Nato’s action plan in Ukraine is right out of Dr Strangelove

By John Pilger
The Guardian

Men wearing military fatigues in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk

‘What is certain is that Barack Obama’s rapacious coup in Ukraine has ignited a civil war and Vladimir Putin is being lured into a trap.’ Photograph: Anatoliy Stepanov/AFP/Getty Images

I watched Dr Strangelove the other day. I have seen it perhaps a dozen times; it makes sense of senseless news. When Major TJ “King” Kong goes “toe to toe with the Rooskies” and flies his rogue B52 nuclear bomber to a target in Russia, it’s left to General “Buck” Turgidson to reassure the president. Strike first, says the general, and “you got no more than 10-20 million killed, tops”. President Merkin Muffley: “I will not go down in history as the greatest mass murderer since Adolf Hitler.” General Turgidson: “Perhaps it might be better, Mr President, if you were more concerned with the American people than with your image in the history books.”

The genius of Stanley Kubrick’s film is that it accurately represents the cold war’s lunacy and dangers. Most of the characters are based on real people and real maniacs. There is no equivalent to Strangelove today because popular culture is directed almost entirely at our interior lives, as if identity is the moral zeitgeist and true satire is redundant, yet the dangers are the same. The nuclear clock has remained at five minutes to midnight; the same false flags are hoisted above the same targets by the same “invisible government”, as Edward Bernays, the inventor of public relations, described modern propaganda.

In 1964, the year Dr Strangelove was made, “the missile gap” was the false flag. To build more and bigger nuclear weapons and pursue an undeclared policy of domination, President John F Kennedy approved the CIA’s propaganda that the Soviet Union was well ahead of the US in the production of intercontinental ballistic missiles. This filled front pages as the “Russian threat”. In fact, the Americans were so far ahead in production of the missiles, the Russians never approached them. The cold war was based largely on this lie.

Strategic nuclear missiles Cold War National Museum of the US Air Force
Strategic nuclear missiles from the cold war.
Photograph: Alamy

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US has ringed Russia with military bases, nuclear warplanes and missiles as part of its Nato enlargement project. Reneging on the Reagan administration’s promise to the Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 that Nato would not expand “one inch to the east”, Nato has all but taken over eastern Europe. In the former Soviet Caucasus, Nato’s military build-up is the most extensive since the second world war.

In February, the US mounted one of its proxy “colour” coups against the elected government of Ukraine; the shock troops were fascists. For the first time since 1945, a pro-Nazi, openly antisemitic party controls key areas of state power in a European capital. No western European leader has condemned this revival of fascism on the border of Russia. Some 30 million Russians died in the invasion of their country by Hitler’s Nazis, who were supported by the infamous Ukrainian Insurgent Army (the UPA) which was responsible for numerous Jewish and Polish massacres. The Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists, of which the UPA was the military wing, inspires today’s Svoboda party.

Since Washington’s putsch in Kiev – and Moscow’s inevitable response in Russian Crimea to protect its Black Sea fleet – the provocation and isolation of Russia have been inverted in the news to the “Russian threat”. This is fossilised propaganda. The US air force general who runs Nato forces in Europe – General Philip Breedlove, no less – claimed more than two weeks ago to have pictures showing 40,000 Russian troops “massing” on the border with Ukraine. So did Colin Powell claim to have pictures proving there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. What is certain is that Barack Obama’s rapacious, reckless coup in Ukraine has ignited a civil war and Vladimir Putin is being lured into a trap.

Following a 13-year rampage that began in stricken Afghanistan well after Osama bin Laden had fled, then destroyed Iraq beneath a false flag, invented a “nuclear rogue” in Iran, dispatched Libya to a Hobbesian anarchy and backed jihadists in Syria, the US finally has a new cold war to supplement its worldwide campaign of murder and terror by drone.

A Nato membership action plan – straight from the war room of Dr Strangelove – is General Breedlove’s gift to the new dictatorship in Ukraine. “Rapid Trident” will put US troops on Ukraine’s Russian border and “Sea Breeze” will put US warships within sight of Russian ports. At the same time, Nato war games in eastern Europe are designed to intimidate Russia. Imagine the response if this madness was reversed and happened on the US’s borders. Cue General Turgidson.

And there is China. On 23 April, Obama will begin a tour of Asia to promote his “pivot” to China. The aim is to convince his “allies” in the region, principally Japan, to rearm and prepare for the possibility of war with China. By 2020, almost two-thirds of all US naval forces in the world will be transferred to the Asia-Pacific area. This is the greatest military concentration in that vast region since the second world war.

In an arc extending from Australia to Japan, China will face US missiles and nuclear-armed bombers. A strategic naval base is being built on the Korean island of Jeju, less than 400 miles from Shanghai and the industrial heartland of the only country whose economic power is likely to surpass that of the US. Obama’s “pivot” is designed to undermine China’s influence in its region. It is as if a world war has begun by other means.

This is not a Dr Strangelove fantasy. Obama’s defence secretary, Charles “Chuck” Hagel, was in Beijing last week to deliver a warning that China, like Russia, could face isolation and war if it did not bow to US demands. He compared the annexation of Crimea to China’s complex territorial dispute with Japan over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. “You cannot go around the world,” said Hagel with a straight face, “and violate the sovereignty of nations by force, coercion or intimidation.” As for America’s massive movement of naval forces and nuclear weapons to Asia, that is “a sign of the humanitarian assistance the US military can provide”.

