I was catching up and refreshing on an old (May 23rd, 2014) Counterspin radio segment from fair.org earlier today and heard something that much of the news isn’t touching upon even though it has historic, dangerous implications.
Our politicians are attempting to ramp up (even more) nuclear weapons near Russia and they’re using the Ukraine thing as an excuse. I find that incredible, a bit frightening, as well as disturbing that many Americans (including myself) have had no idea that this expansion is potentially happening very soon:
Congress is currently debating the military budget, including White House proposals to increase spending on nuclear weapons to $300 billion over the next decade. But besides the rare wire story, you wouldn’t know about it, despite news angles which might question how it conflicts with US international obligations and previous White House pronouncements. We’ll speak with Lizbeth Gronlund of the Union of Concerned Scientists Global Security Program about nuclear weapons spending.
EDIT: My rough partial transcript in on that specific part is below:
Counterspin: You’ve written in recent months about the White House’s push for this.
Lisbeth Gronlund: Yes, and there is support, there is wide support on the Hill for US nuclear weapons and especially in the face of, in the wake of Putin’s actions in Crimea. It’s politically very, very difficult to get any support for, you know, modest reductions, modest changes of what the Obama Administration is proposing.
Counterspin: That’s shocking that a dispute over the Ukraine and Crimea would lead to a policy that seems to suggest that nuclear weapons use is more likely than it was a few months ago.
Lisbeth Gronlund: Yeah, and in fact it’s interesting that the US and Russia have several armistice agreements about nuclear weapons that involve monitoring and dismantlement and there are members of Congress who are arguing that we should pull out of [those agreements] and bascially stop those actvvities which are just the opposite of what we should be doing.
It is really very shocking and there are people who suggested that we should introduce tactical nuclear weapons into more countries in Europe. Right now the US deploys these shorter range nuclear weapons in five countries in Europe and people have suggested they need to add them to other countries. Which, again, it’s just the opposite of what you want to do… the last thing you want is to turn this crisis in the Ukraine into a nuclear crisis.
winning Department of Defense and Senate support for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), would add up to almost $300 billion over the next decade.
Some Reuters articles:
… was given a frosty reception by Moscow which said it could “not take such proposals seriously” while Washington was beefing up its anti-missile defenses.
How is Russia going to react to this? It’s one thing to denounce them, threaten or impose sanctions. It’s quite another to send more nuclear weapons their way. I also wonder who profits (literally) by sending more nukes out there? I strongly suspect it’s some of these people.
If Russia decides to send some nukes to Cuba in response or plant their nuclear submarines on the East Coast right outside of Washington, D.C., could we really blame them? Shit…
It’s okay. Once climate change wrecks a couple more Eastern Coast cities they will have a real problem with massive wealth potential to solve and they can use the life or death absurd high pricing angle that they use for military over-spending too. Let’s just hope they happen upon a real solution to over-charge us for instead of hand-waving answers like the explosive detection devices sold to us for Iraq.
Perhaps we need to use the global warming angle… Putin should be in favor of it since it will flood much of the US’s high value real estate (probably including DC); will expand his warm water Naval Base options; and increase Russia’s potential oil/gas drilling area into the Arctic Sea. Hence the US should be battling global warming.
I suppose I must step into the role of shill. Someone must. The question is which shilling thing should one shill for? I vote for none, since the corrupt U.S. miltary-industrial-Congressional-complex is bad in its itself but is hamstrung to some degree by our democratic-republican processes—if not actually by our Democratic and Republican parties. In Russia, though, Putin is reaping ten years of pandering to fascist right-wingers. They want a war and everyone on the left in Russia has been muzzled. John McCain wants a war, too. I’m just happy that all our A-10s are still in the queue for being parked in the desert rather than shipped to Ukraine along with our thousands of whups-spare-change surplus tanks.
Generally though, it’s pretty clear that the Ukrainians themselves neither want war, mafia semi-dictatorship under Yanukovich, or domination from Moscow. Doesn’t that count for something? As far as I can tell, Obama’s administration has used diplomacy and a passive security support (technically, we’re obligated by treaty to ensure Ukraine’s security, allowing Ukraine to escape the '90s without any nuclear weapons) to make the price of annexing Ukraine much higher for Putin without actually escalating things. If Putin doesn’t want to fall to a fascist coup, he needs to begin to make nice with the dissenting left in Russia.
It’s not really about us. It’s more about places like Poland and Byeloruss. And the people who actually live in Ukraine.
I don’t think we should be choosing sides between Russian Fascists (and the strange affinity some American leftists seem to have for their cause) and General Dynamics. That’s why we have a modern government rather than a multinational resolution market based on a game of Risk.
