The Growing Threat of War and the Critical State of the Global Financial System

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Three developments are shaping the current world situation: an increase in social tensions, the intensification of international political conflicts and the increasingly undisguised preparation of the Western alliance for war against Iran.

The mainstream media try to miss no opportunity to tell the international public who will be friend and who will be foe in this coming war. Time and again, Iran’s allies Russia and China are depicted in the most negative light possible, while there is almost no mention of Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s crimes in Yemen and against the Palestinians.

At the same time, the media are doing everything they can to conceal the most important reason behind the drive for the war – the critical state of the global financial system. Journalists are bending over backwards to convince the public that the global economy has completely recovered from the 2007/2008 crisis, that we are witnessing a global economic boom and that the dangers in the system are under control.

In fact, none of these claims are true. The simple reason is that they all ignore the historic importance of the cross-border manipulation by the central banks, which was necessary to save the system from collapse after it nearly broke down in 2007/2008, and which still keeps it alive today.

The global financial system would no longer exist without manipulation

This manipulation has set in motion a development that can be compared to the fate of a patient who survives a severe crisis only through an injection of addictive drugs and who would be killed by a subsequent withdrawal treatment because of his poor state of health. In other words, without money injections and low interest rates and without the purchase of government and corporate bonds by central banks, the global financial system, as we know it, would no longer exist.

The world’s leading central bankers are well aware of this. This is shown by their futile attempts to turn the wheel. Even the most timid announcements to contain the flood of money and significantly increase interest rates send such shock waves through the financial community that it is already clear: there can be no return to a normality in which no excess money is printed, interest rates are raised to a level that was once considered normal and no more bonds or shares are bought by the central banks.

So what will happen next? Will central banks simply continue the policy of the past ten years? After all, nobody can stop them from printing unlimited amounts of money and lowering interest rates – along the lines of the Swiss Central Bank – into negative territory…

In fact, nobody can stop them, but the consequences these measures would bring with them are foreseeable: A further increase in speculation, even greater volatility in the markets, an even stronger inflation of the bubbles, which are almost bursting already, the complete destruction of the classic banking business (lending against interest rates), the disintegration of traditional commercial banks and savings banks, the complete takeover of markets by investment banks and hedge funds, the collapse of pension systems – to name but a few of the expected consequences.

The biggest danger is the loss of confidence in the monetary system

Worse than any of these consequences is the creeping loss of confidence in the entire monetary system, which has not been tied to any real value since the decoupling of the US dollar from gold in 1971. It can be assumed that at some point it will affect the entire system, lead to a panic in the markets and cause the global financial card house to collapse.

How close we have already come to this point was shown by the dramatic price fluctuations of the US stock index Dow Jones in February of this year. It appears that this was a test run in which the US Federal Reserve, which is permanently on standby to prevent major price crashes, only intervened at the last second. These fluctuations were the strongest that the Dow Jones has experienced in its more than 100-year history.

This may have been a serious warning to the world’s financial elite. In any case, both the Skripal affair in Great Britain, the trade war instigated by the US against China and the recent hostile reaction towards Russia by most EU states are strong indications that the elites have decided to seriously consider an option that the German economist Ernst Winkler in 1952 described as “the best means put off the final catastrophe of the entire capitalist system over and over again” – the option of waging a war.


The Geopolitics of Targeting Russia

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The escalation of tensions between the United States, Britain and France, on the one hand, and Russia, on the other, should not surprise anyone. In the last few years, the US leadership and mainstream British media have presented Russia as a major threat to global peace and the international order. Russian president Vladimir Putin in particular has been demonised as a ‘war-monger,’ an ‘aggressor,’ an ‘unscrupulous politician’ hell-bent on restoring Russia’s past glory’ at whatever cost.

This projection of Russia as a threat to world peace has intensified in recent days partly because of Putin’s unveiling of Russia’s cutting edge military technologies on 1st March 2018. They include advanced generation missiles with unlimited range and capability that can evade US or NATO anti-missile defences. Apart from the new Sarmat missile, the Russian defence industry has also developed a low-flying stealth missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead with the ability to bypass interception boundaries that is “invincible against all existing and prospective missile defence and counter-air defence systems.”

