted on impeachment charges
  • Trump held up a copy of the Washington Post that said ‘Trump Acquitted’ in large font, saying it’s the ‘only good headline I’ve ever had in the Washington Post’ 
  • At the top of his speech, Trump called out the ‘leakers and liars’ and then name-dropped former FBI Director James Comey 
  • He bad-mouthed a number of individuals including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, GOP Sen. Mitt Romney and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff 
  • He again went after FBI lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, while also slamming Hunter Biden and former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe
  • Then Trump went around the room and complimented the Republicans who supported him, giving brief remarks about each one 
  • Trump spoke for more than an hour and didn’t use a teleprompter, though used swear words more than once 
  • ‘This is a day of celebration because we went through hell,’ Trump told the crowd, who gave him a standing ovation 

President Trump celebrated his Senate acquittal on Thursday with a freewheeling speech at the White House where he blasted the ‘vicious and mean’ Democrats, attacked ‘evil and dirty’ cops, thanked his ‘very good friends’ for their support and apologized to his family for what he put them through.

‘This is a day of celebration because we went through hell,’ he told a packed room of about 200 supporters in the East Room of the White House.

The president spoke – without the use of a teleprompter – for a little more than hour that veered back and forth between thanking his allies and blasting his enemies.

He began his remarks with his favorite hit term on the investigations into him and his presidency: ‘witch hunt.’

‘We’ve been going through this now for over three years. It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops. It was a leakers and lawyers. This should never happen to another president, ever. I don’t know that other presidents would have been able to take it,’ he said.

And he ended with an apology to his family, including young son Barron.

‘I want to apologize to my family for having them have to go through a phony, rotten deal by some very evil and sick people,’ he said. ‘And Ivanka is here, my sons, my whole family. And that includes Barron. He’s up there, he’s a young boy.’

Ivanka left her seat in the audience to come up to the podium and hug her father after his apology. First lady Melania Trump did the same.

‘I just want to thank my family for sticking through it. This was not part of the deal,’ the president said.

Trump also name-dropped those he blamed for impeaching him, re-upping his litany of attacks against the same people he has blamed since the first investigation of his presidency started.

Former FBI Director James Comey was the first opponent who came up.

‘Had I not fired James Comey – who was a disaster, by the way – it’s possible I may not have even been standing here right now,’ Trump said. ‘When I fired that sleazebag, all hell broke out,’ he later added.

He blamed the top FBI officials for his problems. ‘It was the top scum, and the FBI people don’t like the top scum,’ he said.

The president also had choice words for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, Sen. Mitt Romney, Hunter Biden, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe – and the FBI lovers, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

SCROLL DOWN TO READ TRUMP’S FREEWHEELING SPEECH IN FULL 

President Trump hoisted up a copy of the Washington Post in the East Room Thursday, marveling at the paper's good headline

President Trump hugs his daughter Ivanka Trump at his victory speech in the White House's East Room Thursday

President Trump hugs his daughter Ivanka Trump at his victory speech in the White House’s East Room Thursday

First lady Melania Trump (left) kisses President Trump (right) at the end of his speech Thursday in the East Room

First lady Melania Trump (left) kisses President Trump (right) at the end of his speech Thursday in the East Room

The president, showing off the 'Trump acquitted' headline, said he might even frame this copy of the Washington Post

President Trump addressed a crowd of allies at the White House Thursday after being acquitted by the U.S. Senate

President Trump was surrounded by his political allies at the White House Thursday as he took a victory lap on being acquitted on impeachment charges by the GOP-led Senate

President Trump went around the room and complimented his political allies, while describing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as 'vicious' and 'horrible' x

President Trump (left) had first lady Melania Trump (right) come onstage at the conclusion of his hour-long, free-wheeling speech where he talked about impeachment

Ivanka Trump (right) listens to her father President Trump (left) speak a day after the conclusion of the Senate's impeachment trial

Comey’s May 2017 firing led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller who took over the Russian interference probe.

The president referred to the Russia probe as ‘all bulls***’ to the East Room crowd.

That investigation wasn’t directly related to why Trump was impeached – over a scheme to hold up around $400 million in military aid to Ukraine in order to pressure the president to announce investigations into Joe and Hunter Biden.

Trump attacked the former vice president’s son for his work on the board of a Ukrainian gas company and for a Chinese hedge fund. He also reiterated his argument his July 25 phone call with newly-elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was perfect.

‘He’s a new president, seems like a very nice person, by the way. His whole thing was corruption. He’s going to stop corruption. We have a treaty, a signed treaty that we will work together to root out corruption in Ukraine. I probably have a legal obligation … to report corruption. They don’t even think a corrupt way son who made no money, that got thrown out of the military, that had no money at all, is working for $3 million upfront, $83,000 a month. And that’s only Ukraine. Then goes to China, picks up $1.5 billion. Then goes to Romania, I hear, and many other countries. They think that’s okay. Because, if it is, Ivanka in the audience? Boy, my kids could make a fortune,’ he said.

The East Room was filled with the president’s Republican Congressional and political allies. Lawmakers like Doug Collins, Jim Jordan, Elise Stefanik and Matt Gaetz, who all vocally defended the president during the House impeachment investigation. GOP senators who voted to acquit him were there too, including Chuck Grassley, Mike Lee and, of course, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Trump had personalized shout outs for many of them:

  • Mitch McConnell: ‘Great guy. Great guy. He’s a tough guy to read. I’m good at reading people. A tough guy to read.’
  • Jim Jordan: ‘When I first got to know Jim I said, “Huh, never wears a jacket. What the hell is going on?” He’s obviously very proud of his body. And they say where he works out with the congressmen, senators, they say when Jim works out, even though he’s not as young as he was, when he works out, the machine starts burning.’
  • Steve Scalise: ‘He got whacked, my Steve. Right? I went to the hospital with our great first lady that night. Right, honey? We saw a man who was not going to make it. He was not going to make it. The doctor — I told him, his wife, I said, “She loves you.” “Why did you say that?” Because she was devastated. A lot of wives wouldn’t give a damn.’ 
  • Elise Stefanik: ‘I didn’t realize, when she opens that mouth, you were killing them, Elise! You were killing them!’
  • John Ratcliffe: ‘If we were doing a remake of “Perry Mason,” the man I get — there is nobody in Hollywood like this.’ 
  • Matt Gaetz: ‘Sometimes controversial, but actually he’s not controversial. He’s solid as a rock and a friend of mine.’ 

The president’s impeachment legal team came in the room before Trump and was greeted with a standing ovation from the audience and shouts of ‘Bravo!’ 

Trump, too, was greeted by a crowd on its feet.

He held up a copy of the Washington Post in triumph as his supporters cheered him on.

‘It was the only good headline I’ve ever had in the Washington Post,’ Trump said, showing off a newspaper with the words ‘Trump acquitted’ in large typeface across the front. Trump said he might even frame it.

President Trump and Melania Trump leaving after his remarks

IN THE AUDIENCE: Reps. Doug Collins (center) and Elise Stefanik (right) were invited to attend Thursday's White House address by President Trump. Both lawmakers defended him during the impeachement saga

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives at President Trump's East Room address Thursday

During the speech, the president praised certain Republican lawmakers who defended him, including Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York

Rep. Matt Gaetz is seen entering the Whtie House's East Room Thursday prior to President Trump addressing the nation on his impeachment acquittal

Rep. Matt Gaetz stands as he is acknowledged by President Trump during a speech that lasted longer than an hour

Rep. Matt Gaetz stands as he is acknowledged by President Trump during a speech that lasted longer than an hour

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham (center) greets Rep. Matt Gaetz (left) in the White House's East Room on Thursday

Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee who loudly defended President Trump during the impeachment hearings, wore a 'Quit, Mitt' button to the White House Thursday

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway chats with White House guests before President Trump appeared in the East Room Thursday

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is photographed in the East Room before the president delivered remarks

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is photographed in the East Room before the president delivered remarks

Republican political allies filed the White House's audience Thursday including (from left) Rep. Mark Meadows, Sen. Bill Cassidy, Sen. Mike Lee, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Devin Nunes. Nunes is Rep. Adam Schiff's GOP counterpart in the House Intelligence Committee

First daughter and White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump reacts to her father's speech in the White House's East Room Thursday

Attendees of President Trump's East Room speech included (from left) second lady Karen Pence, Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Attorney General Bill Barr

Attendees of President Trump’s East Room speech included (from left) second lady Karen Pence, Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Attorney General Bill Barr

 

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham previewed the president's remarks on Fox News Channel Thursday morning

He had nicer things to say about those in the room.

TRUMP SHOUT OUTS

The president offered his thanks to many people during his remarks:

Melania Trump

Ivanka Trump

His sons and specifically Barron

Attorneys Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow

Sen. Tim Scott

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Rep. Jim Jordan

Rep. Elise Stefanik

Rep. Mark Meadows

Rep. Doug Collins

Sen. Kelly Loeffler

Sen. Josh Hawley

Sen. Chuck Grassley

Rep. Louie Gohmert

Sen. Mike Braun

Sen. Bill Cassidy

Sen. John Barasso

Sen. Mike Lee

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy

Sen. Kelly Armstrong

Rep. Jim Banks

Rep. Andy Biggs

Abraham Lincoln

Rep. Matt Gaetz

Rep. Debbie Lesko

Gov. Ron DeSantis

Rep. Mike Johnson

Rep. Devin Nunes

Rep. John Ratliffe

Rep. Steve Scalise

Matt Schlapp

Rep. Bradley Byrne

Rep. Scott Perry

Lee, a Republican senator from Utah, got some attention from the president, in part because Lee’s counterpart, Sen. Mitt Romney, had voted alongside Democrats on voting in support of one article of impeachment.

Trump told Lee to deliver a message to the people of Utah: ‘Tell them I’m sorry about Mitt Romney.’

‘We can say, by far, Mike Lee is the most popular senator in the state,’ Trump said.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee who also loudly backed the president during impeachment hearings, was spotted wearing a ‘quit Mitt’ button to the White House event.

Trump complimented another Judiciary Committee member, Rep. John Ratcliffe, for being straight out of Central Casting.

‘If we’re doing a remake of Perry Mason,’ he said, nodding at Ratcliffe. ‘There’s nobody in Hollywood like this.’

The president also suggested that Rep. Steve Scalise became more attractive after recovering from a gun shot wound.

‘You weren’t that good looking,’ Trump said. ‘You look good now.’

The president also talked of Scalise’s wife’s devotion to the Louisiana Republican, as Trump had met her when her husband was in the emergency room.

‘A lot of wives wouldn’t give a damn,’ Trump remarked.

Trump also made colorful comments about Rep. Jim Jordan, another prominent defender.

‘When I first got to know Jim I said, heh, he never wears a jacket, he’s obviously very proud of his body,’ the president said.

Jordan was a collegiate wrestling champion and later a college-level coach.

The Ohio Republican did wear a jacket to Trump’s speech Thursday.

Trump also asked lawmakers to stand up if they had something to say.

That prompted retiring Rep. Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican, to briefly stand and say, ‘This reflection today is a small reflection of the support you have.’

‘We got your back,’ Meadows said.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told a Fox News Channel audience Thursday what to expect from his remarks – that the president had previewed himself when he slammed Pelosi and Romney at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning.

‘He is going to be honest,’ Grisham told Fox News, ‘going to speak with honesty and with humility and he and the family went through a lot. I think he’s also going to talk about just how horribly he was treated and, you know, that maybe people should pay for that.’

PEOPLE DONALD TRUMP CRITICIZED

The president also criticized many people in his speech:

Sen. Mitt Romney

Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Rep. Adam Schiff

Rep. Jerry Nadler

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Former FBI director James Comey

Former Sen. Claire McCaskill

Hunter Biden

Lisa Page

Peter Strzok

Andrew McCabe

Christopher Steele

Bob Mueller

Sen. Chuck Schumer

Hillary Clinton

‘People should be held accountable,’ she added.

The president went after Pelosi and Romney for using their faith to justify their actions in the impeachment process during his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast.

And, in his remarks later that day in the East Wing, he stood by what he said at the breakfast.

‘I had Nancy Pelosi sitting four seats away and I’m saying things that a lot of people wouldn’t have said, but I meant everything. I meant every word of it,’ he said.

At the breakfast, the president did not mention the two by name but his meaning was clear.

‘I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong. Nor do I like people who say I pray for you when they know that’s not so. So many people have been hurt, and we can’t let that go on. I will be discussing that a little bit later at the White House,’ he said.

Romney was the lone Republican to find Trump guilty on one article of impeachment: abuse of power. He said in his remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday that it was his faith – Romney is a devout Mormon – that led him to that decision.

Pelosi, a devout Catholic, has repeatedly said she prays for the president. She was seated at the head table during Trump’s remarks and shook her head at one point during them. She pursed her lips a few times as he spoke. The speaker launched the impeachment inquiry into the president in September.

Back at the White House, Trump had no problem uttering Pelosi’s name. He called her a ‘vicious horrible person’ and said that Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and one of the Democrats’ House impeachment managers, was a ‘horrible person.’

‘She may pray, but she prays for the opposite,’ Trump said of the speaker.

At the prayer breakfast, the president admitted he was having trouble liking his political enemies now that his impeachment trial is over.

‘We are grateful to the people of this room for the lovely show to religion, not one religion, but many religions. They are brave, they are brilliant, they are fighters, they like people and sometimes they hate people. I’m sorry. I apologize. I am trying to learn. Not easy. It’s not easy. When they impeach you for nothing, and you’re supposed to like them, it’s not easy, folks. I do my best,’ he said.

Donald Trump slammed Nancy Pelosi and Mitt Romney for using their faith to justify their actions in the impeachment trial and inquiry

Donald Trump slammed Nancy Pelosi and Mitt Romney for using their faith to justify their actions in the impeachment trial and inquiry

Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat on the opposite of the head table from President Trump

Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat on the opposite of the head table from President Trump

Speaker Pelosi sat grimed during President Trump's remarks

Speaker Pelosi sat grimed during President Trump’s remarks

President Trump addressed impeachment at the top of his remarks

Trump was acquitted on both articles of impeachment by the Senate on Wednesday, bringing to a close the fourth month, contentious process that led to a new level of bitter relations between the White House and congressional Democrats.

Harvard professor Arthur Brooks, in his key note address at the breakfast, urged those present not to hold political enemies in contempt, but to do as Jesus preached and ‘love your enemies.

‘I don’t know if I agree with you,’ Trump said to Brooks when it was his turn to speak. And then he proceeded to launch his attacks on Pelosi and Romney.

The president addressed the impeachment inquiry at the top of his remarks and, earlier, had triumphantly held up newspaper headlines announcing his acquittal. The audience cheered his move.

‘My family, our great country and your president has been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people. They have done everything possible to destroy us and by so doing, very badly hurt our nation,’ Trump said.

‘They know what they are doing is wrong but they put themselves far ahead of our great country. Weeks ago and again yesterday, courageous Republican politicians and leaders had the wisdom, fortitude, and strength to do what everyone knows was right,’ he added.

The president and the speaker were meeting for the first time since the impeachment verdict at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning.

Trump walked to the head table to applause and held up the front pages of USA Today and The Washington Post with their oversized headlines proclaiming his acquittal by the Senate.

‘Acquitted’ read USA Today. ‘Trump Acquitted’ was the Washington Post’s headline.

Pelosi stood and clapped as President Trump entered the room. She simply looked on as he displayed the newspapers declaring him acquitted.

President Trump waved around a USA Today headline proclaiming his acquittal on impeachment

President Trump waved around a USA Today headline proclaiming his acquittal on impeachment

He also waved the Washington Post front page

Speaker Pelosi spoke before President Trump at the breakfast

Speaker Pelosi led a prayer for the poor

Both the president and the speaker were seated at the head table but on opposite sides of the podium.

They did not interact.

Trump shook hands with his side of the head table when he entered the 68th Annual National Prayer Breakfast and did not walk over to the other side of the podium, where the vice president and the speaker were seated.

Pelosi spoke first, leading a prayer for the poor. The president head bowed during her prayer. He did not applaud when she was done.

Vice President Mike Pence, when he arrived ahead of the president, shook hands with the speaker and sat a few chairs down from her.

Several members of Congress and members of the president’s Cabinet attended the annual breakfast.

‘The lord works in mysterious ways. I do not think he could have picked a better day to bring us all together,’ House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said in his prayer.

The president thanked McCarthy and the breakfast hosts in his opening remarks.

Mitt Romney cited his faith as the reason for his guilty vote on Trump

‘Had failed presidential candidate @MittRomney devoted the same energy and anger to defeating a faltering Barack Obama as he sanctimoniously does to me, he could have won the election,’ the president tweeted.

Romney cited his faith as one of the reasons for his guilty vote. He voted to acquit the president on the second charge: obstruction of Congress.

‘The allegations made in the articles of impeachment are very serious. As a senator juror, I swore an oath before god to exercise impartial justice. I am profoundly religious. My faith is at the heart of who I am. I take an oath before god as enormously consequential. I knew from the outset that being tasked with judging the president, the leader of my own party would be the most difficult decision I have ever faced,’ Romney said.

And the Republican senator from Utah acknowledged he expected to feel the president’s wrath for his decision.

‘I’m aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters I will be vehemently denounced. I’m sure to hear abuse from the president and his supporters. Does anyone seriously believe that I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before god demanded it of me?,’ he said.

It was also the first time Trump and Pelosi met since Tuesday’s State of the Union address when Trump refused to shake her hand at its beginning and she ripped up the text of his remarks at its conclusion.

After the president finished giving his annual address Tuesday night, Pelosi stood up and ripped the pages in half, dropping them on her desk.

The extraordinary clash between the two started when with Trump snubbed Pelosi’s outstretched hand after he came into the House chamber.

Trump handed Pelosi a copy of his speech when he reached the speaker’s dais – the same place she presided over his impeachment vote two months ago – but simply turned away as the Speaker took her copy of his speech, then stood in front of a chamber which echoed with cries of ‘four more years’ from Republicans – and where Democrats sat stone-faced.

Pelosi was visibly taken aback after Trump turned away from her offer.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped apart her copy of President Trump's State of the Union address after he finished speaking on Tuesday night

Earlier, Trump delivered an astonishing snub to Nancy Pelosi as he started his State of the Union speech Tuesday, ignoring her as she offered him a handshake

Earlier, Trump delivered an astonishing snub to Nancy Pelosi as he started his State of the Union speech Tuesday, ignoring her as she offered him a handshake

After the Senate acquitted the president on Wednesday, Pelosi said after the vote that the president remains a ‘threat’ that the House will continue to combat through its lawsuits against the administration and with the public.

‘Sadly, because of the Republican Senate’s betrayal of the Constitution, the President remains an ongoing threat to American democracy, with his insistence that he is above the law and that he can corrupt the elections if he wants to. The House will continue to protect and defend the checks and balances in the Constitution that safeguard our Republic, both in the courts of law and in the court of public opinion,’ she said in a statement.

DONALD TRUMP REMARKS ON IMPEACHMENT ACQUITTAL

Well, thank you very much.

Thank you. Thank you.

Wow.

Well, thank you very much, everybody. Wow. We’ve all been through a lot together. And we probably deserved that hand for all of us, because it’s been a very unfair situation. I invited some of our very good friends, and we have limited room, but everybody wanted to come. Kept it down to a minimum. Believe it or not, this is a minimum. But a tremendous thing was done over the last number of months. Really, if you go back to it, over the last number of years. We had the witch hunt, it started from the day we came down the elevator. Myself and our future first lady, who is with us right now.

Thank you, Melania.

And it never really stopped. We’ve been going through this now for over three years. It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops. It was a leakers and lawyers. This should never happen to another president, ever. I don’t know that other presidents would have been able to take it. Some people said no, they wouldn’t have. But I can tell you, at a minimum, you have to focus on this because it can get away very quickly, no matter who you have with you. It can get away very quickly. It was a disgrace. Had I not fired James Comey, who was a disaster, by the way, it’s possible I wouldn’t even be standing here right now. We caught him in the act. Dirty cops. Bad people. If this happened to President Obama, a lot of people would have been in jail for a long time already. Many, many years. I want to start by thanking some of — I call them friends because, you know, you develop friendships and relationships when you are in battle and in war, much more so than, “Gee, let’s have a normal situation.” With all we’ve gone through, I think we’ve done more than any president in any administration. Really, I say, for the most part, Republican congressmen and congresswomen and Republican senators — we’ve done more than any administration in the first few years. You look at all the things we’ve done. I watched this morning as they tried to take credit for the stock market.

Think of that. Let me tell you, if we didn’t win, the stock market would have crashed. The market was going up a lot before the election because it was looking like we had a good chance to win. It went up tremendously from the time we won the election to the time we took office, which was November 8th until January 20th. That’s our credit, that’s all our credit. Leading up to that point was our credit, because there was hope. One of the reasons the stock market has gone up so much in the last few days is people think we are doing so well. They liked the state of the union speech.

It really is, it’s a true honor. Making the state of the union speech, I was with some people who have been around. They’ve been all over the world. One of them is a highly sophisticated person. They said, “You know, no matter where you go in the world, it doesn’t make any difference. There is nothing like what I witnessed tonight. The beauty, the majesty of the chamber. The power of the United States. The power of the people in this room.” Really, amazing. I don’t think there’s anything like that anywhere in the world. You can go to any other country, any other location, any other place. It’s the beauty of everything. It’s what it represents, and how it represents our country. I want to start by introducing some of the people that are here. I know some are going to be left out, but they work so hard. And this is really not a news conference, it’s not a speech. It’s not anything, it’s just — we are sort of — it’s a celebration. Because we have something that just worked out. I mean, it worked out. We went through hell unfairly, did nothing wrong.

Did nothing wrong. I’ve done things wrong in my life, I will admit.

Not purposely, but I’ve done things wrong. This is what the end result is.

So… [holds up front page of The Washington Post] You can take that home. Honey, maybe we’ll frame it. The only good headline I’ve ever had on “The Washington post.”

But every paper is the same. Does anybody have those papers does anybody have them? They are like that. So I appreciate that. But some of the people here have been incredible warriors. They are warriors. There’s nothing from a legal standpoint — this is a political thing. Every time I say, “This is unfair, let’s go to court,” they say, “Sir, you can’t go to court, this is politics.” We were treated unbelievably unfairly. You have to understand, we first went through “Russia, Russia, Russia.” It was all bullshit.

We then went through the Mueller report. And they should have come back one day later. They didn’t, they came back two years later after lives were ruined. After people went bankrupt. After people lost all their money. People went to Washington to help other people. Bright eyed and bushy tail, they say they came, one or two or three people in particular. But many people, we had a rough campaign.

It was nasty. One of the nastiest, they say. They say Andrew Jackson was always the nastiest campaign. They actually said we topped it. It was nasty both in the primaries and in the election. But you see, we thought after the election it would stop. But it didn’t stop, it just started. Tremendous corruption. Tremendous corruption. So, we had a campaign — little did we know we were running against some very, very bad and evil people with fake dossiers, with all of these horrible, dirty cops that took these dossiers and did bad things. They knew all about it. The FISA courts, should be ashamed of themselves. It’s a very tough thing. And we ended up winning on the “Russia, Russia, Russia.” It should have taken the one day, it took years. Then Bob Mueller testified. That didn’t work out so well for the oversight.

But they should have said that first week, because it came out. Is that right, Jim Jordan? They knew the first two days, actually. Is that right? They knew we were totally innocent. But they kept it going, mark. The kept it going forever. Because they wanted to inflict political pain on somebody that — I had just won an election, a lot of people were surprised. We had polls that said we were going to win. We have the “Los Angeles times” were going to win. But it was going to be close. We did win. It was one of the greatest wins of all time. And they said, “Okay, he won.” I wrote this down because that was where a thing called an insurance policy — to me, when I saw the insurance policy, and that was done long before the election.

It was done when we thought Hillary Clinton was going to win. By the way, Hillary Clinton and the DNC paid for millions. Millions of dollars, the fake dossier. Now Christopher Steele admits that it’s a fake. Because he got sued by rich people. I should have sued him, too. But when you are president, people don’t like suing. I want to thank my legal team, by the way.

Not for that advice, but for other.

Pat, Jay, you guys, stand up.

Great job. Right at the beginning, they said, “Sir, you have nothing to worry about. All of the facts on your side.” I said, “You don’t understand, that doesn’t matter. That doesn’t matter.” And that was really true. They made up facts. A corrupt politician named Adam Schiff made up my statement to the Ukrainian president. He brought it out of thin air, just made it up. They say he’s a screenwriter, a failed screenwriter. Unfortunately he went into politics after that.

Remember, he said the statement? “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.” I didn’t say that. Fortunately for all of us here today and for our country, we had transcripts. We had transcribers, professional transcribers. Then they said, “Oh, well, maybe the transcription is not correct.” But Lieutenant Colonel Vindman and his twin brother, right? We had some people, really amazing. But we did everything. We said, “What’s wrong with that,” they didn’t at this word or that word. It didn’t matter. “At it.

They’re probably wrong, but added ” now everybody agrees they were perfectly accurate. Tim Scott — I don’t know if Tim is here, but he said, “Are –” he was the first want to call me. “Sir, I read the transcript. You did nothing wrong.” And, Mitch, he stayed there right from the beginning. He never changed. Mitch Mcconnell, I want to tell you. You did a fantastic job.

Somebody said, “You know, Mitch is quiet.” I said, “He’s not quiet. He’s not quite.”

He doesn’t want people to know him. And they said, “Is Mitch smart?” And I said, “Well, let’s put it this way. For many, many years, a lot of very smart — bad, in many cases, sometimes good — people have been trying to take his place. To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never even heard the subject come up, because they’ve been wiped out so fast.”

This guy is great and I appreciate Mitch. He has also given us 191, now. 191 federal judges. Two supreme court judges. Up to 191. Great guy. Great guy. He’s a tough guy to read. I’m good at reading people. A tough guy to read. I told him – my wife would say, “How do you do with Mitch?” And I’d say, “Uh, I don’t know.”

That’s what makes them good, when you can read somebody. Fantastic job. He understood right from the beginning this was crooked politics. This was crooked politics. How about all these people? They are running for office. They are saying the worst things about me, like eight senators on the democratic side. Most of them got wiped out. They got 1% or less. Most of them got less. They decided to go home. “Let’s go back to California. Let’s go back to –” wherever they came from. “Go back to New York.” How about that? Our New York Senator, Gillibrand. “Let’s go back to New York.” After they get nothing. Then they take an oath that they will be fair, that they will be reasonable come all the different things. They are not fair. But here’s the beauty, we have four left. They are saying the most horrendous things about me. It’s okay, it’s politics. And then they are supposed to vote! On me! They are trying to replace me, and then they are supposed to be voting. So I think — I mean, I think it’s incredible. So, Mitch, I want to thank you very much. Incredible. We have some of your folks here, they are incredible people. They’ve been great from the beginning. Again, you are out of session, unfortunately. I only told these folks, “Let’s do this today.” We did a prayer breakfast this morning. I thought that was really good. In fact, it was so good, it wiped us out. By the time we finished, this will wipe that one outcome of those statements.

I had Nancy Pelosi sitting four seats away and I’m saying things that a lot of people wouldn’t have said, but I meant everything.

I meant every word of it. We have some of the folks that are going to be leaving right after this. They work hard, and they did work hard. Though Bill Cassidy, senator, stand up, Bill. What a guy.

Great man. When I need to know about health insurance and pre-existing conditions and individual mandates, I called Bill.

Or I call Barrasso. Those two guys, they know more than anybody. A man who just became a senator. He’s a little bit like me. We have a couple of them. Very successful guy in business, and he said, “What the hell? I’ll run for the senate,” from Indiana. And he ran. I saw him on television, destroying his opponent in a debate. I said, “This guy could win.” I got behind him, and Mike Braun, you have done some great job. Thank you very much.

Tough! A man who got James Comey to choke. And he was just talking in his regular voice. He’s the roughest man — she’s actually an unbelievable — and I appreciate the letter you sent me today. I just got it. He’s got this voice that scares people.

You know, people from Iowa can be very tough. We are doing very well in Iowa, but I tell you, Chuck Grassley. “You tell me, what did you say,” he wasn’t being rough, that’s just the way he talked.

That’s when — I think that’s when Comey announced he was leaking, lying and everything else. He choked! Because he never heard anybody talk like that. I wish you got angry, you could have gotten the whole ball game. He would have said, “I give up!” Chuck Grassley is an incredible guy.

And a man who — you know, he was running against a tough, smart campaigner. We learned how good she was, right? She was a great campaigner. In fact, by the end of the campaign, I thought she was more for me than you were, Josh.

I was worried. She was saying the greatest things about me. You know I’m talking about I went to a great place, Missouri. And I said, “Who do you have to beat her?” And they said, “Well, we have four people.” I said, “Let me see them.” Can you imagine can make I’m interviewing people for the United States senate, this is what I do. Where have I gone? But I love it. We get great people. The first when I met with Josh Hawley. After about 10 minutes and said to the people, “Don’t show me anybody else, this is the guy.” He was the attorney general, ditto phenomenal job in the state. Highly respected. And Claire Mccaskill. The theory was you couldn’t beat her. Great campaign-the art. Remember last campaign, she was always going be taken up. People say, “How did that happen chemicals go it didn’t happen with him. I’m putting this in the archives is 1 of the best ads I’ve ever made. She tried to convince people we are best friends, but Josh ended up winning by five or six points. You are unbelievable, you were tough, and you are something. One of the greatest supporters of the impeachment hoax with Josh Hawley. He was incensed, actually. He was incensed at what they were doing and what they were doing. I had some who said, “I wish you didn’t make a call,” and that’s okay. If they need that. It’s incorrect. It’s totally incorrect. And you have some who used religion as a crutch. They never used it before… An article written today, “Never heard him use it before.” But today, it’s one of those things. It’s a failed presidential candidate, so things can happen when you fail so badly running for president.

But Josh Hawley, I want to thank you. You were right from the beginning. Man, did I make a good choice. Thank you, Josh. Tremendous future. A man who is brilliant, and who actually was deceived, to an extent. Comes from a great state, Utah, where my poll numbers have gone through the roof. And one of the senators’ poll numbers — not this one — went down big.

You saw that, Mike? Mike Lee is a brilliant guy. He’s difficult.

Whenever — we do sign a lot of legislation, it’s big and it’s powerful, but it sort of — everybody has to approve it. I see 99 to one. 99 to one. I say, “Don’t tell me who’s the one.”

“Is it Mike?” “Yes.”

And he always has a good reason for it, too come by the way but he is, he’s incredible. Right at the beginning, he knew we were right, Mike. I appreciate it very much. Fantastic. Say hello to the people of Utah, and tell them I’m sorry about Mitt Romney. I’m sorry. Okay?

We can say that Mike Lee is by far the most popular senator from the state. But you’ve done a fantastic job, Mike. In many ways. In many ways. A young woman who I didn’t know at all, but she has been so supportive. And I’ve had great support from other people in that state. She has been so supportive, and she has been downright nasty and mean about the unfairness to the president. Kelly Loeffler, I appreciate it very much. Thank you.

She started very early on. We have — I don’t know if we have other senators here, but we’ve got a hell of a lot of congressmen. I will go over them quickly. They’ve also been — it helped when we won, 197 to nothing. That’s got to be a first, Kevin, right? Is that, like, a first? Republicans have this image. I say Democrats are lousy politicians because they have lousy policy. Open borders, sanctuary cities. They have horrible policy. Who the hell can — oh, the new policy is raise taxes. They want to raise taxes. All my life, I wasn’t in politics, but I would say if you are a politician you say you want to lower taxes. They want to raise taxes. They have open borders, sanctuary cities, Reeser and Brady’s taxes, get rid of everybody’s health care, 180 million people in the United States — and they are really happy. And we are going to give you health care the cost more money if the country could make in 30 years if it does really well. That’s one year. I always said, they are. They do two things. They are vicious and mean. Vicious. These people are vicious. Adam Schiff is a vicious, horrible person. Nancy Pelosi is a horrible person. And she wanted to impeach a long time ago. When she said, “I pray for the president, I prefer the president.” She doesn’t pray. She may pray, but pray for the opposite.

They don’t pray at all. They do vicious — they stick to give it prehistorically. I’m not talking about now. They stick together like glue. That’s how they impeached, because they had whatever the numbers — 220 people. So they don’t lose anybody. They will be able to impeach anybody. You could be George Washington, you could have just won the war, and they would say, “Let’s get him out of office.

“They stuck together and they are vicious as hell. And they will probably come back for more, but they may not, because the Republican party’s poll numbers, Mitch, have now gone up more than any time, I think, since 2004 or 2005. You know what happened then. But in normal times, decades, you would call it — that was an unusual time. It was for a very short period. The Republican party’s poll numbers — and Donald Trump’s poll numbers of the highest I’ve ever had.

It’s no way to get your poll numbers up. Because from my family’s standpoint, it’s been very unfair for my family. It’s been very unfair to the country. Think of it. A phone call. A very good phone call. I know bad phone calls. This is a phone call where Merritt don’t like many people

— I think Mike Pompeo was probably on the call. Many people were on the call. They even have “Apprenti come” bring up a favorite word of my current apprentice. They have apprenti on this call. There many people. In the case of Ukraine, he’s a new president, seems like a very nice person, by the way. His whole thing was corruption. He’s going to stop corruption. We have a treaty, a signed treaty that we will work together to root out corruption in Ukraine. I probably have a legal obligation, Mr. Attorney, to report corruption. They don’t even think a corrupt way son who made no money, that got thrown out of the military, that had no money at all, is working for $3 million upfront, $83,000 a month. And that’s only Ukraine.

Then goes to China, picks up $1.5 billion. Then goes to Romania, I hear, and many other countries. They think that’s okay. Because, if it is, Ivanka in the audience? Boy, my kids could make a fortune.

It’s corrupt. But it’s not even that, it’s just general corruption. The other thing is mentioned in the call. Something I’ve told Mike Pence, our great vice president. I would tell him all the time, and I told him when he went on the trip. Because he was over there. He never mentioned anything about this, when you hide your meeting. It’s a terrible thing. I told Mike, I said, “Mike, we are giving them money, and you are always torn about that because we have our country to build. We have our cities to build and our roads to fix. But we are giving the money. Tell me, why isn’t Germany paying money? Why isn’t Frantz? Why isn’t the United Kingdom paying money? What aren’t they paying money? Why are we paying money? Is that the correct statement to find out what the hell is going on.” I told that all my people come on B. Asked that question. Why isn’t Germany paying? Why is the United States always the sucker?” Because we are a bunch of suckers. But that’s turning around fast. But it makes it harder when stuff like this happens. Because you want to focus, and you want to focus perfectly. Think we could have done, if the same energy was put into infrastructure, prescription drug prices. Think of what we could have done. And I’m now talking both sides. Think of what we could have done if we had the same genus. Because it’s genius. I will say, it’s genius on the other side. Maybe even more so, because they took nothing and brought me to a final vote of impeachment.

