“[A]s far as it is possible to do so, these two wonderful vessels are designed to be unsinkable” – White Star Line publicity brochure circa 1910 for the twin ships Olympic and Titanic
Two years later the world would learn just how catastrophic hubristic complacency can be.
When the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock to Three Minutes to Midnight, citing climate change and the threat of a renewed arms race between Russia and the U.S., it reserved just a single sentence to the conflict in Ukraine. Perhaps not even the folks at the Bulletin are immune to propaganda.
Robert Parry has written an excellent article regarding misinformation about the conflict in Ukraine titled “Nuclear War and Clashing Ukraine Narratives”
The U.S. government and mainstream media are swaggering toward a possible nuclear confrontation with Russia over Ukraine without any of the seriousness that has informed this sort of decision-making throughout the nuclear age. Instead, Official Washington seems possessed by a self-righteous goofiness that could be the prelude to the end of life on this planet.
Nearly across the U.S. political spectrum, there is a pugnacious “group think” which has transformed what should have been a manageable political dispute in Ukraine into some morality play where U.S. politicians and pundits blather on about how the nearly year-old coup regime in Kiev “shares our values” and how America must be prepared to defend this regime militarily.
This distorted American narrative has represented one of the most unprofessional and dangerous performances in the history of modern U.S. journalism, rivaling the false conventional wisdom about Iraq’s WMD except in this case the media propaganda is aimed at a country in Russia that really does have weapons of mass destruction.
Putin also does not object to Ukraine building closer economic ties to Europe and he offered a new referendum in Crimea on whether the voters still want to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, said a source familiar with the Kremlin’s thinking. But Putin’s red lines include no NATO expansion into Ukraine and protection for ethnic Russians by disarming the neo-Nazi militias, the source said.
If such an arrangement or something similar isn’t acceptable and if the killing of ethnic Russians continues, the Kremlin would support a large-scale military offensive from the east that would involve “taking Kiev,” according to the source.
A Russian escalation of that magnitude would likely invite a vigorous U.S. response, with leading American politicians and pundits sure to ratchet up demands for a military counterstrike against Russia. If Obama were to acquiesce to such bellicosity – to avoid being called “weak” – the world could be pushed to the brink of nuclear war.
Parry’s article provides a good starting point for understanding why Putin made this remark during a news conference last December:
Putin: You know, at the Valdai [International Discussion] Club I gave an example of our most recognisable symbol. It is a bear protecting his taiga. You see, if we continue the analogy, sometimes I think that maybe it would be best if our bear just sat still. Maybe he should stop chasing pigs and boars around the taiga but start picking berries and eating honey. Maybe then he will be left alone. But no, he won’t be! Because someone will always try to chain him up. As soon as he’s chained they will tear out his teeth and claws. In this analogy, I am referring to the power of nuclear deterrence. As soon as – God forbid – it happens and they no longer need the bear, the taiga will be taken over.
I’ve highlighted the portions of the transcript from Putin’s news conference dealing with Ukraine and Russia’s conflict with the West here. When you click on the link, it will take you to the first of seven highlighted sections I created. In the left margin you’ll find a toggle to bring you up or down to each of the seven highlighted sections.
And since it’s Saturday, here’s a Pink Floyd song that’s apparently become relevant again: