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U.S. and Russia Making Preparations for World War III

Eric Zuesse

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The anti-neoconservative Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who had been the chief aide to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and had opposed America’s invading Iraq, spoke on March 2nd explaining how the U.S. and Russia are drifting ever-more-rapidly into World War III. He said it’s essentially the same way that England and Germany drifted into WW I: being sucked in by their entangling web of foreign alliances. However, as he sees it, the role that Sarajevo played to spark world-war in 1914, is being performed this time by Israel. Instead of the Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip igniting the war by assassinating in Sarajevo the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, Benjamin Netanyahu is igniting this war throughout the Middle East, by escalating his campaign to conquer Shiites in Iran, Syria, and Lebanon — overthrowing and replacing the governments there (which would then become controlled by allies of the anti-Shiite Sunni regime in U.S.-Israel-allied Saudi Arabia), and also aiming ultimately to expand Israel itself, to take over Jordan so as to confirm biblical prophesy.

And, as Wilkerson sees it, Netanyahu is also fronting for the Saud family: the Israel lobby is fronting not only for Israel’s aristocracy, but for Saudi Arabia’s. (Whereas Israel works both inside and outside the U.S. Government to control the U.S. Government, the Sauds, which are the world’s richest family, work only inside the U.S. Government, by outright buying it; so, unlike the Jewish billionaires who control Israel, they don’t need acceptance by the American people; and each time the Sauds try, they fail at it.) However, since Wilkerson’s speech was being sponsored by organizations that oppose Israel’s lobbyists, most of it dealt with Israel’s side of the Israel-Saud alliance that controls U.S. foreign policies (especially in the Middle East). (The U.S. aristocracy’s hostility toward Russia is, however, its own; it is primary for America’s billionaires, but not for Israel’s aristocracy, and also not for the Sauds — both of which aristocracies are instead focused mainly against Iran and Shiites.)

Wilkerson thus criticized especially “where Israel is headed – toward a massive confrontation with the various powers arrayed against it, a confrontation that will suck America in and perhaps terminate the experiment that is Israel and do irreparable damage to the empire that America has become.” Here is how he described the likeliest “tripwire” for what would become global nuclear annihilation:

They want a Greater Israel for a number of reasons, security reasons, you know, the old biblical prophecies and so forth. So I think they’re going to try to keep this in the air to start with. You’re going to see some bombing. I think you’re going to see in the next six months, they’re going to take Lebanon on. They’re going to take Hezbollah on in Syria and Lebanon. When that doesn’t work or when Hezbollah present to them, as they did in July 2006, with some new options in terms of what Hezbollah can do to them and maybe even the Lebanese Armed Forces do too, it might get tricky. Then there might be armored formations, ground units, infantry and so forth. That’s when the door opens for general conflict.

There is a question asked, too, about the [U.S. military] base [recently placed in Israel]. Here’s why I think we put the base there. … We put the base there for the same reason we have tripwire forces in other places. We put the base there so that there can be no question in the minds of the American people when the president directs U.S. forces into Israel equipped to go into Syria because we will have been attacked. The disposition of that base is just sitting on an Israeli Air Base and we put the Stars and Stripes up and declared it a U.S. Air Base. It’s for Patriot batteries as far as I know. But it’s there and it’s U.S. territory. So, when missiles start flying or — God forbid — the RGC [Iran’s Republican Guard Corps] actually tries to put guerillas into Israel proper, then we are being attacked, too. So, when we go to Congress, if Trump feels like he has to go to Congress — he isn’t going to have to probably — Congress is going to be demanding that the president take action. …

If so, then the U.S. Government will be at war against Russia, too, not merely against Iran and Hezbollah. … So, the thing that ought to be happening right now is that the United States and Moscow, despite all this mess [Russiagate, Skripal, etc.] that’s been created between us, ought to be cooperating to bring the two parties that really need to talk — to talk, Riyadh and Tehran — and get them to deal with their problems diplomatically and then turn that diplomatic success on to the Syrian conflict which is being fueled principally by Saudi money with Prince Bandar in charge.

He’s saying that this isn’t at all an ‘Israel-versus-the-Arabs’ thing, nor even fundamentally a Russia-versus-America thing (at least not in the Middle East) but instead a Sunni-versus-Shiite thing, at root. And, he’s right. The fundamental Middle-Eastern conflict is intra-Islamic, not between religions. But (and he never talks about this; almost nobody does), it’s really between blocs of aristocracies, not really between different nations’ publics. In terms of publics, the American people are victimized by the American aristocracy and by its allied Saud family, and by its allied Israeli aristocracy; but America’s media are controlled by America’s aristocracy; and, so, hide these facts, in order to make these invasions by the U.S. possible — politically acceptable to the duped public (like Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, etc., were).

