World War III: Who and Whom is Frightened by the Nuclear Threat

Shitov Andrey

World War III is already underway. The West is leading it against Russia with all means available to it – political, economic, ideological – with the exception of the direct use of military force. The main common concern now is that this hybrid conflict does not escalate into a nuclear exchange.

But even without that, things go to extremes. The demonization of Russia in the Western information space is accompanied by direct attacks on the country’s leadership, its political and cultural elite, and even ordinary citizens and foreign compatriots. US President Joe Biden publicly called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin a “war criminal”. One US senator went so far as to call for the physical elimination of the Russian leader. The owners of Meta (owns Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp) “temporarily allowed” the placement of such calls against Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko on their resources.

On the fronts of sanctions, preventive measures have been replaced by punitive ones; the goal is directly proclaimed the destruction of the Russian economy. According to the definition of the head of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation Anton Siluanov, “The West has declared a default on its financial obligations to Russia, has frozen our gold and foreign exchange reserves, is trying by all means to stop foreign trade, the export of goods, thereby causing damage to world trade.”

And this is putting it mildly: independent observers believe that they are trying to steal from Russia, to “squeeze” the money it has placed in the West. By the way, the season of open hunting for the property of the so-called Russian oligarchs has already been announced there. The principle of the inviolability of private property, which has always been considered the foundation of life in a legal democratic society, has been trampled underfoot before everyone’s eyes.

At the same time, the norms of interstate communication, which also seemed unshakable before, were also violated. Washington, along with its “friends and partners,” imposed direct personal sanctions against the top Russian leadership. In response, Moscow has already taken counter restrictive measures against the US and Canadian authorities, including Biden personally. Now he is “forbidden” to us.

The Americans have sometimes allowed themselves to “punish” the leaders of foreign states before, but among their own presidents, as far as I know – and I asked specialized experts – no one has ever been under foreign sanctions before.

Casus belli

The pretext for a massive frontal offensive against Russia was its special military operation to enforce peace in the Donbass. In fact, however, this is not about Ukraine, but about the entire system of international security and strategic stability in the changing modern world. “Obviously, the ongoing events draw a line under the global dominance of Western countries both in politics and in the economy,” Putin explained the other day. “Moreover, they cast doubt on the economic model that has been imposed on developing countries and the whole world in recent decades.” “.

Russia insists that security must be common and indivisible. She emphasizes that she launched the said operation to end the eight-year war in Donbass and push military threats away from her borders. By the way, it started only after the current anti-Russian regime in Kyiv directly expressed its intention to acquire nuclear weapons and their means of delivery. For their part, the United States and NATO, which have become accustomed to global dominance over the post-Soviet decades, are trying with all their might to maintain the status quo.

In history, such disputes about changing the world order were usually settled by big wars. But today, a direct armed conflict between major powers is fraught with a global nuclear catastrophe. Therefore, it is being replaced by a fierce confrontation in all other spheres.

However, with the general increase in tension, the military threat is also growing. Analysts and even officials in the West attribute to Russia plans for some kind of “escalation to de-escalate.” Moscow categorically denies the existence of such a concept in our country, reminding in passing that it is not we who start talking about the possibility of a nuclear war, but the NATO countries and Ukraine. By the way, the January statement by the leaders of the five nuclear powers and permanent members of the UN Security Council – Russia, China, the United States, Great Britain and France – which confirmed that “there can be no winners in a nuclear war and it must never be unleashed”, was adopted on our initiative.

Now, however, that time is already remembered as the pre-war past, and experts are sounding the alarm again. For example, the other day the co-chairs of the High-Level Group on Euro-Atlantic Security called for an early ceasefire and a peaceful settlement in Ukraine. In their view, “the fighting at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant … became another reminder of how quickly a nuclear catastrophe can become a reality in the heat of war.” The document was signed by former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, former US Energy Secretary Ernest Monitz, former British Defense Secretary Desmond Brown, a retired US senator, co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative Sam Nunn, and Wolfgang Ischinger, who until this year chaired the Munich Security Conference.

