How World War III Could Start

The U.S. acts as if its military has an inalienable right to operate close to the borders of other nations and those nations have no right to see these actions as provocative, writes Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall

If humanity ever suffers a Third World War, chances are good it will start in some locale distant from the United States like the Baltic or South China Seas, the Persian Gulf, or Syria, where Washington and its rivals play daily games of “chicken” with lethal air and naval forces.

Far from enhancing U.S. security, the aggressive deployment of U.S. armed forces in these and other hot spots around the world may be putting our very survival at risk by continuously testing and prodding other military powers. What our military gains from forward deployment, training exercises, and better intelligence may be more than offset by the unnecessary provocation of hostile responses that could escalate into uncontrollable conflicts.

Lockheed-Martin's F-35 war plane.

Lockheed-Martin’s F-35 war plane.

The most obvious example is Russia, which top Pentagon officials like to remind us “poses an existential threat to the United States” by virtue of its huge nuclear arsenal. So it was discomforting to learn a few days ago that U.S. and Russian warplanes are experiencing near misses in Syrian airspace “once every 10 days-ish,” in the words of Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeff Harrigian.

The risk of war with Russia would skyrocket, of course, if the United States were to try to impose a “no-fly-zone.”

Potentially deadly incidents aren’t confined to Syria. In September, a Russian fighter jet flew within 10 feet of a U.S. Navy spy plane over the Black Sea. Six months ago, reacting to an increase in NATO war games and maneuvers, Russian aircraft buzzed a U.S. Navy destroyer conducting exercises with Poland in the Baltic Sea.

Secretary of State John Kerry declared that the United States would have had every right to shoot down the plane. The Russians, noting that the exercises were taking place near the base of their Baltic Fleet, insisted they were simply exercising their rights to fly.

A couple of days later, a Russian jet intercepted a U.S. reconnaissance plane in the same region. A Pentagon spokesman condemned the Russian pilot’s “aggressive” and “unprofessional” maneuvers that could “escalate tensions between countries.” A Russian spokesman said its air defense forces had reacted prudently to “an unidentified target rapidly approaching the Russian border.”

Indignant over Iran

In the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Navy recorded 19 dangerous confrontations with Iranian vessels during the first half of this year, up from 10 in the same period in 2015. Another 11 such confrontations reportedly took place this July and August.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei speaks to a crowd. (Iranian government photo)

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei speaks to a crowd. (Iranian government photo)

The most notorious incident, of course, occurred this January, when Iranian gunboats detained 10 U.S. Navy sailors for a day after they strayed into Iranian waters. The Obama administration, which had recently negotiated a nuclear accord with Iran, chose not to inflate the incident. In contrast, a trivial engagement between a U.S. Navy vessel and unarmed Iranian patrol boats in January 2008 fired up President George W. Bush and came perilously close to triggering another Tonkin Gulf Incident.

Although Iran is not a nuclear power, it could be a regional menace if drawn into war, with ballistic missiles capable of reaching Israel and Saudi oil fields, and mines that could make the Persian Gulf virtually impassable.

U.S. air and naval forces also engage in dangerous confrontations every few months with China, a nuclear state and the world’s fastest-rising conventional military power.

In late October, China’s Defense Ministry protested an allegedly “illegal” and “intentionally provocative” patrol by the guided missile destroyer USS Decatur, which was sailing close to the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea to protest Chinese maritime claims. The Chinese vowed to increase their own air and maritime patrols to “resolutely defend national sovereignty and security.”

This summer, in the space of less than a month, Chinese fighter jets twice intercepted U.S. Air Force RC-135 spy planes off of China’s coast. The Pentagon decried the Chinese response as dangerously “unsafe,” while the Chinese complained that U.S. insistence on carrying out “close reconnaissance activities against China . . . severely undermines China’s maritime security.”

Similar confrontations and now commonplace. They offer frightening reminders of the infamous 2001 Hainan Incident, which was triggered when two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a Navy EP-3 spy plane operating near the Paracel Islands and Hainan Island. One Chinese pilot maneuvered too close to the American plane and died when his cockpit was crushed. The damaged EP-3 and its crew managed to make an unauthorized emergency landing on Hainan. The George W. Bush administration brought the crew — but not the spy plane — home only after sending a letter of regret to defuse the international incident.

