Obama Slams Door in Putin’s Face

Says if Putin doesn’t want Russia’s retaliatory forces eliminated, he’ll need to be the one to press the nuclear button first.

Eric Zuesse, originally published at The Saker

Actions speak louder than mere words, and U.S. President Barack Obama has now acted, not only spoken. His action is to refuse to discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s biggest worry about recent changes in America’s nuclear strategy — particularly a stunning change that is terrifying Putin.

On Sunday June 5th, Reuters headlined “Russia Says U.S. Refuses Talks on Missile Defence System”, and reported that, “The United States has refused Russian offers to discuss Washington’s missile defence programme, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov was quoted as saying on Sunday, calling the initiative ‘very dangerous’.”

Russia’s concern is that, if the “Ballistic Missile Defense” or “Anti Ballistic Missile” system, that the United States is now just starting to install on and near Russia’s borders, works, then the United States will be able to launch a surprise nuclear attack against Russia, and this system, which has been in development for decades and is technically called the “Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System”, will annihilate the missiles that Russia launches in retaliation, which will then leave the Russian population with no retaliation at all, except for the nuclear contamination of the entire northern hemisphere, and global nuclear winter, the blowback from America’s onslaught against Russia, which blowback some strategists in the West say would be manageable problems for the U.S. and might be worth the cost of eliminating Russia.

That theory, of a winnable nuclear war (which in the U.S. seems to be replacing the prior theory, called “M.A.D.” for Mutually Assured Destruction) was first prominently put forth in 2006 in the prestigious U.S. journal Foreign Affairs, headlining “The Rise of Nuclear Primacy”, and this article advocated for a much bolder U.S. strategic policy against Russia, based upon what it argued was America’s technological superiority against Russia’s weaponry and a possibly limited time-window in which to take advantage of it before Russia catches up and the opportunity to do so is gone.

Paul Craig Roberts was the first reporter in the West to write in a supportive way about Russia’s concerns that Barack Obama might be a follower of that theory. One of Roberts’s early articles on this was issued on 17 June 2014 and headlined “Washington Is Beating The War Drums”, where he observed that “US war doctrine has been changed. US nuclear weapons are no longer restricted to a retaliatory force, but have been elevated to the role of preemptive nuclear attack.”

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has tried many times to raise this issue with President Obama, the most recent such instance being via a public statement of his concern, made on May 27th. Apparently, the public statement by Antonov on June 5th is following up on that latest Putin effort, by Antonov’s announcement there that Obama now explicitly refuses to discuss Putin’s concerns about the matter.

The fact that these efforts on the part of the Russian government are via public media instead of via private conversations (such as had been the means used during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, when the shoe was on the other foot and the U.S. President was concerned about the Soviet President’s installation of nuclear missiles 90 miles from the U.S. border) suggests that Mr. Obama, unlike U.S. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1962, refuses to communicate with Russia, now that the U.S. is potentially in the position of the aggressor.

Russia is making its preparations, just in case it will (because of the Aegis Ashore system) need to be the first to attack. However, some knowledgeable people on the subject say that Russia will never strike first. Perhaps U.S. President Obama is proceeding on the basis of a similar assumption, and this is the reason why he is refusing to discuss the matter with his Russian counterpart. However, if Mr. Obama wishes to avoid a nuclear confrontation, then refusing even to discuss the opponent’s concerns would not be the way to go about doing that. Obama is therefore sending signals to the contrary — that he is preparing a nuclear attack against Russia — simply by his refusal to discuss the matter. In this case, his action of refusal is, itself, an answer to Putin’s question, like slamming the door in Putin’s face would be. It’s a behavioral answer, instead of a merely verbal one.

The geostrategist John Helmer discussed on May 30th the question of when the “Trigger Point” will likely be for Putin to decide whether there is no reasonable alternative but to launch — and for him then to launch — World War III

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • mark

    neocons desperately need a bogeyman for the upcoming election
    ie keep raising the stakes – flash point achived, blame mr bogeyman

    • Nexusfast123

      Trouble is the Neoloons with their stupidity miscalculate and we end up with a civilisation ending event.

  • jadan

    We must establish civilian control over the military. As a group professional military people are insane.