An inconvenient truth

However, weapons of mass destruction are not only nuclear. The world, now recovering from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, in principle, need not be reminded of this. But a reminder followed – and again in the Ukrainian context.

Interestingly, this came as a surprise even to some of the American politicians who are in charge of the Kiev regime. Here is how The Federalist magazine retroactively describes the well-known episode that took place on March 8 at the hearings on the situation in Ukraine in the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee with the participation of US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Republican Senator Mark Rubio: “Russia and China claim that there is a bioweapons research program Rubio seemed confident that Nuland would refute these claims and asked her if they were true. biological objects” and “we are now actually quite concerned that the Russian troops, the Russian forces, may seek to, well,

The senator, according to the publication, “choosed not to go further into Nuland’s (apparently reluctant) confession,” but simply asked “to confirm that if there was a biological attack, then Russia would be to blame.” The diplomat, for her part, “willingly agreed that she was sure of it.”

I deliberately cited excerpts from the publication verbatim, right up to Nuland’s “nuking” and bracketed explanations and reservations. On my own behalf, I will add that testimony at Congressional hearings is given under oath, perjury is considered a serious violation of the law. I am sure that this is why a smart and experienced lady, whom I have known for decades, found it impossible for herself to simply lie.

Now the echo of her words continues to sound. Russian troops got to those “materials” that were supposed to be hidden from them. And now not only Moscow, but also Beijing insistently demand a complete clarification of the essence of American “research programs” in biolaboratories. By the way, not only in Ukraine, but also in other countries of the world.

” Online Tour “

Since we are talking about speeches in the US Congress, I cannot ignore the latest news: an appeal to American legislators by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky. Togo is now vying with each other to invite various Western capitals to speak; one of my acquaintances, an experienced international journalist, caustically called such an unusual engagement “online tours.”

It is clear that the virtual appearance on Capitol Hill in Washington was the pinnacle of a career for the guest performer. I see no point in retelling the contents of the issue, which was full of direct appeals to the audience – “ladies and gentlemen, American friends” – I see no point. It does not deserve it, although a lot has been written about it. What is worth at least the call to “impose US sanctions against all Russian politicians,” or rather, as it was immediately explained, against all Russian civil servants who continue to perform their duties. Impromptu comedian: Nozdrevshchina and Khlestakovism in one bottle.

Apparently, Zelensky’s main request was also empty air shaking – about “creating a no-fly zone over Ukraine.” Both the White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department have repeatedly stated that such an option, fraught with a direct clash with Russia, is unacceptable for the US and NATO.  

And literally on the eve of Zelensky’s speech, US Permanent Representative to NATO Julian Smith explained at a briefing for journalists that the no-fly zone longed for by Kyiv does not make sense in a purely military sense. As she claimed, the recent crushing blow on the Yavoriv test site “in western Ukraine, about 15 km from the Polish border” was inflicted, according to American data, “from a Russian bomber in Russian airspace.” I heard about it for the first time at the same briefing.

Divide the skin

Moscow emphasizes that the peace enforcement operation is developing successfully, strictly according to plan, and all the tasks set will certainly be solved. “We will reliably ensure the security of Russia and our people and will never allow Ukraine to serve as a springboard for aggressive actions against our country,” Putin once again explained.

Overseas, of course, they see what is happening in a completely different light. The press and the blogosphere are full of speculation that Russia almost lured itself into a trap by underestimating the strength of Ukrainian resistance. Yes, and in geopolitics, Moscow, they say, has achieved results opposite to those desired: it has turned the entire West against itself, including not only political, but also business circles; hindered the further development of its economy; ensured NATO’s unprecedented unity and cohesion, and even opened up the prospect of expanding the alliance to such neutral countries as Sweden or Finland.

Such reasoning, as I call it, can be embodied in a question in one of the comments in the National Interest magazine: “Putin resented that Ukraine was becoming ‘anti-Russia’. But what if Germany becomes ‘anti-Russia’?” The question is not idle, especially since the publication is not openly Russophobic, but tries to adhere to a realistic political orientation.

On the other hand, there is also enough outright hatred. The prestigious Foreign Affairs has just published an article entitled “The Return of Pax Americana? Putin’s War Strengthens the Democratic Alliance.” According to the authors, the Russian leader “inadvertently rendered the United States and its allies a colossal service.” “By shaking them out of their overconfidence, he has presented them with a historic opportunity to regroup and reset in the lead-up to an era of intense competition — not only with Russia, but also with China — and to rebuild an international order that just recently seemed doomed. to collapse,” American political scientists say.

Of course, such assessments, as they say, are written with a pitchfork in the water. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has repeatedly warned outside observers against trying to judge Russia’s plans, which they do not know for sure, before they are implemented and bear fruit. In our people, this is called “sharing the skin of an unkilled bear.” In this case, this is doubly appropriate, since it is in the image of a bear that Russia is usually depicted in drawn political commentaries.

Bear and dragon

I think that it is not only useful for us to know and take into account these and other responses to our actions, but it is also necessary – especially in those cases when the opinions belong to famous and influential people. I will refer, for example, to the comments just published by Richard Haas, president of the non-governmental Council on International Affairs of the United States, and also by large investor and philanthropist George Soros.

The latter, apparently, is worth listening to, if only because he has almost no equal in our domestic demonology of American globalist democrats. In this case, he typed – and emphatically posted in the public domain – a short text entitled “Vladimir Putin and the risk of a third world war.”

The publication does not shine with special originality; for example, the author, like other commentators, credits the Russian leader with “miraculous strengthening of the resolve and cohesion of the EU.” He also boasts that he himself at one time “actively participated in the collapse of the Soviet empire” – in particular, by establishing his personal fund in Ukraine “even before it became an independent state.” He also recalls how he became “the first foreigner who was allowed to create a fund in China”, which lasted, however, only five years, before the events on Tiananmen Square (protests).

In the current situation, Soros complains most of all about the strength of the bond between Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The latter, in his words, “should be quite convinced that his appointment this year as the lifelong leader of China would be a mere formality,” i.e. will not encounter any obstacles.

The American oligarch directly links the certainty of Moscow’s current actions in Ukraine with the Russian-Chinese agreement, which is reflected in the joint statement of February 4 and which is “stronger than any agreement.” And he ends his reasoning on a minor note, which is quite expected for him. “We can only hope,” sighs Soros, “that Putin and Xi will be removed from power before they can destroy our civilization.”

Well, a man feels sorry for that order, the rules for which he himself helped to compose …

Smart monkey

Haas, whose text I began to read mainly because of a solid name, argues very similarly. He proceeds from the fact that “the only party capable of putting pressure on Putin to reach a compromise is China and its President Xi Jinping.”

Although the chances of this, according to an analyst who was once responsible for foreign policy planning at the US State Department, are small. “China has already publicly sided with Putin, blaming the current crisis on the US and even reinforcing Russian conspiracy theories,” he writes. Xi likely sees no benefit in moving closer to the US position, given the presence of bipartisan support in the US for a tough approach on his country.”

For all that, Haas nevertheless advises Washington to try to put pressure on the Chinese, offering them concrete concessions and emphasizing that “now is a defining moment for their country and its relations with the United States.” Suggesting that “the strategic costs for China from alignment (alignment) with Russia will far exceed any benefits.”

All this reminds me, first of all, of the huge mass of recent cartoons in which the Russian bear and the Chinese dragon unite to jointly confront the United States. And also about how, three years ago, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin expounded the Chinese proverb about a smart monkey watching the fight of tigers in a valley from a high mountain. Although he then added that “everything is changing, and this picture too.”

The political economy of the collision:

After all, there was another episode that firmly settled in my memory, although I know about it from third hands. Igor Shuvalov told this story to American participants in the Valdai discussion club, and one of them, Nikolai Petro, a professor at the University of Rhode Island, later relayed his words to journalists.

The case, they say, was at one of Putin’s meetings with Biden, when the latter served as Vice President of the United States. In the course of the conversation, the American remarked that Russia was simply too weak to claim global leadership. And in response, he was invited to think about the fact that this may be true, but Russia is strong enough to determine who will be tomorrow’s leader.

So live with it, as we now say.

Courtesy: (TASS)