Dismantling the Doomsday Machines

Dan Ellsberg has given us a book that shows the urgency of re-engaging on nuclear disarmament, writes John V. Walsh.

With Two Minutes to Midnight, Time Is Running Out

By John V. Walsh
Anti-war.com 

“From a technical point of view, he [director Stanley Kubrick] anticipated many things. … Since that time, little has changed, honestly. The only difference is that modern weapons systems have become more sophisticated, more complex.  But this idea of a retaliatory strike and the inability to manage these systems, yes, all of these things are relevant today. It [controlling the weapons] will become even more difficult and more dangerous.”  — Russian President Vladimir Putin commenting on the film, “Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” in an interview with Oliver Stone, May 11, 2016. Putin had not seen the movie and did not know of it before Stone showed it to him.

The “Doomsday Machine,” the title of Daniel Ellsberg’s superb book, is not an imaginary contraption from a movie masterpiece.  A Doomsday Machine uncannily like the one described in “Dr. Strangelove” exists right now.  In fact, there are two such machines, one in U.S. hands and one in Russia’s.  The U.S. seeks to hide its version, but Ellsberg has revealed that it has existed since the 1950s.  Russia has quietly admitted that it has one, named it formally, “Perimetr,” and also tagged it with a frighteningly apt nickname “Dead Hand.” Because the U.S. and Russia are the only nations with Doomsday Machines to date we shall restrict this discussion to them.

Daniel Ellsberg (JD Lasika via Flickr)

Daniel Ellsberg in 2010.  (JD Lasika via Flickr)

Ellsberg’s terrifying message in the book has failed to provoke action in the year since its publication. Instead, on Jan. 24 the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists kept its Doomsday Clock at two minutes to midnight, poised perilously close to Armageddon for a second year, marking a “new abnormal.” 

The first component of a Doomsday Machine is a mechanism of launching nuclear weapons with a command structure not always in the hands of a president in either country, something carefully hidden from the U.S. public. 

The second component is a weapon of such destructive force that it can kill billions at once and then more gradually the entire human race and perhaps all animal life on earth. 

Here is a brief consideration of Ellsberg’s views as a reminder of the nuclear peril we face along with a plan of action that he and others suggest. 

Launch and Command

Russia and the U.S. each have the ability to strike the other with great force, destroy the other’s cities and industrial and military bases.

The essence of this first-strike capacity is the ability to wipe out the deterrent of the other side or weaken it so that the remaining force could be intercepted for the most part. 

How can a targeted nation respond to such a capability?  It must convince the adversary that such a strike is futile because it will not destroy the deterrent of the targeted nation.  The attacker must understand that the nuclear force of the targeted nation, its nuclear deterrent, will survive, and the attacker will be annihilated.

The first approach to ensure this survivability is to build ever more nuclear weapons.  Thus, when the U.S. pioneered its first-strike capability in the Cold War, the Soviet Union responded with a buildup. Quite quickly both had a first-strike capacity with the competitive buildup reaching the insane levels shown here.  Each side also took the following additional measures.

The first measure to prevent the loss of deterrence is to put the nuclear force on Launch on Warning, which is also described as Hair Trigger Alert.

Most of us have heard about this, but we ought to quake in our boots every time it comes to mind.  Since the time to respond to a first strike is only tens of minutes for an ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) attack, which takes about 30 minutes to travel between the U.S. and Russia, and even less time for a short or intermediate range missile, a targeted country must have its nuclear force loaded onto delivery vehicles and capable of being launched on warning of a nuclear attack.

Minuteman missile combat crew on alert, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, 2006. (Wikimedia)

Minuteman missile combat crew, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, 2006. (Wikimedia)

Nuclear warheads that are loaded onto delivery vehicles are said to be “deployed.” They are ready to be launched in minutes.  On each side —both in Russia and in the U.S. — roughly 1,600 such warheads were loaded onto long-range delivery vehicles in 2018. (There are several thousand more warheads in reserve on each side but not “deployed.”)  It is easy to see the danger inherent in this situation.

The second measure to prevent loss of deterrence is “delegation.”  This is not widely known or understood.

One aspect of a first strike would be an attempt to knock out known command centers so that a retaliatory strike could not be ordered.  This is known as “decapitation.”The antidote to decapitation is “delegation,” that is, others besides the presidents and their immediate successors are authorized to press “the button.”  It works this way.  These “others” are located in secret command centers far from Washington or the Strategic Air Command Base in Colorado, both of which will be targeted in a decapitation strike.  If these secret centers find themselves cut off from communication with Washington or Moscow, then the assumption is made that a decapitating nuclear strike has occurred.  In that event these “others” removed from the centers of power are authorized to press the nuclear button.  These others are not elected officials and in fact we do not know who they are. What Ellsberg discovered is that some of these “others” are military people who are concerned that they too could be hit in a decapitating strike.  So they also have the authority to delegate.

