Trump Plunges Toward World War III

Months of Democratic Russia-bashing and Trump-baiting achieved their predictable result as the thin-skinned and rash President is now proving his “toughness” by firing off missiles and risking World War III, warns Norman Solomon.

By Norman Solomon

Vast efforts to portray Donald Trump as Vladimir Putin’s flunky have given Trump huge incentives to prove otherwise. Last Thursday, he began the process in a big way by ordering a missile attack on Russia’s close ally Syria. In the aftermath of the attack, the cheerleading from U.S. mass media was close to unanimous, and the assault won lots of praise on Capitol Hill. Finally, the protracted and fervent depictions of Trump as a Kremlin tool were getting some tangible results.

Illustration by Chesley Bonestell of nuclear bombs detonating over New York City, entitled “Hiroshima U.S.A.” Colliers, Aug. 5, 1950.

At this point, the anti-Russia bandwagon has gained so much momentum that a national frenzy is boosting the odds of unfathomable catastrophe. The world’s two nuclear superpowers are in confrontation mode. It’s urgent to tell ourselves and each other: Wake up!

The dangers of a direct U.S.-Russian military conflict are spiking upward. After the missile attack, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that it was suspending a memorandum of understanding with the United States to prevent mid-air collisions over Syria. And Russia’s prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, issued a statement referring to “our now completely ruined relations” and declaring that the United States was “on the verge of a military clash with Russia.”

These ominous developments are a longtime dream come true for ultra-hawks like Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who’ve gained leverage in an alliance with numerous congressional Democrats. The neocons and the “liberal interventionists” really have something going now, after propagating the meme that Trump is a Putin puppet.

At this perilous moment in human history, the quality of the Democratic Party leadership was embodied in a tweet last month from the Democratic National Committee’s new chair, Tom Perez, who sent out this message about a weekly address by President Trump: “Translated from the original Russian and everything.”

Such tactics aren’t just McCarthyite. They are baiting, goading and pressurizing Trump to prove that he’s willing to clash with Russia after all. Those tactics are a far cry from what’s actually needed — truly independent investigations — in order to address the charges that Russia interfered with the U.S. election last year. We most definitely do not need the kind of baiting and goading that creates enormous pressure on Trump to show he’s willing and able to go to the brink of war with Russia.

Risking Thermonuclear War

Make no mistake. With 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons at the ready in the United States and Russia, pushing to heighten tensions between the two countries is playing with thermonuclear fire.

Early this year, citing the escalation of those tensions, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved its “Doomsday Clock” even closer to midnight. “In 2017, we find the danger to be even greater, the need for action more urgent,” the Bulletin declared. “It is two and a half minutes to midnight, the Clock is ticking, global danger looms. Wise public officials should act immediately, guiding humanity away from the brink. If they do not, wise citizens must step forward and lead the way. “

People at the grassroots must lead, pushing and pulling the official leaders to follow. To stop the current war train — and to quite possibly rescue the fate of the earth — we must get a grip. If we depend on the “leadership” in Congress, all that we hold dear will drift into still-greater jeopardy. With Congress now in recess, most legislators are back home — and they should hear from us. Pick up the phone, make an appointment to visit their district offices, or show up without an appointment.

Right now, in one minute, you can send an email to your senators and representative. …

Detente between the United States and Russia will be necessary for bringing peace to Syria. The same goes for reducing — instead of increasing — the chances that nuclear weapons will destroy us all. What passes for leadership on these matters in Congress will not save us. On the contrary, right now the congressional leaders are serving as enablers for what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the madness of militarism.”

Even the better statements from Capitol Hill about the April 6 missile attack have been grimly inadequate. So, Senator Chris Murphy warned of “the potential quagmire of Syria,” while Senator Bernie Sanders said: “I’m deeply concerned that these strikes could lead to the United States once again being dragged back into the quagmire of long-term military engagement in the Middle East.”

Expressing concern about a “quagmire” is all well and good, but falls far short of acknowledging what’s at stake.

On Sunday, the Washington Post published a sobering — and frightening — article by the person who was the national security adviser for Joe Biden during his last two years as vice president. “If the Trump administration and the Kremlin are not able to come to a meeting of the minds on Syria,” wrote Colin Kahl, “it could set the two nuclear powers on a dangerous collision course.”

