Experts: Invasion of Syria Could Lead to Nuclear War

The Threat of Nuclear War Is Now HIGHER Than During the Soviet Era

Turkey previously shot down a Russian jet.

Now, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are threatening to invade Syria.

How dangerous could this get, in a worst case scenario?

Robert Parry – the investigative reporter who broke the Iran-Contra story for the Associated Press and Newsweek  –  wrote yesterday:

A source close to Russian President Vladimir Putin told me that the Russians have warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Moscow is prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons if necessary to save their troops in the face of a Turkish-Saudi onslaught. Since Turkey is a member of NATO, any such conflict could quickly escalate into a full-scale nuclear confrontation.

Washington’s Blog asked one of America’s top experts on Russia – Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University, and the author of a number of books on Russia and the Soviet Union – what he thought of Parry’s claim.

Cohen said:

Parry is a serious man [“serious” is the highest compliment that an insider can give to someone]. I cannot say it will lead to nuke war, but it is very dangerous, as is quadrupling US/NATO forces near Russia’s borders.

Pavel Felgenhauer – a leading Russian military analyst – also believes that a nuclear war is “very likely” to arise from Russia’s skirmishes with Turkey in Syria.

Last December, U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard – a Member of the House Armed Services Committee, Iraq war veteran, and Major in the Hawaii Army National Guard – warned that U.S. policy in Syria could lead to a nuclear war. And see this.

Also in December, retired Lieutenant General Robert Gard, chairman emeritus of the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, retired Brigadier General John H. Johns, professor emeritus from US National Defense University, and Leslie Gelb, president of the Council on Foreign Relations,  penned an article in Foreign Policy calling for US-Russia cooperation to de-escalate current tensions and diffuse the increasing worrisome nuclear blustering.

American security expert Bruce Blair – a former nuclear-missile launch officer – notes that Turkey’s downing of the Russian warplane at the Syrian-Turkish border “fits a pattern of brinkmanship and inadvertence that is raising tensions and distrust between Russia and US-led NATO,” and that “this escalation could morph by design or inadvertence into a nuclear threat.”

Blair writes that the threat of nuclear war is higher now that during the Soviet era:

Russia has shortened the launch time from what it was during the Cold War. Today, top military command posts in the Moscow area can bypass the entire human chain of command and directly fire by remote control rockets in silos and on trucks as far away as Siberia in only 20 seconds.

Why should this concern us? History shows that crisis interactions, once triggered, take on a life of their own. Military encounters multiply; they become more decentralized, spontaneous and intense. Safeguards are loosened and unfamiliar operational environments cause accidents and unauthorized actions. Miscalculations, misinterpretations and loss of control create a fog of crisis out of which a fog of war may emerge. In short, the slope between the low-level military encounters, the outbreak of crisis and escalation to a nuclear dimension is a steep and slippery one.

(Indeed, the U.S. and Soviets came within seconds of all-out nuclear war on numerous occasions. And only the courage of U.S. and Soviet individuals to say no when their superiors told them to fire nuclear weapons – in the face of mistaken readings – saved the planet from nuclear war.)

Russia expert Stephen Cohen agrees that the risks of nuclear war are much higher than people know, telling the Commonwealth Club last year that the threat of nuclear war with Russia is now greater than it was with the Soviets.

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry agrees that the risk of nuclear war is higher than during the Soviet era.

Postscript:  Top Russian, American and Polish experts also warn that continued fighting in Ukraine could lead to nuclear war.

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  • cstahnke

    The danger here is that, because the National Security State is so deeply split, Washington is not able to lead or even negotiate in good faith. Thus events are left to be shaped by other forces and first the Russiand then the Turks and Saudis leapt into the fray for their own reasons hoping to force Washington in one direction or the other. I don’t think Washington is going to do anything constructive but Europeans could do something by being willing to move themselves away from Washington’s schitzoid state and lead. Not that I have much faith in that. The positive force in all this would be the finance/corporate oligarchs around the world who believe nuclear war would not only be bad for business but make party-time more difficult.

  • jadan

    Government by the Pentagon and for the Pentagon in the name of the idiocy that drives the lunatics in the political establishment to want to dominate the world. Unless government by the people and for the people can be established, life as we have known it is over.

