US Nullifies INF Treaty

Vladimir Putin is threatening to withdraw from the INF Treaty, and, as the world’s attention is fixed on the disaster unfolding in Iraq, the disarmament agreements reached in the waning days of the cold war are coming unraveled. The reason: the US is oufitting its East  European satraps with missile “defense” armaments, which has led the Russians to announce that “it will be difficult for us to remain within the framework of the treaty”, which mandates destruction of Russian and US intermediate range missiles, unless it is expanded to include Poland, the Czech republic, and any other former Russian vassals that buy into the latest wares hawked by the US military-industrial complex.

It’s absurd — and an insult to the Russians — to claim, as the Americans do, that they are concerned about a missile attack on Prague by … Iran. Baloney! As Putin put it, “It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.” It’s clear who this is aimed at. The question is: why? Is there really no limit to the War Party’s ambition — do they mean to take on the Russians along with the “Islamo-fascists“?

This is why I hope we never explore the cosmos, and go to other planets: any intelligent life we find there is bound to be declared an Enemy.

  • El Tonno

    No need to hope – humans are not made for space, even if pulp fiction has indoctrinated us to the idea since 1900 or so. Not a chance. Here’s some good SF to get back on track:

    Missile Gap by Charles Stross

    And yeah, as European I consider the missile shield to be bollocks. It just gives the Russian Bear a good reason to throw its might around; getting mooned by deranged techno-freaks setting up shop in your former dominion is bound to be insulting.

    And where’s that suitcase nuke idea gone to? Have nukes gone back to be transportable by LRBM only? Why not put it on a passenger plane flyng Tehran-Prague or into a container going to Trieste, hmmm?

  • John Lowell

    Raimondo is quite right to sound the alarm here. Equally instructive for the present climate is an interview Josef Stalin gave to Pravda after Churchill’s so-called “Iron Curtain” speech in 1947:

    http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cold.war/episodes/02/1st.draft/pravda.html

    The fears being stoked today by American placement of missle defenses in the Czech Republic would seem echos of this earlier time. And where the sensitivity to them in the State Department? It is simply not enough to regard steps taken today by the United States in Europe as benign. There is a long history of suspicion of the American presence in Europe that began with the ceasation of hostilities on the Continent in May of 1945 and that as much of Western as Eastern European origin. Anyone not familiar either with the period and/or these concerns will benefit from a reading of Tony Judt’s recent masterpiece, Postwar, which has established itself as the definitive analysis of the question. Caught up in homespun fantasies of benevolence, we now risk pushing Putin into the arms of Stalin, a development fraught with precisely the same kind of risk Americans keenly sensed shortly after WWII. American missiles of any kind in the Czech Republic are simply a provocation.

    John Lowell

  • R. Nelson

    As Orwell’s Outer Party members needed an enemy–any enemy–to help keep the them focused, so does America need an enemy. Already the warmongers are taking steps to groom enemies for the future, such as China and Russia, to take the place of the “Islamofascists” which they hope will peter out in a decade or so.

    The warmongers are simply being proactive.

    • richard vajs

      Russia, China, half of South America, every Muslim country; countries whose names we don’t even know how to pronounce yet – all sworn enemies of neocon America. But the one that is going to get them is the one they should fear most – the internal resistance in this country, in which I would most eagerly enlist.

  • Many thanks for the link to the Stalin interview in Pravda. A few comments are in order.

    It seems to be generally believed in the West that Churchill coined the phrase “iron curtain”. But it had already appeared in an article by Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels that was published in the Nazi newspaper Das Reich on 23 February 1945: ”If the German people were to lay down their arms, the Soviets would occupy all of eastern and southeastern Europe as well as the greater part of the Reich. This would mean that an iron curtain (ein eiserner Vorhang) would descend on the immense territory that these regions form together with the Soviet Union”.

    It is not surprising that Churchill used Goebbels’ terminology, since he was a great admirer of both Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, and by 1946 the British were busily reinstating Nazis in public office throughout their zone of Germany (as the Americans were in theirs).

