Monday, October 24, 2016

The Russian people and their government appear to be preparing for nuclear war.

Government photo from the bombing of Nagasaki in 1945. Via Wikipedia.

Russia appears to be preparing for a nuclear war with the west. IBT. Igor Zuyev, who builds bomb shelters for $24,000 a pop has been doing record business lately. Polling in Russia shows that the Russian people believe that the third world war has already begun, but is in a "cold" stage. Earlier this month Russia held four days of nuclear warfare drills involving 40 million Russians. The Russians have also been reviewed the quality and quantity of shelters in Moscow. Russia has canceled an agreement with the United States that concerned the destruction of weapons grade plutonium. The tensions are high due to the situation in Ukraine, Crimea and especially Syria. Russian media has made a much bigger deal about the attack on Russian backed Syrian forces in Dier Ez Zor. 

My Comment:
The US media is completely ignoring this situation. I have heard about these drills and perpetration's from other sources, but the US media has not been covering it at all. Indeed, if you want to hear anything reliable about Russia these days you have to go to smaller outlets like IBT, or foreign media. The American mainstream media simply won't cover what is going on. 

The truth of the matter is that relations between America and Russia are about as bad as they have been since the Cold War. There are some very obvious reasons for this. The most important was probably the entire Ukraine situation. The Russians feel that we were responsible, at least in part, for the overthrow of the pro-Russian government and the installation of an anti-Russia one. The destabilization of a major buffer country for Russia has been seen as an attack on Russia itself. 

Once the Crimean annexation and Ukrainian civil war happened, things got even worse. Not only did we put some rather severe sanctions on Russia, we also backed the Ukrainian government. We even trained some of their troops and militias and have threatened to give them deadly weapons. To the Russians, these moves seems like a deliberate attempt to gain a major ally bordering Russia and even bringing Ukraine into NATO, both of which the Russians feel are existential threats. 

Our policy in Syria seems even more deranged, from a Russian perspective. The Russians have always felt that the best way to deal with Islamist areas is to install a strongman, like Bashar al-Assad or their own strong man in Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov. They completely disagree with nation building and see our efforts to remove Assad as a blatant attempt to hand one of their allies over to Islamist terrorists. 

Even worse, there have been open calls for the United States to set up a no fly zone and shoot down Russian jets if they violate it. Several presidential candidates called for that this election, none more notably then Hillary Clinton. Trying to do so would be a disaster and could lead to a major war. Actually enforcing a no-fly zone wouldn't just require shooting down Russian and Syrian planes. We would also have to destroy the impressive anti-air defenses that Russia has stationed in and around Syria. We would have to bomb their troops on the ground and blow up their ships in the Mediterranean. If that happens the Russians would have to respond by blowing up our planes, which could quickly spiral out of control into a nuclear war. 

The Russians think that this is a real possibility and if Hillary Clinton does get elected, it could very well happen. Regardless of what you think of Hillary Clinton, it's clear that the Russians are afraid of her and think that she will provoke a war with them. That is a large reason why the Russians are conducting these drills and why their people are preparing for war. They really think that a war is a possibility. 

The IBT article mentioned that Russia is also trying to distract from their recent economic problems. I think there is some truth to that. Russia has had some economic problems, due in part to the lower prices on oil and gas. But I don't think the Russian people are going to blame the price of oil for their economic problems. They are going to blame US and European sanctions, which plays into the same narrative as everything else I mentioned. 

To the Russians, it seems as though the west is out to get them. They fear that America and her allies are going to try and destabilize Russia and remove Vladimir Putin from power. They also think that we would fight them over incredibly stupid things, like Ukraine and Syria. Worst of all, they aren't really wrong. 

Of course, Hillary Clinton isn't president yet. As bad as Barack Obama has been as president, he has backed down on occasion. Though he had some opportunities to send heavy weapons to Ukraine or send airstrikes in Syria, he hasn't done so. To the Russians, Obama is a known figure. They think he is weak and won't fight them if he can possibly avoid it. 

They do not feel the same way about Hillary Clinton. They think that she is the architect of some Obama policy that they really didn't like. They tried the Russian reset, but after that, she was the one that came up with the Libya intervention. And she has called to go much further then Barack Obama on Syria and Ukraine. I think that they honestly think that she will try to provoke a war with them. I mean, the Russians have to have seen the third debate right? In that debate, not only did she not rule out shooting down Russian jets, she also blamed the Wikileaks scandal on the Russians as well, and sounded unhinged while doing it. 

When you frame it that way, it makes a lot more sense why the Russians like Trump. Unlike Hillary Clinton, who threatens to shoot down Russian jets and blames them for everything bad that happens in her campaign, Donald Trump says "Why can't we be friends with Russia?" Is it any wonder why they want him to be president and not Hillary Clinton?

I really think that if Hillary Clinton is the president, the Russians will view it as prelude to war. They may even decide that if she is elected, that a first strike might be necessary to prevent a defeat in an inevitable war. If not, they may ratchet tensions up enough that any major move by Hillary Clinton could lead to war as well. 

Now I won't say that this deterioration in relations is all our fault. The Russians have their share of the blame as well. Putin is a strongman and has done some very obviously dangerous things. But there is no reason for our two countries to be enemies. And if things really do spiral out of control into war it would be a massive crime by both countries. 

Sadly, while the Russians are preparing for war, the United States seems to be ignoring the possibility. Obviously our government doesn't want to sound the alarm because it would hurt Hillary Clinton's chances. By doing so, they are betraying their people. Americans need to be reminded what to do in case of a nuclear war. Unlike popular depictions, a nuclear war isn't the end of the world. People will survive the initial attacks. As long as you aren't in the blast area itself, you should be able to survive, if you have prepared for it. And even if you are in the blast area, if you can get into a shelter, you have a chance. 

But the government here, unlike the Russian government, is not providing the information and shelter that people need to survive a war with Russia. My guess is that they don't believe their lying eyes when it comes to Russia and think that war is unlikely. I guess that is possible, after all, I could be reading the situation wrong. But if I am right, then a lot of people are going to die that could be saved if we took even the most basic protective steps. And if we had a more sane policy on Russia, war could be completely avoided entirely...  

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