  • Fabre

    Pure fearporn this article:
    – Turkey is the only country planning to occupy a small portion of Syrian territory in the north while Saudi Arabia has only contributed with an unspecified number of multi-role fighter jets.
    – On the other hand, Iran has not made real commitments to the Assad regime on sending thousands of IRGC soldiers and heavy equipment to repel a Turkish invasion.
    – If Turkey invades Syria and the Assad regime request the assistance of Russia to remove the invading forces, then Moscow will be very motivated to test thermobaric weapons (environmentally friendly WMDs) on Turkish armies. In fact, the Russian Federation has already (and successfully) used those revolutionary weapons on Ukrainian divisions in the ongoing internal conflict in that country.
    – NATO won’t intervene since Syria nor Russia are attacking Turkey or are in an offensive mode.

    End of story.

  • Dio Jones

    Putin is crazy enough to do it, and he will take the whole region down with him…

    Always be a light that is .shininginthedark.

    • Nick Smegg

      Erdogan has been doing the aggression, along with the US, and yet it is Putin who is crazy? C’mon! What are you smoking?

      My only beef with this article is its description of Stephen F Cohen as an insider. He’s not. He may have been once but you’ll be hard pressed to find him quoted by the presstitute media.

    • cettel

      You mean Obama is crazy enough to provoke him by, first, his coup in February 2014 overthrowing Yanukovych and installing Yatsenyuk, and then by his supplying sarin to the rebels in Syria and then blaming Assad for the gas-attack that he and Erdogan and the Thanis had set up. And now by continuing his efforts to surround Russia by yet more NATO nations on Russia’s border.

    • Joseph Conrad

      NO. THE U.S. IS CRAZY & SADISTIC ENOUGH TO DO IT. IT DID IT TWICE TO A DEFEATED PROSTRATE JAPAN. THE U.S. IS THE BULLY WHO WILL NEVER PERMIT A FIGHT TO BE FAIR FOR FEAR OF LOSING.

      YOU MAY BE SURE THE RUSSIANS PRECISION MISSILE STRIKES IN SYRIA FROM A LAUNCH POINT IN THE CASPIAN SEA MADE THE U.S. CRAP THEIR PAMPERS. THE BRUTISH THUG SHIVERED AS THE PROSPECT OF GETTING ‘HURT’ STRUCK HOME…

  • cettel

    ‘George Washington’ — that’s a STELLAR piece of news-reporting!!!! (Of course, it’s too good to be mentioned or linked-to by Western ‘news’ media, but at least you are doing the journalist’s highest duty — which is to try to get the truth out, especially when it’s being systematically suppressed!)

  • K Pomeroy

    It is curious that Stephen Cohen seemed to support Robert Parry’s assertion that Russia threatened to use “tactical” nukes in the event invading Saudi-Turkish forces threatened the Russian troops in Syria. Stephen Cohen is a generally trusted source. Yet Parry’s allegations have been called into question by a number of commenters on, for example, The Saker’s website.

    First, it seems unlikely Putin would threaten a nuclear strike under any conditions. Second, where is the evidence that there are 20,000 Russian troops in Syria, as Parry contends? What is the real story on Parry? Is he an anti-Russian propagandist? The community seems divided, though even the much respected journal Global Research publishes Parry. See for example this article, in particular the Feb 20 update at the end:
    http://quemadoinstitute.org/2016/02/19/the-syria-question-would-moscow-use-tactical-nukes-against-a-turkish-saudi-invasion/

  • Sarastro92

    “Indeed, the U.S. and Soviets came within seconds of all-out nuclear war on numerous occasions. And only the courage of U.S. and Soviet individuals to say no when their superiors told them to fire nuclear weapons – in the face of mistaken readings – saved the planet from nuclear war.”

    This is so true, but few people understand this. Especially in Cuba… it was the last second decision by a junior commander (Arkhipov) who vetoed the launch of a nuclear torpedo in the Caribbean waters off the coast of Cuba.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasili_Arkhipov

    Once the launch threshold is shortened to seconds in a “use it or lose it” environment, odds of a nuclear launch sky rocket.