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test, April 26, 2017, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ian Dudley)

Unarmed Minuteman III ICBM launch test, April 2017, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (Senior Airman Ian Dudley, U.S. Air Force, )

In fact, no one, perhaps not even the president, nor his circle of advisors, knows who can launch the nuclear weapons. Is it possible that one might be like the fictional General Jack D. Ripper, the psychotic, delusional fellow who gives the launch order in Dr. Strangelove, or someone lusting after the Rapture?  

In summary, first-strike capability is the source of the problem.  It leads to a nuclear arms buildup, launch on warning and delegation. The idea of having such a capability is deeply imbedded in U.S. “strategic” thinking and will be hard to dislodge.

Weapons of Human Extinction

The second component of a Doomsday Machine is the weaponry. What is the destructive power of the nuclear weapons used in a first strike?  In 1961, when Ellsberg was among those working on nuclear-war fighting strategy for the Kennedy administration, he requested an estimate from the Pentagon of the deaths due to a first strike as the war planners had mapped it out then. To his surprise the estimate came back at once — the Pentagon had made it and kept it hidden.  At a time when the global population was about 3 billion, a first strike by the U.S. would result in the deaths of 1.2 billion from explosions, radiation and fire.  That number was deaths only, not injuries.  And it was only the result of U.S. weapons; it did not include deaths from a Soviet response if they managed one.  The deaths would be concentrated in targeted countries, then and now the U.S. and Russia.  Ellsberg was stunned to learn that the Pentagon would coolly make plans for such a gargantuan and immediate genocide.  And so should we all be. 


Protest writing in snow from 1980s. MCANW, or theMedical Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons, merged in 1992 with the Medical Association for the Prevention of War to form Medact. (Wellcome Library, London, via Wikimedia)

 

But the damage does not stop there.  This is the surprise that the Pentagon did not understand at the time.  The ash from the fires of burning cities would be cast up into the stratosphere so high that it would not be rained out.  There it would remain for at least a decade, blocking enough sunlight to prevent crops from growing for 10 years.  That is sufficient to cause total starvation and wipe out the entire human race, with only a handful at most able to survive. Nuclear winter was  publicized in the 1980s and encountered some initial skepticism.

Now with the interest in global warming, better computer models have been developed. When the results of a nuclear first strike are put into these models, nuclear winter again makes its appearance as Brian Toon, Alan Robock and others have shown.  The TED talks of Toon and of Robock describing their findings are well worthwhile; they are brief and well-illustrated.  We are confronted with a genocide of all or nearly all humanity, an Omnicide.”

The launch of the 1600 “deployed” warheads of either the U.S. or Russia is sufficient to give us nuclear winter.  So we in the U.S. have put in place a weapon system on hair-trigger alert commanded by we know not whom that can kill virtually all Americans – along with most everyone else on the planet. 

Major King Kong (Slim Pickens) in “Dr. Strangelove” rides the bomb down onto its target. (Insomnia Cured Here via Flickr)

Major King Kong (Slim Pickens) in “Dr. Strangelove.”  (Insomnia Cured Here via Flickr)

We have on hair trigger alert a weapon that is in fact suicidal.  Even if we neglect the effects of nuclear winter, the nuclear attacks would be concentrated on Russia and the U.S.  So most of us would be consumed.  Thus MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) is replaced with SAD (Self-Assured Destruction).

Abandoning First-Strike Policy & Capacity

Dismantling the Doomsday Machine with its hair-trigger alert and system of delegation means abandoning a first-strike policy and capacity.  And right now, only two countries have such first strike capacity and only one, the U.S., refuses to take the right to use it “off the table” even when not under attack

What does the elimination of first-strike capacity mean in practice?  This involves two basic steps for the U.S.  First, the land-based ICBMs, the Minuteman III, must be entirely dismantled, not refurbished as is currently being undertaken at enormous cost.  These missiles, the land-based part of the Strategic Triad, are highly accurate but fixed in place like “sitting ducks.” They are only good for a first strike, for they will be destroyed in a successful first strike by an adversary. Former Secretary of Defense William Perry and James E. Cartwright, formerly head of the Strategic Air Command and formerly vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have both called for dismantling the Minuteman III. The second step is to reduce the Trident Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) force to the level where it cannot destroy the entire Russian land-based missile force. 