That’s a very ugly word to me. It’s a very dark word, very ugly. They took nothing. They took that phone call that was a totally appropriate call — I call it a perfect call, because it was — and they brought me to the final stages of impeachment. But now we have that gorgeous word. I never thought a word would sound so good. It’s called, “Total acquittal.” Total acquittal.

So, I want to come if I could real fast , just introduce a few of the people. I have to start with Kevin. Man, did you do a job. Lucky you are there. It wouldn’t have worked out. If you don’t have the right people, I tell you, Kevin McCarthy has done an incredible job. He loves his job, he loves his country. I’ll tell you what, Mitch and Kevin, they love what they do. Mitch wouldn’t even tell you he liked it.

Mitch, do you like it? “I don’t know.”

He’s the greatest poker player, right? And Kevin would say, “I love it.” Right? And I will say, you are going to be Speake of the house because of this impeachment hoax. And I’m going to work hard on it.

I’m going to try to get out to those trump areas that we won by a lot. You know, in ’18, we didn’t win back. We just won two seats in North Carolina. Two wonderful seats in North Carolina that were not supposed to be won. But I went and I made speeches, and we had rallies, and we did a great job and we won. We took two seats, nobody writes about that.

If we had lost them they would have been the biggest stories of the year. We are going to go, we are going to do a job, and we are going to enact a lot of seats. People are very angry that Nancy Pelosi and all of these guys — Nadler, I’ve known and much of my life. He has fought me in New York for 25 years. I always beat him. I had to beat him another time, and I will probably have to beat him again. If they find I happened to walk across the street and maybe go against the light or something, “Let’s impeach him!”

So I’ll probably have to do it again, because these people have gone stone cold crazy. But I’ve beaten him all my life and I will beat him again if I have to.

But what they are doing is very unfair. Very unfair. So, Kevin McCarthy has been great. So, a few names, right? If you want, you can raise and I will say, “Great, love to have you, wonderful.” But we will do the best we can. I have Mike evident but my cabin is different, I appoint them. I didn’t see all of them helping so much. They were running there, various bureaucracies. My cabinet is great and they are all here, but today is the day to celebrate these great warriors. They are great warriors, they really fought hard with us. Kelly Armstrong, North Dakota. Kelly, thank you, great job.

Jim Banks of Indiana. Jim, thank you, great job.

Andy Biggs. Where is Andy? Boy, oh, boy, Andy.

There’s a guy. He’s tough. I hear we are doing well in Arizona, huh? Going good, yeah? I saw a poll that was very good. For me. I think Martha is going to do — we have some states that are going to be not easy, but Arizona has been great and we are stopping illegal aliens from coming in.

We are putting up walls. New Mexico, too, the state that’s never been in play for Republicans, is totally in play. Nevada is really looking good. We are doing well. We are going to have a great — there is more spirit. I will say this, there is more spirit now for the Republican Party, by far, than the Democrats. Mike pence just got back from a place, a beautiful place that Chuck Grassley knows well. Iowa. And he was talking about this fiasco, the Democrats — they can’t count some simple votes, and yet they want to take over your health care system. Think of that. We also had an election out there, we got 98% of the vote. Have two people running, you know. I guess to consider them nonpeople, but they are running. One of them was the governor. One was a congressman. They are running. We’ve got 98% of the vote, and everybody from the media was saying, “Who are those crowds over there?” They expected to be competitive for everybody’s running because they want to enact. And it was Trump. Right, Mark Meadows? It was Trump. This was the trump crowd. Actually, a lot of my guys went there. They went to Iowa, and a lot of friends went there. They say the spirit for the Republican party right now is stronger, I think, than it’s ever been in the history of our country.

I think it’s stronger than it’s ever been. And that includes honest Abe Lincoln. A lot of people forget, Abe Lincoln — I wish you were here, I give him one hell of an introduction.

But he was a Republican. Abe Lincoln, honest Abe. Bradley Byrne, Alabama. What a great place.

Thank you, Bradley. A man who has been an unbelievable friend of mine and spokesman, and somebody who I really like.

And I know, Kelly, you are going to end up liking him a lot. Something’s going to happen that’s very good, I don’t know. I haven’t figured out yet. But Doug Collins. Where is he?

You have been so great. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you. Really, an amazing job. A young man who is born with a great gene, because I know his father and how great a politician he was. He’s from Florida. Sometimes controversial, but actually he’s not controversial. He’s solid as a rock and a friend of mine, Matt Gaetz. Thank you, Matt.

Great job. All right. This guy. So, he is the NCAA wrestling champion when he was in college a couple years ago. That’s a big deal. That means in all of college, you are a champ. You the best. His record was ridiculous, nobody could beat him. I see it, every time I see it. When I first get to know him, Jim Jordan, when I first got to know Jim I said, “Huh, never wears a jacket. What the hell is going on?”

He’s obviously very proud of his body.

And they say where he works out with the congressmen, senators, they say when Jim works out, even though he’s not as young as he was, when he works out, the machine starts burning. It’s a different form of a workout event us, right, sonny? There he is, look at that guy. One day and looking, he looks tough. I’m looking at those years. And I say, “Those years have something going on there.” I said, “Did you ever wrestle?” “I did.” He doesn’t talk, but I checked. This guy was a champion top wrestler.

When I had the top — I had all of the teams. By the way, your super bowl champions are coming. I think next week, or soon. Very soon. Every one of them want to be here. The coach loves us. The coach is great. Andy Reid.

Every one of them want to be here. People love it. But we had all of the NCAA championship teams here. They had the golf, the basketball, they had every team here. And one of the teams was wrestling. The wrestling team. Was that Penn state? And Penn state won the title, they have a great team. I walked up with Jim, and it’s like I didn’t exist.

Those wrestlers, they grabbed him, they love Jim Jordan, and we love you, too. Because you are some warrior.

A woman who became — we have a couple of women that became stars. You two. I always like the name, Lesko.” I so that face, I had the cards, seven opponents. You have no idea how much the public appreciates how smart, how sharp you are. This, I can’t tell. They just said, “You know, she’s really good, she’s really talented.” I said, “Let’s go.” We worked with her, she won her race. Tough race. It’s no longer tough. What she does out there is incredible. Arizona loves her. But you are so incredible, representing — I don’t see me, representing our country and getting us out of this impeachment hoax. We did was incredible. So, Debbie, please stand up. Debbie Lesko.

A man who I became very friendly with. I don’t know why. You ever have it where — I’ll ask the media. Certain people call, you take the calls. Other people call, if they don’t have information, they won’t take anybody’s call. Both are people call, and this is a guy who — he’s just a very special guy. His wife, I actually like better than him, to be honest.

Because he doesn’t know that I know that he didn’t actually support me right from the beginning, but she did.

And on my worst day — right? On my worst day, my worst, I won’t tell you why it’s my worst day, she got a bus, got many of the buses, and women all over well, Mark was sort of semi-supporting another candidate. Which he ended up leaving very quickly. I don’t think he had a choice, because of your wife. So thank her. Mark Meadows is an extra ordinary guy. The only problem is I guess he’s announcing that she would only win by 40 points, but he is announcing that he is not running this time. You have somebody good to run? Is somebody going to win your district by at least 20 points, please? Okay. But he’s a tremendously talented man. Not just as a politician, as a human being is incredible. And during these horrible times

— the way he worked, and Jim, and all of you guys, the way they worked was so — it was like their life was at stake. So many. Ron DeSantis is another one. He worked so hard. He called me, he said, “Sir, I would like to run for governor.” I said, “Governor? I don’t want you to run. I like you –” “No, I want to run for governor.” I said, “Well, if I have to. How can I support you, you are at three.” He had no money. Somebody else had $22 million in cash. I said, “If it’s important, I’ll do it.” These and great warrior. By the way, he ran, I endorsed him, his numbers went through the roof. The men who he beat, who was expected to win back easily, called me after the race. He said, “You endorsed him and it was like a nuclear bomb went off. There was nothing I could do.” He never even spent his money, he saved it. But Ron DeSantis is another one. And now he’s the governor of Florida. By the way, he’s a great governor. He is a very popular governor. His numbers are in the 70s, and he’s done a great job. But, mark, I want to thank you very much.

Fantastic job, thank you very much. Mark Meadows.

And Mike Johnson of Louisiana. Where’s Mike? Central casting, what a job. You can represent me any time. You can represent me anytime. Thank you. What a job you’ve done. Thank you, Mike. And a man nobody’s ever heard of except the other side. He’s the other side’s worst nightmare. This guy goes down into dungeons and basements, he will find a document no matter what. He’s the most legitimate human being, he’s the hardest worker. He’s unbelievable. He took tremendous abuse. The media, and the other side, the bad ones, the leakers, the liars, the dirty cops they, they want to destroy him. They tried, but he wouldn’t let it happen. In a certain way, he was the first one. Wouldn’t you say? This was the first guide. Came out of nowhere. He’s saying, “These people are corrupt.” He is still saying it. He was unbelievable. Devin Nunes. Unbelievable.

That’s so true, Devin. He would come in and say — I didn’t even know them. I just heard there was this congressman who just kept going into a basement come into files. He knew something was wrong. You felt it, right? Now we know a lot more than we knew then, right? You never thought it was as bad as it is, and hopefully we are going to take care of things, because we can never, ever allow this to happen again.

Scott Perry of Pennsylvania. Scott, thank you. Thank you, Scott. Really great. I’m doing very well over there, by the way. Just so you — a man who is — central casting, if I’m going to pick Perry mason, I’m going to do a remake of “Perry mason.” Other than Bill Barr, I would pick the sky. But I would pick Barr first. John Ratcliffe. If we were doing a remake of “Perry mason,” the man I get — there is nobody in Hollywood like this. John Ratcliff.

Such a great lawyer. Incredible guy, incredible talent. Just a great lawyer. We appreciate it. He gets on that screen and everybody says, “I agree.” The other side folds up so fast, we’ll probably be using a lot of you in the next year. We’ve been fantastic, John. We appreciate it. Thank you very much. I meant it was braver than me and braver than all of us in this room. He got whacked. He got whacked, my Steve. Right? I went to the hospital with our great first lady that night. Right, honey? We saw a man who was not going to make it. He was not going to make it. The doctor — I told him, his wife, I said, “She loves you.” “Why did you say that?” Because she was devastated. A lot of wives wouldn’t give a damn.

I would say, “How is he doing?” ?” She couldn’t even talk, she was inconsolable. “Not good.” “I’m going home now.”

She was a total mess. She was really devastated. It really looked like he had a 20, 25% chance — I think you set a record for blood loss. And Steve Scalise, actually — honestly, I think you’re a better looking, more handsome now. You weren’t that good looking, you look good now

He looks better now, can you believe it? I don’t know what the hell that is.

Better now.

What a guy. And he was practicing for the baseball game against the Democrats, right? And this whack job started shooting. Hurt Roger. I don’t know if Roger is here. Heard a heard a number of people. Steve was the second baseman. He went down, and it was terrible. I mean, I saw the whole thing, and it was terrible. Fortunately, you had to cope brave policeman with you because of your high position in congress. You had to policeman and they were amazing. A man and woman. They came in, they didn’t have rifles. They were supposedly against a pretty good sharpshooter with rifles, good equipment. All they had was a gun. They started coming in from the outfield, shooting. They are so far away, that a handgun is not preferred. This guy has a rifle, he’s hitting people, and he was going to move up, and there was no out. If he had been able to move up, there was no way to get out. The entrance was a single entrance way on the other side where he was. So everyone went into the dugout, ran into the dugout. But Steve was really hit badly in the stomach. With a bullet that rips you apart. It was supposed to do that, it rips you apart. These two people came, charging forward. Boom, boom, boom. And one of them — you know who? One of them, him, got the shooter. Hit him. And then got him.

Killed him. From long distance. It was amazing. If you didn’t have those two people, you could imagine. Right? You could imagine what would happen. Melania and I went to the hospital that night, and he was in such bad shape. He’s been working ever since, so hard. Six months ago, they had a baseball game at the national — I’m watching. It’s on television. It’s just. It’s a game, you want to win it. Right? Steve is second base. The poor guy can’t even walk. Do you remember Bobby Richardson for the New York Yankees? He was known for range, Louis. He had the greatest range. If the ball at the shortstop, Bobby Richardson is the second baseman. Bobby Richardson would feel the ball. If it went to first base, he was sure which first base and paint had unbelievable range. This was not Steve Scalise.

Steve had no range.

1 foot, and he has to fall down. Right? He was trying to get better. I don’t know who the hell put you on the field.

And this is a true story. The game starts, and the first pitch, Steve is standing there at second base and the guy is really in bad shape. And I said, “This is terrible.” A ground ball, shot, is hit to second. And Steve, I didn’t have time to think through much, but I said, “This is not good. That ball is going toward him.” And this guy stopped that ball, caught the ball. He’s now laying down. He throws the ball to first base, he gets them out. I said — it’s the most incredible thing. I’ve never seen it. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Right? And he gets him out, and they then took him out of the game. Which was a very wise thing.

Because you could ever do that again in a million years.

But you aren’t going to let that all go through — I don’t care if it was hit by the greatest of all time. Right? That ball is not going through you, because you are a warrior. Steve is fantastic. You are fantastic. You and Liz, Kevin, what a group. I mean, what a group. I got lucky. Because you need the right people. I fired the wrong people, it may be a different story. Maybe we’d be celebrating something else. But I really want to thank you. Steve Scalise. And Elise, you — I just read this story. Most incredible, what’s going on with you, Elise. I even said — I was up campaigning, helping. I thought, “She looks good, she looks like good talent.” But I didn’t realize, when she opens that mouth, you were killing them, Elise! You were killing them!

Elise, and there’s a big story in “The New York Post.” I love “The New York Post.” They treat me well. There aren’t many of you do, but today they are treating you well. I even had a great headline. “New York Times,” “Washington post.” I had all these great headlines. Maybe we should just send it right there. We had a great story yesterday in the post that people from all over the country are contributing to her campaign. They were so enthralled with the way you handled yourself. What you said, the way you said it. I’ll always be your friend. It’s really an amazing story. What a great future you have. What a great future, thank you.

The first lady agrees, by the way. The first lady agrees. And Michael turner, you can represent me any time. Where is Michael? Where is he? You can represent me. How good were you?

There’s another “Perry mason” type, I think.

What do you think, John? Michael, you are fantastic, and we appreciate it. Brad Wenstrup. Where is Brad?

Brad. Great, great job. It’s a big day. All the lawyers stayed behind. Lee Zeldin, how good are you?

How good are you? Man. And Louis, your name — they didn’t give me your name. If I didn’t announce Louie — whoever the hill made this list, I’ve got to get rid of them. If I wouldn’t have announced Louie, it might have been the end of the presidency. Louie, you have been so great. So tough and so smart. I got it. But Louie has been amazing. He’s a tough guy, a smart guy. He’s streetwise like crazy. We love Texas. We are with you all the way, Louie. We are with you all the way. Thank you very much.

So that’s the story. We have a great group of warriors, and there are others left. I guess, probably — I’m sure I didn’t mention a few. I apologize if that’s the case. How is CPAC doing, good? Stand up, will you? He’s the one who said, “You should run.”

Right? Matt said — it’s like five years ago, six years ago. I made a speech, and then they do some kind of a straw poll. Who made the best speech? And he said I made the best speech, out of all these professionals — I hate to say this, with all these professional politicians, they voted that by far the best speech was trump. He calls me and said, “We should run for politics.” I said, what do I know about politics,” we learned quickly at our country has ever done better than it’s doing right now.

But thank you, Matt.

So that’s the story. Even treated very unfairly. Fortunately we have great men and women that came to our defense. If we didn’t, this would have been a horrific incident for our country. When you have Lisa and Peter, the lovers, the FBI lovers.

I want to believe the path you threw out for deputy director Andrew McCabe. That’s the office. There’s no way he gets elected, meaning me. “There’s no way he gets elected.” This is Peter to Lisa. He’s probably trying to impress her, for obvious reasons.

“There’s no way he gets elected. But I’m afraid we can’t take the risk.” Think of this. In other words, if I get elected, they can’t — they, two lowlifes, they can’t take the risk. Think of it. That’s where it came up. The greatest word of all, “Insurance policy.” But he says, “I’m afraid we can’t take the risk. She may lose.” “It’s like an insurance policy, in the unlikely event you die before your 40. In other words, if I won, they were going to do exactly what they did to us. They were going to try and overthrow the government of the United States. A duly elected president. If I didn’t fire James Comey, we would have never found this stuff. Because when I fired that sleazebag, all hell broke out. They were ratting on each other, they were running for the hills. Let’s see what happens. Let’s see what happens. It’s in the hands of some very talented people. We are going to have to see what happens.

But I can tell you, in my opinion, these are the crooked-est, most dishonest, dirtiest people, I’ve seen. They said — this is Strzok — “God, who were he should win, 100 million to one.” This is about me. This is an agent from the FBI. Look how they let her off. 33,000 emails, deleted. Nothing happens to her. Nothing happens. It’s unbelievable. But think of that read “God, Hillary should win.” These guys are investigating Hillary. They go to work for Mueller, the two of them. And when Mueller found out that everybody knew that they were 100% this way, he let them go. But they deleted all of their emails and text messages. So when we got the phone, they were all deleted. Could you imagine the treasure trove? Of the illegally deleted so they left, Bob Mueller, he had to look but he didn’t have a lot of other things. Always had to look. Mr. G-man. I love the FBI and the FBI loves me, 100%. It was the top scum, and the FBI people don’t like the top scum. So think of that, 100 million, he’s investigating me. And then, “God, trump is a loathsome human being, isn’t he?” These are the people looking at me. I’m really not a bad person. And Page said , “Yes, he’s awful.” How would you like to have that? This is the good stuff. This stuff, there’s stuff 100 times worse than that. These are all dirty people. And now I just heard that they are suing the United States of America. Because they were interfered with.

Just not going to let it happen “We cannot let this happen to our country.

So, I’m going to leave now. I don’t know if any of you have anything to say. You could say it, but this is sort of a day of celebration, because we went through hell. I’m sure that Pelosi and Crying Chuck — the only time I ever saw him cry was when it was appropriate. I’ve known them for a long time. Crying Chuck. I’m sure they will try and cook up other things that go through the state of New York. Other places. They will do whatever they can. Instead of wanting to heal our country and fix our country, all they want to do, in my opinion, it’s almost like they want to destroy our country. We can’t let it happen. Jim Jordan, did you want to say something cannot go ahead. Mark Meadows? Huh? My?

[Mark Meadows comment: I just want to say that this reflection today is a small reflection of the kind of support you have all across the country.]

This was a highly partisan situation. Pelosi said — I copied it down exactly. Before the impeachment. She wanted to impeach from day one, by the way. Don’t let it fool you. “No, impeachment is a very serious thing.” I said, “She wants to impeach, watch.” “The impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there is something so compelling and so overwhelming and bipartisan.” Bipartisan? It was 170 to nothing. The one failed presidential candidate, and I call that half of the vote because he actually voted for us on the other one.

But we had one failed presidential candidate. That’s the only half of what we lost. So, we had almost 53 to nothing. We had 197 to nothing. And the only one that voted against was a guy that can’t stand the fact that he ran one of the worst campaigns in the history of the presidency. But she said, “It has to be something so compelling and so overwhelming and bipartisan.” “I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country.” She was right about that. “And it’s just not worth it.” That was Nancy Pelosi a year ago. I think it’s a shame. I think it’s a shame. As I said, if we can put this genius to work on roads and highways and bridges and all of the things we can do, prescription drugs. You know, we had — secretary Azar is here, and I want to thank you for this — we had the first time in 51 years where drug prices actually came down last year. First time in 51 years. We can do working with both parties in congress would be unbelievable. It would be unbelievable. All we can do. I know Chuck Grassley is working very hard on it, and Mitch is working very hard on it. We can do is incredible. What we can do just generally. We’ve done so much without it. We rebuilt our military, we’ve cut regulations at a level that nobody thought possible. We will always protect our second amendment, we all know that. I just want to tell you that it’s an honor to be with you all.

I want to apologize to my family for having them have to go through a phony, rotten deal by some very evil and sick people. And Ivanka is here, my sons, my whole family. And that includes Barron. He’s up there, he’s a young boy. Stand up, honey. Ivanka, thank you, honey.

I just want to thank my family for sticking through it. This was not part of the deal. I was going to run for president, and if I won, I was going to do a great job. I didn’t know I was going to run and then when I got in I was going to have to run again and again and again. Every week, I had to run again. That wasn’t the deal, but they stuck with me. I’m so glad I did it, because we are making progress and doing things for our great people that everybody said couldn’t be done. Our country is thriving, our country is just respected again. And it’s an honor to be with the people in this room. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7974859/Trump-goes-leakers-liars-acquitted.html

Story 3: DNC Chair Demands Iowa Recheck The Vote Count and Bernie Sanders Won By More Than 8,000 — Videos

DNC chair calls for Iowa to recanvass caucus vote, says ‘enough is enough’

The results of Monday’s Iowa caucuses were delayed after there were problems with a smartphone app.
Image: Tom Perez

Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, speaks on stage ahead of the fourth Democratic primary debate at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, on Oct. 15, 2019. Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images file.Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images file

By Phil Helsel

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez is calling on Iowa Democratic officials to immediately recanvass Monday’s caucus vote after days of uncertainty and growing concerns about “inconsistencies” found in the data.

“Enough is enough,” Perez said in a tweet. “In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass.”

A recanvass is essentially a double-checking of the vote. Iowa officials would have to hand -audit the caucus worksheets and reporting forms to ensure that they were correctly calculated and reported.

In a statement released later Thursday, Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price did not address the request from Perez and instead said that the party would take on a recanvass if any of the presidential campaigns request it.

“We owe it to the thousands of Iowa Democratic volunteers and caucusgoers to remain focused on collecting and reviewing incoming results,” Price said, noting that officials “identified inconsistencies in the data and used our redundant paper records to promptly correct those errors. This is an ongoing process in close coordination with precinct chairs, and we are working diligently to report the final 54 precincts to get as close to final reporting as possible.”

As of Thursday morning, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was clinging to the narrowest of leads in Iowa over Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., with 97 percent of the caucus vote released.

Buttigieg was at 26.2 percent and Sanders had 26 percent, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., running behind the pair of leaders at 18.2 percent. Former Vice President Joe Biden had 15.8 percent, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., at 12.2 percent and other candidates were in low single digits.

Sanders told reporters Thursday that he is not concerned about the DNC’s call for a recanvassing.

“We won an 8-person election by some 6,000 votes,” Sanders said. “That is not going to change.”

Klobuchar told NBC News on Thursday that she supported the process.

“You have to make sure that every single vote was counted,” she said. “Sometimes in caucuses things can be close.”

Iowa Democratic caucus results are not actual votes cast. The percentages, based on partial returns of the estimated number of state convention delegates won by each candidate through the caucus process, are known as state delegate equivalents, or SDEs.

The totals were put out by the Iowa Democratic Party over the past two days after chaos over the caucuses Monday night. More data may be released Thursday.

NBC News has not called a winner in the first-in-the-nation contest.

In addition to the estimates of convention delegates, the Iowa Democratic Party also released two other numbers:

In voters’ initial candidate preference at the caucuses, Sanders had 24.7 percent, or 42,672 votes, and Buttigieg took 21.3 percent, or 36,718 votes.

In voters’ reallocated preference, Sanders had 26.5 percent, or 44,753 votes, and Buttigieg had 25 percent, or 42,235 votes. The reallocated preference is the raw tally taken after the caucus process known as realignment. If a caucusgoer’s initial candidate preference did not receive enough support to meet the precinct location’s viability threshold (15 percent in most caucus locations), the caucusgoer is allowed to shift his or her support — or realign — to another candidate who did attain viability.

Results from the contest were delayed by what organizers said was a problem with a smartphone app. Final tallies had been expected that evening, but instead, partial results were released Tuesday and the remainder Wednesday.

Nevada’s Democratic Party, which had planned to use the app for its Feb. 22 caucus, said a day after the fiasco in Iowa that it would not use the app after all. The state’s Democratic Party said Tuesday that it had previously developed backup plans for its reporting systems and was in the process of “evaluating the best path forward.”

Cybersecurity experts who examined a public version of the smartphone app told NBC News it contained technical and design flaws and appeared to have been rushed into use.

Caucusgoers gathered Monday at nearly 1,700 sites across Iowa to tally support for their preferred candidates. As the delay stretched on into Tuesday, candidates came out to give speeches that sounded a lot like declarations of victory despite no numbers to support or refute them.

The state has 41 pledged delegates up for grabs, and the high-stakes contest traditionally plays a major role in determining who is a legitimate contender in the race.

Even with only a little more than 90 percent reporting in Iowa, Buttigieg on Wednesday night continued to tout the caucus as a win, telling a New York fundraiser that “we remain in the lead.”

“There is just no question that Monday in Iowa represents an astonishing victory for our vision, for our candidacy and for this country,” the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor said according to a pool report.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/buttigieg-sanders-neck-neck-iowa-nearly-all-votes-reported-n1131261

Story 4: Americans Satifaction With Life Highest in Forty Years and With Economy Highest in 20 Years — Gallup Poll — Videos

New High of 90% of Americans Satisfied With Personal Life

New High of 90% of Americans Satisfied With Personal Life

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Americans’ satisfaction with personal life highest in four-decade trend
  • Two in three Americans say they are very satisfied, also a new high
  • High-income households, Republicans, married adults the most satisfied

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nine in 10 Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in their personal life, a new high in Gallup’s four-decade trend. The latest figure bests the previous high of 88% recorded in 2003.

Line graph. Americans’ satisfaction with their personal lives, 1979-2020.

These results are from Gallup’s Mood of the Nation poll, conducted Jan. 2-15, which also recorded a 20-year high in Americans’ confidence in the U.S. economy. The percentage of Americans who report being satisfied with their personal life is similar to the 86% who said in December that they were very or fairly happy — though the happiness figure, while high, is on the low end of what Gallup has measured historically for that question.

Despite some variation, solid majorities of Americans have reported being satisfied with their personal life over the past few decades, with an average of 83% satisfied since 1979. The historical low of 73% was recorded in July 1979, as the effects of that year’s oil crisis took a toll on U.S. motorists. During that poll’s fielding dates, then-President Jimmy Carter delivered his “malaise speech,” which was interpreted by some as placing blame on Americans themselves for the rough economic spot the country was in.

2019 survey on 10 aspects of Americans’ lives found that they are most satisfied with their family life, their education and the way they spend their leisure time — and least satisfied with the amount of leisure time they have, their household income and their job.

Two in Three ‘Very’ Satisfied With Direction of Personal Life

Gallup has asked a follow-up question since 2001 to measure the extent to which Americans are satisfied or dissatisfied with their personal life. The 65% of U.S. adults who are currently “very satisfied” marks a new high in the two-decade trend.

The more nuanced satisfaction ratings reveal that the relatively small four-percentage-point drop in personal satisfaction from 2007 to 2008 — as the global economic crisis unfolded — obscured greater movement (12 points) in the percentage “very” versus “somewhat” satisfied.

Line graph. Americans’ level of satisfaction with their personal life, 2001-2020.

Income, Political Party, Marital Status the Biggest Factors in Satisfaction

Household income, political party affiliation and marital status are associated with the largest subgroup differences in Americans’ satisfaction with their personal life.

Roughly 95% of Americans who live in high-income households, who identify as Republicans and who are married say they are satisfied with their personal life — and about three in four among each of these groups are very satisfied.

Meanwhile, adults in low-income households are the least likely to say they are satisfied with their life, followed by Democrats and unmarried adults. Among each of these groups, small majorities report being very satisfied. Low-income Americans hold the distinction of having the lowest percentage very satisfied.

Smaller differences in personal satisfaction are seen by race and gender. Whites are a bit more likely than nonwhites to say they are satisfied (92% vs. 86%, respectively) or very satisfied (67% vs. 59%) with their personal life. And men report slightly higher levels of satisfaction than do women.

U.S. Satisfaction With Personal Life, by Subgroup
Ranked by % Satisfied
Satisfied Very satisfied
% %
$100,000+ 96 76
Republicans 93 80
Married 93 74
College graduate only 93 71
Men 92 67
Postgraduate 92 66
Age 18-34 92 62
$40,000-<$100,000 92 66
Whites 92 67
Age 55+ 90 67
Have children under 18 90 68
Have no children under 18 89 64
Some college 89 63
Independents 89 60
Age 35-54 87 63
High school or less 87 62
Women 87 63
Nonwhites 86 59
Unmarried 86 56
Democrats 86 56
<$40,000 80 54
GALLUP, JAN. 2-15, 2020

Bottom Line

It’s likely no coincidence that Americans’ heightened satisfaction with their personal life comes as confidence in the U.S. economy and their personal finances are also at long-term or record highs. That two in three Americans are very satisfied is reflective of this upbeat moment in time, and whether these sentiments carry through the coming decade will be something to watch.

The vast majority of Americans in all major demographic and political subgroups are content with the way their lives are going, but the additional question on how satisfied they are provides more insight. Some groups — wealthier households, Republicans, married people — report especially high levels of satisfaction, while lower-income Americans, Democrats and those who are unmarried report more tepid satisfaction.

View complete question responses and trends.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/284285/new-high-americans-satisfied-personal-life.aspx

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1294, July 23, 2019, Story 1: Spending Beyond The Means of The American People and Burdening Future Generations — Shame on Democrat and Republican Politicians For Out-of Control Government Spending or Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) — They Have No Shame —  Betrayal of American People By Their Elected Representatives — Two Party Tyranny — Tea Party 2.0 Time To Stand-up A New Political Party — American Independence Party — to Challenge Both Democrats and Republicans — Send Them All Home — To Save The American Constitutional Representative Republic From Bankruptcy, Default, Socialism, and Budget Busting  Warfare and Welfare Statists — President Trump Either Vetoes This Bill or Faces The Dump The Two Party Tyranny Movement — Videos — Story 2: United States and Israel Joint Strike Targeting Iran’s Nuclear and Missile Weapon System Programs Deep Underground in Mountains will Require Low Yield Nuclear Weapons To Be Successful — Waiting For Trump To Start World War 3 To Stop Nuclear Proliferation in The Middle East and Far East — Videos

Posted on July 24, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Applications, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, China, Coal, Communications, Computers, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Disasters, Diseases, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Genocide, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Great Britain, Hardware, Hate Speech, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), Media, Medicare, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, North Korea, Nuclear, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Progressives, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Senate, Servers, Social Security, Spying, Success, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP_, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, United Kingdom, United States of America, Videos, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1294 July 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1293 July 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1292 July 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1291 July 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1290 July 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1289 July 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1288 July 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1287 July 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1286 July 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1285 July 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1284 July 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1283 July 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1282 June 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1281 June 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1280 June 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1279 June 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1278 June 20, 2019 

Pronk Pops Show 1277 June 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1276 June 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1275 June 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1274 June 13, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1233 April 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1232 April 1, 2019 Part 2

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Story 1: Spending Beyond The Means of The American People and Burdening Future Generations — Shame on Democrat and Republican Politicians For Out-of Control Government Spending or Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) — They Have No Shame —  Betrayal of American People By Their Elected Representatives — Two Party Tyranny — Tea Party 2.0 Time To Stand-up A New Political Party — American Independence Party — to Challenge Both Democrats and Republicans — Send Them All Home — To Save The American Constitutional Representative Republic From Bankruptcy, Default, Socialism, and Budget Busting  Warfare and Welfare Statists — President Trump Either Vetoes This Bill or Faces The Dump The Two Party Tyranny Movement — Videos — 

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Big Spender

Hey Big Spender

The minute you walked in the joint,
I could see you were a man of distinction,
A real big spender,
Good looking, so refined.
Say, wouldn’t you like to know
What’s going on in my mind?
So, let me get right to the point,
I don’t pop my cork for every guy I see.
Hey, big spender, spend,
A little time with, me, me, me!
Do you wanna have fun?
How’s about a few laughs?
I can show you a, good time,
Do you wanna have fun, fun, fun?
How’s about a few laughs
Laughs laughs
(I can show you a good time)
(Good time)
(Good time)
(Good time)
What did you say you are?
How’s about a ,
I could give you some,
Are you ready for,
How would you like a,
Let me show you a, (good time)
Hey, big spender,
Hey, big spender,
The minute you walked in the joint,
I could see you were a man of distinction,
A real big spender.
Good looking, so refined.
Say wouldn’t you like to know
What’s going on in my mind?
So, let me get right to the point,
I don’t pop my cork for every guy I see.
Hey, big spender,
Hey, big spender!
Hey, big spender!
Spend a little time with me!
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Fields Coleman
Hey Big Spender lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing LLC

 

Fiscal Conservatism Dead: Trump’s Deal with Democrats Unleashes Spending, Uncaps Debt

David Stockman And Peter Schiff Address Trump – Mr. President, if you watch this-Stop

GOP repeals the entire legacy of the Tea Party in one fell swoop

· July 23, 2019
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Franklin with debt

DNY59 | Getty Images

All Republicans had to do when they won the election in 2016 was to hold the line on the budget bill they helped pass in 2011 with control of just one branch of government. Instead, first with control of all three branches and now with control of two of the three, they are about to undo the one spending success of the past decade, and with it, pre-empt any leverage they have to pressure Democrats on a single issue.

Why is it that not a single mile of new fencing has been constructed for Trump’s entire term? Why is it that we’ve spent billions taking 21,000 sick illegal aliens to the hospital, chewing up 250,000 man-hours of Border Patrol at hospitals and away from patrolling, yet not a penny more was spent on Border Patrol or the military holding the line against the cartel smuggling?

Look no further than the budget deals Trump signed over and over again, which collectively increased discretionary spending by 16 percent but not a dime for new border walls or deportations. He gave away his leverage for free. Now, with Trump agreeing to the deal Senate Republicans and his treasury secretary just forged, the total spending binge will rise to 20 percent above fiscal year 2017 levels and will still not include a dime for the border.