Bandar is the person who was paying, out of his and his wife’s own personal checking accounts, flight-training etc. for at least two of the 15 Saudis who were preparing to do the 9/11 attacks. In 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump personally sold, to the Saud family, $350 billion in U.S. weaponry and training. That sale was the biggest part yet, of Trump’s plan to restore U.S. manufacturing. And basically, Trump is now owned by the Sauds, and this (in addition to his own billionaire Israel-backers) means that he needs to be gung-ho for invading Iran, and certainly not for overthrowing the Sauds. He needs to support aristocracies that are the chief enemies of the American public. This is realpolitik, in a world that’s controlled by psychopaths. It’s today’s world.

Wilkerson said, “We might have the stirrings of 1914 as utterly stupid as we now know those stirrings to have been.” But would this really be just “stupidity,” or, perhaps, something more — and worse? He evidently knows that it’s far more, and that it involves not only the Sauds and their agents, but also the Israelis and their agents:

This is Joseph Goebbels territory. Karl Rove [George W. Bush’s chief propagandist] is envious. The Foundation for Defense of Democracies as the heir to the Project for the New American Century, Bill Kristol’s Iraq-bound think tank, leaves that pack of wolves disguised as warmed over neocons lavishly funded by the likes of Paul Singer [one of Trump’s top financial backers]. It has even spawned the Institute for the Study of War. A fascinating Orwellian title if there ever was one [it’s run by former PNAC people]. It should be [called] the Institute for War.

I’ve been asked why is it that you ascribe to FDD and now the ISW such nefarious motives. I was asked this by the New York Times’ editorial staff when they published my op-ed on Iran a few days ago. My answer is simple. Because that is precisely what FDD is attempting to do. Just as Douglas Feith, undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Office of Special Plans, did in 2002 and 2003 for Richard Bruce Cheney to lead us in the war with Iraq.

If this is true, then the Skripal matter, and all of Russiagate’s pressures upon Trump to bring America to war against Russia and against Russia’s allies (such as Iran, Syria, and China), would fit also as being parts of that broader plan, which would fulfill the objectives both of the Saud family, and of Israel’s aristocracy — and, of course, of America’s aristocracy, which have long wanted to conquer Russia.

The NATO PR agency Atlantic Council announced on March 25th that, as the neoconservative Daily Star in London expressed the matter, “Defence experts at the Atlantic Council have now laid out the ‘significant threat’ from Russia on the edge of Europe.” Now that NATO has expanded right up to Russia’s very borders, NATO wants its populations to know that Russia is threatening NATO by massing troops and weapons on NATO’s borders. (It’s as if Russia had taken Mexico and then blamed America for being ‘aggressive’ and ‘threatening’ by doing defensive military drills on our own territory.) The next day, the Daily Star headlined “Vladimir Putin orders WAR DRILLS as Russia tensions ready to snap with West”. Then, on March 29th, they headlined “‘This is very rare’ Russia warship ‘to fire missiles SIX MILES off Sweden coast’”.

The aristocracies of Israel and of Saudi Arabia will likely have the support of the aristocracies in the U.S. and UK, in their planned war against Russia and its allies. Like WWI, and WW II, this is a joint enterprise; but, this time, unlike in WW II, America will be out to conquer Russia, not to conquer Germany. Russia is the nation that has, by far, the most natural resources; and aristocracies always value land more than they value the populations that are on it, for whatever they can exploit out of the conquered ones, especially because dealing with the natives can mean more trouble than it’s worth. For examples: native populations didn’t do too well in U.S., nor in Australia, nor in Africa, nor in Palestine. Russians aren’t the goal; Russia (the land) is. But, as usual, the aristocracies have first been knocking off the leaders of the allies of the country that’s the main target — such as in Iraq, and in Libya, and in Syria, and in Ukraine. Now, the allied aristocracies are getting ready to go in for the kill.

As regards the view from the opposite side, it was well summarized by Joe Hargrave in his recent “What Putin Wants Is The Most Important Issue Of Our Time”, in which he accurately represented what Putin has been both saying and doing.

