The Increasing Likelihood Of Nuclear War Should Straighten Out All Our Priorities

in politics •  10 months ago

A Russian pilot has been killed by US-armed terrorists in Syria. The Ron Paul Institute's Daniel McAdams writes the following about this new development:

"The scenario where a US-backed, US-supplied jihadist group in Syria uses US weapons to shoot down a Russian plane and then murders the pilot on the ground should be seen as a near-nightmare escalation, drawing the US and Russia terrifyingly closer to direct conflict."
McAdams is not fearmongering; he is stating a plainly obvious fact. The Trump administration has just announced that it is restructuring its nuclear weapons policy to take a more aggressive stance toward Russia than that which was held by the previous administration. This is coming after this administration's decision to arm Ukraine against Russia, a move Obama refused to take for fear of escalating tensions with Moscow, as well as its decision to continue to occupy Syria in order to effect regime change, along with numerous other escalations. The Council on Foreign Relations, which is without exaggeration as close to the voice of the US establishment as you can possibly get, is now openly admitting that the “United States is currently in a second Cold War with Russia."


In a recent interview with The Real News, leading US-Russian relations expert Stephen Cohen repeated his ongoing warning that "this new Cold War is much more dangerous, much more likely to end in Hot War, than was the 40-year of Cold War, which we barely survived." In a previous interview with the same outlet, Cohen elaborated more extensively:

"We are in new cold war that is much more dangerous than the last cold war for various reasons. One is that the new cold war today, as we talk, includes three fronts. U.S.-Russian fronts, they're fought with hot war. That's Syria. That's the reckless NATO military build-up on Russia's western boarders, which has resulted in a situation today that ordinarily artillery, not missiles, ordinary artillery, can hit Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg. Just think about that and the instability. And the third front is Ukraine."
Cohen explains how the political pressures placed on Trump by the ongoing fact-free allegation that he is a Kremlin puppet makes it far more difficult for him to negotiate on these multiple fronts agilely, thus making it much more likely that Trump will choose to advance when he should retreat, hold his ground when he should back down, and generally be locked into patterns of aggression and forward movement rather than the back-and-forth finesse required for safe cold war negotiations with a nuclear superpower.

We came within a hair's breadth of nuclear annihilation on more than one occasion during the last cold war, and the further things escalate in this new one the more likely we are to tempt fate again. The only reason we survived the extremely tense stand-offs in the last cold war ultimately boiled down to pure dumb luck in some cases, and there's no legitimate reason to believe we'll get lucky again.

To be clear, I am not saying that the US or Russia actually want nuclear war. Two men with guns pointed at one another in a conventional standoff generally don't want either weapon to discharge, either. What I am saying is that we learned in situations snatched from the brink of disaster by men like Stanislov Petrov and Vasili Arkhipov that there are too many small, unpredictable moving parts involved in a nuclear standoff for cold war escalations to unfold safely and predictably, and the more tense things get the more likely it becomes that a nuclear warhead gets discharged in the chaos and confusion. Once a single warhead goes off, Mutually Assured Destruction comes into play. Add into that the hot war dynamics and political pressures described by Stephen Cohen and we're looking at some very uncomfortable odds as a species.

In my view most of the political disagreements I have with people ultimately boil down to this. I see us as facing an immediate existential crisis as a species that needs to be dealt with right now, and people say I should be more worried about this or that conservative figure saying rude things on Twitter. We are facing the very real possibility of near-term human extinction; I don't know how to care about the petty sectarian squabbles in America's various political factions. It really is time for us to all get over ourselves and grow up.

This unprecedented crisis should be drawing us together, yet we're more politically divided than ever. It is evolve or die time, and we're all still arguing over airplane peanuts while the plane is in a full nose dive.

Thought experiment:

Imagine if you wake up one morning and turn on the TV to an emergency broadcast alert that a nuclear weapon has been discharged by either the US or Russia in the chaos and confusion of this convoluted new cold war, and saying that you need to seek shelter immediately.

What thoughts will go through your head as the realization dawns that this is really happening? Do you imagine that you will be spending much time thinking about how Trump said "shit hole countries"? Will you spend your last moments on earth mentally shaking your fist at Antifa and "libtards"? Or will you instead perhaps wish that you and your brothers and sisters around the world had more aggressively opposed these new cold war games your leaders have been playing?

It is entirely possible that you will one day in the near future find yourself in this very situation and answering the questions I just asked you for yourself.

Let's skip that part of our story together, please. The reason they need to work so hard to manufacture consent for these escalations is because they require that consent. If we all loudly raise our voices and say "No. Enough. This ends now," they will necessarily have to obey. The Russiagate psyop exists because the western power establishment is trying to cripple the Russia-China tandem in order to ensure US hegemony, and if they tried to thrust us all into a new cold war without our permission they'd shatter the illusion of freedom and democracy they depend on to rule you. If we all rise as one voice and withdraw that permission, they will be forced to obey.

Can we do this, please? Can we make ensuring our survival into the future a priority right now and put bickering over identity politics and the president's tweets on the back burner until then? We'll have a whole future ahead of us to sort that stuff out if we survive the urgent crisis we are facing right now.


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Your (extremely important) writing might just save the world, Caitlin. Proud to know you and call you friend.

That Russia meddled, hacked, or “interfered with our sacred” election has become an article of faith with many people. Challenge it, and you’re in the same vein where you can mine for the resurrection — you’re in for a religious tirade. One is tempted to let those who profess this faith go to church unmolested; that’s the problem with these new religions, though: There’s no church hierarchy you can go and complain to for excesses of zeal on the part of their worshipers. And no shared tradition from which to appeal for ecumenical fellowship.

Your counsel? The threat of nuclear war or accident is so horrible we need to take it down a notch. It’s hard to argue with this, except to point out that it seems to admit there might be something to the allegations, when we both know there’s nothing to the allegations; that they’ve been fabricated, and rely instead on a shared tradition of fearmongering and scapegoating Slavs and communists.

I think a better response might be a valorization of Putin and all things Russian, an aggressive campaign to make Russia know they are our BFF. While we’re at it, we may want to remind ourselves that communism and socialism are better ideas than neoliberalism (they are ideas and philosophical constructs after all, not government policies or even ideologies). I don’t know that it will do any good, like trying to stop a steamroller with your bare hands. The forces we’re up against seem very powerful. They include not only the rump of Mrs. Clinton’s coterie and the deep state apparatus attached to it; but China, which views Russia as their most proximate terrestrial rival. Getting the US to take out Russia advances Han hegemonic ambitions. And the U.S. has a history of viewing China as a potential neoliberal partner in global corporatist conquest.

To do this right, we might have to consider partnering with Trump, at least on this one issue. As reprehensible as his reputation suggests him to be, not only is he the President, his enigmatic multi-faceted persona represents, represents American. Can that be harnessed for a goal other than Russophobia?

Another great piece. Love ya, Caitlin. You confirm my bias. 💖

Another example of Caitlin reporting what the mainstream media ignores or simply refuses to share. Much love. Thanks.

