Escalations in a New Cold War

Exclusive: The Obama administration poked Russia in the eye again by activating a missile defense site in Romania while building up NATO forces on Russia’s borders, acts that could escalate toward nuclear war, notes Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall

If the United States ever ends up stumbling into a major conventional or nuclear war with Russia, the culprit will likely be two military boondoggles that refused to die when their primary mission ended with the demise of the Soviet Union: NATO and the U.S. anti-ballistic missile (ABM) program.

The “military-industrial complex” that reaps hundreds of billions of dollars annually from support of those programs got a major boost this week when NATO established its first major missile defense site at an air base in Romania, with plans to build a second installation in Poland by 2018.

President Barack Obama meets with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit at Regnum Carya Resort in Antalya, Turkey, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. National Security Advisior Susan E. Rice listens at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama meets with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on the sidelines of the G20 Summit at Regnum Carya Resort in Antalya, Turkey, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. National Security Advisior Susan E. Rice listens at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Although NATO and Pentagon spokesmen claim the ABM network in Eastern Europe is aimed at Iran, Russia isn’t persuaded for a minute. “This is not a defense system,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday. “This is part of U.S. nuclear strategic potential brought [to] . . . Eastern Europe. . . Now, as these elements of ballistic missile defense are deployed, we are forced to think how to neutralize emerging threats to the Russian Federation.”

Iran doesn’t yet have missiles capable of striking Europe, nor does it have any interest in targeting Europe. The missiles it does have are notoriously inaccurate. Their inability to hit a target reliably might not matter so much if tipped with nuclear warheads, but Iran is abiding by its stringently verified agreement to dismantle programs and capabilities that could allow it to develop nuclear weapons.

The ABM system currently deployed in Europe is admittedly far too small today to threaten Russia’s nuclear deterrent. In fact, ABM technology is still unreliable, despite America’s investment of more than $100 billion in R&D.

Nonetheless, it’s a threat Russia cannot ignore. No U.S. military strategist would sit still for long if Russia began ringing the United States with such systems. That’s why the United States and Russia limited them by treaty — until President George W. Bush terminated the pact in 2002.

President Reagan’s famous 1983 “Star Wars” ABM initiative was based on a theory developed by advisers Colin Gray and Keith Payne in a 1980 article titled “Victory is Possible”: that a combination of superior nuclear weapons, civil defense programs, and ballistic missile defenses could allow the United States to “prevail” in a prolonged nuclear war with the Soviet Union.

Such nuclear superiority, Gray argued, could back up “very large American expeditionary forces” fighting in a future conflict “around the periphery of Asia.” By limiting damage to the U.S. homeland, missile defenses would neutralize Russia’s nuclear deterrent and help the United States “succeed in the prosecution of local conflict . . . and — if need be — to expand a war.”

Gray published that latter observation in a 1984 volume edited by Ashton Carter, who as President Obama’s Secretary of Defense now champions the new missile shield in Europe. So it should come as little wonder that Moscow is going all out these days in a sometimes ugly campaign to remind the world of its nuclear potency, lest NATO take advantage of Russia’s perceived weakness.

Russian Tough Talk

Moscow spokesmen have warned that Romania could become a “smoking ruins” if it continues to host the new anti-missile site; threatened Denmark, Norway and Poland that they too could become targets of attack; and announced development of a new generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to penetrate the U.S. missile shield.

Secretary Carter responded this month that “Moscow’s nuclear saber-rattling raises troubling questions about . . .  whether they respect the profound caution that nuclear-age leaders showed with regard to brandishing nuclear weapons” — even as he announced new details of a $3.4 billion military buildup to support NATO’s combat capabilities.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

U.S. military leaders say they are drawing up even bigger funding requests to send more troops and military hardware to Eastern Europe, and to pay for new “investments in space systems, cyber weapons, and ballistic missile defense designed to check a resurgent Russia.”

Speaking in February at security conference in Munich, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called for an end to such confrontation, noting that “almost every day [NATO leaders] call Russia the main threat for NATO, Europe, the U.S. and other countries. It makes me wonder if we are in 2016 or in 1962.”

But stepped-up conflict comes as a godsend to the Pentagon and its contractors, which only a few years ago faced White House plans for major cutbacks in funding and troop strength in Europe. It allows them to maintain — and increase — military spending levels that today are greater than they were during the height of the Cold War.

