Eric Zuesse

U.S. President Donald Trump is playing a game of nuclear “chicken” with Russian President Vladimir Putin, regarding Putin’s threat on June 19th to go to war against the United States if the U.S. again shoots down, inside Syria — in the sovereign territory of the internationally-recognized-as-legal sovereign Syrian government — Syrian aircraft, or the aircraft of any of the foreign governments that have allied with Syria: Russia, Iran, and China.

After the U.S. had shot down a Syrian government plane on June 19th, which was bombing jihadists whom the U.S. government backs in order to overthrow the Syrian government, Russia announced:

“In areas where Russian aviation is conducting combat missions in the Syrian skies, any flying objects, including jets and unmanned aerial vehicles of the international coalition discovered west of the Euphrates River, will be followed by Russian air and ground defenses as air targets” — meaning ordered out, or else immediately shot down.

That would place the U.S. and Russia in a traditional war against each other, over Syrian territory (Russia to protect Syria’s government, U.S. to replace it by a Saudi-allied jihadist one). The loser in that war, over the battlefields in Syria, would then have only one way to prevent defeat, which is a blitz nuclear attack against the other’s homeland, World War III between Russia and U.S., which would be ‘won’ by whichever of the two sides suffered the less damage (irrespective of whether the entire planet and ultimately all life will then have actually been destroyed by the exchange). The first side to attack would knock out many of the other side’s retaliatory silo-based ICBMs and thus probably be the ‘winner’, though that’s not certain (since most nukes aren’t silo-based).

Russia’s announcement is basically saying that direct war between Russia and the U.S. will result if the U.S. persists in its effort to conquer Syria, but the Washington Post has said that it’s really only a ‘bluff’, and CNBC has said that it’s only ‘bluster’, and Trump is now splitting hairs over whether he goes with that view (the neoconservative view) to continue the war against Assad, or whether Trump instead will abandon the neoconservative effort and withdraw American forces from Syria once ISIS there is defeated.

Whereas Trump’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has served as Trump’s mouthpiece to allege that the U.S. will not conquer and has no intention to conquer Syria, Trump’s press-spokesman and also his U.N. Ambassador have threatened that the U.S. will again directly attack Assad’s forces if and when it wants to do so.

Both President Emmanuel Macron of France, and Prime Minister Theresa May of UK, have already gone on record as supporting the neoconservative position, that the U.S. and its allies should dictate to the sovereign government of Syria, and that Syria’s government should obey. Macron himself has even warned that “the use of chemical weapons will be met with a response, and even if France acts alone.”

The summit meeting of the heads of state of the G20 countries will take place in Hamburg on 7 and 8 July 2017. Included there will be not only the U.S.-allied leaders — especially Macron, May, and Saudi Arabia’s King and Crown Prince — but also Putin, and also China’s Xi Jinping. There is some press-speculation that Trump wants to negotiate a deal there for Russia to abandon its alliance with Syria, and also its alliance with Iran. President Obama had tried to do that, but Putin declined the proposal. Perhaps the Western alliance is making these soundings of moving forward despite the Russian warning, so as to increase the pressure on Putin to cave, to crack him. In any event, the jihadists (agents of the Sauds) in Syria know that if they again set up a chemical attack so as to blame it on Assad, the U.S. and its allies have already committed themselves to go to war to overthrow Syria’s government (for ‘humanitarian reasons’). Any jihadist group there could thus pull the trigger even prior to the G20 Summit. Perhaps a jihadist will indeed pull the trigger, but would the U.S. then serve as the gun that some of Trump’s federal employees have promised the U.S. will be in such an instance? In a game of chicken, each side threatens, and maybe also deceives, so that its opponent will believe the worst; but the individual who pulls the trigger might turn out to be an obscure person about whom the general public knows nothing. It happened in WW I, and there is no reason why it couldn’t happen again. Furthermore (as that linked-to source also well documents), underestimating the seriousness of a head-of-state’s commitments, can produce global catastrophe.

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Thus far the US administration and deep state have wavered with North Korea that little threat to the US. When the Oligarchs and Elite’s in the West actually realise that their assets will be made worthless by a global nuclear war will common sense prevail ?

    Sadly I have my doubts as all too many of these people think they are untouchable and always right. World leaders have been plagued by the insanity of personal invincibility for thousands of years. The leaders of the US certainly fit that description.