Obama is seeking a bigger budget for nuclear weapons than the historical peak during the cold war, the era of Dr Strangelove. The US is pursuing its longstanding ambition to dominate the Eurasian landmass, stretching from China to Europe: a “manifest destiny” made right by might.

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5 responses to “Nato’s action plan in Ukraine is right out of Dr Strangelove

  1. I sent this comment to John Pilger. Will he respond?

    John Pilger wrote: “There is no equivalent to Strangelove today because popular culture is directed almost entirely at our interior lives, as if identity is the moral zeitgeist and true satire is redundant, yet the dangers are the same.”

    Mr. Pilger, the dangers are NOT the same.

    Nor is it true that “no western European leader has condemned the revival of fascism on the border of Russia.” Marine Lepen and other French National Front leaders have done this.

    This fact is just another aspect of non-sameness with the Cold War.
    What has changed since the collapse of the Soviet Union? For a start in 1991 Boris Yeltsin surrendered to the US the codes to the Soviet nuclear arsenal. The last head of the KGB Kryuchkov, who was a participant in the August 1991 coup against Gorbachev, at his trial said that the coup was necessary to prevent the Soviet nuclear arsenal coming under the control of the United States. On 3rd September 1991 in the Duma Yeltsin proposed 95% unilateral abolition of the Soviet nuclear arsenal, (information from New Left Review) a logical adjunct to handing over the codes, for what is the point of the United States having two nuclear arsenals? In order to stage a false flag operation with one of them and blame the Russians for it? Nobody either in the power elite or, to their disgrace, in the anti-nuclear movements, supported Yeltsin’s call for 95% abolition. I suspect that what he really wanted was 100% abolition.

    Just before his death Andre Gromyko said: “We made more and more nuclear weapons. That was our mistaken position. Absolutely mistaken. And the political leadership bears the entire blame for it. Tens of billions were spent on the production of these toys. We did not have the brains to stop.” (from David E. Hoffman, “The Dead Hand”, p.314.)

    What is the situation today? Putin claims to have regained control of the Russian nuclear arsenal. But he would say that anyway, for political reasons, whether or not it is true. Would he not? What are the dangers of a US false flag using “Russian” nuclear weapons? Do you know? Do I know? Who knows? What defence would the Russian government have in the event of such a thing occurring?

    Why were Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus made nuclear-weapons-free but Russia not? Who in Russia wanted this? Is not Ukraine the model that should be supported in this respect by “the West”? Doubtless the opportunity for unilateral nuclear disarmament of Russia, or “Russia”, is lost, but there are still opportunities for bilateral EU/Russian proposals, if the truth is told about what happened at the end of the Cold War, and about why there is still a Russian, or “Russian” nuclear arsenal.

    Writers like John Mueller have written about the fraud of nuclear weapons, their uselessness, the entirely political justifications for their existence, the almost total fraud that is “nuclear terrorism”. But the only audiences Mueller gets are audiences of American Republican warmongers, who want to be reassured that there is no reason to worry about nuclear weapons, particularly other nations’ nuclear weapons. The anti-nuclear movements don’t touch people like Mueller with a bargepole. Unfortunately. So they are complicit in the fraud. And your article on NATO’s action plan and Dr. Strangelove has done NOTHING to shed light on these issues. If you would like to comment on what I have written to you, I would appreciate your comment.

    Wayne Hall, Aegina, Greece

  2. I don’t think we need to worry. Putin has a few Aces up his sleeve. Driven by US NATO intimidation; the levying of sanctions; military threats, Russia has teamed up with China, signed a sweetheart gas deal, to circumvent the bully pulpit of the dollar completely.

    Now that Russia has also embarrassed the world’s largest chemical giant, Monsanto, whose roots run deep into the old WWII Nazi chemical trust, IG Farben, compounded by the snubbing of the dollar as a world reserve currency, could this be what’s really spilling over in the Ukraine?

    Russia to drown Monsanto with an agribusiness market of their own, the model will be clear: heirloom seeds, no royalties, and no KGB spies poking around farmers’ fields to ensure that no patented crops are appearing in violation of licensing agreements, no lawsuits against farmers, vs the practices of Monsanto’s – IG Farben.

  3. That is good news, but it is another front in the battle and doesn’t address the issues that John Pilger wants us to discuss.

  4. That probably is a bit worrisome. All one needs to consider is that the psychopaths certainly didn’t mind incinerating Japan’s population centers, to prove a point before. But I think Putin is too vigilant to be tripped up by such a dark false-flag.

    No doubt the cornered criminals will attempt to shoot their way out of this dilemma. They’re broke! They’re funny money is soon to be unwelcome anywhere. Its domineering world champion, Monsanto, with dreams of monopolizing the world’s GMO crop markets has just been flipped the bird by Putin. Other world neighbors have kicked Monsanto out. What’s left? A very exceptional dog, disgruntled and angry.

    If such a false-flag attempt is made by NATO-GLADIO NSA CIA…in the service of USA, whichever way the results of such action go, the spotlight is on the rabid dog and it will come out on the other end with egg on its face, a pariah.

  5. If the US government can get the Yemeni government to take responsibility for drone attacks on Yemenis ordered by the CIA, couldn’t they get the Russians to take responsibiity for a false flag Russian nuclear weapons attack ordered by the US? Perhaps they couldn’t with Putin. That’s why he has to be replaced. But Ukraine’s post-Soviet position on nuclear weapons possession is better than Russia’s and should be a model for the EU.

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