Kahl, now an associate professor in security studies at Georgetown University, sketched out a plausible scenario: “The Syrian dictator (perhaps prodded by Russia or Iran) may attempt to test Trump again, hoping to prove the president is a ‘paper tiger.’ And Trump, having invested his personal credibility in standing firm, may find himself psychologically or politically compelled to respond, despite the very real risks that it could result in a direct military clash with Russia.”

And, Kahl added, “Given Russia’s vital interests in Syria, Moscow is not likely to respond positively to U.S. ultimatums and maximalist positions. If the administration does not find a way to give the Kremlin a face-saving way out, conflict is much more likely than accommodation.”

Kahl’s article concluded: “Sinking into a Syrian quagmire would be bad enough. World War III would be far worse.”

Norman Solomon is the coordinator of the online activist group and the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He is the author of a dozen books including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.

57 comments for “Trump Plunges Toward World War III

  1. John Doe
    April 17, 2017 at 14:12


  2. April 14, 2017 at 15:58

    can we all just learn to get along? If we allow our leaders to lead us down this path of mass nucler violence, we will all pay ultimate & the final price – the the destruction of our wonderful world, war is stupid and, people are stupid – Boy George

  3. Angelina Zou
    April 12, 2017 at 17:37

    Yep we are probably going to die.:(

  4. Angelina Zou
    April 12, 2017 at 17:35

    Why is this happening? Is it Donald trumps fault?

  5. Cathleen Bucchino
    April 12, 2017 at 17:26

    Someone needs to realize that the president is not mentally stable nor qualified to be president. Get rid of him before he extinquishes

    • Angelina Zou
      April 12, 2017 at 17:36

      You’re right

  6. Rick Tate
    April 12, 2017 at 01:47

    The chinese have slowly come over in past decades. To sneak in with our work force, so when the time comes, they can rise up from inside. While their armies attack from outside.

  7. Pana
    April 11, 2017 at 14:28

    This article is written for the brainless nitwits who have no other source of news. It’s completely fake and skewed. Just because Trump shot missiles at Syria doesn’t make him a warmonger. NK has been testing not just the US, but South Korea, Japan and other allies for years. The Obama administration did nothing to prevent or slow down this impending catastrophe. If Hillary had won, Russia would probably have started a war with the US by now. Trump fired missiles at Assad for a reason and Assad is quiet now. Please report responsibly. Don’t assume that all your readers are illiterate or unknowlwdgeable.

    • Les
      April 12, 2017 at 00:24

      You are absolutely correct, Israel has fired missiles into Syria 12 times in the past 2 years, I don’t hear all of this paranoia with that.

  8. elmerfudzie
    April 11, 2017 at 13:03

    This decision to bomb was not Trumps. To explain this maneuver we need to revisit American history; the sinking of the Maine or “remember the Maine”. The oil moguls who coveted “black gold” desired “white gold” a colloquial of that day, meaning Cuba’s cane sugar. So these same oil extracting corporatists concocted many fictional stories such as the Spanish occupiers were feeding Cuban priests to the sharks- literally. Then a bomb was placed inside the battleship Maine” hull (most likely near stored munitions). The ship was conveniently sent to Havana Harbor to “protect American Interests” What interests?, there weren’t any back then. In any case, the W.R. Hearst newsprint pumped up a war mantra against the Spanish (who had no hand in this treacherous plot) and the next thing you know, San Juan Hill and the Spanish American War of 1898. Today, we can replace the Hearst propaganda machine with Fox-news, CNN and the entire collection of “news-media” lackeys who genuflect to American corporate war mongers and Neo-Con politicians. Now, fast forward, in time to today by replacing the coveting for Cuba’s cane sugar with the rights to control oil/gas pipelines originating in Iran stretching three thousand kilometers to Syria’s northern coast line, where the raw product(s) are destined for shipment to Italy and eventually, Europe itself. The fake news media is pumping up the same war mantra against Syria AND Russia as it once did against Cuba. Are citizens of the Western Occident nations stupid enough to fall for this war making baloney again? This is the Atomic age, an unforgivable technology has us all by the throat, a SINGLE political or military miscalculation can usher in the four horsemen. The insane have taken over the asylum, the Nihilists have seized power. Do these words mean nothing to you!

