Earlier this week in Germany and the Czech Republic, tens of thousands took to the streets to demand an end to Russia sanctions and the start of the NordStream II pipeline. Then someone blew it up. With better EU/Russia commercial ties no longer an option, how much stronger will protests become? Also today, Kamala Harris tries her hand at foreign policy at the Korea DMZ…with predictable result.
Researcher and writer Dr. Ben Abelow, a scholar who lobbied Congress on nuclear arms policy, joins Useful Idiots to explain, as his new book argues, how the west brought war to Ukraine.
(video is cued to 13:45, the start of Abelow’s interview, but the opening of the show is very entertaining too)
“The goal of the US,” Abelow says, “is not to save Ukrainians but to degrade Russia’s military until they won’t be able to fight in the future. And while some say stopping Russia is a humanitarian goal, the way one would degrade Russia’s military is to keep an extended war going and fight to the last Ukrainian.”
Abelow analyzes the history of this cold war, the aggression by each side, and the hypocrisy of the argument that Ukraine has a sacrosanct right to join NATO.
“The right to join NATO is the right to place a western military arsenal on Russia’s border. If Russia made a military alliance with Canada or Mexico, US leaders would not be talking about their right to do so.”
And on this week’s news of Putin announcing military escalation and giving a thinly-veiled threat of nuclear war, Dr. Abelow warns:
“I hope it’s taken seriously.”
These are scary times. So buckle up, cook some Nyquil chicken, and get ready for this week’s episode of Useful Idiots. Check it out now.
"We have communicated directly, privately and at very high levels to the Kremlin that any use of nuclear weapons will be met with catastrophic consequences for Russia, that the US and our allies will respond decisively, and we have been clear and specific about what that will entail." ~ Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor
Here we are again, possibly as close to a possible nuclear war in which everyone will lose and no one will win as we were during the Cuban Missile Crisis exactly 60 years ago. And still the international community, including dictators and democracies, has not come to its senses around the unacceptable risk of nuclear weapons.
Between then and now, I volunteered for decades with a non-profit called Beyond War. Our mission was educational: to seed into international consciousness that atomic weapons had rendered all war obsolete as a way of resolving international conflict – because any conventional war could potentially go nuclear. Such educational efforts are replicated and extended by millions of organizations around the world that have come to similar conclusions, including really big ones like the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
It’s good that the Biden administration, which has done so well in standing up to Putin, has now thrown its weight behind Iran’s protests, including by trying to keep Iranians connected to the internet via Elon Musk’s Starlink boxes. It can do even better by withdrawing from the nuclear talks, on the principle that a regime that will not give relief to women deserves no relief from sanctions.
Iran hawks do not and have never cared about the plight of the Iranian people. That has been obvious for a long time. That is why it is more than a little tiresome to watch as they seize on the latest protests over the outrageous abuses of the Iranian government to justify their ghoulish support for broad sanctions that do nothing but hurt the Iranian people. The Iranian government should be held accountable for the deaths of innocent protesters and for the outrageous death of Mahsa Amini, but that has nothing to do with the negotiations over the nuclear deal and it should not be an excuse to keep cruel and inhumane broad sanctions in place.
Denying Iranians sanctions relief in the name of opposing their government’s authoritarian abuses is the sort of stupid and destructive thing that Iran hawks specialize in. The Iranian people have enough to endure from their own government without having to suffer under our government’s pointless sanctions as well. Punishing an entire population for its government’s actions seems particularly dimwitted when so many of those people are protesting against their government’s abuses. If you respect what the protesters are standing for, you should oppose our government’s own abusive sanctions policy that also causes them harm.
The chief victims of broad sanctions are innocent Iranians. Iranian women bear the greatest burden of the conditions created by economic warfare. They are the ones that stand to benefit most from sanctions relief, and by opposing Iran hawks declare themselves to be hostile to the welfare of ordinary Iranians. Refusing to give them relief in order to spite their government is as twisted as it gets.
Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.
Former Swiss intelligence officer and NATO adviser Jacques Baud on the next phase of the Russia-Ukraine war and new allegations that the US and UK undermined a peace deal that could have ended it.
The West’s aim “is not the victory of Ukraine, It’s the defeat of Russia,” Baud says. “The problem is that nobody cares about Ukraine. We have just instrumentalized Ukraine for the purpose of US strategic interests — not even European interests.”
Guest: Jacques Baud. Former intelligence officer with the Swiss Strategic Intelligence Service who has served in a number of senior security and advisory positions at NATO, the United Nations, and with the Swiss military.
In his Sept. 21 speech, Putin did not make an explicit threat to use nuclear weapons. He vowed to “make use of all weapon systems available to us,” in the event of “a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people.”
On nuclear weapons, the US did not have a “No First Use” policy. On the 2020 campaign trail, Joe Biden said that he supported the idea of “No First Use.” He abandoned that in his presidential nuclear posture; but that was reversing his campaign stance, not official US policy.