Reasons to Risk Nuclear Annihilation

Exclusive: The latest neocon/liberal-hawk scheme is for the U.S. population to risk nuclear war to protect corrupt politicians in Ukraine and Al Qaeda terrorists in east Aleppo, two rather dubious reasons to end life on the planet, says Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Obviously, I never wanted to see a nuclear war, which would likely kill not only me but my children, grandchildren, relatives, friends and billions of others. We’d be incinerated in the blast or poisoned by radiation or left to starve in a nuclear winter.

But at least I always assumed that this horrific possibility would only come into play over something truly worthy, assuming that anything would justify the mass extinction of life on the planet.

Peter Sellers playing Dr. Strangelove as he struggles to control his right arm from making a Nazi salute.

Peter Sellers playing Dr. Strangelove as he struggles to control his right arm from making a Nazi salute.

Now, however, Official Washington’s neocons and liberal interventionists are telling me and others that we should risk nuclear annihilation over which set of thieves gets to rule Ukraine and over helping Al Qaeda terrorists (and their “moderate” allies) keep control of east Aleppo in Syria.

In support of the Ukraine goal, there is endless tough talk at the think tanks, on the op-ed pages and in the halls of power about the need to arm the Ukrainian military so it can crush ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine who dared object to the U.S.-backed coup in 2014 that ousted their elected President Viktor Yanukovych.

And after “liberating” eastern Ukraine, the U.S.-backed Ukrainian army would wheel around and “liberate” Crimea from Russia, even though 96 percent of Crimean voters voted to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia – and there is no sign they want to go back.

So, the world would be risking World War III over the principle of the West’s right to sponsor the overthrow of elected leaders who don’t do what they’re told and then to slaughter people who object to this violation of democratic order.

This risk of nuclear Armageddon would then be compounded to defend the principle that the people of Crimea don’t have the right of self-determination but must submit to a corrupt post-coup regime in Kiev regardless of Crimea’s democratic judgment.

And, to further maintain our resolve in this gamble over nuclear war in defense of Ukraine, we must ignore the spectacle of the U.S.-backed regime in Kiev wallowing in graft and corruption.

While the Ukrainian people earn on average $214 a month and face neoliberal “reforms,” such as reduced pensions, extended years of work for the elderly and slashed heating subsidies, their new leaders in the parliament report wealth averaging more than $1 million in “monetary assets” each, much of it in cash.

A Troubling Departure

The obvious implication of widespread corruption was underscored on Monday with the abrupt resignation of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili who was the appointed governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region.

A scene from "Dr. Strangelove," in which the bomber pilot (played by actor Slim Pickens) rides a nuclear bomb to its target in the Soviet Union.

A scene from “Dr. Strangelove,” in which the bomber pilot (played by actor Slim Pickens) rides a nuclear bomb to its target in the Soviet Union.

Though Saakashvili faces charges of abusing power back in Georgia, he was nevertheless put in charge of Odessa by current President Petro Poroshenko, but has now quit (or was ousted) amid charges and counter-charges about corruption.

Noting the mysterious wealth of Ukraine’s officials, Saakashvili denounced the country’s rulers as “corrupt filth” and accused Poroshenko and his administration of sabotaging real reform.

“Odessa can only develop once Kiev will be freed from these bribe takers, who directly patronize organized crime and lawlessness,” Saakashvili said. Yes, that would be a good slogan to scribble on the side of a nuclear bomb heading for Moscow: “Defending the corrupt filth and bribe takers who patronize organized crime.”

But the recent finger-pointing about corruption is also ironic because the West cited the alleged corruption of the Yanukovych government to justify the violent putsch in February 2014 that drove him from office and sparked Ukraine’s current civil war.

Yet, the problems don’t stop with Kiev’s corruption. There is the troubling presence of neo-Nazis, ultranationalists and even Islamic jihadists assigned to the Azov battalion and other military units sent east to the front lines to kill ethnic Russians.

On top of that, United Nations human rights investigators have accused Ukraine’s SBU intelligence service of hiding torture chambers.

But we consumers of the mainstream U.S. media’s narrative are supposed to see the putschists as the white hats and Yanukovych (who was excoriated for having a sauna in his official residence) and Russian President Vladimir Putin as the black hats.

Though U.S. officials, such as Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, helped organize or “midwife” the coup ousting Yanukovych, we are told that the Ukraine crisis was a clear-cut case of “Russian aggression” and Crimea’s decision to secede (and rejoin Russia) was a “Russian invasion” and an “annexation.”

