Playing Chicken with Nuclear War

Exclusive: U.S.-Russian tensions keep escalating now surrounding the murder of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov yet almost no one on the American side seems to worry about the possibility that the tough-guy rhetoric and proxy war in Ukraine might risk a nuclear conflagration, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry (Updated with Washington Post editorial on March 3.)

The United States and Russia still maintain vast nuclear arsenals of mutual assured destruction, putting the future of humanity in jeopardy every instant. But an unnerving nonchalance has settled over the American side which has become so casual about the risk of cataclysmic war that the West’s propaganda and passions now ignore Russian fears and sensitivities.

A swaggering goofiness has come to dominate how the United States reacts to Russia, with American politicians and journalists dashing off tweets and op-eds, rushing to judgment about the perfidy of Moscow’s leaders, blaming them for almost anything and everything.

A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953.

A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953.

These days, playing with nuclear fire is seen as a sign of seriousness and courage. Anyone who urges caution and suggests there might be two sides to the U.S.-Russia story is dismissed as a wimp or a stooge. A what-me-worry “group think” has taken hold across the U.S. ideological spectrum. Fretting about nuclear annihilation is so 1960s.

So, immediately after last Friday night’s murder of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, the West’s media began insinuating that Russian President Vladimir Putin was somehow responsible even though there was no evidence or logic connecting him to the shooting, just 100 meters from the Kremlin, probably the last place Russian authorities would pick for a hit.

But that didn’t stop the mainstream U.S. news media from casting blame on Putin. For instance, the New York Times published an op-ed by anti-Putin author Martha Gessen saying: “The scariest thing about the murder of Boris Nemtsov is that he himself did not scare anyone,” suggesting that his very irrelevance was part of a sinister political message.

Though no one outside the actual killers seems to know yet why Nemtsov was gunned down, Gessen took the case several steps further explaining how while Putin probably didn’t finger Nemtsov for death the Russian president was somehow still responsible. She wrote:

“In all likelihood no one in the Kremlin actually ordered the killing, and this is part of the reason Mr. Nemtsov’s murder marks the beginning of yet another new and frightening period in Russian history. The Kremlin has recently created a loose army of avengers who believe they are acting in the country’s best interests, without receiving any explicit instructions. Despite his lack of political clout, Mr. Nemtsov was a logical first target for this menacing force.”

So, rather than wait for actual evidence to emerge, the Times published Gessen’s conclusions and then let her spin off some even more speculative interpretations. Yet, basing speculation upon speculation is almost always a bad idea, assuming you care about fairness and accuracy.

Remember how after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, some terrorism “experts” not only jumped to the false conclusion that the attack was a case of Islamic terrorism but that Oklahoma was chosen to send a message to Americans that no part of the country was safe. But the terrorist turned out to be a white right-wing extremist lashing out at the federal government.

While surely hard-line Russian nationalists, who resented Nemtsov’s support for the U.S.-backed Ukrainian regime in Kiev, should be included on a list of early suspects, there are a number of other possibilities that investigators must also consider, including business enemies, jealous rivals and even adversaries within Russia’s splintered opposition though that last one has become a target of particular ridicule in the West.

Yet, during my years at the Associated Press, one of my articles was about a CIA “psychological operations” manual which an agency contractor prepared for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels noting the value of assassinating someone on your own side to create a “martyr” for the cause. I’m in no way suggesting that such a motive was in play regarding Nemtsov’s slaying but it’s not as if this idea is entirely preposterous either.

My point is that even in this age of Twitter when everyone wants to broadcast his or her personal speculation about whodunit to every mystery, it would be wise for news organizations to resist the temptation. Surely, if parallel circumstances occurred inside the United States, such guess work would be rightly dismissed as “conspiracy theory.”

Nuclear Mischief

Plus, this latest rush to judgment isn’t about some relatively innocuous topic like, say, how some footballs ended up under-inflated in an NFL game this situation involves how the United States will deal with Russia, which possesses some 8,000 nuclear warheads — roughly the same size as the U.S. arsenal — while the two countries have around 1,800 missiles on high-alert, i.e., ready to launch at nearly a moment’s notice.

Over the weekend, I participated in a conference on nuclear dangers sponsored by the Helen Caldicott Foundation in New York City. On my Saturday afternoon panel was Seth Baum of the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute who offered a sobering look at how the percentage chances of a nuclear war though perhaps low at any given moment add up over time to quite likely if not inevitable. He made the additional observation that those doomsday odds rise at times of high tensions between the United States and Russia.

As Baum noted, at such crisis moments, the people responsible for the U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons are more likely to read a possible computer glitch or some other false alarm as a genuine launch and are thus more likely to push their own nuclear button.

In other words, it makes good sense to avoid a replay of the Cuban Missile Crisis in reverse by edging U.S. nuclear weapons up against Russia’s borders, especially when U.S. politicians and commentators are engaging in Cold War-style Russia-bashing. Baiting the Russian bear may seem like great fun to the tough-talking politicians in Washington or the editors of the New York Times and Washington Post but this hostile rhetoric could be taken more seriously in Moscow.

When I spoke to the nuclear conference, I noted how the U.S. media/political system had helped create just that sort of crisis in Ukraine, with every “important” person jumping in on the side of the Kiev coup-makers in February 2014 when they overthrew elected President Viktor Yanukovych.

Since then, nearly every detail of that conflict has been seen through the prism of “our side good/their side bad.” Facts that put “our side” in a negative light, such as the key role played by neo-Nazis and the Kiev regime’s brutal “anti-terrorism operation,” are downplayed or ignored.

Conversely, anything that makes the Ukrainians who are resisting Kiev’s authority look bad gets hyped and even invented, such as one New York Times’ lead story citing photos that supposedly proved Russian military involvement but quickly turned out to be fraudulent. [See’s “NYT Retracts Russian Photo Scoop.”]

At pivotal moments in the crisis, such as the Feb. 20, 2014 sniper fire that killed both police and protesters and the July 17, 2014 shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 killing 298 passengers and crew, the U.S. political/media establishment has immediately pinned the blame on Yanukovych, the ethnic Russian rebels who are resisting his ouster, or Putin.

