Avoiding Nuclear War

The road to possible nuclear Armageddon has been littered with lost opportunities for peaceful co-existence with Russia and signposted by repeated U.S. provocations, but Ukraine’s neutrality remains key to everyone’s security, writes Edward Lozansky.

The relative ranges Soviet missiles and bombers — the Il-28, SS-4 and SS-5 — based on Cuba in nautical miles. (U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, Wikimedia Commons)

By Edward Lozansky
Special to Consortium News

As the list of those who take the looming threat of nuclear war seriously keeps growing, let’s try to analyze what brought us to this sad state of affairs.

During the Cold War there were similar dangerous moments, but John F Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, as well as Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, managed to avoid the worst-case scenario. George H.W. Bush talked in 1990 about a “Europe whole and free” and a new “security architecture from Vancouver to Vladivostok,” while Boris Yeltsin, during his 1992 address to the joint chambers of Congress, exclaimed, “God bless America.”

So, what went wrong? Why are we talking about nuclear war again? According to Washington, Putin and his desire to restore the Soviet empire are to blame. Moscow points the finger back at Washington for its vision of a unipolar world order under U.S. hegemony. Here is my brief take and I would be happy to debate those who see it differently. Perhaps during such exchanges, we could come up with some ideas for avoiding our mutual extinction.

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December 25, 1991

The Soviet flag over the Kremlin comes down, Russian white-blue-red (symbolically the same colors as the American flag) comes up. It looked like the new era of peace, friendship, and mutually beneficial cooperation had arrived, but regrettably, as we see now, it hasn’t.

1993 – 2001

Bill Clinton presides over the greatest robbery of the 20th Century and NATO expansion.

The term “Russiagate” entered the American media space much earlier than during Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential campaign, when she tried to blame Russia for her loss. This term was first used by Washington Post correspondent David Ignatius, who is now one of the harshest critics of Russia.

But back in 1999 in his Washington Post article “Who Robbed Russia?” he highlighted some of the most damning revelations of the multi-billion robbery of Russia, involving help from the help of the Bank of New York and with the acquiescence of the Clinton administration. Ignatius wrote:

“By allowing the oligarchs — in the name of the free market — to grab Russia’s resources and siphon anything of value into their own offshore bank accounts, the United States poisoned Russia’s transition from communism… What makes the Russian case so sad is that the Clinton administration may have squandered one of the most precious assets

imaginable — which is the idealism and goodwill of the Russian people as they emerged from 70 years of Communist rule. The Russia debacle may haunt us for generations.”

U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev signing the INF Treaty in the White House in 1987. (White House Photographic Office – National Archives and Records Administration, Wikimedia Commons)

A Congressional September 2000 report about the Clinton Administration’s misdeeds in Russia contains many other details on the same subject.

Clinton also meddled in Russia’s 1996 presidential elections. Then he started the first round of NATO expansion, despite the objections of many prominent experts, including former U.S. government officials, members of Congress, and diplomats.

“For example, 50 members of the Arms Control Association wrote a letter to Clinton saying: “We, the undersigned, believe that the current U.S.-led effort to expand NATO is a policy error of historic proportions. We believe that NATO expansion will decrease allied security and unsettle European stability.”

“We’ll be back on a hair-trigger” Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a New York Democrat, said during the debates in the Senate. Moynihan continued:

‘We’re talking about nuclear war. It is a curiously ironic outcome that at the end of the Cold War, we might face a nuclear Armageddon.’

Democratic Party Senator Joseph Biden, while calling Moynihan “the single most erudite

and informed person in the Senate,” said he disagreed with him and pushed for NATO’s expansion, even though Biden admitted it would draw a hostile Russian reaction.

One of America’s most distinguished diplomats and Russia experts, George Kennan, called NATO expansion “a fatal foreign policy mistake.” The Clinton administration’s euphoria about winning the Cold War, and the dawning of what they saw as an era of a unipolar world under total

American leadership, some called it hegemony, made them believe that Russia and her interests were no longer relevant. In their calculations, from now on, Moscow would have no choice but to obey orders from Washington since it had nowhere else to go.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin and President Bill Clinton meet at the home of former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1995. (FDR Presidential Library and Museum via Flickr)

2001 – 2009

George W. Bush thanked Putin for help after 9/11, then paid him back with the war in Iraq, abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in December 2001, color revolutions in the post-Soviet space, and pushing to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO.