So, all stirred up with righteous indignation, we absorbed the explanation that economic sanctions were needed to punish Putin and to destabilize Russian society, with the hoped-for goal of another “regime change,” this time in Moscow.

We weren’t supposed to ask if anyone had actually thought through the idea of destabilizing a nuclear-armed power and the prospect that Putin’s overthrow, even if possible, might lead to a highly unstable fight for control of the nuclear codes.

Silencing Dissent

Brushing aside such worries, the neocons/liberal-hawks are confident that the answer is to move NATO forces up to Russia’s borders and to provide military training to Ukraine’s army, even to its neo-Nazi “shock troops.”

Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine's Azov battalion. (As filmed by a Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV)

Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine’s Azov battalion. (As filmed by a Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV)

After all, when have the neocons and their liberal interventionist sidekicks ever miscalculated about anything. No fair mentioning Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya or other lucky countries that have been on the receiving end of a benighted “regime change.”

An American who protests or even mentions the risk of nuclear war is dismissed as a “Kremlin stooge” or a “Putin puppet” or a “useful fool” repeating “Russian disinformation” and assisting Moscow’s “information war” against the U.S. government.

But if you’re still a bit queasy about risking nuclear annihilation to keep some Ukrainian kleptocrats in power, there is the other cause worth having the human race die over: protecting Al Qaeda terrorists and their “moderate” rebel comrades holed up in east Aleppo.

Since these modern terrorists turn out to be highly skilled with video cameras and the dissemination of propaganda, they have created the image for Westerners that the Syrian military and its Russian allies simply want to kill as many children as possible.

Indeed, most Western coverage of the battle for Aleppo whites out the role of Al Qaeda almost completely although occasionally the reality slips through in on-the-ground reporting, along with the admission that Al Qaeda and its fellow fighters are keeping as many civilians in east Aleppo as possible, all the better to put up heartrending videos and photos on social media.

Of course, when a similar situation exists in Islamic State-held Mosul, Iraq, the mainstream Western media dutifully denounces the tactic of keeping children in a war zone as the cynical use of “human shields,” thus justifying Iraqi and U.S. forces killing lots of civilians during their “liberation.” The deaths are all the enemy’s fault.

However, when the shoe is on the Syrian/Russian foot, we’re talking about “war crimes” and the need to invade Syria to establish “safe zones” and “no-fly zones” even if that means killing large numbers of additional Syrians and shooting down Russian warplanes.

After all, isn’t the protection of Al Qaeda terrorists worth the risk of starting World War III with nuclear-armed Russia? And if Al Qaeda isn’t worth fighting a nuclear war to defend, what about the thieves in Ukraine and their neo-Nazi shock troops? Calling Dr. Strangelove.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and

28 comments for “Reasons to Risk Nuclear Annihilation

  1. Claus Eric Hamle
    November 10, 2016 at 06:20

    The problem is deeper. Long before that but at least from 1990 with Trident-1 linked to NAVSTAR (now called GPS) the US has been aiming to achieve a Disarming First Strike Capability. The US Navy can track and destroy all enemy submarines simultaneously according to chief submarine missile engineer Bob Minuteman-3 and Trident-2 are state-of-the art first strike weapons. The warheads on both are designed to minimize nuclear winter if used against missile silos. Bob Aldridge on the 648 missiles in Poland and Romania and on 32 ships: “Whether they are on ships or land, they are still a necessary component for an unanswerable first strike.” Professor J. Ed Anderson: “There is no doubt in my mind that deployment of anti-missile missiles in Eastern Europe is part of a first-strike strategy.” Bloody crazy SUICIDAL Pentagon/NATO. That´s the real problem. Of course, the great missile engineer resigned because it´s stupid and suicidal to seek a disarming first strike capability.

  2. Andrew Nichols
    November 9, 2016 at 19:27

    Well we did dodge the bullet after all. DT will now stand down the US Foreign Legion threatening Russia and end the alliance with the 911 terrorists in Syria. The Wolfowitz /Brzezinski agenda is OVER.

  3. ms 57
    November 9, 2016 at 10:42

    From Joe Scarborough, August 2016:

    “According to a report from MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump asked a foreign policy advisor three times during a briefing why he couldn’t just use nuclear weapons to solve the nation’s problems.
    Scarborough shared the anecdote on Morning Joe Wednesday, speaking deliberately to avoid naming his source. “I’ll be very careful here. Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on international level went to advise Donald Trump.”
    “Three times he asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times he asked, at one point, ‘If we have them, why can’t we use them?’”

    “That’s one of the reasons why he just doesn’t have foreign policy experts around him,” Scarborough concluded. “Three times, in an hour briefing, ‘Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?’”