Then, when evidence emerged going in the opposite direction — toward “our side” — a studied silence followed, allowing the earlier propaganda to stay in place as part of the preferred storyline. [See, for instance,’s “President Gollum’s ‘Precious’ Secrets.”]

A Pedestrian Dispute

One of the points of my talk was that the Ukrainian crisis emerged from a fairly pedestrian dispute, i.e., plans for expanding economic ties with the European Union while not destroying the historic business relationship with Russia. In November 2013, Yanukovych backed away from signing an EU association agreement when experts in Kiev announced that it would blow a $160 billion hole in Ukraine’s economy. He asked for more time.

But Yanukovych’s decision disappointed many western Ukrainians who favored the EU agreement. Tens of thousands poured into Kiev’s Maidan square to protest. The demonstrations then were seized upon by far-right Ukrainian political forces who have long detested the country’s ethnic Russians in the east and began dispatching organized “sotins” of 100 fighters each to begin firebombing police and seizing government buildings.

As the violence grew worse, U.S. neoconservatives also saw an opportunity, including Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who told the protesters the United States was on their side, and Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who passed out cookies to the protesters and plotted with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt on who would become the new leaders of Ukraine. [See’s “NYT Still Pretends No Coup in Ukraine.“]

Thus, a very manageable political problem in Ukraine was allowed to expand into a proxy war between nuclear-armed United States and Russia. Added to it were intense passions and extensive propaganda. In the West, the Ukraine crisis was presented as a morality play of people who “share our values” pitted against conniving Russians and their Hitler-like president Putin.

In Official Washington, anyone who dared suggest compromise was dismissed as a modern-day Neville Chamberlain practicing “appeasement.” Everyone “serious” was set on stopping Putin now by shipping sophisticated weapons to the Ukrainian government so it could do battle against “Russian aggression.”

The war fever was such that no one raised an eyebrow when Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko told Canada’s CBC Radio last month that the West should no longer fear fighting nuclear-armed Russia and that Ukraine wanted arms for a “full-scale war” against Moscow.

“Everybody is afraid of fighting with a nuclear state. We are not anymore, in Ukraine,” Prystaiko said. “However dangerous it sounds, we have to stop [Putin] somehow. For the sake of the Russian nation as well, not just for the Ukrainians and Europe. What we expect from the world is that the world will stiffen up in the spine a little.” [See’s “Ready for Nuclear War over Ukraine?”]

Instead of condemning Prystaiko’s recklessness, more U.S. officials began lining up in support of sending lethal military hardware to Ukraine so it could fight Russia, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper who said he favored the idea though it might provoke a “negative reaction” from Moscow.

Russian Regime Change

Even President Barack Obama and other U.S. leaders who have yet to publicly endorse arming the Kiev coup-makers enjoy boasting about how much pain they are inflicting on the Russian economy and its government. In effect, there is a U.S. strategy of making the Russian economy “scream,” a first step toward a larger neocon goal to achieve “regime change” in Moscow.

Another point I made in my talk on Saturday was how the neocons are good at drafting “regime change” plans that sound great when discussed at a think tank or outlined on an op-ed page but often fail to survive in the real world, such as their 2003 plan for a smooth transition in Iraq to replace Saddam Hussein with someone of their choosing except that it didn’t work out that way.

Perhaps the greatest danger from the new neocon dream for “regime change” in Moscow is that whoever follows Putin might not be the pliable yes man that the neocons envision, but a fierce Russian nationalist who would suddenly have control of their nuclear launch codes and might decide that it’s time for the United States to make concessions or face annihilation.

On March 3, the Washington Post’s neocon editorialists emphasized the need for ousting Putin as they praised Nemtsov and other anti-Putin activists who have urged an escalation of Western pressure on Russia. The Post wrote: “They say he [Putin] can be stopped only by steps that decisively raise the cost of his military aggression and cripple the financial system that sustains his regime.”

The Post then added its own suggestion that Putin was behind Nemtsov’s murder and its own hope that Putin might be soon be removed, saying: “It’s not known who murdered Mr. Nemtsov, and it probably won’t be as long as Mr. Putin remains in power.”

Yet, what I find truly remarkable about the Ukraine crisis is that it was always relatively simple to resolve: Before the coup, Yanukovych agreed to reduced powers and early elections so he could be voted out of office. Then, either he or some new leadership could have crafted an economic arrangement that expanded ties to the EU while not severing them with Russia.

Even after the coup, the new regime could have negotiated a federalized system that granted more independence to the disenfranchised ethnic Russians of eastern Ukraine, rather than launch a brutal “anti-terrorist operation” against those resisting the new authorities. But Official Washington’s “group think” has been single-minded: only bellicose anti-Russian sentiments are permitted and no suggestions of accommodation are allowed.

Still, spending time this weekend with people like Helen Caldicott, an Australian physician who has committed much of her life to campaigning against nuclear weapons, reminded me that this devil-may-care attitude toward a showdown with Russia, which has gripped the U.S. political/media establishment, is not universal. Not everyone agrees with Official Washington’s nonchalance about playing a tough-guy game of nuclear chicken.

As part of the conference, Caldicott asked attendees to stay around for a late-afternoon showing of the 1959 movie, “On the Beach,” which tells the story of the last survivors from a nuclear war as they prepare to die when the radioactive cloud that has eliminated life everywhere else finally reaches Australia. A mystery in the movie is how the final war began, who started it and why with the best guess being that some radar operator somewhere thought he saw something and someone reacted in haste.

Watching the movie reminded me that there was a time when Americans were serious about the existential threat from U.S.-Russian nuclear weapons, when there were films like “Dr. Strangelove,” “Fail Safe,” and “On the Beach.” Now, there’s a cavalier disinterest in those risks, a self-confidence that one can put his or her political or journalistic career first and just assume that some adult will step in before the worst happens.

