The danger of a U.S. nuclear war with Russia is real and growing.
The risk is not that an American or Russian President would deliberately start a nuclear war. The risk is that U.S. policy is creating a situation in which a nuclear war could be touched off by accident.
During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has cancelled the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, installed a missile defense system in Rumania and is in the process of installing a system in Poland.
What is the harm of a defensive system? It is that the ruler of a country with a missile defense system might be tempted to launch a missile attack, in the hope that the enemy’s retaliatory missiles might be stopped.
A defense system that is not strong enough to stop an enemy’s first strike attack might be strong enough to defend against retaliation from an attack, since much of the enemy’s weapons will have been destroyed. So, strange as it may seem, setting up a missile defense system can seem like an aggressive act.
The other problem is that the defense system is a missile system, and missiles can be used offensively and well as defensively.
I don’t think President Obama plans to attack Russia, and I don’t think Hillary Clinton has any such plans to do so, either. Neither do I think President Putin plans to attack the United States.
But both the U.S. and Russian military doctrines call for first use of nuclear weapons—that is, to strike first when it seems certain the other country is going to attack.
I think the Obama-Clinton policy makes the danger of nuclear war more likely. This is especially true in the light of the US and Russia arming the two factions in conflict in Ukraine, and reported near-collisions of Russian and U.S. aircraft and warships.
Obama has spoken of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in insulting language and refused to talk to him. Clinton is more of a war hawk than Obama.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, speaks of making peace with Putin. On this one issue, he seems more sensible than Clinton or Obama, although there’s no telling what he would do if elected. Putin clearly favors Trump in the coming election, which could backfire.
I think there will a greater danger of nuclear war in the next four years than previously whether Clinton or Trump is elected.
A Russian warning by Eugenia V. Gurevich, Dmitry Orlov and A. Raevsky, three Russians living in the United States, on The Vineyard of the Saker. This is important. Americans owe it to ourselves to understand the Russian point of view, whether we agree or not.
The Red Line Crossed by John Helmer, an independent Moscow correspondent, on his Dances With Bears blog. Also important.
Obama Slams Door in Putin’s Face by Eric Zeusse for The Vineyard of the Saker.
The Doomsday Clock by Noam Chomsky, an excerpt from his book Who Rules the World?
The Biggest Nuclear Risk: Trump or Clinton? by Robert Parry for Consortium News. [Added 6/16/2016]
The Russia Factor by Joseph Cannon for Cannonfire. Circumstantial evidence that Vladimir Putin is covertly intervening in the U.S. election on behalf of Donald Trump. [Added 6/15/2016]
U.S. Strategy for Russia: Wage War, But Not Declare It by John Helmer on his Dances With Bears blog. [Added 6/21/2016]