And as regards Wilkerson’s recommendation: it was for the U.S. to abandon Israel, so that Netanyahu won’t be able to start WW III. (Wilkerson closed by saying: “The country that will have started it all, the relationship, unbalanced as it is that will make it possible, is Israel. That’s the danger we face.”) Of course, the Sauds won’t allow that, and they might even renege on their $350 billion U.S. weapons-purchase commitment if we did it. The Israel lobby would secretly carry the Sauds’ water on that, and the Sauds pay well for any service provided to them; so, those lobbyists would have access to virtually unlimited funds, some of which would, of course, ultimately find its way not only into politicians’ campaigns, but also into America’s ‘news’ media. Thus, corporations such as Lockheed Martin can get loads of free PR (sales-promotion), for American ‘nationalism’, which is the military-industrial complex’s form of internationalism.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010

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Defense

Negating Nuclear Bluff

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The war of words between India and Pakistan’s militaries prove that both South Asian nuclear states are intertwined in a traditional security competition. Indian Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat, while delivering the annual Army dinner, stated:”We will call the (nuclear) bluff of Pakistan. If we will have to really confront the Pakistanis, and a task is given to us, we are not going to say we cannot cross the border because they have nuclear weapons. We will have to call their nuclear bluff.” Such statements of calling the ‘nuclear bluff’, ‘increased cross- border firing by Indian forces, which coupled with the proclamation of surgical strikes can lead to crisis instability in the region.

Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor responded to the Indian army chief’s ‘nuclear bluff’ assertion by saying that such statements are unbecoming from a person of a responsible stature. He further stated that “Well, it’s their choice. Should they wish to test our resolve they may try and see it for them..…Pakistan’s credible nuclear deterrence is the only thing stopping India from a war.” Such statements by the Indian military officials, and a quick calculated response from Pakistan, have raised the concerns of security analysts regarding the regional security and strategic dynamics.

It could be an appropriate tactic of General Bipin for securing finances for the modernization of the Army, but an absurd and destabilizing statement for the strategic stability in South Asia. According to the analysts, such statements by Indian military officials can lead to crisis instability and force the Pakistan to hasten its evolution towards war fighting nuclear doctrine. Another alarming reality is that General Bipin has failed to realize the repercussions of misreading Pakistan’s nuclear weapon capability and too much confidence in India’s Cold Start Doctrine. Hence, Pakistan’s successful test of the ‘submarine-launched cruise missile Babur (SLCM Babur)’ can be viewed as a befitting response to India.

According to Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Babur is submarine-launched cruise missile with range of 450 km. It was fired “from an underwater dynamic platform” and “successfully engaged its target with precise accuracy; meeting all … flight parameters”. The development of Babur (SLCM) is a significant component of a “credible second-strike capability” and a step towards reinforcing Pakistan’s policy of Credible Minimum Deterrence through self-reliance and indigenization.

Previously, on January 9, 2017, Pakistan conducted its first successful test of indigenously developed submarine launched cruise missile Babur-III.  Babur-III is also advanced, mature and indigenously developed series of cruise missiles. The First test of Babur-III was considered by Pakistan’ security planners as a major milestone and a right step in right direction towards reliable second strike capability. After the successful test of  Babur-III, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, while congratulating the nation and the military on the first successful test-fire of the Submarine Launched Cruise Missile stated: “The successful test of Babur-3 is a manifestation of Pakistan’s technological progress and self-reliance.” He added: “Pakistan always maintains policy of peaceful co-existence but this test is a step towards reinforcing policy of credible minimum deterrence.” Therefore successful test of Babur-III, submarine launched cruise missile finalized the triad of Pakistan’s nuclear forces and second test of Babar on March 9, 2018 has enhanced Pakistan’s deterrence based on Second Strike Capability.

Another significant factor which forced Pakistan to acquire Second Strike Capability is India’s doctrinal transformation as it is clearly transforming its Nuclear Doctrine. New trends are emerging in India’s nuclear strategy as it is moving towards a ‘first-use’ or even a ‘first-strike nuclear strategy’. India’s nuclear doctrine is based on the ‘strategic ambiguity’, therefore it has been anticipated that India is shifting its nuclear strategy towards ‘counterforce targets’ rather than ‘counter value targets’. The second emerging trend is that India is moving towards the strategy of “First Use” or “Preemptive strike” from the “No-First Use strategy”. The abandoning of no first-use, development of missiles defense shield, fake claims of surgical strikes and calling the nuclear bluff are developments that are perilous for the regional security. Indeed, such events have forced Pakistan to maintain deterrence through qualitative and quantitative developments in nuclear forces. In the strategic landscape of South Asia, the presence of Pakistan’s credible second-strike capability is imperative for the continuity of the strategic stability between/among strategic competitors: India and Pakistan.