Whether some adults show up to resolve the Ukraine crisis remains to be seen. It’s also unclear if U.S. pundits and pols can restrain themselves from more rushes to judgment, as in the case of Boris Nemtsov. But a first step might be for the New York Times and other “serious” news organizations to return to traditional standards of journalism and check out the facts before jumping to a conclusion.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

47 comments for “Playing Chicken with Nuclear War

  1. Claus Eric Hamle
    March 4, 2015 at 07:53

    It’s a long term plan. Actually, it began with Trident-1 linked to NAVSTAR (now called GPS) to be able to hit missile silos accurately. The warheads on Minuteman-3 and Trident-2 are designed to minimize nuclear winter effects if used against missile silos. The US Navy can track and destroy all enemy submarines simultaneously according to missile engineer Bob Bob Aldridge on 239 missiles in Romania, 409 in Poland and on 32 ships in the Mediterranean: “Whether they are on ships or land, they are still a necessary component for an unanswerable first strike.” This leads to Launch On Warning=Suicide Guaranteed, probably by 2017. Stupid, crazy, bloody fools in Pentagon/Washington !!!

    • Carroll Price
      March 4, 2015 at 11:50

      Yet, with all the advanced technological expertise the US supposedly has at it’s disposal (see Claus Eric Hamle’s amazing list) the US cannot produce a single image showing Russian weapons being “smuggled” into Ukraine over open, un-forested land that’s largely void of any vegetation higher than last year’s corn crop.

      • Roger
        March 4, 2015 at 20:47

        Indeed, and last August we were shown a photo purporting to prove that Russian war material was entering Eastern ukraine – in the region of Krasnodon.
        We were told by Mr. Rasmussen in a Nato press conference that the photos were genuine and un-modified. A search on Google Maps using some unmistakable identification points discovered that the photo was from Molovardiisk, about 50km from Krasnodon, and had been published upside-down. While doctoring the pic some idiot(!) forgot to look at the compass-rose on the original photo, and inserted a number of vehicles which in reality have their wheels in the air, on a road which never existed.
        Or maybe this was a pic of defeated Ukraine army units trying to get home incognito.
        Genuine and un-modified, my foot!

      • Oleg
        March 5, 2015 at 17:24

        On Eastern Ukraine coverage: Graham Philips is the only Western journalist
        who gets his hands dirty on the ground (not without consequences)

  2. TC
    March 3, 2015 at 21:25

    In order to give historical context to the present situation in the Ukraine, I would like to suggest the following two articles. “Falsificators of History (an historical note)” was published by the Soviet Information Bureau, Moscow in February 1948. One of the major arguments put forth by “Falsificators” points to the foreign policy of Britain and France, and to a lesser degree the United States, in encouraging Nazi Germany to push it’s territorial demands eastward toward the Soviet Union. According to “Falsificators” Soviet Foreign Minister, Maxim Litvinov was dismissed from office and replaced by Vyacheslav Molotov because Litvinov was unable to negotiate a multilateral agreement with Britain and France to isolate Nazi Germany. Instead, according to “Falsificators,” the real goal of British and French foreign policy was to isolate the Soviet Union. The Soviet-Nazi Non-Agression Pact negotiated by Molotov backfired on the British and French. That history is almost certainly on the uppermost minds of Russian foreign policy makers today. ……In “Why and How the Corporate Rich and the CFR Reshaped the Global Economy after World War II and Then Fought a War They Knew They Would Lose in Vietnam” by G. William Domhoff documents in great detail how the Council on Foreign Relations working with the State Department and the Treasury Department in the period between 1939 to 1943 created the “Grand Area” strategy to absorb the British, French, Dutch empires after World War Two. Domhoff writes, “The statistical neatness of the Grand Area will not cause it to function automatically simply because Germany controls most of Europe although the blockade and its consequences stimulate this development. The condition of “buying first from one another,” on which it is based, would itself require a considerable degree of trade readjustment and raise certain problems of transportation. The Grand Area was defined on the basis of peacetime trade; the conditions of war change demand patterns and create hazards, such as the destruction of shipping and production capacity. Japan’s expansionist policy continues to threaten the integration of the Grand Area…. Above all, it appears certain that the integration of the Grand Area requires a conscious program of broadly conceived measures for (1) knitting the parts of the area closer together economically and (2) securing the full use of the economic resources of the whole area” (CFR Memorandum E-B34, 1941, p. 5).” In other words US foreign policy would allow Germany to control all of western and central Europe, The Soviet Union would remain intact, and Japan would be integrated into the Grand Area. From these two documents it seems clear to me the Grand Area Strategy developed prior to WWII continues to be the central feature of American Foreign Policy to this day.

  3. Brendan
    March 3, 2015 at 15:11

    Jacques Sapir in his RussEurope blog presents the case that the killing of Boris Nemtsov was professionally carried out and carefully staged for the publicity it generated.
    “Who framed Vladimir Putin?”

    ” It is known that Nemtsov dined with a Ukrainian model at a restaurant within the GUM, and one of GUM’s exits debouches onto Red Square. From there, the facts seem to be as follows:

    1. Nemtsov and his companion left the restaurant on foot, passed St. Basil’s Cathedral, and took the grand bridge that crosses the Moscow River. Considering the hour (between 11 p.m. and midnight), and the season, there was no large crowd on the bridge.
    2. A shooter who fired from behind him killed Boris Nemtsov. The shooter who 8 shots, four of which hit Nemtsov in the back, and then jumped in a car following Nemtsov. Quite interestingly this happened when a snowplough conveniently was on the side masking the scene to motor cameras operating on the bridge.
    3. The weapon used appears to have been and automatic pistol of the Makarov type.
    4. Nemtsov’s companion was not hit.

    This is raising some questions. Shooting from behind implies that one has perfectly identified the target. This implies further a degree of expertise in weaponry that is incompatible but with a murder by contract. The risk of missing the target, or of inflicting non-lethal wounds is quite high. It is to be noted the high number of shots, but also the fact that there was not (at least from what information has been gathered) a finishing shot.
    From this point of view one wonder why not wait till Nemtsov returned home? The classic type of a contract killing occurs in a spot where one is sure to find the victim, the stairwell of the apartment building, or as the victim exits a restaurant. The very choice of crime scene could indicate a demonstrative intention, such as to implicate Putin in the murder? In any case, it is evident that the assassins took risks that seem to indicate a political intention. All this makes one think of a set-up, a staging.”

