Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Paul Singer’s EMP Fetish

LobeLog

The 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls making the rounds of potential campaign moneymen are treating hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer as a major kingmaker, along with his fellow Republican Jewish Coalition director, casino magnate Sheldon AdelsonThe New York Times reported over the weekend that Singer was holding dinners with aspiring candidates, while Buzzfeed reported that Marco Rubio was the featured guest at an event “attended by Republican foreign policy hawks” held at Singer’s New York residence on Monday. But some of Singer’s policy views put him at odds with not only the mainstream but many Republicans as well.

Singer has emerged as one of the GOP’s key donors, and he’s particularly generous with candidates and think tanks opposed to the P5+1’s diplomacy with Iran. On Tuesday, I wrote about Singer’s role in bankrolling Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), as well as his heavy investments in such hawkish, pro-Likud organizations as the American Enterprise Institute and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (He also helped raise money for Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) who just promised that a military campaign against Iran’s nuclear facilities would only take “several days” of bombing.”)

Singer is clearly invested in promoting a hawkish Iran policy, but he’s less well-known for his advocacy of one of the far-right’s fringe issues: warning about the dangers of an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, which he regards as the greatest threat facing the world.

According to CNBC, Singer warned clients of his hedge fund, Elliott Management, in an investment letter update last year, that a natural EMP event

today would cause a massive disruption to the electric grid, possibly shutting it down entirely for months or longer, with unimaginable consequences. Only two years ago, the sun let loose with a Carrington-magnitude burst, but the position of the earth at the time prevented the burst from hitting it. The chances of additional events of such magnitude may be far greater than most people think.

And, like any good EMP-scaremonger, Singer stressed that a man-made EMP attack would be even worse:

It would not cause any blast or radiation damage, but such an attack would have consequences even more catastrophic than a severe solar storm. It could not only bring down the grid, but also lay down a very intense, very fast pulse across the continent, damaging or destroying electronic switches, devices, computers and transformers across America.

Singer called for greater protection of the power grid and electronic devices to combat the EMP threat.

But here’s the thing: the technological skillset to build an ICBM or mid-range missile capable of delivering a power-grid-paralyzing EMP nuclear detonation is far beyond the capabilities of most countries. It’s also a completely irrational and suicidal strategic choice by a hypothetical rogue nation. If deployed against the United States, even with our cars and microwaves presumably rendered inoperable, Washington would almost assuredly launch a devastating military retaliation. Arms-control specialist Jeffrey Lewis has described the cult of EMP as the “conservative fetish that just won’t die.”

So why is Paul Singer, a man who, along with Adelson and the Koch Brothers, appears poised to play a critical role in choosing the GOP’s 2016 presidential candidate, pushing the threat?

CNBC tried to get to the bottom of that question last summer, but Elliott Management declined to comment.

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Zalmay Khalilzad is Donald Trump’s special representative to the Afghan peace process, having previously served as ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq under George W. Bush.


Robert Joseph played a key role in manipulating U.S. intelligence to support the invasion of Iraq and today is a lobbyist for the MEK.


Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is one of the Senate’s more vocal hawks, and one of the prime vacillators among Republicans between objecting to and supporting Donald Trump.


Elliott Abrams, the Trump administration’s special envoy to Venezuela, is a neoconservative with a long record of hawkish positions and actions, including lying to Congress about the Iran-Contra affair.


Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump second secretary of state, has driven a hawkish foreign policy in Iran and Latin America.


Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is known for his hawkish views on foreign policy and close ties to prominent neoconservatives.


Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s first U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is known for her lock-step support for Israel and is widely considered to be a future presidential candidate.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

François Nicoullaud, the former French ambassador to Iran, discusses the ups and downs of Iran-France relations and the new US sanctions.


Effective alliances require that powerful states shoulder a far larger share of the alliance maintenance costs than other states, a premise that Donald Trump rejects.


The new imbroglio over the INF treaty does not mean a revival of the old Cold War practice of nuclear deterrence. However, it does reveal the inability of the West and Russia to find a way to deal with the latter’s inevitable return to the ranks of major powers, a need that was obvious even at the time the USSR collapsed.


As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump appeared to recognize the obvious problem of the revolving door. But as the appointment of Patrick Shanahan, who spent 30 years at Boeing, as the Trump administration’s acting secretary of defense reveals, little has changed. America is indeed great again, if you happen to be one of those lucky enough to be moving back and forth between plum jobs in the Pentagon and the weapons industry.


Domestic troubles, declining popularity, and a decidedly hawkish anti-Iran foreign policy team may combine to make the perfect storm that pushes Donald Trump to pull the United States into a new war in the Middle East.


The same calculus that brought Iran and world powers to make a deal and has led remaining JCPOA signatories to preserve it without the U.S. still holds: the alternatives to this agreement – a race between sanctions and centrifuges that could culminate in Iran obtaining the bomb or being bombed – would be much worse.


With Bolton and Pompeo by his side and Mattis departed, Trump may well go with his gut and attack Iran militarily. He’ll be encouraged in this delusion by Israel and Saudi Arabia. He’ll of course be looking for some way to distract the media and the American public. And he won’t care about the consequences.


RightWeb
share