Completely agree, we have every reason to be very fearful about this. The consent is being gathered over here in the UK too. Theresa May pointed fingers at Russia last year, as well as various other political puppets weighing in on how Russia are hacking democracies. I don't even have a TV, but it seems any time I'm at a pal's house and they have on the BBC news, there will be some casual aside about 'Russia interfering with democracy' and many people are taking this as absolute fact and believing that this should be what we're most fearful of - despite the fact there's more than enough villainy and corruption going on at home to go around. For some reason a lot of people are blind to the fact that the BBC are an establishment corrupted propaganda outlet. I just don't get it. I see this Russiagate stuff in The Guardian and all over, people gobbling it up.
That Dutch story seemed to get various European friends of mine chomping away, and when I calmly post a Disobedient Media or Suzi3D piece, they tell me MY source is highly suspect - despite the fact that these people actually quote their sources and what they are peddling does not offer a single piece of evidence for their claims.
It's not that I'm not willing to believe there's ANYTHING there. There probably is. Powerful governments spy and they lie and they assert their influence where they can. But that's just it. The US and UK establishments pointing fingers elsewhere about OTHER COUNTRIES suspect tactics and agenda? Talk about hypocrisy.
So even if there is weight to Russian interference in so-called democracy, I can't believe people have such short memories or are so blinkered to not recognise that there's HUGE interference constantly by the big banks and the Corporation of London, Wall Street, huge multinationals and billionaire investors, weapons manufacturers, a mountain of evidence that states like Israel and Saudi Arabia are buying influence all over (you know this is a long list I need not continue.)
I'm scared our voices are not loud enough or just get easily dismissed as part of the partisan bickering which actually - I believe we don't give a shit about. I do know people that get it - but I see too many people who will happily regurgitate warmongering media narratives and it makes me sick to my stomach.

It's amazing how the left can think Trump is Putin's Puppet while at the same time this reality grows between these two super powers. Both realities cannt live in the same space so one of those two must be a fantasy. Seems to me Caitlin you have your finger on the pulse of reality so the Trump Russia collusion story either does not exist or it exists but with Hillary Comey Mueller and Obama.

One last thing. Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey requested I down vote your post so that no one would see it. I told them to go screw each other.

I really wish that independent journalists and activists from ALL political spectrum's would collaborate and work together more often...There are way too many factions even within these communities to make a real difference without unity. Without unity there will be no change.

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please check out my post. I am new, it the the only one have so it won't be hard to find. Spread it around if you believe it has merit. Thanks

luckily, nuclear weapons don't actually exist, so you can take one manipulated fear away and sleep a little easier:

The left should be happy. They've been pushing for war since before trump was elected.

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Clinton and the Democratic Party are not the left.

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oh?
news to them..they've claimed to be many times.
how are you redefining the political spectrum?

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My pleasure. Thanks for reading.

Another fantastic article Caitlin. I'd like to think that the post Cold War-era we are living in will be termed "the Hot Peace" one day. It seems poetic anyways

Another great piece @caitlinjohnstone,
if the CFR is indeed making these statements in public then there's no real use trying to deny it.
Still, others have stated that they believe we're already in WWIII and that the proxy wars in the Mid-East are symtomatic of this view.
What's your opinion on this? Do you feel that there's any difference between a new Cold War and a WWIII proxy war?

Caitlin, I am in 100% agreement in the urgency here. I am extremely thankful that there are people who speak up. The reality sadly though is that; “If we all loudly raise our voices and say "No. Enough. This ends now," they will necessarily have to obey” is never going to happen. Not until at least one nuke goes off at least. Putting our hope in the same people (humanity in general) who allowed us to reach this point is wishful thinking. Please see my post We need to evolve. I honestly believe this solution it is the only real long lasting true option. Please read, critique away. I want some feedback. Nuclear weapons are insanity.

"The scenario where a US-backed, US-supplied jihadist group in Syria uses US weapons to shoot down a Russian plane and then murders the pilot on the ground should be seen as a near-nightmare escalation, drawing the US and Russia terrifyingly closer to direct conflict."

Must have been a premature release on his part, al Nusra Front fighters claimed responsibility for shooting down the plane, they are not affiliated with US armed forces stationed over there and on are the US terrorist list, they are known affiliates or off shoot of ISIS. The article makes for great hype to the end of humanity, scare mongering at it's finest.