    Congratulations to all who have been warning about the threat of nuclear war. Your fantasies have come to true. Now the US will learn what it means to live under a true authoritarian regime. Now you all will learn what it is to live in a reality where the icy fear of a REAL nuclear strike exists. Welcome to Putin’s America!

    You ignorant, short-sighted children – blind and irresponsible.

    • Kiza
      November 9, 2016 at 10:54

      What a hopeless fool.

      • Zachary Smith
        November 9, 2016 at 13:01

        Well, the poster certainly is hopeless, for he/she ignores everything which he/she doesn’t like. At another site I replied to his Scarborough BS – for all the good it did me.

        Apparently rightwingnutcases quoting anonymous sources is nothing to worry about, so I took a few minutes to find out if there was any reliable collection of actual sayings by Trump on the subject.


        Those are a few which are very probably accurate.

        Not that we know if Trump asked the unnamed adviser anything. Nor the context. The private adviser was presumably hired to educate The Donald, and as a student Trump would have asked many questions. He certainly knew the US has beaucoup nukes, and as president he’d have to know when they were expected to be used.

        As it happens, the plan since WW2 was to use nukes if the Russians invaded Western Europe. There was no other way of stopping the massive Red Army. Nuclear weapons were stashed in Europe. In Turkey. And Lord only knows where else. Asking about their use – if that’s what happened (if it happened) was NOT a stupid question – unless the questioner is named Trump.

        In the past few years there has been an ongoing program to spend about a trillion dollars to “upgrade” the nukes. So far as I know, Trump has had nothing to do with this at all. The object has been to make them more “useful” by installing dial-a-yield, extreme penetration, and again, Lord only knows what else. There has been a lot of concern this was done with the object of making the nukes more “usable”.


        The current Corporate Media line is that only a dyed-in-the-wool neocon can be trusted to have final say with US nuclear weapons. You know, a person who has actual experience smashing little countries for fun and profit. Iraq. Libya. Syria. And the next show – Iran. Beginners might do it wrong – like not using the New Nukes at all. Or they might fly off the handle and use them in a reckless way. Dying from amateurish nuke weapon use is a whole lot worse than being vaporized by cold-blooded and steely-eyed experienced professionals.

        Or so I’m endlessly told these days.

        • Steve
          November 11, 2016 at 03:22

          I am a nuclear veteran (Operation Redwing, Marshall Islands, 1956.) I’ve seen WW-III up close and to personal. Fortunately, I recovered from my exposure. Many didn’t.
          I Have Seen the Dragon

          I have seen the Dragon
          Through clenched lids and arms pressed tight.
          I have felt its hot breath on my back
          And listened to the rumble of its voice.

          I have looked upon its breath,
          Glowing Amethyst, red and purple,
          Climbing towards the stratosphere
          To deposit its venom downwind.

          I have waited in fear as my gums began to bleed
          And my hair came out in clumps.
          I breathed a prayer of thanks
          As I began to heal.

          After fifty years, our ranks are thin,
          We who have seen the Dragon and survived.
          Those who have died or are sickened still,
          Their numbers are legion.

          All we can hope for, work for, pray for,
          Is that no madman will ever be allowed
          To unleash the Dragon again.
          For its legacy to all is death, disease and decay.

          © Stephen M. Osborn
          2 November 2006
          It Will Go On

          The red, setting sun, casts long shadows of the rocks and hills.
          When the bombs are silent and the radiation has burned out,
          The desert will still exist, silent save for the susurration of the sand
          Blown by the winds, slowly covering the wounds of war.

          Forgotten monuments again becoming homes and shelter.
          Small creatures creep out in the gathering stillness
          To carry on their own lives, eating and being eaten
          In the long dance that predates man and will continue long after.

          As the climates change, volcanoes and tsunamis rend the land and shore,
          With the melting of the ice the seas rise; temperate zones become steppes.
          Encased in permafrost, Man’s vaunted civilization may crumble away.
          Man, himself, may run crying into the limbo that holds the dinosaurs.

          The desert, silent save for the susurration of the sand, will still exist.
          The red, setting sun, will cast long shadows of the rocks and hills.
          Small creatures will creep out in the gathering stillness
          To carry on their own lives, eating and being eaten as they always have…

          Steve Osborn
          21 November 2005
          When Einstein was asked what the weapons would be in WW-III, he answered, “I don’t know what the weapons of WW-III will be, but World War Four will be fought with sticks and stones.”
          It has been sixty years since I watched and felt those bombs, but I still hear, feel, and see them.
          Sadly, those who advocate using nuclear weapons have never seen or felt them, though they’ve seen lots of science fiction movies that use them.
          Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, after watching the Trinity test said, “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” He spent the rest of his career trying to ban nuclear weapons. He was fired, lost his security clearance and was blacklisted. His crime, apparently, was criticizing government nuclear policy.

