The cost of downgrading
by Thierry Meyssan
Washington is attempting to hold to its positions without having to start a Third World War, but it looks like an impossible task. Moscow is offering the United States a safe exit in Syria and Yemen. But if they should choose this option, they would be obliged to abandon some of their allies.
VOLTAIRE NETWORK | DAMASCUS (SYRIA) | 19 OCTOBER 2016
Since the collapse of the cessation of hostilities agreement during Aïd, a rift has opened between the carefree atmosphere of Western societies and the gravity of Russian and Chinese societies.
In Moscow, the television broadcasts information on anti-atomic shelters and «assault course» team games, while in Washington, everyone laughs at the paranoid Russians who believe that there may be a Third World War.
And yet the two major powers are sending one another signals that would scare anyone. After the US threatened to bomb Syria, Moscow has broken its agreement on the limitation of plutonium stocks, and ajusted its launch system for nuclear weapons by firing three intercontinental missiles. The spokesperson for the Russian army has warned his counterparts, and announced that his armement was capable of destroying all US aircraft, whether they be cruise missiles or stealth fighters. The chief of staff for the US land army proudly replied that in case of a frontal war, the aviation and marines of both armies would quickly be neutralised, and that Washington would win the war on the ground. These bellicose declarations did not particularly impress the Russians, but worried members of Congress to the point that 22 of them wrote to President Obama to ask him to promise not to be the first to start a nuclear war. Moscow gave instructions to its diplomats on post in the NATO countries to repatriate their families and prepare to leave in their turn.
In former times, the Romans assured that «If you want peace, prepare for war». (Si vis pacem, para bellum). The idea was that during a period of international dispute, victory would be won, without war, by the side that seemed capable of winning by the use of military might.
The fact is that the Russian population is preparing for war (for example, this week, 40 million Russians participated in excercises for the evacuation of buildings and fire-fighting), while the Western populations continued to shuffle unconcernedly through their shopping malls.
Of course, we can hope that reason will prevail and that we will avoid a Third World War. In any event, this sabre-rattling attests to the fact that the gamble that has been playing out for the last five years in Syria was not what we thought it was. While at the beginning, the State Department was working to implement its plan for the «Arab Spring» - in other words the overthrow of the region’s secular régimes in order to replace them with the Muslim Brotherhood - Russia and China quickly concluded that the world could no longer be governed by the United States - and that they should no longer be in a position to decide the life or death of the People.
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