This is what Bush said in November 2001 following Putin’s support for the Afghan operation a month earlier:

“A lot of people never really dreamt that an American President and a Russian President could have established the friendship …. to establish a new spirit of cooperation and trust so that we can work together to make the world more peaceful… I brought him to my ranch because, as the good people in this part of the world know, you only usually invite your friends into your house… a new style of leader, a reformer, a man who loves his country as much as I love mine… a man who is going to make a huge difference in making the world more peaceful, by working closely with the United States.”

What a spirit of sanity from a man who would oversee a disastrous two terms in office that included the war in Iraq and an abrogation of one of the most strategic anti-nuclear war treaties.

Russia considered NATO’s statement during its April 2008 Bucharest summit that Ukraine and Georgia would become part of the Western military bloc to be an existential threat.

2009 – 2017

Barack Obama oversaw a short-lived “Reset” and gave a Ukrainian portfolio to his VP Joe Biden, which he used to coordinate the February 2014 regime-change coup in the country, managed by Victoria Nuland, and to make lots of money for his family via his son, Hunter, both in Ukraine and around the world.

Russiagate 2.0 orchestrated by Hillary Clinton and the Deep State derailed Donald Trump’s presidency and his efforts to improve U.S.-Russia relations.

2017 – 2021

Donald Trump was accused of being a Russian stooge. Four years of harassment by the Washington Swamp. Survived two impeachment efforts. Lost the 2020 elections due to the success of Biden’s virtual campaign and corrupt media to shift the blame for Hunter’s “Laptop from Hell” onto Russia.

2021 – now

Dec. 7, 2021: U.S. President Joe Biden, on screen during video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Joe Biden rejects Russia’s proposals in December 2021 for the mutual security guarantees that included a neutral status for Ukraine. Destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines. Declared his goal of achieving a devastating strategic defeat of Russia. Continues multi-billion dollar funding of Ukraine for “as long as it takes.”

During a recent speech at the EU Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg admitted that the war in Ukraine was the result of NATO expansionism.

In his comments, he stated that:

“In the autumn of 2021, Putin sent a draft treaty that he wanted NATO to promise, never to enlarge NATO, to remove our military infrastructure in all Allies that have joined NATO since 1997, introducing some kind of B, or second-class membership. So he went to war to prevent NATO, more NATO, close to his borders. We rejected that.”

Well, Putin only wanted NATO to honor the pledge “not to expand one inch East” given to Gorbachev by Western leaders in exchange for allowing the reunification of Germany. The document confirming this is available in the U.S. National Archives.

By accepting at least one – which I believe is the most important point of Russia’s proposal – to make Ukraine neutral, Washington and NATO would show goodwill and readiness for negotiations. Unfortunately, they rejected this plan outright.


The current nuclear threat will end when Washington orders Kyiv to search for diplomatic solutions. However, as long as Biden is in the office that is unlikely. For him, too much is at stake, and the interests of the American people who are in favor of ending this war are secondary.

Therefore, we are entering two races: the U.S. presidential election, and how to avoid extinction. The main issue is Ukraine’s neutrality. How important is that for the American people to risk annihilation?

Edward Lozansky is President and Founder of the American University in Moscow and the U.S.-Russia Forum. He is also a professor at the Moscow State and National Research Nuclear Universities.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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19 comments for “Avoiding Nuclear War

  1. Tony
    September 14, 2023 at 09:07

    Avoiding nuclear war requires eternal vigilance.
    When the ordinary citizen loses interest in the subject, that is when things go wrong.

    Please get involved. A good start would be to demand a ceasefire in the war between Russia and the Ukraine.

    Thank you.

  2. Anon
    September 13, 2023 at 17:38

    The unfortunate fact that Pelosi intends to rerun following her Taiwan visit is not exactly wonderful news for continuing nuclear Holocaust avoiance.