As geopolitical analyst Michael Moran observed at the time, “The drama of this aerial collision underscores an important and little-known post-Cold War reality: America’s surveillance network has grown so vast and formidable that in some respects it is feared as much as U.S. weaponry itself.”

Trouble with Aerial Spying

Of course, aerial spying first became a cause celèbre during the Cold War when the Soviets shot down Gary Powers and his U-2 spy plane in 1960. The resulting diplomatic crisis derailed a promising international summit on nuclear disarmament.

Islands at the center of the territorial dispute between China and Japan. (Image credit: Jackopoid)

Islands at the center of the territorial dispute between China and Japan. (Image credit: Jackopoid)

Since then, the tempo of spy flights has dramatically increased, despite the availability of satellites to monitor the world.

“On any given day, there are more than a dozen ‘strategic’ reconnaissance flights, supplemented by dozens of shorter range missions by tactical listening aircraft and helicopters,” reported William Arkin after the Hainan Incident.

Unlike satellites, intrusive planes trigger their targets’ radar systems, light up their communications networks, and provoke military command responses. That’s why American military leaders value the tactical intelligence they provide. That’s also why countries like China view them with such hostility.

The spy flight that triggered the Hainan Incident cost only one life, but history shows the risks can be far greater, especially during times of great political tension.

For example, U.S. spy flights along the Soviet Union’s eastern border helped provoke the tragic downing of a Korean Air Lines passenger jet in September 1983, when it strayed into sensitive Soviet airspace over military facilities in the Far East. The loss of 269 lives was terrible enough, but the resulting propaganda barrage from the Reagan administration helped arouse fears in the Kremlin into that war with the United States might be imminent.

The two jittery superpowers came dangerously close to nuclear war later that month when Soviet early warning systems falsely reported the launch of U.S. Minuteman missiles.

Military professionals in the United States and many of its rivals generally contain these incidents rather than letting them get out of hand. But accidents, miscalculations, and political opportunism pose ever-present risks of escalating small engagements into much larger military confrontations.

There’s plenty of blame to go around. But at the end of the day, what’s striking is that virtually every one of these dangerous incidents takes place as a result of U.S. military patrols or exercises near the borders of countries with whom we are ostensibly at peace, not while defending our own borders.

Americans raised on a pervasive ideology of “exceptionalism” all too easily assume that our far-flung military presence is simply the natural order of things, and that any challenge to it must be countered. A little reflection, however, should suggest why countries — like Russia, China and Iran — grow hostile and even paranoid as they are tested almost daily by the air and naval forces of a superpower. Even if we do not appreciate their point of view, we should seriously ask whether our military really serves U.S. security interests by provoking new opportunities for deadly confrontations almost daily.

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 . Some of his previous articles for Consortiumnews include “Can Obama Lecture Xi on Human Rights?” “How Arms Sales Distort US Foreign Policy,” “Hiding the Indonesia Massacre Files,” and “Pakistan’s Ticking Nuclear Time Bomb.” [This ariticle originally appeared at The National Interest.]

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34 comments for “How World War III Could Start

  1. Tom Welsh
    November 3, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    “In September, a Russian fighter jet flew within 10 feet of a U.S. Navy spy plane over the Black Sea”.

    So they’ve watched “Top Gun”. Who hasn’t? Except, from memory, Maverick went within 2 metres. Inverted. (And gave them the finger, which you will note the Russian pilot courteously didn’t).

    • Joe B
      November 4, 2016 at 1:39 am

      Indeed, there are elements of Hollywood and of gaming in these US military provocations, but it is also the inevitable result of a standing military, kept so large that it defies the national interest, defies the president, demands money as a segment of the economy, starts wars to rationalize its existence, and seeks by provocation to build up a right wing in peaceful powers to create mutual reasons for existence.

      These are the reasons that the Constitution forbids a standing army and grants no military powers to the federal government beyond repelling invasions and suppressing insurrections, letters of marque (arrest abroad), and letters of reprisal (against a raiding militant rogue such as pirate ship). The federal government has no foreign war power except by treaty such as NATO, and we don’t need it. We should extend no military force abroad under treaties, except via the UN in UN uniforms under UN command.