I’m hoping that many of us utilize decentralized energy sources (and energy storage) before it gets vastly worse. But, if you’re referring to giant sea walls, etc. all over our coasts, yeah… I do wonder if they’ll profitably outfit them with 50-mm Anti-tank Gun turrets. Because you can never have enough “safety” nor enough protection from tank attacks via the sea.
I’d like to offer my partly-informed impressions, and see if anyone finds them sensible. In essence it seems to me like some degree of new cold is inevitable even without pushing, because the understanding that ended the cold war is breaking down.
In a very vague sense this was that the US and Russia would sort of work together - or more often sort of not work together. Which is to say that they didn’t really cooperate but recognized that at some level they needed to agree to get things done. The UN was full of obstruction, and that reflected both checking the others.
Russian statements have brought up Kosovo a lot, and for the most part the reactions here have been to point out it’s a false parallel, which is accurate enough. The same was true when they invaded Ossetia. At the time, though, I read some articles - Stratfor’s or the Guardian’s might have been in there - that, whether or not they give a good picture by themselves, did give me some idea why they might think it’s important.
Kosovo was a change in an important way. At the start action was expected to go through the UN where in theory everyone was at the table. This of course would mean not-working together; the US wanted war, and Russia didn’t, and so it obstructed.
Here Clinton’s administration didn’t accept that verdict, pointing to the mass killings and all, and so found a way around the obstruction. They wanted international agreement, but argued NATO could fulfill that role, and so intervened accordingly.
The thing is that while we don’t think of it this way much any more, and probably didn’t here, this was really our alliance against Russia being brought up. If you imagine a new Warsaw pact doing something, it seems like a cold war revival even if the action is a good or necessary one, right? NATO was the western bloc in the cold war.
I don’t know this was an insurmountable difference, though, until it was wedged further. Your article notes Russia was cooperating on issues like with Afghanistan, and it was definitely still at the table on this too. In particular it was insisting on keeping Serbia together.
That didn’t happen, of course, but I’d suggest it’s notable that wasn’t even the result of negotiations; before those had ended, Bush unilaterally declared they could only end the other way. And of course his administration was also settling affairs its own way around Russia’s old sphere: the missiles in east Europe, invading Afghanistan and then Iraq without even NATO’s approval, threatening Iran and North Korea, and so on.
And that’s it: there is no more interest in giving Russia any check on our actions, and I imagine someone much less totalitarian might respond in kind. They had a much higher standing during the cold war than they would in a new American century. And who knows, but it doesn’t seem like their current leadership regrets that outcome too much.
Either way, they’ve stopped giving us that check on them, and now the only thing really limiting their action is what they are willing and able to do…and surprise, Putin’s morals aren’t much restraint. So they’ve invaded Ossetia, and the Crimea, and more of the Ukraine, with specious justifications that don’t seem to say much more than “myeah, remember Kosovo?” With the result that we can point back to him as a fascist megalomaniac, again accurately enough, and the idea of an agreement to check the powers is dying.
So yes, I think we’re getting pushed toward a renewed cold war, but I don’t think it’s an alternative to the war on terror and like invasions. It’s linked to them as the framework where there is freedom for those sorts of actions. And hey, it works that way for Russia’s favorite conflicts too, so for the short term everybody wins except for everyone who doesn’t.
The Chomsky school, as expressed most vocally on the Net right now by Patrick L. Smith. I’m glad this crowd exists, but they have a disturbing tendency to deny agency to the people stuck in the pre-war zone. They fall into the trap of opposing Straussian power politics by becoming its mirror. In this case, they match noble lies about the plucky Ukrainian orangists with their own disavowal of Ukrainian agency, while also ignoring how Straussian the Russians have become themselves, and without noting how Putin has become even more trapped in his power-politics box than even Richard Nixon was.
Can you explain that in plainer language, please? Who is the Chomsky school? Can you provide links to articles from Patrick L. Smith that explain your point of view against him? I looked, and didn’t find anything. (I’m not saying there isn’t, I just literally couldn’t locate the articles.)
Sorry, I was getting pretty tired when I wrote all this, and I’m lucky it made sense as far in as that. I meant freedom for the sort of unilateral actions those wars have been based around. The idea was that acting unrestrained by other powers and a cold war are closer to two sides of the same coin.
Every article he writes on the subject of Ukraine is a good example. It’ll be interesting what he puts up on the subject of MH17. I suspect he’ll wait to give the situation every chance of giving him some Wigglensraum.
As far as going into further detail, I’ll let Smith speak for himself. At this point, Leo Strauss and the leftist reaction against his brand of fuckery are half a century old, and others can explain it better than I can. Or at least better than I want to without wandering off to drink.
On the plus side, it may be a good time to buy some defense contractor stocks since the industry shows upside whether Clinton or Trump wins. Thank God so many (so-called) liberals bailed out on Bernie Sanders during the primary. His win would’ve been horrible for these kind of stocks.