Real Possibility of Nuclear Bombs in the Inevitable Great War that is about to Start over East Ukraine. Yesterday a Visibly Aggitated Putin Bluntly Warned NATO not to Mess with Nuclear Russia. Russian “Volunteers” Are Kicking Ass in Donetsk/Lugansk and the West Won’t Stand for it.
“The Russian Aggression Prevention Act” (RAPA): A Direct Path to Nuclear War with Russia
By Steven Starr
The Russian Aggression Prevention Act”, introduced to Congress by U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), will set the US on a path towards direct military conflict with Russia in Ukraine.
Any US-Russian war is likely to quickly escalate into a nuclear war, since neither the US nor Russia would be willing to admit defeat, both have many thousands of nuclear weapons ready for instant use, and both rely upon Counterforce military doctrine that tasks their military, in the event of war, to preemptively destroy the nuclear forces of the enemy.
RAPA provides de facto NATO membership for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova via RAPA
The Russian Aggression Prevention Act, or RAPA, “Provides major non-NATO ally status for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova for purposes of the transfer or possible transfer of defense articles or defense services.” Major non-NATO ally status would for practical purposes give NATO membership to these nations, as it would allow the US to move large amounts of military equipment and forces to them without the need for approval of other NATO member states. Thus RAPA would effectively bypass long-standing German opposition to the US request to make Ukraine and Georgia part of NATO.
Germans rightly fear placing US/NATO troops and US Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) in Ukraine, given the profound and long-standing Russian objections against the expansion of NATO (especially to Ukraine and Georgia) along with deployment of European US/NATO BMD. Germany is acutely aware of the distinct possibility that the civil war raging in Ukraine could evolve into a Ukrainian-Russian war. Under such circumstances, deployment of US/NATO forces in Ukraine would make it virtually inevitable they would come into fight with Ukraine against Russia.
RAPA would accelerate the “implementation of phase three of the European Phased Adaptive Approach for Europe-based missile defense . . . by no later than the end of calendar year 2016.” In 2012, Russia’s highest ranking military officer stated that Russia might consider a pre-emptive strike against such BMD deployments “when the situation gets harder.”
RAPA “Directs DOD [US Department of Defense] to assess the capabilities and needs of the Ukrainian armed forces” and “Authorizes the President, upon completion of such assessment, to provide specified military assistance to Ukraine.” RAPA would have the US quickly supply Ukraine with$100 million worth of weapons and equipment, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, crew weapons, grenade launchers, machine guns, ammunition, and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.
RAPA requires the Obama administration to
“use all appropriate elements of United States national power…to protect the independence, sovereignty, and territorial and economic integrity of Ukraine and other sovereign nations in Europe and Eurasia from Russian aggression.” This includes “substantially increasing United States and NATO support for the armed forces of the Republics of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia,” and “substantially increasing the complement of forward-based NATO forces in those states.”
Consequently, RAPA would produce significant buildups of US/NATO forces into Poland and the Baltic States, accelerate the construction of US BMD systems in Eastern Europe, and authorize substantial U.S. intelligence and military aid for Ukrainian military forces that continue to lay siege to the largest cities in Eastern Ukraine. If RAPA did not result in the deployment of US forces to Ukraine, it would certainly position them for rapid deployment there, in the event that the Ukrainian civil war escalates into a Ukrainian-Russian conflict.
RAPA intensifies support for ethnic cleansing in Eastern Ukraine
In Russia, Putin now is under intense domestic political pressure to send Russian forces into Eastern Ukraine, in order to stop the attacks by the Ukrainian military on the cities there, which were once part of the Soviet Union.These attacks have created an absolute humanitarian catastrophe.
On August 5, 2014, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that 740,000 Eastern Ukrainians had fled to Russia. They go there because Russia is close, and because most of the refugees are ethnic Russians, a fact that explains why the Russophobes in Kiev have been quite willing to indiscriminately bombard their cities.