Here are the toplines of the deal:

  • The debt ceiling will once again be suspended until July 31, 2021, with zero reforms or spending cuts. We will likely accrue over $2 trillion in additional debt over that time. And that is if Congress holds the line one any new “supplemental” or “emergency” spending over the next two years, which is next to impossible.
  • By canceling the budget caps for the final two years of the Budget Control Act (FY 2020 and FY 2021), Trump will seal our fiscal ruin. All they had to do was simply pass a clean continuing resolution, and the automatic spending cuts would kick back in. Now that leverage is gone.
  • The total cost of erasing the spending cuts plus adding new spending will be $321 billion over two years.
  • What Republicans accomplished with one branch of government was erased when their power grew. After winning back control of the Senate, noted fiscal “conservative” Paul Ryan forged a deal to bust the caps by a total of $80 billion in FY 2016 and FY 2017. When Republicans won the White House, they agreed to another budget-busting bill of $296 billion for FY 2018 and FY 2019. Now they will add another $320 billion. In other words, by simply coasting with the status quo baseline, Republicans could have pocketed nearly $700 billion in less spending, yet they chose to use their power to spend everything Democrats wanted.
  • Making this deal the new baseline for the next two years will lead to nearly $2 trillion in more spending over 10 years.
  • Crafters of the deal are claiming that there are $77.4 billion in spending offsets, but the majority of it is scandalous. It’s from what’s called CHIMPs. No, it’s not chimpanzee-style math, but it as may as well be so. Changes IMandatory Programs means that they just write a line in the bill saying, “In 10 years from now we will spend less on entitlement programs, and that will free up immediate increases for spending on discretionary programs.” They’ve been doing this for decades, and of course the cuts never happen. Imagine if you had a credit card limit and you got to say, “Hey, in 10 years I will find some funding to pay for the extra $100,000 I want to spend today, so here it is, fully offset.” Real monkey business.
  • Consider that revenue is now $1.5 trillion higher than in 2009-2010 – during the Great Recession – yet the emerging deficits will rival those of the Obama stimulus era.

Republicans and even the Trump administration will once again hide behind military spending as excuse for this deal. But the entire point of the 2018 deal was to secure that spending. We already paid the price. Why does military spending have to be increased yet again, especially when we won’t even properly counter the Mexican cartels or Iran?

Even if Trump were inclined to agree with this madness, at least make the Senate work through the August recess on sovereignty and border security issues and build the case for a better budget deal in September. Why give away all your leverage at once on both the debt ceiling and spending caps?


 

There’s only one reason why Congress is doing this so quickly and rushing it before the August recess. They know the president is influenced by his conservative base and will reject this plan if it’s allowed to be exposed to the sunlight of the August townhalls held by members of Congress. Where is the outrage from media members who claim the mantle of conservatism? At the precise moment when their voice needs to be heard, they remain silent.

When spending and illegal immigration numbers were not nearly as bad as they are today, Trump was very clear about what should be done with debt ceiling negotiations:

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

The Republicans must use the debt ceiling as leverage to make a great deal!

400 people are talking about this

Yet almost seven years later and $6 trillion deeper into the abyss of debt, Trump as president is now agreeing to a blank check, which will in turn preclude any leverage to deal with illegal immigration, which is about three times as large as it was at the time of that tweet.

 

 

White House, congressional leaders work to sell two-year budget deal


Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi holds a news conference on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

July 23 at 2:20 PM

White House officials and congressional leaders defended a controversial budget deal on Tuesday, hoping to assuage concerns from conservatives and liberals ahead of a crucial House vote this week.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met with Senate Republicans at a lunch on Capitol Hill, conveying that President Trump fully supported the deal and would sign it into law. Republicans felt burned by Trump last year after they voted on a budget deal they thought he supported, only to have the White House withdraw its backing at the last minute.

“The four (congressional) leaders and the president are fully on board with this,” Mnuchin told reporters as he left the meeting.

Still, the effort to whip up political support showed signs of strain.

A number of conservative Senate Republicans announced their opposition to the two-year, $320 billion deal, complaining it adds to the ballooning deficit while doing nothing to constrain spending. Mnuchin defended the agreement, saying it was crucial to increase military spending and suspend the debt ceiling through July 2021, lifting the prospect of a full-blown financial crisis later this year.

But Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said he’d told Mnuchin the deal should have included changes to take the threat of future government shutdowns off the table.

“If we don’t get a structural reform in exchange for an increase the debt ceiling, I don’t see how I can support this thing,” Johnson said.

Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) said he declared his opposition to the deal during the lunch with Mnuchin. And while some senators said Mnuchin had effectively conveyed the stakes for the Pentagon budget and looming debt crisis absent a deal, others left the lunch with the treasury secretary unpersuaded.

Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.) said Mnuchin’s message to senators amounted to, “’Yippee yippee yay, I made a deal.’”

“I didn’t learn anything. … It was more of a rah, rah session,” Kennedy said, adding he was undecided how he’d vote. “I think it says about the United States Congress, both sides, that we really don’t have a commitment to getting control of the credit card.”

On the Democratic side, some liberals including Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) expressed consternation about a side agreement struck by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to keep controversial policy provisions off spending bills. This would include agreeing not to limit Trump’s ability to transfer money to build his border wall. The practical implication of the agreement seems limited, since any such changes would require bipartisan support anyway, but White House officials were touting it as an important win.

Despite the complaints from rank-and-file lawmakers of both parties, White House officials and Democratic and Republican leaders all argued that the deal was the best they could get in divided government, and blamed their political opponents if it wasn’t any better.

“I make no apologies for this two-year caps deal,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “I think we’ve done the best we can with this divided government.”

Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat and vote-counter, said the deal was better than any of the alternatives.

“The notion of shutting down the government or defaulting on the America debt — those are unacceptable,” Durbin said.

Exiting the GOP lunch, Mnuchin was asked how he would defend the deal against its GOP critics. “Well we needed a debt ceiling increase, that was incredibly important,” Mnuchin replied. “And again we couldn’t get a deal without getting bipartisan support, so the Democrats, they compromised on a lot of things along the way, and we had to make certain compromises.”

The budget deal, announced Monday, would suspend the debt ceiling through July 2021 and raise the budget for the military and many other programs for two years. Lawmakers will still need to approve individual spending bills, but the agreement is expected to make it much less likely that there will be a government shutdown when existing agency budgets run out Oct. 1. But the budget also appears to lock in a large gap between tax revenue and government spending, which could breach $1 trillion this year and continue in perpetuity if changes aren’t made.

The government must borrow money to finance that gap and pay interest on the growing debt.

Lawmakers were rushing to cut the deal because Mnuchin had warned the Treasury could run out of money by early September to pay all of the government’s bills if the debt ceiling wasn’t raised by then. Congress is set to go on a lengthy August recess soon, leaving legislators little time to maneuver.

The House is expected to vote on the deal this week, with the Senate voting next week.

Pelosi released a letter to House Democrats touting what she described as wins in the deal, including extending the debt limit, obtaining increased domestic nondefense spending, avoiding onerous budget caps known as “sequestration,” and staving off the administration’s demands for spending cuts to accompany the budget increases.

But reaction from lawmakers in the House made clear the speaker will have to navigate opposition from liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans to pass the deal with the votes of more moderate-leaning lawmakers in both parties.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) complained about a double standard that prioritized tax cuts and spending that Republicans favored but refused to extend money for things she advocates for, like college education.

And Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) posted a video on Twitter of the comic book figure the “Joker” standing in front of an inferno, and labeled it “Budget deal.”

Acting White House budget director Russ Vought, who had fought largely unsuccessfully to secure large spending cuts as part of the agreement, acknowledged the GOP frustration and promised to push for spending reductions in the future.

“Look, I love the concern of the conservatives who are bringing attention to the problems that we have with fiscal responsibility in this town,” Vought said on Fox News.

The budget has grown markedly since Trump took office, even though he campaigned on a promise to eliminate the now-$22 trillion debt by the time he left the White House after eight years.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/white-house-congressional-leaders-work-to-sell-two-year-budget-deal/2019/07/23/fb2fe29a-ad55-11e9-a0c9-6d2d7818f3da_story.html?utm_term=.a1a4223b2b69

Deal sealed on federal budget ensures no shutdown, default

President Donald Trump and congressional leaders have announced a critical debt and budget agreement that’s an against-the-odds victory for Washington pragmatists seeking to avoid political and economic tumult over the possibility of a government shutdown or first federal default.

The deal, announced Monday by Trump on Twitter and in a statement by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, will restore the government’s ability to borrow to pay its bills past next year’s elections and build upon recent large budget gains for both the Pentagon and domestic agencies.

“I am pleased to announce that a deal has been struck,” Trump tweeted, saying there will be no “poison pills” added to follow-up legislation. “This was a real compromise in order to give another big victory to our Great Military and Vets!”

The agreement is on a broad outline for $1.37 trillion in agency spending next year and slightly more in fiscal 2021. It would mean a win for lawmakers eager to return Washington to a more predictable path amid political turmoil and polarization, defense hawks determined to cement big military increases and Democrats seeking to protect domestic programs.

Nobody notched a big win, but both sides view it as better than a protracted battle this fall.

Pelosi and Schumer said the deal “will enhance our national security and invest in middle class priorities that advance the health, financial security and well-being of the American people.” Top congressional GOP leaders issued more restrained statements stressing that the deal is a flawed but achievable outcome of a government in which Pelosi wields considerable power.

“While this deal is not perfect, compromise is necessary in divided government,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

However, it also comes as budget deficits are rising to $1 trillion levels — requiring the government to borrow a quarter for every dollar the government spends — despite the thriving economy and three rounds of annual Trump budget proposals promising to crack down on the domestic programs that Pelosi is successfully defending now. It ignores warnings from deficit and debt scolds who say the nation’s fiscal future is unsustainable and will eventually drag down the economy.

“This agreement is a total abdication of fiscal responsibility by Congress and the president,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a Washington advocacy group. “It may end up being the worst budget agreement in our nation’s history, proposed at a time when our fiscal conditions are already precarious.”

A push by the White House and House GOP forces for new offsetting spending cuts was largely jettisoned, though Pelosi, D-Calif., gave assurances about not seeking to use the follow-up spending bills as vehicles for aggressively liberal policy initiatives.

The head of a large group of House GOP conservatives swung against the deal.

“No new controls are put in place to constrain runaway spending, and a two-year suspension on the debt limit simply adds fuel to the fire,” said Republican Study Committee Chairman Mike Johnson, R-La. “With more than $22 trillion in debt, we simply cannot afford deals like this one.”

Fights over Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall, other immigration-related issues and spending priorities will be rejoined on spending bills this fall that are likely to produce much the same result as current law. The House has passed most of its bills, using far higher levels for domestic spending. Senate measures will follow this fall, with levels reflecting the accord.

At issue are two separate but pressing items on Washington’s must-do agenda: increasing the debt limit to avert a first-ever default on U.S. payments and acting to set overall spending limits and prevent $125 billion in automatic spending cuts from hitting the Pentagon and domestic agencies with 10 percent cuts starting in January.

The threat of the automatic cuts represents the last gasp of a failed 2011 budget and debt pact between former President Barack Obama and then-Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, that promised future spending and deficit cuts to cover a $2 trillion increase in the debt. But a bipartisan deficit “supercommittee” failed to deliver, and lawmakers were unwilling to live with the follow-up cuts to defense and domestic accounts. This is the fourth deal since 2013 to reverse those cuts.

Prospects for an agreement, a months-long priority of top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., became far brighter when Pelosi returned to Washington this month and aggressively pursued the pact with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin , who was anointed lead negotiator instead of more conservative options like acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney or hardline Budget Director Russell Vought.

Mnuchin was eager to avert a crisis over the government’s debt limit. There’s some risk of a first-ever U.S. default in September, and that added urgency to the negotiations.

The pact would defuse the debt limit issue for two years, meaning that Trump or his Democratic successor would not have to confront the politically difficult issue until well into 2021.

Washington’s arcane budget rules give each side a way to paint the numbers favorably. Generally speaking, the deal would lock in place big increases won by both sides in a 2018 pact driven by the demands of GOP defense hawks and award future increases consistent with low inflation.

Pelosi and Schumer claimed rough parity between increases for defense and nondefense programs, but the veteran negotiator retreated on her push for a special carve-out for a newly reauthorized program for veterans utilizing private sector health care providers. Instead non-defense spending increases would exceed increases for the military by $10 billion over the deal’s two-year duration.

In the end, non-defense appropriations would increase by $56.5 billion over two years, giving domestic programs 4% increases on average in the first year of the pact, with a big chunk of those gains eaten up by veterans increases and an unavoidable surge for the U.S. Census. Defense would increase by $46.5 billion over those two years, with the defense budget hitting $738 billion next year, a 3% hike, followed by only a further $2.5 billion increase in 2021.

Trump retains flexibility to transfer money between accounts, which raises the possibility of attempted transfers for building border barriers. That concession angered the Senate’s top Appropriations Committee Democrat, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who said he has “many concerns” with a memorandum outlining the agreement that promised there will also be no “poison pills,” new policy “riders,” or bookkeeping tricks to add to the deal’s spending levels.

The results are likely to displease some on both sides, especially Washington’s weakening deficit hawks and liberals demanding greater spending for progressive priorities. But Pelosi and McConnell have longtime histories with the Capitol’s appropriations process and have forged a powerful alliance to deliver prior spending and debt deals.

The measure would first advance through the House this week and win the Senate’s endorsement next week before Congress takes its annual August recess. Legislation to prevent a government shutdown will follow in September.

https://apnews.com/b72be6c420bb478ea469da72c73065e2

The US national debt just pushed past $22 trillion — here’s how Trump’s $2 trillion in debt compares with Obama, Bush, and Clinton

donald trump chart debt obamaJoe Raedle/Getty Images
  • On February 11, the US national debt eclipsed $22 trillion for the first time.
  • Since President Donald Trump took office, the US has added over $2 trillion in new federal debt.
  • See how Trump’s debt accumulation — and projected debt accumulation — stacks up to that of recent presidents including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

The US national debt passed $22 trillion on February 11, the first time the federal debt had breached that threshold.

The landmark came just over two years after President Donald Trump, who once promised to eliminate the federal debt in eight years, took over the Oval Office.

But compared with some other recent presidents’, Trump’s debt accumulation is not as stunning as it first appears.

Read more: The US national debt just topped $22 trillion for the first time

The US Treasury has been tracking day-by-day debt accumulationsince the start of 1993, meaning daily debt figures are available for the presidencies of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Trump.

In raw terms, Trump added the second-most debt of any recent president. According to the Treasury data, the US added $2.07 trillion — $2,065,536,336,472.90 to be exact — in new debt between Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017, and February 11, when the country pushed past $22 trillion. (The US added another $2.8 billion through February 15, the latest daily figures available.)

That is less than the $3.46 trillion added between Obama’s inauguration in January 2009 and February 11, 2011, but it is more than the $676 billion added under Bush and the $617 billion added under Clinton in their first 752 days as president.

One important difference between Trump’s debt figures and Obama’s is that Trump has added a massive amount of debt while the US economy has been strong, whereas Obama took over during the depths of the financial crisis.

Economists typically recommend that the federal government increase spending, and thus add more debt, during times of economic struggles and then pay down that debt when the economy recovers. So while economic theory would support Obama’s spending to help support the economy, Trump’s recent debt binge has less support among economists.

Looking ahead, recent legislative changes are expected to help Trump catch up to some of his predecessors in the debt-accumulation department.

The combination of the new GOP tax law and the recent bipartisan spending deal are projected to increase the speed of debt accumulation over the rest of Trump’s presidency.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the annual deficit — the shortfall of federal revenue compared with spending in a given fiscal year — will soon push past $1 trillion. 2018’s budget deficit was the largest since 2012, when the US was still dealing with the fallout from the recession.

Based on the CBO’s projections, Trump will have accumulated $3.73 trillion in new debt by the end of the 2020 fiscal year, which, because of federal budget rules, actually runs until the end of September 2020. And by the end of fiscal 2024, the last year of Trump’s second term if he wins reelection, the total debt added is projected to come in at $8.78 trillion.

A lot could change over that time period — adjustments to the tax code that increase revenue or spending cuts would alter the CBO’s projections. But as it stands, Trump could add roughly the same amount of debt as Obama over two terms.

total debt accumulated by president v2Andy Kiersz/Business Insider

But while the raw debt figures are astonishing, putting the accumulation in percentage terms provides a somewhat different picture. Based on Treasury data and CBO projections:

  • The national debt grew by 15% through February 11 of Clinton’sfirst term and ended up growing by 36% by the end of the 2000 fiscal year, the final full fiscal year of his presidency.
  • The debt grew by 12% during Bush’s first 752 days and grew by 75% when the 2008 fiscal year came to a close.
  • Under Obama’s first two years and change, the national debt grew by 33%, and it grew by 84% by the end of the 2016 fiscal year.
  • The debt grew 10% in Trump’s first 752 days and is projected to grow by 44% by the end of the 2024 fiscal year.
percent change though feb 11Andy Kiersz/Business Insider

https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-national-debt-deficit-compared-to-obama-bush-clinton-2019-2

Story 2: United States and Israel Joint Strike Targeting Iran’s Nuclear and Missile Weapon System Programs Deep Underground in Mountains will Require Nuclear Weapons To Be Successful — Waiting For Trump To Start World War 3 — Videos —

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Dr. Strangelove – Ending

We’ll Meet Again
We’ll meet again
Don’t know where
Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through
Just like you always do
‘Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away
So will you please say hello
To the folks that I know
Tell them I won’t be long
They’ll be happy to know
That as you saw me go
I was singing this song
We’ll meet again
Don’t know where
Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day
We’ll meet again
Don’t know where
Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through
Just like you always do
‘Til the blue skies
Drive the dark clouds far away
So will you please say hello
To the folks that I know
Tell them it won’t be long
They’ll be happy to know
That as you saw me go
I was singin’ this song
We’ll meet again
Don’t know where
Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Hughie Charles / Ross Parker
We’ll Meet Again lyrics © Music Sales Corporation, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Nuclear Weapons: Who Has What at a Glance
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ContactKelsey DavenportDirector for Nonproliferation Policy, (202) 463-8270 x102; Kingston ReifDirector for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy, (202) 463-8270 x104

Updated: July 2019

At the dawn of the nuclear age, the United States hoped to maintain a monopoly on its new weapon, but the secrets and the technology for making nuclear weapons soon spread. The United States conducted its first nuclear test explosion in July 1945 and dropped two atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. Just four years later, the Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear test explosion. The United Kingdom (1952), France (1960), and China (1964) followed. Seeking to prevent the nuclear weapon ranks from expanding further, the United States and other like-minded states negotiated the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968 and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996.

India, Israel, and Pakistan never signed the NPT and possess nuclear arsenals. Iraq initiated a secret nuclear program under Saddam Hussein before the 1991 Persian Gulf War. North Korea announced its withdrawal from the NPT in January 2003 and has tested nuclear devices since that time. Iran and Libya have pursued secret nuclear activities in violation of the treaty’s terms, and Syria is suspected of having done the same. Still, nuclear nonproliferation successes outnumber failures and dire forecasts decades ago that the world would be home to dozens of states armed with nuclear weapons have not come to pass.

At the time the NPT was concluded, the nuclear stockpiles of both the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia numbered in the tens of thousands. Beginning in the 1970s, U.S. and Soviet/Russian leaders negotiated a series of bilateral arms control agreements and initiatives that limited, and later helped to reduce, the size of their nuclear arsenals. Today, the United States and Russia each deploy roughly 1,400 strategic warheads on several hundred bombers and missiles, and are modernizing their nuclear delivery systems.

China, India, and Pakistan are all pursuing new ballistic missile, cruise missile, and sea-based nuclear delivery systems. In addition, Pakistan has lowered the threshold for nuclear weapons use by developing tactical nuclear weapons capabilities to counter perceived Indian conventional military threats. North Korea continues its nuclear pursuits in violation of its earlier denuclearization pledges.

Nuclear-Weapon States:

The nuclear-weapon states (NWS) are the five states—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States—officially recognized as possessing nuclear weapons by the NPT. The treaty legitimizes these states’ nuclear arsenals, but establishes they are not supposed to build and maintain such weapons in perpetuity. In 2000, the NWS committed themselves to an “unequivocal undertaking…to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.” Because of the secretive nature with which most governments treat information about their nuclear arsenals, most of the figures below are best estimates of each nuclear-weapon state’s nuclear holdings, including both strategic warheads and lower-yield devices referred to as tactical weapons.

China

  • About 290 total warheads.

France

  • About 300 total warheads.

Russia

  • March 2019 New START declaration: 1,461 strategic warheads deployed on 524 intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and strategic bombers.
  • The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) estimates approximately 4,490 stockpiled warheads and 2,000 retired warheads for a total of roughly 6,490 warheads, as of early 2019.

United Kingdom

  • About 120 strategic warheads, of which no more than 40 are deployed at sea on a nuclear ballistic missile submarine at any given time. The United Kingdom possesses a total of four ballistic missile submarines.
  • Total stockpile is estimated up to 200 warheads.

United States:

  • March 2019 New START declaration: 1,365 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on 656 intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and strategic bombers.
  • FAS estimates approximately 3,800 stockpiled warheads and 2,385 retired warheads for a total of 6,185 warheads as of early 2019.

Non-NPT Nuclear Weapons Possessors:

  • India, Israel, and Pakistan never joined the NPT and are known to possess nuclear weapons.
  • India first tested a nuclear explosive device in 1974. That test spurred Pakistan to ramp up work on its secret nuclear weapons program.
  • India and Pakistan both publicly demonstrated their nuclear weapon capabilities with a round of tit-for-tat nuclear tests in May 1998.
  • Israel has not publicly conducted a nuclear test, does not admit or deny having nuclear weapons, and states that it will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Nevertheless, Israel is universally believed to possess nuclear arms, although it is unclear exactly how many.

The following arsenal estimates are based on the amount of fissile material—highly enriched uranium and plutonium—that each of the states is estimated to have produced. Fissile material is the key element for making nuclear weapons. India and Israel are believed to use plutonium in their weapons, while Pakistan is thought to use highly enriched uranium.

IndiaBetween 130-140 nuclear warheads.
IsraelAn estimated 80-90 nuclear warheads, with fissile material for up to 200.
PakistanBetween 150-160 nuclear warheads.


States of Immediate Proliferation Concern:

Prior to the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran pursued a uranium-enrichment program and other projects that provided it with the capability to produce bomb-grade fissile material and develop nuclear weapons, if it chose to do so. Iran’s uranium enrichment program continues, but it is restricted and monitored by the nuclear deal. North Korea announced its withdrawal from the NPT in 2003 and tested nuclear devices and nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. Uncertainty persists about how many nuclear devices North Korea has assembled. In 2007, Israel bombed a site in Syria that was widely assessed to be a nuclear reactor being constructed with North Korea’s assistance. Syria has refused to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s attempts to investigate.

Iran:

  • No known weapons or sufficient fissile material stockpiles to build weapons.
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the institution charged with verifying that states are not illicitly building nuclear weapons, concluded in 2003 that Iran had undertaken covert nuclear activities to establish the capacity to indigenously produce fissile material.
  • July 2015: Iran and six world powers negotiated a long-term agreement to verify and significantly reduce Iran’s capacity to produce material for nuclear weapons.
  • As part of this agreement, the IAEA and Iran concluded an investigation into Iran’s past nuclear weapons-related activities. The agency concluded that Iran had an organized program to pursue nuclear weapons prior to 2003. Some of these activities continued through 2009, but there were no indications of weaponization activities taking place after that date.

North Korea:

  • Estimated as of June 2019 to have approximately 20-30 warheads and the fissile material for 30-60 nuclear weapons.
  • While there is a high degree of uncertainty surrounding North Korea’s fissile material stockpile and production, particularly on the uranium enrichment side, North Korea is estimated to have 20-40 kilograms of plutonium and 250-500 kilograms of highly enriched uranium. The estimated annual production of fissile material is enough for 6-7 weapons.
  • North Korea operates its 5-megawatt heavy-water graphite-moderated reactor used to extract plutonium in the past for nuclear warheads on an intermittent basis since August 2013. There has also been intermittent activity at North Korea’s reprocessing facility since 2016, indicating that Pyongyang has likely separated plutonium from the reactor’s spent fuel.
  • North Korea unveiled a centrifuge facility in 2010. It is likely that Pyongyang is using the facility to produce highly-enriched uranium for weapons. U.S. intelligence suggests that there are several additional centrifuge facilities in North Korea.
  • By 2020, experts estimate that North Korea could have anywhere between 20-100 nuclear warheads based on the rate of its stockpile growth and technological improvements.

Syria:

  • September 2007: Israel conducted an airstrike on what U.S. officials alleged was the construction site of a nuclear research reactor similar to North Korea’s Yongbyon reactor.
  • The extent of Syrian-North Korean nuclear cooperation is unclear, but is believed to have begun in 1997.
  • Investigations into U.S. claims uncovered traces of undeclared man-made uranium particles at both the site of the destroyed facility and Syria’s declared research reactor.
  • Syria has not adequately cooperated with the IAEA to clarify the nature of the destroyed facility and procurement efforts that could be related to a nuclear program.

States That Had Nuclear Weapons or Nuclear Weapons Programs at One Time:

  • Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine inherited nuclear weapons following the Soviet Union’s 1991 collapse, but returned them to Russia and joined the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states.
  • South Africa secretly developed but subsequently dismantled its small number of nuclear warheads and also joined the NPT in 1991.
  • Iraq had an active nuclear weapons program prior to the 1991 Persian Gulf War, but was forced to verifiably dismantle it under the supervision of UN inspectors. The U.S.-led March 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent capture of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein definitively ended his regime’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
  • Libya voluntarily renounced its secret nuclear weapons efforts in December 2003.
  • Argentina, Brazil, South Korea, and Taiwan also shelved nuclear weapons programs.

Sources: Arms Control Association, Federation of American Scientists, International Panel on Fissile Materials, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of State and Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/Nuclearweaponswhohaswhat

The F-35 has already freaked out Iran and changed everything in the Middle East

Jake Novak
CC: Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II
Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II
Robert Sullivan | FlickrCC

No conversation about the world’s massive political and economic changes since 2015 is complete without mentioning the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, developed by Lockheed Martin.

That became even clearer this week thanks to a somewhat cheeky statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in response to Iran’s provocative moves in the Persian Gulf and other threats from Tehran. Standing in front of an F-35 jet parked at an Israeli Air Force base, Netanyahu barely held back a smile as he said that Israel can reach Iran, but Iran cannot reach Israel.

He didn’t add the words “undetected by radar,” but it was surely implied.

To understand why that soundbite with the visual backdrop was more than just bluster, you have trace the F-35′s incredible history in the Middle East over the past four years.

We hopped into a F-35 simulator. Here’s what it’s like

You don’t have to be a military genius to know that a supersonic jet that can fly undetected by radar for hundreds of miles will make a difference anywhere in the world. But the F-35′s already powerful impact in the Middle East was multiplied extensively during the months leading up to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. That was still more than a year before the jet was put into service anywhere in the world.

But it was late summer 2015 when reports in the Israeli news media surfaced about how Israelis working on F-35 prototypes had managed to double the jet’s flight and stealth capacity. It wasn’t lost on anyone that the extension meant Israeli Air Force pilots could use the F-35 to fly from Israel to Tehran and back without detection — and without having to refuel at U.S. air bases in Saudi Arabia or Iraq.

Suddenly, U.S.-Israeli air superiority in the region had risen to a new level. Saudi Arabia had already begun the process of cooperating more with Israel on defense and security matters for some time, something Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted at during a “60 Minutes” interview after President Trump’s election. But the idea of letting Israeli jets land and refuel in that Arab country was still a stretch in 2015. Iraqi leaders were also not receptive to the idea. But the new technology was now rendering the objections moot.

The move only acted to bring the Saudis and the Israelis closer. It was one thing for the two countries to have a common enemy in Iran that was on the verge of getting billions of dollars and a clear, if supposedly delayed, path to a nuclear weapon. But with the new F-35 and its expanded capacities in the picture, there was something more tangible than political promises and intelligence sharing to hang their hopes on.

Israel says it’s the first country to use F-35 fighter jet in combat

All of that made it easier for King Salman to shake up his regime and name Mohammed bin Salman the new crown prince. Mohammad, who is aggressive on defense, wasted little time enhancing military ties with Israel and the U.S. There was even an unconfirmed report that he visited Israel secretly in September 2017.

Yet the most direct effects of the F-35 were still to come. In July 2018, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported that Israel had flown a test mission of at least three F-35 jets to Tehran and back from an airbase near Tel Aviv. While never confirmed publicly, a good number of military and political leaders in the region believed and still believe the story. The long-rumored threat the F-35 posed to Iran now seemed like a reality.

Earlier this month, reports in the same Kuwaiti newspaper said that Iran’s military leadership panicked enough over the purported stealth mission that it kept news of it from reaching Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

But when Khamenei found out about the mission, he reportedly moved to fire not only Iran’s air force chief but also the long-serving and powerful commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. That’s major impact without even firing a shot.

All of this comes as Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has decided to choose procuring Russia’s S-400 missile program at the expense of getting promised F-35s from the U.S. Judging by how much his neighbors in the region fear and revere the F-35, this appears to be a ruinous choice.

US halts delivery of F-35 equipment to Turkey

The impact of the F-35′s development has had a major financial impact, as well. Since reports of the Israeli stealth enhancement first surfaced, Lockheed Martin shares are up more the 75%. The F-35 program is also the most expensive defense project in U.S. history, and it has faced a long history of criticism for that cost.

But considering how much the very existence of the jet has already achieved in Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iran, it may already be more than worth it.

Jake Novak is a political and economic analyst at Jake Novak News and former CNBC TV producer. You can follow him on Twitter @jakejakeny.

For more insight from CNBC contributors, follow @CNBCopinion on Twitter.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/18/f-35-has-freaked-out-iran-and-changed-everything-in-the-middle-east.html

Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: The United States
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Updated: July 2019

According to the Federation of the American Scientists, as of April 2019, the United States possesses 3,800 stockpiled strategic and non-strategic nuclear warheads and an additional 2,385 retired warheads awaiting dismantlement, for a total of 6,185 nuclear warheads. On Feb. 2, 2018, the Trump administration released its Nuclear Posture Review, detailing its strategy for the role of U.S. nuclear forces. The United States has destroyed about 90.6% of its chemical weapons arsenal as of 2017 and is due to complete destruction by September 2023. It is party to the Biological Weapons Convention and has destroyed its biological weapons arsenal, although Russia alleges that U.S. biodefense research violates the BWC.

Contents

Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Nuclear Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

  • The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview
  • Delivery Systems
  • Ballistic Missile Defense Systems
  • Fissile Material
  • Proliferation Record
  • Nuclear Doctrine

Biological Weapons

Chemical Weapons

Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities

  • The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty
  • New START
  • Nuclear Reductions Beyond New START
  • Conference on Disarmament (CD)
  • Nuclear Weapons Free Zones
  • Nuclear Security Summits
  • Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)
  • Syrian Chemical Weapons

 

Major Multilateral Arms Control Agreements and Treaties

Signed

Ratified

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

1968

1970

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

1996

– – –

Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM)

1980

1982

CPPNM 2005 Amendment

– – –

2015

Chemical Weapons Convention

1993

1997

Biological Weapons Convention

1972

1975

International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism

2005

2015

Back to Top

Export Control Regimes, Nonproliferation Initiatives, and Safeguards

Group Status
Australia Group Member
Missile Technology Control Regime Member
Nuclear Suppliers Group Member
Wassenaar Arrangement Member
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol Signed in 1998, entered into force January, 2009.
Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism Co-founder with Russia
Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation Participant
Proliferation Security Initiative Founder
UN Security Council Resolutions1540 and 1673 The United States has filed reports on its activities to fulfill the resolutions and volunteered to provide assistance to other states.

Back to Top

Nuclear Weapons Programs, Policies, and Practices

The Nuclear Arsenal, an Overview

According to the Federation of the American Scientists, as of April 2019, the United States possesses 3,800 stockpiled strategic and non-strategic nuclear warheads and an additional 2,385 retired warheads awaiting dismantlement, for a total arsenal of 6,185 warheads. In April 2019, the Defense Department stated it would no longer declassify the number of U.S. nuclear warheads.

Under the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the United States can deploy no more than 1,550 treaty accountable strategic warheads on 700 deployed delivery systems until February 2021 when the treaty expires. According to the March 2019 New START data exchange, the United States deploys 1,365 strategic nuclear warheads on 656 strategic delivery systems.

The United States also deploys an additional 150 tactical (non-strategic) nuclear warheads based in Europe. While the United States and Russia maintain similarly sized total arsenals, the United States possesses a much larger number of strategic warheads and delivery systems while Russia possesses a much larger number of non-strategic (or tactical) nuclear warheads.

The United States is the only nation to have used nuclear weapons against another country, dropping two bombs (one apiece) on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

Delivery Systems

(For a detailed overview of current and planned U.S. nuclear modernization programs, see our fact sheet here.)

Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM)

  •  As of April 2019, the United States Air Force deploys 400 LGM-30G Minuteman III ICBMs.
    • The Minuteman III has a range of over 6,000 miles (9,650-13,000 km).
    • Each missile is equipped with either one 300 kt W87 warhead or one 335 kt W78 warhead.
  • Under New START, the United States reduced the number of deployed ICBMs from 450 to 400. 50 excess silos have not been destroyed but have been kept in a “warm” operational status and can be loaded with missiles relatively quickly if necessary.
  • In 2015, the United States concluded a multibillion dollar, decade-long modernization program that will extend the service life of the Minuteman III to beyond 2030.
  • The U.S. Air Force is also developing a new ICBM, known as the ground-based strategic deterrent (GBSD), which is intended to replace the Minuteman III between 2029 and 2035.

Submarines and Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM)

Submarines:

  • The U.S. Navy operates 14 Ohio-class SSBNs submarines, two of which are undergoing overhaul of their nuclear reactors at any given time. The remaining 12 are available for deployment. However, since some operational SSBNs also undergo minor repairs at any given time the actual number of SSBNs at sea usually numbers at around 10.
  • 7 submarines are based out of Bangor, Washington and 5 submarines are based out of Kings Bay, Georgia.
  • The submarines originally had 24 missile tubes for Trident II D5 SLBMs, but under New START, the Navy deactivated 4 tubes on each submarine, finishing this process in 2017.
  • The Ohio-class submarines have a life-span of 42 years.

Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs):

  • The Trident II D5 was first deployed in 1990 and has an operational range of 7,400-12,000 km.
  • The Trident II D5 missile can hold up to eight warheads (but usually holds an average of four to five) and carries 3 variants:
    • the W88—a 475 kt Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicle (MIRV) warhead.
    • the W76-0—a 100 kt MIRV warhead.
    • the W76-1—a 100 kt MIRV warhead.
  • To comply with New START, the Navy will not deploy more than 240 missiles. As of February 2018, 203 submarine-launched ballistic missiles were deployed.
  • An ongoing life extension program is expected to keep the Trident II D5 in service until  2042.
  • The Trident II D5 is the only MIRV’ed (multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle) strategic missile remaining in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Bombers

  • As of April 2019, the Air Force deploys 46 nuclear-capable B-52H Stratofortress bombers and 20 nuclear-capable B-2A Spirit bombers.
  • The Air Force plans to deploy no more than 60 nuclear-capable strategic bombers under New START.
  • An estimated 850 nuclear warheads are assigned to the strategic bombers, but only about 300 are typically deployed at bomber bases.
    • B-52H Stratofortress bombers: dual-capable; can carry 20 AGM-86B cruise missiles. The AGM-86B has a range of 2,500 km and is equipped with a 5-150 kt W80-1 warhead
    • B-2A Spirit bombers: dual capable; can carry 16 B61-7, B61-11, or B83-1 gravity bombs.
  • The United States also maintains several fighter-aircraft that serve in a dual-capable role. The F-15E and F-16C have been the cornerstone of this aspect of nuclear deterrence, carrying the B61 gravity bomb. The new stealth F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, will replace the F-16 as the U.S. Air Force’s primary nuclear capable fighter-aircraft.

Ballistic Missile Defense Systems

The United States develops and deploys several ballistic missile defense systems around the world. To learn more, see: “U.S. Missile Defense Programs at a Glance.”

Fissile Material

Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)

  • The United States has publicly declared that it no longer produces fissile material for weapons purposes. It stopped production of HEU in 1992.
  • In March 2016, the United States announced the declassification of its national inventory of highly enriched uranium (HEU) of 585.6 tons, as of September 30, 2013.
  • The United States halted the production of HEU for weapons in 1964 and ceased plutonium separation for weapons in 1992.
  • Estimates from 2016 place the U.S. HEU stockpile at around 600 metric tons, including 253 metric tons of military HEU and 264 metric tons of fresh and spent naval HEU.
  • According to the 2015 Global Fissile Material Report, the United States has about 40 metric tons of HEU remaining to be downblended of the 187 metric tons it declared as excess to defense requirements and has committed to dispose.

Plutonium

  • The United States ended production of separated plutonium in 1988.
  • At the end of 2014, U.S. military plutonium stockpiles amounted to a total of 87.6 declared metric tons (49.3 metric tons of which are declared as excess military plutonium).
  • In October 2016, citing U.S. failure to meet its obligations under the agreement, Russia suspended its own implementation of the deal. Russia refuses to resume the agreement’s implementation until U.S. sanctions against Russia are lifted and NATO forces in Europe are reorganized along lines favorable to Russia. Russia contends that U.S. plans to abandon the conversion of plutonium into MOX fuel in favor of a cheaper and faster downblending method does not meet the terms of the deal because doing so would fail to change the composition of the plutonium from weapons-grade to reactor grade.
  • The United States possesses no separated civilian plutonium but at the end of 2014, an estimated 625 metric tons of plutonium were contained in spent fuel stored at civilian reactor sites.
  • Under the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA), finalized with Russia in 2000, the United States committed to disposing of 34 metric tons of excess weapons-grade plutonium beginning in 2018. The agreement was amended in 2010 to change the agreed disposition methods in which Russia abandoned using mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel in light-water reactors in favor or irradiating plutonium in its fast-neutron reactors. The amendment also expressed renewed U.S. commitment to provide $400 million towards the Russian disposition program. Russia suspended cooperation with the agreement in November 2016.

 Proliferation Record

  • A close relationship exists between U.S. and British nuclear weapons programs. The United States supplies the United Kingdom with the Trident II D5 SLBM.
  • Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey all host U.S. tactical nuclear gravity bombs as part of NATO nuclear sharing agreements. The estimated 180 weapons remain under U.S. custody during peacetime, but some may be released to U.S. allies for delivery in times of war.
  • Beginning with President Dwight Eisenhower’s 1953 “Atoms for Peace” initiative, the United States has engaged in extensive worldwide trading and exchanging of fissile materials and technical information for nuclear science research and the peaceful use of nuclear technology. In 1954, an amendment to the Atomic Energy Act allowed bilateral nuclear agreements with U.S. allies to proceed, with the intent of exporting only low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel; however, this soon expanded to include HEU.
  • Under the “Atoms for Peace” program a number of former, aspiring, and current nuclear-weapon states such as South Africa, Iran, India, Pakistan, and Israel all received, directly or indirectly, training and technology transfers utilized in their nuclear weapons programs. For example, in 1967, the United States supplied Iran with a 5 megawatt nuclear research reactor along with HEU fuel. Iran admitted to using the reactor in the early 1990s for the production of small amounts of Polonium-210, a radioactive substance capable of starting a chain reaction inside a nuclear weapon.
  • Since the end of the Cold War the United States has tried to mitigate the adverse effects of the “Atoms for Peace” initiative and returned exported HEU and plutonium to the United States.

Nuclear Doctrine

Then-Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, in a Feb. 2, 2018 press briefing, claimed that the 2018 NPR “reaffirms that the fundamental role of U.S. nuclear policy is deterrence.” Critics of the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) argue that the NPR reverses previous policy to reduce the role and number of U.S. nuclear weapons.

Declaratory Policy

The NPR dictates that the use of nuclear weapons will only be considered under “extreme circumstances” to defend the “vital interests” of the United States and its allies. It defines “extreme circumstances,” which the 2010 NPR did not, to include “significant non-nuclear strategic attacks” against “U.S., allied or partner civilian population or infrastructure, and attacks on U.S. or allied nuclear forces, their command and control, or warning and attack assessment capabilities.” For more on declaratory policy, see: Nuclear Declaratory Policy and Negative Security Assurances.

Negative Security Assurance

The NPR also includes a negative security assurance that the United States will not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapons states that are “party to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and are in compliance with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations.” The review caveats this negative security assurance by retaining “the right to make any adjustment in the assurance that may be warranted by the evolution and proliferation of non-nuclear strategic attack technologies and U.S. capabilities to counter that threat.” For more on negative security assurances, see: U.S. Negative Security Assurances at a Glance.

Testing
The United States has conducted 1,030 nuclear weapons tests. The first test was conducted on July 16, 1945 and the last test occurred on Sept. 23, 1992. The United States was the first country to conduct a nuclear test.

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Biological Weapons

  • In the early 1970s, the United States destroyed its entire stockpile of biological weapons, which had been developed between 1943 and 1969.
  • The United States ratified the Biological Weapons Convention in 1975.  However, in 2001, the Bush administration opposed and killed an effort dating back to 1995 to augment the Biological Weapons Convention with a legally binding verification protocol. U.S. officials said the protocol would be too burdensome on legitimate governments and private biodefense programs, while at the same time failing to deter cheaters.
  • According to a 2016 State Department report, “In December 2015 at the annual Meeting of States Parties to the BWC, the delegation of the Russian Federation asserted that the United States had knowingly transferred live anthrax spores to a foreign country for use in open-air testing, and that this constituted a ‘grave violation’ of Articles III and IV of the BWC [Biological Weapons Convention].”
  • The United States maintains that these transfers were a blunder. The report also notes that, “All U.S. activities during the reporting period were consistent with the obligations set forth in the BWC. The United States continues to work toward enhancing transparency of biological defense work using the BWC confidence-building measures.”

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Chemical Weapons

  • Behind Russia, the United States has declared the second-largest stockpile of chemical agents.
  • As of 2017, the United States had destroyed about 25,154 metric tons, or about 90.6 percent, of its declared Category 1 chemical weapons stockpile. The United States has completed destruction of all its Category 2 and 3 chemical weapons.
  • The United States received several extensions on its initial deadline for chemical weapons destruction under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and it now due to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal by September 2023.
  • Destruction of the United States’ largest remaining stockpile of chemical weapons began in 2016 at Colorado’s Pueblo Chemical Depot. Upon completion, the Blue Grass Army Depot in Richmond, Kentucky will have the last remaining chemical agent stockpile in the United States.

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Other Arms Control and Nonproliferation Activities  

Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty
The 1987 INF Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union requires the United States and Russia to eliminate and permanently forswear all of their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. The treaty resulted in the United States and the Soviet Union destroying a total of 2,692 short-, medium-, and intermediate-range missiles by the treaty’s implementation deadline of June 1, 1991.
However, in July 2014 the U.S. State Department officially assessed Russia to be in violation of the agreement citing Russian production and testing of an illegal ground-launched cruise missile. The State Department reiterated this conclusion in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. In February 2019 the United States announced its intention to suspend its obligations and withdraw from the treaty, beginning a six-month withdrawal period that will end in August.  For more information on the INF Treaty visit our “INF Treaty at a Glance” fact sheet.

New START
In April 2010, the United States and Russia signed a successor agreement to the original Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) accord. The 2010 agreement, known as New START, commenced on Feb. 5, 2011. It requires that both sides reduce their arsenals to 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear weapons on no more than 700 ICBMs, SLMBs, and bombers by Feb. 5, 2018 and both sides met the limits by the deadline. In addition, it contains rigorous monitoring and verification provisions to ensure compliance with the agreement. President Donald Trump has repeatedly questioned the value of New START, calling it a “one-sided” agreement.

New START allows for a five-year extension subject to the agreement of both parties. The Trump administration has begun an interagency review on whether to extend the treaty and is weighing several factors, including the lack of China’s participation in the agreement, Russia’s new and developing strategic systems, and Russian tactical delivery systems currently not covered by the treaty. Though no official decision has been made yet regarding the Trump administration’s decision to extend, National Security Advisor John Bolton called it“unlikely” in June 2019.

Nuclear Reduction Beyond New START
In February 2013, President Obama announced that the United States intended to engage with Russia to further reduce deployed strategic warheads by one-third below the New START limit to around 1,100 to 1,000 deployed warheads. However, there has been little progress toward achieving such reductions due to the deterioration of U.S.-Russia relations in the aftermath of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Russia’s insistence that other issues, such as limits on U.S. missile defenses, be part of negotiations on further reductions. In the spring of 2019, the White House told reporters that the administration is seeking a new trilateral arms control agreement that limits all types of nuclear weapons and includes China in addition to the United States and Russia.

Conference on Disarmament (CD)
The Conference on Disarmament was established in 1979 as a multilateral disarmament negotiating forum by the international community. At the 65-member CD, the United States has expressed support for continuing discussions on the CD’s core issues: nuclear disarmament, a fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT), prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS), and negative security assurances. The United States has been a prominent supporter of a proposed FMCT.

In March 1995, the CD took up The Shannon Mandate which established an ad hoc committee directed to negotiate an FMCT by the end of the 1995 session. A lack of consensus over verification provisions, as well as desires to hold parallel negotiations on outer space arms control issues, prevented negotiations from getting underway. Later, in May 2006, the United States introduced a draft FMCT along with a draft mandate for its negotiations. However, following an impasse in negotiations on a FMCT in 2010, the United States (and others) signaled its desire to look at alternative approaches outside the CD and called for negotiations to be moved to the United Nations General Assembly where the agreement could be endorsed by a majority vote. However, the United States no longer makes comments to this effect.

The United States does not support negotiations on PAROS, deeming it unnecessary because there are no weapons yet deployed in outer space. China and Russia continue to articulate a desire to hold parallel negotiations, a point which has further stalled efforts to begin FMCT negotiations.

Nuclear Weapons Free Zones
The United States has ratified a protocol to the Latin America and the Caribbean Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (NWFZ) treaty pledging not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against the contracting parties. The U.S. has declined to ratify similar additional protocols to any of the remaining NWFZ treaties for Africa, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific.

Nuclear Security Summits
In April 2010, the United States hosted the first Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Washington, DC. Participants included 47 countries, 38 of which were represented at the head of state or head of government level, and the heads of the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the European Union. At the summit, the participants unanimously adopted the goal of securing all vulnerable nuclear material in the next four years. The United States also attended the NSS in Seoul, South Korea, on March 26-27, 2012 and the third NSS on Mar. 24-25, 2014. Washington hosted a fourth summit in the Spring of 2016 where attendees developed action plansfor five global organizations to continue the work of the summits.

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)
Under the Obama administration the United States played the central role in the brokering of the July 2015 JCPOA, better known as the “Iran deal,” which limits and rolls back Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions. Congress in September 2015 debated a resolution that would have blocked implementation of the accord, but it failed to receive enough votes to pass the Senate. In January 2016, sanctions on Iran, including those targeting the financial and oil sectors, were lifted and $100 billion worth of frozen Iranian assets were released after international inspectors confirmed that Iran had rolled back large sections of its nuclear program and met more intrusive monitoring requirements.

On May 8, 2018 President Trump violated the JCPOA by reimposing sanctions on Iran that were lifted by the agreement, despite the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Iran was adhering to its commitments under the deal and over objections from the remaining parties to the agreement. Since the U.S. decision to withdraw, the remaining parties to the deal have reiterated their commitment to the JCPOA and taken steps to bypass U.S. sanctions and preserve legitimate trade with Iran.

Syrian Chemical Weapons
In September 2013, in the aftermath of the large-scale use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, United States reached an agreement with Russia to account, inspect, control, and eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons. Before the deal was reached, the United States was planning to use airstrikes to punish the perpetrators of the attack, which the United States blamed on the Syrian government. By July 2014, Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpile had been successfully removed from the country and flagged for destruction following a broad multilateral operation. However, the United States has raised concerns about the accuracy of Syria’s declaration.

In September 2014, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed that chlorine gas was being used in Syria. The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on Mar. 6, 2015 condemning the use of chlorine gas in Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry was quick to suggest that the Assad regime was the likely perpetrator of the chlorine gas attacks; Russia, however, was hesitant to assign blame. In August 2016, the third report of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism was released, finding that the Syrian government was responsible for chemical weapons attacks.

In April 2017, another chemical weapon attack was carried out in the Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun where Syrian government warplanes were accused of spreading a nerve agent via bombs, killing dozens. U.S. President Donald Trump responded by immediately blaming the regime of Bashar Assad and launching 59 Tomahawk missiles targeting the airfield that had allegedly launched the attack. Following the launches, Trump stated that “It is in this vital national security of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.” As a justification for the U.S. response, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated that “If you violate international agreements, if you fail to live up to commitments, if you become a threat to others, at some point a response is likely to be undertaken.”

(For a detailed timeline on Syrian chemical weapons, see our fact sheet here.)

https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/unitedstatesprofile

9 questions about the US-Iran standoff you were too embarrassed to ask

Will the US and Iran go to war?

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs reporters on the suspected attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman at the State Department on June 13, 2019, in Washington, DC.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs reporters on the suspected attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman at the State Department on June 13, 2019, in Washington, DC.
 Win McNamee/Getty Images

For the past month and a half, the US and much of the world has been consumed by a terrifying question: Is America going to war with Iran?

It’s an understandable question. The Trump administration says an Iranian strike on Americans in the Middle East remains “imminent” and has blamed Tehran for attacks on oil tankers in a vital waterway. Iran, meanwhile, has told its proxies to prepare for war and indicated it may stop abiding by the 2015 nuclear deal within just a matter of days (though it hasn’t said that it plans to pursue a nuclear weapon).

Those developments, combined with the rise of Iran hawks in the administration like National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have led to widespreadfear that some sort of conflict between Washington and Tehran is imminent.

Here’s the good news: Right now it seems fairly unlikely that a full-blown war is on the horizon — even though a limited strike was considered this week — mostly because President Donald Trump and American allies don’t want one. Nor does Iran, it seems.

But the situation is still very tense, and the room for error and miscalculation on both sides remains high.

So what exactly is going on? How did we get here? Why did this escalation happen so suddenly? And what would a conflict with Iran even look like, anyway?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. What follows are answers to some of the most pressing questions about the latest US-Iran standoff; hopefully they’ll allow you to breathe just a little easier.

1) What is actually going on?

The current crisis started on May 5, when National Security Adviser John Bolton announced the US was deploying an aircraft carrier and bomber planes to the Persian Gulf in response to “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” of threats from Iran.

This move, Bolton said, was meant “to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.” He said that the US “is not seeking war with the Iranian regime,” but added, “we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces.”

At the time, it was unclear exactly what that intelligence said, but reports over the following days provided a bit more clarity. Iran apparently intended to target US troops in Iraq and Syria, or even use drones against Americans in a key waterway near Yemen. There was also information that Iran put cruise missiles on ships, heightening fears that it might attack US Navy vessels with them.

The severity of the intelligence remains in dispute, and some say Bolton and others have inflated the threat. What isn’t in dispute is that America’s response dramatically raised the tension between the two countries — and a series of subsequent events only made things worse.

On May 8, three days after Bolton’s statement, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that his country would no longer comply with parts of the 2015 nuclear deal if European signatories to the deal didn’t provide Iran with financial relief within 60 days.

Specifically, Rouhani said Iran would start stockpiling extra low-enriched uranium and heavy water, the kind used in nuclear reactors that could be used to produce a nuclear weapon, and would enrich uranium to previously banned levels.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations on September 26, 2018.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations on September 26, 2018.
 Spencer Platt/Getty Images

All those actions remain banned by the agreement, which Iran, as well as some European powers, Russia, and China, is still party to. But Tehran’s decision, which it telegraphed days in advance, came exactly one year after Trump ended the US’s commitment to the accord.

Rouhani made sure all of that wasn’t an escalation. “The path we have chosen today is not the path of war,” he said, “it is the path of diplomacy.”

Still, that set the stage for a potential confrontation: The Trump administration doesn’t want Iran to get a nuclear weapon, and while Rouhani’s announcement still wouldn’t put Tehran anywhere near obtaining the bomb, it inched a little closer. And with the threat of a military fight hanging over it all, the chance for miscalculation grew.

But it didn’t stop there. A few days later, four oil tankers were damaged in attacks near the Strait of Hormuz, a vital waterway aggressively patrolled by Iran through which a third of the world’s liquefied natural gas and almost 20 percent of the world’s oil production flows.

Two of the oil tankers belonged to Saudi Arabia and one belonged to the United Arab Emirates — both staunch enemies of Iran and friends to the US. (The fourth was owned by a Norwegian company.) United Nations ambassadors from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Norway said two weeks ago that the damages came after a country used divers to place mines on the large ships. The diplomats didn’t specifically name Iran as the culprit, but the US had already blamed Tehranfor the sabotage.

Iran denied any involvement. But one day after the suspected attack, Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen launched an assault on a Saudi oil pipeline. And one of Iran’s top military leaders reportedly told militias in Iraq to prepare for a war, prompting the US to remove some staff from the embassy in Baghdad and its consulate in Erbil last month.

Then, last week, two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman — just east of the Strait of Hormuz — were damaged in suspected attacks. The Trump administration said Iran was responsible.

That was followed by an Iranian official on Monday saying his country would stockpile enough low-enriched uranium that it would blow through the limits imposed in the 2015 nuclear deal, the same one the US withdrew from last year. The US soon after responded y saying it would send 1,000 more troops to the Middle East to counter Iran.

And then on Wednesday night or Thursday morning (the timing is still unclear), Iran shot down a US military drone (no one was hurt). That’s by far the biggest provocation yet in the weeks-long standoff, and could cause the tensions to skyrocket.

Trump authorized a limited strike on Iran to retaliate for the downing, but suddenly reversed himself, he said on Friday morning, worried that potentially killing Iranians wouldn’t be a proportionate response.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not….

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!

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Put together, it’s a fraught, delicate, and dangerous situation that could spiral out of control if not carefully managed by both countries. Worries of a larger war are widespread, and it’s not clear how the US and Iran will walk back from the brink.

2) Why is all of this happening right now?

The US and Iran have been at odds for decades. Since a 1979 revolution in Iran that overthrew the American-backed and installed leader, both countries have held aggressive stances toward the other.

Over the years, Iranian-backed groups have fought and attacked US forces, leaving hundreds of American troops dead in total. The US has also launched assaults of its own, including a devastating cyberattack, a naval campaign to sink Iranian ships, and mistakenly downing an Iranian commercial airliner.

First, the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal last year, reimposing sanctions on the country and compelling European allies to stop importing Iranian oil. That has started to tank Iran’s economy.

Second is how the intelligence and military actions have been perceived over the past few weeks. According to the Wall Street Journal, Iran may have feared an American attack was imminent and is taking action to dissuade the US from doing so.

That view would make sense, according to some Iran experts. “To counterattack in response to pressure is a standard part of the Iranian playbook,” Suzanne Maloney, an Iran expert at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, tweeted on May 6.

The Iranian Islamic Republic Army demonstrates in solidarity with people in the street during the 1979 Iranian Revolution. They are carrying posters of the Ayatollah Khomeini, the Iranian religious and political leader.
The Iranian Islamic Republic Army demonstrates in solidarity with people in the street during the 1979 Iranian Revolution. They are carrying posters of the Ayatollah Khomeini, the Iranian religious and political leader.
 Keystone/Getty Images

Misperception and miscalculation are always worrisome in situations like this. One wrong move by the US, for example, could lead Iran to think war is afoot, thereby compelling Tehran to make aggressive countermoves or even launch assaults of its own. The same is true if Tehran startles Washington with some action, leading the White House to authorize a strike.

Which takes us to the third “push”: the Iran hawks in the Trump administration who are itching for a fight.

John Bolton, Trump’s top national security aide, has long argued for regime change in Iran and advocated for bombing the country to stop it from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also pushed the US to confront the Iranian regime.

In May 2018, he gave a speech outlining 12 ways the clerical government must change — including stopping its support for proxy groups and halting its missile program — before the US lifts any financial and diplomatic pressure off Tehran.

Together, they have made the Trump administration a lot more antagonistic toward the Islamic Republic. It’s a stark difference from when Trump was flanked by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. While they both expressed deep distrust of Iran, they didn’t make maximalist demands or threaten conflict so brazenly.

It’s important to note that Trump says he doesn’t want a war with Iran, but the problem is that he’s effectively outsourced his Iran policy to the hawks. That means that at a time when cooler heads should prevail, there aren’t many cool heads to be found.

“Moments like these are when institutions should matter: leadership at the cabinet level, a serious policy-making process, intelligence standards, professional ethics. All those have been eroded by the Trump administration,” Maloney tweeted.

3) Wait, why do Bolton and Pompeo hate Iran so much?

It’s hard to find two more anti-Iran figures in Washington than the national security adviser and the secretary of state.

Let’s start with Bolton: The longtime Republican official and operative rarely has found an authoritarian regime he hasn’t wanted to punish in some way, but Iran seems to hold a special place in his heart.

In 2015, he wrote an op-ed for the New York Times making the case that the US should bomb Iran to keep it from getting a nuclear weapon. “Iran will not negotiate away its nuclear program,” Bolton wrote, slamming the Obama administration’s efforts to strike a diplomatic agreement with Tehran. “The inconvenient truth is that only military action … can accomplish what is required. Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed.”

And in 2017, just eight months before becoming Trump’s third national security adviser, Bolton gave a paid speech to an Iranian exile group that wants to overthrow the country’s leadership.

Clearly, he agrees with them: “The declared policy of the United States should be the overthrow of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran,” he said. “The behavior and the objectives of the regime are not going to change and, therefore, the only solution is to change the regime itself.”

“Before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran,” he concluded. Well, it’s 2019 now, so perhaps Bolton hopes to make up for lost time.

Where Bolton’s animus seems driven by Cold War-era thinking, Pompeo’s seems to come from something much deeper.

The nation’s chief diplomat has made no secret of his evangelical Christian faith, which he admits guides his policy views. That holds true for world affairs, where his religious beliefs have partly led him to offer unqualified support for Israel, a key American ally — and for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who sees Iran as an existential threat to his country.

During a March 20 visit to Jerusalem, for example, Pompeo and Netanyahu both vowed to continue their joint pressure on Iran. Five days later, the secretary gave a speech to the pro-Israel lobby group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to show his support for the US ally and disdain for Iran.

“We’ve enacted the strongest pressure campaign in history against Iran and its proxies, and they are feeling the pain,” Pompeo said to applause. He added: “Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, and any nation that espouses anti-Zionism, like Iran, must be confronted. We must defend the rightful homeland of the Jewish people.”

Pompeo, then, has expressly linked America’s combative stance against Iran to support for Israel. While he has also said Iran deserves pushback for its pursuit of a nuclear program and its support for terrorists and dictators like Bashar al-Assad in Syria, it’s clear Pompeo views Iran as a threat to a country important to his Christian faith.

Which means Bolton and Pompeo are unlikely to tamp down growing tensions with Iran. If anything, they will want to escalate matters now that they have the chance.

4) Are the US and Iran going to war?

Breathe easy: It doesn’t look like the US will go to war with Iran anytime soon, although that possibility can’t be fully counted out. But there are three main reasons for optimism (or just not outright pessimism).

First some experts say the US military deployments to the Middle East aren’t so out of the ordinary.

Sure, the US moved an anti-missile battery to the region last month, but it removed four of them months earlier, Ilan Goldenberg, an Iran expert at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, tweeted on May 11. He added that the aircraft carrier sent to the Middle East to deter an Iranian attack was previously scheduled to be in the region.

“So what is actually happening? Someone in the administration has decided to dramatically increase the media posture of the US government around these deployments to apply pressure on Iran,” Goldenberg continued. The reason for the exaggeration, though, is not entirely clear.

Second, Trump doesn’t seem to want a war with Iran. He campaigned on not getting the US further involved in wars abroad, particularly in the Middle East. While Trump is no dove on Iran and seems to relish the US-led pressure on it, he’s not aching for a fight like some around him. He reportedly told his acting Pentagon chief in May that he doesn’t want to get into a skirmish with Iran right now.

And when Trump was asked on May 16 if the US was going to war Iran, he simply responded: “Hope not.”

MSNBC

@MSNBC

Reporter: “Mr. President, are we going to war with Iran?”

President Trump: “Hope not.”

Embedded video

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Third, it actually seems like tensions may be fairly low in the grand scheme of things. For example, Pompeo is leaning on European allies to compel Iran to “de-escalate” the tensions, the New York Times reported in May. It’s unclear if he’s doing this under Trump’s orders or if he’s decided to tamp down his typical hawkish Iran policies for the time being.

However, the recent attacks on oil tankers, Iran’s statement that it won’t abide by a crucial part of the nuclear deal, and the downing of the drone means problems might mount in the days ahead.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Iran made a very big mistake!

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Still, the US-Iran standoff isn’t quite as dire as it seems and may settle down. That’s not guaranteed, of course, as there’s always room for error. But for now, it doesn’t look like the US and Iran are going to war.

5) If the US did decide to go to war with Iran, what would be the rationale?

Based on the Trump administration’s statements and past US policy, America might choose to go to war for three reasons: 1) Iran gets close to obtaining a nuclear weapon, 2) the US decides to overthrow the regime, or 3) Iran launches a massive attack on Americans requiring an even bigger response in return.

Let’s start with the nuclear issue. US policy in this and previous administrations is that Iran should not have a nuclear weapon. That’s why President Barack Obama signed the Iran nuclear deal — to delay Tehran’s path to the bomb. Trump pulled out of the deal for a variety of reasons, but one was that he claimed it made Iran’s ability to get a nuke more likely, even though most experts disagree.

As of today, Iran is still far away from having a reliable nuclear arsenal at its disposal — and it has never officially said it is even seeking the bomb in the first place. But if it starts to move seriously in that direction, one could imagine folks like Bolton and Netanyahu pushing for a military strike on its nuclear facilities. As a sign of Israel’s seriousness on this issue, it has reportedly even killed nuclear scientists working for the Iranian regime.

Iran’s armed forces during an April 17, 2008 military parade.
Iran’s armed forces during an April 17, 2008, military parade.
 Majid/Getty Images

But what would that actually accomplish in the long run? Would we be able to stop Iran from ever getting a bomb if it really wanted to?

“We can probably destroy the existing program” with limited strikes, Richard Nephew, an architect of the Iran nuclear deal, told me last month. But “we cannot prevent Iran from reconstituting that program. So we would then have to either attack again in the future to deal with a reconstituted nuclear program or acquiesce to Iran having a nuclear weapon.”

Attacking Iran, he added, could actually compel the country to pursue the bomb in earnest in order to deter more US strikes.

Okay, so what about starting a war to overthrow the regime? That’s even less likely to happen, as it would take a colossal military effort. Right now the administration is reportedly considering sending 6,000 more troops to the gulf region, far below what would be required to carry out a major war against Iran.

That’s a far cry from previous considerations. In May administration weighed one plan which included sending 120,000 US troops to the Middle East — a plan Trump denied was ever in the works. Colin Kahl, who oversaw the Pentagon’s Iran planning from 2009 to 2011, tweeted on May 13 that the US would only deploy that many service members if regime change was the goal, although he noted it’s still too small of a force for a full-scale invasion.

By comparison, the US sent around 150,000 troops in the initial phase of the 2003 invasion of Iraq — and Iran is a much bigger country than Iraq.

If the White House aims to remove Iran’s leadership permanently, then, it would need to launch an invasion on a scale even bigger than the one in Iraq — starting what would be one of the most horrific wars in recent memory and leading to hundreds of thousands dead.

It’s hard to imagine Trump would find much love for a full-scale war. “Almost nobody would support an Iraq-like ground invasion for regime change under current circumstances,” Eric Brewer, who worked on Iran in Trump’s National Security Council, told me last month. “It’s hard to over-emphasize how costly such a conflict would be.”

Finally, war could break out if Iran were to attack American forces. Iran’s military leadershipdoes have its troops and proxies on high alert, but that doesn’t mean Tehran plans to imminently attack Americans.

The Islamic Republic is almost certainly aware that any action that puts US troops, diplomats, or private citizens in mortal danger will provide Trump advisers like Bolton or Pompeo with the ammunition needed to push harder for war.

The pressure will also be on Trump to respond in kind — if not more forcefully — if Iran kills Americans during this tense time. That pressure actually already exists, with some saying the attacks on two oil tankers last week requires a US military response.

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That therefore incentivizes Tehran not to make overly provocative moves right now.

Luckily, then, none of these main pathways to war seem particularly open. And while it’s unlikely they will be, that’s not a certainty either.

6) What would a war with Iran look like?

That really comes down to what the US wants to accomplish, experts say. As noted above, war could take the form of targeted US military strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities, or it could look like a full-scale invasion of Iran by the US.

But it’s worth noting that there are lower-level ways the US and Iran could fight each other.

US Army soldiers take part in a joint Israeli-American military exercise at a Patriot missile battery site October 27, 2009, in Tel Aviv, Israel.
US Army soldiers take part in a joint Israeli-American military exercise at a Patriot missile battery site on October 27, 2009, in Tel Aviv, Israel.
 Ziv Koren-Pool/Getty Images

For example, the US could launch cyberattacks on Iran’s infrastructure and power grid, a plan the military has already named “Nitro Zeus.” The Obama administration used this method to bring down part of Iran’s nuclear program. However, Iran has cyber capabilities of its own that it could use to target important American companies or even the government.

What’s more, Iran’s proxies across the Middle East could target Americans in Iraq, Syria, or elsewhere in the Middle East. Perhaps worried about that possibility, the US removed staff from two of its missions in Iraq last month.

Importantly, Iran doesn’t have nuclear weapons, so the worst attack imaginable is off the table. Still, it’s possible that Tehran could use its growing missile program to target American ships and troops in the area.

It therefore wouldn’t take a full-on fight for things to get really, really bad between the US and Iran pretty quickly. Let’s hope we don’t find out.

7) Does anyone outside the US want an Iran war?

Mainly no, but there are some out there who do.

Israel, which in the past has advocated for strikes on Iran, is actively trying to stay out of the fray. The main reason is that a major war with Tehran would certainly involve Israel, most likely pitting it against Hezbollah, Iran’s ally and proxy in Lebanon.

Axios reported in May that Netanyahu has told his top defense and intelligence leadership that his country should “make every effort not to get dragged into the escalation in the Gulf and would not interfere directly in the situation.” So Israel, along with the United Arab Emirates, has backed off its openly hawkish Iran stances so as not to spark a war right now.

Russia and European countries, especially those still party to the Iran nuclear deal, are also working as go-betweens to end the standoff. Experts also say that European nations worry greatly about millions of refugees streaming into the continent if a war with Iran breaks out, which would put immense pressure on governments already dealing with the fallout of the Syrian refugee crisis.

That’s bad news for Bolton and others who might want a full-on war with Iran. For the US to be successful, it will need political and military support from Israel and Europeans. Without them, the US would struggle to have the international legitimacy and help it needs not only to win the fight but also to deal with the immense fallout.

But the US does have some support for a fight. Most of it comes from Saudi Arabia, which has been locked in a decades-long cold war of sorts with Iran for control in the Middle East. Arab News, a Riyadh-aligned newspaper, called for the US to launch a “surgical strike” on Iran in May.

That said, Riyadh doesn’t seem to want a war right now. Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters last month that “the kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want war in the region and does not strive for that.” He added: “if the other side chooses war, the kingdom will fight this with all force and determination and it will defend itself, its citizens and its interests.”

Still, it seems that if the US decided to launch a war with Iran, it would mostly do so alone. That must surely give even those itching for a fight in the Trump administration some pause.

8) This feels like the runup to the Iraq War. Is it similar?

Not really, no. “There are valid concerns that some in the administration are casting intelligence in a certain light to further their goals of regime change, but I think there are more differences than similarities to Iraq,” says Brewer, who is now at the Center for a New American Security in Washington.

In the runup to the Iraq War, George W. Bush’s administration made a clear and repeated case that Saddam Hussein, the country’s brutal dictator, had weapons of mass destruction. The problem is that it was based on cherry-picked intelligence that proved not to be credible, leading the US to launch a war based on faulty information and a misleading public pitch.

“There was a serious, coordinated effort by the Bush administration — via major speeches, interviews, etc. — to lay out its case for war. None of that appears to be happening now,” Brewer told me.

Still, there’s a good reason some compare the current Iran moment to the previous Iraq one. You have a Republican administration, featuring some of the same figures who pushed the US to war in Iraq (namely, Bolton), saying it has intelligence showing an imminent threat against Americans.

So let’s be clear about what we actually know — that is, what reports say the US has found:

  • Iran had plans to target US troops in Iraq and Syria, and a top Iranian military leader told the nation’s proxies to prepare for war.
  • Iran has placed missiles on ships that it could use to attack the US Navy, and could use drones against Americans in a key waterway near Yemen.
  • The US military released video the US claims shows Iranians removing an unexploded limpet mine from the side of one of the oil tankers attacked last week.