      Aristotle warned of these right-wing tyrants over democracy, who must have foreign enemies to pose as protectors and accuse their moral superiors of disloyalty. Our security demands that we eliminate nearly all of the military organization and emasculate the armchair warriors, to stop these military provocations that are destroying our security. “Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.”

  2. Tom Welsh
    November 3, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    Regretfully, I wish to point out a technical error. The photograph shows an F-35, but it is shown flying through the air. That couldn’t happen in reality.

    • Curious
      November 3, 2016 at 11:35 pm

      Good one Tom. Actually it was shot in front of a green screen (like our CGI movies) and the blue sky was photoshopped in a later date in order to approximate a flight.

      1.5 Trillion dollars buys a lot of PR!

    • the lion
      November 7, 2016 at 1:18 pm

      Computer simulation!

  3. Tom Welsh
    November 3, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    “There’s plenty of blame to go around”.

    There certainly is. Obama, Clinton (both), Bush (both), Reagan, Carter… the Pentagon, the CIA, the State Department and its host of (unaccountably Eastern European) warmongers, Kissinger, Brzezinsky, the dozens of unaccountable “intelligence agencies”…

  4. christian
    November 3, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    In my humbel opinion the united states are doing this to terrify the whole world just to keep thuging and sponging on all nations . What else to do to boost the economy? Only thuging.

  5. aquadraht
    November 3, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Well I thought about WWIII, and I see the danger. What could happen? Indeed, an escalation might lead to a nuclear war. I doubt that both main adversaries would use their whole potential of 3k warheads on either side, leading to nuclear winter and thus extinction or near extinction of mankind. But in worst case, some hundred warheads could be exchanged, leading to extermination of major European, American, and Russian cities.

    After such a war, not mentioning Europe which would be reduced into insignificance, roughly half of the populations of Russia and the US would survive. Due to the wide destructions, they would be reduced to conditions similar to those in the USSR and eastern Europe during and short after WWII, same in rest of Europe which I consider less significant.

    My guess is that the Russian survivors will weather those conditions during a few years and start reconstruction. Russia would be reduced to upper third world standards, would have to cope with radiation and all that, but could develop the potential for recovery, though not to pre war strength for quite a time.

    What about the USA? Assuming 150m people would survive the initial blow, how many would weather what would come afterwards? I seriously doubt. All US infrastructure relies on road transportation. After a nuclear war, oil supply will be cut and the possibilities to purchase and transport fuel would be reduced to less than percentages of prewar levels, and to zero in wide regions.

    America has not learnt to cope with war destructions for more than 150 years. Russia had that two times, in WWI and subsequent civil war, lasting until 1921, 7 years. After that and after a chaotic collectivization and industrialization amid stalinist repression, she suffered WWII with at least 27m human losses, a famine in 1946, and harsh conditions until the 1950s. After the downfall of the USSR, Russia suffered from the Yeltsin/Gaidar “reforms” costing about 7-15million lives and reducing average incomes below 100$/mth if there were any (there weren’t often).

    While Putin’s government brought significant increase in mass wealth, those experiences are far from forgotten. Russian society did not collapse, neither 1917-21, nor during the industrialization period, not during WWII, and even not entirely during the Yeltsin times, which 84% of Russians perceive the worst times of Russia (opposed to 21% naming Stalin age). That means that the Russian society prove a high degree of resilience under extreme conditions of several kind.

    Now what about the US? I am aware that there are several, mainly religious communities with a high degree of cohesion, mutual aid, solidarity, and organization. Such bodies may prevail under adverse circumstances. But they are dispersed, much middle class dominated, and often dependent on working technologies such as cars, phone, electricity, and internet where russian communities worked fine with horseback or pedestrian messengers.

    I fear while 150m Americans may survive a nuclear mayhem, half of them would die within a year until the rest adapted to the new conditions. It is unclear to me whether the US would survive as a nation while Russia and the European countries would, even if their population would have been tragically crippled.