    “… it is hard to see what interest the Russian government would have to have one of the opposition killed, certainly a well-known opponent, but one who had fallen into the political background. When Vladimir Peskov, spokesman for President Putin, said that Nemtsov did not represent any danger nor any threat for power, was perfectly true. And supposing the murder of Nemtsov was an attempt to frighten the others in opposition, it would have been lots simpler [to kill] him at home. The idea of an involvement direct or indirect of the Russian government thus appears highly improbable.”

  4. Abe
    March 3, 2015 at 12:03

    Professor Stephen F. Cohen, the author of numerous works including Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War (2011), has criticized the “pointless demonization” of Vladimir Putin. Cohen asserts that US foreign policy is responsible for the continuation of Cold War hostilities between the two countries despite its terminus in 1991, citing NATO ‘s eastward expansion as evidence.

    The continuous stream of vilifying charges leveled at Putin and Russia conform to “Five Principles of War Propaganda” outlined by Belgian journalist and author Michel Collon:
    1. Obscure economic interests.
    2. Invert the victim and the aggressor.
    3. Hide history.
    4. Demonize.
    5. Monopolize the news.

    The demonization of Putin serves the American agenda of expanding the NATO military alliance up to the western border of Russian.

    With Putin’s designation as the West’s political “enemy,” it is useful to examine the German political theorist Carl Schmitt’s the influential political concept of the “friend-enemy distinction”..

    In 1926, Schmitt wrote his most famous paper, “Der Begriff des Politischen” (“The Concept of the Political”), in which he developed his theory of “the political”. Distinct from party politics, “the political” is the essence of politics for Schmitt .

    According to Schmitt, while churches are predominant in religion or society is predominant in economics, the state is predominant in politics. Yet for Schmitt the political was not an autonomous domain equivalent to the other domains, but rather the existential basis that would determine any other domain should it reach the point of politics (e.g. religion ceases to be merely theological when it makes a clear distinction between the “friend” and the “enemy”).

    For Schmitt, the political is not equal to any other domain, such as the economic, but instead is the most essential to identity.

    Schmitt, in perhaps his best-known formulation, bases his conceptual realm of state sovereignty and autonomy upon the distinction between friend and enemy. This distinction is to be determined “existentially,” which is to say that the enemy is whoever is “in a specially intense way, existentially something different and alien, so that in the extreme case conflicts with him are possible.” (Schmitt, 1996, p. 27)

    For Schmitt, such an enemy need not even be based on nationality: so long as the conflict is potentially intense enough to become a violent one between political entities, the actual substance of enmity may be anything.

    Although there have been divergent interpretations concerning Schmitt’s work, there is broad agreement that “The Concept of the Political” is an attempt to achieve state unity by defining the content of politics as opposition to the “other” (that is to say, an enemy, a stranger. This applies to any person or entity that represents a serious threat or conflict to one’s own interests.) In addition, the prominence of the state stands as a neutral force over potentially fractious civil society, whose various antagonisms must not be allowed to reach the level of the political, lest civil war result.
    Schmitt also articulated the concept of Grossraum (“great space”). A Grossraum is an area dominated by a power representing a distinct political idea. This idea was always formulated with a specific opponent in mind; in essence, the distinction between friend and enemy would be determined by this particular political idea. Schmitt cited the nineteenth-century formulation of American foreign policy known as the Monroe Doctrine.

    The doctrine of American exceptionalism allows no space in its Grossraum concept for a “Eurasian” Superpower (Russia and China). The very enunciation of a “Eurasian” political sphere is a “terrorist” act, and all those associated with such “lunacy” are “enemies” to be annihilated.

    Robert Parry has noted that “Official Washington treats whatever comes out of Russian President Putin’s mouth as the ravings of a lunatic, even when what he says is obviously true or otherwise makes sense”.

    Washington and its “friends” are prepared to exercise the “nuclear option” against Russia even though mutual destruction remains assured.

    This truly is madness.

  5. Peter Loeb
    March 3, 2015 at 07:28


    No one likes a murder but as Mr. Parry indicates this is an add one. I share Parry’s assessment
    in his article while offering “condolences” to the Boris Nemtsov family etc.

    It remains strange that so much “sound and fury” (“signifying nothing”—William Shakespeare)
    surrounds this murder while nothing is said of the 2,200 murders of Gazans and other
    Palestinians by Israel only last summer. But then salesman Benyamin Netanyahu who is scheduled to address the US Congress today, March 3,2015 (carried live on the US media) is our “ally”. We are, of course, concerned about our “ally” and will never sunset our commitment to their “security” (read war crimes, humanitarian crimes, aggressions). We care not a thing about the thousands died for our self-proclaimed superiority. (The entire issue of “security” has been challenged at its core by the submission of the Palestine Subcommittee of the NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD to the ICC on February 10, 2015. This document will probably never find its way into the public discourse. It will be drowned by meaningless discussions of the Israeli PM’s distorted and false assertions.

    —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA USA

  6. onno
    March 3, 2015 at 06:00

    Again an excellent review of the Nemtsov murder used by MSM to continue their anti-Russia and anti-Putin lies and rhetoric’s.
    It’s obvious that the Washington’s Neocons are using ANYTHING in the book to ‘GET’ Putin or ‘whatever it takes’ to start an open nuclear or conventional war. Apparently former US president Truman has said that that in WW II: USA must support the Russians when they are losing and support the Germans when they are losing’ This explains also the Normandy Landing June 6, 1944 or 2 years after the Nazi’s 6th Army was defeated by the Russians at Stalingrad. The purpose of the Allied forces was to ‘STOP’ the Russians and NOT to defeat the Nazi’s. USA was at that time interested in the ‘PREY’ called Europe. As of today there are 67.000 American troops and 120 nuclear warheads in Europe. So Europe is a US COLONY nothing more and nothing less. And Washington decides the outcome of the Ukraine Crisis NOT Europe, NOT EU since we have NO leaders on US lapdogs and USA has NATO.