Putin also revealed that his country has invented “ unmanned submersible vehicles that can move at great depths intercontinentally at a speed multiple times higher than the speed of submarines, … torpedoes and all kinds of surface vessels …“ He also spoke of the Kinzhal or dagger system, “a high-precision hypersonic aircraft missile system… the only one of its kind in the world.” Not only does the missile fly 10 times faster than the speed of sound but it also delivers nuclear and conventional warheads in a range of over 2.000 kilometers. The Russian president also drew attention to the development of Avangard, a hypersonic missile whose gliding cruise bloc engages in intensive lateral and vertical manoeuvring and is therefore “absolutely invulnerable to any air or missile defence system.”

With these military technologies, Russia has effectively brought to an end the US reign as the world’s sole military superpower. If Putin had made this his goal, it is not because of any obsession with military supremacy. As he explained, the strengthening of Russia’s military prowess was his country’s response to the unilateral US withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in 2002 engineered by President George Bush Junior and Vice-President Dick Cheney. As a consequence of the withdrawal, the US and NATO began deploying missile systems to encircle Russia, as observed by veteran analyst, William Engdahl. Countries that were once part of the demised Soviet Union and the dismantled Warsaw Pact in Eastern Europe were drawn into the US-NATO orbit either formally or informally. Anti-ballistic missile bases were built in Romania and Poland. The US global missile defence system now includes destroyers and cruisers deployed “in close proximity to Russia’s borders.”

It is against this backdrop that one should view another major episode that is responsible for the current tension between the West and Russia. It is true that the Russian annexation of Crimea, then part of Ukraine, in early 2014 had incensed the US and European elites and led to the imposition of crippling sanctions against Russia. While the annexation itself in strict legal terms was a violation of international law, an honest analysis of the episode cannot afford to ignore the larger geopolitical concerns that prompted Moscow to act the way it did. By organising a coup against Ukraine’s democratically elected president in February 2014, the US and its local surrogates demonstrated clearly that they intended to tighten their grip over a land that was not only part of the Soviet Union but also integral to Russian history and culture. Crimea with its strategic port was what the US and NATO coveted. It was all interwoven into the US-NATO agenda of expanding eastwards and emasculating Russia. That the overwhelming majority of the citizens of Crimea endorsed in a referendum conducted on the 16th of March 2014 what they viewed as the restoration of Crimea to its Russian fatherland testifies to the actual feelings of the people — feelings informed by a notion of identity and a sense of justice.

There is yet another recent development that has also contributed towards the exacerbation of tensions between the two sides. It is obvious that the rebels and terrorists in Syria fighting the Assad government backed by the centres of power in the West and supported by their allies in the region have been defeated. The concerted drive to crush the Hezbollah-Syria-Iran triumvirate opposed to Israeli occupation and US hegemony in West Asia has been thwarted. Since Russia played a significant role in the defeat of the US and Israel and their partners, the antagonism towards Putin among the elites in Washington and Tel Aviv in particular has heightened. Providing material support to some of the rebels and terrorists holed up in Eastern Ghouta, one of their last few footholds in Syria is a desperate attempt by Washington to ensure that it remains relevant to the emerging post-war political scenario. Highlighting the alleged use of chemical agents by the Syrian Army and the killing of children in government aerial bombardments are tools of propaganda that the Western media have exploited to the hilt in the Syrian war in spite of the effective demolition of some of these lies and half-truths in the past by independent Western journalists themselves reporting and analysing from actual zones of conflict in the country. For Western elites and their media it is not the death of children — after all many children have been killed in Yemen — that is their real concern. It is how Russia has anchored and buttressed its position in Syria and the region as a whole and has challenged American-Israeli hegemony that causes great distress.

The latest manifestation of the incessant manipulation of issues pertaining to Russia is of course the alleged use of a nerve agent, “Novichok” to attempt to murder a Russian double agent, Sergei Skripaland his daughter now living in Salisbury Britain. British authorities have offered no concrete proof that the attempted murder was the work of the Russian state. The Russian government has vehemently denied the allegation.