Subsequently, harsh statements by Indian military, its shifting nuclear doctrines and maturing sea based/ballistic missile defense developments capabilities are threatening for Pakistan. Such developments by India have been countered by Pakistan by carrying out two tests of nuclear-capable missiles, ‘Babur-3’ submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) and ‘Babar’. Pakistan’s tests of SLCM has further reinforced the debate on South Asian maritime security, second-strike capability and missile defense technologies in the regional landscape. To conclude, it’s impossible for the Indians to alter the strategic equilibrium between India and Pakistan. Though Islamabad is not matching the Indian conventional military buildup, yet it is gradually advancing its nuclear arsenal. Hence, Pakistan’s successful test of indigenous Submarine Launched Cruise (SLC) Missile ‘Babur’ has negated India’s desire to call Pakistan’s ‘nuclear bluff’ and has augmented the credibility of Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence strategy. Addition of ‘Babur’ in Pakistan’s military inventory confirms that Pakistan armed forces are prepared to thwart any kind of Indian armed forces military adventurism.

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A Likely Path to Nuclear Annihilation

Eric Zuesse

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U.S. President Donald Trump asserted on the morning of April 12th, “Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!” This statement from him is interpreted here as constituting a public promise from him to start the overt phase of America’s invasion of sovereign Syrian territory, no longer just continue the prior phase, which has relied instead upon America’s proxy forces, which originally were the ones that were led by (U.S.-Saudi-Qatari-UAE supplied and armed) Al Qaeda in Syria, but increasingly now are Syria’s Kurds, which have taken control over a third of Syrian territory, in Syria’s northeast. This area includes the oil-producing region, from Deir Ezzor northward, and the conquest would cripple Syria’s economic future, so that U.S-Saudi control of the entire country would be only a matter of time.

On April 4th, Emily Burchfield, a program assistant at the Atlantic Council — NATO’s leading PR agency — headlined the following, in order to explain the U.S. military’s (i.e., NATO’s) objectives in Syria (and the whole headline-bloc is quoted here, because it succinctly states the article itself): Analysis: Washington Still Has Work to Do in Former ISIS Territories

Before the U.S. pulls out of Syria, Washington needs to address a governance gap left in some former ISIS territories. Otherwise, marginalized Arab communities will likely ally with the Syrian government or extremist forces, writes Emily Burchfield of the Atlantic Council.

The U.S. military, in other words, cannot accept that “marginalized Arab communities” will “ally with the Syrian government.” Analogous within the United States itself would be if some foreign power refused to accept that “marginalized White communities” will “ally with the U.S. government.” In other words: this is clearly a military demand (a demand that came to be expressed here by a paid employee of NATO’s top PR agency, the Atlantic Council) to break up the country.

Whereas the prior U.S. President, Barack Obama, had tried everything short of all-out direct military invasion — as contrasted to indirect invasion by U.S. proxy armies of jihadist mercenaries — in order to conquer or at least to break up Syria, the current U.S. President, Trump, is resorting now to the direct military invasion route: he’s taking the path that Obama had declined to take.

Syria’s allies are Iran and Russia. These allies have enabled Syria to survive this long, and they all would be capitulating to the U.S. if they accepted the U.S. military invasion of Syria. For them to do that, would be for them to display, to the entire world, that the United States is their master. The U.S. Empire would, in effect, be official, no longer merely aspirational.

In the case of Russia, since it is the other nuclear super-power, this would be not just a surrender to the other nuclear super-power, but also Russia’s doing that without even waging a conventional-forces war against the U.S. Empire. That is extremely unlikely.

Consequently, Russia is probably now (on April 12th) coordinating with Iran, and with its allies, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, a conventional-forces war against the invaders.

If that conventional-forces war inflicts more damage to U.S.-and-allied forces than they inflict against Syria, that would, in military terms, constitute a “military defeat” for the U.S.

This would leave the U.S. only two options:

Either accept that Russia is another nuclear super-power (which the U.S. Deep State has refused to accept), and end the previously subterranian war to conquer it that was started by George Herbert Walker Bush on the night of 24 February 1990, or else blitz-attack Russia itself in order to eliminate enough of Russia’s retaliatory weapons so as to ‘win’ the nuclear war — i.e., inflict even more destruction upon Russia than Russia would still possess and control the surviving weaponry to inflict against America in response.