    • cstahnke

      I disagree–in my view the civilian leadership is even more insane than the uniformed military. During the Cuban Missile Crisis it was the military who wanted JFK to strike the USSR without warning they felt we would “only” lose 40 million people. But that has changed over the years and now it is the civilian neocon ideologues who are aiming at confrontation and a return the the Dulles brothers game of “brinkmanship.” My information is that the military is very divided on confrontation strategies and will drag their feet on this one.

      • jadan

        The political power of the professional military class is unchallenged since WWII and the Manhattan Project. The National Security legislation of 1947 formally announced the arrival of the National Security State and it’s intelligence apparatus. Civilian political control is a memory. Civilians may not challenge “national security”.

        The military commands the lion’s share of society’s resources and the paranoid military doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD) did not go away with the cold war. The American mind is dominated by the ideation of the professional military class, which is paranoid and sociopathic.

        The proliferation of military and fantasy video games is nauseating. That’s the nature of the soldier’s world view when you peel off the flag that he’s wrapped in: paranoid sociopathic patriotic weaponized biological entities. One could be more kind and speak of the heroic martyrdom of adolescence, but it’s the same monstrous perversion of human nature that rules our world. It is insane and the world we live in is ruled by this insanity. It’s so pervasive it seems normal. Chris Kyle, the patriotic sniper is a murdering psycho dubbed “hero”. People whose lives are dedicated to destruction are nuts. Americans are nuts.

        Some Americans are not nuts. David Swanson, for example, is sane. But most of us are insane. We will blow ourselves up. Guaranteed.

  • June 03, 2016 Russian FM: US Asks Russia Not to Attack al-Qaeda in Syria State Dept: More Effort Needed to ‘Distinguish’ al-Qaeda From Other Rebels

    Russian officials had previously said their halt on airstrikes against al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate, the Nusra Front, was a result of requests from rebels. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov today revealed that the US had actually been the ones to request the halt.

    http://news.antiwar.com/2016/06/03/russian-fm-us-asks-russia-not-to-attack-al-qaeda-in-syria/

  • cstahnke

    This is an attempt to create more tension and not, in my opinion, to increase the chance of nuclear war. The advantages are obvious. The U.S. is deeply worried that Europe may want to be independent after decades of being vassals of Washington. By establishing a “them” and “us” situation they increase their advantage. The Imperial Court decided that it will go to the brinksmanship policy to see if Putin blinks. In the meantime, my guess is that they will redouble their efforts to undermine Putin in Russia to return it to its vassal state status under Yeltsin. Putin will now be forced to put more resources into intel and defense which he cannot afford while the U.S. can put, always, increasing amounts of money into the same without any political consequences whatsoever since the American people always genuflect whenever anyone says “thank you for your service” to members of the U.S. military the only institution that still has the faith of the American people on the left and right. We are now entering into full-fledged Orwellian territory.

    • Nexusfast123

      Putin is not going to blink as although they (NATO) are swinging their limp dicks on the border the conventional military threat to Russia non existent. I think both the Russians and Chinese have given up tying to ‘work’ with Washington. Given this I’m not so sure that will work out the way they think in Washington. At some point the Dollar will crap itself as it is not possible to keep on accumulating debt. I think the US is very vulnerable to some sort of collapse. Look at the Federal debt servicing cost. It’s already over well over $400Billion and that is at very low interest rates. Congress has passed a bill that forbids Federal funds being used to bail out States, Municipalities, etc. that are in debt also.

      • DonNeedNoStinkinUserName

        ” . . . . The US is very vulnerable to some sort of collapse. . . . ” And one way to avoid this scenario (which I think the 1% / Deep State will probably want to avoid at all costs – but then again, maybe they will embrace it !!), is to initiate a WAR. Preferably with the designated “Bad Guys” starting it . . . or appearing to start it. Not the small proxy wars currently being fought in various places – I mean a big WW 3 type war – the ones that allow a “reset” & a shit load of mullah to be made. The US is VERY adroit at this & associated shenanigans

        Meanwhile out here in 5 on 2 off land (& varieties thereof), virtually no one is seeing this developing. And that is fucking scary !!

  • Just Watching

    If the North Koreans jammed ESPN or destroyed their satellites, that would get Obama’s attention. It would accomplish more than all the meetings and phone calls ever. I’d bet Obama would fire VIctoria Nuland and deport Bill Kristol just to unjam the signals…