One should ask, what would the Russian government and Putin gain from killing Skripal a week before the Russian presidential election and in the midst of US sanctions? This is the question that the well-known American columnist, Eric Margolis, poses. A former British diplomat, Craig Murray, also doubts that the Russian government had the motivation to kill a double agent who was part of a spy swap some years ago. He suggests the assassination bid may be linked to an outfit known as ‘Orbis Intelligence’ or to the Israeli Mossad. In Murray’s words,

“Israel has a clear motivation for damaging the Russian reputation so grievously. Russian action in Syria has undermined the Israeli position in Syria and Lebanon in a fundamental way, and Israel has every motive for damaging Russia’s international position by an attack aiming to leave the blame on Russia.”

If Israel’s hand is behind the Skripal episode, the truth will never be known. Neither Britain nor any of the other Western powers, not even the UN, would want to conduct an honest, independent investigation. All that Washington and its allies want to do is to increase and expand the economic and financial sanctions against Russia — using Skripal as the excuse.

The aim is clear. It is to compel Moscow to submit to the hegemonic power of the Washington elite. Anyone who has a rudimentary understanding of Russian history knows that this will not happen. Russia will continue to resist. And Russian resistance may well hold the key to a different future for humankind.

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Dr. Chandra Muzaffar is the President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST). She is Asia-Pacific Research correspondent.

Was Tillerson Sacked to Abandon the Iran Nuclear Deal?

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Tillerson supported Washington remaining on board with the JCPOA nuclear deal – along with other P5+1 countries Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

Trump wants it unacceptably changed or abandoned. On Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted:

“Mr Trump has made habit of being unpredictable and thus unreliable for anybody to engage with. Nobody will be interested in reaching any agreement with the White House if US signature only good for 4-8 yrs.”

Replacing Tillerson with militantly anti-Iran hardliner Pompeo smooths things for Trump to pursue greater hostility toward the Islamic Republic with a key administration official on board with his reckless agenda.

Like the president, secretary of state designee Pompeo opposes the nuclear deal. Tillerson’s sacking likely signals Trump’s intention to abandon the JCPOA ahead.

According to Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi,

“Americans are determined to leave the JCPOA, and changes at the country’s State Department were made in line with this goal, or at least it was one of the reasons,” adding:

“Europeans are walking on the razor’s edge because if they incline towards Trump, they will lose Iran.”

Days earlier, IAEA head Yukiya Amano said

“I can state that Iran is implementing its nuclear-related commitments…If the JCPOA were to fail, it would be a great loss for nuclear verification and for multilateralism.”

Things are heading in this direction, especially with Pompeo succeeding Tillerson at State.

Things pursued by Washington should terrify everyone. Trump escalated rogue policies his predecessors began – notably waging political, economic and hot wars against multiple countries.

Will Iran be his next target for regime change, beginning by abandoning the JCPOA nuclear deal? What took years of negotiations to conclude, he could scrap with a signature taking moments.

Replacing Tillerson with Pompeo signals likely escalated wars of aggression, stepped up hostility toward Russia and China, perhaps scuttling a Trump/Kim Jong-un summit or structuring it to fail, along with abandoning the Iran nuclear deal and targeting the country for regime change.

Trump won’t re-certify the JCPOA in May unless Britain, France and Germany agree to major changes Iran won’t accept.

According to an unnamed White House official,

“(i)f the Europeans make it clear that what we are asking for is going too far, then we’ll know, but as soon as they say that, Europe is signing the deal’s death warrant,” adding:

“Tillerson wasn’t faithful to the intent of the president. (He) didn’t agree with breaking the Iran deal.”

“Every time the president’s been persuaded to sign these waivers he’s done so begrudgingly. (I)n January he said, ‘this is absolutely the last time.’ Either we fix it or he won’t sign another waiver. ‘I’m not going to sign it unless Iran agrees.’ ”

Changes he demands Tehran finds unacceptable, including:

  • unlimited inspections of Iranian sites, including military ones no countries would tolerate;
  • the international community on board, ensuring Iran never develops nuclear weapons it abhors, doesn’t want, and calls for eliminating;
  • removing the JCPOA’s sunset clause, effective after 10 years;
  • restricting Iranian development and testing of ballistic missiles not part of the JCPOA; and
  • reimposing nuclear-related sanctions if Tehran fails to fully comply with the above demands.