Experts are mostly unanimous in believing that intelligence like this exists and is credible. Where they differ is on just how much it clearly shows a new level of Iranian aggression.

Phillip Smyth, an Iran expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told me in May that major threats from Tehran’s proxies have continued since early 2018. “There have been maneuvers in the past that sent a signal to the Americans” of a worsening regional situation, he said.

But he noted that just because there are indications that an attack could happen doesn’t mean an Iranian proxy will launch one soon. “These guys are very smart and very patient with how they plan and execute,” he said.

Others, like Brookings’s Maloney, have said that people shouldn’t assume the intelligence is bogus, mainly because Iran would likely retaliate forcefully to the Trump administration’s antagonism.

President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on May 13, 2019 in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on May 13, 2019, in Washington, DC.
 Mark Wilson/Getty Images

What gives many pause, though, is that there seems to be a difference in what the US and its allies glean from the intelligence. For example, a top British military official involved in the coalition fight against ISIS in Iraq told Pentagon reporters last month that the threats weren’t extraordinary.

Meanwhile, senators from both parties in Congress have been briefed on the Iran intelligence — and both came away with completely different reads.

After a May briefing with National Security Adviser John Bolton on Monday, administration ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tweeted, “It is clear that over the last several weeks Iran has attacked pipelines and ships of other nations and created threat streams against American interests in Iraq. … If the Iranian threats against American personnel and interests are activated we must deliver an overwhelming military response.”

Meanwhile Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), an outspoken critic of Trump’s foreign policy and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also tweeted his take. “I‘m listening to Republicans twist the Iran intel to make it sound like Iran is taking unprovoked, offensive measures against the US and our allies. Like it just came out of nowhere,” he said. “I’ve read the intel too. And let me be clear: That’s not what the intel says.”

US defense and intelligence officials familiar with the information wouldn’t provide me with any more information than is already public.

But what makes all this different from the Iraq War is that both Congress and the press are refusing to take the administration’s claims at face value, and instead are pushing the Trump administration to back up those claims with actual proof.

9) Does the US-Iran standoff have anything to do with oil?

Pretty much anytime talk of America going to war in the Middle East comes up, people wonder if it’s merely a quest to control more oil. That’s fair to an extent, as the US and other world powers have launched wars to take charge of energy sources.

That’s not really the case here. What the US does care about, though, is ensuring that vessels are allowed to sail freely through the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial maritime passage aggressively patrolled by Iran where a third of the world’s liquefied natural gas and almost 20 percent of the world’s oil production flows. When US-Iran tensions spike, Iran typically threatens to shut down the strait.

Doing so would send the global energy market into a tailspin and cause a worldwide crisis.

But Iran doesn’t usually follow through with its bluster, surely aware of the fury it would face from the United States and others. So when news of the mystery attacks on oil tankers surfaced twice in two months, it raised worries that Tehran may have found a way to send a message.

“By signaling that this supply is not safe and can be disrupted, Tehran is letting the world know it has escalation options,” Behnam Ben Taleblu, an Iran expert at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, told me last month.

But while the continued supply of cheap oil is definitely important to the US, it’s not really the reason some in the Trump administration are pushing for an Iran fight today. That really comes down to this: Bolton, Pompeo, and others want regime change in Iran, and are using intelligence that shows Tehran doing provocative things to advocate for a more combative stance.

But Trump is still the boss, and so far he’s expressed no real appetite for war with Iran. Which means that a major, bloody conflict remains an unlikely possibility — at least for now.

https://www.vox.com/2019/5/20/18628977/us-iran-war-trump-oil-tanker-attacks-nuclear-program-pompeo-bolton-irgc

 

Iran and weapons of mass destruction

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Iran, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is not known to currently possess weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and has signed treaties repudiating the possession of weapons of mass destruction including the Biological Weapons Convention,[1] the Chemical Weapons Convention,[2] and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).[3] The country has first-hand knowledge of WMD effects—over 100,000 Iranian troops and civilians were victims of chemical weapons during the 1980s Iran–Iraq War.[4][5]

On ideological grounds, a public and categorical religious decree (fatwa) against the development, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons has been issued by the Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khameneialong with other clerics,[6][7] though it is approved by some relatively minor clerics.[8] Later versions of this fatwa forbid only the “use” of nuclear weapons, but said nothing about their production.[9] Iran has stated its uranium enrichment program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.[10][11] The IAEA has confirmed the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran but has also said it “needs to have confidence in the absence of possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.”[12][13]

In December 2014, a Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control report by Lincy and Milhollin based on International Atomic Energy Agency data concluded that Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium for one nuclear warhead in 1.7 months [14] In 2012, sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA, reported that Iran was pursuing research that could enable it to produce nuclear weapons, but was not attempting to do so.[15]The senior officers of all of the major American intelligence agencies stated that there was no conclusive evidence that Iran has made any attempt to produce nuclear weapons since 2003.[16] In a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, the United States Intelligence Community assessed that Iran had ended all “nuclear weapon design and weaponization work” in 2003.[17] U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated in January 2012 that Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapons capability, but was not attempting to produce nuclear weapons.[18] In 2009, U.S. intelligence assessed that Iranian intentions were unknown.[19][20] Some European intelligence believe Iran has resumed its alleged nuclear weapons design work.[21] Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he had seen no evidence of any nuclear weapons program in Iran,[22] while Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Iran was close to having the capability to produce nuclear weapons.[23][24] Iran has called for nuclear weapons states to disarm and for the Middle East to be a nuclear weapon free zone.[25]

After the IAEA voted in a rare non-consensus decision to find Iran in non-compliance with its NPT Safeguards Agreement and to report that non-compliance to the UN Security Council,[26][27] the Council demanded that Iran suspend its nuclear enrichment activities[28][29] and imposed sanctions against Iran[30][31][32][33] when Iran refused to do so.[34] Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad argued that the sanctions were illegal.[35] The IAEA has been able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, but not the absence of undeclared activities.[36] The Non-Aligned Movement has called on both sides to work through the IAEA for a solution.[37]

In November 2009, the IAEA Board of Governors adopted[38] a resolution against Iran which urged Iran to apply the modified Code 3.1 to its Safeguard Agreement,[39] urged Iran to implement and ratify the Additional Protocol,[39] and expressed “serious concern” that Iran had not cooperated on issues that needed “to be clarified to exclude the possibility of military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.”[40] Iran said the “hasty and undue” resolution would “jeopardize the conducive environment vitally needed” for successful negotiations[40] and lead to cooperation not exceeding its “legal obligations to the body”.[41]

Contents

Nuclear weapons

Overview

In September 2005, the IAEA Board of Governors, in a rare non-consensus decision with 12 abstentions,[42] recalled a previous Iranian “policy of concealment” regarding its enrichment program[43] and found that Iran had violated its NPT Safeguards Agreement.[44] Another IAEA report stated “there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities … were related to a nuclear weapons program.”[43] Iran has claimed that the military threat posed by Israel and the United States is forcing it to restrict the release of information on its nuclear program.[45] Gawdat Bahgat of the National Defense University speculates that Iran may have a lack of confidence in the international community which was reinforced when many nations, under pressure from the United States, rejected or withdrew from signed commercial deals with the Iranian nuclear authority.[46]

On 31 July 2006, the Security Council passed a resolution demanding Iran suspend its enrichment program.[34] On 23 December 2006, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions against Iran,[30] which were later tightened on 24 March 2007,[31] because Iran refused to suspend enrichment. Iran’s representative to the UN argued that the sanctions compelled Iran to abandon its rights under the NPT to peaceful nuclear technology.[30] The Non-Aligned Movement called on both sides to work through the IAEA for a solution.[37]

US intelligence predicted in August 2005 that Iran could have the key ingredients for a nuclear weapon by 2015.[47] On 25 October 2007, the United States declared the Revolutionary Guards a “proliferator of weapons of mass destruction”, and the Quds Force a “supporter of terrorism”.[48] Iran responded that “it is incongruent for a country [US] who itself is a producer of weapons of mass destruction to take such a decision.”[48] Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the IAEA at the time, said he had no evidence Iran was building nuclear weapons and accused US leaders of adding “fuel to the fire” with their rhetoric.[49] Speaking in Washington in November 2007, days before the IAEA was to publish its latest report, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz called for ElBaradei to be sacked, saying: “The policies followed by ElBaradei endanger world peace. His irresponsible attitude of sticking his head in the sand over Iran’s nuclear programme should lead to his impeachment.” Israel and some western governments fear Iran is using its nuclear programme as a covert means to develop weapons, while Iran says it is aimed solely at producing electricity. For its part in the conflict-ridden Middle East, Israel is a member of the IAEA, but it is not itself a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and is widely believed to currently be the only nuclear-armed state in the region.[50]

History

Iran’s nuclear program began as a result of the Cold War alliance between the United States and the shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who emerged as an important American ally in the Persian Gulf.[51] Under the Atoms for Peace program, Iran received basic nuclear research facilities from the United States. In return, Tehran signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1968. Fueled by high oil prices in the 1970s, Iran sought to purchase large-scale nuclear facilities from Western suppliers in order to develop nuclear power and fuel-cycle facilities with both civilian and potential military applications.[51] In March 1974, the shah established the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).[52] Sensing a heightened risk of nuclear proliferation, the United States convinced western allies to limit the export of nuclear fuel-cycle facilities to Iran. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, whose revolution displaced the shah’s monarchy in 1979 and ruled the newly established Islamic Republic of Iran until his death in 1989, placed little emphasis on nuclear weapons development because it was viewed as a suspicious western innovation.[53] During that time, many of Iran’s top scientists fled the country while the United States organized an international campaign to block any nuclear assistance to Iran.

Following the death of Ayotollah Khomeini, the leadership of President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei sought to revive Iran’s overt nuclear civilian program and expand undeclared nuclear activities during the 1990s.[54] According to a strategic dossier from International Institute for Strategic Studies, Iran turned away from Western suppliers and obtained nuclear assistance from Russia and China in a number of key areas, including uranium mining, milling and conversion, as well as technology for heavy-water research reactors.[51] However, Washington intervened with Moscow and Beijing to prevent Iran from fully acquiring its list of nuclear power and fuel-cycle facilities. The 1990s also saw Iran expand its furtive nuclear research into conversion, enrichment and plutonium separation. “Most importantly, on the basis of additional centrifuge assistance from the A.Q. Khan network, Iran was able to begin the construction of pilot-scale and industrial-scale enrichment facilities at Natanz around 2000.”[51] Full exposure of Iran’s nuclear activities came in 2002, when an Iranian exiled opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) declared the Natanz project in August of that year. Since that time, international pressure on Iran has remained steady, hampering but not halting the country’s nuclear development.[51] Iran remains legally bound to the NPT and states its support for the treaty.

There are various estimates of when Iran might be able to produce a nuclear weapon, should it choose to do so:

  • A 2005 assessment by the International Institute for Strategic Studies concluded “if Iran threw caution to the wind, and sought a nuclear weapon capability as quickly as possible without regard for international reaction, it might be able to produce enough HEU for a single nuclear weapon by the end of this decade”, assuming no technical problems. The report concludes, however, that it is unlikely that Iran would flatly ignore international reactions and develop nuclear weapons anyway.[55]
  • A 2005 US National Intelligence Estimate stated that Iran was ten years from making a nuclear weapon.[56]
  • In 2006 Ernst Uhrlau, the head of German intelligence service, said Tehran would not be able to produce enough material for a nuclear bomb before 2010 and would only be able to make it into a weapon by about 2015.[57]
  • A 2007 annual review the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London stated that “If and when Iran does have 3,000 centrifuges operating smoothly, the IISS estimates it would take an additional 9-11 months to produce 25 kg of highly enriched uranium, enough for one implosion-type weapon. That day is still 2–3 years away at the earliest.”[58]
  • The former head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, said on 24 May 2007 that Iran could take between 3 and 8 years to make a bomb if it went down that route.[58]
  • On 22 October 2007, Mohamed ElBaradei repeated that, even assuming Iran was trying to develop a nuclear bomb, they would require “between another three and eight years to succeed”, an assessment shared by “all the intelligence services”.[59]
  • In December 2007, the United States National Intelligence Estimate (representing the consensus view of all 16 American intelligence agencies) concluded with a “high level of confidence” that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and “with moderate confidence” that the program remains frozen as of mid-2007. The new estimate says that the enrichment program could still provide Iran with enough raw material to produce a nuclear weapon sometime by the middle of next decade, but that intelligence agencies “do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons” at some future date.[60][61] Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said 70 percent of the U.S. report was “true and positive,” but denied its allegations of Iran having had a nuclear weapons program before 2003. Russia has said there was no proof Iran has ever run a nuclear weapons program.[62] The former head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, stated that he had seen “maybe some studies about possible weaponization”, but “no evidence” of “an active weaponization program” as of October 2007.[63] Thomas Fingar, former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council until December 2008, in reference to the 2007 Iran NIE and using intelligence to anticipate opportunities and shape the future, said intelligence has a “recently reinforced propensity to underscore, overstate, or ‘hype’ the findings in order to get people to pay attention” and that the 2007 NIE was intended to send the message “you do not have a lot of time but you appear to have a diplomatic or non-military option”.[64] A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is the most authoritative written judgment concerning a national security issue prepared by the Director of Central Intelligence.[65]
  • The U.S. Director of National Intelligence said in February 2009 that Iran would not realistically be able to a get a nuclear weapon until 2013, if it chose to develop one.,[66] and that US intelligence does not know whether Iran intends to develop nuclear weapons, but believes Iran could at least be keeping the option to develop them open.[67] Mossad Chief Meir Dagan was more cautious, saying recently that it would take the Iranians until 2014. German, French, and British intelligence say that under a worst-case scenario it would take Iran a minimum of 18 months to develop a nuclear weapon if it chose to build one, and it would have to first purify its uranium and weaponize its uranium.[66] An anonymous source in the German Foreign Intelligence Service (BND) whose rank was not provided has gone further and claimed Iran could produce a nuclear bomb and conduct an underground test in 6 months if it wanted to and further asserted that Iran had already mastered the full uranium enrichment cycle, and possessed enough centrifuges to produce weapons-grade uranium.[68][69] Physicists say that if Iran were to choose to develop a nuclear weapon, it would have to withdraw from the International Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and expel International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors from the country.[70]George Friedman, head of the global intelligence company Stratfor, has said Iran is “decades away” from developing any credible nuclear-arms capacity.[71]
  • On 12 February 2010 US think tank expert David Albright, the head of the Institute for Science and International Security, said in a report that Iran was seeking to “make sufficient weapons-grade uranium”. His claim was criticized by former chief U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter.[72]
  • An IAEA report issued 8 November 2011 provided detailed information outlining the IAEA’s concerns about the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program, noting that Iran had pursued a structured program or activities relevant to the development of nuclear weapons.[73]
  • On 30 April 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu revealed thousands of files he said were copied from a “highly secret location” in Teheran which show an Iranian effort to develop nuclear weapons between 1999 and 2003.[74]
  • On 1 May 2018 the IAEA reiterated its 2015 report, saying it had found no credible evidence of nuclear weapons activity in Iran after 2009.[75][76][77]

IAEA

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an autonomous international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to inhibit its use for military purposes.

On 6 March 2006, the IAEA Secretariat reported that “the Agency has not seen indications of diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices … however, after three years of intensive verification, there remain uncertainties with regard to both the scope and the nature of Iran’s nuclear programme“.[78] However, the inspectors did find some sensitive documents, including instructions and diagrams on how to make uranium into a sphere, which is only necessary to make nuclear weapons. Iran furnished the IAEA with copies, claiming not to have used the information for weapons work, which it had obtained along with other technology and parts in 1987 and the mid-1990s.[79] It is thought this material was sold to them by Abdul Qadeer Khan,[80] though the documents did not have the necessary technical details to actually manufacture a bomb.

On 18 December 2003, Iran voluntarily signed, but did not ratify or bring into force, an Additional Protocol that allows IAEA inspectors access to individuals, documentation relating to procurement, dual-use equipment, certain military-owned workshops, and research and development locations.[81] Iran agreed voluntarily to implement the Additional Protocol provisionally, however when the IAEA reported Iran’s non-compliance to the United Nations Security Council on 4 February 2006 Iran withdrew from its voluntary adherence to the Additional Protocol.[82]

On 12 May 2006, claims that highly enriched uranium (well over the 3.5% enriched level) was reported to have been found “at a site where Iran has denied such sensitive atomic work”, appeared. “They have found particles of highly enriched uranium [HEU], but it is not clear if this is contamination from centrifuges that had been previously found [from imported material] or something new,” said one diplomat close to the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). These reports have not yet been officially confirmed by the IAEA (as of 1 June 2006).[83][84][85]

On 31 July 2006, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution demanding that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment activities.[34]

In late 2006, “New traces of plutonium and enriched uranium– potential material for atomic warheads– have been found [by the IAEA] in a nuclear waste facility in Iran.” However, “A senior U.N. official who was familiar with the report cautioned against reading too much into the findings of traces of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, saying Iran had explained both and they could plausibly be classified as byproducts of peaceful nuclear activities.”[86] In 2007 these traces were determined to have come from leaking used highly enriched uranium fuel from the Tehran Research Reactor, which the U.S. supplied to Iran in 1967, and the matter was closed.[87]

In July 2007 the IAEA announced that Iran has agreed to allow inspectors to visit its Arak nuclear plant, and by August 2007 a plan for monitoring the Natanz uranium enrichment plant will have been finalised.[88]

In August 2007 the IAEA announced that Iran has agreed to a plan to resolve key questions regarding its past nuclear activities. The IAEA described this as a “significant step forward”.[89]

In September 2007 the IAEA announced it has been able to verify that Iran’s declared nuclear material has not been diverted from peaceful use. While the IAEA has been unable to verify some “important aspects” regarding the nature and scope of Iran’s nuclear work, the agency and Iranian officials agreed on a plan to resolve all outstanding issues, Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei said at the time.[90] In an interview with Radio Audizioni Italiane the same month, ElBaradei remarked that “Iran does not constitute a certain and immediate threat for the international community”.[91] In October 2007, ElBaradei amplified these remarks, telling Le Monde that, even if Iran did intend to develop a nuclear bomb, they would need “between another three and eight years to succeed”. He went on to note that “all the intelligence services” agree with this assessment and that he wanted to “get people away from the idea that Iran will be a threat from tomorrow, and that we are faced right now with the issue of whether Iran should be bombed or allowed to have the bomb”.[59]

In late October 2007, according to the International Herald Tribune, the former head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, stated that he had seen “no evidence” of Iran developing nuclear weapons. The IHT quoted ElBaredei as stating that,

“We have information that there has been maybe some studies about possible weaponization,” said Mohamed ElBaradei, who led the International Atomic Energy Agency. “That’s why we have said that we cannot give Iran a pass right now, because there is still a lot of question marks.”

“But have we seen Iran having the nuclear material that can readily be used into a weapon? No. Have we seen an active weaponization program? No.”

The IHT report went on to say that “ElBaradei said he was worried about the growing rhetoric from the U.S., which he noted focused on Iran’s alleged intentions to build a nuclear weapon rather than evidence the country was actively doing so. If there is actual evidence, ElBaradei said he would welcome seeing it.”[63]

In November 2007 ElBaradei circulated a report to the upcoming meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors.[92][93][94] Its findings conclude that Iran has made important strides towards clarifying its past activities, including provided access to documentation and officials involved in centrifuge design in the 1980s and 1990s. Answers provided by Iran regarding the past P-1 and P-2 centrifuge programs were found to be consistent with the IAEA’s own findings. However, Iran has ignored the demands of the UN Security council, and has continued to enrich uranium in the past year. The IAEA is not able to conclusively confirm that Iran isn’t currently enriching uranium for military purposes, as its inspections have been restricted to workshops previously declared as part of the civilian uranium enrichment program, and requests for access to certain military workshops have been denied; the report noted that “As a result, the agency’s knowledge about Iran’s current nuclear program is diminishing”. The report also confirmed that Iran now possesses 3000 centrifuges, a 10-fold increase over the past year, though the feed rate is below the maximum for a facility of this design. Data regarding the P-2 centrifuge, which Ahmadinejad has claimed will quadruple production of enriched uranium, was provided only several days before the report was published; the IAEA plan to discuss this issue further in December. In response to the report the US has vowed to push for more sanctions, whilst Iran has called for an apology from the US.[95]

In his final November 2009 statement to the IAEA Board of Governors, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei said the Agency continued to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, but that other issues of concern had reached a “dead end” unless Iran were to fully cooperate with the agency. ElBaradei stated it would be helpful if “we were able to share with Iran more of the material that is at the centre of these concerns”, and also said it would be helpful if Iran fully implemented the Subsidiary Arrangements to its Safeguards Agreement and fully implemented the Additional Protocol. ElBaradei said Iran’s failure to report the existence of a new fuel enrichment facility until September 2009 was inconsistent with its obligations under the Subsidiary Arrangements to its Safeguards Agreement. ElBaradei closed by saying international negotiations represented a “unique opportunity to address a humanitarian need and create space for negotiations”.[96]

On 18 February 2010 the IAEA released a new report on Iran’s nuclear program. Ivan Oelrich and Ivanka Barzashka, writing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, suggested “the media has seriously misrepresented the actual contents of the report” and that “in fact, no new information has been revealed.” They wrote that there was “no independent assessment that Iran is engaged in weapons work” and that this was “hardly the first time that the agency has discussed potential evidence of Tehran’s nuclear weapons research”.[97] Iran’s envoy to the UN atomic watchdog criticized Western powers for interpreting the IAEA report in an “exaggerated, selective and inaccurate” manner.[98] PressTV reported that the report verified the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran and that Iran started enriching uranium to a higher level in the presence of IAEA inspectors.[99]

In an April 2010 interview with the BBC, former IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said Western nations were seeking harsher sanctions “out of frustration”. “I don’t think Iran is developing, or we have new information that Iran is developing, a nuclear weapon today .. there is a concern about Iran’s future intentions, but even if you talk to MI6 or the CIA, they will tell you they are still four or five years away from a weapon. So, we have time to engage,” he said. ElBaradei further said the building of trust between the parties would “not happen until the two sides sit around the negotiating table and address their grievances. Sooner or later that will happen.”[100]

Alleged weaponization studies

Former IAEA Director General ElBaradei said in 2009 that the agency had been provided with “no credible evidence” that Iran is developing nuclear weapons,[101] but the New York Times reported in January 2009 that the IAEA is investigating U.S. allegations Project 110and Project 111 could be names for Iranian efforts for designing a nuclear warhead and making it work with an Iranian missile.[102] “We are looking to those suppliers of information to help us on the question of authenticity, because that is really a major issue. It is not an issue that involves nuclear material; it’s a question of allegations,” ElBaradei further said.[103] ElBaradei has strongly denied reports that the agency had concluded Iran had developed technology needed to assemble a nuclear warhead,[104] when a November 2009 article in The Guardian said the allegations included Iran’s weapon design activities using two point implosion designs.[105]

The New York Times article cited classified US intelligence reports asserting that Professor Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is in charge of the projects, while Iranian officials assert these projects are a fiction made up by the United States.[102] The article further reported that “while the international agency readily concedes that the evidence about the two projects remains murky, one of the documents it briefly displayed at a meeting of the agency’s member countries in Vienna last year, from Mr. Fakrizadeh’s projects, showed the chronology of a missile launching, ending with a warhead exploding about 650 yards above ground – approximately the altitude from which the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was detonated.”[102] Gordon Oehler, who ran the CIA’s nonproliferation center and served as deputy director of the presidential commission on weapons of mass destruction, wrote “if someone has a good idea for a missile program, and he has really good connections, he’ll get that program through.. But that doesn’t mean there is a master plan for a nuclear weapon.”[106] Outside experts note that the parts of the report made public lack many dates associated with Iran’s alleged activities meaning it is possible Iran had a Project 110 at one time, but scrapped it as US intelligence insists.[107] The Washington Post reports that “nowhere are there construction orders, payment invoices, or more than a handful of names and locations possibly connected to the projects.”[108] Former IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei said the Agency didn’t have any information that nuclear material has been used and didn’t have any information that any components of nuclear weapons had been manufactured.[103] Iran has asserted that the documents are a fabrication, while the IAEA has urged Iran to be more cooperative and Member States to provide more information about the allegations to be shared with Iran.[109]

In August 2009 an article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz alleged that ElBaradei had “censored” evidence obtained by IAEA inspectors over the preceding few months.[110] ElBaradei has angrily rejected claims from Israel, France and the US that he had suppressed the internal IAEA report, saying all relevant and confirmed information had been presented to member states.[101] ElBaradei said he and the Agency have repeatedly said the rumors of censorship were “totally baseless, totally groundless. All information that we have received that has been vetted, assessed in accordance with our standard practices, has been shared with the Board.”[103]

On 16 November 2009 the Director General provided a report to the Board of Governors. The report stated “there remain a number of outstanding issues which give rise to concerns, and which need to be clarified to exclude the existence of possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.” “The Agency is still awaiting a reply from Iran to its request to meet relevant Iranian authorities in connection with these issues”, the report said. The report further said, “it would be helpful if Member States which have provided documentation to the Agency would agree to share more of that documentation with Iran, as appropriate.”[111][112]

Russia has denied allegations of “continued Russian assistance to Iran’s nuclear weapons program” as “totally groundless” and said the November 2009 IAEA report reaffirmed the absence of a military component in Iran’s efforts in the nuclear field.[113]

In December 2009, The Times claimed that a document from an unnamed Asian intelligence agency described the use of a neutron source which has no use other than in a nuclear weapon, and claimed the document appeared to be from an office in Iran’s Defense Ministry and may have been from around 2007.[114][115] Norman Dombey, professor emeritus of theoretical physics at Sussex University, wrote in that “nothing in the published ‘intelligence documents’ shows Iran is close to having nuclear weapons” and argued that it is “unlikely that nuclear weapon projects would be distributed among several universities, or weapon parts marketed to research centres.”[116] A senior U.N. official who saw the document said it may or may not be authentic, that it was unclear when the document was written, and that it was unclear whether any experiments had ever actually been performed.[117] The C.I.A. did not declare whether it believes the document was real, and European spy agencies also did not give any authentication to the document.[118] Western intelligence agencies said that, if genuine, it was unclear whether the paper provided any new insights into the state of Iranian weapons research.[118] “It’s very troubling – if real,” said Thomas B. Cochran, a senior scientist in the nuclear program of the Natural Resources Defense Council.[118] The Institute for Science and International Security, said that it “urges caution and further assessment” of the document and noted that “the document does not mention nuclear weapons .. and we have seen no evidence of an Iranian decision to build them.”[118] Anton Khlopkov, the founding director of the Center for Energy and Security Studies, said the media leak may be being used “as a pretext for inciting the campaign against Iran.”[119] Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov has also said after the public publications of the documents “Russia has no concrete information that Iran is planning to construct a weapon”.[120] Russia’s representative to the IAEA, Alexander Zmeyevskiy, has noted that though the IAEA is in possession of these documents, the IAEA’s findings “do not contain any conclusions about the presence of undeclared nuclear activities in Iran.”[121] Iran pointed out the claims had not been verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency and argued that “some countries are angry that our people defend their nuclear rights.”[122] “I think that some of the claims about our nuclear issue have turned into a repetitive and tasteless joke,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in response to the documents.[123]

Iranian stance

Iran states that the purpose of its nuclear program is the generation of power and that any other use would be a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which it is a signatory, as well as being against Islamic religious principles. Iran claims that nuclear power is necessary for a booming population and rapidly industrialising nation. It points to the fact that Iran’s population has more than doubled in 20 years, the country regularly imports gasoline and electricity, and that burning fossil fuel in large amounts harms Iran’s environment drastically. Additionally, Iran questions why it shouldn’t be allowed to diversify its sources of energy, especially when there are fears of its oil fields eventually being depleted. It continues to argue that its valuable oil should be used for high value products and export, not simple electricity generation. Furthermore, Iran argues that nuclear power makes fairly good economic sense. Building reactors is expensive, but subsequent operating costs are low and stable, and increasingly competitive as fossil-fuel prices rise.[124] Iran also raises funding questions, claiming that developing the excess capacity in its oil industry would cost it $40 billion, not to speak of paying for the power plants. Harnessing nuclear power costs a fraction of this, considering Iran has abundant supplies of accessible uranium ore.[125]These claims have been echoed by Scott Ritter, the former UN weapons inspector in Iraq.[126] Roger Stern, of Johns Hopkins Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, agrees “Iran’s claims to need nuclear power could be genuine”.[127]

Iran states it has a legal right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes under the NPT, and further says that it “has constantly complied with its obligations under the NPT and the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency”.[128] Twelve other countries are known to operate uranium enrichment facilities. Iran states that “the failure of certain Nuclear- Weapon States to fulfill their international obligations continue to be a source of threat for the international community”.[25] Iran also states that “the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons still maintains a sizable arsenal of thousands of nuclear warheads” and calls for a stop to the transfer of technology to non-NPT states.[25] Iran has called for the development of a follow-up committee to ensure compliance with global nuclear disarmanent.[129]Iran and many other nations without nuclear weapons have said that the present situation whereby Nuclear Weapon States monopolise the right to possess nuclear weapons is “highly discriminatory”, and they have pushed for steps to accelerate the process of nuclear disarmament.[130]

Iran has criticized the European Union because it believes it has taken no steps to reduce the danger of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.[25] Iran has called on the state of Israel to sign the NPT, accept inspection of its nuclear facilities, and place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.[25] Iran has proposed that the Middle East be established as a proposed Nuclear Weapon Free Zone.[25]

On 3 December 2004, Iran’s former president and an Islamic cleric, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani alluded to Iran’s position on nuclear energy:

God willing, we expect to soon join the club of the countries that have a nuclear industry, with all its branches, except the military one, in which we are not interested. We want to get what we’re entitled to. I say unequivocally that for no price will we be willing to relinquish our legal and international right. I also say unequivocally to those who make false claims: Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons, but it will not give up its rights. Your provocation will not make us pursue nuclear weapons. We hope that you come to your senses soon and do not get the world involved in disputes and crises.[131]

On 14 November 2004, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator said that his country agreed to voluntarily and temporarily suspend the uranium enrichment program after pressure from the European Union on behalf of the United Kingdom, France and Germany, as a confidence-building measure for a reasonable period of time, with six months mentioned as a reference.

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has publicly stated Iran is not developing nuclear weapons. On 9 August 2005 Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a fatwa that the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that Iran shall never acquire these weapons. The text of the fatwa has not been released although it was referenced in an official statement at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.[132]

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a 2005 speech to the U.N. General Assembly said “We are concerned that once certain powerful states completely control nuclear energy resources and technology, they will deny access to other states and thus deepen the divide between powerful countries and the rest of the international community … peaceful use of nuclear energy without possession of a nuclear fuel cycle is an empty proposition”.[133]

On 6 August 2005, Iran rejected a 34-page European Union proposal intended to help Iran build “a safe, economically viable and proliferation-proof civil nuclear power generation and research program.” The Europeans, with US agreement, intended to entice Iran into a binding commitment not to develop uranium enrichment capability by offering to provide fuel and other long-term support that would facilitate electricity generation with nuclear energy. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi rejected the proposal saying, “We had already announced that any plan has to recognize Iran’s right to enrich uranium”.[134] After the Iranian Revolution, Germany halted construction of the Bushehr reactor, the United States cut off supply of highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, and Iran never received uranium from France which it asserted it was entitled to. Russia agreed not to provide an enrichment plant and terminated cooperation on several other nuclear-related technologies, including laser isotope separation; China terminated several nuclear projects (in return, in part for entry into force of a U.S.-China civil nuclear cooperation agreement); and Ukraine agreed not to provide the turbine for Bushehr. Iran argues that these experiences contribute to a perception that foreign nuclear supplies are potentially subject to being interrupted.[135]

Iran resumed its uranium enrichment program in January 2006, prompting the IAEA to refer the issue to the UN Security Council.