  4. B. Wilder
    November 9, 2016 at 10:17

    U.S. President Donald Trump? It all makes sense. One might as well get a sex change, or emigrate to the “Democratic People’s” Republic Of North Korea.

  5. Tom Welsh
    November 9, 2016 at 09:55

    “Now, however, Official Washington’s neocons and liberal interventionists are telling me and others that we should risk nuclear annihilation over which set of thieves gets to rule Ukraine and over helping Al Qaeda terrorists (and their “moderate” allies) keep control of east Aleppo in Syria”.

    Although those may be the pretexts, the real issue is that no one should be able to refuse Washington’s commands – no matter how arbitrary or wicked. Those who defy the Masters of the Universe get what the Kennedys, Martin Luther King, Patrice Lumumba, Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic, Muamar Qadafi and thousands of others got. But if it turns out to be impossible to kill the “offender” without wiping out the rest of the human race as well… “you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs”.

  6. Peter Loeb
    November 9, 2016 at 07:29


    At about 2:30 am Nov. 9, Donald Trump became US President-Elect.

    Almost no attention has been paid so far to his foreign policies as
    Hilary Clinton was widely expected to win. HRC is now political
    “dead meat”.

    Correction: There were indeed some tentative assessments
    of Trump foreign policy re: Russia, NATO etc. What remains
    totally unknown is what reality will be under President Trump.

    As soon as there are facts—evidence—we look for in-depth
    analysis of the perils to be faced internationally from Consortium..

    Clarification: I am far from optimistic. And as MSM reminds us
    all we will pay and pay and pay in terms of domestic items.

    Previous analyses have been based on Hilary Clinton being
    US President with Democratic (?) neocons. There may simply
    be a change of neocons. So far…no hard information.

    —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  7. F. G. Sanford
    November 9, 2016 at 04:40

    The risk of nuclear annihilation has just been taken off the table. Whatever else you think, be thankful for that. It’s a great day for USA and the rest of the world. We still have a hypothetical future. Everything else is details.

    • Joe Tedesky
      November 9, 2016 at 11:30

      I’m with you. I’d rather see the glass half full. Also, to all Democrate’s, start getting behind such politicians as Tulsi Gabbard. Detach yourselves from the DNC Wall St/MIC/MSM and reach out to the people. This isn’t the end of the world, it could be the beginning of a new one…let’s be ourselves and rebuild it.

  8. exiled off mainstreet
    November 9, 2016 at 02:40

    An excellent comment. Now that the harpy has been seen off, hopefully this danger will recede. It seems to me that some sort of international effort must be mounted in some way to hold her accountable for war crimes in Libya and Syria. It is a big mistake to “only look to the future.”

  9. backwardsevolution
    November 9, 2016 at 00:20

    Good article. Nothing is worth starting a nuclear war over. From Billy Joel’s song “Leningrad”:

    I was born in ’49
    A cold war kid in McCarthy time
    Stop ’em all at the 38th Parallel
    Blast those yellow reds to hell
    And cold war kids were hard to kill
    Under their desks in an air raid drill
    Haven’t they heard we won the war
    What do they keep on fighting for?

  10. Realist
    November 8, 2016 at 23:22

    The trouble with you, Robert, is that you look at things entirely logically rather than colored by jingoism, hubris, and power politics. I have the same problem keeping my priorities in line with most of our brainwashed society.

  11. Randal Marlin
    November 8, 2016 at 23:01

    If I were able to vote in the U.S., something I have never been able to do, I would be sorely perplexed. Hillary Clinton has shown herself to support the neocon/liberal PNAC ambitions regardless of the ever-increasing risk of nuclear war with Russia. That leaves the alternative of Donald Trump who has simplistic solutions. He would “bomb the hell” out of ISIS or others who support terrorist attacks on the U.S. But with Russia, he would do a deal. That sounds more promising for peace, but can we believe what Trump says, when he blows hot and cold so often? It is also hard to vote for a man who such a huge lack of ordinary human empathy and decency. I know that there are instances that point to the contrary perception of Trump, but I’m going by things he has actually said, written and done. I would need to get more answers if I were to decide whom to vote for. For the moment I can only stay perplexed. I always like Robert Parry’s analyses, this one included.

  12. Fergus Hashimoto
    November 8, 2016 at 22:44

    There’s sure to be life on other planets.