  2. A little detail of mistranslation of what Macron said, and Putin was moreover present at this moment : Macron vowed to go against ANY ONE PROVED using chemical weapons and to neutralise the stockpiles!
    This is very different than saying that Assad will be attacked if CW are used : it clearly understates that several actors are in the position of using such weapons and not without proofs. If some are willing to do another false-flag, they’re so very likely to end with a nasty surprise!

    Now, what Eric calls ‘nuclear chicken game’ has a name : Brinkmanship and is has ALWAYS been launched by USA and Russians never chickened out first, even during the Cuba crisis : US had to remove their nuke missiles from Turkey prior Russians giving up with Cuba…

    Another point : if an US aircraft gets shot down, it’ll simply be said that it was a mechanical failure, exactly like they did for several F-15 or F-117 and only if they can’t recover the wreckage as, if they can, it’ll be moved somewhere else and announced as an accident.

    And I’m sorry but nuke first strike against silos is 50’s strategy!!!!
    All SSBN hide under the ice-pack. There is pretty no mean to detect them. MIRVs are stealth for a while now. Moreover, cruise missiles can be launched from SSN or AIPs so even diesel submarines can do nuke strikes. ABMs are likely to prevent a part of ICBMs and IRBMs to hit if they are launched in their range, before they’re too high to be intercepted, they’re much less likely to intercept MIRVs in re-entry so when it comes to SLBMs.

    Such an analysis is totally flawed, look how Trump’s admin already chickened out about N-Korea, recognising that going after NK will produce millions of deaths.
    Neo-cons are interested in small wars to have the MIC (military industrial complex) they make a living from keep on pumping money from tax payers and also take economical advantages i.e. Halliburton rebuilding the country etc.
    This is a gigantic scam that ends paid with the blood of hundreds of thousands innocent people, nothing else.
    USA is willing to take over EU’s gas market where Russia weights 36% and Africa 14% (48% being Norway), not having 7300 nukes falling on their heads and as Russia is less powerful in the conventional area, they’re more likely to nuke first… And… I wouldn’t bet that “Goldeneye” doesn’t exists. Russians are also the only ones to ever have tested a PGS (prompt global strike) system, launching tungsten rods from orbit.
    Despite heathen rhetoric and saber-ratling, US are perfectly conscious that escalating is no option so you can expect some nasty tricks for sure but also avoiding pushing too far.
    You may note that there was not a single try to repeat something like the 1983 Able Archer drill that was so realist that the Soviets were on red alert, with the finger already on the button, I mean the big red one, seeing this as a cover up for a real attack on them.

    Now, where it sucks is that neo-cons are usually pretty high on cocaine…

    • Well yes and no…i personally can attest that there are a many repuclicocanutz however they usually shtick Mormons on button duty patrol due to having their Mormon tea made illegal by their government. Also little known but at least legitimate explosives in u.s. have additives that make a fingerprint on residue after use so that if a bad apple gets some and uses it it can obviously help to investigate origins chain of command control etc so if u.n. could do something wise maybe it has already been tried…they would have all countries agree that all weapons systems including but especially nukes but tear gas if they still make it use it etc white phosphorus u name it all labeled as to origin then when the home made stuff if u will is used that also still helps investigations. As for Trump going to far I don’t think he is that stupid at all he said he was against Iraq invasion and I don’t think in essence he is disingenuous….rather the contrary..he allows himself to be bombastic to bring out these media thugs …remember two thirds of humans go to sleep thinking what they saw on tv in their subconscious was real…..trump will stop when he sees the disarray…its very obvious military’s of world not isis minded….russia and u.s. and China like Oliver stone was talking about as an axis of togetherness and harmony…..first move UN every four years. Get rid of the eccentricity. Next the axis starts to lower and turn down into failsafe mode three ways in regards to nukes kept and removes even if by force of axis all nukes from everybody else yes even Israel. Then u only have three guys to watch out and it’s a triangle of trust. We continue to lower nukes to elimination and then little children aren’t traumatized at age three that….adults so stupid as to maybe wipe each other all out….survival of the most cooperative….a book a concept so true…we hope

  3. Thanks, Daeshbag Sux, for having clarified that Macron statement, which I didn’t have access to in fuller form. And all else that you’ve said here is in accord with my own understandings, nothing to the contrary.

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