On 21 February 2006, Rooz, a news website run by Iranian exiles (the Fedayeen Khalq [People’s Commandos] leftist terrorist group),[136] reported that Hojatoleslam Mohsen Gharavian, a student of Qom’s fundamentalist cleric Mesbah Yazdi, spoke about the necessity of using nuclear weapons as a means to retaliate and announced that “based on religious law, everything depends on our purpose”.[137] In an interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency the same day, Gharavian rejected these reports, saying “We do not seek nuclear weapons and the Islamic religion encourages coexistence along with peace and friendship…these websites have tried to misquote me.”[138]

On 11 April 2006, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced Iranian scientists working at the pilot facility at Natanz had successfully enriched uranium to the 3.5 percent level, using a small cascade of 164 gas centrifuges. In the televised address from the city of Mashhad he said, “I am officially announcing that Iran has joined the group of those countries which have nuclear technology“.[139]

In May 2006 some members of the Iranian legislature (“Majlis” or Parliament) sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan threatening to withdraw from the NPT if Iran’s right to peaceful use of nuclear technology under the treaty was not protected.[140]

On 21 February 2007, the same day the UN deadline to suspend nuclear activities expired, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made the following statement: “If they say that we should close down our fuel production facilities to resume talks, we say fine, but those who enter talks with us should also close down their nuclear fuel production activities”. The White House‘s spokesperson Tony Snow rejected the offer and called it a “false offer”.[141]

Iran has said that U.N. Security Council sanctions aimed at curtailing its uranium-enrichment activities unfairly target its medical sector. “We have thousands of patients a month at our hospital alone .. If we can’t help them, some will die. It’s as simple as that,” said an Iranian nuclear medicine specialist. An Iranian Jew from California claimed “I don’t believe in these sanctions… They hurt normal people, not leaders. What is the use of that?” Vice President of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ghannadi framed the debate as a humanitarian issue, “This is about human beings. . . . When someone is sick, we should give medicine.” Iran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that fuel obtained from Argentina in 1993 would run out by the end of 2010, and that it could produce the uranium itself or buy the uranium from abroad.[142]

In February 2010, to refuel the Tehran Research Reactor which produces medical isotopes,[143] Iran began using a single cascade to enrich uranium “up to 19.8%”,[144][145] to match the previously foreign supplied fuel.[146] 20% is the upper threshold for low enriched uranium (LEU).[147] Though HEU enriched to levels exceeding 20% is considered technically usable in a nuclear explosive device,[148] this route is much less desirable because far more material is required to achieve a sustained nuclear chain reaction.[149] HEU enriched to 90% and above is most typically used in a weapons development program.[150][151]

In an interview in October 2011, President Ahmadinejad of Iran said:

“We have already expressed our views about nuclear bombs. We said those who are seeking to build nuclear bombs or those who stockpile, they are politically and mentally retarded. We think they are stupid because the era of nuclear bombs is over. [Why] for example, should Iran continue its efforts and tolerate all international treasures only to build a nuclear bomb, or a few nuclear bombs that are useless? They can never be used!”[152]

On 22 February 2012, in a meeting in Tehran with the director and officials of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and nuclear scientists, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said:

“The Iranian nation has never pursued and will never pursue nuclear weapons. There is no doubt that the decision makers in the countries opposing us know well that Iran is not after nuclear weapons because the Islamic Republic, logically, religiously and theoretically, considers the possession of nuclear weapons a grave sin and believes the proliferation of such weapons is senseless, destructive and dangerous.”[153]

U.S. stance

  • In 2005, the United States stated that Iran has violated both Article III and Article II of the NPT.[154] The IAEA Board of Governors, in a rare divided vote, found Iran in noncompliance with its NPT safeguards agreement for a 1985–2003 “policy of concealment”[43]regarding its efforts to develop enrichment and reprocessing technologies.[26] The United States,[155] the IAEA[156] and others[157] consider these technologies to be of particular concern because they can be used to produce fissile material for use in nuclear weapons.
  • The United States has argued that Iran’s concealment of efforts to develop sensitive nuclear technology is prima facie evidence of Iran’s intention to develop nuclear weapons, or at a minimum to develop a latent nuclear weapons capability. Others have noted that while possession of the technology “contributes to the latency of non-nuclear weapon states in their potential to acquire nuclear weapons” but that such latency is not necessarily evidence of intent to proceed toward the acquisition of nuclear weapons, since “intent is in the eye of the beholder”.[158]
  • The United States has also provided information to the IAEA on Iranian studies related to weapons design, activities, including the intention of diverting a civilian nuclear energy program to the manufacture of weapons, based on a laptop computer reportedly linked to Iranian weapons programs. The United States has pointed to other information reported by the IAEA, including the Green Salt Project, the possession of a document on manufacturing uranium metal hemispheres, and other links between Iran’s military and its nuclear program, as further indications of a military intent to Iran’s nuclear program.[159] The IAEA has said U.S. intelligence provided to it through 2007 has proven inaccurate or not led to significant discoveries inside Iran;[160] however, the US, and others have recently provided more intelligence to the agency.[161]
  • In May 2003, The Swiss ambassador to Iran sent the State Department a two-page document, reportedly approved by Ayatollah Khamanei, outlining a road map towards normalization of relations between the two states. The Iranians offered full transparency of its nuclear programme and withdrawal of support from Hamas and Hezbollah in exchange for security assurances and normalization of diplomatic relations. The Bush Administration did not respond to the proposal, as senior U.S. officials doubted its authenticity.[162][163]
  • The United States acknowledges Iran’s right to nuclear power, and has joined with the EU-3, Russia and China in offering nuclear and other economic and technological cooperation with Iran if it suspends uranium enrichment. This cooperation would include an assured supply of fuel for Iran’s nuclear reactors.[164]
  • A potential reason behind U.S. resistance to an Iranian nuclear program lies in Middle Eastern geopolitics. In essence, the US feels that it must guard against even the possibility of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapons capability. Some nuclear technology is dual-use; i.e. it can be used for peaceful energy generation, and to develop nuclear weapons, a situation that resulted in India’s nuclear weapons program in the 1960s. A nuclear-armed Iran would dramatically change the balance of power in the Middle East, weakening US influence. It could also encourage other Middle Eastern nations to develop nuclear weapons of their own further reducing US influence in a critical region.[165]
  • In 2003, the United States insisted that Tehran be “held accountable” for seeking to build nuclear arms in violation of its agreements.[166] In June 2005, the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice required former IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei to either “toughen his stance on Iran” or fail to be chosen for a third term as IAEA head.[167] The IAEA has on some occasions criticised the stance of the U.S. on Iran’s program.[168] The United States denounced Iran’s successful enrichment of uranium to fuel grade in April 2006, with spokesman Scott McClellan saying, they “continue to show that Iran is moving in the wrong direction”. In November 2006, Seymour Hersh described a classified draft assessment by the Central Intelligence Agency “challenging the White House’s assumptions about how close Iran might be to building a nuclear bomb.” He continued, “The CIA found no conclusive evidence, as yet, of a secret Iranian nuclear-weapons program running parallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency,” adding that a current senior intelligence official confirmed the assessment.[169] On 25 February 2007, The Daily Telegraph reported that the United States Fifth Fleet, including the Nimitz-class supercarriers EisenhowerNimitz and Stennis “prepares to take on Iran“.[170]
  • In March 2006, it was reported that the US State Department had opened an Office of Iranian Affairs (OIA) – overseen by Elizabeth Cheney, the daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney. The office’s mission was reportedly to promote a democratic transition in Iran.[171]and to help “defeat” the Iranian regime.[172] Iran argued the office was tasked with drawing up plans to overthrow its government. One Iranian reformer said after the office opened that many “partners are simply too afraid to work with us anymore”, and that the office had “a chilling effect”.[173] The US Congress has reportedly appropriated more than $120 million to fund the project.[174] Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh also revealed in July 2008 Congress also agreed to a $400-million funding request for a major escalation in covert operations inside Iran.[175]
  • The Bush Administration repeatedly refused to rule out use of nuclear weapons against Iran. The U.S. Nuclear Posture Review made public in 2002 specifically envisioned the use of nuclear weapons on a first strike basis, even against non-nuclear armed states.[176]Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh reported in 2006 that the Bush administration had been planning the use of nuclear weapons against Iran.[177] When specifically questioned about the potential use of nuclear weapons against Iran, President Bush claimed that “All options were on the table.” According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, “the president of the United States directly threatened Iran with a preemptive nuclear strike. It is hard to read his reply in any other way.”[178]
  • In September 2007, Condoleezza RiceU.S. Secretary of State, cautioned the IAEA not to interfere with international diplomacy over Iran’s alleged weapons program. She said the IAEA’s role should be limited to carrying out inspections and offering a “clear declaration and clear reporting on what the Iranians are doing; whether and when and if they are living up to the agreements they have signed.” Former IAEA Director General ElBaradei called for less emphasis on additional UN sanctions and more emphasis on enhanced cooperation between the IAEA and Tehran. Iran has agreed with IAEA requests to answer unresolved questions about its nuclear program. ElBaradei often criticized what he called “war mongering,” only to be told by Rice to mind his business.[179]
  • In December 2007, the United States National Intelligence Estimate (which represents the consensus view of all 16 American spy agencies) concluded, with a “high level of confidence”, that Iran had halted all of its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains frozen. The new estimate says that the enrichment program could still provide Iran with enough raw material to produce a nuclear weapon sometime by the middle of next decade but that intelligence agencies “do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons” at some future date. Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, said he hoped the administration would “appropriately adjust its rhetoric and policy”.[60][61]
  • On 2 February 2009, the thirtieth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Iran launched its first domestically produced[180][181] Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described the successful launching of the Omid data-processing satellite as a very big source of pride for Iran and said the project improved Iran’s status in the world.[182] The United States claimed Iran’s activities could be linked to the development of a military nuclear capability and that the activities were of “great concern”.[183] The U.S. specifically said it would continue “to address the threats posed by Iran, including those related to its missile and nuclear programs.”[184] Despite the U.S. saying it would use all elements of its national power to deal with Tehran’s actions,[185] Iran said the launch was a step to remove the scientific monopoly certain world countries are trying to impose on the world.[186] Iraqi National Security Advisor Muwafaq al-Rubaie said Iraq was very pleased with the launch of Iran’s peaceful data-processing national satellite.[187]
  • In March 2009, Richard N. Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote that U.S. policy must be thoroughly multilateral and suggested recognizing Iranian enrichment while getting Iran to agree to limits on its enrichment. “In return, some of the current sanctions in place would be suspended. In addition, Iran should be offered assured access to adequate supplies of nuclear fuel for the purpose of producing electricity. Normalization of political ties could be part of the equation,” Haass said.[188] In October 2009, Ploughshares Fund President Joseph Cirincione outlined “five persistent myths about Iran’s nuclear program”: that Iran is on the verge of developing a nuclear weapon, that a military strike would knock out Iran’s program, that “we can cripple Iran with sanctions”, that a new government in Iran would abandon the nuclear program, and that Iran is the main nuclear threat in the Middle East.[189]
  • In 2009, Independent U.S. Security Consultant Linton F. Brooks wrote that in an ideal future “Iran has abandoned its plans for nuclear weapons due to consistent international pressure under joint U.S.–Russian leadership. Iran has implemented the Additional Protocol and developed commercial nuclear power under strict International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards using a fuel leasing approach with fuel supplied by Russia and spent fuel returned to Russia.”[190]
  • A 2009 U.S. congressional research paper says U.S. intelligence believes Iran ended “nuclear weapon design and weaponization work” in 2003.[19] The intelligence consensus was affirmed by leaders of the U.S. intelligence community.[citation needed] Some advisors within the Obama administration reaffirmed the intelligence conclusions,[191] while other “top advisers” in the Obama administration “say they no longer believe the key finding of the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate“.[192] Thomas Fingar, former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council until December 2008, said that the original 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran “became contentious, in part, because the White House instructed the Intelligence Community to release an unclassified version of the report’s key judgments but declined to take responsibility for ordering its release.”[193]
  • Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, the chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said in January 2010 that there is no evidence that Iran has made a decision to build a nuclear weapon and that the key findings of a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate are all still correct.[194]
  • On 20 July 2011, Frederick Fleitz, a former CIA analyst and House Intelligence Committee staff member, took issue with a February 2011 revision of the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear weapons program in a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled “America’s Intelligence Denial on Iran.” In the op-ed, Fleitz claimed the new estimate had serious problems and underplayed the threat from Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons program much as the 2007 version did. However, Fleitz stated that he was not permitted by CIA censors to discuss his specific concerns about the estimate. Fleitz also claimed the estimate had a four-member outside review board that he viewed as biased since three of the reviewers held the same ideological and political views and two of them were from the same Washington DC think tank. He noted that the CIA prevented him from releasing the names of the outside reviewers of the 2011 Iran estimate.
  • Several high U.S. military and intelligence officials have stated that the effects of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would not be preventive. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said in December 2011, and Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper, director of National Intelligence, said in February 2012 that an Israeli attack would only delay Iran’s program by one or two years. General Michael V. Hayden, former CIA Director, said in January 2012 that Israel was not able to inflict significant damage on Iran’s nuclear sites. He said, “They only have the ability to make this worse.”[195] In February 2012, Admiral William J. Fallon, who retired in 2008 as head of U.S. Central Command, said, “No one that I’m aware of thinks that there’s any real positive outcome of a military strike or some kind of conflict.” He advocated negotiating with Iran and deterring Iran from aggressive actions and said, “Let’s not precipitate something.”[196][197] General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in August 2012 that a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran would delay but not destroy Iran’s nuclear program and that he did not wish to be “complicit” in such an attack. He also stated that sanctions were having an effect and should be given time to work, and that a premature attack might damage the ‘international coalition’ against Iran.[198] Former Defense Secretary and former CIA Director Robert Gates stated in October 2012 that sanctions were beginning to have an effect and that “the results of an American or Israeli military strike on Iran could, in my view, prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations in that part of the world.”[199]
  • In 2011, the senior officers of all of the major American intelligence agencies stated that there was no conclusive evidence that Iran has made any attempt to produce nuclear weapons since 2003.[15]
  • In January 2012, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated that Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapons capability, but was not attempting to produce nuclear weapons.[18]
  • In 2012, sixteen United States intelligence agencies, including the CIA, reported that Iran was pursuing research that could enable it to produce nuclear weapons, but was not attempting to do so.[15]

Other international responses[

United Nations

In 2009, the United Nations built a seismic monitoring station in Turkmenistan near its border with Iran, to detect tremors from nuclear explosions.[citation needed] The UN Security Council has demanded Iran freeze all forms of uranium enrichment.[34] Iran has argued these demands unfairly compel it to abandon its rights under the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty to peaceful nuclear technology for civilian energy purposes.[30]

On 29 December 2009, Zongo Saidou, a sanctions advisor for the U.N., said that as far as he knew, none of the U.N.’s member nations had alerted the sanctions committee about allegations of sales of uranium to Iran from Kazakhstan. “We don’t have any official information yet regarding this kind of exchange between the two countries,” Saidou said. “I don’t have any information; I don’t have any proof,” Saidou said.[200] An intelligence report from an unknown country alleged that rogue employees of Kazakhstan were prepared to sell Iran 1,350 tons of purified uranium ore in violation of UN Security Council sanctions.[201] Russia said it had no knowledge of an alleged Iranian plan to import purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan denied the reports.[202] “Such fabrications of news are part of the psychological warfare (against Iran) to serve the political interests of the hegemonic powers,” Iran said.[203] Askar Abdrahmanov, the official representative of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, said “the references to the anonymous sources and unknown documents show groundlessness of these insinuations.”[204]

China

The Chinese Foreign Ministry supports the peaceful resolution of the Iran nuclear issue through diplomacy and negotiations. In May 2006 Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Jianchao stated “As a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran enjoys the right to peaceful use of nuclear power, but it should also fulfil its corresponding responsibility and commitment”. He added “It is urgently needed that Iran should fully cooperate with the IAEA and regain the confidence of the international community in its nuclear program”.[205]

In April 2008, several news agencies reported that China had supplied the IAEA with intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program following a report by Associated Press reporter George Jahn based on anonymous diplomatic sources.[161] Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu described these reports as “completely groundless and out of ulterior motives”.[206]

In January 2010, China reiterated its calls for diplomatic efforts on the Iran nuclear issue over sanctions. “Dialogue and negotiations are the right ways of properly solving the Iran nuclear issue, and there is still room for diplomatic efforts,” said Chinese spokesperson Jiang Yu. “We hope the relevant parties take more flexible and pragmatic measures and step up diplomatic efforts in a bid to resume talks as soon as possible,” said Jiang.[207]

In September 2011 Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported several statements about Iran’s nuclear program and China’s foreign policy in the Middle East, made by independent Chinese expert on the Middle East who recently visited Israel at the invitation of “Signal”, an organization that furthers academic ties between Israel and China. Yin Gang of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has expressed his opinion on China policies toward region, and according to Haaretz he made surprising statement: “China is opposed to any military action against Iran that would damage regional stability and interfere with the flow of oil. But China will not stop Israel if it decides to attack Iran. For all these reasons, Israel and the Middle East need a country like China. Israel needs China’s power.”[208]

In March 2012, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said that “China is opposed to any country in the Middle East, including Iran, developing and possessing nuclear weapons.”, adding that Iran nonetheless has the right to pursue nuclear activities for peaceful purposes.[209]

France

On 16 February 2006 French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said “No civilian nuclear programme can explain the Iranian nuclear programme. It is a clandestine military nuclear programme.”[210]

In January 2007, former French President Jacques Chirac, speaking “off the record” to reporters from The New York Times, indicated that if Iran possessed a nuclear weapon, the weapon could not be used. Chirac alluded to mutually assured destruction when he stated:[211]

“Where will it drop it, this bomb? On Israel? It would not have gone 200 meters into the atmosphere before Tehran would be razed.”

Russia

In 2005, Russian Advisor to Minister of Atomic Energy Lev Ryabev asserted that “neither the signing by Iran of the NPT, the adoption of the Additional Protocol (which provides for the right of inspection of any facility at any time with no prior notice), placement of nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards, nor Russia’s and Iran’s commitments to repatriate spent nuclear fuel to Russia is seen as a good enough argument by the United States.” Ryabev argued that “at the same time, such requirements are not imposed on, for example, Brazil, which has been developing its nuclear power industry and nuclear fuel cycle, including uranium enrichment.”[212]

On 5 December 2007 Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he had seen no evidence of any nuclear weapons program in Iran, no matter how old.[213] On 16 October 2007 Vladimir Putin visited Tehran, Iran to participate in the Second Caspian Summit, where he met with Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.[214] At a press conference after the summit Putin said that “Iran has the right to develop their peaceful nuclear programs without any restrictions”.[215]

In 2009, Russian Major-General Pavel S. Zolotarev argued Iran’s security could be partially be assured by supplying Iran with modern missile and air defense systems and offering for Iran to take part in the work of one of the data exchange centers in exchange for “concrete non-proliferation obligations”.[216]

In May 2009, the EastWest Institute released a joint U.S.-Russian Threat Assessment on Iran’s Nuclear and Missile Potential. The report concluded that there was “no IRBM/ICBM threat from Iran and that such a threat, even if it were to emerge, is not imminent.” The report said there was no specific evidence that Iran was seeking the ability to attack Europe and that “it is indeed difficult to imagine the circumstances in which Iran would do so.” The report said if Iran did pursue this capability, it would need six to eight years to develop a missile capable of carrying a 1,000 kilogram warhead 2,000 kilometers. The report said Iran ending “IAEA containment and surveillance of the nuclear material and all installed cascades at the Fuel Enrichment Plan” might serve as an early warning of Iranian intentions.[217]

In December 2009, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the Iran nuclear issue would be resolved by diplomatic methods exclusively. “It is absolutely clear that the problem can be settled exclusively by political and diplomatic methods and any other scenarios, especially use-of-force scenarios, are completely unacceptable,” Lavrov said.[218] Yevgeny Primakov, a former Russian prime minister considered the doyen of Moscow’s Middle East experts, said he did “not believe that Iran had made a decision to acquire nuclear weapons. Russia has no concrete information that Iran is planning to construct a weapon. It may be more like Japan, which has nuclear readiness but does not have a bomb,” Primakov said.[120]

In February 2012, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that Russia opposes Iran developing nuclear-weapons capability. “Russia is not interested in Iran becoming a nuclear power. It would lead to greater risks to international stability.”, Putin said.[219]

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is part of the EU3+3 (UK, France, Germany, US, China and Russia) group of countries that are engaged in ongoing discussions with Iran.[220] The UK is therefore one of the countries that has stated that Iran would be provided with enriched fuel and support to develop a modern nuclear power program if it, in the words of the Foreign Office spokesperson “suspends all enrichment related activities, answer all the outstanding issues relating to Iran’s nuclear programme and implement the additional protocol agreed with the IAEA“.[221] The UK (with China, France, Germany and Russia) put forward the three Security Council resolutions that have been passed in the UN.

On 8 May 2006, Former Deputy Commander-in-Chief of British Land Forces, General Sir Hugh Beach, former Cabinet Ministers, scientists and campaigners joined a delegation to Downing Street opposing military intervention in Iran. The delegation delivered two letters to Prime Minister Tony Blair from 1,800 physicists warning that the military intervention and the use of nuclear weapons would have disastrous consequences for the security of Britain and the rest of world. The letters carried the signatures of academics, politicians and scientists including some of 5 physicists who are Nobel Laureates. CASMII delegation

Israel

Israel, which is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and which is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons,[222] has frequently claimed that Iran is actively pursuing a nuclear weapons program.[223] Arguing an “existential threat from Iran”, Israel has issued several veiled and explicit threats to attack Iran.[224][225][226] Mike Mullen, former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, has cautioned that an Israeli air attack on Iran would be high-risk and warned against Israel striking Iran.[227]

George Friedman, head of the global intelligence company Stratfor, has said Iran is “decades away” from developing any credible nuclear-arms capacity and that an attack on Iran would have grave repercussions for the global economy.[71] If Iran ever did develop nuclear weapons, Israeli academic Avner Cohen has observed “that the prospect of a deliberate Iranian first nuclear strike on Israel, an out-of the-blue scenario, is virtually nonexistent… [T]he chances of Iran – or for that matter any other nuclear power – unleashing a nuclear strike against Israel, which has nuclear capabilities itself, strike me as close to zero.”[228]

Walter Pincus of the Washington Post has written that Israel’s stance on nuclear arms complicates efforts against Iran.[229] Gawdat Bahgat of the National Defense University believes Iran’s nuclear program is partially formed on the potential threat of a nuclear Israel.[46]Iran and the Arab League have proposed that the Middle East be established as a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone.[25][205] Israel said in May 2010 it would not consider taking part in nuclear weapon-free zone discussions or joining the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.[230] The UN Security Council has also pushed for a nuclear-weapon free zone in the Middle East, and has urged all countries to sign and adhere the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.[231]

In May 2010, Israel reportedly deployed Dolphin class submarines with nuclear missiles capable of reaching any target in Iran in the Persian Gulf. Their reported missions were to deter Iran, gather intelligence, and to potentially land Mossad agents on the Iranian coast.[232] In 2018, the Israeli Prime Minister said that the Mossad seized about one hundred thousand documents of Iran’s nuclear program.[233]

Netherlands

According to a Dutch newspaper, the Netherlands had launched an operation to infiltrate and sabotage the Iranian weapons industry, but ended the operation due to increasing fears of an American or Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.[234]

Muslim countries

The A.Q. Khan network, established to procure equipment and material for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program (gas-centrifuge-based programme), also supplied Iran with critical technology for its uranium enrichment program, and helped “put Iran on a fast track toward becoming a nuclear weapons power.”[235]

World map with nuclear weapons development status represented by color.

  Five “nuclear weapons states” from the NPT
  Other states known to possess nuclear weapons
  States formerly possessing nuclear weapons
  States suspected of being in the process of developing nuclear weapons and/or nuclear programs
  States which at one point had nuclear weapons and/or nuclear weapons research programs
  States that possess nuclear weapons, but have not widely adopted them

The 2008 Annual Arab Public Opinion Poll, Survey of the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, College Park conducted in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the UAEin March 2008 noted the following as a key finding.[236]

“In contrast with the fears of many Arab governments, the Arab public does not appear to see Iran as a major threat. Most believe that Iran has the right to its nuclear program and do not support international pressure to force it to curtail its program. A plurality of Arabs (44%) believes that if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, the outcome would be more positive for the region than negative.”

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation and a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council abstained from a vote in March 2008 on a U.N. resolution to impose a third set of sanctions on Iran.[237] It was the only country out of the 10 non-permanent members to abstain. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono speaking at a joint news conference with Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran in March 2008 said[238]

“Iran’s nuclear program is of a peaceful nature and must not be politicized”

Pakistan, which has the second largest Muslim population in the world is not a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and already possesses nuclear weapons.

On 12 May 2006 AP published an interview with Pakistan’s former Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan Army General Mirza Aslam Beg In the AP interview, Beg detailed nearly 20 years of Iranian approaches to obtain conventional arms and then technology for nuclear weapons. He described an Iranian visit in 1990, when he was Chief of Army Staff.

They didn’t want the technology. They asked: ‘Can we have a bomb?’ My answer was: By all means you can have it but you must make it yourself. Nobody gave it to us.

Beg said he is sure Iran has had enough time to develop them. But he insists the Pakistani government didn’t help, even though he says former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto once told him the Iranians offered more than $4 billion for the technology. [1]

In an article in 2005 about nuclear proliferation he stated

I would not like my future generations to live in the neighborhood of “nuclear capable Israel.”
Countries acquire the (nuclear) capability on their own, as we have done it. Iran will do the same, because they are threatened by Israel.[239]

The San Francisco Chronicle reported on 31 October 2003, that Grand Ayatollahs, like Ayatollah Yousef Sanei, and Iranian clerics led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have repeatedly declared that Islam forbids the development and use of all weapons of mass destruction. SFGate.com quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying:

The Islamic Republic of Iran, based on its fundamental religious and legal beliefs, would never resort to the use of weapons of mass destruction. In contrast to the propaganda of our enemies, fundamentally we are against any production of weapons of mass destruction in any form.[6]

On 21 April 2006, at a Hamas rally in Damascus, Anwar Raja, the Lebanon-based representative of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a party that achieved 4.25% of the votes and holds 3 out the 132 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council following the election declared:

The Muslim, Iranian, fighting people now possess nuclear capabilities. My brother, the Iranian representative sitting here, let me tell you that we, the Palestinian people, are in favour of Iran having a nuclear bomb, not just energy for peaceful purposes.[240]

On 3 May 2006 Iraqi Shia cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Husseini Al Baghdadi, who opposes the presence of US forces in Iraq and is an advocate of violent jihad was interviewed on Syrian TV. In his interview he said:[241]

How can they face Iran? How come Israel has 50 nuclear bombs? Why are they selective? Why shouldn’t an Islamic or Arab country have a nuclear bomb? I am not referring to the Iranian program, which the Iranians say is for peaceful purposes. I am talking about a nuclear bomb.
This Arab Islamic nation must obtain a nuclear bomb. Without a nuclear bomb, we will continue to be oppressed,

Baku declaration

A declaration signed on 20 June 2006 by the foreign ministers of 56 nations of the 57-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference stated that “the only way to resolve Iran’s nuclear issue is to resume negotiations without any preconditions and to enhance co-operation with the involvement of all relevant parties”.

Qatar and Arab vote against the U.N. Security Council resolution

31 July 2006: The UN Security Council gives until 31 August 2006 for Iran to suspend all uranium enrichment and related activities or face the prospect of sanctions.[242] The draft passed by a vote of 14–1 (Qatar, which represents Arab states on the council, opposing). The same day, Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Javad Zarif qualified the resolution as “arbitrary” and illegal because the NTP protocol explicitly guarantees under international law Iran’s right to pursue nuclear activities for peaceful purposes. In response to today’s vote at the UN, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that his country will revise his position vis-à-vis the economic/incentive package offered previously by the G-6 (5 permanent Security council members plus Germany.)[243]

In December 2006, the Gulf Cooperation Council called for a nuclear weapons free Middle East and recognition of the right of a country to expertise in the field of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.[244]

Non-Aligned Movement

The Non-Aligned Movement has said that the present situation whereby Nuclear Weapon States monopolise the right to possess nuclear weapons is “highly discriminatory”, and they have pushed for steps to accelerate the process of nuclear disarmament.[130]

On 16 September 2006 in Havana, Cuba, all of the 118 Non-Aligned Movement member countries, at the summit level, declared supporting Iran’s nuclear program for civilian purposes in their final written statement.[245] That is a clear majority of the 192 countries comprising the entire United Nations, which comprise 55% of the world population.

On 11 September 2007 the Non-Aligned Movement rejected any “interference” in Iran’s nuclear transparency deal with U.N. inspectors by Western countries through the UN Security Council.[37]

On 30 July 2008 the Non-Aligned Movement welcomed the continuing cooperation of Iran with the IAEA and reaffirmed Iran’s right to the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. The movement further called for the establishment of a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East and called for a comprehensive multilaterally negotiated instrument which prohibits threats of attacks on nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.[246]

Biological weapons

Iran ratified the Biological Weapons Convention on 22 August 1973.[1]

Iran has advanced biology and genetic engineering research programs supporting an industry that produces world-class vaccines for both domestic use and export.[247] The dual-use nature of these facilities means that Iran, like any country with advanced biological research programs, could easily produce biological warfare agents.

A 2005 report from the United States Department of State claimed that Iran began work on offensive biological weapons during the Iran–Iraq War, and that their large legitimate bio-technological and bio-medical industry “could easily hide pilot to industrial-scale production capabilities for a potential BW program, and could mask procurement of BW-related process equipment”. The report further said that “available information about Iranian activities indicates a maturing offensive program with a rapidly evolving capability that may soon include the ability to deliver these weapons by a variety of means”.[248]

According to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, Iran is known to possess cultures of the many biological agents for legitimate scientific purposes which have been weaponised by other nations in the past, or could theoretically be weaponised. Although they do not allege that Iran has attempted to weaponise them, Iran possesses sufficient biological facilities to potentially do so.[249]

Chemical weapons

Iranian soldier with gas mask under chemical bombardment by Iraqi forces in the battlefield during the Iran–Iraq War.

Iran has experienced attack by chemical warfare (CW) on the battlefield and suffered hundreds of thousands of casualties, both civilian and military, in such attacks during the 1980–88 Iran–Iraq War. Iran was completely unprepared for chemical warfare and did not even have sufficient gas masks for its troops. Due to sanctions, Iran had to purchase gas masks from North Korea or commercial painting respirator masks bought from the West. Iran is not known to have resorted to using chemical weapons in retaliation for Iraqi chemical weapons attacks during the Iran–Iraq War despite the fact it would have been legally entitled to do so under the then-existing international treaties on the use of chemical weapons which only prohibited the first use of such weapons.[250] Still Iran did develop a chemical-weapons-program during the latter part of that war, and in 1989, The New York Times reported that Iran started a major campaign to produce and stockpile chemical weapons after a truce was agreed with Iraq.[251]

On 13 January 1993 Iran signed the Chemical Weapons Convention and ratified it on 3 November 1997. In the official declaration submitted to OPCW Iranian government acknowledged that it had developed a chemical-weapons-program in the 1980s but asserted that it had since ceased the program and destroyed the stockpiles of operational weapons.[252]

In an interview with Gareth PorterMohsen Rafighdoost, the Minister of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps throughout the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, described how supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini had twice blocked his proposal to begin working on both nuclear and chemical weapons to counter Iraqi chemical attacks, which Rafighdoost interpreted as a fatwa against their use and production, because it was issued by the “guardian jurist“.[253]

A U.S. Central Intelligence Agency report dated January 2001 speculated that Iran had manufactured and stockpiled chemical weapons – including blisterbloodchoking, and probably nerve agents, and the bombs and artillery shells to deliver them. It further claimed that during the first half of 2001, Iran continued to seek production technology, training, expertise, equipment, and chemicals from entities in Russia and China that could be used to help Iran reach its goal of having indigenous nerve agent production capability.[254] However the certainty of this assessment declined and in 2007 the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency limited its public assessment to just noting that “Iran has a large and growing commercial chemical industry that could be used to support a chemical agent mobilization capability.”[255]

Iran is a signatory of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans chemical weapons, delivery systems, and production facilities.[2] Iran has reiterated its commitment to the CWC and its full support for the work of the OPCW, in particular in view of the considerable suffering these weapons have caused to the Iranian people.[256] Iran has not made any declaration of a weapons stockpile under the treaty.[257]

In 2013 Ahmet Uzumcu, the Director-General of the OPCW, hailed Iran as an effective and active member-state of the OPCW.[258] In 2016 Iranian chemists synthesised five Novichok nerve agents, originally developed in the Soviet Union, for analysis and produced detailed mass spectral data which was added to the OPCW Central Analytical Database.[259][260] Previously there had been no detailed descriptions of their spectral properties in open scientific literature.[261][259]

Delivery systems

Missiles

Shahab-4 with a range of 2,000 km and a payload of 1,000 kg is believed to be under development. Iran has stated the Shahab-3 is the last of its war missiles and the Shahab-4 is being developed to give the country the capability of launching communications and surveillance satellites. A Shahab-5, an intercontinental ballistic missile with a 10,000 km range, has been alleged but not proven to be under development.[262]

In 2017, Iran tested the Khorramshahr, an MRBM that can carry an 1800 kg payload over 2000 km.[263]

Iran has 12 X-55 long range cruise missiles purchased without nuclear warheads from Ukraine in 2001. The X-55 has a range of 2,500 to 3,000 kilometers.[264]

Iran’s most advanced missile, the Fajr-3, has an unknown range but is estimated to be 2,500 km. The missile is radar evading and can strike targets simultaneously using multiple warheads.[265]

On 2 November 2006, Iran fired unarmed missiles to begin 10 days of military war games. Iranian state television reported “dozens of missiles were fired including Shahab-2 and Shahab-3 missiles. The missiles had ranges from 300 km to up to 2,000 km…Iranian experts have made some changes to Shahab-3 missiles installing cluster warheads in them with the capacity to carry 1,400 bombs.” These launches come after some United States-led military exercises in the Persian Gulf on 30 October 2006, meant to train for blocking the transport of weapons of mass destruction.[266]

The Sejil is a two-stage, solid-propellant, surface-to-surface missile (SSM) produced by Iran with a reported 1,930 km (1,200 mi) range. A successful test launch took place on 12 November 2008.[267]

According to Jane’s Information Group, details of the design other than the number of stages and that it uses solid fuel have not been released. Uzi Ruben, former director of Israel’s Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, indicated that, “Unlike other Iranian missiles, the Sajil bears no resemblance to any North Korean, Russian, Chinese or Pakistani (missile technology). It demonstrates a significant leap in Iran’s missile capabilities.” Ruben went on to state that the Sejil-1 ” … places Iran in the realm of multiple-stage missiles, which means that they are on the way to having intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capabilities …”[268] As a weapon, the Sejil-1 presents much more challenge to Iran’s potential enemies, as solid-fuel missiles can be launched with much less notice than liquid-fueled missiles, making them more difficult to strike prior to launch.[269]

Sejil-2 is an upgraded version of the Sejil. The Sejil-2 two-stage solid-fuel missile has a 2,000 km range and was first test fired on 20 May 2009.[270] The Sejil-2 surface-to-surface medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) was first tested eight months prior to the actual test launch, which took place in the central Iranian province of Semnan.[271] Improvements include better navigation system, better targeting system, more payload, longer range, faster lift-off, longer storage time, quicker launch, and lower detection possibility.[272]

Iran’s Nuclear Capable Missiles
Name/Designation Class Range
(varies with payload weight)
Payload Status
Fajr-3 MRBM 2,000 km 800 kg Operational
Shahab-2 SRBM 300–2,000 km 1200 kg Operational
Shahab-3//Emad/Ghadr-110 MRBM 2,100 km 990 kg Operational
Shahab-4 MRBM 2,000 km 2,000 kg Under Development
Sejil-1 MRBM 1,930 km Unknown Operational
Sejil-2 MRBM 2,000 km Unknown Operational
Khorramshahr MRBM 2,000 km 1800 kg Testing phase

Aircraft

Any aircraft could potentially be used to host some form of WMD distribution system.[citation needed] Iran has a varied air force with aircraft purchased from many countries, including the United States. Due to sanctions, the Iranian government has encouraged the domestic production of aircraft and, since 2002, has built its own transport aircraft, fighters, and gunship helicopters.

See also

References …

External links

Analysis
Political statements

 

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1261, May 21, 2019, Story 1: Do Not Believe The Poll That 43% of Americans Believe That Socialism Would Be A Good Thing — More Capitalism and Less Socialism Would Be Excellent –Videos — Story 2: Progressive Socialist Democrats Want To Impeach Trump — Please Do and Lose — From Collusion Delusion To Obstruction Delusion To Democrats Destruction — Game Set Match — Videos

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Democratic Socialism is Still Socialism

Capitalism vs. Socialism

How Socialism Ruined My Country

Is Denmark Socialist?