  9. April 11, 2017 at 12:57

    The American media have lost sight of its own responsibility. Deriding Trump’s deluded thinking one moment and praising him the next. Trump is unfit for office. That much is clear. He has surrounded himself with the wrong people, including his family. That is cowardly and irresponsible self preservation. Republication Congress enables and right wing media pundits normalize this pathologically lying venal ignorant President who morns for “beautiful babies” on day one, bombs in collusion with Russia on day two, for show, and plays golf on day four and five, as he dispatches American naval might towards a the shores of yet another lunatic. There was a time, such behaviour as Trump was judged as a “tinpot dictator”. The terrifying truth is this…Trump is mentally unfit and has the codes.

  10. Aubrey
    April 11, 2017 at 11:11

    So please keep a eye on trump people this is about people who do care about the world so please

  11. Aubrey
    April 11, 2017 at 11:09

    And ya think about ur slef one time dont u need water???? i dont think so so please stop please if u dont stop i will die i bet thats what u want wtf who in the world will vote for duckie ( trump) ????????????
    u can kill me if u want who in the word will do this oh i forgot its TRUMP. I want obama back trump just cares about his slef. and yup i said that idc nomore ic about natives and people are still alive on usa so people keep a eye on news. # WE NEED WATER who is with me???????

  12. Aubrey
    April 11, 2017 at 11:03

    OMG TRUMP i will rather die cuz i dont want to be in this nomore

  13. Aubrey
    April 11, 2017 at 11:01

    this is wack trump omg who would do this. if i was perendent i would not do this idc aboub my spelling. And u start the pipline again. And start a world war lll. who ever voted is dum. and trupm u care about ur slef all the tim and us navtives need water so stop what u are doing to are usa. omg dont u need water. Do u have kids??????? if u do think about them first. omg who would do this this is so dum. #TRUMP IS A DUCK

  14. Ray
    April 10, 2017 at 21:05

    Why the fuck is Donald trump making world war 3 thats dumb asf fr like just let people live not die

  15. Dave P.
    April 10, 2017 at 20:57

    For us, who participated in George McGovern’s Campaign in 1972, went to Nuclear Disarmament rallies led by Dr. Helen Caldicott, Joan Baez, and others during late 1970’s, protests against Iraq war, it is very painful to watch what is going on in the Country for some time now, and what it has led to these days – possibility of a Nuclear Conflagration.

    The bold headlines of the article today on the “World News” section of Los Angeles Times was: “Russia’s Return To Afghanistan”.
    To add spice to the article, there was a picture of President Putin receiving credentials from new Afghanistan Ambassador to Russia. And many other MSM outlets recently have been writing that Russia has formed some kind of alliance with the Taliban.

    Here is the Reality:

    Afghanistan since the overthrow of Taliban in 2001-2002, has become the premier Drugs (Heroin)Manufacturing Center of the World as well as breeding ground for Terrorists. After the overthrow (with our help) of Leftist Government of Afghanistan (supported by then Soviet Union) in 1988, Islamic Fundamentalist Government of Taliban had completely destroyed the Poppy fields. [It is good to note here that many years ago, Afghanistan was the major exporter of almonds, grapes, raisins, and other fruit to India, and elsewhere]

    In Russia, still not fully recovered from economic disaster of 1990’s, there exists serious drug addiction problem, and also threat of terrorist attacks. It’s southern borders are wide open, hard to patrol.

    Russia is very anxious to help Afghanistan to stitch together some coalition government which may also include some moderate factions of Taliban – which is clear to everyone who has knowledge of that area, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. It is possible if we only let those parties do it. If the political situation can be stabilized in Afghanistan; It is good for Afghanistan, Russia, and other neighboring countries.
    It seems to all fair observers that Western Alliance Countries want none of it. They want to keep the pot boiling.

    Western countries (U.S., NATO) aims are different – completely opposite. The violent interventions of the Western Countries Alliance are ruthlessly destroying the social fabric of those countries. And it is sold at home as spreading Democracy, and Freedom. It is sad to watch it.