    After such a war, the US as well as Europe and Russia would become economically insignificant for a long time. The winners would be China, India, and most of the southern hemisphere.

    I don’t know whether the Neocons ever thought about. My impression is that they outsourced their brains no less than their industry.

    • Concerned With The World
      November 3, 2016 at 7:15 pm

      Long story short, if one country fires one nuclear warhead,……..every nuclear warhead in existence will follow shortly thereafter pointed in all directions and nuclear apocalyptic conditions will eliminate life on Earth.

    • November 3, 2016 at 7:54 pm

      Terrific insight and a sobering reality of the hard truths of war. As Americans we are very reliant on our comforts, and cheap gas and a robust trucking industry have made us ever more reliant on our super markets and conveniences. I don’t doubt our perseverance or ingenuity when pressed, but our nation has no idea of the realities of such an event. GOD HELP US ALL…

    • VasDas
      November 3, 2016 at 10:24 pm

      Just curious – do you think the Russians may use more of their nukes (they have ~17k) on the South, ME and China, just to make sure there are no other big threats left that can challenge them.

    • Taizoon
      November 4, 2016 at 2:06 am

      Awesome analysis

    • Bill
      November 4, 2016 at 10:35 am

      Very interesting thoughts

    • Kozmo
      November 4, 2016 at 3:36 pm

      If the US ever is subjected to something as catastrophic as a major nuclear attack (or lesser destruction of the transportation or electric or computer grid), society will come apart at the seams within two weeks (about all the food supply of major population centers) and this country will fall into anarchy and feudalism of the bloodiest kind. All those millions of weapons? All those desperate people clueless how to clothe, feed, shelter themselves short of looting? It’s going to be like a sci-fi dystopia movie.

    • bill
      November 7, 2016 at 8:01 am

      China would be targeted by the US even if it remained neutral.

  6. Realist
    November 3, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    The American cowboys are either already staging for a major conflict or practicing such deployment domestically before heading overseas. I live near Stuart, FL, the closest big city being West Palm Beach, but there is no military base nearby and we basically never see military aircraft in the skies. Today a monstrous military transport plane (looking at internet photos, I’d say it was a C-5 Galaxy) went screaming overhead creating enormous noise at a low altitude and headed straight east out to sea. It’s possible it circled back and landed at Homestead AFB south of Miami. The game wasn’t over, however, as a while later a jet fighter headed out to sea along the same vector (do not know the model of that craft).

    I’ve seen this foolishness before in my many years and in other regions of the country: when international tensions are escalating, the American remedy is to put more warplanes in the skies and let the public see them. You know, to “rally” the populace and brace them for when the missiles start flying. More like a bunch of overgrown adolescents with excess testosterone playing with fire, I mean nuclear weapons.

    Hillary thinks she has bigger balls than any man (but is also the great protector of women against the vast hordes of male goons). Moreover, a large percentage of the voters have been defying her and the elite establishment that she has totally coopted, so she will have an axe to grind, not only against Putin but against the political opposition, when she is sworn in. She will impose her will at the slightest sign of resistance from all sides, foreign, domestic or even from Slick Willy. Another possible scenario is that Obama is already starting the war for her so she can hit the ground running like a real champion warmonger. (He knows she is twice the man he could ever be.) The woman is not rational, she stands up there and shrieks hysterically the clearly fabricated narrative that Putin is interfering in the American election and poor Donald Trump is in cahoots with that Russian Devil himself. She is NOT going to calm down once in office. The analysts who say she will are just doing some wishful thinking and projecting their own sanity on to her.

    The only way to stop this inexorable death spiral is for Europe to stop enabling Washington and its NATO gangsters. Time for Merkel and Hollande to realise that pushing Russia to the wall with demands that it simply cannot accept, simply because Washington wants to totally dominate them, will only end in an apocalypse. One can only hope that they will realise that the end of Western civilisation (and most human life on the planet) is not worth the price to effect regime change in Syria. Nor is the kind of humiliation of Russia in Ukraine that they had schemed to bring about a fair bargain when the consequence is a world in ashes and a reset to prehistory. Who has asked the citizens of Europe, or of America for that matter, if they are willing to see the deaths of most of their family members and go back to living in caves just so the “moderate” headchoppers of the Islamic State can rule Syria or Poroshenko and a small coterie of oligarchs can wreak vengeance on Crimea and the Donbass whilst continuing to suck the resources of his own country dry? For that is the trade that Hillary seems prepared to make, using you and your loved ones as bargaining chips.