U.S. and other NATO leaders justify their buildup by pointing to Russia’s allegedly aggressive behavior — “annexing” Crimea and sending “volunteers” to Eastern Ukraine. They conveniently neglect the blatant coup d’état in Kiev that triggered the Ukraine crisis by driving an elected, Russian-friendly government from power in February 2014. They also neglect the long and provocative record of NATO expansion toward Russia’s borders after the fall of the Soviet Union, contrary to the pledges of Western leaders in 1990.

That expansion was championed by the aptly named Committee to Expand NATO, a hot-bed of neoconservatives and Hillary Clinton advisers led by Bruce Jackson, then vice president for planning and strategy at Lockheed Martin, the country’s largest military contractor. In 2008, NATO vowed to bring Ukraine — the largest country on Russia’s western border — into the Western military alliance.

Cold War Warnings

George Kennan, the dean of U.S. diplomats during the Cold War, predicted in 1997 that NATO’s reckless expansion could only lead to “a new Cold War, probably ending in a hot one, and the end of the effort to achieve a workable democracy in Russia.”

Last year, former Secretary of Defense William Perry warned that we “are on the brink of a new nuclear arms race,” with all the vast expense — and dangers of a global holocaust — of its Cold War predecessor.

U.S. diplomat George F. Kennan who is credited with devising the strategy of deterrence against the Soviet Union after World War II.

U.S. diplomat George F. Kennan who is credited with devising the strategy of deterrence against the Soviet Union after World War II.

And just this month, President Obama’s own former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned that NATO’s plans to deploy four battalions to the Baltic States could result “very quickly in another Cold War buildup here, that really makes no sense for either side.”

If “we continue to build up the eastern flank of NATO, with more battalions, more exercises, and more ships and more platforms,” he told an audience at the Atlantic Council, “the Russians will respond. I’m not sure where that takes you.”

Nobody knows where it takes us, and that’s the problem. It could take us all too easily from small provocations to a series of escalations by each side to show they mean business. And given the trip-wire effect of nuclear weapons stored on NATO’s soil, the danger of escalation to nuclear war is entirely real.

As foreign policy expert Jeffrey Taylor commented recently, “The Obama administration is setting the stage for endless confrontation, and possibly even war, with Russia, and with no public debate.”

Returning to the days of the Cold War will buy less security and more danger. As President Obama contemplates what he will say about the lessons of nuclear war in Hiroshima, he should fundamentally reconsider his own policies that threaten many more Hiroshimas.

Jonathan Marshall is author or co-author of five books on international affairs, including The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War and the International Drug Traffic (Stanford University Press, 2012). Some of his previous articles for Consortiumnews were “Risky Blowback from Russian Sanctions”; “Neocons Want Regime Change in Iran”; “Saudi Cash Wins France’s Favor”; “The Saudis’ Hurt Feelings”; “Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Bluster”; “The US Hand in the Syrian Mess”; and Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War.” ]

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55 comments for “Escalations in a New Cold War

  1. Drew Hunkins
    May 14, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    As all of you frequent posters on ConsortiumNews fully realize: a missile defense shield is incredibly destabilizing and potentially catastrophic. It’s really offensive in nature. A missile defense shield in Eastern Euro allows for Washington to launch a massive first strike that would include targeting almost all of Russia’s nuclear arsenal. The very few remaining retaliatory nukes that Russia would be able to launch in response to Washington’s massive first strike offensive would be intercepted by the missile defense shield.

    A leaky umbrella is useless in a downpour but quite effective in a drizzle.

    So Russia has very substantive reasons for being deeply alarmed. Now watch how the Western prostitutes (no offense to sex workers) who work in the mass media give short shrift to the scenario I just outlined above.

    • Realist
      May 14, 2016 at 5:15 pm

      Unfortunately, what this configuration of nuclear weaponry does is make human shields of Europeans. Russia’s only sure-fire retaliatory strategy would be to incinerate Bucharest, Warsaw, Oslo and whatever other countries hosted those first strike Yankee weapons. Probably throw in London, Paris and Brussels as well since that’s where the traitorous brain trust resides. Once again America would feel at a safe remove from the big ICBM’s taken out in the first strike, so the foolish Europeans would pay nearly the whole price. Too bad they are too stupid or intimidated by the planet’s only “exceptional” power to realise and act upon it by throwing the warmongers out of their countries.

      • Drew Hunkins
        May 14, 2016 at 5:40 pm

        It’s just astonishing isn’t it Realist? Imagine if Russia had a ring of missile defense [sic] shields in southern Canada or northern Mexico.