President Gerald Ford and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev sign joint communiqué following talks on the limitation of strategic offensive arms, including nuclear delivery vehicles, intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles fitted with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs. (Wikimedia)

Gerald Ford and Leonid Brezhnev sign joint communiqué to limit strategic offensive arms, 1974. (Wikimedia)

Russia would also need to execute similar measures, taking into account the specifics of its arsenal.  Here negotiations, treaties and verification are necessary.  But these are impossible in the current atmosphere of Russiagate and Russophobia, which is why both are existential threats and must be surmounted. We must talk despite our differences, real or perceived. 

An additional measure has also been proposed.  All nuclear warheads should be removed from deployed status by Russia and the U.S.  (The anodyne term is “de-alerting.”) That is, the warheads should be removed from their delivery vehicles and stored in a way that would take days or even weeks to deploy – that is to remount.    This has been proposed by the Global Zero Commission on Nuclear Risk Reduction whose plan is laid out here.

The Work Ahead

Total abolition should be the ultimate goal because no human hand should be allowed to wield species-destroying power.  But it seems that an intermediate goal is not only needed to give us the breathing space to get to zero nuclear weapons.  An intermediate and readily achievable goal can call attention to the problem and motivate large numbers of people.  The Nuclear Freeze movement of the 1980s is a very successful example of this sort of effort; it played a big role in making the Reagan-Gorbachev accords possible. 

The effort to kill the Doomsday Machines might well be called something like “Step Away from Doomsday” or simply “Step Away.”  At two minutes to midnight we must make haste to do this.  Abolishing nuclear weapons will require a breakthrough in the way countries deal with one another, especially nuclear armed countries.  Let us give ourselves the breathing space to accomplish that.

An earlier version of this article appeared on Anti-war.com.

 John V. Walsh can be reached at john.endwar@gmail.com.  He writes about issues of war, peace and empire, and about health care, for Antiwar.com, Consortium News, DissidentVoice.org and other outlets.  Now living in the East Bay, he was until recently professor of physiology and cellular neuroscience at a medical school in New England.

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39 comments for “Dismantling the Doomsday Machines

  1. OlyaPola
    February 12, 2019 at 08:50

    Dismantling the Doomsday Machines

    “right now, only two countries have such first strike capacity and only one, the U.S., refuses to take the right to use it “off the table” even when not under attack.

    Practitioners tend to ponder how-to, including the how-to of others and why how did not facilitate to.

    The temporary social relations presently self-described as “The United States of America” are in varying assay immersed in resort to coercion in various forms including “bluff”, and tendency to bridge doubt by by belief to attain confirmation to attain a perceived purpose.

    Practitioners have recognised the high probability of nuclear winter since the 1980’s and since then have sought to assess the catalysts, quantities and lateral processes to facilitate such climatic processes including but not limited to nuclear winter.

    Since the 1980’s this research has tended to decrease quantities – “The launch of the 1600 “deployed” warheads of either the U.S. or Russia is sufficient to give us nuclear winter.” now being perceived as vast over-kill informing the nuclear strategies of both China and the Russian Federation, increase catalysts, and increase lateral processes, including but not limited to delegated launch on warning, to facilitate climatic processes including but not limited to nuclear winter.

    Consequently some practitioners do not tend to base strategies on the false binary first strike/second strike, but some do recognise delegated launch on warning as another tool of bluff evangelising the false binary first strike/second strike to achieve a perceived purpose.

    “ the U.S., refuses to take the right to use it “off the table” even when not under attack.”

    Why?

    Although a definitive “answer” can never exist in any lateral system, illumination of present assay/orientations can be derived through the present frame of perceived purpose and how-tos derived there-from which are not homogeneous, as illustrated by present variation of how-tos in various US organisations including the CIA and the US Department of Defence.

    “ only two countries have such first strike capacity, and only one,….,refuses to take the right to use it “off the table””

    Why does the other one not refuse?

    Although a definitive “answer” can never exist in any lateral system, illumination of present assay/orientations can be derived through the present frame of perceived purpose and how-tos derived there-from which are not emulative.

    https://journal-neo.org/2019/02/12/trump-re-sets-the-sail-for-u-s-nuclear-supremacy/

    “The temporary social relations presently self-described as “The United States of America” are to varying assay immersed in resort to coercion in various forms including “bluff” and tendency to bridge doubt by by belief to attain confirmation to attain a perceived purpose.”

