As the U.S. and NATO mount provocative military maneuvers on Russia’s border, the West is oblivious to how these threatening gestures ratchet up prospects of thermonuclear war that could extinguish civilization, says Gilbert Doctorow.
By Gilbert Doctorow
In his eulogy to Mohammed Ali at the Louisville memorial service, Rabbi Michael Lerner reminded us all of the distinguishing feature of “The Greatest,” that from the start of his career he spoke Truth to Power and paid the price when he was stripped of his heavyweight title for five years.
In that spirit, and in the presence of eminent national leaders, Rabbi Lerner listed major issues that concern Liberal Progressives, adding one issue that is often overlooked. He said that attempts to subjugate peoples and rule the world have been made over the last 10,000 years and they have never worked. In what follows, I will try to expand on that very important observation and how it bears on our own and broader humanity’s prospects for survival now.
One of the very sad consequences of the monopoly control of mainstream print and electronic media, as well as of the two houses of Congress by the ideologists of Neoconservatism and Liberal Interventionism is that the broad American public, including instinctively skeptical Progressives, is clueless about the level of risk of all-out nuclear war that we are inviting by our current and projected policies of global domination. America’s seemingly irresistible force is coming up against indomitable resistance from Russia and China and the result is an escalating confrontation that we have not seen since the days of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
I had a personal awakening to the reality of the false sense of security that pervades American society some 18 months ago when I participated in a Peace Day event organized at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where the keynote speaker was Noam Chomsky and where a number of other leading personalities in the nationwide antiwar movement also held forth.
The auditorium, which accommodated the opening, plenary session, was filled by perhaps 350 activists, many of them gray-headed veterans from the 1960s Vietnam War resistance, but also a representative sampling of students from the Greater Boston area. When we broke up for workshops, perhaps 250 chose the then very fashionable issue of the Islamic State, whose exploits had filled our newspapers with beheadings and bloody terror taking place in distant lands. My own workshop was on the red-hot civil war then raging in Donbass, in southeastern Ukraine, which was becoming a proxy war between Russia and the U.S. It drew a total of five auditors.
And the workshop on nuclear dangers, which I looked in on when my session closed, had perhaps 10 auditors. The organizers were busy presenting slides showing what could happen in a European city like Rotterdam if “bad guys” managed to detonate a dirty radioactive bomb in the city center. A better scenario for substituting phony threats for real ones could not have been written by Pentagon strategists.
The thought that we might find ourselves in a nuclear exchange with Russia did not cross the minds of organizers or auditors alike. And yet to my understanding, the level of risk of war coming out of the Great Power stand-off in Ukraine, and of it — accidentally or otherwise — spinning out of control and going nuclear was vastly greater than anything that could ever befall us from the advance of radical Islamists in the Middle East.
My point is not to ridicule the very earnest and well-intentioned anti-war campaigners whose ranks I joined that day. It is to demonstrate how and why the highly tendentious reporting of what the U.S. is doing in the world and what others are doing to us, combined with selective news blackouts by major media, has left even activists unaware of real threats to the peace and to our very survival that American foreign policy has created over the past 20 years. And those threats are likely to grow in the future if the public does not awaken from its slumber and demand to be informed by experts with countervailing views.
Ignoring War and Peace
We are living through a situation unparalleled in our history as a nation where the issues of war and peace are not being debated in public, at least not in any serious way.
Moreover, the risk of accidental war has moved quickly beyond where it was just 18 months ago. Now we are entering upon implementation of very provocative U.S.-directed military expansion of NATO activities at the borders of Russia. The ongoing war games — code-named Anaconda-16 in Poland numbering 31,000 troops, 17,000 of them Americans — are rehearsing a NATO seizure and occupation of Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave, just a few miles away.
President Vladimir Putin’s remark at the start of the exercises was that any move into Russian territory would elicit a nuclear response that would not be limited to the European theater but would be directed at the mainland United States. These were clear words, but I greatly doubt that many Americans heard them (or if they did, it was in the mainstream media’s context of the demonized Putin’s “reckless” rhetoric).
The NATO Summit planned for July 6-8 in Warsaw will confirm plans to greatly expand the presence of NATO troops and heavy equipment in bases being built in Poland as well as in the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. In response to this unanticipated threat to its national security, Russia is now moving a large part of its armed forces from the center of the country to the Leningrad Oblast, bordering on Estonia. The distances separating Russian and NATO forces will be miniscule.