Clearly they’re unacceptable. Six countries and Iran spent years negotiating the JCPOA.

Tehran won’t tolerate Trump unilaterally demanding changes during the life of the agreement.

As things now stand, Washington will likely walk away, destroying the deal by illegally reimposing nuclear related sanctions.

Along with other US Middle East policies, abandoning the JCPOA risks greater regional turbulence and instability instead of responsibly stepping back from the brink.

Lunatics infesting Washington threaten everyone. Paul Craig Roberts asked “Will Humanity Survive Crazed Washington?”

We’re all threatened with possible extinction by Washington’s megalomaniacal rage for unchallenged hegemony.

I agree with Roberts, saying “you can expect the worst” ahead.


Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the CRG, Correspondent of Global Research based in Chicago.

Visit Stephen’s website: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Stephen’s newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

“Fake News” and World War III. The Danger of Nuclear Annihilation

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This text presents an assessment which is “censored” by the search engines. Kindly consider forwarding it to your friends and colleagues as well as crossposting it on alternative media and blog sites.

The threat of World War III is real, yet there is no anti-war movement in sight.  In the US, Canada and the EU, the peace movement is defunct, ignorant of the broader implications of nuclear war.

This is why, dear readers we call upon your support. Establish community networks, spread the word, organize at the grassroots level.

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We are at a dangerous crossroads in our history.

The dangers of a Third World War are routinely obfuscated by the media. A world of fantasy permeates the mainstream media which tacitly upholds the conduct of nuclear war as a peace-making endeavor. 

World War III is terminal. Albert Einstein understood the perils of nuclear war and the extinction of life on earth, which has already started with the radioactive contamination resulting from depleted uranium, not to mention Fukushima.

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

The media, the intellectuals, the scientists and the politicians, in chorus, obfuscate the untold truth, namely that war using nuclear warheads destroys humanity.

“Fake News” has become “Real News”. 

And “Real News” by the independent online media is now tagged as Russian propaganda.

In turn, the independent media (including Global Research) is the object of censorship via the search engines and social media. 

What we are dealing with is a War against the Truth. Objective reporting on the dangers of a Third World war is being suppressed. Why? 

The future of humanity is at stake. The danger of nuclear annihilation is not front-page news.

The unfolding consensus among Pentagon war planners is that a Third World War is “Winnable”.  

Nuclear War as an “Instrument of Peace”

Concepts are turned upside down. Political insanity prevails. 

A diabolical discourse is unfolding.  The so-called “more usable” tactical nuclear weapons (B61-11, B61-12) with an explosive capacity between one third and twelve times a Hiroshima bomb are heralded (by scientific opinion on contract to the Pentagon) as “peace-making” bombs, “harmless to the surrounding civilian population because the explosion is underground”.

These are the weapons which are contemplated for use against North Korea (or Iran) in what is described by the Pentagon as “a bloody nose operation”, with limited civilian casualties. And the corporate media applauds.

Fake News: these nuclear bombs are WMD. The “Bloody Nose” (“safe for civilians”) Concept is “Fake News”

Lest we forget, when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima (see image below), 100,000 people died within the first seven seconds following the explosion. Needless to say, today’s nuclear weapons are far more advanced than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

When war becomes peace, the world is turned upside down. Conceptualization is no longer possible.  Insanity prevails. The institutions of government are criminalized and so is the media.

The Pentagon and NATO are beating the drums of war. What is at stake is a Worldwide media disinformation campaign in support of a Third World War, which almost inevitably would lead to nuclear annihilation.

In the words of Fidel Castro: “In a nuclear war the “collateral damage” would be the life of all humanity”.

“The use of nuclear weapons in a new war would mean the end of humanity. …

Today there is an imminent risk of war with the use of that kind of weapon and I don’t harbour the least doubt that an attack by the United States and Israel against the Islamic Republic of Iran would inevitably evolve towards a global nuclear conflict.

There would be “collateral damage”, as the American political and military leaders always affirm, to justify the deaths of innocent people.

In a nuclear war the “collateral damage” would be the life of all humanity.

Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!” (Complete text and video recording, October 2010 Interview with Fidel Castro by Michel Chossudovsky)

When the lie becomes the truth there is no turning backwards.

When war is upheld as a humanitarian endeavor endorsed by the self proclaimed international community, pacifism and the antiwar movement are criminalized. yet it should be noted that in the course of the last 15 years, the anti-war movement has largely become defunct, civil society organizations have been coopted.

How do we reverse the tide: a cohesive grassroots counter-propaganda campaign

The Road Ahead

There are no easy solutions. What is required is the development of a broad based grassroots network which seeks to disable patterns of authority and decision making pertaining to war. This is by no means an easy and straightforward undertaking.

This network would be established nationally and internationally at all levels in society, towns and villages, work places, parishes. Trade unions, farmers organizations, professional associations, business associations, student unions, veterans associations, church groups would be called upon to integrate the antiwar organizational structure. Of crucial importance, this movement should extend into the Armed Forces as a means to breaking the legitimacy of war among service men and women.

The first task would be to disable war propaganda through an effective campaign against media disinformation. (including support of the online independent and alternative media).

The corporate media would be directly challenged, leading to boycotts of major news outlets, which are responsible for channelling disinformation into the news chain.  This endeavor would require a parallel process at the grass roots level, of sensitizing and educating fellow citizens on the nature of  the war and the global crisis, as well as effectively “spreading the word” through advanced networking, through alternative media outlets on the internet, etc. It would also require a broad based campaign against the search engines involved in media censorship on behalf of the Pentagon.

The creation of such a movement, which forcefully challenges the legitimacy of the structures of political authority, is no easy task. It would require a degree of solidarity, unity and commitment unparalleled in World history. It would require breaking down political and ideological barriers within society and acting with a single voice. It would also require eventually unseating the war criminals, and indicting them for war crimes.

Abandon the Battlefield: Refuse to Fight

The military oath taken at the time of induction demands unbending support and allegiance to the US Constitution, while also demanding that US troops obey orders from their President and Commander in Chief:

“I,____________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God”

The President and Commander in Chief has blatantly violated all tenets of domestic and international law. So that making an oath to “obey orders from the President” is tantamount to violating rather than defending the US Constitution.

“The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) 809.ART.90 (20), makes it clear that military personnel need to obey the “lawful command of his superior officer,” 891.ART.91 (2), the “lawful order of a warrant officer”, 892.ART.92 (1) the “lawful general order”, 892.ART.92 (2) “lawful order”. In each case, military personnel have an obligation and a duty to only obey Lawful orders and indeed have an obligation to disobey Unlawful orders, including orders by the president that do not comply with the UCMJ. The moral and legal obligation is to the U.S. Constitution and not to those who would issue unlawful orders, especially if those orders are in direct violation of the Constitution and the UCMJ.” (Lawrence Mosqueda, An Advisory to US Troops A Duty to Disobey All Unlawful Orders,

http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/MOS303A.html,

See also Michel Chossudovsky, “We the People Refuse to Fight”: Abandon the Battlefield!  March 18, 2006 )

The Commander in Chief is a war criminal. According to Principle 6 of the Nuremberg Charter:

“The fact that a person [e.g. Coalition troops] acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”

Let us make that “moral choice” possible, to enlisted American, British, Canadian and US-NATO Coalition servicemen and women.

Disobey unlawful orders! Abandon the battlefield! … Refuse to fight in a war which blatantly violates international law and the US Constitution!

But this is not a choice which enlisted men and women can make individually.

It is a collective and societal choice, which requires an organizational structure.

Across the land in the US, Britain, Canada and in all coalition countries, the new anti-war movementmust assist enlisted men and women to make that moral choice possible, to abandon the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now in Syria and Yemen.

This will not be an easy task. Committees at local levels must be set up across the United States, Canada, Britain, Italy, Japan and other countries, which have troops engaged in US led military operations.

We call upon veterans’ associations and local communities to support this process.

This movement needs to dismantle the disinformation campaign. It must effectively reverse the indoctrination of coalition troops, who are led to believe that they are fighting “a just war”: “a war against terrorists”, a war against the Russians, who are threatening the security of America.

The legitimacy of the US military authority must be broken.

What has to be achieved:

  • Reveal the criminal nature of this military project,
  • Break once and for all the lies and falsehoods which sustain the “political consensus” in favor of a pre-emptive nuclear war.
  • Undermine war propaganda, reveal the media lies, reverse the tide of disinformation, wage a consistent campaign against the corporate media
  • Break the legitimacy of the war-mongers in high office.
  • Dismantle the US sponsored military adventure and its corporate sponsors.
  • Bring Home the Troops
  • Repeal the illusion that the State is committed to protecting its citizens.
  • Expose the “fake crises” such as the global flu pandemic as a means to distract public opinion from the dangers of a global war.
  • Uphold 9/11 Truth. Reveal the falsehoods behind 9/11 which are used to justify the Middle East Central Asian war under the banner of the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT)
  • Expose how a profit driven war serves the vested interests of the banks, the defense contractors, the oil giants, the media giants and the biotech conglomerates
  • Challenge the corporate media which deliberately obfuscates the causes and consequences of this war,
  • Reveal and take cognizance of the unspoken and tragic outcome of a war waged with nuclear weapons.
  • Call for the Dismantling of NATO
  • Implement the prosecution of war criminals in high office
  • Close down the weapons assembly plants and implement the foreclosure of major weapons producers
  • Close down all  US military bases in the US and around the World
  • Develop an antiwar movement within the Armed Forces and establish bridges between the Armed Forces and the civilian antiwar movement
  • Forcefully pressure governments of both NATO and non-NATO countries to withdraw from the US led global military agenda.
  • Develop a consistent antiwar movement in Israel. Inform the citizens of Israel of the likely consequences of  a US-NATO-Israeli attack on Iran.
  • Confront Target the pro-war lobby groups including the pro-Israeli groups in the US
  • Dismantle the homeland security state, call for the repeal of the PATRIOT legislation
  • Call for the removal of the military from civilian law enforcement. Call for the enforcement of the Posse Comitatus Act
  • Call for the demilitarization of outer space and the repeal of Star Wars

People across the land, nationally and internationally, must mobilize against this diabolical military agenda, the authority of the State and its officials must be forcefully challenged.

This war can be prevented if people forcefully confront their governments, pressure their elected representatives, organize at the local level in towns, villages and municipalities, spread the word, inform their fellow citizens on the implications of a nuclear war, initiate debate and discussion within the armed forces.

What is required is the development of a broad and well organized grassroots antiwar network which challenges the structures of power and authority, the nature of the economic system, the vast amounts of money used to fund the war, the shear size of the so-called defense industry.

Click book cover to order Michel Chossudovsky’s latest book directly from Global Research

What is required is a mass movement of people which forcefully challenges the legitimacy of war, a global people’s movement which criminalizes war.

What is needed is to break the conspiracy of silence, expose the media lies and distortions, confront the criminal nature of the US Administration and of those governments which support it, its war agenda as well as its so-called “Homeland Security agenda” which has already defined the contours of a police State.

The World is at the crossroads of the most serious crisis in modern history. The US  has embarked on a military adventure, “a long war”, which threatens the future of humanity.

It is essential to bring the US war project to the forefront of political debate, particularly in North America and Western Europe. Political and military leaders who are opposed to the war must take a firm stance, from within their respective institutions. Citizens must take a stance individually and collectively against war.

We call upon people across the land, in North America,  Western Europe, Israel, The Arab World, Turkey and around the world to rise up against this military project, against their governments which are supportive of US-NATO led wars, against the corporate media which serves to camouflage the devastating impacts of modern warfare.

The military agenda supports a profit driven destructive global economic system which impoverishes large sectors of the world population.

This war is sheer madness.

The Lie must be exposed for what it is and what it does.

It sanctions the indiscriminate killing of men, women and children.

It destroys families and people. It destroys the commitment of people towards their fellow human beings.

It prevents people from expressing their solidarity for those who suffer. It upholds war and the police state as the sole avenue.

It destroys both nationalism and internationalism.

Breaking the lie means breaking a criminal project of global destruction, in which the quest for profit is the overriding force.

This profit driven military agenda destroys human values and transforms people into unconscious zombies.

Let us reverse the tide.

Challenge the war criminals in high office and the powerful corporate lobby groups which support them.

Break the American inquisition.

Undermine the US-NATO-Israel military crusade.

Close down the weapons factories and the military bases.

Bring home the troops.

Members of the armed forces should disobey orders and refuse to participate in a criminal war.

Author’s note:  the later part of this article entitled The Road Ahead was first formulated in 2010.

US Refusal to Negotiate with Russia Increases Likelihood of Nuclear War

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On March 1, 2018, in his annual state of the nation speech to the Russian Federal Assembly, President Vladimir Putin declared that his country has developed an “invincible” intercontinental cruise missile resistant to US missile defense systems. Putin claimed the new weapon can operate at very high speeds and has unlimited range.

Although “some experts” have suggested Putin may be bluffingTheodore A. Postol, professor emeritus of science, technology and national security policy at MIT, told Truthout, “I think he’s deadly serious.” Postol, who evaluated Moscow’s anti-ballistic missile defense while serving as adviser to the chief of naval operations in the early 1980s, said Putin’s speech “made very clear that every attempt to engage us in constructive discussion has been met with no response. He was responding to the US unwillingness to talk about missile defenses.”

US Withdrawal From Treaty Escalated the Arms Race

Putin criticized George W. Bush‘s 2002 withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which stated that in order to reduce offensive nuclear forces in Russia and the United States, both sides would have to agree to limit anti-ballistic missile defenses.

“Russia was categorically against [the US withdrawal],” Putin said. “We saw the Soviet-US ABM Treaty signed in 1972 as the cornerstone of the international security system.”

The significance of the US withdrawal from the ABM treaty cannot be overestimated, in Postol’s opinion.

“What the Russians would say, and I fully agree, is that the current escalating arms race between the United States and Russia is a direct product of US withdrawal from the ABM treaty of 1972,” he said.

As David Krieger, founder of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, noted at Truthdig,

“The fuel for a new nuclear arms race was already on the fire, and a Russian strategic response was predictable, when the US withdrew from the ABM Treaty and began developing and emplacing missile defense systems globally. The US withdrawal and abrogation of the ABM Treaty may prove to be the greatest strategic blunder of the nuclear age.”

Likewise, Moscow correspondent Fred Weir wrote in the Christian Science Monitor,

“The US withdrew unilaterally from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty … triggering Russian fears that technological advances might one day wipe out their nuclear deterrent.”

“Things have been escalating for quite a while,” Postol pointed out, adding that the US is “increasing the size of its missile defenses while at the same time trying to get Russia to reduce the size of its offensive forces.” That “created a theoretical imbalance. The US has been building, in theory, a system that could be used to intercept Russian forces while those forces are being reduced.”

The escalation of the nuclear arms race continued during the Obama administration. As Reuters reporter Scot Paltrow has pointed out,

“By the time Obama left office in January 2017, the risk of Armageddon hadn’t receded. Instead, Washington was well along in a modernization program that is making nearly all of its nuclear weapons more accurate and deadly.”

Paltrow cited examples of lethal nuclear weapons developed on Obama’s watch.

Does Missile Defense Really Work?

Postol is skeptical about the effectiveness of missile defense systems because they have only been tested under the “most orchestrated conditions and even under those conditions, they have failed a high percentage of the time, some simply because something unexpected happened. In combat, the conditions will not be choreographed.”

Thomas S. Lee, writing for CNN, agrees that anti-ballistic missile defense systems are ineffective. Lee noted,

“It is very hard to shoot down a ballistic missile. This is true even of a short-range ballistic missile with a relatively flat trajectory, much less a long-range missile with many more possible trajectories and a far greater speed.”

But Donald Trump thinks US missile defenses can be very effective, Postol observed.

“In a crisis or a standoff, Trump might take actions he wouldn’t take if he thought he was defenseless. So, the potential for miscalculation is much higher when the weapons systems are not effective.”

Former Defense Secretary William Perry described the dangers of nuclear miscalculation, citing a 1983 incident in which Russian satellite nuclear warning systems mistakenly thought they detected five US nuclear missiles launched at Russia, as well as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Trump’s New Policy Increases Possibility of Nuclear Weapons Use

Other signs indicate that Trump is very open to nuclear weapons use. His administration’s new Nuclear Posture Review reveals “a shift from one where the use of nuclear weapons is possible to one where the use of nuclear weapons is likely,” Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), said in a statement.