    Other immersions of varying assay include resort to the can do/must do conflation, self-assignment of prime agency/facility, and more is better.

    “But it seems that an intermediate goal is not only needed to give us the breathing space to get to zero nuclear weapons.”

    Wise strategies are based on lateral processes, hence strategies based on pre-determined “intermediate goals” instead of flexible moments in the lateral process of facilitating purpose, are generally unachievable.

    This was the case with the odyssey to find the holy grail of “Full Spectrum Dominance”, and through acceleration facilitated by opponents’ perceptions of pre-determined “intermediate goals” can be encouraged to be the case re:

    https://journal-neo.org/2019/02/12/trump-re-sets-the-sail-for-u-s-nuclear-supremacy/

    rendering the opponents waiting for Godot.

  2. February 9, 2019 at 18:51

    I read Ellsberg’s book and it sits on the shelf gathering dust with all the other ‘alt’ books on climate & politics & war & economics & environment that nobody wants to borrow. I’ve always had a ‘lending library’ for friends, family, and neighbors and though I keep adding to it, it sees less and less use. People would rather be ‘entertained’ by a screen than read something that isn’t fiction. I threw the tv out in 1993.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one on this site just completely surrounded by people who deliberately choose to stay ignorant. For some it’s probably a protective security blanket over their heads because they already know enough to be scared, angry, and depressed.

    But after reading Doomsday Machine I realized just how ignorant I was as a kid hiding under my elementary school desk waiting for the blasts to hit Mission Beach School that was about 4 air miles away over Pt. Loma hill from Aircraft Carrier Row and North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego Bay. My stepmom was Japanese, I KNEW about what atom bombs did, and that made a huge difference in knowledge of consequences compared to my mostly military-brat peers. Their soldier daddies were going to protect them. Yeah, right.

    I never expected to live this long, not back then.

    What will kill us off, the madness of human-caused climate collapse or the madness of nuclear war? I think it’s a toss-up, an either/or/and. No matter which happens first the other will probably follow shortly afterward.

    Of course if it’s a worldwide nuclear war first, or even the use of just a small portion of the absolutely enormous bombs we now have compared to Hiroshima-a massive difference between the destructive power of a single Trident sub with their multiple warheads on each missile and that little firecracker, we won’t have a Global Warming to worry about. It will be -50’F under a planet-wide cloud cover for decades if not hundreds of years. Think the movie ‘The Road’ but far, far darker and colder compared to the nice balmy weather that movie showed.

    But having a sudden climate catastrophe that flat ends civilization, like the possibility of just one bad harvest year where all the grain in the Midwest burns up and the veggies & fruit from California do the same, and it would be instant chaos erupting as people started starving. It wouldn’t be just the US if that happened, it would be a worldwide calamity and a scramble for everybody else’s resources.

    Then the use of thermonuclear hydrogen warheads would probably start…in so-called ‘limited’ numbers until the mind sick in control got really pissed off. Think Bolton or Hillary and their war-fever doppelgangers in other countries, too. We’re already suffering the effects of climate collapse as the science gets more dire with every new study that comes out. Limited time left seems to be here, now, doesn’t it? Those in power are obviously not going to do anything about either of these world-ending problems.

    It feels like we are all sitting around in a Hospice Room, doesn’t it? An appropriate analogy I think.

    sealintheSelkirks

  3. RICHARD A FEIBEL
    February 9, 2019 at 09:10

    IF ANYONE IS FOOLISH ENOUGH TO BELIEVE THAT THE US IN ITS PRESENT FORM [[I.E.THE TRUMP ADM.]] IS WILLING TO SPEAK WITH ANY RUSSIAN DELEGATION AS REGARDS DENUCLEARIZATION IS WHISTLING DIXIE IN THE DARK. TRUMP HAS SURROUNDED HIMSELF WITH WHAT WAS CALLED BACK IN THE BUSH 41 ADMISNSTRATION “”THE CRAZIES IN THE BASEMENT “” MEANING THE PENTAGON OR KNOW AS NEOCONS . BOTH BOLTON AND POMPEO AND A HOST OF OTHER IN THE ENTAGON AND THINK TANKS IN THE US ARE PRESSING FOR THIS FIRST STRIKE.IN FACT IN OCT OF 2016 ON 60 MINUTES ADMIRAL HANEY ”COMMANDER NUCLEAR FORCES EUROPE NATO” NOT ONLY GAVE THE COMPLETE DESCRIPTION OF OUT PLAN OF ATTACK HE SHOWED THE ATTACK MAP AND TARGETS. THE CRAZIES ARE IN CONTROL AND THERE IS NOTHING ANY SANE PERSON CAN DO. ONLY A MILITARY COUP BY PATRIOTIC MILITARY AND POLITICAL LEADERS WILL SUFFICE TO STOP THIS MADNESS. PROBLEM!!! THERE ARE NO PATRIOTS LEFT IN THE PENTAGON OR ADM OR CONGRESS.AND CERTAINLY NOT IN THE 17 CRIMINAL INTEL AGENCIES. SIC SEMPRE TYRANNUS

