Among the warnings over the danger of all-out war from brinksmanship against Russia, are two articles today. William Pfaff, a featured writer for over 25 years in the International Herald Tribune, explicitly raises the danger of nuclear war.
Datelined Paris, Pfaff writes, “A Real Threat of Nuclear War?” He contrasts the “extraordinary brutality” of vituperation by Secretary of State John Kerry (from his recent interview to the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere) against President Putin and Russia, with the “near-silence from the Pentagon and from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and senior commanders, including General Martin Dempsey, head of the joint Chiefs of Staff.” The latter appreciate the reality of war.
Kerry uses “belligerance,” calling Russians “thugs” and caling the Russian foreign minister, “a liar,” even while Kerry acknowledges, writes Pfaff, that “the American government and Administration are ‘fully aware’ that this confrontation with Russia could lead to nuclear war.”
In contrast, our military leaders remain in “near-silence,” Pfaff writes, which “might be interpreted as prudence on the part of the miliary men who would bear the price of a war that civilian officials brandish as if only words were the weapons…” Kerry has called the Russians”thugs;” and the Russian foreign minister, “a liar.”
Pfaff re-states a warning, which he notes that George Kennan and Henry Kissinger have made, that, “the deliberate and humiliating extension of NATO membership right up to the former frontier of the Soviet Union has been a constant and mounting invitation to violent reaction by the Russia of Vladimir Putin. We now have it in Crimera and Ukraine.”
“It is extremely dangerous because Ukraine itself now has a provisional government in Kiev of extreme weakness and utterly confused goals and expections…”
Another warning article, “Could the Ukraine Crisis Spark a World War?” was posted today on NationalInterest.org, the mainstream, centrist publication, by Graham Allison, longtime defense and diplomacy analyst. His theme is the analogy to events in 1914, which led to WW I. Allison begins with today’s situation: “The rapid slide from lawlessness to violence that has claimed the lives of more than sixty people in the Ukrainian cities of Donetsk, Slovyansk, and Odessa in the past week sounds alarms that should be heard more clearly in Western capitals.”
Allison asks, “can we hear echoes from a century earlier when the murder of an Austrian Archduke sparked a great European war?”
Readers, he says, should not put this down as “fanciful.” He states, “we should not forget that in May 1914, the possibility that the assassination of an Archduke could produce a world war seemed almost inconceivable. History teaches that unlikely, even unimaginable events do happen.”
Allison does not go into the British imperial geopolitics which is in play now, and was the leading dynamic behind both WW I and II. But he does call for “preventative initiatives” today, in light of the imminent war danger.