In this sense, we are now two minutes to midnight on the nuclear catastrophe clock. But the American people seem unaware of this potential threat to the survival of human civilization. The only political commentary is more belligerent talk directed at Putin and vows to confront “Russian aggression.”
What can we do about this dire situation? First, we can write to the editors of our major national daily newspapers and complain about the wholly one-sided view of international affairs that they are feeding us day by day. We should politely demand that they open their op-ed pages to responsible experts and non-experts who challenge our present foreign and defense policies as being aggressive and provocative.
The same letters should be sent to the producers of news programming and panel discussions at CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and other leading electronic media who have systematically black-balled all those who do not agree with the Washington Narrative ever since the start of the Information Wars with Russia in 2007.
Secondly, we should write to our Congressmen and women demanding that Congressional hearings on foreign relations and relations with Russia and China in particular must cease to be phony exercises at which only those who support the U.S. government’s present policies or call for still more drastic poking the Russians in the eye get invited to testify.
Hearings which bring in as well those who believe as I do that we are presently on course for Armageddon should get C-SPAN coverage and give the American public a chance to judge for itself from authoritative and credible sources and not only from “alternative media” that can easily be dismissed by the establishment.
These recommended actions will not by themselves turn back the minute hand on the Clock, but they may stop its progression and give us a very much needed time out to fix policies that are wrongheaded and extremely dangerous.
Gilbert Doctorow is the European Coordinator and Board Member of The American Committee for East West Accord Ltd. His most recent book, Does Russia Have a Future?was published in August 2015.
At the US nudging of NATO to the very borders of Russia, President Vladimir Putin defensively remarked that any move into Russia would elicit a nuclear response directed at the US mainland. Perhaps if the Department of Defense lived up to its name and retreated back to US borders, Armageddon could be deferred until American conversion into the ranks of the forces for good.
The problem with the American public, Mr. Doctorow, as I am sure you are well aware, is multifold, but it centers around ignorance and crisis fatigue. The American public is overloaded with information that they can’t make sense of. So many people today are just smug leftists and so divisive yet they lack both the intellectual capacity and the rigor to understand anything about their world. Book smarts, I guess. Nearly the entire tech industry suffers from this malaise. I run across very few real individuals or intellectuals–although there are plenty of poorly educated conspiracy nuts. Then again, I guess some of the conspiracies have proved to be true.
Nothing worthwhile will ever again come out of DC. We are on our own. Worse, the media has betrayed us. Only money speaks and there is too much of it conjured into existence out of nothingness. Honest work is considered a sucker’s game. I’m fed up with Cultural Marxism and people obsessed about their feelings. I’m not even sure how that came about? Endemic narcissism?
So many institutions are broken or at their breaking point because of the utter foolishness that has been allowed to go on. I blame the Boomer generation for that–those drug addicts and alcoholics have been in charge for far too long and now they desperately want to retire on the house of cards they built. But it’s never going to work.
Lastly, my interpretation of the events in Poland is that because of Ukraine, the Poles rightly think they are next for invasion. I don’t consider that a provocation but rather it is the natural response the Poles would have given their history–they suffered terribly under the Germans and then the Russians. They need the deterrent.
Thanks to Gilbert Doctorow for a well written and thought out warning to us and thanks to antiwar.com for giving me the link to this story.
This isn’t about doomsday clocks, it’s about the takeover of Russia in some material way. And the fools doing this must be gambling that the Russians will blink first. Either that or these actors know something we don’t. One should write to ones congress members as well as the president about this. And I think it’s also important to point out that they are not the originators of it. It’s larger than they are and these people — congress and the president — may not and probably do not have the ultimate power to stop what’s going on. But the larger popular voice will make a difference and can potentially stop it.
“The ongoing war games … are rehearsing a NATO seizure and occupation of Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave, just a few miles away.”
I understand that the location is itself provocative, but what is the source for the assertion that “seizure and occupation” of Kaliningrad is the scenario of the war games?
As far as I understand, the Russians were closely monitoring the NATO war games and their military analysts came to conclusion that they were training for the forward troop deployment and amphibious landings. In military terms, it is relatively easy to distinguish between defensive and offensive military formations. This conclusion was subsequently published in the English language Russian media.
Importantly, NATO has never denied this Russian view; perhaps NATO wanted to send a message with such type of exercise.
Finally, even if wrong about the NATO war games, the Russians are entitled to their view and we should be concerned about their perceptions because they can turn us into radioactive dust us even due to mistaken perceptions. There is now very little direct communication between NATO and the Russian military (suspended) and if NATO keeps sending such thinly-veiled messages they can only increase Russian paranoia.