    • anon
      November 4, 2016 at 1:16 am

      Yes, and I hope that we will see central Europe rebel against US militarization as Duterte has, seeing the charade of US warmongering at their expense as UK has. If Trump wins, perhaps we exit or downsize NATO; if Clinton, we need an historic outright military defeat for this purpose, to teach the effeminate armchair bullies that they cannot win.

      Perhaps the US will have a proxy nuked on the borders of Russia or China. This would not provoke a full nuclear exchange because that would be suicidal, but it would be the long-resounding defeat the US needs to disaffect its proxies and discredit its warmongers. For two generations, if history is the guide.

      • November 5, 2016 at 1:56 am

        amen ! america needs a woman president but its not hillary .she is thoughtless when it comes to war and could
        possibly end life as we know it ! the only ones who could be left alive would be her ruling class bosses the 538
        and other elites who think they could wait out nuclear war in their underground bunkers replete with all the
        luxuries they could ever want. its clear that a military coup happened some time ago as the pentagon pays
        no attention to obama and is intent to doing whatever they want to draw russia into a war. we are at 11:59 :59
        and most are clueless as to what is happening !

  7. Evangelista
    November 3, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    On November 9, 2016, the American Media could announce Black-Box Results showing a ‘landslide’ victory for Hillary, Donald having got just eighty-two votes, from some dozen ‘podunks’ in somewhere called “Flyover America”.

    On November 10, 2016, Militias in Flyover America organize to cooperate as an armed force.

    On November 11, (A day for Patriots in America) 2016, the Flyover American Defense Force declares War on “Washington, DC and the whole coast it’s on”.

    On November 12, 2016, the Flyover American Defense Force declares War on “San Francisco and all its Ferries and the whole coast it’s on”.

    On November 13, 2016, Dawn, both Coastal Americas send bombers to “bomb the hell out of those Resurrection Insurrectionists.”

    On November 13, About Coffee-Break, both bomber fleets report near misses as they pass through each other flying toward their targets.

    On November 13, About Noon, both bomber fleets finally spot targets to drop bombs on.

    About Afternoon Coffee-Break on November 13, 2016, “A day that shall live in Infermity”, the World learns that America has bombed the hell out of both its own coasts. Yes, the two bomber fleets flew over Flyover America, only finding something to bomb on reaching the other.

    On November 14, 2016, The East Coast of America, unable to admit having committed an error, cries “The Russians Did It!” and begins digging in the Rubble of DC to find if there is a quorum left to assemble to declare war.

    On November 14, 2016, The West Coast of America, unable to admit having committed an error, cries “The Chinese Did It!” and emails to ongress, in DC, to begin digging itself out of the Rubble to find if there is a quorum left to assemble to declare war.

    On November 15, 2016, Russia and China exchange diplomatic messages: “Is this World War III, or an American Election trick?”

    • anon
      November 4, 2016 at 12:59 am

      I like your “blackbox results” and “flyover America.” My dream would have the flown-overs in slum gangs wiping out entire gated communities and responding police forces, and infiltrating national guard units to neutralize riot responses. Frankly that would be encouraging; but in fact Americans don’t have the guts, intelligence, or sense of community to do anything more than markups, deals, and shopping decisions. More likely your bomber fleets would bomb the slums and low-income cities to prove via mass media that we need a larger military budget. It would take several media days for America to accept the loss.

    • Enels
      November 4, 2016 at 8:35 pm

      When there’s war on, then ’emergency’ and contingency araingements come into use which might, possible, that San Francisco will revert to its original quite feisty self, for those who think SF is all ok about things, look up about how they had a few scaps in the past with vigilantes rule, and general strikes.