    Add to it now – the Nuclear Conflagration looming on the horizon.

  16. April 10, 2017 at 19:55

    No, to the gentleman who suggests that Putin is involved with Trump’s installation, he has nothing to do with that, you are not enough familiar with American politics since the Bush-Cheney years? It is the imperialist warmongering neocons who have been driving the US government narrative since 911. Look up PNAC, the Project for a New American Century. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue, both parties are in the thrall of the military-industrial-complex. Patriotism is not the issue, who said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”, Samuel Johnson? We’ve gotten to a bad place where both parties do not serve the people, they serve only the monied interests, and war is great for business.

    • Wacked out 'Nam Vet
      April 11, 2017 at 03:59

      Sorry but I disagree. There is a great deal of patriotism driving the nightmare, unfortunately it is the Jewish Supremacists ( Zionists) and it is about greater Israel and ultimately the Jews controlling the world.

  17. Oladapo Odumosu
    April 10, 2017 at 19:22

    It’s not the fault of Democrats that Trump allowed Putin to get him installed as the 45th American president. Republicans exhibited crass lack of patriotism in allowing such to happen in the first instance. Blaming Democrats for the Gropertrumpführer’s fake attempt at bravado completely misses the point that Republicans were almost united in blaming Obama for not attacking Syria. When the Third World War happens, it’s because we allowed a buffoon to be in charge of the nuclear codes. It’s a question of when, not a question of if.

    • April 10, 2017 at 19:27

      O wished to attack Syria besides from inserting Salafists, but USA congress USA citizens and British parliment opposed his aggression.

  18. April 10, 2017 at 18:53

    Oh that is so sad thank you Trump

  19. April 10, 2017 at 18:42

    Bill, I was rethinking you may have made the “tribal follower” statement. They are mainly of the tribes of Israel, are they not? It would seem they have not a clue about history, most likely, since most of them are lawyers and can only regurgitate legalese. If they did understand history, they might see how dangerous the situation is presently. They are making life unbearable for many of us. I do not get how Americans just keep watching that boob tube and swallow this propaganda with not a qualm for the countless people who have been killed by this criminal nation in order to “keep them safe”. They must be spiritually dead, as Dr. King warned.

  20. April 10, 2017 at 17:25


    • nope
      April 10, 2017 at 23:33

      Stupidest you moron. Bet you’ll be glad when Trump gets us all nuked. Retards like you want WW3 but are too cowardly to go fight. They want other people to make that sacrifice instead.

  21. April 10, 2017 at 16:17

    It is absolutely true that America has become a dictatorship and was before Trump, starting with Bush and Cheney. Justin Trudeau is picking up the anti-Assad rhetoric, probably from his handlers including Freeland. Now Putin has cancelled Tillerson’s trip to Russia next week and that is a very strong statement. I called the White House today, 202-456-1111, and again did not have to wait long, a volunteer who was an elderly woman took my message which was very hard hitting, and she was polite. Rand Paul has been out front on this and I have called his office to thank him several times. Besides the psychopaths leading the lying charges like McCain and Graham, Schiff, the rest of the congressional lot seem to be tribal followers, as I believe last week Bob van Noy stated exactly right. Bernie Sanders also is disappointing and Elizabeth Warren clearly knows nothing about foreign policy and has become a tribal follower. These are very troubled times, and it seems far too many people have lost ability to think. It is harder to connect with media offices also to complain about their distortions of facts.

    • Bill Bodden
      April 10, 2017 at 17:49

      Elizabeth Warren clearly knows nothing about foreign policy and has become a tribal follower

      Warren is an Israeli puppet.

  22. Realist
    April 10, 2017 at 15:42

    This is not a confrontation in which there are two sides to blame. It has been quite clear from the start that President Putin does not want a war with the United States and has done everything reasonable to avoid one. Every since Obama started talking trash about Russia after the U.S.-sponsored coup in Ukraine, it’s been an obvious case of bullying, with the U.S. escalating the stakes and the provocations constantly.

