Are you ready for nuclear war?
David North and Alex Lantier Correspondents
Are you ready for war — including possibly nuclear war — between the United States, Europe, and Russia? That is the question that everyone should be asking him-or herself in light of the developments since the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. The crisis provoked by American and European charges of Russian responsibility for the shooting down of flight MH17 has brought the world the closest it has been to global war since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. But the situation today may be even more dangerous. A half century ago, the Kennedy administration — haunted by fears that miscalculations on either side could precipitate a nuclear exchange — sought to keep the lines of communications open and avoid the demonisation of Soviet leaders.
Today, on the other hand, the CIA is directing an incendiary propaganda campaign against Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, a campaign that seems intent on provoking a direct military confrontation with the country with the second largest nuclear arsenal in the world. There is no question that the CIA is mobilising all the resources and assets it commands — within governments, the media, and among academics — in a carefully orchestrated campaign aimed at polluting public opinion with anti-Russian hysteria.
As of now, there is nothing approaching a definitive explanation of the chain of events that led to the destruction of MH17. Despite all the massive surveillance technology at its disposal, upon which it lavishes tens of billions of dollars annually, the US intelligence agencies have not produced a shred of hard evidence to back up the accusations of Russian responsibility.
But while the physical circumstances surrounding MH17’s destruction remain unknown, the political purposes to which this tragedy is being put to use have become all too clear.
Since the beginning of the week, the three most influential mass circulation newsmagazines of the United States, Britain, and Germany—Time, The Economist, and Der Spiegel — have published cover stories that combine wild accusations against Vladimir Putin with demands for a showdown with Russia.
The most striking and obvious characteristic of these cover stories is that they are virtually identical. The CIA has scripted them all. The stories employ the same insults and the same fabrications. They denounce Putin’s “web of lies.” The Russian president is portrayed as a “depraved” mass murderer.
What is the Russian president to make of the use of this sort of language in the most influential newsmagazines? He is on the receiving end of the same campaign of vilification that was previously directed against Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Putin certainly knows the outcome of these propaganda campaigns. Serbia was bombed into political submission and Milosevic was carted off to The Hague, where he died, mysteriously, in prison. Iraq was invaded and Hussein executed. Libya was also invaded, and Gaddafi — much to the amusement of Hillary Clinton — was savagely tortured and lynched. As for Assad, the United States has directed a bloody insurgency that has resulted in the deaths of more than 100 000 Syrians.
Given this record, Putin could hardly be accused of paranoia were he to conclude that the United States and its European allies want him dead. Therefore, one must ask, what impact might this well-grounded suspicion have on his own course of action as the confrontation escalates?
In all three cover stories, the governments of Western Europe and the United States are taken to task for failing to move against Putin and Russia.
The three magazines adopt a tone of angry impatience with what they perceive to be insufficient aggressiveness. They all argue that the time for talk is over. Der Spiegel declares “The wreckage of MH17 is also the wreckage of diplomacy.”
How should this statement be interpreted? If diplomacy has failed, it can only mean that war is imminent.
In its article “In Russia, Crime without Punishment,” Time attacks Obama for asking Putin to assist in the investigation of the crash rather than immediately threatening Russia with war. It writes, “This was the crisis in a nutshell: the least Putin could do was the most Obama could ask for. The American President announced no deadlines, drew no red lines and made no threats.”
The invocation of “deadlines,” “redlines,” and “threats” is the language of war. How else should these words be read?
Time attacks Italy and France and even the Obama administration and the American people for not backing aggression against Russia: “Putin doesn’t have a lot to worry about when he looks at the forces aligned against him. Obama, as the leader of a war-weary nation, has ruled out all military options, including the provision of weapons to Ukraine.” Clearly, Time wants to place military options on the table.
Whatever the short-term outcome, the long-term implication of the agenda being pursued by the United States and the European imperialist powers leads inexorably in the direction of war with cataclysmic consequences.
The greatest danger facing the working class is that decisions are being taken behind the scenes, with masses of people largely unaware of the risks facing the world’s population.
A 100 years ago this week, World War I was launched by small cabals of ministers, monarchs, and business interests throughout Europe, whose decision to risk everything on victory in war led to deaths numbering in the tens of millions. Today, similar forces are setting into motion a drive to a conflagration that could lead to the destruction of the planet. — wsws