      • Zachary Smith
        May 15, 2016 at 7:22 pm

        Russia’s only sure-fire retaliatory strategy would be to incinerate Bucharest, Warsaw, Oslo and whatever other countries hosted those first strike Yankee weapons.

        I doubt if nuclear weapons would be needed at all, and if they were, they’d be aimed only at military targets. I would expect those ABM installations could be destroyed by a swarm of low and fast cruise missiles. If nukes were needed, they could be quite small ones. Still, the “host” country is going to have a serious radioactive fallout problem for miles around the target.

        • Joe L.
          May 16, 2016 at 5:51 pm

          Zachary Smith… Doesn’t that make you wonder what Europe is thinking to follow Washington’s lead so closely instead of having its’ own independent foreign policy? Realistically, if another World War is going to break out then it will be in Europe once more and that is exactly what Washington hopes for. I think it is easy to sell wars to the American people when, besides Pearl Harbor, the US has not really had a modern war on its’ soil. This is why I think the way that Putin, and Russia, are being portrayed as being aggressive is insane because they know what it is like to have real war on their soil and lost something like 20 Million people in WW2. This is also why the Europeans need to wake up and distance themselves somewhat from Washington to develop their own foreign policy and friendly relations with Russia so as to avoid another catastrophic war. Also, if I was Russia and I ended up in a nuclear war, I would make sure that the US also felt the brunt of it on its’ own soil, that the US did not get off unscathed. Also, what part would China, Iran, India or any number of other nations play? After a nuclear war we are all losers and many countries probably would not even be habitable anymore considering the half life of the nuclear agents. It is a scary thought, so I really hope that they stop poking the bear…

      • Vadim
        May 17, 2016 at 12:35 pm

        In fact, Russia has already adopted its first responders. They are going to place in the Crimea regiment strategic bombers, whose main purpose will be the Romanian part of the missile defense system. And in the north, on the border with the Baltic countries, they will be placed “Iskander” in the required quantity.
        I do not envy the inhabitants of these countries. Unfortunate, unhappy Europe! ..

    • David Smith
      May 14, 2016 at 7:16 pm

      A first strike against Russian ICBM’s is impossible, Russian doctrine is Launch On Warning. Ballistic Missile Defense does not work(read the comedy in Aviation Week). A Global Nuclear Winter would be the result of even a small “nuclear exchange”, but wargaming indicates everything gets launched very quickly.

      • Drew Hunkins
        May 15, 2016 at 9:08 pm

        Read Michael Parenti’s excellent book ‘The Sword and the Dollar’ in which he explains in its latter chapters exactly how a massive first strike backed up by an ABM/missile defense [sic] shield is a remote but sickening possibility.

        • David Smith
          May 16, 2016 at 10:54 am

          Launch On Warning. Nuclear Winter. Nuff Said. Missile Defense is a Tom Clancy fantasy and is not designed to protect civilian targets(ie your town).

        • Joe L.
          May 16, 2016 at 6:13 pm

          Drew Hunkins… I also would have sworn that I read that Russia either has or is developing weapons to penetrate the missile shield. Overall, do we really want to get to a point where these weapons are truly tested in a nuclear showdown? I mean where does this stop – nuclear winter? I remember watching one of John Pilger’s documentaries where he was paraphrasing about a US official that claimed that the US could win against the Soviet Union in a nuclear war where the US would have 2 people left and the Soviet Union only one. Then someone pointed out to the US official that one of them better be a woman. Basically the premise is so distorted that victory, regardless of the loss of life, is the most important – or at least that is what the US official eluded to – that is insanity. I wish I could remember the exact phrasing and what documentary it came from.

    • Kiza
      May 15, 2016 at 9:07 am

      Let us be totally clear on one thing – the story of anti-Iranian ABM was never intended to be sold to the Russians, it is a purely 100% for domestic consumption, to bamboozle the Western sheeple who believe everything and anything their government tells them. It is exactly because of the humangous risks of a nuclear war that this offensive military technology brings to the current balance of MAD (which has worked surprisingly well to keep relative peace), that the population needs to be sold the dumb propaganda waffle about Iran.

      Also, the classical Western MSM propaganda approach is: behave aggressively and when the other side shows teeth defensively, accuse it of aggression (just skip the part about what you are doing to them).

      Finally, it is also important to keep in mind that ABM planners do not really want to win a nuclear war – no, they want to dictate the peace once they achieve such strong strategic advantage: do what we tell you to do or die. For example, give Siberia independence, or your European part becomes a smoldering ruin and then we take Siberia.