    Either our senators and congressmen are all as stupid as they come to not see that the American accusations are built entirely of bullshit or they have all been coopted with threats and intimidation, just as I suspect Trump as been. America has clearly become a dictatorship, the bigger problem is we don’t know who the dictator really is. It sure ain’t that lumpkin Trump whom the people elected. It’s some secret cabal that doesn’t care if most of the world lives or dies, in fact, they may want to cull the herd and this is how they both lead the horse to water and make him drink.

    I mean, think of what they have Americans ready to die for: control of a small Arab country half way round the world that didn’t really commit any of the blatantly false flag provocations they are accused of doing. It’s amazing how both the designated brainwashers (the MSM) and the brainwashees (the American public) have been so easily hoodwinked… and after so many repeated instances of the same thing in recent history. We NEVER seem to learn how we are being manipulated by pure evil that masquerades as “freedom and democracy.”

    • Dave P.
      April 10, 2017 at 18:42

      Realist: Thank you. You have expressed it in very touching words. Your every word speaks truth. This explains the whole scenario of what is going on; and what has become of the Government who is running the Country.

    • Robert Devers
      April 11, 2017 at 03:14

      Very well said and very well true.

  23. D5-5
    April 10, 2017 at 12:07

    Norman, you’re going to let this language go by with no comment? “The Syrian dictator perhaps prompted by Russia or Iran, may attempt to test Trump again . . .” This assumes the chem attack as “test” to Trump with not even a raised eyebrow? And you’re telling US to wake up? I read at Zero Hedge Trump’s action was “brush back” in MLB analogy because Syria-Russia have been doing far too well dealing with the terrorists and securing Syrian territory vs. US special interests, and Ron Paul today suggests the chem incident could have been arranged by the CIA. Plus big plans for US occupation of Syria a-building . . .

    • mike k
      April 10, 2017 at 14:26

      The Syrian leader (“dictator” is just a pejorative that could better fit Donald Trump. Oh, you thought the US was a democracy?) is not stupid enough to pull the US Tiger’s tail counterproductively That is a totally false idea.

    • Dave P.
      April 10, 2017 at 18:25

      D5-5: Right. I agree with your comments.

  24. April 10, 2017 at 11:28

    Our western society has been evidencing quite a number of dysfunctional behaviors, that are inherently self-destructive, corporately, politically and personally. Now emerges the ultimate mass death wish, through salivating for nuclear annihilation.

  25. mike k
    April 10, 2017 at 11:25

    Norman S is exactly right – but how do you waken those who cling tightly to their sleep, even when their house is on fire? I guess you do anything you can think of to save them, even things that seem hopelessly ineffective like calling your congress persons. Who knows, if enough people call…….? It’s like a hail Mary prayer when the game seems lost for certain, except this game is for everything….

  26. Joe Tedesky
    April 10, 2017 at 11:09

    The article didn’t mention Tulsi Gabbard, but read about how the congress woman from Hawaii is taking the heat from her own party.

    • mike k
      April 10, 2017 at 11:18

      Tulsi is feeling the tooth of the Cassandra complex. Establishment forces are busy trying to silence and discredit her. Kill the messenger!

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 10, 2017 at 12:44

        That’s why we need to rally behind her.

    • Bob Van Noy
      April 10, 2017 at 12:23

      She’s wonderful Joe, thanks. Feel like we’re voices in the wilderness?

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 10, 2017 at 12:45

        When has it been any different, and thank you Bob your approval is always appreciated.

    • backwardsevolution
      April 10, 2017 at 14:54

      Joe – good for Tulsi! She is a strong, principled lady.

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 10, 2017 at 15:31

        I like her. Tulsi stood up to the corrupt DNC by stepping down from her committee role, and even if that were her only accomplishment, that knowing what we know now thanks to Assange and the Podesta e mails Tulsi even comes out looking better. Now with her constant harping on this Syrian Iraq war, where Tulsi sights CIA involvement, I really think she is the read deal. My other wish is that other DC politicians would follow her lead. At the rate Tulsi is going I don’t care whether she runs in 2020 for president or not, I’m voting for her.

    • clarioncaller
      April 10, 2017 at 16:59

      She is targeted for the ‘Dr. Cynthia McKinney’ treatment.

  27. backwardsevolution
    April 10, 2017 at 09:52

    Norman Solomon – good article, and great advice to pick up the phone or email representatives. Bombard them with messages to back off from pushing Russia into a corner.