Socialists and Other Grotesque Ingrates | Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Socialism Makes People Selfish

Free Market Masters: Ludwig von Mises

Hayek on Socialism

Ludwig von Mises Speaks: Socialism versus Free Market Exchange (1970)

The Impossibility of Economic Calculation Under Socialism

Ten Things Millennials Should Know About Socialism | Thomas J. DiLorenzo

 

Four in 10 Americans Embrace Some Form of Socialism

Four in 10 Americans Embrace Some Form of Socialism

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • 43% of Americans say socialism would be a good thing for the country
  • 51% believe socialism would be a bad thing for the country
  • Americans split on viewing economy as free market or government controlled

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans today are more closely divided than they were earlier in the last century when asked whether some form of socialism would be a good or bad thing for the country. While 51% of U.S. adults say socialism would be a bad thing for the country, 43% believe it would be a good thing. Those results contrast with a 1942 Roper/Fortune survey that found 40% describing socialism as a bad thing, 25% a good thing and 34% not having an opinion.

More Americans Now See Socialism as a Good Thing for the Country
Would some form of socialism be a good thing or a bad thing for the country as a whole?
1942 2019 Change
% % pct. pts.
Good thing 25 43 +18
Bad thing 40 51 +11
No opinion 34 6 -28
Net “good thing” -15 -8 +7
Note: 1942 data gathered by Roper Center for Public Opinion Research
GALLUP

The Roper/Fortune survey is one of the oldest trend questions measuring attitudes on socialism in the U.S. Gallup’s update of the question in an April 17-30 survey finds Americans more likely to have an opinion on the matter now, as well as a smaller gap in the percentage calling socialism a bad thing vs. a good thing.

Previous Gallup research shows that Americans’ definition of socialism has changed over the years, with nearly one in four now associating the concept with social equality and 17% associating it with the more classical definition of having some degree of government control over the means of production. A majority of Democrats have said they view socialism positively in Gallup polling since 2010, including 57% in the most recent measure in 2018.

Outlook on Socialism Around the World

The April 17-30 survey also updates another historical question on socialism. Gallup first asked Americans in 1949 about their outlook on the spread of democracy over the next 50 years. At that time, seven in 10 Americans (72%) predicted that most countries in the world would have a democratic government. It’s important to note that in much of the political rhetoric of the time, the terms democracy and capitalism were more intimately intertwined than they are today, perhaps synonymous to many.

Americans’ Views on Future of Democracy and Socialism Globally
During the next 50 years, do you think most of the nations of the world will have a democratic government, a communist government or a socialist government?
1949 2019 Change
% % pct. pts.
Democratic 72 57 -15
Socialist 14 29 +15
Communist 9 6 -3
No opinion 5 8 +3
GALLUP

The current update on this question finds a marked increase in the percentage saying that most countries during the next 50 years will have a socialist government (29%). It is unclear whether this is due to the flourishing of democracies — particularly in Europe and Latin America — led by what are often described as social democrats, or whether a fundamental shift is taking place among some Americans in their views of socialism.

Government vs. Free Market

In the same April survey, Gallup asked Americans whether they would prefer mostly free market or government control over several economic and societal activities. Americans are most likely to prefer free market control in the areas of technological innovation and the distribution of wealth. Majorities also want the free market to drive the economy overall, wages, higher education and healthcare.

Preference for the government to serve as the primarily responsible actor only garners majority support for protecting online consumer privacy and the environment.

Majority Want Free Market to Lead on Many Fronts
Would you prefer to have the free market or the government be primarily responsible for what happens in each of the following areas?
Free market Government Net “free market”
% % pct. pts.
Technological innovation 75 19 +56
The distribution of wealth 68 28 +40
The economy overall 62 33 +29
Wages 62 35 +27
Higher education 56 41 +15
Healthcare 53 44 +9
Protecting consumers’ privacy online 40 57 -17
Environmental protection 30 66 -36
GALLUP, APRIL 17-30, 2019

Notably, more Americans favor free market than government control over healthcare and higher education, two areas in which Democratic politicians have made proposals to greatly expand government involvement. But at least four in 10 Americans appear sympathetic to policies that would increase the government’s role in those areas.

While there is ample support for a market-driven approach to many of the issues cited above, Americans are divided on how they describe the current state of the U.S. economy. When asked whether they think the U.S. economy leans more toward free market control or toward government control, 40% say it leans more toward government control while fewer say it leans toward free market control (34%). One in four describe it as an equal mix.

Stacked bar graph. Americans’ views of the current state of free market versus government control of the economy.

Bottom Line

Americans’ views on socialism are complex. While some recent data can easily lend to overstated conclusions, there are marked changes in Americans’ views of socialism when taking a longer, more historical look at the data. However, exactly what Americans mean by the term is nuanced and multifaceted. While half of Americans consider socialism as bad for the country, nearly two-thirds say that the U.S. economy is more influenced by the government than the free market, or that it reflects an equal mix of the two.

Additionally, while a majority of Democrats view socialism positively, that is not a major change in the eight years Gallup has tracked this metric. The major shift over this time has been the reduced rate of Democrats who now view capitalism positively (47%).

These data alone make it hard to generalize a simplistic conclusion about Americans’ opinions of, and willingness to entertain, socialism. But there are a few clear takeaways. About four in 10 Americans are accepting of some form of socialism or socialist policies, and Democrats currently have a more positive view of socialism than capitalism. In addition, the April survey found that 47% of Americans say they would vote for a socialist candidate for president. While that figure represents nearly half of the U.S. adult population, even higher percentages say they would vote for an atheist (58%) or Muslim (60%) presidential candidate.

However, when they are asked what role they would like to see the government play in certain areas of society, Americans continue to endorse the free market.

Shifting attitudes about socialism, capitalism, and the current economic and political systems in America — as well as what alternatives many see as solutions for current shortcomings — will continue to be a major focus for Gallup.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

View complete question responses and trends

Capitalism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit.[1][2][3][4] Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets.[5][6] In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investment are determined by every owner of wealth, property or production ability in financial and capital markets, whereas prices and the distribution of goods and services are mainly determined by competition in goods and services markets.[7][8]

Economists, political economists, sociologists and historians have adopted different perspectives in their analyses of capitalism and have recognized various forms of it in practice. These include laissez-faire or free market capitalism, welfare capitalism and state capitalism. Different forms of capitalism feature varying degrees of free markets, public ownership,[9] obstacles to free competition and state-sanctioned social policies. The degree of competition in markets, the role of intervention and regulation, and the scope of state ownership vary across different models of capitalism.[10][11] The extent to which different markets are free as well as the rules defining private property are matters of politics and policy. Most existing capitalist economies are mixed economies, which combine elements of free markets with state intervention and in some cases economic planning.[12]

Market economies have existed under many forms of government and in many different times, places and cultures. Modern capitalist societies—marked by a universalization of money-based social relations, a consistently large and system-wide class of workers who must work for wages, and a capitalist class which owns the means of production—developed in Western Europe in a process that led to the Industrial Revolution. Capitalist systems with varying degrees of direct government intervention have since become dominant in the Western world and continue to spread. Over time, capitalist countries have experienced consistent economic growth and an increase in the standard of living.

Critics of capitalism argue that it establishes power in the hands of a minority capitalist class that exists through the exploitation of the majority working class and their labor; prioritizes profit over social good, natural resources and the environment; and is an engine of inequality, corruption and economic instabilities. Supporters argue that it provides better products and innovation through competition, disperses wealth to all productive people, promotes pluralism and decentralization of power, creates strong economic growth, and yields productivity and prosperity that greatly benefit society.

Contents

Etymology

Other terms sometimes used for capitalism:

The term “capitalist”, meaning an owner of capital, appears earlier than the term “capitalism” and it dates back to the mid-17th century. “Capitalism” is derived from capital, which evolved from capitale, a late Latin word based on caput, meaning “head”—also the origin of “chattel” and “cattle” in the sense of movable property (only much later to refer only to livestock). Capitale emerged in the 12th to 13th centuries in the sense of referring to funds, stock of merchandise, sum of money or money carrying interest.[24]:232[25][26] By 1283, it was used in the sense of the capital assets of a trading firm and it was frequently interchanged with a number of other words—wealth, money, funds, goods, assets, property and so on.[24]:233

The Hollandische Mercurius uses “capitalists” in 1633 and 1654 to refer to owners of capital.[24]:234 In French, Étienne Clavier referred to capitalistes in 1788,[27] six years before its first recorded English usage by Arthur Young in his work Travels in France (1792).[26][28] In his Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817), David Ricardo referred to “the capitalist” many times.[29] Samuel Taylor Coleridge, an English poet, used “capitalist” in his work Table Talk (1823).[30] Pierre-Joseph Proudhon used the term “capitalist” in his first work, What is Property? (1840), to refer to the owners of capital. Benjamin Disraeli used the term “capitalist” in his 1845 work Sybil.[26]

The initial usage of the term “capitalism” in its modern sense has been attributed to Louis Blanc in 1850 (“What I call ‘capitalism’ that is to say the appropriation of capital by some to the exclusion of others”) and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in 1861 (“Economic and social regime in which capital, the source of income, does not generally belong to those who make it work through their labour”).[24]:237 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels referred to the “capitalistic system”[31][32] and to the “capitalist mode of production” in Capital (1867).[33] The use of the word “capitalism” in reference to an economic system appears twice in Volume I of Capital, p. 124 (German edition) and in Theories of Surplus Value, tome II, p. 493 (German edition). Marx did not extensively use the form capitalism, but instead those of capitalist and capitalist mode of production, which appear more than 2,600 times in the trilogy The Capital. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the term “capitalism” first appeared in English in 1854 in the novel The Newcomes by novelist William Makepeace Thackeray, where he meant “having ownership of capital”.[34] Also according to the OED, Carl Adolph Douai, a German American socialist and abolitionist, used the phrase “private capitalism” in 1863.

History

Capitalism in its modern form can be traced to the emergence of agrarian capitalism and mercantilism in the early Renaissance, in city states like Florence.[35] Capital has existed incipiently on a small scale for centuries[36] in the form of merchant, renting and lending activities and occasionally as small-scale industry with some wage labour. Simple commodity exchange and consequently simple commodity production, which are the initial basis for the growth of capital from trade, have a very long history. Classical Islam promulgated capitalist economic policies such as free trade and banking. Their use of Indo-Arabic numerals facilitated bookkeeping. These innovations migrated to Europe through trade partners in cities such as Venice and Pisa. The Italian mathematician Fibonacci traveled the Mediterranean talking to Arab traders, and returned to popularize the use of Indo-Arabic numerals in Europe.[37]

Capital and commercial trade thus existed for much of history, but it did not lead to industrialisation or dominate the production process of society. That required a set of conditions, including specific technologies of mass production, the ability to independently and privately own and trade in means of production, a class of workers willing to sell their labour power for a living, a legal framework promoting commerce, a physical infrastructure allowing the circulation of goods on a large scale and security for private accumulation. Many of these conditions do not currently exist in many Third World countries, although there is plenty of capital and labour. The obstacles for the development of capitalist markets are therefore less technical and more social, cultural and political.

Agrarian capitalism

The economic foundations of the feudal agricultural system began to shift substantially in 16th-century England as the manorial system had broken down and land began to become concentrated in the hands of fewer landlords with increasingly large estates. Instead of a serf-based system of labor, workers were increasingly employed as part of a broader and expanding money-based economy. The system put pressure on both landlords and tenants to increase the productivity of agriculture to make profit; the weakened coercive power of the aristocracy to extract peasant surpluses encouraged them to try better methods; and the tenants also had incentive to improve their methods in order to flourish in a competitive labor market. Terms of rent for land were becoming subject to economic market forces rather than to the previous stagnant system of custom and feudal obligation.[38][39]

By the early 17th century, England was a centralized state in which much of the feudal order of Medieval Europe had been swept away. This centralization was strengthened by a good system of roads and by a disproportionately large capital city, London. The capital acted as a central market hub for the entire country, creating a very large internal market for goods, contrasting with the fragmented feudal holdings that prevailed in most parts of the Continent.

Mercantilism

A painting of a French seaport from 1638 at the height of mercantilism

The economic doctrine prevailing from the 16th to the 18th centuries is commonly called mercantilism.[40][41] This period, the Age of Discovery, was associated with the geographic exploration of the foreign lands by merchant traders, especially from England and the Low Countries. Mercantilism was a system of trade for profit, although commodities were still largely produced by non-capitalist methods.[42] Most scholars consider the era of merchant capitalism and mercantilism as the origin of modern capitalism,[43][44] although Karl Polanyi argued that the hallmark of capitalism is the establishment of generalized markets for what he called the “fictitious commodities”, i.e. land, labor and money. Accordingly, he argued that “not until 1834 was a competitive labor market established in England, hence industrial capitalism as a social system cannot be said to have existed before that date”.[45]

Robert Clive after the Battle of Plassey, which began East India Company rule in India

England began a large-scale and integrative approach to mercantilism during the Elizabethan Era (1558–1603). A systematic and coherent explanation of balance of trade was made public through Thomas Mun‘s argument England’s Treasure by Forraign Trade, or the Balance of our Forraign Trade is The Rule of Our Treasure. It was written in the 1620s and published in 1664.[46]

European merchants, backed by state controls, subsidies and monopolies, made most of their profits by buying and selling goods. In the words of Francis Bacon, the purpose of mercantilism was “the opening and well-balancing of trade; the cherishing of manufacturers; the banishing of idleness; the repressing of waste and excess by sumptuary laws; the improvement and husbanding of the soil; the regulation of prices…”.[47]

The British East India Company and the Dutch East India Company inaugurated an expansive era of commerce and trade.[48][49] These companies were characterized by their colonial and expansionary powers given to them by nation-states.[48] During this era, merchants, who had traded under the previous stage of mercantilism, invested capital in the East India Companies and other colonies, seeking a return on investment.

Industrial capitalism

A Watt steam engine: the steam engine fuelled primarily by coal propelled the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain[50]

In the mid-18th century, a new group of economic theorists, led by David Hume[51] and Adam Smith, challenged fundamental mercantilist doctrines such as the belief that the world’s wealth remained constant and that a state could only increase its wealth at the expense of another state.

During the Industrial Revolution, industrialists replaced merchants as a dominant factor in the capitalist system and affected the decline of the traditional handicraft skills of artisans, guilds and journeymen. Also during this period, the surplus generated by the rise of commercial agriculture encouraged increased mechanization of agriculture. Industrial capitalism marked the development of the factory system of manufacturing, characterized by a complex division of labor between and within work process and the routine of work tasks; and finally established the global domination of the capitalist mode of production.[41]

Britain also abandoned its protectionist policy as embraced by mercantilism. In the 19th century, Richard Cobden and John Bright, who based their beliefs on the Manchester School, initiated a movement to lower tariffs.[52] In the 1840s, Britain adopted a less protectionist policy, with the repeal of the Corn Laws and the Navigation Acts.[41] Britain reduced tariffs and quotas, in line with David Ricardo’s advocacy for free trade.

Modern capitalism

The gold standard formed the financial basis of the international economy from 1870 to 1914

Capitalism was carried across the world by broader processes of globalization and by the beginning of the nineteenth century a series of loosely connected market systems had come together as a relatively integrated global system, in turn intensifying processes of economic and other globalization.[53][page needed] Later in the 20th century, capitalism overcame a challenge by centrally-planned economies and is now the encompassing system worldwide,[16][54] with the mixed economy being its dominant form in the industrialized Western world.

Industrialization allowed cheap production of household items using economies of scale while rapid population growth created sustained demand for commodities. Globalization in this period was decisively shaped by 18th-century imperialism.[53][page needed]

After the First and Second Opium Wars and the completion of British conquest of India, vast populations of these regions became ready consumers of European exports. Also in this period, areas of sub-Saharan Africa and the Pacific islands were colonised. The conquest of new parts of the globe, notably sub-Saharan Africa, by Europeans yielded valuable natural resources such as rubber, diamonds and coal and helped fuel trade and investment between the European imperial powers, their colonies and the United States:

The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea, the various products of the whole earth, and reasonably expect their early delivery upon his doorstep. Militarism and imperialism of racial and cultural rivalries were little more than the amusements of his daily newspaper. What an extraordinary episode in the economic progress of man was that age which came to an end in August 1914.[55]

In this period, the global financial system was mainly tied to the gold standard. The United Kingdom first formally adopted this standard in 1821. Soon to follow were Canada in 1853, Newfoundland in 1865, the United States and Germany (de jure) in 1873. New technologies, such as the telegraph, the transatlantic cable, the radiotelephone, the steamship and railway allowed goods and information to move around the world at an unprecedented degree.[56]

The New York stock exchange traders’ floor (1963)

In the period following the global depression of the 1930s, the state played an increasingly prominent role in the capitalistic system throughout much of the world. The postwar boom ended in the late 1960s and early 1970s and the situation was worsened by the rise of stagflation.[57] Monetarism, a modification of Keynesianism that is more compatible with laissez-faire, gained increasing prominence in the capitalist world, especially under the leadership of Ronald Reagan in the United States and Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom in the 1980s. Public and political interest began shifting away from the so-called collectivist concerns of Keynes’s managed capitalism to a focus on individual choice, called “remarketized capitalism”.[58]

According to Harvard academic Shoshana Zuboff, a new genus of capitalism, surveillance capitalism, monetizes data acquired through surveillance.[59][60][61] She states it was first discovered and consolidated at Google, emerged due to the “coupling of the vast powers of the digital with the radical indifference and intrinsic narcissism of the financial capitalism and its neoliberal vision that have dominated commerce for at least three decades, especially in the Anglo economies”[60] and depends on the global architecture of computer mediation which produces a distributed and largely uncontested new expression of power she calls “Big Other”.[62]

Relationship to democracy

Many analysts[who?] assert that China is one of the main examples of state capitalism in the 21st century

The relationship between democracy and capitalism is a contentious area in theory and in popular political movements. The extension of universal adult male suffrage in 19th-century Britain occurred along with the development of industrial capitalism and democracy became widespread at the same time as capitalism, leading capitalists to posit a causal or mutual relationship between them.[63] However, according to some authors in the 20th-century, capitalism also accompanied a variety of political formations quite distinct from liberal democracies, including fascist regimes, absolute monarchies and single-party states.[41] Democratic peace theory asserts that democracies seldom fight other democracies, but critics of that theory suggest that this may be because of political similarity or stability rather than because they are democratic or capitalist. Moderate critics argue that though economic growth under capitalism has led to democracy in the past, it may not do so in the future as authoritarian regimes have been able to manage economic growth without making concessions to greater political freedom.[64][65]

Milton Friedman, one of the biggest supporters of the idea that capitalism promotes political freedom, argued that competitive capitalism allows economic and political power to be separate, ensuring that they do not clash with one another. Moderate critics have recently challenged this, stating that the current influence lobbying groups have had on policy in the United States is a contradiction, given the approval of Citizens United. This has led people to question the idea that competitive capitalism promotes political freedom. The ruling on Citizens United allows corporations to spend undisclosed and unregulated amounts of money on political campaigns, shifting outcomes to the interests and undermining true democracy. As explained in Robin Hahnel’s writings, the centerpiece of the ideological defense of the free market system is the concept of economic freedom and that supporters equate economic democracy with economic freedom and claim that only the free market system can provide economic freedom. According to Hahnel, there are a few objections to the premise that capitalism offers freedom through economic freedom. These objections are guided by critical questions about who or what decides whose freedoms are more protected. Often, the question of inequality is brought up when discussing how well capitalism promotes democracy. An argument that could stand is that economic growth can lead to inequality given that capital can be acquired at different rates by different people. In Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics asserts that inequality is the inevitable consequence of economic growth in a capitalist economy and the resulting concentration of wealth can destabilize democratic societies and undermine the ideals of social justice upon which they are built.[66]

States with capitalistic economic systems have thrived under political regimes deemed to be authoritarian or oppressive. Singapore has a successful open market economy as a result of its competitive, business-friendly climate and robust rule of law. Nonetheless, it often comes under fire for its brand of government which though democratic and consistently one of the least corrupt[67] it also operates largely under a one-party rule and does not vigorously defend freedom of expression given its government-regulated press as well as penchant for upholding laws protecting ethnic and religious harmony, judicial dignity and personal reputation. The private (capitalist) sector in the People’s Republic of China has grown exponentially and thrived since its inception, despite having an authoritarian government. Augusto Pinochet‘s rule in Chile led to economic growth and high levels of inequality[68] by using authoritarian means to create a safe environment for investment and capitalism. Similarly, Suharto‘s authoritarian reign and extirpation of the Communist Party of Indonesia allowed for the expansion of capitalism in Indonesia.[69][70]

Varieties of capitalism

Peter A. Hall and David Soskice argued that modern economies have developed two different forms of capitalism: liberal market economies (or LME) (e.g. the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland) and coordinated market economies (CME) (e.g. Germany, Japan, Sweden and Austria). Those two types can be distinguished by the primary way in which firms coordinate with each other and other actors, such as trade unions. In LMEs, firms primarily coordinate their endeavors by way of hierarchies and market mechanisms. Coordinated market economies more heavily rely on non-market forms of interaction in the coordination of their relationship with other actors (for a detailed description see Varieties of Capitalism). These two forms of capitalisms developed different industrial relations, vocational training and education, corporate governance, inter-firm relations and relations with employees. The existence of these different forms of capitalism has important societal effects, especially in periods of crisis and instability. Since the early 2000s, the number of labor market outsiders has rapidly grown in Europe, especially among the youth, potentially influencing social and political participation. Using varieties of capitalism theory, it is possible to disentangle the different effects on social and political participation that an increase of labor market outsiders has in liberal and coordinated market economies (Ferragina et al., 2016).[71] The social and political disaffection, especially among the youth, seems to be more pronounced in liberal than coordinated market economies. This signals an important problem for liberal market economies in a period of crisis. If the market does not provide consistent job opportunities (as it has in previous decades), the shortcomings of liberal social security systems may depress social and political participation even further than in other capitalist economies.

Characteristics

In general, capitalism as an economic system and mode of production can be summarised by the following:[72]

The market

The price (P) of a product is determined by a balance between production at each price (supply, S) and the desires of those with purchasing power at each price (demand, D): this results in a market equilibrium, with a given quantity (Q) sold of the product, whereas a rise in demand would result in an increase in price and an increase in output

In free market and laissez-faire forms of capitalism, markets are used most extensively with minimal or no regulation over the pricing mechanism. In mixed economies, which are almost universal today,[80] markets continue to play a dominant role, but they are regulated to some extent by the state in order to correct market failures, promote social welfare, conserve natural resources, fund defense and public safety or other rationale. In state capitalist systems, markets are relied upon the least, with the state relying heavily on state-owned enterprises or indirect economic planning to accumulate capital.

Supply is the amount of a good or service that is available for purchase or sale. Demand is the measure of value for a good that people are willing to buy at a given time. Prices tend to rise when demand for an available resource increases or its supply diminishes and fall with demand or when supply increases.

Competition arises when more than one producer is trying to sell the same or similar products to the same buyers. In capitalist theory, competition leads to innovation and more affordable prices. Without competition, a monopoly or cartel may develop. A monopoly occurs when a firm is granted exclusivity over a market. Hence the firm can engage in rent seeking behaviors such as limiting output and raising prices because it has no fear of competition. A cartel is a group of firms that act together in a monopolistic manner to control output and prices.

Governments have implemented legislation for the purpose of preventing the creation of monopolies and cartels. In 1890, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act became the first legislation passed by the United States Congress to limit monopolies.[81]

Profit motive

The profit motive, in the theory in capitalism, is the desire to earn income in the form of profit. Stated differently, the reason for a business’s existence is to turn a profit. The profit motive functions according to rational choice theory, or the theory that individuals tend to pursue what is in their own best interests. Accordingly, businesses seek to benefit themselves and/or their shareholders by maximizing profit.

In capitalist theoretics, the profit motive is said to ensure that resources are being allocated efficiently. For instance, Austrian economist Henry Hazlitt explains: “If there is no profit in making an article, it is a sign that the labor and capital devoted to its production are misdirected: the value of the resources that must be used up in making the article is greater than the value of the article itself”.[82] In other words, profits let companies know whether an item is worth producing. Theoretically, in free and competitive markets maximising profit ensures that resources are not wasted.

Private property

The relationship between the state, its formal mechanisms and capitalist societies has been debated in many fields of social and political theory, with active discussion since the 19th century. Hernando de Soto is a contemporary Peruvian economist who has argued that an important characteristic of capitalism is the functioning state protection of property rights in a formal property system where ownership and transactions are clearly recorded.[83]

According to de Soto, this is the process by which physical assets are transformed into capital, which in turn may be used in many more ways and much more efficiently in the market economy. A number of Marxian economists have argued that the Enclosure Acts in England and similar legislation elsewhere were an integral part of capitalist primitive accumulation and that specific legal frameworks of private land ownership have been integral to the development of capitalism.[84][85]

Market competition

In capitalist economics, market competition is the rivalry among sellers trying to achieve such goals as increasing profits, market share and sales volume by varying the elements of the marketing mix: price, product, distribution and promotion. Merriam-Webster defines competition in business as “the effort of two or more parties acting independently to secure the business of a third party by offering the most favourable terms”.[86] It was described by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations (1776) and later economists as allocating productive resources to their most highly valued uses[87] and encouraging efficiency. Smith and other classical economists before Antoine Augustine Cournot were referring to price and non-price rivalry among producers to sell their goods on best terms by bidding of buyers, not necessarily to a large number of sellers nor to a market in final equilibrium.[88] Competition is widespread throughout the market process. It is a condition where “buyers tend to compete with other buyers, and sellers tend to compete with other sellers”.[89] In offering goods for exchange, buyers competitively bid to purchase specific quantities of specific goods which are available, or might be available if sellers were to choose to offer such goods. Similarly, sellers bid against other sellers in offering goods on the market, competing for the attention and exchange resources of buyers. Competition results from scarcity—there is never enough to satisfy all conceivable human wants—and occurs “when people strive to meet the criteria that are being used to determine who gets what”.[89]

Economic growth

World’s GDP per capita shows exponential growth since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution[90]

Capitalism and the economy of the People’s Republic of China

Historically, capitalism has an ability to promote economic growth as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), capacity utilization or standard of living. This argument was central, for example, to Adam Smith’s advocacy of letting a free market control production and price and allocate resources. Many theorists have noted that this increase in global GDP over time coincides with the emergence of the modern world capitalist system.[91][92]

Between 1000 and 1820, the world economy grew sixfold, a faster rate than the population growth, so individuals enjoyed, on average, a 50% increase in income. Between 1820 and 1998, world economy grew 50-fold, a much faster rate than the population growth, so individuals enjoyed on average a 9-fold increase in income.[93] Over this period, in Europe, North America and Australasia the economy grew 19-fold per person, even though these regions already had a higher starting level; and in Japan, which was poor in 1820, the increase per person was 31-fold. In the Third World, there was an increase, but only 5-fold per person.[93]

As a mode of production

The capitalist mode of production refers to the systems of organising production and distribution within capitalist societies. Private money-making in various forms (renting, banking, merchant trade, production for profit and so on) preceded the development of the capitalist mode of production as such. The capitalist mode of production proper based on wage-labour and private ownership of the means of production and on industrial technology began to grow rapidly in Western Europe from the Industrial Revolution, later extending to most of the world.[citation needed]

The term capitalist mode of production is defined by private ownership of the means of production, extraction of surplus value by the owning class for the purpose of capital accumulation, wage-based labour and at least as far as commodities are concerned being market-based.[94]

Capitalism in the form of money-making activity has existed in the shape of merchants and money-lenders who acted as intermediaries between consumers and producers engaging in simple commodity production (hence the reference to “merchant capitalism“) since the beginnings of civilisation. What is specific about the “capitalist mode of production” is that most of the inputs and outputs of production are supplied through the market (i.e. they are commodities) and essentially all production is in this mode.[10] For example, in flourishing feudalism most or all of the factors of production including labour are owned by the feudal ruling class outright and the products may also be consumed without a market of any kind, it is production for use within the feudal social unit and for limited trade.[73] This has the important consequence that the whole organisation of the production process is reshaped and re-organised to conform with economic rationality as bounded by capitalism, which is expressed in price relationships between inputs and outputs (wages, non-labour factor costs, sales and profits) rather than the larger rational context faced by society overall—that is, the whole process is organised and re-shaped in order to conform to “commercial logic”. Essentially, capital accumulation comes to define economic rationality in capitalist production.[74]

A society, region or nation is capitalist if the predominant source of incomes and products being distributed is capitalist activity, but even so this does not yet mean necessarily that the capitalist mode of production is dominant in that society.

Supply and demand

The price P of a product is determined by a balance between production at each price (supply S) and the desires of those with purchasing power at each price (demand D): the diagram shows a positive shift in demand from D1 to D2, resulting in an increase in price (P) and quantity sold (Q) of the product

In capitalist economic structures, supply and demand is an economic model of price determination in a market. It concludes that in a competitive market, the unit price for a particular good will vary until it settles at a point where the quantity demanded by consumers (at the current price) will equal the quantity supplied by producers (at the current price), resulting in an economic equilibrium for price and quantity.

The four basic laws of supply and demand are:[95]:37

  1. If demand increases (demand curve shifts to the right) and supply remains unchanged, then a shortage occurs, leading to a higher equilibrium price.
  2. If demand decreases (demand curve shifts to the left) and supply remains unchanged, then a surplus occurs, leading to a lower equilibrium price.
  3. If demand remains unchanged and supply increases (supply curve shifts to the right), then a surplus occurs, leading to a lower equilibrium price.
  4. If demand remains unchanged and supply decreases (supply curve shifts to the left), then a shortage occurs, leading to a higher equilibrium price.

Graphical representation of supply and demand

Although it is normal to regard the quantity demanded and the quantity supplied as functions of the price of the goods, the standard graphical representation, usually attributed to Alfred Marshall, has price on the vertical axis and quantity on the horizontal axis, the opposite of the standard convention for the representation of a mathematical function.

Since determinants of supply and demand other than the price of the goods in question are not explicitly represented in the supply-demand diagram, changes in the values of these variables are represented by moving the supply and demand curves (often described as “shifts” in the curves). By contrast, responses to changes in the price of the good are represented as movements along unchanged supply and demand curves.

Supply schedule

A supply schedule is a table that shows the relationship between the price of a good and the quantity supplied. Under the assumption of perfect competition, supply is determined by marginal cost. That is: firms will produce additional output while the cost of producing an extra unit of output is less than the price they would receive.

A hike in the cost of raw goods would decrease supply and shifting costs up while a discount would increase supply, shifting costs down and hurting producers as producer surplus decreases.

By its very nature, conceptualising a supply curve requires the firm to be a perfect competitor (i.e. to have no influence over the market price). This is true because each point on the supply curve is the answer to the question “If this firm is faced with this potential price, how much output will it be able to and willing to sell?”. If a firm has market power, its decision of how much output to provide to the market influences the market price, therefore the firm is not “faced with” any price and the question becomes less relevant.

Economists distinguish between the supply curve of an individual firm and between the market supply curve. The market supply curve is obtained by summing the quantities supplied by all suppliers at each potential price, thus in the graph of the supply curve individual firms’ supply curves are added horizontally to obtain the market supply curve.

Economists also distinguish the short-run market supply curve from the long-run market supply curve. In this context, two things are assumed constant by definition of the short run: the availability of one or more fixed inputs (typically physical capital) and the number of firms in the industry. In the long-run, firms can adjust their holdings of physical capital, enabling them to better adjust their quantity supplied at any given price. Furthermore, in the long-run potential competitors can enter or exit the industry in response to market conditions. For both of these reasons, long-run market supply curves are generally flatter than their short-run counterparts.

The determinants of supply are:

  1. Production costs: how much a goods costs to be produced. Production costs are the cost of the inputs; primarily labor, capital, energy and materials. They depend on the technology used in production and/or technological advances. See productivity.
  2. Firms’ expectations about future prices.
  3. Number of suppliers.

Demand schedule

A demand schedule, depicted graphically as the demand curve, represents the amount of some goods that buyers are willing and able to purchase at various prices, assuming all determinants of demand other than the price of the good in question, such as income, tastes and preferences, the price of substitute goods and the price of complementary goods, remain the same. According to the law of demand, the demand curve is almost always represented as downward-sloping, meaning that as price decreases, consumers will buy more of the good.[96]

Just like the supply curves reflect marginal cost curves, demand curves are determined by marginal utility curves.[97] Consumers will be willing to buy a given quantity of a good at a given price, if the marginal utility of additional consumption is equal to the opportunity cost determined by the price—that is, the marginal utility of alternative consumption choices. The demand schedule is defined as the willingness and ability of a consumer to purchase a given product in a given frame of time.

While the aforementioned demand curve is generally downward-sloping, there may be rare examples of goods that have upward-sloping demand curves. Two different hypothetical types of goods with upward-sloping demand curves are Giffen goods (an inferior, but staple good) and Veblen goods (goods made more fashionable by a higher price).

By its very nature, conceptualising a demand curve requires that the purchaser be a perfect competitor—that is, that the purchaser has no influence over the market price. This is true because each point on the demand curve is the answer to the question “If this buyer is faced with this potential price, how much of the product will it purchase?”. If a buyer has market power, so its decision of how much to buy influences the market price, then the buyer is not “faced with” any price and the question is meaningless.

Like with supply curves, economists distinguish between the demand curve of an individual and the market demand curve. The market demand curve is obtained by summing the quantities demanded by all consumers at each potential price, thus in the graph of the demand curve individuals’ demand curves are added horizontally to obtain the market demand curve.

The determinants of demand are:

  1. Income.
  2. Tastes and preferences.
  3. Prices of related goods and services.
  4. Consumers’ expectations about future prices and incomes that can be checked.
  5. Number of potential consumers.

Equilibrium

In the context of supply and demand, economic equilibrium refers to a state where economic forces such as supply and demand are balanced and in the absence of external influences the (equilibrium) values of economic variables will not change. For example, in the standard text-book model of perfect competition equilibrium occurs at the point at which quantity demanded and quantity supplied are equal.[98] Market equilibrium in this case refers to a condition where a market price is established through competition such that the amount of goods or services sought by buyers is equal to the amount of goods or services produced by sellers. This price is often called the competitive price or market clearing price and will tend not to change unless demand or supply changes and the quantity is called “competitive quantity” or market clearing quantity.

Partial equilibrium

Partial equilibrium, as the name suggests, takes into consideration only a part of the market to attain equilibrium.