    • USUK
      May 15, 2016 at 1:47 pm

      It’s a Missile Offense Sword not a “Missile Defense Shield”.

    • Donald Forbes
      May 16, 2016 at 10:24 am

      I hope the Russians understand we mean no threat to them. This is a ploy to increase the obscene “defense” budget. Even the neo-conservatives would be horrified at a nuclear war with the Russians. They can’t all be insane.

      • Joe L.
        May 16, 2016 at 6:00 pm

        Donald Forbes… Well if I came to your house and erected barbed wire, along with tanks and big guns, around the perimeter of your property meanwhile telling you that the weapons are aimed at your neighbour – what would you think? Hoping that Russia does not see us as a threat meanwhile we are erecting missile systems, NATO bases, expanding troops, and doing military exercises close to their country is wishful thinking at best. Of course they are going to feel threatened, we certainly would if all of this were being done in Cuba, Jamaica, Canada (I am Canadian), Mexico etc. to surround us.

    • Hans Meyer
      May 16, 2016 at 11:05 am

      Excellent comments. The sad thing is that the more you listen to the “news”, even the so called liberal msnbc, the more it reminds you of the official propaganda bodies of 1984’s.

      • dahoit
        May 17, 2016 at 11:25 am

        MSNBC;Pure propaganda,to rival Fox ,ABC,CBS and CNN.Zio divide and conquer,all of it.

    • a.z
      May 17, 2016 at 6:25 am

      you really NAILED it

  2. Realist
    May 14, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    This is why Hillary Clinton must be defeated in the coming presidential election. Ashton Carter was one of her husband’s thugs in the first Clinton administration, and a wild-eyed, Russia-hating neocon. Not sure how much more power he can be given under her rule… perhaps she has promised to make him viceroy of trans-ural Russia after the end of the coming nuclear war they so badly want. It’s really amusing how these warmongers expect the world to believe that Russia has been the aggressor when Putin has shown amazing restraint in response to blatant American aggression, which we need not recount yet again. If Europe has “sided” with the American bully tactics of economic sanctions and NATO military build-up all along Russia’s European borders, it is clearly because they too have been intimidated by Uncle Sam’s threats. When will they wake up and throw off the American yoke that is destroying their economies and destabilising their societies with a flood of refugees from the Middle Eastern countries that America has ravaged with war? If Trump can win the election, I hope he is true to his campaign comments and moves to disassemble NATO which is nothing but a waste of resources and a threat to world survival. How many human lives and American tax dollars have gone to feed that beast? Ashton Carter is just one more war criminal who deserves to be tried in the international courts for crimes against humanity: He, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, Samantha Power and the entirety of the previous Bush administration should all be taken out of circulation. Lock ’em all up and throw away the keys. Then let Europe and the Middle East attend to the business of rebuilding, prospering in the face of diminishing natural resources with human ingenuity and living the future in peace.

    • Bart
      May 14, 2016 at 6:07 pm

      “…viceroy of trans-ural Russia…” Sorry, the Warrior Kagan Family has first dibs on that one.

    • Skip Edwards
      May 14, 2016 at 9:43 pm

      It could not have been said better and more simply. Wake up America, at least the Americans who are paying attention, and join hands in putting down these insane psychopaths who have taken control of our country while there is still time to do so in a peaceful manner. Millions, many millions, in the street will be required. We must win this battle and begin the real battle which is human caused climate disruption. No one survives if we lose this one.

    • Hans Meyer
      May 16, 2016 at 11:31 am

      I totally agree with you. Now, I do not know how long a US president would last if he were to try and dismantle NATO (a lot of pay-masters and crazy neocons/neoliberals behind it). What is also worrying is the stress that such military expenses put on the US economy, especially in its current state. We were told that the Soviet Union crumbled under the weight of its military oriented economy back in the 90s. paradoxically, the crazies are pushing the US toward the same kind of mistakes.

      As for Russia and China (the 2 main contenders to the “western” block, their best bet would be to bide their time and while their economy îs growing in favor of civil economy and wait for the opposite block to crumble.
      This leads to think about Brazil and it’s latter political turmoil. As a major south American nation, but one of weakest (and on the “wrong” continent) of the economical alliance with China and Russia, it would be an excellent target for regime change. This would be just a preliminary hypothesis for a journalistic investigation, but something worth to investigate.