    • Tom
      February 9, 2019 at 16:58

      You can thank DEMOCRATS for THAT………….Trump and Gen Flynn were AGAINST Syria and Libya and and wanted OUT of Syria and Afghanistan and Wanted to WORK WITH RUSSIA………….

      Oh really?Trump hasnt started a single new war……in fact has been pushing for PEACE………and Democrats go apoplectic

      in fact has tried to pull us out of Afghanistan and Syria while democrats scream for more wars….even nuclear war with Russia based on lies and propaganda

      The neo cons Hate TRUMP……and democrats now LOVE the BUSH family?……its only Because Bush and Cheney and the entire PNAC criminal cabal co weren’t rounded up by OBAMA and tried and publicly executed for treason and sedition and crimes against humanity that we are still being terrorized by them and their cohorts like the neo CONservative Clintons.

      Trump ran against the Bush neo con cabal……Hillary was the Bush neo con and its the BUSH = Hillary neocons behind the Russia gate lies and propaganda pushing the world toward WW3 with NUKES……

      TRUMP “Bush worst president ever”

      https://youtu.be/j6N8l8DMu3M

      Donald Trump attacks George W. Bush on 9/11, Iraq

      https://youtu.be/H4ThZcq1oJQ

      Trump To George W. Bush: Iraq War Was ‘The Single Worst Decision Ever’

      https://youtu.be/xMbybkuNvlk

      And you think TRUMP is dangerous?Seek help.

    • Tom
      February 9, 2019 at 17:30

      huh ?….There were NEVER any “patriots ” in the Pentagon……Eisenhower tried to warn us.

  4. February 8, 2019 at 00:00

    Pls. Do Not Feel like Lone Ranger!
    Having worked all my life (50-yrs) worldwide when I retired 25-yrs ago people who knew me (M.D., J.D., Prof.) asked me to use my retirement years productively using the experience roaming the world and compile reports detailing what is being done (detrimentally) to Planet Earth and its residents. Up until recent using the internet emailing these reports worldwide worked, but of late my outgoing emails are BLOCKED (100%) Incoming are still OK, for how much longer is anybody’s guess in this world standing on its head.

  5. Lois Gagnon
    February 7, 2019 at 22:36

    I belong to a new campaign to eliminate nuclear weapons. You can read all about it here: http://www.nuclearban.us/

    Get some folks together and request a work shop to get you started. We can only accomplish this task if millions get involved.

  6. Skip Scott
    February 7, 2019 at 18:45

    Tom-

    This site’s comment section is squirrelly. Often when you check back later, you end up thinking your comment was deleted. If you post a test comment, you will see it’s still there. Then you can re-load the page on your browser to be able to delete your test comment. It’s a pain in the ass, but it works. It’s the only way to ensure you are seeing all the latest comments, including your own.

    • Tom
      February 8, 2019 at 13:56

      Thanks!

  7. Tom
    February 7, 2019 at 16:12

    Dont blame TRUMP…..

    “Democrats” and the so called “left” have pushed this insanity…NOT Republicans who voted AGAINST the PNAC neoliberal Bush criminals…….and all because their evil queen Hillary lost an election and they needed an excuse for that epic embarrassment……Sanders would have won……Clinton was the deep state candidate……Hillary was the Neo con PNAC queen…….Trump put a stick in those works and shocked the system.

    Hillary even picked Trump….her “pied piper”…….dont kid yourself.Trump was the only one she polled above and knew it.Hillary not only cheated Sanders and bought the DNC out right she created Russian -gate out of whole cloth….