    Churchill once called Mussolini “the greatest law-giver of the 20th century” (see The Drift to War 1922-1939, Richard Lamb, W. H. Allen, 1989). On 3 September 1938, almost exactly one year before the Nazis attacked Poland, Churchill published an article in Collier’s magazine (then a leading US periodical) praising both Hitler and Mussolini for having saved their peoples from “the plague of Bolshevism”, a phrase that was standard in Nazi rhetoric. Copies of the article are available from the New York Public Library.

    Churchill was also an enthusiastic supporter of the RAF’s use of poison gas to bomb Iraqi villages in the 1920s. See Air Power and Colonial Control, David E. Omissi, Manchester University Press, 1990. For a detailed examination of Churchill’s revolting career, see Churchill, Clive Ponting, Sinclair-Stevenson, 1994, to my knowledge the only biography of the man that is not based on his own memoirs.

    Stalin is correct when he says that Churchill “…did not like the emergence of the Soviet regime in Russia after the First World War. Then he also sounded the alarm and organized the campaign of 14 states against Russia…”

    Not long after the end of WW1 Churchill told the House of Commons that Bolshevism “has to be strangled in its cradle”, and was a key mover in the so-called War of Intervention in Russia 1919-21, a model for many such subsequent invasions, from Korea to Iraq. It included a blockade of the Soviet Union’s Baltic coast in order to cut off foreign trade. Stalin does not mention the death and devastation that resulted from this Western intervention, since the interview is addressed to a Soviet audience who needed no reminders.

    The Western-sponsored war in the Soviet Union resulted in the prema¬ture deaths of about 10 million people by violence, starvation and disease. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica this is a minimum figure.

    In 1913 Russia was the most backward country in Europe. By the end of the War of Intervention in 1921 the output of agriculture in the Soviet Union had been reduced to 60% of the 1913 level, of large-scale indus¬try to 21% and of all industry to 31%. Imports and exports fell by 85% and 99%, respectively (An economic history of the USSR, Alec Nove, Penguin, 1992). This generated widespread unemployment and difficult as well as persistent economic problems, particularly in agriculture.

    The Encyclopedia Britannica states that troops fighting on the side of the counter-revolutionary forces led by General Denikin and Admiral Kolchak “carried out frightful pogroms in Ukraine in which an estimated 100,000 Jews lost their lives”. I am unaware of any general tend¬ency to blame the Western democracies for financing these killings.

    The material cost of the war for the Soviet Union was estimated by the Soviet government at 60 billion dollars, which was more than the value of foreign loans to the Tsarist government. These loans had been repudiated by the Soviet government, which was one of the reasons for the invasion.

    No reparations were ever paid by the Western governments, who never admitted any responsibility for the devastation they caused. So-called historians such as Beevor, Applebaum and Montefiore make no mention of the war’s effects on the Soviet people, for whom they pretend to show great concern. Nor do the Western mainstream media assign guilt to the Western market economy for the premature deaths of 10 million people, although they intensively propagate fantasy figures about the number of Soviet citizens killed by the Stalin government.

    Most important of all, the prevalent Western mythology about the Soviet Union and Stalin neglects the core aspect of international relations since the Russian Revolution: every country that has attempted to establish socialism, whether by ballots or revolution, or to implement policies that could be termed even remotely socialist, has been subject to virtually immediate economic, political and military attack by Western imperialists. Those who survived the initial attacks existed thereafter in a state of perpetual siege.

    A few of the many examples of the victims of such attacks, apart from the USSR and the so-called Eastern Bloc, include Finland (1919), Lithuania (1926), Spain (1934), Guatemala (1954), Cuba (1960), Indonesia (1965), Angola (1972) Chile (1973), Grenada (1983) Nicaragua (1980) and Venezuela (2002).

    The key to the impotence of the anti-Communist US anti-war movement is that it offers no alternative program to capitalism. Capitalism without war has never existed. The capitalist war to establish global rule by less than 1% of the world’s population and to eradicate socialism will continue as long as capitalism exists.