Putin alluded to the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) in his speech, noting,

“Some of the provisions of the updated US nuclear strategy review, which reduces the threshold for using nuclear weapons, trigger tremendous concern. It is written in such a way that it can be used in response to a conventional weapon strike or even in response to a cyberthreat.”

This is not an exaggeration. For the first time, Trump’s NPR would allow the United States to use nuclear weapons in response to non-nuclear attacks, including cyberattacks, in “extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States, its allies and partners.”

The war in Syria, in which both the US and Russia are already involved, may provide a venue for just that eventuality. Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter wrote on Truthdig,

“It doesn’t take a stretch of imagination today to paint a scenario in which American and Russian forces clash over Syria.”

“Putin’s statement makes it clear we are in a new arms race that will put us under the terror of a new Cold War, in constant fear of death at any instant,” Fihn added.

However, Postol asserted,

“The United States has created the appearance that it believes it can fight and win a nuclear war against Russia.” That’s a false assumption, he said. “After nuclear weapons are used by one side, or when they are used preemptively, the other side would mount a massive attack against central strategic forces of the attacking state.”

There is no winning a nuclear war, even a limited one, as Geoff Wilson at the Ploughshares Fund wrote in The National Interest.

“The reality is that planning to use nuclear weapons in a ‘limited’ way is a dangerous fantasy,” he noted. “Even the Nixon administration paid lip service to the futility of the concept by referring to its plan for limited nuclear strikes against the Soviet Union as the ‘Madman Theory.’”

That doesn’t even account for the incalculable devastation a nuclear explosion, or series of nuclear explosions, would wreak on the environment.

Make no mistake. The nuclear arms dealers stand to profit handily from the heightened nuclear arms race. In their recent report, ICAN and PAX, a nongovernmental peace organization, concluded that the top 10 financial institutions with the greatest investment in manufacture of nuclear weapons are US companies, which account for almost half ($253 billion) of the total investment.

As Bush pulled out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, he escalated the “global war on terror.” But, in January, Defense Secretary James Mattis stated that

“great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of US national security.”

Ritter writes on Truthdig that Putin’s speech was a message not just to the Russian Federal Assembly, but also to the White House and Trump, as well as Congress,

“where Russia-baiting has become a full-time occupation, and to the American people, who have been caught up in a wave of anti-Russia hysteria fueled by fantastical claims of a Russian ‘attack’ on American democracy which, when balanced against the potential of thermonuclear annihilation, pales into insignificance.”

Thomas Graham, senior director for Russia on George W. Bush’s National Security Council, thinks we are in a very dangerous period. Graham told The Washington Post,

“The tension is high, higher now than it was several months ago, in part because the Russians have gotten past the phase where they thought with President Trump they would be able to move the relationship in a different direction…. This is qualitatively worse than any post-Cold War period.”

Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Leads to Divestment

On July 7, 2017, more than 120 countries adopted the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It forbids ratifying countries “never under any circumstances to develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” The treaty also prohibits the transfer of, use of, or threat to use nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices.

Fifty-three countries signed the treaty, and three have ratified it, making them parties to the agreement. The treaty will enter into force 90 days after 50 ratifications. But the five original nuclear-armed nations — the US, Britain, France, Russia and China — did not participate in the treaty negotiations and have not signed it.

The treaty, however, “has created a movement towards divestment, reflected in the reduction in the number of companies investing in nuclear weapons, and an increase in financial institutions comprehensively prohibiting any investment,” according to Susi Snyder of PAX, who is a co-author of the new report. “Investments are not neutral, these companies should be congratulated for standing on the side of humanity.”

Meanwhile, in response to Putin’s March 1 invitation to enter into nuclear arms negotiations for “international security and sustainable development,” Krieger wrote,

“The U.S. should take him up on this offer.”

Indeed, we should. The future of our planet is at stake.

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Copyright, Truthout. Reprinted with permission.

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and an advisory board member of Veterans for Peace. The second, updated edition of her book, Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues, was published in November. Visit her website: MarjorieCohn.com. Follow her on Twitter: @MarjorieCohn.