On 11 November 1918 the guns fell silent across Europe’s slaughter. In “The Guns of August,” Barbara Tuchman described how that dreadful war started by accident. Daniel Ellsberg warns us now that accidents could happen again, this time in the nuclear age. Ellsberg says first strike is America’s policy, making accidental nuclear winter all the more likely.
We have just returned from the Labour party conference through North Otago, staying near Kurow, home of the three wise men responsible for Labour’s 1938 ground-breaking Social Security Act, and visited Waimate, Norm Kirk’s home town where he is buried. War memorials in each of those small settlements revealed long lists of names of those who left and never came back. Museums in both towns showed they were still remembered.
Just last week the neocon John Bolton visited Vladimir Putin in Moscow to give notice that the United States was unilaterally withdrawing from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Treaty set up by Ronald Reagan and Gorbachev. Part of the deal then was that NATO would not move eastwards from Germany. Now American missiles are on Russia’s border and as the United States puts more money into “modernising” its nuclear arsenal the warning time for Russia is measured in seconds rather than minutes. Russians are not fools and unlike the United States are used to their territory being invaded, but they know that nuclear war means winter for the world, not just for the invaders.
Also last week the United States imposed further sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, aiming to reduce them eventually to zero, although a number of countries were initially exempted. America’s aim is regime change, just like 1959 when Mossadegh was ousted for daring to take control of Iran’s oil back from the British.
The United States National Defense Strategy 2018 states:
Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.China is a strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbors while militarizingfeatures in the South China Sea. Russia has violated the borders of nearby nations and pursues veto power over the economic, diplomatic, and security decisions of its neighbors. As well, North Korea’s outlaw actions and reckless rhetoric continue despite United Nation’s censure and sanctions. Iran continues to sow violence and remains the most significant challenge to Middle East stability. Despite the defeat of ISIS’s physical caliphate, threats to stability remain as terrorist groups with long reach continue to murder the innocent and threaten peace more broadly.