  3. Paul Schofield
    May 14, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    People of all nations must rise up and come together and discard this current crop of spineless cretin politicians currently in power world wide.
    They have no vision beyond their own short term interests. The world faces ecological, social and financial collapse. Global warming is on the verge of uncontrollable runaway warming as the arctic ice melts leading to the release of vast quantities of methane.

    We desperately need to redirect the efforts of our scientists and engineers and the world’s treasure away from the the current industries of death and misery to trying to address the world’s urgent needs. Our very survival depends on us taking back political control.
    Each technological advance brings with it the need to be balanced by an equivalent growth in spiritual or moral and ethical understanding. This has not happened and we are watching evolution in action.
    If we do not collectively act then we will soon see the end of consciousness on this beautiful planet. A planet which is a jewel in the universe.
    We as a species can collectively commit no greater crime. We will not deserve to exist and we will not. The choice is ours.

    • Skip Edwards
      May 14, 2016 at 9:47 pm

      Thanks. I wrote the above comment to Realist before reading yours. The joining of hands is just beginning. The main reason I comment on various sites is to let others know that they are not alone.

    • Peter Loeb
      May 15, 2016 at 7:42 am

      Paul Schofield… People of the world don’t usually “rise up.” Whatever the
      merits (and there were many) workers of the world did NOT unite.(Marx -Engels).

      —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  4. Silverado
    May 14, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    The neocon Obama as President is like this country having 2 left feet. And crooked Hillary a hundred times worse. I’m not even Russian and I’m pissed off about this too. Oh well, none of this will change until the thing that gives these criminals their power FAILS. And that will be when the US dollar and then the US economy collapses as a result from all this criminal behavior by those in Govt and Finance who should know better. Donald Trump as the US President looks better everyday…

    • Paul Schofield
      May 14, 2016 at 6:20 pm

      I am not American so have no say, but to me the only candidate with any integrity, honour and sense of social justice is Bernie Sanders. Of the others one is a nassistic fool and the other a sociopath. New Zealand is a social democratic country where the policies of Bernie Sanders are deemed normal.

    • Skip Edwards
      May 14, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      Please, look into Bernie Sanders. Bernie has been in politics long enough to know how to replace Cabinet members and other immediate staff who won’t screw us with the same ‘ol, same ‘ol. Newbies might seem good on the surface, but they replace the worker bees with more of the “revolving door, stale, Washington, oligarchs. Obama is a prime example; he came from nowhere, he took us nowhere. Sad, but true. Hillary is an establishment puppet who knows who to bring in and those people are the same psychopaths who have destroyed half of the world and are so blinded by dreams of total control, of the world and their fellow citizens, that they will stop at nothing short of turning their dreams into our nightmares. Let’s back Bernie in his efforts to bring social justice into mainstream thinking, in breaking up monopolies and too big to fail banks and drastically reducing the huge income disparities which now exist. The super wealthy should fear Bernie; the vast majority, not. This done, millions in the street for an end to the MIC and leadership in a world-wide effort to seriously address climate change will follow. Bernie Sanders is the one serious, sane voice to save our way life that all people long for and end the insanity which prevails in the world today, primarily as a result of the policies of the United States government.

    • dahoit
      May 15, 2016 at 10:52 am

      Goddamn right.Trump for POTUS!They keep saying Adelson will back Trump.A misdirection to hurt his support?Are they learning from their past mistakes?Guilt by association?I hope he refuses,Trump.
      Dahoits Law;If it looks like a retard it usually is.(Ash Carter)I wonder if his counterparts say;”Are you talking to me?Or the guy down the table?”
      NY lying Times;Obomba elected as antiwar POTUS is the longest war president in American history.They got it right,for once.

    • Realist
      May 16, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      More like a fighter jet with two right wings.

  5. Dr. Ip
    May 14, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    Well at least now we know why Hillary Clinton says “It isn’t going to happen” when confronted with possible prosecution because of the email server in her basement. The whole perpetuum mobile money-making war machine is right behind her every step of the way to the throne. She didn’t even have to make any compromises. She is one of them, a True Believer from day one.

    Sacrificing Europe to the “Victory is Possible” plan makes total sense to these idiots. Now let’s hope that there actually is a Brexit so that the thorn in Europe’s side can be removed once and for all and Europeans can get back to doing business with Russia. Business with Iran is already booming.

    And just an aside here: The recent mention of Elizabeth Warren as a potential VP must be a false flag raising intended to plug the voter leaks in the upcoming primary states. I can’t imagine any truly progressive person getting on board the HC Titanic.