Thanks, Kiza. That’s very helpful, and your final point—about taking Russian perceptions into account—is so important, but utterly alien to NATO/US thinking.
One more, and then I’ll stop: that romanian energy site is sponsored by nato and has all these pics of speakers at Chatham house, signs pointing to the truth (no, look at the site, look at the photos, there is a picture of a sign with Truth printed on it. Ha!). Wow.
In this way, the Brics (pushing back on NATO expansion, saying no to Google) becomes anti access/anti denial a2 ad
Okay, sorry to monopolize the thread!
I keep seeing this kind of thing everywhere:
roec-dot-biz (romanian energy site: “black sea in access denial age”)
The lack of discussion of all of this is, well, I keep using insane, but it’s insane.
PS: Holy Cannolis, can I take back some of my skepticism? Sorry, there is so much propaganda floating around I become extremely wary of everyone…..
That’s a good point, Helge.
NATO officials keep talking about anti access/area denial bubbles or something like that (A2AD) and what they mean is that as long as NATO can’t control Ukraine or Kalingrad!, then they can’t protect the Baltics or some such nonsense.
Related to the topics of propaganda around here is the story that India said no to Google maps.
I am surprised it is not getting more play, mostly Indian papers covered it and other papers only covered it in a “why can’t the Indians ever do anything right,” vein which is part and parcel of western narratives of South Asia, nations either need saving or scolding and both progressives and conservatives can’t help scolding: “why can’t they ever do anything right?”
Anyway, I thought about the leaked Hillary emails and Google offers to help with removing Assad by tracking data and “beaming it back into Syria,”.
The few western sites that mentioned it had depressing threads, Google maps is so helpful, blah blah blah.
Anyway, the world’s a complicated place and this creation of a Frankenstein border between NATO and Russia makes the India-Pakistan-China border troubles look like smaller potatoes, even if that is frightening too.
I fully agree with the article, as I wrote before, I expect a NATO blockade of the Kalinigrad Oblast as the begining of the hostilities rather sooner then later. This has to happen before the truth about MH17 will come out and the EU may re-consider the Russian sanctions. The “Sender Gleiwitz” incident has also been named already: “Any cyber attack on any NATO data network will be treated equally to a direct attack on a NATO member state.” Who then can judge whether the alleged attack happened or not, who will be able to check the NATO network apart from NATO itself whether the allegation is true or not? So they can start any time claiming a Russian cyber attack as the alleged provocation and no one can check whether it is true or not.
This approach started since NATO took on the role of being above UN as a new “International Community”, not needing a UN resolution for a military attack on a country any more (since the bombing of Serbia in 1999). NATO represents everyone who matters in this World, the rest are UN banana member countries.
The story about cyber attacks as casus belli just shows that NATO is not de-escalating, it is most aggressively escalating and actively looking for opportunities to initiate a war. This may be because most Western economies are in such a precarious state.
Another commenter in a previous thread expressed skepticism of another author (perhaps this one) and suggested that the narratives around here were too sympathetic to Putin and Russia and betrayed a kind of falling too much for another kind of propaganda while trying to see through NATO propaganda.
I sometimes feel that way too, especially as I am aware of the way in which progressives (the Nation magazine, etc.) were coopted in South Asia by the Saudis and NATO members who wanted conflict between India and Pakistan to be presented in one way, a way in which the Iranians and Russians were marginalized.
I don’t like the way many western progressive discuss South Asia and often feel turned off by a kind of easy bigotry that develops in trying to show solidarity against Islamophobia, so that, without meaning to, Saudi and Gulf narratives of the region reign.
Anyway, the point of the digression is that if I don’t like cross border support to insurgencies in Syria or Afghanistan, why would I in Ukraine.
I don’t. I don’t agree entirely with the standard progressive narratives.
Yet the mechanics of two nuclear armed entities holding exercises on a nuclear border have the same pitfalls, whether you agree with the Ukrainian and neoconservative narrative, or those of some in East West Accord.
That is what makes the study of this so dangerous to many parties, it brings us all down to earth in a frightening way.
Accidents and mistakes have nothing to do with who is right or who is wrong, necessarily, but result from errors in judgment that are reenforced by structural features.
In order to stay neutral (even if I think I favor the expansion of NATO causing problems narrative more), I like to focus on the border.
Borders are interesting structural features and their study can be politicized or represent a part of getting at the truth.