    Trump as bad as he is was a greedy baboon who wanted Trump towers in Moscow and out of the WARS…….that made him less dangerous then Hillary or Obama……

    And then RUSSIAGATE……..planned in Hillary Clintons basement…..and now they are pushing WW3 with Russia……something Trump never wanted.

    the corporate “LEFT” pushing it……

    at least the right wing Bircher Mcarthism went after their enemy the LEFT this is the LEFT eating itself and pushing for WW3 based on lies and propaganda……. The left has jumped the shark and Maddow is literally insane ……

    Rachel Maddow”s Craziest Russia Video Ever!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xi5YYZ9eocU&feature=youtu.be

    Just to remind you of the sociopaths in the US Pentagon and “intelligence ” communities who now work for MSNBC and CNN are the same who lied us into wars and worse and democrats now embrace,……… are dreaming of Armageddon

    Not only did they plan on attacking Russia they were going to drop Nukes on China JUST BECAUSE……

    U.S. Planned Nuclear First Strike to Destroy Soviets and China – Daniel Ellsberg on RAI (6/13)

    https://youtu.be/VAHGzK9m_DY

    These neo con PNAC maniacs arent even pretending anymore

    And they are going after the LEFT and any anti war candidates and even protests like the Yellow vests….ALL PUTIN PUPPETS now……….well done democrats!!

    Story: NBC News, to Claim Russia Supports Tulsi Gabbard, Relies on Firm Just Caught Fabricating Russia Data for the Democratic Party

    https://theintercept.com/2019/02/03/nbc-news-to-claim-russia-supports-tulsi-gabbard-relies-on-firm-just-caught-fabricating-russia-data-for-the-democratic-party/?menu=1

    That’s what these PNAC psychopaths are planning– a limited release of nuclear weapons.

    Of course, this cabal will be quickly running into bomb shelters deep beneath the earth. But unfortunately, these massmurderers will not be spared since a limited nuclear war will trigger a major conflagration, resulting in the the earth being uninhabitable by any life form for more than a 100 years. Amusingly, their intention is to live interminably underground, but the radiation poisoning will seep through, and they’ll be as dead as the rest of us.

    And other laughable elites, think they’ll escape by colonizing the moon or some other destination in the galaxy.

    • Realist
      February 7, 2019 at 23:30

      Amen. Excellent recounting of the real history that the mass media won’t tell.

      And you may be right about the rocket ships being designed and built by Musk, Bezos and other oligarchs: escape pods when the entire world finally turns on them.

      • Tom
        February 8, 2019 at 14:14

        I sometimes feel like I woke up on the other side of the looking glass…….Trump wants out of wars and democrats scream he is a Putin puppet?

        This Russia ruse is good for so many things,least of which is going after the anti war LEFT!!The Democrats neo conservative mask came off toot sweet!!

    • February 9, 2019 at 12:35

      Agreed. Thank you!

  8. mike k
    February 7, 2019 at 14:43

    Our #1 problem threatening our extinction gets swept under the rug in our thinking and actions. What better evidence of our state of zombie like sleep?? I have worked on this since the 60s. People just don’t want to hear about it, much less do anything to avert it. If it comes, what can you say about it? They died in their sleep.

  9. February 7, 2019 at 12:19

    The author is talking common sence here. He is talking survival of the human race. He is talking survival of the planet. All legitimate points if you are talking to average intelligent human beings whether Russian of American. But Bolton, Pompeo, Graham, Trump and the rest of that scum are not your average human being, or your average American. They are living , breathing Dr. Evil characters. Like Pompeo with his bible opened on his desk , they truly believe that the US can win a nuclear war. They believe that God will step in and save the USA. How are you going to reason with that? Russia has zero choice. It has to put off the war as long as possible so that it is 100% prepared to make sure that not one of these lunatics will survive this coming catastrophy.

    I would suggest something to Russia. List their homes and hometowns, issue a map of exactly where they are and list the missile that will take these places out if the US attacks. Make certain that these degerates and their offspring know that they will be amoung the first to go. That would take another hundred or so missiles. A good investment. Obviously these people do not give a hoot about their country, it is even doubtfull that they even care for their families and friends, but they do care about their own skins and money. Make sure they undestand that they will lose both.

  10. February 6, 2019 at 22:10

    So what will destroy us first. Nuclear Armageddon or global warming? Methinks the future doesn’t look good.

    • mike k
      February 7, 2019 at 14:45

      I’m betting on the nukes to deliver the coupe de grace.

  11. Andrew Thomas
    February 6, 2019 at 15:31

    One of the great ironies of today’s version of this madness is the “rapture” angle. If the believers in a living God who intervenes on the earth have one decent argument, it is that an omnividal nuclear conflagration has not occurred accidentally since the dawn of the nuclear age. As it has been extensively documented, it could have happened many times. With the GOP foisting Bolton, Pompeo and Elliott Abrams on the world, and the “resistance” screeching derangedly about Putin and Russia, and the disappearance of all of the pathetically inadequate international agreements that protected us at least a little from the end of an Earth with either flora or fauna, I am afraid that the doomsday clock’s current setting is laughably optimistic.