    • dahoit
      May 15, 2016 at 10:53 am

      Two bubbleheads(EW and HRC) for the price of one?

  6. Lois Gagnon
    May 14, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    The US Corporate State is a criminal enterprise and has been for a very long time. Unfortunately, the gatekeeper press has done a spectacular job of keeping most Americans in the dark about it.

    It leaves me with a sinking feeling of desperation, not knowing how to stop this global holocaust from happening. The people executing this madness all belong in a maximum security prison for life.

  7. Gregory Kruse
    May 14, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    I’m calling the Pentagon right now. I’m sure they will see reason. I cringe whenever I hear an American diplomat say the word, “democracy”.

  8. akech
    May 14, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    With trillions of $$$$ debt, how is this escalation of confrontation with Russia being financed?

  9. Zachary Smith
    May 14, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    U.S. military leaders say they are drawing up even bigger funding requests to send more troops and military hardware to Eastern Europe, and to pay for new “investments in space systems, cyber weapons, and ballistic missile defense designed to check a resurgent Russia.”

    Shoveling more money to Big Weapons Makers is probably the main reason the nutty Aegis Ashore system is being set up on Russia’s borders, but the Russians still have some valid concerns about it all.

    From a Chinese newspaper:

    The defensive nature of the system is also under question. The SPY-1 long-range radar, part of the Aegis antimissile system, can be used to spy on missile tests and aircraft in Russian airspace, providing the United States with additional intelligence.

    Mikhail Ulyanov, a senior official of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said Wednesday that the missile defense system in Deveselu is not only aimed at neutralizing Russia’s offensive capability.

    He noted that as its vertical launching system could also be re-equipped with offensive cruise missiles, the Romanian site could easily and secretly be converted into a cruise missile base close to the Russian border.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-05/13/c_135356879.htm

    That last part is important. A simple and secret switch from ‘defensive’ anti-air missiles to land-attack cruise missiles in those VLS cells would be a real danger to Russia.

    • Oleg
      May 18, 2016 at 2:52 am

      Yeah, this is the real concern, thanks for bringing it up. And the Americans know this too, of course. They repeatedly try to accuse Russia of violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty because of Russia’s development of anti-rocket medium-range missiles for Iskander air defense launchers. So they know very well that any anti-rocket missile can be used as an intermediate-range cruise missile after very minor and quick software tweaks. That’s where the real danger is.

  10. May 15, 2016 at 2:13 am

    Beats me why the Baltic States, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe are so suicidal. How many times does it need pointing out how far (apart from Alaska) the US is from Russia and how very near Europe is?

    • Kiza
      May 15, 2016 at 9:43 am

      Are puppets given any choice except to sing in a (Nutcracker) chorus?

  11. Peter Loeb
    May 15, 2016 at 7:34 am

    THE GODSEND….

    ” But stepped-up conflict comes as a godsend to the Pentagon and its contractors,
    which only a few years ago faced White House plans for major cutbacks in funding
    and troop strength in Europe. It allows them to maintain — and increase — military
    spending levels that today are greater than they were during the height of the Cold
    War.” Jonathan Marshall, above.

    (See William Greider’s FORTRESS AMERICA for another view, minus the final
    “conclusion”.—Peter Loeb)

    Does the USA-NATO “empire” want one more big bang (“all fall down”—children’s song)
    before it disintegrates?

    ——-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  12. Aimé Duclos
    May 15, 2016 at 8:26 am

    Can anyone still doubt the validity of President Eisenhower’s warning back in 1960 about the dangers of the Military-Industrial Complex? And the foolishness of NATO’s expansion swallowing up former Soviet Bloc countries right up to the Russian Federation’s border? And the blindness of George W. Bush in terminating the nuclear arms limitation treaty in 2002? And the foolish provocation of putting new missile sites along Russia’s border, whatever the pretext? Imagine Russian missiles installed along the Canadian or Mexican border – can we remember our reaction when Soviet missiles were installed in Cuba over 50 years ago?
    A great write up, Sir. Thank you.

  13. Terry Washington
    May 15, 2016 at 9:36 am

    The question is what do (pace Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic States along with other Eastern Europe nations) want-simple they wish to retain their hard won independence from the Kremlin. It NEVER ceases to astonish me that the sort of liberal/leftist who would rightly bristle at the claim that Latin and Central America(including the Caribbean) under the terms of the Monroe Doctrine are part of the “American sphere of influence” feels free to repeat neo-Soviet Putinist blather about Eastern Europe being part of Russia’s “sphere of influence”.( presumably Anglo-American imperialism bad but Russian imperialism, if not good, then NOT so bad to quote the late George Orwell)
    Red herrings about the”fascist coup d’etat” in Kiev miss the wider point- what is paramount is what the peoples of the former USSR(such as Georgia, or Ukraine) want- if it means joining either the EU or NATO, then so be it!

    • dahoit
      May 15, 2016 at 10:57 am

      The peoples or the oligarchs?I would imagine the people of the Ukraine would rather be living in peace instead of having a wacko martial govt implode and destroy their way of life.
      Russia is no threat to anyone except crazy takfiri mercenary for USZion terrorists.

  14. May 15, 2016 at 10:26 am

    The President speaks about putting oneself in the other’s shoes. Can he not understand Putin’s feelings when NATO continually
    expands? How would he feel if the Russians had bases in Canada, closer and closer to the border?

  15. akech
    May 15, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    I wonder who are being taxed to fund this massive buildup when majority of the war mongering elites do not pay taxes or keep their money in Panama, Caymans Island, Swiss bank, Bermuda and Virgin Islands!

    Some of the young people already burdened with trillions $$$ of college debts coming from these same tax-havens-war mongering elites find themselves owing IRS taxes; and they are also required to vote for Hillary-Obama-Neocon regime change policies around the world with no end in sight and no question asked! Anybody who dares to ask why this must go on will be rendered an enemy.

    Trade in resources should be peacefully carried out with local citizens in areas where these resources are found; this will enable the sharing of benefits resulting from harnessing these resources.

    Apparently, this is not what the armed and greedy elites are interested in. They want everything, even if that means decimating the whole population in these resource-rich surrounding areas. This is what killing the people of South Sudan, Congo, Central Africa, West Africa, North Africa, Libya, Syria and Iraq, and Ukraine, (to name only a few). People are dying or have died en masse or are lingering in filthy refugee camps with hopelessness written in all of their faces!

    In many of these areas, warring parties are created and supplied with weapons with the strategic mission set up in such a way that while these artificially created warring parties are busy slaughtering one another, the looting of resources continues unimpeded. Corporate funded security forces are always employed around the locations of the exploited raw materials! In other words, instead of competing for these resources in open markets, it would be cheaper to kill people and have everything.

    The question is: Why do these war-mongering elites feel that all the resources on planet earth are theirs to take?

    • Realist
      May 15, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      I think that the warmongering elites you reference feel entitled to grab all they can is because they figure they are just taking it from some other warmongering elitists based in a different country and culture. They don’t figure they are taking it from the mass of humanity with much greater needs than their own–those 99.9999% of us never had a chance. As George Carlin said, “it’s a club and you ain’t in it.” In this case the club is composed essentially of a few dozen sociopathic oligarchs from the richest most “developed” countries (developed at least at the top echelons in their societies) mainly in the West but also in places like Saudi Arabia, Brunei, and China. These are the chess players sitting at the evil Dr. Z’s infamous board. To them, everyone else is irrelevant or just collateral damage.

  16. USUK
    May 15, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Boondoggles? No, these are not mistakes, but an intentional policy of Zionist aggression that goes back over 120 years. Any Gentile state that asserts its sovereignty and does not accept the Zionist International Apartheid System, where Gentiles are 2nd class citizens or goy slaves, is attacked by Zionists and their tools. Whenever a Gentile state is too powerful to overthrow by simpler means such as economic sabotage, assassination, color-coded revolutions, drones, or an Iraqi-style invasion, the Zionists round up their gang of despicable Gentile sellout states, usually led by USUK, and the “world community” suddenly declares war on the Zionist victim under false premises, such as “fighting for their freedom.” The time is long past due to boycott the Uzionist States of America and its co-sellout states.