    But Washington’s Neocons – especially former Carter secretary Brzezinski = Russia hater #1 – are follow the ‘Heartland theory’ of Halford Mackinder (1861-1947) stating that whoever controls the HEART- land controls the world and the centre of Heartland = Russia. It’s obvious that the Neocons and Putin bashers in Washington forget that this theory is totally outdated and that Russia and China have become partners. On top of that Russia under Putin has developed a military force equal or better than USA. The Russians have also an excellent track record in defending their country in the past as was proven against Hitler and Napoleon.

    So the cowboys in Washington should think twice before continuing their anti-Russia aggression. Regretfully, intelligence has NEVER been a strong characteristic of US Foreign Policies as is proven by people like McCain, Biden, Kerry, Nuland and Psaki. Besides President Putin as a former KGB agent is well familiar with US cover-ups and CIA subversive techniques to overthrow governments and he is definitely NOT stupid.

    And finally, when the Soviet Union was installing nuclear warheads at the American doorsteps in Cuba President Kennedy was facing also WWIII. And today we see a similar situation where USA/NATO is installing BAM’s at the doorsteps of Moscow while USA is accusing Russia of aggression. Indeed we live in a dangerous world where a little group of incompetent, ego-maniacs can decide the future on this planet and the livelihoods of billions of people.

  7. F. G. Sanford
    March 3, 2015 at 05:22

    I note that “m s 57” sounds like his script was written by CIAmore Hersh. Perhaps he got some help from Dan ‘Damage Control’ Ellsberg. Sacrificing SIGINT (electronic surveillance assets) in order to protect HUMINT (spies, agents of influence, useful idiots, embedded assets) is a well worn strategy. The MICE principle is a human asset manipulation strategy – money, ideology, conscience, ego – find the one that works on your dupe of choice. Nemtsov was an NGO plaything, and the story behind the story in Ukraine is the years of embedment of such assets in property accumulation, business associations, local government offices, political connections, establishment of safe houses and front operations, etc. etc. etc. Ed “Snowjob” Snowden, whose self-avowed ‘fascism is fundamental’ sovereign citizen fascination with The Constitution made him an easy target for the ‘I’ in MICE. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t regard him as a hero, but he’s as much a victim of the back-story as anyone else. Kennedy wanted to break up the CIA because he saw it for a despicable criminal organization, not because it embarrassed him. I think Mr. Parry gets as close to the truth as anyone can without digging into those tedious details. For that, entire books have been written, and a notable source is Douglas Valentine. To understand the “Snowden Op”, Emory, Wolf, Corbett, Tarpley and others have pretty well covered it. A very interesting coverage of the history behind these shenanigans is provided by Emile deAntonio and John Stockwell interviews available on the old “Alternative Views” series on Youtube. Emile deAntonio covered many of the same stories Mr. Parry has thankfully kept alive and managed to elucidate with in-depth and corroborative research.

  8. Brendan
    March 3, 2015 at 05:06

    Public satisfaction with Putin is at an all time high now in Russia (85% according to a recent opinion poll). What Russians like about his government is that it provides stability, so it had no reason to carry out a high profile murder of someone like Nemtsov who was no threat to Putin and who had much more public profile than popularity. The biggest competition to the Russian government comes from the nationalists and communists, not Nemtsov’s pro-western opposition which blames Russia for the disaster in Ukraine that was really created by the west.

  9. Brendan
    March 3, 2015 at 05:05

    Public satisfaction with Putin is at an all time high now in Russia (85% according to a recent opinion poll). What Russians like about his government is that it provides stability, so it had no reason to carry out a high profile murder of someone like Nemtsov who was no threat to Putin and who had much more public profile than popularity. The biggest competition to the Russian government comes from the nationalists and communists, not Nemtsov’s pro-western opposition which blames Russia for the disaster in Ukraine that was really created by the west.

  10. Monte
    March 3, 2015 at 04:38

    It was a dark and stormy night.
    Or maybe it was clear and bathed in silvery moonlight. No matter.
    Our hero is a mature but still healthy, vigorous, handsome playboy. A jet-setter immersed in international politics and intrigue. Our leading lady is a ravishingly beatiful young model from Kiev.

    A night out in Moscow. Romantic dinner for two, drinks, dancing cheek-to-cheek. Then, a midnight stroll on the bridge, holding hands and taking in the view of the dark spires of the Kremlin. Eight shots in the dark, our hero dies, and a sorely needed martyr is born.

    It is literally a made-for-TV kind of story. The romantic story line is irresistible. The visuals are compelling. The location was carefully chosen. News videos/photos of the crime scene the next day cannot help but include stunning views of the Kremlin in the background. The imagery overwhelms all reason. Wordlessly, it points a finger at the annointed villian – the evil spires of the Kremlin, which all Americans are conditioned from early childhood to recognize as the citadel of the dreaded enemy.

    Like the ISIS beheading videos, this murder was the work of someone who understands what makes a compelling story line and how to use scenery to subliminally implant a message and a moral. This was a gruesome Hollywood production – propaganda carefully crafted to create fear and demonize a designated enemy.

    But aren’t we all suckers for a good story? Or perhaps, just suckers.

    • roger
      March 4, 2015 at 20:20

      Monte’s ‘Dark and stormy night’ scenario rings so true it’s amazing!

  11. March 3, 2015 at 03:29

    It was a dark and stormy night.
    Or maybe it was clear and bathed in silvery moonlight. No matter.
    Our hero is a mature but still healthy, vigorous, handsome playboy. A jet-setter immersed in international politics and intrigue. Our leading lady is a ravishingly beatiful young model from Kiev.
    A night out in Moscow. Romantic dinner for two, drinks, dancing cheek-to-cheek. Then, a midnight midnight stroll on the bridge, with a view of the dark spires of the Kremlin. Eight shots in the dark, our hero dies, and a sorely needed martyr is born.

    It is literally a made-for-TV kind of story. The romantic story line is irresistible. The visuals are compelling. The location was carefully chosen. News videos/photos of the crime scene the next day cannot help but include stunning views of the Kremlin in the background. The imagery overwhelms all reason. Wordlessly, it points a finger at the annointed villian – the evil spires of the Kremlin, which all Americans are conditioned from early childhood to recognize as the citadel of the dreaded enemy.