      [”Force declares War on “San Francisco and all its ‘[pejorative term deleted from CN comment quote] ‘ and the whole coast it’s on”.
      So Fly over Amurka better set up a room for uncle John,or aunt Sally when SF decides to send the [ deleted term, spelled correctly, also removed from previous post, , no problem!] back where they came from, and the welfare and homeless too!

      But hey, I’m not sure we would want to stop there. Cali doesn’t have unlimited water for resetlement of the nations caste offs and surplus unemployed.

  8. elmerfudzie
    November 3, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    Unfortunately the author of this article misses the essential point as to why wars begin. The most concise explanation I’ve heard yet was authored by Michael Rivero in his Youtube presentation, titled -All wars are Bankers Wars. In this approximately forty minute expose’, he shows that most terrorist actions can be traced back to private central bankers/banking cartels. The audience is introduced to a brief and highly relevant overview of American history, Example; King George the III issued The Currency Act, thus forcing our citizenry to use printed bank notes (at interest and thus created permanent indebtedness) while in circulation. The kings declaration, was at bottom, nothing more than a shake down, a skimming of hard earned American wealth going right into the coffers of Nathan Mayer Rothschild. He wanted to reduce our new found nation into colonial status. Andrew Jackson (circa 1832) brought this fiendish financial maneuver into the light of day. I paraphrase here, from his presidential stump speech:… we cannot allow the bankers to speculate on the bread-stuffs of the country….Mr Rothschild responded with threats to force a collapse of our financial system and this threat was followed by an assassination attempt against President Jackson; sound vaguely familiar? it should, as least to our readers, such as, JFK wanting to introduce the silver certificate to compete with the fiat one, and further back into history, President Lincoln and the green back.I recommend a visit to http://www.xat.org/xat/usury.html? Now it is crystal clear how our national interest(s) have been circumvented by and forfeited by banksters who push onto us an endless series of wars. These wars always begin with some provocations(s) and once conflict begins, financed by fiat money. This monetary system indeed can create out of thin air, ready cash controlled by, private hands, NOT sovereign governments.That is why, Nathan Rothschild, was able to make his famous (or infamous) boast, quote: “Let me issue and control a nations money and I care not who makes the laws”. Finally, let’s not forget the timeless words of our most decorated United States Marine, Major general Smedley Darlington Butler, when he wrote in his memoirs (1935) quote: “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912….”

  9. Mr. Tecas
    November 4, 2016 at 1:58 am

    We desperately need a new leader who can pacify these nations by withdrawing United States militay troops overseas. Stop using geopolitics, and worry about helping the American people.

  10. November 4, 2016 at 5:52 am

    Empire of KAOS. Reminds me of Get Smart . The western establishment class is on total meltdown. They r living in their own world. Us exceptionalism is becoming more of an albatross around the Us”s neck dangerous and predictable. China,Russia and Iran have fully exposed them 4 what they represent and what their intentions r. Wesley Clarke retired general laid it all out for the world 2 c and after 2003 we c it’s fruits. Why doers any human being even question any of the evidence. The talking points coming from the MSM r all avoiding the obvious and creating stories out of no evidence. Has reporting facts become a non entity in the MSM or western government news IE:BBC, France 1-2-3. Rai 1-2-3, DW, NPS,CBC,ABC. graft cronyism,corruption ,pay to play, r revealing their heads , the recent wikileaks have put it all out for all of us in the west to c. In the past it was only an assumption by most of us now its no longer an assumption. Western democracy no longer exist’s but CORPORATOCRCY is alive and well. Mussolini wrote the book post ww1 LO STATO CORPORATO, The Corporate State. . Its the modern day manual on fascism. I suggest people have a read and it mirrors modern day western society.
    P:S Most economic experts have been warning on an impending financial crisis. Reiykard.Krugman, and Stiglitz just to name a few. This brings me to historical notes. Just like ww1,and ww2 the western economic systems were loaded with debt and full blown economic stagnation and what followed two brutal devastating wars. Look around whose the new boggy man and where is the military build up . Many countries have tried in the past to rattle the BEAR and invade his lair and all have met their doom. USSR lost over 25 million people in the second world war. China lost over 30 million people during the same war do we in the west really think that China or Russia r just going to lay down and let the EXCPETIONALISTAN(USA) let it keep doin whatever it see’s fit. It’s a no brainer nuclear winter is one minute to midnite and no one in the MSM r even acknowledging it let alone the general public in the western world cause we r to busy knowing what the Khardashian’s r doing or who was groped by Donald Trump.
    WAKE UP WEST CAUSE THE NEXT TIME U MIGHT NOT GET THE OPPURTUNY TO EVEN GET OUT OF BED