  17. elmerfudzie
    May 15, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Any emphasis on the ongoing military build-up in both NATO and Russia completely avoids two common-sense issues. The first is, the obvious ability to plant suitcase nukes by smuggling then deploying them near key brain trust or high tech manufacturing centers. For example; the war machine profiteers and mongers have, for the past seventy years, gone about circling the globe, touting that all too familiar “balance of power” propaganda or drumming up old fears, “the Russians are coming”. This is such a tiresome reminder for me- that it takes quite a bit just to type it- again. Dear CONSORTIUMNEWS readers, keep in mind the real clandestine strategy here, that is, create an envy or other enmity between nation states, wait a while, then swoop in with the weapon(s) solution for either one or both sides! Thus, the profiteers corporate portfolio doubles by selling arms to any political leader with a ax to grind, cleaver eh? Another example, North Korea, where Rummy Rumsfeld lobbied congress and then President Clinton signed off, authorizing the construction of two nuclear reactors for North Korea (contracted out to ABB ltd. Zurich?). After completion, their neighbors saw two nuclear bomb factories, so our war mongering fellows proceeded to approach Japan and South Korea with anti-missile defenses and a few U.S. Air Force bases as back up against a threat OUR CORPORATE WAR MONGERS created in the first place. A third example was the US Intel agencies looking the other way thus permitting the Israelis to steal substantial quantities of weapons grade plutonium from one of our reprocessing facilities in Tennessee. Not to be out done, the French government, in the same war profiteering cabal, helped the Israelis to fabricate that stolen plutonium and build Dimona. These actions precipitated envy and hatred among the world’s one billion Muslims-oh, yes! guaranteed, profits abound AND for years to come from the nearby GCC countries. There are many such long range corporate war monger strategies in the works today, and this article just exposed one more instance (NATO eastern front build-up). The second common sense issue revolves around a Russia that is tired of being a “one act pony” an oil and mineral extraction economy, so in response to NATO Putin ordered his war machine profiteers to make new stuff for the global markets. The more menacing of which has been the development of that new, Satan? missile. It can achieve an almost unbelievable velocity of over four miles per second. So, if the west coast U.S. brain and manufacturing trust CEO’s at Boeing, Silicon Valley or deep warm water ports at LA, San Diego (Navy) believe that our new Moscow like “Galosh System” can protect you, pick up the phone for verification, call your favorite Pentagon General, he’s bound to tell you a long winded story that ends with our ABM’s can’t really do a damn thing against any missile moving that fast-but everyone did make a lot of money! What was the Karl Marx quote about capitalists willing to buy the rope that hangs them?

  18. Idiotland
    May 16, 2016 at 12:11 am

    Somehow fitting that in all this insanity the secretary of “defense” looks like a cross between Daffy Duck and Sylvester the Cat. Every time I see this bozo on TV I half expect him to start talking with a lisp.

  19. Andrew Nichols
    May 16, 2016 at 5:16 am

    And it’s just going to get worse if HRC is elected. For the first time in a long time I am fearful for the future.

  20. Consecrate Russia Now!
    May 16, 2016 at 10:02 am

    President Barack Hussein Obama: winner of the Nobel Peace Price.

    What a supreme irony: can anyone rememeber what that prize was for?

    We already have prophetic warning about the possible “annihilation of nations.” It does not have to be so.

    Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

    http://www.fatima.org

  21. jaycee
    May 16, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Going back to the 1950s, wargaming involving nuclear weapons has invariably ended with total global disaster. So no matter the fancy titles next to the think-tank scholar’s names, concepts of “winnable” nuclear war or tactical nuclear forces are patent nonsense, and persons talking up these concepts are either simply idiots or are pimping for the MIC. Suspect the latter.

  22. Zahid Kramet
    May 17, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Whether or not the Europeans will allow themselves to become pawns in the new ’Great Game’ is yet to be seen. But the benefits will definitely accrue to China .Obviously those on the ’other’ side of the Atlantic don’t care a whit. Nor do they seem to understand that when it comes down to the wire the Russians are Europeans. And a greater Europe with Russia included will be infinitely more poweful than America, even with its formidable military industrial complex.

  23. Medusa
    May 17, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    Obama is such a pathetic fool!

  24. Claus Eric Hamle
    May 18, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Missile engineer Bob Aldridge-www.plrc.org: Whether they are on ships or land, they are still a necesssary component for an unanswerable first strike. Also on 32 ships in the Mediterranean Sea,4 now in Cadiz. Suicide by Launch on Warning ???

  25. Zachary Smith
    May 20, 2016 at 12:02 am

    I just ran into a scary article at the Russia Insider site. The author claims that deployment of Aegis Ashore will eventually force Russia into a preemptive strike against it.

    “NATO Missile Shield Is Practically Guaranteeing a Russian Preemptive Strike”

    In the event “NATO” discovers that the Iranian threat is so scary that the missile count at the sites must be quadrupled, make very sure your fallout shelter is empty of everything except the necessary supplies for a nuclear war.

    http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/us-presses-start-key-third-world-war/ri14413

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