Jain proposes (attributed to George Stigler): “A partial equilibrium is one which is based on only a restricted range of data, a standard example is price of a single product, the prices of all other products being held fixed during the analysis”.[99]

The supply and demand model is a partial equilibrium model of economic equilibrium, where the clearance on the market of some specific goods is obtained independently from prices and quantities in other markets. In other words, the prices of all substitutes and complements as well as income levels of consumers are constant. This makes analysis much simpler than in a general equilibrium model which includes an entire economy.

Here the dynamic process is that prices adjust until supply equals demand. It is a powerfully simple technique that allows one to study equilibrium, efficiency and comparative statics. The stringency of the simplifying assumptions inherent in this approach make the model considerably more tractable, but it may produce results which while seemingly precise do not effectively model real world economic phenomena.

Partial equilibrium analysis examines the effects of policy action in creating equilibrium only in that particular sector or market which is directly affected, ignoring its effect in any other market or industry assuming that they being small will have little impact if any.

Hence this analysis is considered to be useful in constricted markets.

Léon Walras first formalised the idea of a one-period economic equilibrium of the general economic system, but it was French economist Antoine Augustin Cournot and English political economist Alfred Marshall who developed tractable models to analyse an economic system.

Empirical estimation

Demand and supply relations in a market can be statistically estimated from price, quantity and other data with sufficient information in the model. This can be done with simultaneous-equation methods of estimation in econometrics. Such methods allow solving for the model-relevant “structural coefficients”, the estimated algebraic counterparts of the theory. The parameter identification problem is a common issue in “structural estimation”. Typically, data on exogenous variables (that is, variables other than price and quantity, both of which are endogenous variables) are needed to perform such an estimation. An alternative to “structural estimation” is reduced-form estimation, which regresses each of the endogenous variables on the respective exogenous variables.

Macroeconomic uses of demand and supply

Demand and supply have also been generalised to explain macroeconomic variables in a market economy, including the quantity of total output and the general price level. The Aggregate Demand–Aggregate Supply model may be the most direct application of supply and demand to macroeconomics, but other macroeconomic models also use supply and demand. Compared to microeconomic uses of demand and supply, different (and more controversial) theoretical considerations apply to such macroeconomic counterparts as aggregate demand and aggregate supply. Demand and supply are also used in macroeconomic theory to relate money supply and money demand to interest rates and to relate labor supply and labor demand to wage rates.

History

According to Hamid S. Hosseini, the power of supply and demand was understood to some extent by several early Muslim scholars, such as fourteenth-century Mamluk scholar Ibn Taymiyyah, who wrote: “If desire for goods increases while its availability decreases, its price rises. On the other hand, if availability of the good increases and the desire for it decreases, the price comes down”.[100]

John Locke‘s 1691 work Some Considerations on the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest and the Raising of the Value of Money[101] includes an early and clear description of supply and demand and their relationship. In this description, demand is rent: “The price of any commodity rises or falls by the proportion of the number of buyer and sellers” and “that which regulates the price… [of goods] is nothing else but their quantity in proportion to their rent”.

The phrase “supply and demand” was first used by James Denham-Steuart in his Inquiry into the Principles of Political Economy, published in 1767. Adam Smith used the phrase in his 1776 book The Wealth of Nations, and David Ricardo titled one chapter of his 1817 work Principles of Political Economy and Taxation “On the Influence of Demand and Supply on Price”.[102]

In The Wealth of Nations, Smith generally assumed that the supply price was fixed, but that its “merit” (value) would decrease as its “scarcity” increased, in effect what was later called the law of demand also. In Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, Ricardo more rigorously laid down the idea of the assumptions that were used to build his ideas of supply and demand. Antoine Augustin Cournot first developed a mathematical model of supply and demand in his 1838 Researches into the Mathematical Principles of Wealth, including diagrams.

During the late 19th century, the marginalist school of thought emerged. This field mainly was started by Stanley Jevons, Carl Menger and Léon Walras. The key idea was that the price was set by the most expensive price—that is, the price at the margin. This was a substantial change from Adam Smith’s thoughts on determining the supply price.

In his 1870 essay “On the Graphical Representation of Supply and Demand”, Fleeming Jenkin in the course of “introduc[ing] the diagrammatic method into the English economic literature” published the first drawing of supply and demand curves therein,[103] including comparative statics from a shift of supply or demand and application to the labor market.[104] The model was further developed and popularized by Alfred Marshall in the 1890 textbook Principles of Economics.[102]

Role of government

In a capitalist system, the government does not prohibit private property or prevent individuals from working where they please. The government does not prevent firms from determining what wages they will pay and what prices they will charge for their products. However, many countries have minimum wage laws and minimum safety standards.

Under some versions of capitalism, the government carries out a number of economic functions, such as issuing money, supervising public utilities and enforcing private contracts. Many countries have competition laws that prohibit monopolies and cartels from forming. Despite anti-monopoly laws, large corporations can form near-monopolies in some industries. Such firms can temporarily drop prices and accept losses to prevent competition from entering the market and then raise them again once the threat of entry is reduced. In many countries, public utilities (e.g. electricity, heating fuel and communications) are able to operate as a monopoly under government regulation due to high economies of scale.

Government agencies regulate the standards of service in many industries, such as airlines and broadcasting as well as financing a wide range of programs. In addition, the government regulates the flow of capital and uses financial tools such as the interest rate to control factors such as inflation and unemployment.[105]

Relationship to political freedom

In his book The Road to Serfdom, Friedrich Hayek asserts that the economic freedom of capitalism is a requisite of political freedom. He argues that the market mechanism is the only way of deciding what to produce and how to distribute the items without using coercion. Milton Friedman, Andrew Brennan and Ronald Reagan also promoted this view. Friedman claimed that centralized economic operations are always accompanied by political repression. In his view, transactions in a market economy are voluntary and that the wide diversity that voluntary activity permits is a fundamental threat to repressive political leaders and greatly diminish their power to coerce. Some of Friedman’s views were shared by John Maynard Keynes, who believed that capitalism is vital for freedom to survive and thrive.[106][107] Freedom House, an American think tank that conducts international research on and advocates for, democracy, political freedom and human rights, has argued “there is a high and statistically significant correlation between the level of political freedom as measured by Freedom House and economic freedom as measured by the Wall Street Journal/Heritage Foundation survey“.[108]

Types of capitalism

There are many variants of capitalism in existence that differ according to country and region. They vary in their institutional makeup and by their economic policies. The common features among all the different forms of capitalism is that they are based on the production of goods and services for profit, predominantly market-based allocation of resources and they are structured upon the accumulation of capital. The major forms of capitalism are listed hereafter:

Advanced capitalism

Advanced capitalism is the situation that pertains to a society in which the capitalist model has been integrated and developed deeply and extensively for a prolonged period. Various writers identify Antonio Gramsci as an influential early theorist of advanced capitalism, even if he did not use the term himself. In his writings, Gramsci sought to explain how capitalism had adapted to avoid the revolutionary overthrow that had seemed inevitable in the 19th century. At the heart of his explanation was the decline of raw coercion as a tool of class power, replaced by use of civil society institutions to manipulate public ideology in the capitalists’ favour.[109][110][111]

Jürgen Habermas has been a major contributor to the analysis of advanced-capitalistic societies. Habermas observed four general features that characterise advanced capitalism:

  • Concentration of industrial activity in a few large firms.
  • Constant reliance on the state to stabilise the economic system.
  • A formally democratic government that legitimises the activities of the state and dissipates opposition to the system.
  • The use of nominal wage increases to pacify the most restless segments of the work force.[112]

Finance capitalism

In their critique of capitalism, Marxism and Leninism both emphasise the role of “finance capital” as the determining and ruling-class interest in capitalist society, particularly in the latter stages.[113][114]

Rudolf Hilferding is credited[by whom?] with first bringing the term “finance capitalism” into prominence through Finance Capital, his 1910 study of the links between German trusts, banks and monopolies—a study subsumed by Vladimir Lenin into Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1917), his analysis of the imperialist relations of the great world powers.[115] Lenin concluded that the banks at that time operated as “the chief nerve centres of the whole capitalist system of national economy”.[116] For the Comintern (founded in 1919), the phrase “dictatorship of finance capitalism”[117] became a regular one.

Fernnand Braudel would later point to two earlier periods when finance capitalism had emerged in human history—with the Genoese in the 16th century and with the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries—although at those points it developed from commercial capitalism.[118][need quotation to verify] Giovanni Arrighi extended Braudel’s analysis to suggest that a predominance of finance capitalism is a recurring, long-term phenomenon, whenever a previous phase of commercial/industrial capitalist expansion reaches a plateau.[119]

Mercantilism

The subscription room at Lloyd’s of London in the early 19th century

Mercantilism is a nationalist form of early capitalism that came into existence approximately in the late 16th century. It is characterized by the intertwining of national business interests to state-interest and imperialism; and consequently, the state apparatus is utilized to advance national business interests abroad. An example of this is colonists living in America who were only allowed to trade with and purchase goods from their respective mother countries (e.g. Britain, Portugal and France). Mercantilism was driven by the belief that the wealth of a nation is increased through a positive balance of trade with other nations—it corresponds to the phase of capitalist development sometimes called the primitive accumulation of capital.

Free market economy

Free market economy refers to a capitalist economic system where prices for goods and services are set freely by the forces of supply and demand and are allowed to reach their point of equilibrium without intervention by government policy. It typically entails support for highly competitive markets and private ownership of productive enterprises. Laissez-faire is a more extensive form of free market economy where the role of the state is limited to protecting property rights, or for plumbline anarcho-capitalists, property rights are protected by private firms and market-generated law.

Social market economy

A social market economy is a nominally free market system where government intervention in price formation is kept to a minimum, but the state provides significant services in the area of social security, unemployment benefits and recognition of labor rights through national collective bargaining arrangements. This model is prominent in Western and Northern European countries as well as Japan, albeit in slightly different configurations. The vast majority of enterprises are privately owned in this economic model.

Rhine capitalism refers to the contemporary model of capitalism and adaptation of the social market model that exists in continental Western Europe today.

State capitalism

State capitalism is a capitalist market economy dominated by state-owned enterprises, where the state enterprises are organized as commercial, profit-seeking businesses. The designation has been used broadly throughout the 20th century to designate a number of different economic forms, ranging from state-ownership in market economies to the command economies of the former Eastern Bloc. According to Aldo Musacchio, a professor at Harvard Business School, state capitalism is a system in which governments, whether democratic or autocratic, exercise a widespread influence on the economy either through direct ownership or various subsidies. Musacchio notes a number of differences between today’s state capitalism and its predecessors. In his opinion, gone are the days when governments appointed bureaucrats to run companies: the world’s largest state-owned enterprises are now traded on the public markets and kept in good health by large institutional investors. Contemporary state capitalism is associated with the East Asian model of capitalism, dirigisme and the economy of Norway.[120] Alternatively, Merriam-Webster defines state capitalism as “an economic system in which private capitalism is modified by a varying degree of government ownership and control”.[121]

In Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, Friedrich Engels argued that state-owned enterprises would characterize the final stage of capitalism, consisting of ownership and management of large-scale production and communication by the bourgeois state.[122] In his writings, Vladimir Lenin characterized the economy of Soviet Russia as state capitalist, believing state capitalism to be an early step toward the development of socialism.[123][124]

Some economists and left-wing academics including Richard D. Wolff and Noam Chomsky argue that the economies of the former Soviet Union and Eastern bloc represented a form of state capitalism because their internal organization within enterprises and the system of wage labor remained intact.[125][126][127]

The term is not used by Austrian School economists to describe state ownership of the means of production. The economist Ludwig von Mises argued that the designation of “state capitalism” was simply a new label for the old labels of “state socialism” and “planned economy” and differed only in non-essentials from these earlier designations.[128]

The debate between proponents of private versus state capitalism is centered around questions of managerial efficacy, productive efficiency and fair distribution of wealth.

Corporate capitalism

Corporate capitalism is a free or mixed-market economy characterized by the dominance of hierarchical, bureaucratic corporations.

Mixed economy

A mixed economy is a largely market-based economy consisting of both private and public ownership of the means of production and economic interventionism through macroeconomic policies intended to correct market failures, reduce unemployment and keep inflation low. The degree of intervention in markets varies among different countries. Some mixed economies, such as France under dirigisme, also featured a degree of indirect economic planning over a largely capitalist-based economy.

Most modern capitalist economies are defined as “mixed economies” to some degree.[citation needed]

Others

Other variants of capitalism include:

Capital accumulation

The accumulation of capital is the process of “making money”, or growing an initial sum of money through investment in production. Capitalism is based on the accumulation of capital, whereby financial capital is invested in order to make a profit and then reinvested into further production in a continuous process of accumulation. In Marxian economic theory, this dynamic is called the law of value. Capital accumulation forms the basis of capitalism, where economic activity is structured around the accumulation of capital, defined as investment in order to realize a financial profit.[129] In this context, “capital” is defined as money or a financial asset invested for the purpose of making more money (whether in the form of profit, rent, interest, royalties, capital gain or some other kind of return).[130]

In mainstream economics, accounting and Marxian economics, capital accumulation is often equated with investment of profit income or saving, especially in real capital goods. The concentration and centralisation of capital are two of the results of such accumulation. In modern macroeconomics and econometrics, the phrase “capital formation” is often used in preference to “accumulation”, though the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) refers nowadays to “accumulation”. The term “accumulation” is occasionally used in national accounts.

Background

Accumulation can be measured as the monetary value of investments, the amount of income that is reinvested, or as the change in the value of assets owned (the increase in the value of the capital stock). Using company balance sheets, tax data and direct surveys as a basis, government statisticians estimate total investments and assets for the purpose of national accounts, national balance of payments and flow of funds statistics. The Reserve Banks and the Treasury usually provide interpretations and analysis of this data. Standard indicators include capital formation, gross fixed capital formation, fixed capital, household asset wealth and foreign direct investment.

Organisations such as the International Monetary Fund, the UNCTAD, the World Bank Group, the OECD and the Bank for International Settlements used national investment data to estimate world trends. The Bureau of Economic Analysis, Eurostat and the Japan Statistical Office provide data on the United States, Europe and Japan respectively. Other useful sources of investment information are business magazines such as Fortune, Forbes, The Economist, Business Week and so on as well as various corporate “watchdog” organisations and non-governmental organisation publications. A reputable scientific journal is the Review of Income & Wealth. In the case of the United States, the “Analytical Perspectives” document (an annex to the yearly budget) provides useful wealth and capital estimates applying to the whole country.

In Karl Marx‘ economic theory, capital accumulation refers to the operation whereby profits are reinvested increasing the total quantity of capital. Capital is viewed by Marx as expanding value, that is, in other terms, as a sum of capital, usually expressed in money, that is transformed through human labor into a larger value, extracted as profits and expressed as money. Here, capital is defined essentially as economic or commercial asset value in search of additional value or surplus-value. This requires property relations which enable objects of value to be appropriated and owned, and trading rights to be established. Capital accumulation has a double origin, namely in trade and in expropriation, both of a legal or illegal kind. The reason is that a stock of capital can be increased through a process of exchange or “trading up”, but also through directly taking an asset or resource from someone else without compensation. David Harvey calls this accumulation by dispossession.

The continuation and progress of capital accumulation depends on the removal of obstacles to the expansion of trade and this has historically often been a violent process. As markets expand, more and more new opportunities develop for accumulating capital because more and more types of goods and services can be traded in. However, capital accumulation may also confront resistance when people refuse to sell, or refuse to buy (for example a strike by investors or workers, or consumer resistance).

Concentration and centralisation

According to Marx, capital has the tendency for concentration and centralization in the hands of the wealthy. Marx explains: “It is concentration of capitals already formed, destruction of their individual independence, expropriation of capitalist by capitalist, transformation of many small into few large capitals. […] Capital grows in one place to a huge mass in a single hand, because it has in another place been lost by many. […] The battle of competition is fought by cheapening of commodities. The cheapness of commodities demands, caeteris paribus, on the productiveness of labour, and this again on the scale of production. Therefore, the larger capitals beat the smaller. It will further be remembered that, with the development of the capitalist mode of production, there is an increase in the minimum amount of individual capital necessary to carry on a business under its normal conditions. The smaller capitals, therefore, crowd into spheres of production which Modern Industry has only sporadically or incompletely got hold of. Here competition rages […] It always ends in the ruin of many small capitalists, whose capitals partly pass into the hands of their conquerors, partly vanish”.[131]

The rate of accumulation

In Marxian economics, the rate of accumulation is defined as (1) the value of the real net increase in the stock of capital in an accounting period; and (2) the proportion of realised surplus-value or profit-income which is reinvested, rather than consumed. This rate can be expressed by means of various ratios between the original capital outlay, the realised turnover, surplus-value or profit and reinvestments (e.g. the writings of the economist Michał Kalecki).

Other things being equal, the greater the amount of profit-income that is disbursed as personal earnings and used for consumptive purposes, the lower the savings rate and the lower the rate of accumulation is likely to be. However, earnings spent on consumption can also stimulate market demand and higher investment. This is the cause of endless controversies in economic theory about “how much to spend, and how much to save”.

In a boom period of capitalism, the growth of investments is cumulative, i.e. one investment leads to another, leading to a constantly expanding market, an expanding labor force and an increase in the standard of living for the majority of the people.[citation needed]

In a stagnating, decadent capitalism, the accumulation process is increasingly oriented towards investment on military and security forces, real estate, financial speculation and luxury consumption. In that case, income from value-adding production will decline in favour of interest, rent and tax income, with as a corollary an increase in the level of permanent unemployment. The more capital one owns, the more capital one can also borrow. The inverse is also true and this is one factor in the widening gap between the rich and the poor.[citation needed]

Ernest Mandel emphasised that the rhythm of capital accumulation and growth depended critically on (1) the division of a society’s social product between “necessary product” and “surplus product“; and (2) the division of the surplus product between investment and consumption. In turn, this allocation pattern reflected the outcome of competition among capitalists, competition between capitalists and workers and competition between workers. The pattern of capital accumulation can therefore never be simply explained by commercial factors as it also involved social factors and power relationships.

The circuit of capital accumulation from production

Strictly speaking, capital has accumulated only when realised profit income has been reinvested in capital assets. As suggested in the first volume of Marx’ Das Kapital, the process of capital accumulation in production has at least seven distinct but linked moments:

  • The initial investment of capital (which could be borrowed capital) in means of production and labor power.
  • The command over surplus-labour and its appropriation.
  • The valorisation (increase in value) of capital through production of new outputs.
  • The appropriation of the new output produced by employees, containing the added value.
  • The realisation of surplus-value through output sales.
  • The appropriation of realised surplus-value as (profit) income after deduction of costs.
  • The reinvestment of profit income in production.

All of these moments do not refer simply to an “economic” or commercial process. Rather, they assume the existence of legal, social, cultural and economic power conditions, without which creation, distribution and circulation of the new wealth could not occur. This becomes especially clear when the attempt is made to create a market where none exists, or where people refuse to trade.

Simple and expanded reproduction

In the second volume of Das Kapital, Marx continues the story and shows that with the aid of bank credit capital in search of growth can more or less smoothly mutate from one form to another, alternately taking the form of money capital (liquid deposits, securities and so on), commodity capital (tradable products, real estate and the like), or production capital (means of production and labor power).

His discussion of the simple and expanded reproduction of the conditions of production offers a more sophisticated model of the parameters of the accumulation process as a whole. At simple reproduction, a sufficient amount is produced to sustain society at the given living standard; the stock of capital stays constant. At expanded reproduction, more product-value is produced than is necessary to sustain society at a given living standard (a surplus product); the additional product-value is available for investments which enlarge the scale and variety of production.

The bourgeois claim there is no economic law according to which capital is necessarily re-invested in the expansion of production, that such depends on anticipated profitability, market expectations and perceptions of investment risk. Such statements only explain the subjective experiences of investors and ignore the objective realities which would influence such opinions. As Marx states in the second volume of Das Kapital, simple reproduction only exists if the variable and surplus capital realised by Dept. 1—producers of means of production—exactly equals that of the constant capital of Dept. 2, producers of articles of consumption (p. 524). Such equilibrium rests on various assumptions, such as a constant labor supply (no population growth). Accumulation does not imply a necessary change in total magnitude of value produced, but can simply refer to a change in the composition of an industry (p. 514).

Ernest Mandel introduced the additional concept of contracted economic reproduction, i.e. reduced accumulation where business operating at a loss outnumbers growing business, or economic reproduction on a decreasing scale, for example due to wars, natural disasters or devalorisation.

Balanced economic growth requires that different factors in the accumulation process expand in appropriate proportions. However, markets themselves cannot spontaneously create that balance and in fact what drives business activity is precisely the imbalances between supply and demand: inequality is the motor of growth. This partly explains why the worldwide pattern of economic growth is very uneven and unequal, even although markets have existed almost everywhere for a very long-time. Some people argue that it also explains government regulation of market trade and protectionism.

Capital accumulation as social relation

“Accumulation of capital” sometimes also refers in Marxist writings to the reproduction of capitalist social relations (institutions) on a larger scale over time, i.e. the expansion of the size of the proletariat and of the wealth owned by the bourgeoisie.

This interpretation emphasises that capital ownership, predicated on command over labor, is a social relation: the growth of capital implies the growth of the working class (a “law of accumulation“). In the first volume of Das Kapital, Marx had illustrated this idea with reference to Edward Gibbon Wakefield‘s theory of colonisation:

Wakefield discovered that in the Colonies, property in money, means of subsistence, machines, and other means of production, does not as yet stamp a man as a capitalist if there be wanting the correlative—the wage-worker, the other man who is compelled to sell himself of his own free-will. He discovered that capital is not a thing, but a social relation between persons, established by the instrumentality of things. Mr. Peel, he moans, took with him from England to Swan River, West Australia, means of subsistence and of production to the amount of £50,000. Mr. Peel had the foresight to bring with him, besides, 3,000 persons of the working-class, men, women, and children. Once arrived at his destination, ‘Mr. Peel was left without a servant to make his bed or fetch him water from the river.’ Unhappy Mr. Peel, who provided for everything except the export of English modes of production to Swan River!

— Das Kapital, vol. 1, ch. 33

In the third volume of Das Kapital, Marx refers to the “fetishism of capital” reaching its highest point with interest-bearing capital because now capital seems to grow of its own accord without anybody doing anything:

The relations of capital assume their most externalised and most fetish-like form in interest-bearing capital. We have here M − M ′ {\displaystyle M-M’} , money creating more money, self-expanding value, without the process that effectuates these two extremes. In merchant’s capital, M − C − M ′ {\displaystyle M-C-M’} , there is at least the general form of the capitalistic movement, although it confines itself solely to the sphere of circulation, so that profit appears merely as profit derived from alienation; but it is at least seen to be the product of a social relation, not the product of a mere thing. […] This is obliterated in M − M ′ {\displaystyle M-M’} , the form of interest-bearing capital. […] The thing (money, commodity, value) is now capital even as a mere thing, and capital appears as a mere thing. The result of the entire process of reproduction appears as a property inherent in the thing itself. It depends on the owner of the money, i.e., of the commodity in its continually exchangeable form, whether he wants to spend it as money or loan it out as capital. In interest-bearing capital, therefore, this automatic fetish, self-expanding value, money generating money, are brought out in their pure state and in this form it no longer bears the birth-marks of its origin. The social relation is consummated in the relation of a thing, of money, to itself. Instead of the actual transformation of money into capital, we see here only form without content.

— Das Kapital, vol. 1, ch. 24

Wage labour

An industrial worker amidst heavy steel semi-products (Kinex Bearings, Bytča, Slovakia, c. 1995–2000)

Wage labour refers to the sale of labour under a formal or informal employment contract to an employer.[132] These transactions usually occur in a labour market where wages are market determined.[133] Individuals who possess and supply financial capital or labor to productive ventures often become owners, either jointly (as shareholders) or individually. In Marxist economics, these owners of the means of production and suppliers of capital are generally called capitalists. The description of the role of the capitalist has shifted, first referring to a useless intermediary between producers to an employer of producers and eventually came to refer to owners of the means of production.[134] Labor includes all physical and mental human resources, including entrepreneurial capacity and management skills, which are needed to produce products and services. Production is the act of making goods or services by applying labor power.[135][136]

Critics of the capitalist mode of production see wage labour as a major, if not defining, aspect of hierarchical industrial systems. Most opponents of the institution support worker self-management and economic democracy as alternatives to both wage labour and to capitalism. While most opponents of the wage system blame the capitalist owners of the means of production for its existence, most anarchists and other libertarian socialists also hold the state as equally responsible as it exists as a tool utilised by capitalists to subsidise themselves and protect the institution of private ownership of the means of production. As some opponents of wage labour take influence from Marxist propositions, many are opposed to private property, but maintain respect for personal property.

Types

The most common form of wage labour currently is ordinary direct, or “full-time”, employment in which a free worker sells his or her labour for an indeterminate time (from a few years to the entire career of the worker) in return for a money-wage or salary and a continuing relationship with the employer which it does not in general offer contractors or other irregular staff. However, wage labour takes many other forms and explicit as opposed to implicit (i.e. conditioned by local labour and tax law) contracts are not uncommon. Economic history shows a great variety of ways in which labour is traded and exchanged. The differences show up in the form of:

  • Employment status: a worker could be employed full-time, part-time, or on a casual basis. He or she could be employed for example temporarily for a specific project only, or on a permanent basis. Part-time wage labour could combine with part-time self-employment. The worker could be employed also as an apprentice.
  • Civil (legal) status: the worker could for example be a free citizen, an indentured labourer, the subject of forced labour (including some prison or army labour); a worker could be assigned by the political authorities to a task, they could be a semi-slave or a serf bound to the land who is hired out part of the time. So the labour might be performed on a more or less voluntary basis, or on a more or less involuntary basis, in which there are many gradations.
  • Method of payment (remuneration or compensation): the work done could be paid “in cash” (a money-wage) or “in kind” (through receiving goods and/or services), or in the form of “piece rates” where the wage is directly dependent on how much the worker produces. In some cases, the worker might be paid in the form of credit used to buy goods and services, or in the form of stock options or shares in an enterprise.
  • Method of hiring: the worker might engage in a labour-contract on his or her own initiative, or he or she might hire out their labour as part of a group. However, he or she may also hire out their labour via an intermediary (such as an employment agency) to a third party. In this case, he or she is paid by the intermediary, but works for a third party which pays the intermediary. In some cases, labour is subcontracted several times, with several intermediaries. Another possibility is that the worker is assigned or posted to a job by a political authority, or that an agency hires out a worker to an enterprise together with the means of production.

Effects of war

The common view among economic historians is that the Great Depression ended with the advent of World War II (assembling the North American B-25 Mitchell at Kansas City, 1942)

War typically causes the diversion, destruction and creation of capital assets as capital assets are both destroyed or consumed and diverted to types of production needed to fight the war. Many assets are wasted and in some few cases created specifically to fight a war. War driven demands may be a powerful stimulus for the accumulation of capital and production capability in limited areas and market expansion outside the immediate theatre of war. Often this has induced laws against perceived and real war profiteering.

The total hours worked in the United States rose by 34 percent during World War II, even though the military draft reduced the civilian labor force by 11 percent.[137]

War destruction can be illustrated by looking at World War II. Industrial war damage was heaviest in Japan, where 1/4 of factory buildings and 1/3 of plant and equipment were destroyed; 1/7 of electric power-generating capacity was destroyed and 6/7 of oil refining capacity. The Japanese merchant fleet lost 80% of their ships. In Germany in 1944, when air attacks were heaviest, 6.5% of machine tools were damaged or destroyed, but around 90% were later repaired. About 10% of steel production capacity was lost. In Europe, the United States and the Soviet Union enormous resources were accumulated and ultimately dissipated as planes, ships, tanks and so on were built and then lost or destroyed.

Germany’s total war damage was estimated at about 17.5% of the pre-war total capital stock by value, i.e. about 1/6. In the Berlin area alone, there were 8 million refugees lacking basic necessities. In 1945, less than 10% of the railways were still operating. 2,395 rail bridges were destroyed and a total of 7,500 bridges, 10,000 locomotives and more than 100,000 goods wagons were destroyed. Less than 40% of the remaining locomotives were operational.

However, by the first quarter of 1946 European rail traffic, which was given assistance and preferences (by Western appointed military governors) for resources and material as an essential asset, regained its prewar operational level. At the end of the year, 90% of Germany’s railway lines were operating again. In retrospect, the rapidity of infrastructure reconstruction appears astonishing.

Initially, in May 1945 newly installed United States president Harry S. Truman‘s directive had been that no steps would be taken towards economic rehabilitation of Germany. In fact, the initial industry plan of 1946 prohibited production in excess of half of the 1938 level; the iron and steel industry was allowed to produce only less than a third of pre-war output. These plans were rapidly revised and better plans were instituted. In 1946, over 10% of Germany’s physical capital stock (plant and equipment) was also dismantled and confiscated, most of it going to the Soviet Union. By 1947, industrial production in Germany was at 1/3 of the 1938 level and industrial investment at about 1/2 the 1938 level.

The first big strike-wave in the Ruhr occurred in early 1947—it was about food rations and housing, but soon there were demands for nationalisation. However, the United States appointed military governor (Newman) stated at the time that he had the power to break strikes by withholding food rations. The clear message was “no work, no eat”. As the military controls in Western Germany were nearly all relinquished and the Germans were allowed to rebuild their own economy with Marshall Plan aid things rapidly improved. By 1951, German industrial production had overtaken the prewar level. The Marshall Aid funds were important, but after the currency reform (which permitted German capitalists to revalue their assets) and the establishment of a new political system much more important was the commitment of the United States to rebuilding German capitalism and establishing a free market economy and government, rather than keeping Germany in a weak position. Initially, average real wages remained low, lower even than in 1938, until the early 1950s while profitability was unusually high. So the total investment fund, aided by credits, was also high, resulting in a high rate of capital accumulation which was nearly all reinvested in new construction or new tools. This was called the German economic miracle or Wirtschaftswunder.[138]

In Italy, the victorious Allies did three things in 1945: they imposed their absolute military authority; they quickly disarmed the Italian partisans from a very large stock of weapons; and they agreed to a state guarantee of wage payments as well as a veto on all sackings of workers from their jobs.[139] Although the Italian Communist Party grew very large immediately after the war ended—it achieved a membership of 1.7 million people in a population of 45 million—it was outmaneuvered through a complicated political battle by the Christian Democrats after three years.[140] In the 1950s, an economic boom began in Italy, at first fueled by internal demand and then also by exports.[141]

In modern times, it has often been possible to rebuild physical capital assets destroyed in wars completely within the space of about 10 years, except in cases of severe pollution by chemical warfare or other kinds of irreparable devastation. However, damage to human capital has been much more devastating in terms of fatalities (in the case of World War II, about 55 million deaths), permanent physical disability, enduring ethnic hostility and psychological injuries which have effects for at least several generations.

Criticism

Critics of capitalism associate the economic system with social inequality; unfair distribution of wealth and power; materialism; repression of workers and trade unionists; social alienation; economic inequality; unemployment; and economic instability. Many socialists consider capitalism to be irrational in that production and the direction of the economy are unplanned, creating many inconsistencies and internal contradictions.[142] Capitalism and individual property rights have been associated with the tragedy of the anticommons where owners are unable to agree. Marxian economist Richard D. Wolff postulates that capitalist economies prioritize profits and capital accumulation over the social needs of communities and capitalist enterprises rarely include the workers in the basic decisions of the enterprise.[143] Democratic socialists argue that the role of the state in a capitalist society is to defend the interests of the bourgeoisie.[144] These states take actions to implement such things as unified national markets, national currencies and customs system.[144] Capitalism and capitalist governments have also been criticized as oligarchic in nature[145][146][147] due to the inevitable inequality[148][149] characteristic of economic progress.[150][151]

Some labor historians and scholars have argued that unfree labor—by slaves, indentured servants, prisoners or other coerced persons—is compatible with capitalist relations. Tom Brass argued that unfree labor is acceptable to capital.[152][153] Historian Greg Grandin argues that capitalism has its origins in slavery, saying that “[w]hen historians talk about the Atlantic market revolution, they are talking about capitalism. And when they are talking about capitalism, they are talking about slavery.”[154] Some historians, including Edward E. Baptist and Sven Beckert, assert that slavery was an integral component in the violent development of American and global capitalism.[155][156] The Slovenian continental philosopher Slavoj Žižek posits that the new era of global capitalism has ushered in new forms of contemporary slavery, including migrant workers deprived of basic civil rights on the Arabian Peninsula, the total control of workers in Asian sweatshops, and the use of forced labor in the exploitation of natural resources in Central Africa.[157]

According to Immanuel Wallerstein, institutional racism has been “one of the most significant pillars” of the capitalist system and serves as “the ideological justification for the hierarchization of the work-force and its highly unequal distributions of reward”.[158]

Many aspects of capitalism have come under attack from the anti-globalization movement, which is primarily opposed to corporate capitalism. Environmentalists have argued that capitalism requires continual economic growth and that it will inevitably deplete the finite natural resources of Earth and cause mass extinctions of animal and plant life.[159][160][161] Such critics argue that while neoliberalism, the ideological backbone of contemporary globalized capitalism, has indeed increased global trade, it has also destroyed traditional ways of life, exacerbated inequality and increased global poverty—with more living today in abject poverty than before neoliberalism and that environmental indicators indicate massive environmental degradation since the late 1970s.[22][162][163][164]

Some scholars blame the financial crisis of 2007–2008 on the neoliberal capitalist model.[171] Following the banking crisis of 2007, Alan Greenspan told the United States Congress on 23 October 2008 that “[t]his modern risk-management paradigm held sway for decades. The whole intellectual edifice, however, collapsed in the summer of last year”,[172] and that “I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in firms […] I was shocked”.[173]

Many religions have criticized or opposed specific elements of capitalism. Traditional Judaism, Christianity, and Islam forbid lending money at interest,[174][175] although alternative methods of banking have been developed. Some Christians have criticized capitalism for its materialist aspects and its inability to account for the wellbeing of all people.[176] Many of Jesus’ parables deal with economic concerns: farming, shepherding, being in debt, doing hard labor, being excluded from banquets and the houses of the rich and have implications for wealth and power distribution.[177][178] Catholic scholars and clergy have often criticized capitalism because of its disenfranchisement of the poor, often promoting distributism as an alternative. In his 84-page apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium, Catholic Pope Francis described unfettered capitalism as “a new tyranny” and called on world leaders to fight rising poverty and inequality:[179]

Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.[180]

Proponents of capitalism argue that it creates more prosperity than any other economic system and that its benefits are mainly to the ordinary person.[181] Critics of capitalism variously associate it with economic instability,[182] an inability to provide for the well-being of all people[183] and an unsustainable danger to the natural environment.[159]