The Ukrainians were told multiple times, apparently, by more “together” neighbors to get control of borders but it never seems to happen. Weapons and tanks cross borders, and so do people, illicit goods in black markets, and all sorts of outside military support of whatever degree.
Trade continues today across borders that NATO is somehow supposed to protect. This news never seems to fit into many narratives and good luck trying to find much information on how trade occurs, illicit or otherwise, sanctions or no.
We KNOW them by their fruit. Do they make peace or do they make war? Today the US neoCONs, using NATO as a cover, are pushing war against Russia and turning the USA into a 3rd world country at the same time. NATO = The North American Terrorist Organization. But, what’s the # 1 cause of trouble in the world? THE GREATER ISRAEL PROJECT (note the borders compared to the ISIL caliphate). Google it and then follow up with MASS MIGRATION WEAPON OF WAR. It will shock you and, if you connect the dots, you’ll realize ISIL will disappear when the new border is secured and the people moved out of the land.
Some years ago, on Tom Ricks blog at Foreign Policy (“Best Defense”), there was a comment thread where a bunch of Gen X’ers talked about feeling frightened as children by MAD and the conflict between the US and the Soviet Union. I think it was after Abbottabad and young people pouring into DC’s streets cheering on the events.
It wasn’t very fair to the young people who have known nothing but the expansive global WOT for their entire lives and drew on what they saw around the, the way in which they have been conditioned to think and their own fears.
But I wondered at the time if there would be the same reaction to the threat of nuclear conflict, if The Day After would have the same effects on Gen Y or Gen Z that it did on Gen Xers (or some Boomers).
The super hero movie phenomenon has taken our popular culture further and further from concrete realities (or is a reflection of the same changes in society) and would people just think it’s another disaster movie?
Art and education have work to do….
The world is run by unelected plutocrats, the vast majority of whose wealth was inherited not earned. These mediocrities compound their ignorance by hiring only “experts” who are telling them what they want to hear. It looks like we are well and truly screwed.
Very true, and in fact common knowledge. But the plutos (no offense to Donald Duck’s dog) have to live in this world, too, so we have to get through to them somehow. I hope it doesn’t take nuclear catastrophe to do so, although that is the direction in which we are heading, as Gilbert Doctorow says. Very few people get this. My wife doesn’t. German politicos don’t. US presidential candidates don’t. Exactly the same is true of the danger of environmental holocaust. Ralph Nader wrote a book appealing to billionaires to save the planet, which I haven’t read, but I think the argument was “You can do it, so please do.” This is not strong enough. They have to be told that they have to do it, or perish along with us and our grandchildren and theirs. The crazed neocons in power seem to have convinced them that the world can saved by American military power, and it is our job, with the help of people like the author of this article (please see my appeal above), to convince them that this is a pipe dream and will turn into smoke (nuclear fallout) if reason does not prevail.
Not only is the US guilty of immense hypocrisy, it has managed to hijack what are supposed to be “international institutions” to help perpetrate this hypocrisy. This is yet another example of just how important it is to establish a true balance of global power through a multipolar system of sovereign nations, in place of the “international order” that currently exists, which sidesteps nation sovereignty and empowers global criminality rather than stopping it.
America’s Love Affair With Nuclear & Radioactive Weapons
By Ulson Gunnar
Really, really important.
I’m amazed that some of our CONSORTIUMNEWS readers and the authors of articles similar to Doctorow’s, fail time and again to build arguments, for or against an idea based on creative and intuitive thinking and not solely on logistical facts and figures. Lets begin by assuming that the West launched a fully successful first strike against Russian, land, sea and air military targets. In retaliation, what would that ex-KGB official, Putin really do? Putin, that decorated disciple of the old Soviet MGB and NKVD schools. Wasn’t he the Soviet era understudy of “Intel professors” like, Abakumov, Denisovich and lest we forget- Beria! My opinion is, he’d quickly order the deployment of recently smuggled SADM (mini nukes) already inside NATO countries and detonate them near soft EU targets, perhaps in Germany, France, Italy and England (for starters) . The top ten EU universities, simultaneously- wiped off the map, Brussels bureaucratic agencies, maybe the seats of certain governments, provided there were majorities of congresspersons present on the floor(s) during that fateful day. The subsequent damage to our western world would outweigh historical losses not seen since the Ancient Library of Alexandria was burned to the ground by Julius Caesar’s army. Not just a cultural loss as Alexandria was but the highly prized, intellectual community and intellectual property would be forever lost, echoing unforeseen and innumerable consequences for centuries yet to come. May I suggest here that Putin would scramble the blame game egg too, adulterating SADM U235 fission material and Pt 232 signatures to indicate that the American’s were engaged in a black op’s that backfire-d (couldn’t resist the bomber pun). U235 is so easy to smuggle, little or no shielding required, practically undetectable and so on-you can almost feel the twisting and turning treacheries. Think twice all you Neocon fools! and leave that owl Putin alone, You know what the Chinese say about a hooting owl and he’s been hooting a long time now. Some of the best political and diplomatic minds don’t see or hear a bad omen, even when their nose to nose with one.