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Optical Missile Tracking Systems and Minimum Credible Deterrence

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There was a time in human history when nuclear technology was the “it” technology; no one could imagine anything beyond it. The destruction and wrath it brought was not only terrifying but mesmerizing. It was fascinating for ordinary people, leaders, scientists and states that the smallest particle of matter upon breaking can release energy which could burn down a whole city in seconds. Thus, invention of nuclear weapons changed the way of thinking of nations, states and leaders. Mastering the fission of radioactive atom to enable it to release energy is not a child’s play; states invest billions in currency to make nuclear weapons.

At the operational level, a nuclear weapon requires delivery systems. In this regard, strategic bombers, ships, submarines and missiles are commonly used delivery vehicles by the states. But, one of the most significant and reliable delivery systems is missiles, With missiles, states can launch nuclear pay load from their own territory or from any other place without risking its human resource, in case of sending bombers. Missile technology all around the world is growing by leaps and bounds. After nuclearization, both Indian and Pakistan pursued missile technologies including ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, ballistic missile defences, Multiple Independently re-entry targetable vehicles and inter-continental ballistic missiles as well. States invest in nuclear weapons because it helps them achieve deterrence which stops states from using nuclear option due to fear of unacceptable damages to one’s vital interests. However, to endorse credibility of nuclear weapons, states invest in military modernization.

The main objective behind nuclearization of Pakistan was to create deterrence against India but without indulging into arms race. Thus, policy of minimum credible deterrence was developed by Pakistan. Later on, after India’s attempt to exploit the levels beneath nuclear threshold, Pakistan resorted to the policy of full spectrum deterrence without going for arms race. So, to create credible but minimum deterrence at the start of year 2017, Pakistan tested multiple independently reentry targetable vehicle (MIRV), which can deliver multiple nuclear war heads in one go.

Development of MIRV by Pakistan is neither consequence of ambitious national objectives nor is it meant to initiate an arms race in the region. But, it is to make nuclear deterrence viable against India’s BMDs which can intercept incoming ballistic missiles through interceptors and destruct them in the air.

Pakistan, due to its economic restraints could not go for BMD in response to India; as it is an expensive technology that has yet to achieve 100% success rate. So, considering its options, MIRVs came out as the most rational choice. However, MIRVs are one of the most complex technologies in which missile can carry more than one warhead in a single launch and with the capability to hit multiple individual targets. They require technological sophistication in not only sending so many vehicles in one launch but also in yield and most importantly in accuracy. With enough yield and accuracy MIRVs provide states the capability to go for pre-emptive strikes. Thus, MIRV have the capability to overwhelm the BMD system and resultantly eliminate the false sense of security under which India could go for first strike.

To increase the accuracy of MIRV missiles, Pakistan bought highly sophisticated, large scale optical tracking and measurement system from China. According to national news agency, Pakistan has deployed this sophisticated technology in battlefield. Before Chinese system, Pakistan was utilizing indigenous systems. Nonetheless, it will help Pakistan record high-resolution images of a missile’s departure from its launcher, stage separation, tail flame and, after the missile re-enters atmosphere, the trajectory of the warheads it releases. These functions will be possible because the system bought by Pakistan comes with a pair of high-performance telescopes equipped with a laser ranger, high-speed camera, infrared detector and a centralised computer system that automatically captures and follows moving targets. However, what makes this system unique is its ability to detect missile up to range of several hundred kilometers through the help of its telescopes. The timing of these telescopes are precisely synchronized with the atomic clock. Thus, now Pakistan can track different warheads going in different directions simultaneously. Moreover, through visual imagery, the missile developers can improve the accuracy and design of missile in much better way.

So, with this technological uplift, Pakistan will soon add Ababeel (MIRV) into its operational missile inventory. But, these actions by Pakistan are not to give rise to arms race rather they are the reactions to the actions taken by India. BMDs by India never strengthened nuclear deterrence or stability rather they eliminated the deterrence by nulling the credibility of ballistic missiles. As a result, to maintain credibility of its deterrence though minimum means, Pakistan opted for MIRV, as missile tracking systems are essential in improving the accuracy and designs of missiles. If anything indicates arms race in the region, it is India’s ICBMs, naval nuclear fleets and space weaponization.

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