    • John Lowell

      It will suffice to say, I hope, that my original intent in introducing the Stalin interview was to point out certain similarities in the uneasiness felt both by Putin and Stalin in respect to an American presence in Europe. What I hadn’t intended was to develop this theme into either a polemic against capitalism on the one hand or an apologetic for Leninism on the other. Even if one were to attempt to interpret as you have much of the early history of world socialism on the basis of a fundamental, capitalist antipathy, it would be impossible to ignore entirely its own inherent tendency to turm its energies against the very people it has always claimed to serve. In that respect it would be just as easy to claim that socialism without war has never existed.

      John Lowell

    • Crazyhorse

      Churchill: His London statue splashed with paint. His pale, snaggle tooth people emigrating out to get away from the Cultural Marxism of the Frankfurt school – the Brits would have done well to accommodate the Germans and Italians – they might still exist as a people and a culture, instead of following the Old Bedwetter.

    • Peter A

      Peter C (no relation) complains of “fantasy figures about the number of Soviet citizens killed by the Stalin government.” The commonly accepted number is 20 million. In fact, that’s the number of “excess deaths” admitted by the Soviet government in its last days under Gorbachev. If that’s a “fantasy figure,” what’s the real one?

  • Throw Off The Killer

    The real purpose of this “missile sheild” is to accord the US nuclear primacy.

    The missile sheild would allow the US the ability to defend against the Russian response to an offensive US nuclear attack.

    That is it’s actual purpose. Nuclear first-strike primacy.

    • El Tonno

      You can overwhelm that puny defense shield pretty easily. Remember that you do not need to lob actual nukes only, you can add cheap decoys into the mix. You can also attack with low-flying cruise missiles.

      The goal of the missile shield is mysterious. The effect is to heighten international tension some more, and if strategic nuclear forces are on hair-trigger alert (that is, even more than they are now), all it takes is for someone to sneeze to cause massive loss of life.

      • Throw Off The Killer

        There is nothing “mysterious” about it. Just listen to what the US says it is for, obviously a lie.

        If the US wanted to guard against an Iranian attack, there are too many other better locations for such a missile sheild, i.e. Turkey, Israel.

        This missile sheild will operate in full conjunction with the US nuclear arsenal. Russia has always been the primary concern of the US. Geopolitical leverage is what the US is trying to acheive.

    • Vassili

      I buy the opinion that this missile defence system is the first one, the goal of the US is to completely encircle Russia into several rings of defence systems, ideally 3, then US can commence a nuclear attack on Russia.
      Therfore the assimetic answer Putin often mentions will be:
      a) more strategic nuclear missiles air carriers
      b) more submarinces with niclear weapons
      c) Russia has better and cheaper space delivery vehicles – therefore putting say 400 satteliltes with nuclear weapons ready to go down
      d) deploying nuclear weapons on Cuba, Venezuela

      All of these would considerable defuse the SD system around Russia.

      Now – is THIS the future US people want? In a “democratic” fascion? Like the war on Iraq?

      Also keep in mind that Russia has a strategic advantage in the nuclear war – it’s simple – the area/dencity of pupulation is much lower. Even 30 thermonuclear charges reaching the major cities in the US would destroy the country. There are simply NO 30 such densely populated cities/metropolitan areas in Russia. Roughly – Russia has less to loose from the nuclear war.

      Another note – the position of the side performing the first nuclear strike is bad – why? That is because the first strike has to go against the nuclear missiles launching facilities. Well – it can go agains population centers, but then the retaliation strike would be stronger. On the other hand Russia’s aiming is very simple – since Russia is not intending the first strike, it can aim at cities, unlike missiles they can not move, they can not be decoyed etc. The intention to do the first strike explains the desire to develop a comprehensive SD system.

      Well – Russia has to go to a new nuclar arms race. Russia would be very unlikely to cave in like USSR did in the 90s. “Live free or die”.

      • JIM

        Vassili: Good observation… Yes, the strategic policy the U.S. is undertaking is called the “containment strategy.”
        Of course, it is not the first time this policy has been used. As an American, I dislike the strategy because it costs the American people billions of dollars. A sensible diplomatic approach with a healthy respect for other nations’ political systems is far better. Although, we must acknowledge one point: the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia never abated. It seemed that way, especially in the 90s’ but it never ended….

  • Hey, where’s Tim R. to tell us how evil the Islamocommunists are?

    • Tim R.

      No Abraham, Communists are not evil. They just have a different point of view. Communists can be reasoned with. They can have a rational conversation. But the Islamic Fascists are radicals who don’t operate based on reason. They think they are on a mission from their God to kill and maim and spread their religion. Therefore, they can’t be reasoned with. Get it?

  • Straywolf

    Interesting and very Orwellian. After all..we have always been at war with East Asia…

    The so-called New World Order is being rammed everybody’s throats, but I believe that world leaders and power players are all in this together. The very concept of a World Government and the enslavement of all mankind is a very big reality. Once the “technologically advanced” countries’ populations are under the boot…the third-world nations will be killed off under a massive genocidal war.

    That’s where we’re headed as a species: depopulation and elitism. You either play along or you will be crushed.

    Sometimes, sci-fi writers are the modern day prophets. Its just that sci-fi and reality are difficult to discern in today’s world.

    • Vassili

      What about "Big Game" concept?

      England means US or UK. So, two last two cycles (with Napoleon and Hitler) fit within this algorithm:

      a) Russia rests and looses it's power

      b) English party gains more and more power as Russia looses it

      c) English Empire wastes inself in colonial efforts to control the World by "civilizing it"

      d) New Threat emerges, that England can not contain, and attacks England

      e) England does it's best to channel Threat towards Russia

      f) England and Russia get into an alliance against Threat

      g) Threat attacks Russia

      h) Russia fights the Threat and kills it, thus gaining even more power then Threat had initially

      i) Russia is NOT using it's superpower to attack England, but England is scared

      j) Russia rests and it's power goes away

      k) go back to step a)

      We're the in 3rd cycle/remake now, in the c-d stage.

  • pasi

    I read somewhere a while ago, that in internal discussion about the missile shield, it has been advertised that the best thing about the missile shield is that it’s not really a defensive system… got no references to offer, but that might be a partial explanation as to why it is been installed even though ‘it doesn’t work’?

    • Vassili

      This opinion is more or less official in Russia. Indeed, when these missile bases (in Poland for example) are extra-territorial, i.e. Poland has no right to inspect them, it’s entirely possible to put whatever charges one may desire on them, even nuclear. At least Russian SD missiles were designed like that even in the 50s.
      So they amount to medium range nuclear warheads delivery vehicles in the immediate vicinity of Russia. Therefore Russia reacts to this as to an act of direct aggression – unwaranted by anything that Russia had done in the last 20 years.

  • To John Lowell: I didn’t interpret anything, least of all “much of the early history of world socialism”, whatever that may mean. Nor did I write an apologetic for Leninism. I stated a number of facts. E.g. the young Soviet Union was invaded by the armed forces of fourteen capitalist nations, resulting in the premature deaths of 10 million people, which can be compared with 6 million in the Holocaust. Neither you nor anyone else reading this blog seems to consider this worthy of reflection.
    Can you name a single country that attempted to institute socialism and was not attacked by the forces of capitalism?
    As for socialism turning “its energies against the very people it has always claimed to serve”, I presume you are referring to the 1930s in the Soviet Union. But as Robert McNeal (Stalin – Man and Ruler, Macmillan, 1988) and others have pointed out, the repression was directed against the Soviet elite, and not the Soviet working class. As in Cuba and all other socialist countries, the USSR provided free health care, education and other vital services to its citizens. Is that what you mean by war?
    Peter A claims that the “commonly accepted number” of Soviet citizens killed by the Stalin government is 20 million. That number is not at all commonly accepted. It was publicized at the end of the Gorbachov era by Roy Medvedev and was immediately discredited. For a few responses by serious (non-Marxist) historians, see http://www.purr.demon.co.uk/jack/Politics/PurgingStalin.txt
    You might also want to consult The Road to Terror: Stalin and the Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks, 1932-1939, J. Arch Getty, Oleg V. Naumov, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999: “If we add the figure we have for executions up to 1940 to the number of persons who died in GULAG camps and the few figures we found on mortality in prisons and labor colonies, then add to this the number of peasants known to have died in exile, we reach a figure of nearly 1.5 million deaths directly due to repression in the 1930s.”
    By way of comparison, the first UN Human Development Report (1990) stated that about 10 million children under 5 were dying annually for lack of simple medical care, the cost of which is estimated at USD 18 million, or about USD 1.80 per child. Naturally, virtually all of these deaths occurred in countries within the capitalist system. The annual figure since then has varied between 10 and 12 million, which amounts to 170+ million unnecessary deaths over the past 17 years. This does not take into account children over 5. Note that such deaths previous to 1990 are not included. Who cares? Who blames the deaths on capitalism? Am I interpreting the silence incorrectly?
    A partial estimate of the deaths caused by capitalism 1914-2006 by war, starvation and disease show abouts 850-900 million dead bodies. Who cares?
    I am glad to see that so many US citizens oppose the war in Iraq. Would they oppose it if it had ended in a victory for the US? How many anti-war Americans relate the war – or the plans for war against Iran – to the imperatives of the imperial capitalist system, e.g. the need to control sources of raw materials and open new markets? These imperatives generated inter alia the attack on the USSR in 1919, the attack on Iraq, the planned attack on Iran, and the military/economic offensive against Russia today.

    • Vassili

      My immediate familiy experience agrees with the numbers for Soviet Union deaths during Stalin rule – i.e. 7 million killed in the war (according to Stalin) and 1.7 milllion estimate.

      Namely: one of my grandfather and 3 husbands of my grandmother’s sisters. One husband of one of my grandmother’s sisters had to hide for half year in my grandfther’s house, since there were attempts to arrest him during 1937. It was considered likely, that he would be killed had he been arrested. One of my grandmothers was denied voting rights and access to public school because of here “social background”, since her father used to have employees.

      So, nobody from my relatives actually lost life, although repressions are undeniable.

      Therefore the ratio of 4 : 1 is close enough to 7 : 2, although apparently my family death toll from Stalin is 0, as opposed to 4 from the West.

    • George Kurian , India

      Thank you , Peter C, for all that additional information on Churchill.
      I am amazed that Churchill is held in such high esteem in Britain. He may have been instrumental in saving Britain from the Nazis but he was a racist who believed that Indians could not rule themselves and that the Arabs were “dog mangerish” to fight the presence of a “superior race” thrust upon them.

    • John Lowell

      Peter C.,

      If yours above isn’t an apolgetic for Leninism the Holy Father isn’t appointed to his ecclesial office by the College Of Cardinals. As I’d implied initially and will state now with greater emphasis, is was not my intention in bringing the Stalin Pravda interview to enter upon a disputation regarding the history of world socialism, your apparent personal need to do so notwithstanding. Rather it was hoped that in linking to the article a certain depth might be added to the question of Putin’s suspicions of the American adventure in the Czech Republic. While I am loathe to enable what would now seem to be a rather blatant attempt on your part to hijack the discussion as it was originally posed, I would like nevertheless to offer something in the way of a corrective to a supposition you make in your comment:

      “As for socialism turning ‘its energies against the very people it has always claimed to serve’, I presume you are referring to the 1930s in the Soviet Union.”

      Not so. Since your original concern largely had been with the events of the Civil War, my thoughts took in simply the Red Terror, the Kronstadt Mutiny, and other brilliancies of that period. But if we are to consider the later period of the purges, we’d not want causually to skip over the intervening period of collectivisation and the attendant famine which killed so many in Ukraine and which now seems to have been quite diliberate. As to the period of the Civil War, I’d point you to Orlando Figes’s, A Peoples Tradgedy, The Russian Revolution, 1891-1924, its a masterpiece.

      John Lowell

  • Andrew P

    I think the purpose of those missile defence bases is as stated by the US. The notion of nuclear war with Russia is absurd, the Russians simply have too many missiles and bombs. However, emerging powers don’t start with very much. The purpose of the bases is to prepare for an eventual US / Israeli first strike on Iran, N-Korea, and any future Islamic Caliphate. The idea is to nip any emerging Islamic powers in the bud before they gain Soviet-scale or even Chinese-scale deterrence capability. This includes nuclear countries like Pakistan which is currently friendly, but could at any time be taken over by Al Qaeda. Obviously it is better to nip emerging powers in the bud through preemptive means like conventional bombing campaigns or special forces operations, but it is easier to hide things than to find them, and so a preemptive bombing campaign in Iran could eaily miss the “good stuff”. The idea of placing the missile defences in Turkey or Israel is a non-starter – Turkey is becoming more Islamic and therefore less friendly to the US, and Israel will defend itself anyway. Furthermore, BMD systems on ships at sea would probably serve the US better in that part of the world. Placement in eastern europe is necessary to serve as a terminal defence for anything that other systems fail to hit, and it also helps to keep those countries in the US orbit. The latter is probably the real reason that the Russians are so upset.

    • Vassili

      So, due to desire to keep these countries – useless for anything, honestly, but military bases deployment – they were always on the Soviet Union payroll economically – due to this “desire” USA is objectively setting path for:

      1) Giving Russia an incentive to invest into more nuclear armamements, better missiles, and better SD systems – and AFIK even in the 80s it was considered that the probability of Moscow region evading the nuclear strike in the full scale conflict was close to 98%. Placing SD in Kaliningrad, as an answer to placing SD in Poland.
      2) give Russia an incentive to go into China co-orbit. Russia does not have the inherent incompatibility with Islam. So, by fending of Russia from the West USA is pushing things towards United EuroAsia – Russia, Iran, Pakistan, China, Kazahstan being the core.

      Thus it is very difficult to understand the significance of SD in Poland. Maybe I don’t know something that Putin and Rice know. But, generally, US foreign policies are irrational, so … US wants the United Eurasia, ok.

      Soviet time Russian joike, which sounds very appropriate after all:

      Optimists study English,
      Pessimists study Chineze,
      Realists study AK74M (Kalashnikov)

      • Stanley Laham

        Vassili, it is tgood that Russian people are finally awakening. Here is an article I wrote in 1997:
        The Cold War has been officially declared terminated. The winner by unanimous decision…The United States of America. The loser, the mighty Soviet Union, disintegrated, The true story of how this came about may never be fully known. We were told that it had something to do with the inability of communism to compete with free market economies and to enslave the minds of it’s citizens. Freedom along with unemployment, poverty, crime, social discontent, economic chaos, and state bankruptcy have been the great rewards for Russia and the Russian people. It is very hard, indeed, to see any benefit from this act of self destruction committed by the Soviet Union. Yet, that was a country possessing an enormous arsenal of weapons, including twenty-three thousand nuclear warheads. Throughout history, countries with such power simply took what they needed for survival. That is why I say the true cause of these events may still be unpublished.
        Nevertheless, the benefits for the United States of America have been plenty. The feared Warsaw Pact, the only opponent of NATO, has gone to its grave. The East European countries that formed it have now become client states of the U.S. The former republics of the Soviet Union, such as Kazakstan, are now independent countries. Not satisfied with this state of affairs, the United States has launched what the Russians consider a very aggressive campaign against them. First in the West, they see the United States pushing for the incorporation of their former allies into NATO, bringing this formidable military alliance to their very border. In the North, similar protocols have been signed with the Baltic States. In the South, in oil rich Kazakstan and others, American oil companies are attempting to gradually replace the Russians in the exploration and exploitation of the gigantic oil reserves of the Caspian sea. There has even been talk of joint military exercises with the Kazak military. The same policy is being actively pursued with Azerbaijan and Georgia. The extraordinary support given by the U.S. to the Georgian president Eduard Shevarnadze who was the last foreign minister of the Soviet Union and an active participant in its dissolution may give us a hint of the untold story of this momentous event. In any case, it does not take a strategic genius to realize that these geopolitical moves are meant to secure the gigantic oil reserves of the Caspian Sea and a route for it to Turkey and the Black Sea. In this context, the devastating war unleashed on Yugoslavia can be seen as a prelude of future American policy in that strategic area. Help the separatist movements seeking autonomy from Russia under cover of helping the ethnic majorities just like the Kosovar Albanians. Kosovo and the new NATO doctrine of intervention has set the precedent and will unable the spinmeisters to manipulate public opinion.
        This is not a very wise policy, since it will only serve to radicalize Russia, a country that can not be taken for granted since it remains a potent nuclear power. There is deep concern in Russia about America’s growing economic and military influence in the former Soviet Republics. The Russian military has just observed the U.S.’s willingness to use devastating force against Iraq to eradicate any threat to its oil interest in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. In Grenada and Panama, violent assaults were severely executed to serve notice that the United States would not tolerate any challenge in an area it has traditionally considered its own backyard. Is it not only a question of time before Russia starts to assert itself with force when it feels that its vital interests in its traditional backyard are being threatened ? And now that more and more Russians are seeing the U.S. as this threat, isn’t the possibility of a military confrontation between Russia and the U.S. becoming less and less inconceivable ? And the winner of such a confrontation will be the side that has little to lose and can muster the political will to carry on to the brink of global thermonuclear war. My guess is that the side with the great multinational corporations that have the most to lose will back down. I often wonder if our mediocre policy makers have ever taken this scenario into account.

      • Vassili

        Stanley,
        I think you analysis of 1999 is 100% correct 8 years later.

        Although… the economical position of Russia have improved sinnificantly since then. And US economy is being bleeded by Iraq war.

        Indeed – Russian assets – raw resources are much less vulnerable to nuclear war then US assets: hi-tech devleopment, financial industry, entertainment content production and last but not least – anti-3rd word army.

        What would you say though about the “Big Game” theory – it is gaining popularity in Russia lately. According to the theory US/UK – Russia relationshps are indeed a love-hate relationship. I.e. they would try to do any sort of indirect damage to each other, but avoid direct conflict and would unite against some real 3rd party threat. It’s not an accident that Russia kept all the nuclear weapons and US carefully took care of preventing any of that weapon left in the hands of trully anti-russian “countries”, like Ukraine for example. Now, these “countries” are indeed (very unfortunate geographical location) some kind of pawns or rather global-chessboard squares.

        Another reason why I’m betting on Russia tactic victory in the next round of “The Game” is that US population is detoriated by unbounded immigration from the 3rd World. Of course that also carries a gross danger of actually loosing the context of “The Game” and doing a direct assult, that can result – well in a nuclear war :-)

        So, Kipling’s words – “The Game would only end when everybody would be dead” – I hope it is not an exact short-term prophecy :-)

        • Stanley Laham

          Vassili,

          Never underestimate the limitless greed of American corporations and you must understand that the US government is at their service. What we have in effect today is a plutocracy masquerading as a democracy. Those of us who are familiar with Vietnamese and Latin American history can testify to how ruthless and bestial this plutocracy can be.

          Russia must be on constant guard against any move that would compromise its deterrent nuclear shield. She must not allow herself to be surounded by offensive weapons and must respond in kind.

          If Putin were to form new military-economic alliances with eager partners like Chavez of Venezuela, Morales of Bolivia, Ortega of Nicaragua and Castro in Cuba, while shutting up European leaders with the threat of a natural gas and oil embargo, would they start treating Russia like the great power that she is? Has economic strangulation not been the favorite tool of American foreign policy throughout the 20th century? Guatemala, Cuba, Chile, Iraq, just to name a few… What is good for the goose should be just as good for the gander! All it takes is the political will.

          I wish Putin a safe and successful visit to Iran. It is not above the NSA, CIA or Mossad to attempt to bring harm to him while blaming someone else. We have seen that many times before.

          ps check out my little book on amazon

  • justaguy

    Good post Peter C. and thanks for refreshing the history. Much real history has been lost in this oh so tribal revisionist world we live in.