  3. September 13, 2023 at 03:14

    This is a very astute and concise timeline of the sinister agenda of the globalist elites and their military-industrial complex/neocon comrades, who essentially control the foreign policy of the US.

    No doubt they all have their deep underground shelters stocked with years of food and water (and plenty of room for all their gold and silver they have purchased with taxpayer funds) in order to survive the nuclear holocaust they seem to want.

    They are evil personified.

    • Valerie
      September 13, 2023 at 10:25

      I don’t believe underground shelters are as easy as they sound john. What kind of life is that? They’ll all go insane. Living like rats in a sewer. And what will the world be like if/when they emerge?

      • September 13, 2023 at 14:49

        Never said these people make intelligent decisions. Greed and lust for power can induce people to make horrendous decisions.
        As examples, look at Hitler and Stalin, both of whom would no doubt have used nuclear weapons had they had them. Look at Kim Jong Un now, who is constantly toying with the use of nuclear missiles, and Putin has already stated he will use tactical nukes in Ukraine if he deems it necessary. What would be the response of NATO (i.e., the US)?

        Neocons likely are willing to push us to the brink in their efforts to make $hundreds of billions (or more), perhaps believing no one will actually pull the trigger. This is a very foolish position to take. We know that Russia air defenses incorrectly thought the US had launched missiles in 1983, according to their computer monitoring algorithms. But one Russian commander decided that it was a false alarm and did not launch Russian missiles in retaliation. Most people don’t realize just how close to global thermonuclear war we came. Mistakes are easily made during such high tension times.

        Frighteningly, many uber-wealthy globalist elites have massive depopulation as one of their primary goals. Nothing like a nuclear war to accomplish that in a short amount of time, at least for sinister individuals blinded by their greed and lust for power. Having underground shelters just gives them a false sense of security. I know of very wealthy individuals who, indeed, do have such shelters in remote locations, stocked with years of food and water. The US government also has such facilities for certain officials (and, no doubt, some of their wealthiest cronies).

        “The ideal population would be less than 500 million.”- Ted Turner, member globalist Club of Rome

    • September 13, 2023 at 14:07

      They control the foreign policy of the US, regardless of which political party occupies the White House and/or Congress.

  4. Eric
    September 13, 2023 at 02:44

    Nice map. I wonder why Mexico City is on it, as Mexico was long one of revolutionary Cuba’s best friends in Latin America.

    And lucky for me, no Canadian city is targeted. Toronto looks inviting, about the same distance by missile as Chicago and New York.
    Maybe it’s a premonition that Canada’s relative friendliness to Cuba was something of a facade.

    • September 13, 2023 at 14:52

      Unfortunately, radiation fallout would reach Vancouver and other populated areas of Canada as well.

  5. wildthange
    September 12, 2023 at 21:15

    It seems to be a western cultural and religious venture to dominate the world for fear of a compromise with Asia and the rest of the world. The same campaign for the last 500 years with a 20th century war against godless communism as a 199 year excuse.
    It is for control of profits and prophets and for our military industrial complex as super-police to keep it that way.
    It is certainly not secular rule for planet Earth but a fantasy life of self proclaimed entitlement.

    Maybe we gave up our principles with the Monroe Doctrine to rule the western hemisphere and to save the Spanish interests to rule over indigenous interests with the same sort of tactics we used to steal our own country and now get on to Asia we originally were aiming for.

  6. Randal Marlin
    September 12, 2023 at 17:57

    Re: “Clinton also meddled in Russia’s 1996 presidential elections. ”
    It would be good to reproduce the Time Magazine cover, July 15, 1996, showing a smiling Yeltsin holding an American Flag.
    The text reads: “Yanks to the Rescue. The Secret Story of How American Advisors Helped Yeltsin Win.”
    Talk about interfering in another country’s elections! A pungent smell of hypocrisy is in the air when “Russiagate” is mentioned.