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Gareth Porter wrote an excellent piece at Consortium News exposing how al-Nusra works very closely with the US backed jihadists in Syria: https://consortiumnews.com/2016/02/16/obamas-moderate-syrian-deception/

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When taken the above article written to heart one would have to concede that whom owns control over what would be considered a minute amount of the worlds vast energy resources located in Syria wouldn't be a substantial enough reason for nuclear annihilation. That would read out (from any of the parties involved) like before I ever concede this small patch of resources I will destroy the world along with myself first. Russia nor the United States have nothing to gain except more influence and power, Syria isn't a do or die situation whereas if they don't have it they can't survive without it so we might as well just annihilate everyone if we are going to die without it anyway. Whereas to the other groups involved it just the opposite, first they have to gain control to produce the equity to gain the power and influence. Which group succeeds at that is where all the fighting comes in. For it's whoever that holds those rights in the country is the one who concedes those right to those who can add it to their portfolio so to speak adding more power and influence to the world markets. It's never going to amount to a make it or break it dire situation to the superpowers, whoever the loser is will continue on regardless. Now we get down to who is allowed to gain control of those rights within the country and the whole ball game changes because to all of them it is a do or die dire straits situation, if you don't do you can die, you can be managed, you can be told what to believe, how to walk, how to talk and since they all literally without question hate each others guts (and they can do that all on their own) it's vital to them who controls the power and it's worth fighting and they are willing to open the door to whomever will back them in that fight. Look at is as a game of wagers, (instead of based on internal conflicts) with the US and Russia, they set up the game, build the infrastructure then allow outside bidders to come in and invest their money on who will win. Technically though it's all based on internal conflicts, religious based hatred that whoever wins has the most influence in maintaining and spreading their doctrine. That's what they care about the most. Right now it's like Russia owns Park Place and the United States owns Boardwalk in Syria. The US was sending what they described a non military aid to the rebels up to Russia's full involvement, then other military aid was sent in, some of that aid "supposedly" went to the rebels fighting Assad as far as the US was concerned but ended up in the hands of other rebels, meaning that could have included Nursa since most who did align with them, including other rebel groups found them to be a more formidable fighting force, though Nursa was a off branch of what was ISIS in Iraq they claimed to be more moderate then their counterparts in Iraq. Still their over all objective also was the take charge of Syria and implement their own strict version of Sharia law, most felt compelled to join forces with them because of their strength and promises that they wouldn't inflict strict Sharia practices upon the populace as ISIS was doing. In the long haul though the US wasn't ready for that either so they put them on the terrorist watch list which then forbid the military from "openly" working with them but that doesn't mean that's the way it went down. It wouldn't surprise me either that just like the Kurds the US was using them as pawns in the game. In the end though, just as we have seen with Iraq when the Kurds moved for independence the US decided not to have their back. What's going on in Syria is no less what happened in Iraq, different factions coming together to oust a evil that was worse then they were to each other, once that's accomplished they go back to fighting each other. You see the same sort of butt kissing with Turkeys involvement, Turkeys like okay use the Kurds but once you run ISIS out it's got to be back to hating the Kurds and no help for them. It's a never ending cycle over there and it's important who controls the resources because it's the resources used to finance the regimes, the wrong regime the more the conflicts, the more hate, the more genocides and more growth potential for that hate to spread outside the country. When Russia entered the picture physically along with Iran (who'd basically say okay Assad we saved your butt now we want to widen our supply route of military surplus to cause deeper conflicts elsewhere, it's a never ending circle of violence) the US had no option but to play by dirty rules without physically using manpower. Yes it wouldn't surprise me one bit the US used Nursa heavily these last few months, they've totally managed to gain the upper foot hold on ISIS faster then any administration has since this started....but in the middle east he who is seen as your friend today is your mortal enemy tomorrow, that's just how they roll over there and the US is just playing their game by their rules. Do I think dirty politics is going to bring the world to a end? Nah, they've been playing these games for way to long.

Did you read Paul Craig Roberts recent post along the same lines? https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/02/02/nuclear-posture-review/ It's even more alarming than what you wrote. I don't think many consider this position, however it seems clear to me that the US is economically and militarily a sinking ship beyond saving, not unlike the Titanic. The concern is what those running the US behind the scenes will do while the Titanic is sinking? See that's the problem, when a psychopath has nothing to lose, they would rather everyone loses than be themselves defeated. And there are many psychopaths in charge. The scary thing also is just how many are so ambivalent to this, unlike during the Cold War when people where legitimately aware of the threat of nuclear annihilation. It's quite amazing the extent of propoganda that we've been inculcated with and possessed by, so much so that the next "scandalous" thing Donald Trump tweets about is far more pressing than the impending total destruction of the planet.

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If you are that scared maybe you should go back to practicing dunking underneath your desk.

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Or putting my head in the sand? https://thebulletin.org/timeline

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One the Atomic Clock isn't set in stone, sort of like the return of any of the many prophets we've been waiting thousands of years to reign destruction upon the mounting number of sinners...you really would have thought they'd been here by now. A lot of their reasoning was based on Trumps interaction with world leaders and his policies on climate change, just more of the liberal spewing propaganda. You and I are actually more at fault then Trump in the force of any perceived global warming. Every time we buy a product made any significant distance away from home adds to global warming, are you even aware of the amount of trucks it takes to transport all these goods? Take a look at one article I came across several months ago:

“Cross-border trade supports over 46,000 U.S. trucking jobs, including 31,000 U.S. truck drivers, and generates $6.5 billion in revenue for our industry annually,” noted Bob Costello, chief economist for the American Trucking Association. “As the U.S. renegotiates this agreement with Canada and Mexico, we urge them to keep the tremendous benefits to our economy and our industry in mind,” he said.

https://www.nbcnews.com/business/autos/auto-industry-declares-war-trump-over-nafta-n815996

...then you can google NAFTA and climate change and read all the links. Most will tell you that any advances we made in ozone depletion were defeated after the implementation of NAFTA and increased pollution it cost. Not just because of increase traffic either but manufacturing facilities that moved to some of these countries with no or less restrictive requirements on pollution controls, some of the same countries that faced no penalties at all if they didn't live up to their end of the Paris agreement and if you look under whats required of China they have already met their end of the agreement. So we are suppose to as a nation place even a further burden of restrictions at our disadvantage to the advantage of others plus pay them (which is a bribe) to get them to do it....if a country doesn't care enough to do something on their own then they just don't care any more or less than Trump when it came to the accord. Most people don't either if you look at it that they'd rather have a cheap product made thousands upon thousand of miles from home then take extra money out of their pocket book to pay a little more to save the earth. Trump didn't create the global climate issue, that happened over time and until everyone jumps on board to do their part, including paying more for companies willing to install and maintain expensive equipment to reduce the carbon footprint nothing will change the direction we are headed in with any perceived climate change. I say perceived because some will argue it's actually the way the earth tilt change over time that causes or contributes to changes.
As far as psycho's running around that has always been true and the world has always managed to eliminate or keep them in order with checks and balances, the automatic clock didn't even mention the fact that sanctions had S Korea and N Korea talking now, that's huge. Obama was moving the clock faster than Trump was, look it up the minutes on Obama's watch. We all and they all have to keep looking in the mirror, we are only a reflection of what this time allows us, how we participate on this earth for our own self interest reflect upon what we leave for our children, wishing death by annihilation and global climate catastrophic events isn't on the agenda even for the most pristine madman.

Agree. I also agree with your earlier argument that this intention of bringing down Russia as to weaken China's position vis-a-vis the US is what is actually at root here. Historically speaking this goes back to Cheney's Defense Planning Guidance of 1992 when US grand strategy went from maintaining military capabilities in the context of Soviet/Warsaw Pact capabilities, to maintaining and expanding military capabilities in order to maintain permanent global dominance against any conceivable challenger . . .

ENORMOUSLY IMPORTANT!! THIS MUST BE SHARED!! Time to unite and prove that WE DO NOT CONSENT!

Thank you for this.

Just a thought experiment. But suppose you could see into the future and you knew without a doubt that in 15 months time the world would be exposed to nuclear war. What would you do to stop it, in a non-violent way? What are the questions we need to ask ourselves now? How did we get here? What are our options? Do we feel in control?