    • mike k
      February 7, 2019 at 14:49

      The “God” that most folks believe in, has been planted in their minds by their sick patriarchal culture. Don’t expect anything but illusory help from that figment.

    • Tom
      February 7, 2019 at 16:34

      Why All Anti-Interventionists Will Necessarily Be Smeared As Russian Assets

      “This article is of course absurd. As we discussed recently, you will always see Russia on the same US foreign policy page as anti-interventionists like Tulsi Gabbard, because Russia, like so many other nations, opposes US interventionism. To treat this as some sort of shocking conspiracy instead of obvious and mundane is journalistic malpractice. There are many, many very good reasons to oppose the war agendas of the US-centralized empire, none of which have anything to do with having any loyalty to or sympathies for the Russian government. But we will continue to see this tactic used again and again and again against any and all opposition to US-led interventionism for as long as the Russiagate psyop maintains its grip upon western consciousness. And make no mistake, these smears have everything to do with anti-interventionism and nothing to do with Russia. There will never, ever be an antiwar voice who the political/media class and their centrist followers espouse as good and valid; they’ll never say “Ahh, finally, someone who hates war and also isn’t aligned with Russia! We can get behind this one!” That will never, ever happen, because it is the opposition to war and interventionism itself which is being rejected, and in the McCarthyite environment of Russia hysteria, tarring it as “Russian” simply makes a practical excuse for that rejection.”

      The social engineers have succeeded in constructing a narrative control device which encapsulates the entire agenda of the unipolar world order in a single bumper sticker-sized talking point:

      “Russia opposes Big Brother, therefore anyone who opposes Big Brother is Russian.”

      This device didn’t take an amazing intellectual feat to create; all they had to do was recreate the paranoid insanity of the original cold war, and they already had a blueprint for that. It was simply a matter of shepherding us back there.”

      https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/02/03/why-all-anti-interventionists-will-necessarily-be-smeared-as-russian-assets/

  12. ToivoS
    February 6, 2019 at 14:11

    Thank you John Waltsh for reminding us of the possible horror. Last year I bought and read Elsberg’s book on the doomsday machine. I lived through much of the material he covered there but had no idea how close to nuclear annihilation we had come during those years. Yet it seems that the US is yet again pushing towards nuclear war while the principles are oblivious to the danger. First Bush jr abrogates the ABM treaty. Obama does nothing. Now Trump has abrogated the INF treaty. It also looks like Trump is refusing to extend the START treaty.

    Russia is almost pleading with the US to come to its senses but at the same time are improving their nuclear war capacities in case the US continues with their stupidity. Russia knows that if nuclear war breaks out they will not be the victor but they are making sure that if the US attempts to destroy their country, the US will be destroyed as well. This craziness is not just the result of Trump’s policies but it goes back to Bill Clinton when he refused to accept Russia legitimate sovereign power.

    • mike k
      February 7, 2019 at 14:51

      Yes. Good comment.

  13. Brian Murphy
    February 6, 2019 at 13:22

    Fantastic article. Very well written and informative.

  14. Jeff Harrison
    February 6, 2019 at 12:31

    I’d love it. But when you have military men (who only know how to make war) in the government (and I don’t mean in a military position) and you have rabid fanatics like John Bolton in the government, there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of doing something sensible. Not to mention, the open question. Why would any other country in the world trust the US to do anything that we say we will. We signed up for the chemical weapons treaty but have yet to destroy our enormous stockpiles of chemical weapons. We signed a treaty banning the use of white phosphorus in weapons but we’ve been using white phosphorus in the Middle East. Cluster bombs are another banned weapon yet, once again, we are and have used them in the Middle East and elsewhere. We simply walked away from the ABM treaty and subsequently populated the world with ABM sites. And now, we’ve walked away from the INF treaty without, as Russia has complained, providing any proof whatsoever that Russia is not in compliance.

    Really, why would another country be stupid enough to sign a treaty with the US?

    • Realist
      February 6, 2019 at 14:39

      Why does any part of the civilized world continue to have truck with such a pack of congenital liars, thieves and mass murderers? The United States SHOULD be the biggest pariah nation on the planet. In any novel or movie reflecting moral behavior such a bully always gets his comeuppance, either from a single brave individual pushed too far or from the group after one too many outrages. If life imitates art, I can hardly wait for the proper outcome to manifest, and I live within the borders of this great pariah nation and would, with my fellow citizens, feel the effects of such justice. Bring it on, we deserve it. Something short of total war though and without the use of any nukes, please.