What is taking place in Eastern Ukraine amounts to “ethnic cleansing,” the forced removal of ethnic Russians from Eastern Ukraine. This is a process that is fully supported by the US; RAPA would greatly enhance this support.
Ukrainian military forces have surrounded Donetsk – a city of almost one million people – and have for weeks conducted daily attacks against it using inaccurate multiple-launch rockets, heavy artillery fire, ballistic missiles carrying warheads with up to 1000 pounds of high explosive, and aerial bombardments. Water supplies, power plants, train stations, airports, bridges, highways, and schools have all been targeted, along with the general population. In Lugansk, a city of more than 440,000 people, a humanitarian crisis has been declared by its mayor, because the siege of the city has left it with little medicine, no fuel,intermittent power, and no water since August 3 (three weeks at the time of this writing).
After the separatists of Eastern Ukraine demanded autonomy from Kiev, and then reunion with Russia, the government in Kiev branded them as “terrorists”, and sent its military forces against them in what they euphemistically call an “anti-terrorist operation.” Framing the conflict this way makes it politically acceptable to refuse to negotiate with the separatists, and easier to justify in the US and Europe, which have grown accustomed to “the War on Terrorism.” However, the thousands of Ukrainians being killed and hundreds of thousands of being driven from their homes are just ordinary people, trying to live ordinary lives.
The New York Times reports the Ukrainian military strategy has been to bombard separatist-held cities and then send paramilitary forces to carry out “chaotic, violent assaults” against them. Many of the Ukrainian paramilitary forces were recruited from ultra-nationalist, neo-Nazi political parties; the Azov battalion flies the “Wolfs Hook” flag of Hitler’s SS divisions. Considering that more than 20 million Russians died fighting the Nazis during World War II, the presence of openly Nazi militias attacking ethnic Russians in Ukraine creates extreme anger in Russia.
RAPA supports plans in Kiev for an attack on Crimea
The Russian Aggression Prevention Act demands that Russia “withdraw from the eastern border of Ukraine,” which is by definition, the Russian border. In other words, RAPA provocatively demands that Russia remove its own military forces away from its own borders, while Ukrainian military forces are meanwhile massed on the other side, attacking predominantly Russian cities.
RAPA also demands that “Russian forces must have withdrawn from Crimea within seven days of the enactment of the Act.” Not likely to happen, given that
(1) Crimea was part of the Russian empire from 1783 until 1954,
(2) withdrawal from Crimea would require Russia to abandon its only warm water port at Sevastopol, where Russian forces have been based, by internationally recognized treaty, since 1997, and
(3) more than three-quarters of all Crimeans voted “yes” to reunify with Russia, a vote which Russia accepted by its subsequent annexation of Crimea.
Thus, in the eyes of Russia, the requirement to “withdraw from Crimea” amounts to a US demand that Russia surrender Russian territory. Putin has just taken the entire Russian Duma (the Russian House of Representatives) to Crimea, to address them there and strongly make the point that there will be no withdrawal from Crimea.
RAPA, however, stipulates that the US does not recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea, and creates sanctions and legal penalties for anyone who does. RAPA therefore provides both military and political support for Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s stated goat that Ukraine will retake Crimea.
This goal was recently echoed by the Ukrainian defense minister, who was applauded by the Ukrainian Parliament when he told them that the Ukrainian army will “have a victory parade in Sevastopol“. These statements are taken seriously in Moscow, where they are viewed as a promise to attack Russia. Thus, Putin’s advisers are telling him he must fight today in Eastern Ukraine, or tomorrow in Crimea.
Any Russian military intervention in Eastern Ukraine would certainly be described in the West as Russian aggression in pursuit of empire, which would trigger deafening demands that US/NATO forces act to support Ukraine. Should NATO intervene, subsequent Russian military action against any NATO member would trigger the alliance’s Chapter 5 mutual defense clause, committing it to war with Russia.