    Interesting that Chris Murphy, Bernie Sanders and Colin Kahl all used the word “quagmire”. Not only does every mouthpiece spout the official line that “Assad did it,” but they all use the same word, “quagmire”. Do they receive a script every morning?

    Colin Kahl says, “The Syrian dictator (perhaps prodded by Russia or Iran) may attempt to test Trump again, hoping to prove the president is a ‘paper tiger.’” I just get so tired of hearing professors and so-called experts calling Assad a “dictator”. And there’s no evidence that he tested Trump at all. Assad would have had nothing to gain, except maybe suicide.

    • mike k
      April 10, 2017 at 11:14

      Academics often swallow and regurgitate the same bullshit the general public thoughtlessly imbibes.

    • Dag
      April 10, 2017 at 14:15

      Yes, I believe they do receive a script. At one time I was on an email listserv for liberal bloggers which sent out daily talking points every morning that were intended to keep the Democratic Party-aligned blogosphere on the same message. I found the whole concept creepy so I unsubscribed from the list (I believe it was called “Town hall” by the way) but I keep this in mind sometimes when I notice a groupthink mentality taking hold in the media, such as these days with the anti-Russia hysteria that we’re all supposed to get behind. There is indeed a script — done in concert with the DNC and the mass media. WikiLeaks shed some light on the subject with the Podesta/DNC leaks and the so-called “pied piper strategy.”

      • backwardsevolution
        April 10, 2017 at 14:52

        Dag – thanks for your interesting post. I thought there must be something like this going on, as all of a sudden you’d hear a particular word being used everywhere. Thanks, Dag.

  28. Bob Van Noy
    April 10, 2017 at 09:27

    Those of us who have actually payed the price of military commitment, who understand the terrible consequences of War on all sides, who have experienced some history, who tried desperately to participate in a peaceful democracy, only to fail at all levels, ask only one thing now… Let the neocon warmongers lead the charge, on the ground, so that we, for a change, can experience Their anguish.

    • April 10, 2017 at 09:36

      Wealthy Old Men and Women send poor young women and men to die and be maimed.

    • mike k
      April 10, 2017 at 11:12

      Bob. These cowardly warmongers have no sense of the danger they are carelessly playing with. If nuclear war happens, they will blame someone else, never themselves. Hubris first blinds those who it will destroy.

      • Bill Bodden
        April 10, 2017 at 11:22

        These cowardly warmongers…

        They are not all cowardly warmongers. Some are psychopaths.

      • Bob Van Noy
        April 10, 2017 at 12:19

        BannanaBoat and Mike k, thanks. Clearly they know the risk, but they also know that they and theirs will not personally pay. But this is different, history shows us that you don’t mess with Russia. They are an old and troubled society that I’m convinced are trying to protect their Own national interests. And, we’re not even aware of what those interests may be because there is literally no main stream conversation in this country about either mutual interests or divergent concerns. No dialogue, no negotiation, no diplomacy, only War War War. Truly shameful.

        • SteveK9
          April 10, 2017 at 17:41

          I don’t think it is complicated. If you actually listen to Putin’s many speeches, and watch their actions, it seems clear that they would like to live in peace and develop their country. Shocking.

          • Bob Van Noy
            April 10, 2017 at 19:20

            Exactly! Thanks Stevek9.

          • Jimbob
            April 11, 2017 at 05:08

            Listen to Putin’s many speeches, develop their country, as he sends his troops to invade neighbouring countries and provide WMD to 3rd world countries, yep that really is the way to peace; c’mon get real, these so called ‘world leaders’ are only interested in one thing, their domination over everything.

            Just realised, your a troll, darn.

    • Richard Lewis
      April 10, 2017 at 11:18

      Well said, expressing my own views and feelings, as a fellow vet. Put those who so eagerly, greedily seek such insane madness on the true front line, and we’ll see how fervent their convictions are then.

      But, alas, we know that will never happen. However, I am concerned about the current course of events, and the very real consequences for us all they portend.

    • clarioncaller
      April 10, 2017 at 16:55

      The neocons and the ‘chicken hawks’ will all come down with 4Fillepse.

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