  13. JRGJRG
    November 8, 2016 at 20:11

    The nuclear genie may have already been uncorked from its bottle when Saudis or Israelis allegedly attacked Yemen with tactical nukes, according to videos showing clear neutron sparklers emanating from blasts.

    Can we connect the dots to arms sales facilitated by Saudi contributions to Clinton’s Foundation to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain? Does ISIS have tactical nukes now provided by Saudis? Is the US arming terrorists with nukes that might reach our shores?

  14. John
    November 8, 2016 at 20:09

    Yes these are possibilities….however there isn’t enough room for market share to increase in a nuclear war game…at least not yet. If Hillary wins…she and bill will be the front runners doling out positions for increased market share… to play….Remember it’s all about market share……Do you really think for one second the bankers would allow the war hawks to end the banking system with nuclear annihilation………no

  15. Lois Gagnon
    November 8, 2016 at 20:06

    What the threat of nuclear annihilation is really about is Western Corporate Bankster control of all global resources and people as well as the domination of the US fiat dollar. It’s good ol’ fashioned Empire only with nukes to enforce it. Welcome to hell.

  16. Bill Bodden
    November 8, 2016 at 20:04

    Keep an eye on Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, and John Kerry’s stepson’s friend, Devon Archer. If you see them quickly packing their loot in their bags and high-tailing it out of Ukraine, get ready for the End Times.

    And after “liberating” eastern Ukraine, the U.S.-backed Ukrainian army would wheel around and “liberate” Crimea from Russia, even though 96 percent of Crimean voters voted to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia – and there is no sign they want to go back.

    Presumably, the Russians will set up some bleachers on their side of the border and just watch the show – just like their grandparents did in Stalingrad.

  17. Sam
    November 8, 2016 at 20:03

    A very well-stated set of ironical contradictions of US propaganda for the warmongers.

    We may hope that either Killary wins and takes Russia to the brink, forcing it to nuke Kiev forces or Israel, or Trump wins and betrays the working class, leading to a populist Dem party down the road. There are only dark paths to progress at this point.

    • JRGJRG
      November 8, 2016 at 20:22

      It’s fair to say that Russians are justifiably sensitive to having neo-Nazi Azov battalions poised on its border in the Ukraine, given their horrific traumatic experience with the Third Reich in Hitler’s WWII where they lost 27 Million of their citizens from the German invasion in 1942. The pivotal battles of the war occurred in the Ukraine including Kursk. I think they have been amazingly restrained up to now. This makes the fingers on the Russian buttons more nervous than usual.

  18. William Beeby
    November 8, 2016 at 19:17

    Brilliant article Robert Parry.

    • November 8, 2016 at 21:01

      I second that.

    • dahoit
      November 10, 2016 at 11:42

      Sheesh,why has Parry been anti Trump if one thinks nuclear war is terrible?
      The colossus of Trump defeats zion!Hallelujah.
      Ooh ooh ooh Shillary’s crying.
      Now lets destroy the CIA and all its failed idiots who have brought US disaster after disaster.

  19. JRGJRG
    November 8, 2016 at 18:53

    Too many clowns, not enough circuses.

    Report of a possible cyberattack in Russia today. Is this the one threatened by Biden and Hillary for mythical “meddling” in US election via Wikileaks?

    • Kiza
      November 9, 2016 at 02:05

      The article you link to is unrealistic, but still gives a good idea how dangerous saber-rattling always is. Now any unexplained event in Russia could be blamed on a cyber-attack by US, as announced by US. This, in turn, increases tensions between US and Russia, which are already too high and so on in a vicious closed circle which could lead to nuclear confrontation. Maybe tough bluster (of a senile and greedy uncle Joe) is cheap in US, but everywhere else there is a high price to pay for such bull.

      Trump appears to be winning and he needs to urgently shut up the Bushes, the Bidens, the Romneys and the rest of the corrupt and declining elite dragging US down and down. Personally, I will not celebrate Trump’s win, but I will celebrate the fulfillment of his promise to jail HRC (after due process). This is because this will be the quickest and the best way to get the totally and utterly corrupt US elite to understand that they are not above the law any more. But when the anti-Russia bull in the US stops, then will be the second and final moment for relaxation and celebration. Till then, anything could happen.

      • Kiza
        November 9, 2016 at 03:53

        Yes, just as ‘exiled off mainstreet’ below I also hope that Trump will not do Obama’s: let’s look into the future (which was a nice proof that Obama was just another chosen puppet of the corrupted one elite/one party system of US, the Bushbama). It is truly a time to drain the swamp, which would give US people time to deal with their own economic and social problems and give the rest of the World a respite from the US Globocop.

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