  7. September 12, 2023 at 17:19

    As the Biden administration keeps increasing the quantity and quality of weaponry it and its NATO allies are providing to the Ukraine for use against the Russian Federation, I am surprised that Vladimir Putin has not reminded them that Russian possesses tactical nuclear weapons that it can use against the Ukraine. His patience in that regard is a blessing, but it seems the Biden Administration will keep pushing until it wears thin, and then what? If tactical rather than strategic nuclear weapons are used against the Ukraine, will the US or NATO again up the ante, leading us to the strategic nuclear Armageddon that has faced us for so long? It seems insane, but so do almost all Biden Administration policies, domestically and abroad. Domestically, all brakes have been removed in the politization of the justice and penal systems and the judiciary in order to eliminate political rivals who seem likely to defeat entrenched Deep State favorites. And internationally, … well the Clinton, Obama and now Biden administrations have done all they can to provoke the end times. And they seem to be succeeding as the doomsday clock is, in the opinion of many of us, running slow. All they seem to care about is “plausible deniability”, the feasibility, regardless of how ludicrous the narrative, of blaming others when terminal disaster strikes. Unless European and US voters come to their senses and discard their insane leaders, I fear we may have passed points of no return.

    • September 13, 2023 at 14:56

      So true and well stated!

  8. DisinfectantSunlight
    September 12, 2023 at 16:28

    Very clear and concise timeline of events.
    Successive Administrations of Clinton, Bush Jr, Obama, Trump (by tying his hands behind his back), and Biden, controlled by Neocons, Neoliberals and Military Industrial Complex brought the whole world to this extremely precarious state to maintain the untenable Unipolar control over the entire world.
    Truly pathological people.
    All this was avoidable except for these power hungry and money hungry deranged people.

    • September 13, 2023 at 03:09

      Spot on. Unfortunately too many Americans have been brainwashed by the globalist billionaire elite-owned media into believing the Ukrainian war was/is “unprovoked”. The military-industrial complex is laughing all the way to the bank, gleefully depositing foolish American taxpayers’ funds.

  9. Rudy Haugeneder
    September 12, 2023 at 14:46

    Next year will, indeed, be an interesting year. It appears the word interesting, true to the intent of the word as a traditional Chinese curse, means that by this time in 2024, we may be in the last days of Sapiens domination of this rock called earth.

  10. Richard Romano
    September 12, 2023 at 13:19

    I could not believe a better summary of the facts on Soviet relations in the last 60 years. the U.S. has messed up the chances for peace because of greed. So sad.

  11. A Carter
    September 12, 2023 at 13:14

    Great summary in my opinion. But you forgot to mention the tentative peace deal that was signed in April 2022, between Russia and Ukraine. Boris Johnson was quickly dispatched to Kiev (likely by the US, as Jeffery Sachs and others have suggested) with instructions for Zelensky not to follow through on the deal. The reason being, that the purpose of this proxy war is to weaken Russia, so a quick end to the war was not acceptable to the US.

    Thank you for your article Mr. Lozansky.

  12. Drew Hunkins
    September 12, 2023 at 12:11

    This is a dynamite primer on what truly happened between the Washington empire and a Russia destined for sovereignty.

    I’d like to add that the whole notion of whether the “not move 1 inch east…” was actually in writing or not, never much mattered in my book.

    To me it’s real simple: whether it was formally written down in documented format or not, NATO, based on elementary moral and ethical principles, should obviously NOT have moved one inch east, period. The bottom line is that Washington would never countenance such a move if a China-Russia alliance moved into the Caribbean, Mexico, or Canada. The double-standard is breathtaking.

    • C. Parker
      September 12, 2023 at 18:24

      The word of a country by those in power of the country should be held as though it were set in stone; even if the USA’s words were set in stone we would still manage to break whatever negotiated promise was given.

      That said, James Baker’s promise to Gorbachev, “ NATO will not move one inch east” was written and discovered in 2017 at the National Archives inside George Washington University. It was signed by others, too.

      It is worth questioning why NATO still exists since the Soviet Union no longer is intact. Gorbachev dismantled the Warsaw Pact back in February 1991. Had there been an unspoken, or spoken but not signed agreement that NATO too, would be dismantled? It seems it would be a wise step towards world peace.

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