elmerfudzie’s wargame-playing is beside the point, which is to reduce the danger of nuclear weapons under any circumstances. The very notion of a “fully successful first strike” against any country at all is insane. Unfortunately, however, this comment sounds all too much like something that could come from the Pentagon, or wherever else such insanity passes for “realism.” And why make fun of Putin’s “intel” background. I know another country that elected a DCI as president without anyone objecting and then followed up by placing his son in the same office after having murdered the only president in recent history who defied the pinheads in the military-intelligence establishment three times (Bay of Pigs, missile crisis, and Vietnam — see James Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable), and half the population knows it but has not been able to change the power structure that causes such things.
Michael Morrissey. perhaps I (Elmerfudzie) did not explain myself clearly enough- Consider this itemized list;
1. No joking was intended nor poking fun at Putin’s background, he’s a true contender, and a very dangerous man.
2. It’s a pipe dream to think that nuclear weapons can be removed from war scenario’s well into the foreseeable future.
3. Both sides are working slavishly to create smaller, designer, nuclear weapons built into potential conflicts.
4. First strike is as much on Putin’s table as it is on the Pentagon’s-both east and west have their share of hawks and doves.
5. I know of no world or regional war that is or was “sane”, with or without nuclear weapons.
Sit tight, it’s gonna be one hell of a ride in 2016…nothing wrong with saying a few prayers to the god of your choice!
I can agree pretty much with your points above, elmerfudzie, although I think the US leadership is considerably more dangerous than Putin, and heaven help us if eliminating “war scenarios” is only a pipe dream because any war scenario will inevitably become nuclear sooner or later, and as it appears now given US belligerence, sooner. US global hegemony is the pipe dream that US leaders have to awaken from, before we all wake up (or not) to nuclear holocaust. That is also the message of this article, as I read it.
Michael Morrissey, the principal advocates of a world war are not necessarily part of the political leadership in the east or west. A document surfaced some time ago, published by William Cooper titled; Behold a Pale Horse. It show the real who’s who of those forces behind “celebrity” faces that we, citizens at large (wrongfully) assume hold both power and decision making. Mr Cooper photocopied Appendix E of a “Club of Rome” report detailing how the world economies, cultures and peoples and so on, will be divided up into kingdoms (ten global groups). In short, a deliberate consolidation and manipulation of peoples, energy policies, banking, trade, mining, agricultural, ethnic customs into a computer generated model, of which the Club, numbering three hundred men, would use as a guide to subvert each kingdom and sub group and thus place the world under their collective thumbs. The document was published on September 17, 1973 and the date alone suggests obsolescence. In what way? there are many frustrations that require continuous alteration(s) on Club blueprint. Several leadership names can be traced to the more recent, Bilderberg Club list (one hundred an fifty men) So, in fact, Big Banks and international corporate CEO’s are running the whole show, largely due to an existing global fiat currency system. But what are these frustrations? I I’ll name just a few; Artificial Intelligence, sixth generation computing, 3-D laser printing, Bitcoining, bartering and last but certainly not least, the new tool of network computing and the subsequent emancipation of the common man’s knowledge base. As Jay Rockefeller said in a derogatory tone, the internet should never have existed…The few examples (of frustrations) I presented here will merge together and release humanity from feudal, oligarchical and any centralized control. For the Club(s) of Rome and Bilderberg, the tighter they’re grip the quicker, we the grains of sand, will slip through their fingers. Take a brief peek into recent history, let’s recall one, Franz Von Papen, a German nobleman, Chancellor and military attaché, closely linked to big bankers and industrialists, like Krupp and Farben. Papen was eventually indicted trying to blow up Canada’s Welland Canal (lake Erie). One may assume that a similar cabal of bankers,acting in the spirit of Franz Von Papen, orchestrated the 911 and Oklahoma City bombings. Always, always, manipulating, instigating, scheming, dominating politics and especially creating military threats. Finally, lest we forget, obligating our country’s wealth and power into foreign entanglements! So, it’s really not about Putin, Obama, Bush or Cheney- they’re in effect, the marionettes, the guy’s holding the strings are listed in both Club(s) attendance lists. Four hundred and fifty guys, RUNNING THE WORLD AND THE FATE OF EIGHT BILLION PEOPLE!
I agree with you completely but I doubt the efficacy of writing letters to the mainstream media. I posted this the other day on OpEdNews.com:
I also wrote to Stephen Cohen, Noam Chomsky, Paul Craig Roberts, and Ray McGovern to urge them to follow up on this idea and get together to send a joint letter or memo (on the model of Ray McGovern’s VIPS) to the president and publish it widely. Stephen Cohen referred me to EastWestAccord.com, of which you are also a member. I guess I should have written to you, too, though I did write to the website contact address. Why don’t you guys put out a VIPS-like memo? Better yet, why don’t you and VIPS put out a joint memo? Even better, get Paul Roberts and Noam Chomsky to participate. Tell POTUS what to do, namely, withdraw those NATO troops, stop the provocations, stop the sanctions, stop protecting Ukraine while it prevents any sort of progress there, etc. In short, be reasonable. This is what you are all saying, individually, and my (simple and obvious, I thought!) point is DO IT TOGETHER. Why call for “us” to write letters to mainstream lapdogs, which will accomplish nothing, when just a few of you can get together and produce meaningful documents — which “we” can then quote and help disseminate?
Naked aggression would be a bit too ‘obvious’ in my opinion. They’d want to disguise it in some way.
Kaliningrad is a Russian enclave in western Europe. Anything going there must arrive by sea, by air, or with permission from Poland or Lithuania for the land routes. What I read in a quick search suggests NATO believes they might be able pull a “reverse Crimea” there – because the younger generation distinctly favors Europe over Russia.
Suppose Victoria Nuland and her neocon buddies arranges some kind of blowup in Kaliningrad. A great many angry young people are demanding Freedom To Choose – just like in Crimea. At this point NATO could very helpfully blockade Kaliningrad. This way anything Russia attempted to do could be portrayed as ‘aggression’ and the ‘mainstream media’ would talk of nothing besides Defense Defense Defense.
On a whim I made a Kaliningrad Sanctions search and found this:
What if NATO is busy arranging an economic Depression in isolated Kaliningrad? Jobs get scarce, trade stagnates, and people take to the streets. All we need at that point is Victoria’s Friendly Gang of Snipers and Murderers to set the pot boiling, and the big NATO military practice sessions we’re seeing now could become the real thing.
Imagine Queen Hillary in charge of it all. Think really ugly.
If NATO, I mean Washington, were foolish enough to do that, it would be the end. Russia simply could not take military half measures–like simply breaking an air/sea blockade of Kaliningrad, as anything of the sort would be used as justification to launch those missiles in Romania and Poland to eliminate Russia’s ability for a retaliatory (“second”) strike. Acting on Obomber’s recent taunts regarding this matter, Russia would, in fact, have to launch a nuclear first strike against the full spectrum of American targets, employing the “use ’em or lose ’em” strategy. For what it’s worth, the few survivors left in the world could blame Obomber for our planet’s demise, as he challenged Putin to do this very thing! Or did people miss that remark from the Peace Prize winner amongst the constant trash talk the mindless idiot spews?
I believe there is little danger of nuclear war at the moment. Even neo-cons, (and D.Trump), realise that a radioactive wasteland is not profitable. It would require a genuinely neo-fascist lunatic to think they could get away with a nuclear first strike. In the medium term small and proxy wars will continue.
Chris, Trump is not a neocon. The neocons hate him because he’s against the US being the world’s super-cop. He thinks that military involvement only makes sense when/where our nation or its people are threatened. That’s why he was and still is against the Iraq war, the Afghan war, etc etc.–all wars that neocons, including H. Clinton, loved.
When thinking of foreign policy, “America First” is close to libertarianism..
Thanks for the update Bart. But he’s still corporate in my book.
Rabbi Lerner’s comment is my take-away line…that humans have been trying for 10,000 years to subjugate peoples and rule the World…and it has never worked…NEVER WORKED. This too shall fail and fall. The Western Empire (New Rome) shall fail and fall. Every attempt to build the Tower of Babel is dismantled by Earth’s actual, Natural Government. These Immortals are what They are. I’ll leave the labeling to others (the good Rabbi would probably call Them the Elohim), but I’m convinced They are HERE…have ALWAYS been here. And THEY don’t stand for elections, nor honor kings and queens and emperors and oligarchs and such. This 10,000-year period of time neatly fits within one-half of the Precession(24,985 years I believe it is)…the Night of Ignorance. The Dawn and The Return are coming ’round again folks.