    Like the ISIS beheading videos, this murder was the work of someone who understands what makes a compelling story line and how to use scenery to subliminally implant a message and a moral. This was a gruesome Hollywood production – propaganda carefully crafted to create fear and demonize a designated enemy.

    But aren’t we all suckers for a good story? Or perhaps, just suckers.

  12. Zachary Smith
    March 3, 2015 at 02:47

    Boris Nemtsov: from all accounts a photogenic nobody. Polling in the range of the US Libertarians at the 1/2 – 1% range. Unfortunately for him, a person worth more to the Empire dead than alive, for now he’s a martyr.

    The Fort Russ site is obviously a propaganda place, but they make a claim worth considering.

    Somebody with lots of money and lots of organization produced some high-quality parade materials in quite a hurry. One wonders who that might have been.

  13. Abe
    March 2, 2015 at 23:39

    The American world view is very simple. It is based on one premise: everyone else has something wrong with them because they are not American. This encourages the US to look for the splinter in everyone else’s eye whilst neither seeing the log in its own nor imagining it could exist.

    Consequently the US has expectations of different countries which reflect this prejudice. If they have wrong with them what America says they do, they must therefore want to do what America wants to put it right. Maybe these countries have their own ideas about what they want and what is good for them. But America’s ideas are superior, so what America wants must be what is good for the world as a whole, there is no need to take any other interest into account.

    The US view of Ukraine is as follows: Putin’s view of what the new Russia should be is not compatible with the 21st century. His “nostalgia for the years of tsarist or communist conquest” is a utopian and dangerous sympathy out of step with the modern world. Reincorporating or annexing Crimea must therefore be part of an effort to create a buffer zone (East Ukraine, Moldova, Ossetia, Abkhazia and maybe more to come) between Russia and Western sympathizers, because his views are not American, so he must be setting up an anti-American bloc.

    As journalist Robert Parry writes, part of the problem is that the neocon propagandists who conduct such wars have been allowed to get away with introducing a fundamental falsehood into the modern American media. The personal has become the political: that is, you don’t deal with the larger context of a dispute, you make it all about some easily demonised figure.

    Why the Media War Over Ukraine is a War Against Everyone
    By Seth Ferris

  14. Abe
    March 2, 2015 at 23:06

    Dr. Helen Caldicott was interviewed by Harvey Wasserman for his podcast Solartopia Green Power And Wellness Hour on 17 February 2015.

    Dr.Caldicott begins with a disturbing discussion of actions in Ukraine and the threat to the 15 atomic reactors still operating there. She warns that the death toll from Chernobyl has climbed over a million and that the western campaign to “back Putin into a corner” is fraught with danger.

  15. Abe
    March 2, 2015 at 23:02

    The diminutive and previously ineffective protests carried out by the opposition will now be “far larger” and serve as a “powerful platform for Kremlin critics,” a reality that simply would not have existed had Nemtsov not been murdered.

    One must also factor in the United States’ various proxy conflicts it is waging against Russia, and seemingly losing – including in Syria and Ukraine. The opportunity to spread chaos in the streets of Moscow would not only benefit the US and its agenda beyond its borders, but is in fact America’s stated foreign policy.

    Despite attempts to frame it otherwise, even the US State Department cannot escape the fact that Russia lacked any motivation at all to murder a fading opposition leader, let alone incriminatingly murder him practically on the doorstep of the Kremlin itself. Whoever killed Nemtsov meant for the uninformed general public to think it was the Kremlin, however.

    US State Department Admits Russia had Nothing to Gain from Killing Boris Nemtsov
    By Tony Cartalucci

  16. Charlene Richards
    March 2, 2015 at 22:40

    Gee, Wally, how do you suppose this Marine flag ended up in eastern Ukraine??!:

  17. Charlene Richards
    March 2, 2015 at 22:16

    And the U.S. troops will start flowing into Ukraine very soon to “train” their national guard:

  18. m s 57
    March 2, 2015 at 21:23

    Dinissa Duvanova, Political Scientist, Lehigh University

    Two hours before being shot and killed within the range of Kremlin’s security cameras, Boris Nemtsov gave an interview to Russia’s most reputable oppositional radio, Echo of Moscow. Reading the transcript of his last interview, I can think of several very obvious political implications of the death of this Yeltsin-era liberal reformer and outspoken opponent of Vladimir Putin. Nemtsov’s appearance on Echo of Moscow was part of his campaign to organize an anti-war protest rally on March 1. Following the death of the politician, opposition groups called off the rally and announced a memorial march instead [see picture above]. Clearly the Russian opposition has lost one of its most experienced, popular, and capable members. In the radio interview Nemtsov came with a very strong anti-war rhetoric. In his usual direct and energetic style he attacked President Putin personally for distancing himself from numerous Russian solders and missionaries who died in Donbas. Nemtsov appealed to Russians who lost their family members in Ukraine’s conflict—a call that has strong resonance in a country with universal military conscription.

    On top of his direct attack on Putin as a commander in chief of the army engaged in a covert war, Nemtsov had challenged the President to a public debate—an experience Putin never had in the other 3 presidential campaigns he won. The way Nemtsov stated his challenge—“just debate with me,”—put Putin in a rather uneasy position. Would he be afraid to debate someone with no immediate claims for power, but a strong record of public debates, competitive races, and anti-crisis economic policymaking? We will never learn the answer to this question, but it is clear that Nemtsov’s murder points to Kremlin’s three immediate vulnerabilities: the threat of popular protests, civic opposition to military engagement of the conscription-based army, and the failure of mass propaganda aimed at convincing Russians there is no alternative to Putin’s leadership.

