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Escalations in a New Cold War


Escalations in a New Cold War

Jonathan Marshall

If the United States ever ends up stumbling into a major conventional or nuclear war with Russia, the culprit will likely be two military boondoggles that refused to die when their primary mission ended with the demise of the Soviet Union: NATO and the U.S. anti-ballistic missile (ABM) program.


‘…could allow the United States to “prevail” in a prolonged nuclear war with the Soviet Union.’

How many disintegrations-per-second per mind did it take to engender such delusional groupthink?

‘U.S. military leaders say they are drawing up even bigger funding requests to send more troops and military hardware to Eastern Europe, and to pay for new “investments in space systems, cyber weapons, and ballistic missile defense designed to check a resurgent Russia."’

Resurgent Russia? Only in the funny papers, given the price of oil.

Obama: Commander in chief???


This was well written and asks us to explain just what do we think we are doing playing the Cold War confrontation (that nobody wants) game again. Why do we anyway? Fellow commenters please don’t go telling me about how America is at fault and is an empire in decline and a fascistic bully and all the rest. Is there anyone who wants to say that stuff that hasn’t already said it many times? Consider them said okay?

That or rather those things being said (repeatedly)… Why exactly do we do this? There has to be some logical rationale for this kind of short sighted stupidity? Is it really only moribund ideology? I thought the commies came and went? Why the continuing hostile posturing towards Russia anyway? Is there really some chance that Russia would attempt to invade Western Europe? Why would they? Seriously…why would they? It would be unsustainable and in fact it seems utterly unlikely to ever happen. So why?

The problem IMO seems more intertwined with an advancing Chinese dominated Asia. China is exerting pressure both positive and negative on events. Is this Eastern Europe situation evolving with Russia receiving assurances of an alliance economic and military with China behind the scenes? Or is it forcing those arrangements to be made? It would have to be occurring with China in the background (geographically as well) in some degree. Advance placement of pieces in the chess game being moved early? Pushing Russia into a greater economic alliance with China may perforce end up with it becoming a solid military alliance as well.




Don’t dismiss the pure greed of the munition makers. The more they create demand for more and more weapon systems…well, you know.

As for the politicians and the generals, do they think they may be preparing their own incineration? I doubt it. Since it’s in their interest, (or they think it is), they create delusions that they or the country will survive such a calamity as nuclear war in good shape. See “Dr. Strangelove”. Schizophrenically, they may also believe that these weapons will never be used precisely because of the unthinkable result, so there’s no “real” danger…therefore lets go ahead and build them! Idiots and sociopaths all.


Whatever their mindset (the military ever wanting more weapons or the corporate ever wanting more profit by selling them weapons) those mutually assured stupidities do not guarantee that the weapons will never be used.

That is the Dr.Strangelove scenario that they convince themselves that they need to use them first because they think that the other guy wants to use them first etc.

I think that you can never truly convince a soldier that there is no need to have soldiers. By that I mean the military mindset is always to protect and defend against attack. It assumes an attack is possible and acts defensively in preparation for it. This to a soldier is security. It is being well armed and in position to defend against attack even when no attack is threatened. A soldier will consider mounting an attack simply because the other side could attack them and all this while a state of peace exists.

To point out to the soldier that the other side has seen the well armed soldiers deployed and is now only doing the same thing because they feel are feeling vulnerable is immaterial. Soldiers create soldiers which create more soldiers which…and so on until you have the biggest military in the world and people like Trump and Hillary want to make it even bigger. Why? They want to because if 10 carrier strike forces is enough then 11 is surely better. Because if you can fight one war then being able to fight two wars simultaneously is always better. Because when you have the biggest military than an even bigger military is even better.

Tell them about draining strength from the nation to sustain these impossibly high numbers in the military and the soldier says… That isn’t my job. That is when corruption, bribes and lobbyists take over for the MIC. To get the money for new weapons whether needed or not is why we have the MIC lobbyist. Getting the money no matter what is actually their job and they understand how the military mind works.