Sorry. It’s approx. 25,920 years.
Chomsky, just a couple of days ago, wrote a very trenchant piece on the Doomsday Clock. Well worth a look if you have the time.
Thank you for a clearly written article on a very important topic.
Where I live, in a retirement community in Florida, the local newspapers won’t publish anything even slightly controversial. There shouldn’t be any controversy about raising the issue that, in your words, “the risk of accidental war has moved quickly beyond where it was just 18 months ago. Now we are entering upon implementation of very provocative U.S.-directed military expansion of NATO activities at the borders of Russia. The ongoing war games — code-named Anaconda-16 in Poland numbering 31,000 troops, 17,000 of them Americans — are rehearsing a NATO seizure and occupation of Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave, just a few miles away.” What is there that could be controversial?. If the entire East Coast, from southern Main to the Carolinas, were threatened by a Supervolcano that would kill everyone living in cities along the coast (Boston, New York), there wouldn’t be anything controversial about discussing this threat. Yet, in terms of how Americans might be impacted, the nuclear threat is even greater than the East Coast supervolcano threat.
We have a “Philosophy Club” in my community and I’d already made a couple of presentations. In April 2014, tensions were growing on the Russian and Ukrainian border. I suggested during a Philosophy Club recess that I lead a discussion on whether what was happening was raising the probability of a nuclear WWIII. The moderator asked the group and 100% of the people in the room (about fifty) wanted that to be the topic of the next meeting, and so the moderator scheduled me and our new topic. A few days before the discussion was to take place, the moderator called me to say that the discussion on the threat of nuclear war was canceled and another speaker had been scheduled. I went to the meeting anyway and witnessed how it started.. The moderator told everyone that my discussion had been canceled because I was anti-American!
Toward the end of your piece, you mention that “the American people seem unaware of this potential threat to the survival of human civilization.” It’s actually worse than that. A recent poll about whether the USA should respond with nuclear weapons if a US ship was sunk near Russian territory. Over 50% agreed that the US should drop a nuclear weapon.
Most Americans can’t really imagine what a nuclear war would be like. We haven’t experienced any war on our soil for over a century and we haven’t had foreign troops on our soil since the Revolutionary War. Europeans have experienced war and so are much more circumvent about the topic.
Thanks for raising the subject. Why aren’t there more comments???
Where I live, in a retirement community in Florida, the local newspapers won’t publish anything even slightly controversial.
No surprise there when you are talking about the Mickey Mouse state. As for your phone call from the moderator, I would have bet on what he was going to say and won.
Bill, you missed the point in favor of making a snide remark–come on, that’s a Hillary Clinton tactic.
The point is that in trying to bring this message to a wider audience there can be upsetting setbacks. Still, it’s worth trying. Have you??
Most Americans are the victims of the neoCON propaganda that teaches them it is anti-American if you don’t support their wars of aggression. In fact, most Americans don’t even want to be told about the danger the war mongers have put them in. Ignorance IS bliss.
“SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER…”
If one has some amount of power/influence one has a chance to
“speak truth to power.”Muhammad Ali is one example. He was,
after all, protected by his celebrity.(to a degree.)
Most of us have no protection. Speaking truth releases a
multitude of attacks if not more than “anti-American.”
I recall several years ago I wrote a brief letter to the
largest local paper in my city, I submitted it and
shared it with Noam Chomsky. I answered with praise adding
I shared it per email with Noam Chomsky who responded
with praise adding: “but they won’t print it.” (They didn’t.)
That is one of the primary means of censorship, of blocking
speaking truth. It is just fear. Fear of being reported to
authorities, fear for myself, my job, my family…
Changing the subject, some few years ago I lived in a
tenement. Down the hall from my apartment I could often
hear a small child crying. We are told that we should intervene
and so on. (Of course, there may have been reason for
the child to cry desperately at 10:30 pm. Children do
cry, after all. Instead, I was a coward. In a poor neighborhood
the safest way to survive is to get involved in as possible
(unless you are actually witness). Who knows who may come
and take revenge? I was living alone at that time.
If at the conference Doctorow refers to, was a condemnbation
of Israel an issue. For anyone? But that would have been
Several years ago a conservatory where I go for free concerts
had a year’s theme highlighting speaking truth to power. It
included much about speaking truth to anti-semitism years ago.
I wrote an email pointing out that the efforts for justice
and the fighting for freedom by Palestinians needed to be
included. That was speaking truth to power. I had written my
letter to an organization dependent onJewish performers,
composers, and large “private” donations which would most
probably disappear if Palestinians’ situation \had been
included…. They are now in the process of building a
large addition presumeably financed by those large
The point I am trying to make in many ways is that silence
is so often intrinaically liked with SURVIVAL.
I express myself in Consortiumnews.
PS. I also now live in a facility for the elderly, places where
one cannot speak one’s mind for fear of upsetting those
who are more vulnerable and depend on their intolerant
beliefs (eg Zionism).
—-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA
Those who control our foreign policy are the same ones who control the mass media. So, anything that calls into question our foreign policy is suppressed. They–the neoconservatives in our government–control the narrative. You will hear nothing pro-Russian or anti-Israel in mainstream media.
Great article and “wake up” call.
Thank you, for this important piece. As someone who cowered under her desk during the Cuban Missile Crisis (the nuns told us to pray, because today might be our last day on earth), I am appalled.
I’m appalled at the blackout in the MSM of NATO aggression on the Russian border. I’m appalled at the lack of debate in Congress, and demonstrations in DC, as Obama casually announces a one *trillion* dollar nuclear arms race.
I look to Europe and am appalled to see… the very same somnambulance. I regularly read British, German, and French websites. They, for the most part, also have no coverage of the Neocons’ insane aggression against Russia, other than matter-of-fact pieces on NATO exercises – in response to Russian “aggression”. Putin is demonized in Europe, too. It’s as if editors there are secret Neocons too, or are following censorship orders from their governments.
So I look for evidence of demonstrations in the streets… surely, the streets cannot be silent in nations which turned out hundreds of thousands in response to Reagan’s (far less dangerous) deployment of Pershing missiles in the 80s. But they *are* silent. I’m afraid that we’re at least a generation into folks who simply do not fear nuclear war, are ignorant of the fact that everyone and everything they know will die.
Since I was a child in NYC, living under the terror of the fireball, I always suspected that my life would end in nuclear war. What I never suspected is that none would care, right up until the first detonation.
Kim, I second your opinion of the European MSM which I follow as well – they are not much different than the US and Canadian MSM.
But to highlight one issue which Dr Doctorow does not cover in this excellent article – he writes about a planned confrontation between NATO and Russian military, but what about an accidental war. Since NATO came right to the Russian border and Russia moved the troops to its side of the border to confront them, the margin for errors has been reduced to almost zero – one small mistake by one side, or someone getting carried away by the rhetoric of the “Russian aggression”, someone mentally ill, or a Polish hothead or a Baltic Nazi (both are in plentiful supply), is all it would take to start THE WAR TO END ALL WARS (seriously this time).
For example, these days when the regular Russian transport planes fly to Kaliningrad enclave through the narrow international corridor over the Baltic sea, they are regularly shadowed by NATO fighter jets. I bet you would not read this anywhere in the NATO MSM, I read it in a Russian blog of one of the leading Russian military analysts who lives in Russia. Can you imagine the potential for erroneous start of a war between NATO and Russia with such close and aggressive encounters? And the Russians are obliged to reply in kind, which the Western presstitutes immediately turn into “Russian aggression”. I bet that there would be a huge public outcry in the West if people knew how small the margin of error is now.
I feel that the risk now is greater than in 1914 and 1941 (Hitler’s attack on Russia) put together.
Here is another possible item of information, unknown by the MSM-fed population: http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/russians-have-shot-down-numerous-us-drones-violating-crimean-airspace/ri14963
The US keeps sending its drones over Crimea, because it does not recognize the results of the referendum in this formerly autonomous province of Ukraine and the Russians keep shooting down US drones.
Also a quick reminder of the Western chutzpah of constantly talking about the Russian (peaceful) “annexation” of Crimea, whilst they bombed Serbia to separate its ancient province of Kosovo from Serbia and place a new NATO military base there (called Bondsteel).
Just seeing this now. Wow. Thanks for your contributions to these comments, Kiza.
Thank you for your comment. Your sentiments are shared by many, including Russians. Have a look at how Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman talks about the threat of war from a Russian perspective. https://youtu.be/1_TBZFKo3pY?t=1404