Any major Ukrainian attack upon Crimea would make war with Russia inevitable. Ukraine appears to be preparing for such an assault by drafting all men of ages 18 to 60 years, in a forced mobilization of its armed forces, which also includes calling up its active reserves of one million men, and bringing more than 1000 battle tanksout of storage. Putin is being told by his close advisers that Ukraine will have an army of half a million men in 2015.
RAPA would provide hundreds of millions of dollars to train and arm the rapidly expanding Ukrainian armed forces, and position US/NATO forces for rapid intervention on the side of Ukraine in the event of a Ukrainian-Russian war. Thus, the many political and military provisions of RAPA would certainly act to fully encourage Ukraine to carry out its stated policy to retake Crimea. The Republic of Georgia attacked Russian forces in 2008 with far fewer US promises of aid. Of course, RAPA would also arm Georgia, too.
RAPA moves the US towards nuclear war with Russia
A US/NATO-Russian war would instantly put US and Russian nuclear forces at peak alert, with both sides anticipating a nuclear first-strike from the other. Both the US and Russia have changed their nuclear war-fighting plans to include the use of preemptive nuclear first-strikes; both nations have “tactical” nuclear weapons designed for battlefield use.
The US has 180 B61 nuclear bombs deployed on six military bases of five other NATO states, which would be released to these NATO members in the event of a US/NATO-Russian war. Russia also has at least 1300 tactical nuclear weapons, and Russian war doctrine specifies their use against overwhelming conventional (NATO) forces. Any use of “tactical” or “battlefield” nuclear weapons, by either side, would likely trigger an equal or greater response from the other.
During the first Cold War, the US studiously avoided any direct military confrontation with Russia, because it was widely thought that such a war would inevitably escalate to become a nuclear war – which would utterly destroy both nations. However, there seems to be little thought or discussion of this in the US today, despite the fact that both the US and Russia appear to be preparing for such a war.
In May, the increasing tensions in Ukraine led both nations to almost simultaneously conduct large nuclear war games. Long-range Russian nuclear bombers tested US air defenses16 times in a ten day period (July 29 – August 7). US and Russian leaders are either unaware or choose to ignore the fact that such “games” and “tests” are a dress rehearsal for human extinction.
Peer-reviewed scientific studies predict the environmental consequences of a war fought with only a fraction of US and/or Russian strategic nuclear weapons would likely wipe out the human race. Scientists predict that even a “successful” US nuclear first-strike, which destroyed 100% of Russia’s nuclear forces before they could be launched, would create catastrophic changes in global weather that would eliminate growing seasons for years. Most humans and large animals would starve to death.
Nuclear war is suicide for humans, but our leaders still have their fingers on the nuclear triggers. There seems to be absolutely no awareness, either in our Federal government or in the American public, of the existential danger posed by nuclear war. Such ignorance is embodied by The Russian Aggression Prevention Act, which if enacted will put us on a direct course for nuclear war with Russia.
NATO planning ‘rapid-deployment force’ of 10,000 troops to counter Russia
NATO is reportedly working towards the creation of an expeditionary force composed of 10,000 troops from seven different member states as a result of escalating tensions with Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.
According to the Financial Times, the force’s creation will be spearheaded by Britain and involve contributions from Denmark, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Norway, and the Netherlands. Canada is also interested in joining the group, but it’s not known what its final decision will be.
Although no formal announcement has been made, British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to declare its formation at the upcoming NATO summit in Wales on September 4th.
Many specifics have yet to be worked out or announced, but planners are reportedly implementing ways to increase the number of soldiers involved even more if necessary. Air and naval units will be integrated into the group, as well as ground troops led by British commanders.
As noted by the Times, the creation of the force comes as a response to Russia’s involvement in the ongoing Ukrainian crisis, with the ultimate goal being to “create a fully functioning, division-sized force for rapid deployment and regular, frequent exercises.” NATO has accused Russia of deploying more than 1,000 troops into Ukraine to bolster separatists in the eastern part of the country.
Russia, however, insists that it does not have troops operating inside of Ukraine and has dismissed NATO’s assertions.
Despite the fact that NATO has opted not to act militarily in Ukraine – unnamed sources told Foreign Policy on Friday that there are no plans to confront Russia with anything more than stronger sanctions – Jonathan Eyal of the London-based Royal United Services Institute said the group needs to demonstrate that its eastern European members are just as integral to the alliance as other states.
“We need to end the idea of different zones of security in Europe,” he told the Financial Times. “We need to be talking about prepositioning, regular rotation of troops and making it very clear that we do not accept that the eastern Europeans are in some different category of membership of NATO.”
The revelation also arrives just a few days after NATO’s Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed interest in forming “a more visible presence” in Eastern Europe in the form of facilities capable of rapidly receiving “response forces” needed to counter Russia.
For his part, Russia’s envoy to NATO, Aleksandr Grushko, said any attempt to stretch further into the region would impact Moscow’s own security planning.
As the NATO summit approaches, and Ukraine’s ruthless war on its eastern provinces sets off an exodus of nearly a million refugees to Russia, war hysteria in the West is reaching epic proportions. The pundits are up in arms: miffed that the long-awaited Russia invasion has failed to materialize, they are now declaring it happened anyway – it’s a “stealth” invasion, i.e. the kind only a neocon can see. There has to have been a Russian invasion, because, after all, the Ukrainians are losing, and it can’t be because their soldiers are deserting in droves or turning tail and running at the prospect of having to shoot their fellow countrymen
Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, who doesn’t realize that even the most expansive estimates of the number of Russians fighting in Ukraine put it at a mere one-thousand, says it’s a “direct invasion” in which “thousands” of Russkies are overrunning the place. He wants us to arm the Ukrainians with “defensive” weapons – although Anne Applebaum’s somewhat overwrought contention that Moscow is planning to nuke Kiev makes Menendez look like a piker. The Amazonian Applebaum is demanding “total war.”
In seeming response to these hysterics, Putin told Euro-commisar Jose Manuel Barroso “If I want to, I could take Kiev in two weeks,” which caused blabbermouth Barroso to go wailing to the international media that Putin is on the march. The key words here, of course, are “If I want to” – because he clearly can, and just as clearly doesn’t want to. Indeed, the Russian leader has steadfastly refused to recognize the self-proclaimed “Donetsk Peoples Republic” and has publicly urged them to negotiate with Kiev. The rebels, for their part, have taken Putin up on this, dropping their previous demand for complete independence and asking now, instead, for autonomy.
Kiev, however, isn’t interested in peace talks: the entire goal of their “anti-terrorist” operation in east Ukraine has been to stamp out the rebellion as quickly as possible, and their tactics have reflected this timeline. Air strikes against civilian population centers have been a key feature of the Ukrainian civil war, and the UN estimates that at least 2,200 have died (the reality is closer to 2,600). The UN report, however, ascribes the blame not to the Kiev authorities, but – incredibly – to the rebels, who are blamed for firing from within their own territory. In short, the UN justifies the mass slaughter of civilians in the same way the Israelis rationalize their Gaza massacre.
Kiev’s eagerness to crush the rebels is due to the high costs of the military offensive, both financial and political. Ukraine is bankrupt and is gearing up to impose a severe regime of austerity that will make the government even more unpopular than it is already. And the imposition of military conscription has provoked well-attended anti-draft/antiwar rallies, which pose a direct threat to the government’s legitimacy. These two factors, in combination, could pose a big problem for the US-backed regime in the upcoming parliamentary elections: the ultra-nationalist and overtly fascist Radical Party is reportedly making big gains in the polls.
The fuehrer of the Radicals is one Oleg Lyashko, a member of the Rada (parliament) who leads a group vigilantes who abduct and torture people suspected of rebel sympathies in east Ukraine. He videotapes the whole gruesome scene and posts the videos on his scary web site.
Yes, these are the US-backed fighters for “democracy” in Ukraine.
Ukrainian officials say they can’t afford to do without Lyashko and his stormtroopers: after all, according to Ukrainian defense minister Valeriy Heletey “A great war has arrived at our doorstep, the likes of which Europe has not seen since World War Two.” And while hyperbole as a rhetorical device is often resorted to by politicians backed into a corner, the Ukrainian government has taken it to a whole new level.
At one point, when they were trying to convince the world – and themselves – that the rebels were on their last legs, they claimed to have killed one-thousand insurgents in two battles just a few days apart. When no evidence for this emerged, they switched gears and instead of talking about the rebels they started focusing on the Russians, claiming that four Ukrainian soldiers were killed in an attack by a Russian helicopter. Most Western news organizations, who have been remarkably tolerant of reporting these tall tales with a straight face, have since removed this story from their web sites.
What’s especially scary about the escalating rhetorical and military situation surrounding the Ukraine civil war is that whenever Kiev issues one of their over-the-top pronouncements, NATO general secretary Anders Rasmussen repeats it verbatim a few hours later. Together, the Rasmussen-Kiev-Washington axis of hyperbole is fanning the flames of a “great war” – the consequences of which are the sort we haven’t contemplated since the bad old days of the cold war, when American schoolchildren routinely cowered under their desks in “duck and cover” air raid drills.
Naturally, Western media have been all too eager to up the temperature of a hot war already veering out of control: for example, when Putin likened the demands of the rebels for autonomy to “statehood” – as in granting the eastern provinces the same rights Washington accords the separate states of the Union – the media jumped on this, averring that the Russians were pulling another Crimea. And while the Russian Foreign Ministry was quick to issue a correction, Washington’s journalistic stenographers continue to report their “error” as fact.
The rebels, energized by the horrific attacks on civilians by Ukrainian air power – and more popular in the region than ever – are pushing back against Kiev’s “anti-terrorist” operation, and seem to be winning, at least for the moment. The government’s big fear is that they will take the port of Mariupol, which will connect Crimea to the Donestk Republic. Faced with debilitating desertions – a whopping 750,000 Ukrainian citizens, many of them former soldiers, have defected to Russia in recent months – and growing unrest back home in Kiev, the authorities have tried to turn what is a civil war into a confrontation with Russia. Their whole shtick is to garner Western military support.
Western leaders are all too eager to buy into this, and the NATO summit to be held this week is promising to be the launching pad of a new military initiative. The NATO-crats are already announcing the formation of a “spearhead” rapid-reaction force, numbering in the thousands, to counter Russia’s “stealth invasion.”
What this means is that it’s not out of the question that US “peacekeepers” could be fighting the rebels a few miles from the Russian border – and this could happen sooner than anyone now imagines. The next time Kiev issues one of its outrageous lies claiming direct Russian intervention, we’ll be a border incident away from a face-off with nuclear-armed Russia. “Duck and cover,” here we come.
This entire episode of Cold War II has been a farce from the very start: far from a case of Russian “aggression,” the destabilization of Ukraine and subsequent coup against the democratically-elected government of President Yanukovich was bought-and-paid-for by Washington, which poured millions into Ukrainian “NGOs” and did everything to encourage the violence that ended in Yanukovich’s overthrow. When Crimea rose up against Kiev, the West framed it as a Russian “invasion,” when it was the Americans in concert with their European junior partners who were and are the real invaders.
NATO should’ve been buried at the end of the cold war: instead, the NATO-crats went on the offensive – breaching the understanding reached by Western leaders with then Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev – and expanded into most of eastern Europe. George Kennan characterized this as the greatest tragedy of the post-cold war era, and his starkly realistic vision of world affairs is being confirmed as Barack Obama heads to Estonia to do his best John F. Kennedy impression – “Icht bin ein Ukrainians!” – The seeds of World War III are being planted, as none other than Lech Walesa has pointed out. It isn’t and it isn’t due to “global warming” that they just may sprout sooner than anyone thinks.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.
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