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Threads came out about the same time as The Day After, but was much more realistic.

  • As a Thermonuclear Veteran (Operation Redwing, Marshal Islands, 1956) it really struck home to me.
  • People should watch Threads to give them a realistic picture of what is being so casually advocated by the Powers that Be these days, for profit and power.


"President Reagan’s famous 1983 “Star Wars” ABM initiative was based on a theory developed by advisers Colin Gray and Keith Payne in a 1980 article titled “Victory is Possible” "

Not really. If you check the archives of the CBS program “60 Minutes”, you will find a very clear enunciation of the “Star Wars” proposals in a 20 minute segment from mid December, 1978, less than halfway through the Carter Administration. This little piece of verifiable history seems to have been long forgotten by anyone who didn’t see that program. “Star Wars” didn’t start with Reagan, altho’ he threw his support behind it …


The military industrial complex (MIC) has been raking in so much dough from the actual occupations and wars of the past quarter century that they decided to reactivate the trusty profit center that served them so well from 1945 until 1990 (never ended if you count Cuba) and push the 21st century cold war forward.


I think we are in agreement except for your first two sentences. There is no “guarantee” the weapons will not be used, in fact the opposite is true: the more of them there are, the more likely they WILL be used (either by design or accident, given the inevitable militarism and hysteria to justify it that the MIC inevitably incites). I mean to suggest that it is a self-generated delusion of theirs. This has been written about before. That is the Sword of Damocles hanging over all our heads.

The Strangelove reference was to General Turgidson assuring the war room that American casualties resulting from an American nuclear first-strike would be no more than 40 million, “tops!” (from memory) I refer you to Gen. Curtis LeMay who advocated precisely just a first strike during JFK’s presidency. It wasn’t because he thought “the other guy” would use his first, it was because he was convinced, in his own psychotic “mind” that “we” would “win” precisely because the US so totally outgunned the Soviets.



Again. Cui bono?
Terrorism = for whom? Cold war = for whom?
Arms race = $ for whom?

What a racket! And unfortunately, it looks unstoppable.


I am afraid you misunderstood my sentence. I said that there was no guarantee that they would not be used! I was saying the same as you not that there was a guarantee that they would not be used.

There is a film clip where Kissinger (the real life Dr. Strangelove) is interviewed during the Nixon administration saying that he felt a 100 million casualty rate was acceptable for the USA if it ensured that a first strike against the Russians would wipe out their ability to retaliate any further and of course result in greater casualties for them.

Secondly I am citing the Dr. Strangelove scenario not quoting the script. Nevertheless I am confused as to what you are disputing or correcting in what I wrote?


“Star Wars” as an ongoing trillion dollar concern was the creation of the Reagan administration. It has never been a viable concept other than as a transfer of huge chunks of taxpayers wealth to the (mostly Californian) aerospace/arms industry, fueled by the kind of fear-mongering propaganda which has become a staple of American political life.

For a highly readable account, read Frances Fitzgerald’s, "Way Out There In the Blue…


… it is also the source of the hoary neocon meme that the Reagan administration "won the Cold War’ by “spending the Soviet Union into oblivion.”

Such a convenient, elegant story line for the MIC to ensure the model’s dominance well into the future.


Another aspect of what US narrative calls Soviet implosion was mother Russia kicking the rest of Genghis Kahn’s empire out of the nest to live in modern times on their own.


How many? … 7 time zones of hinterlands? NATO would probably take them all.


As long as you emphasize the “trillion dollar” aspect, yes, that level of support came from Reagan. However, the R&D for the program, and the planning of it, predates Reagan, who simply threw an enormous amount of money and politics behind the effort. Reagan by no means CONCEIVED the program, even though many writers seem to think he invented it. The reference to CBS disproves that …


Just watched Threads on Vimeo per your recommendation. Very enlightening indeed and a prophetic reminder of the insanity of nuclear war. Obviously, the powers that be have either not watched such films or have made one excuse or another for their continued support of nuclear weapons and war with Russia and China.


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