  11. Chris J
    November 4, 2016 at 7:47 am

    I understand the author’s concerns. While there are plenty of scenarios where I can see the US just throwing its weight around, the situation in the South China Sea is essentially China exercising its own weight and power in the region, perhaps similar to the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 where he stood fast that the Caribbean and the Americas were now America’s sphere of influence. Lord it over the Caribbean, America, but now China is pretty much doing the same, in its extraordinary stand against into maritime conventions.

    America wants is resources throughout the world and so does China–so guess we will see what happens.

  12. Abigail
    November 4, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    If Hillary gets to be president world war 3 will happened.You may be a Hillary fan but she sucks so don’t even.You will be able to have an abortion the day the baby is born.She killed all of the Benghazi people.Watch 13 hours it will make you not like Hillary any more.

    • Zachary Smith
      November 4, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      You will be able to have an abortion the day the baby is born.

      In my opinion you forget that Hillary is a re-labeled Goldwater Republican. I strongly suspect Hillary is as firmly FOR women’s rights as she is AGAINST TPP and the Keystone pipeline.

      From her own mouth: ” I think abortion should remain legal, but it needs to be safe and rare.”

      If the anti-abortion Fundies really want to change Hillary’s tune, arrange to make a multi-million dollar donation to the Clinton Foundation and the key word in that quote will quickly become “rare”, as in the likelihood of finding a stray two-headed puppy running around in your back yard. Abortion would be “legal”, “safe”, and really, really “rare”.

      Now that I think about it, skip the big-bucks donation. IMO President Hillary will probably go that direction all by herself.

  13. Steve
    November 4, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    This article could also have been aptly entitled: The Perils of Imperial Overreach

  14. Steve
    November 4, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Or another title suggestion: Hubris: Life Out Of Balance — Why a Correction Is Overdue

  15. November 4, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    How the foundation of capitalism in the form of competition has become deadly.

  16. elmerfudzie
    November 4, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    To: aquadraht from: elmerfudzie. Thanks for your comments and reflections here, in particular those insights regarding what the people of Russia have endured over the last one hundred years. As James Perloff often remarked; truth is a lonely warrior…and now his quote has become the title to a new book he authored.

  17. Herman
    November 4, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Lots of smart people among the commenters. Just takes a little sifting, but really worth reading the comments of many. I for one appreciate them.

  18. November 5, 2016 at 10:28 am

    The truth is as follows: there are no reasons for conflict between major powers that can’t easily be solved through a conflict resolution process. There is only one of these powers that actively seeks confrontation and domination for its own sake because the international oligarchy prefers to have a unified Empire with absolutely no dissenting countries all unified under a committee of corporate bureaucrats without any dissent tolerated. This is the U.S. military and diplomatic agenda. It has nothing whatever to do with national security at all.

  19. Claus Eric Hamle
    November 7, 2016 at 5:55 am

    How The War To End All Wars Could Start. Since 1990 with Trident-1 linked to NAVSTAR (now called GPS) the Pentagon has been aiming to achieve a Disarming First Strike Capability according to chief submarine missile engineer Bob Aldridge-www.plrc.org As it´s just too bloody crazy, stupid and above all Suicidal, the great missile engineer Bob Aldridge resigned and wrote The Counterforce Syndrome, First Strike! The Pentagon´s Strategy For Nuclear War (also available in French, German and Danish), Nuclear Empire (ch.9 on anti-submarine warfare) among others. According to Bob Aldridge the US Navy can track and destroy all enemy submarines simultaneously. Bob Aldridge on the 648 US missiles in Romania and Poland and on 32 ships: Whether they are on ships or land, they are still a necessary component for an unanswerable first strike. It will probably be a mistake in Launch On Warning caused by the bloody crazy, aggressive Pentagon.

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