    • Oleg
      March 4, 2015 at 11:03

      m s 57, these are highly repetitive comments which add no substance. You can’t fight the math: Nemtsov was never a popular figure (his support was at 0.5%) and presented no danger. His death is only damaging to Putin because it’s easy to predict what people of your ilk would say: they solve the murder case in an hour being thousands of miles away and sure enough find that Putin is the perpetrator. (And that Putin invaded Germany during the second WW, and created global warming, …)

    • Nat Scientist
      March 4, 2015 at 19:03

      “We will never learn the answer to this question, “….
      You present “political scientist”, but in proclaiming “never”, you are more accurately involved in political studies. Science is relentless, not resigned to ignorance even where appropriate with human gamers as uncertainty-principled subjects.

    • R McHewn
      March 5, 2015 at 02:01

      “I can think of several very obvious political implications of the death of this Yeltsin-era liberal reformer and outspoken opponent of Vladimir Putin.”

      I can also think of several very obvious reasons why Boris Nemstov would be taken out by one of his own, and it would have a lot to do with the sheer demonic propaganda value for the West against Putin. That doesn’t prove either argument, so I will go with cui bono: and it certainly wouldn’t be Putin.

  19. m s 57
    March 2, 2015 at 21:22

    Scott Gehlbach, Political Scientist, University of Wisconsin–Madison

    The more I think about Nemtsov’s murder, the more worried I am about what comes next. Historical experience, in Russia and elsewhere, demonstrates that political terror doesn’t require direction from the top. It simply needs a strong signal that terror is okay. And one could hardly ask for a stronger signal than the assassination of a prominent opposition activist a block from the Kremlin.

    If Russian authorities were truly interested in preventing a wave of political terror, they would commit to a credible, independent investigation of the Nemtsov killing that would have the authority to assign blame, wherever it may lay. Unfortunately, they have done precisely the opposite. Responsibility for the official investigation has been assigned to the same official who prosecuted oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and Russia’s Investigative Committee has organized its investigation around various implausible motives for the killing, including that Nemtsov was a “sacrificial victim” murdered by other members of the opposition.

    • Oleg
      March 4, 2015 at 10:47

      What’s wrong with the prosecutors of Khodorkovsky? Are you saying that the richest oligarch in Russia who made his billions in the 90s (when Russia was looted to pieces) was never involved in embezzlement, tax evasion, racketeering, etc. ?

  20. carlos
    March 2, 2015 at 20:11

    Why are they building a new white house why are nato armoured cars arriving in texas it’s not only a white house It goes deep in the mountain new order comes to mind and it’s a set up america did it to start things off those masons get everywhere in fact they call putin treator to the new order if that’s the case he helping the normal people being dominated told to beleave in one god or die wake up and smell the coffee ops they keep on dropping supplies to isis by mistake they are fueling the conflict they want it so nato can take over these countries and police them new world order

  21. Gail
    March 2, 2015 at 19:37

    The real reason why RT TV is winning the information war over western media is not because it receives greater funding from the Russian government or as Kerry said “it is in English”. It is because it is void of propaganda and out right b s lies and based on the known facts of the time. The western media dialog and blame placing regarding the Demtsov assassination within hours of his death, the body wasn’t even cold, is a perfect example of open mouth with total idiocy and print stupidity with made up clap trap…shoot first, never question, mentality of the Western media. Just another Syrian gassing and MH17 downing.

  22. m s 57
    March 2, 2015 at 19:35

    If Mr. Parry had been bought and paid for out of Putin’s slush funds — if — the arguments he makes repeatedly defending Putin and his fellow Mafiosi could not more closely follow a script.

    The simple conflation in this article, for example, of nuclear annihilation with opposition to Putin is a perfect — and perfectly grotesque — example. I read Mr. Parry constantly with an open mind and a critical eye. I have yet to hear a single solitary word critical of the Putin regime. It is quite disturbing to me to hear him criticize Masha Gessen, for example, while seeking to insulate Putin from any criticism, let alone condemnation.

    • Abe
      March 2, 2015 at 23:31

      Martha Gessen sockpuppet alert.

    • Zachary Smith
      March 3, 2015 at 02:11

      I read Mr. Parry constantly with an open mind…

      Every now and then I go though my browser bookmarks and “comb” out the bad ones. If you’re consistently troubled by the stories here, I’d suggest you do the same for the link to this site.

      If the problem is only with coverage of Putin, you might consider avoiding those stories. Alternatively, preparing a reasoned and evidence-sourced rebuttal of the Putin essay would be more useful for the rest of us than a brief whine.

    • Abe
      March 3, 2015 at 04:16

      Make that Masha (non-traditional propaganda) Gessen sockpuppet alert. Quite disturbing indeed.

    • Oleg
      March 4, 2015 at 10:27

      Ok, so Mr. Parry is a KGB agent. That explains it. He probably works in the same Red Army unit as Prof. Stephen Cohen and Paul Craig Roberts.

    • Roger
      March 4, 2015 at 20:09

      Funny how your comment looks like a pre-prepared script. Was your text handed to you to post?

  23. Dmitriy
    March 2, 2015 at 19:26

    The irony with Nemtsov is that he failed so much in times past, that he’s probably one of if not the most useful member of “opposition” when it comes to actually doing something against “the regime”. He was somewhat vocal lately but nothing more than the standard mantra about agression in Ukraine and so on, no facts, no proposals, no constructivism.. as usual, I dare to say. So the natural reaction for the vast amount of people was something like “obviously a murder is never a good thing, but why would anyone bother killing THIS guy in particular”. On the whole, it does feel as a kind of distraction more than anything else.

    The nuclear and strategic weapons issue is a serious one, though. From what can be seen, all of the sides involved either circumvent some treaties (I know that Russia develops naval-based mid-range missiles while treaty in question was all about land-based ones) or directly violate them. What’s worse, one can hardly find a particular person from the West to negotiate with on that topic – the lack of trust lately has come to the levels above and beyond the Cold war times.

  24. Abe
    March 2, 2015 at 19:13

    US-NATO weapons of mass destruction are portrayed as instruments of peace.

    Mini-nukes are said to be “harmless to the surrounding civilian population”.

    Pre-emptive nuclear war is portrayed as a “humanitarian undertaking”.

    Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War
    By Michel Chossudovsky

  25. Alfred Kath
    March 2, 2015 at 19:12

    Thank you Robert Parry!
    People like you, Ray Mc Govern, or William Polk – to me – show in a way, that America may not necessarily be nearly “done! – yet.
    With gratitude and respect,
    Alfred Kath (Germany)

  26. March 2, 2015 at 18:46

    Who was Nemtsov?

    Despite his lack of political clout, Mr. Nemtsov was a logical first target for this menacing force. (The Kremlin)
    Nonsense. Why would they bother? He was a nobody, without any clout, as stated, and no threat to Putin, whatsoever.

    “Nemtsov …He did not come from the Communist Party nomenklatura, he extolled political and economic reform, and his patronymic indicated that he was Jewish — ”

    That explains Gessen’s speculations.

    • m s 57
      March 2, 2015 at 21:18

      Vladimir Gel’man, Political Scientists European University at St.Petersburg and the University of Helsinki

      On February 25th, my article, entitled “Political Opposition in Russia: A Troubled Transformation” appeared in the journal Europe-Asia Studies It concluded with the following statement: “Russia will indeed become a free country. The question is when and how it will happen, as well as what the costs will be of Russia’s path to freedom”. Just two days after, we all learned that the costs will be really high: Boris Nemtsov, one of the leaders of political opposition, was shot dead nearby the Kremlin. In my opinion, it has all the hallmarks of a political assassination provoked by an aggressive Kremlin-induced campaign against the “fifth column of national traitors”, who opposed the annexation of Crimea, war with the West over Ukraine, and further decline of political and civil freedoms in the country. We may never know whether the Kremlin ordered this killing, but given the fact that Nemtsov was one of the most consistent critics not only of the Russian regime as such but also of Putin in person, his dissenting voice will never upset Putin and his inner circle anymore.

      The major issue now is to what extent the Kremlin will employ political violence as a major tool of its dominance. Since 2012, it actively used the politics of fear in various forms, ranging from selective imprisonment of activists to public discrediting of its critics. However, increasing economic troubles and threats of rising dissatisfaction among Russians clearly demonstrated that while rulers have few carrots, fear and lies may not end up being strong enough sticks. The experience of numerous autocratic regimes tell us that when the rulers perceived major threats of public disobedience against the background of a dramatic decline in government performance, the extensive use of political violence against its rivals may become widespread (Argentina in 1976-1983 is a prime example of that). In post-Soviet Russia, the state-led use of political violence beyond North Caucasus up until now has been considered taboo for political leadership (the episode of violent clash in Moscow in October 1993 was an exception). The problem is not that the Kremlin is necessarily shy to kill its opponents but rather that it could become a hostage of executors of orders of this kind. But most probably the Kremlin’s choice of further strategy will depend on reaction from society at large. Numbers matter greatly in this respect. If the number of active opponents to the Russian regime remains very low, then the rulers will not need to use political violence. If, on the contrary, this number becomes much higher than it is now, then the use of violence may increase the regime’s chances of being overthrown (as the recent experience of Viktor Yanukovych demonstrated). This is why the killing of Nemtsov may be largely perceived as a turning point in the use of preemptive measures aimed to stop the spread of anti-regime activism.

      • Oleg
        March 4, 2015 at 10:13

        It’s a lot of words or shall I say a lot of noise…

        Nemtsov does much more damage dead than alive. He never was popular since when he was in the government, Russia was looted to pieces. One thing one can say for certain is that Putin’s reputation will get damaged further, so he is the only party that suffers from this murder. In fact, this is why Putin heads the investigation committee and it is in his best interests to find the perpetrators.

        If Putin wanted to oppress political opponents, he’d shut down “Echo Moskvy” and “Dozhd'”.
        Or, for that matter, fire Vladimir Gel’man from that University in St. Petersburg.

  27. bob
    March 2, 2015 at 18:28

    Governments kills quietly, unless they are overthrowing one, there’s more to this than meets the eye.
    Want to find the culprit? Who profits from this, the motiv.
    it is advantageous to the Kremlin? doubt
    it is advantageous Russian opposition? probably yes
    it is advantageous to the West? :)
    Western media has it’s martyr.
    With an approval rating of 86%, Putin doesn’t need to kill off the opposition.

    • Cathy
      March 2, 2015 at 18:54

      Western media has it’s martyr.

      And “his patronymic indicated that he was Jewish — ” (Gessen)

    • m s 57
      March 2, 2015 at 21:19

      From Masha Gessen

      In the almost three years since Mr. Putin returned to the presidency, and especially in the year since Russia annexed Crimea, the Kremlin has increasingly focused on the enemy within. A new movement called Anti-Maidan marched through Moscow two weeks ago calling for violence against the “fifth column.” At least one of the signs carried at the march named Mr. Nemtsov as the organizer of the Ukrainian revolution.

      Less than a week after that march, and just before the one he had organized, Mr. Nemtsov was gunned down while walking a bridge that spans the Moscow River right in front of the Kremlin. It is under constant camera and live surveillance. The message was clear: People will be killed in the name of the Kremlin, in plain view of the Kremlin, against the backdrop of the Kremlin, simply for daring to oppose the Kremlin.

      • Oleg
        March 4, 2015 at 09:54

        Well, you seem a bit confused. The only competitive opposition party is the Communist party led by Zyuganov. Nemtsov was a failed political from Eltsin’s era, with about 0.5% support. I let you do the math.

  28. Drew Hunkins
    March 2, 2015 at 18:26

    Excellent piece by Mr. Parry as always.

    It should be noted that about 2 weeks ago I had a letter of mine published in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel regarding NATO’s coup in Kiev and its assault on Russia’s doorstep.

    An interesting thing happened with my letter – when I submitted it I specifically mentioned how some of the pro-Western Ukrainian militias are made up of neo-Nazis (a 100% factual assertion). The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel carefully excised out my reference to the neo-Nazis.

    • josepxicot
      March 3, 2015 at 16:26

      Sorry to say but in Europe the politolegs says that all these neo-nazis were organized and got
      all kind of help and money,for it in this newspaper excised out your reference to the neo-nazis.
      I let you think about it,bur russians are not the helpers.

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