      • February 6, 2019 at 22:15

        “The United States SHOULD be the biggest pariah nation on the planet.”

        No, The United States IS the biggest pariah nation on the planet.

        • Realist
          February 7, 2019 at 23:39

          It’s not treated like one. It’s treated with utmost deference, like any powerful gangster.

    • Anne Jaclard
      February 6, 2019 at 14:51

      Any politican not dealing with the existential threats is a danger to humanity. In Britain, Corbyn wants to lay down nuclear arms de facto if not de jure and sign the Binding Treaty on corporate climate abuse. Sadly, the only US Democrat I know to have a nuclear related policy is Liz Warren, who wants a no-first-strike policy – at the same time she’s no good on war.

      Both boxes must be checked.

  15. February 6, 2019 at 10:56

    Unfortunately, it’s not just the United States, and it’s not just the leaders.

  16. February 6, 2019 at 09:21

    A thought provoking article. We are at the mercy of common sense and decency. The perils of nuclear disaster are an existential threat that we simply cannot contain by any means other than preventative. Between the Russiagate conspiracy theory, the ensuing paranoia of Russiaphobia, and global efforts to be free of financial servitude to the US; I fear the possibilities of a nuclear fallout that humanity simply cannot endure. It certainly offers no comfort to know that there are multiple anonymous minds with the authority to launch such a suicidal strike. And there is no consolation in the thought that we may very well be the instigators of such insanity.

    May cool heads and caring humans rule the day.

  17. Skip Scott
    February 6, 2019 at 08:22

    Neither the Democratic or Republican Party offer us any hope for the future as long as they fail to offer us a peace candidate. We need to come to grips with REALITY. The MIC, their MSM shills, and our so-called “elected representatives” are going to get us all killed. Let that sink in before you think about voting for the “lesser of evils” in 2020 (if we make it that far).

    • February 6, 2019 at 12:25

      Skip – I quite agree. Tulsi Gabbard came out publicly as a “peace candidate” recently and courageously spoke out against both the New Cold War and against our lawless U.S. regime change operations. She has of course since been completely vilified and attacked in all MSM by pundits of every description on the political spectrum since the entirety of our MSM and political class are simply servants to the war machine, no matter which party or place on the left to right spectrum they self-identify. Meanwhile, just to show they are on the job, the Democratic Party in Hawaii is running someone in an effort to unseat Gabbard from her congressional seat even as she runs for president.

      The recent NBC News hit piece on Tusli linking her campaign to support from, you guessed it, “Russia,” manages to add to the theatre of the absurd nature of the moment by using the totally discredited “New Knowledge” PsyOps folks as their “source.” This is the same New Knowledge outfit that literally “created fake Russian-bots” to follow the Roy Moore campaign so they could say Russia supported him and damn him with guilt by association. The NYT’s published this story, (CN has covered this), but somehow NBC News failed to report a word of it in their hit piece on Tulsi. This sort of completely unethical journalistic malpractice is, I suspect, what we’re going to see from here on out aimed at Tulsi and anyone one else who might dare speak publicly the dreaded word “peace.”

      • Realist
        February 6, 2019 at 14:50

        Poor Tulsi already has a target on her back placed there by the braintrust at the DNC. She’s being portrayed as something nearly as nefarious as a Putin puppet. She’s being called a homophobe for supporting the political policies of her father’s religious-affiliated activist group back when she was a teenager, which is certainly not her position now. That slander is considered career-ending in the Democratic Party. Absolutely anything to do with sechs, gender or race will be weaponised in the political arena these days.

        • Anne Jaclard
          February 6, 2019 at 14:52

          Has Tulsi spoken on nuclear war danger/disarmament and a plan to mitigate climate? Being against wars in Syria and Venezuela are good but not enough

  18. February 6, 2019 at 07:46

    Indeed. I remember as a kid in the ’80s, the constant underlying tension. The Day After told the story. My father remembers Duck and Cover, hiding under the school desk drills. I had hoped my own children could avoid this lifelong anxiety, with this particular sword of Damocles unstrung. Too late now. Trump erased the treaties.

    https://opensociet.org/2019/02/04/washington-resurrected-the-arms-race/

  19. mike k
    February 6, 2019 at 07:25

    An excellent summary of our dangerous situation. Does this leave any doubt that our “leaders” are insane? Russia wants to talk about ending this lethal standoff. The crazy rulers of the US want to escalate the danger instead. Our continued existence depends on getting rid of these mad tyrants who play games with the fate of humanity.

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