"In 1983, the ABC television network broadcast a movie called The Day After about how a superpower nuclear exchange devastated the lives of typical Americans in two midwestern cities. The conflict began with a Russian troop buildup in Eastern Europe (which Moscow initially claimed to be a military exercise), and then gradually escalated to a point where both sides launched their nuclear missiles for fear of losing them in a preemptive attack. Coming as it did during a period of U.S.-Soviet tensions and controversy surrounding Reagan Administration nuclear policies, the broadcast attracted a huge audience of over 100 million viewers; it is still the highest rated made-for-television movie in U.S. history. Americans haven’t thought much about such scenarios since the Cold War ended, because the Soviet Union dissolved and the ideological rivalry between Washington and Moscow ceased. However, this year’s crisis over Ukraine is a reminder that Russia remains a nuclear superpower, and that the geopolitical sources of its security concerns have not vanished. In fact, Moscow may have greater reason for worrying today, because it has lost the buffer of allies that insulated it from Western attack during the Cold War, and now finds its capital only a few minutes from the eastern border of Ukraine by jet (less by missile). If you know the history of the region, then it is easy to see why Moscow might fear aggression." Forbes
There is a lot of news today, news that stirs the loins of the MSM:
- An aged rancher in Nevada is exposed as a fool who threw away right wing support for his non-payment of grazing fees on federal lands by saying that he thought blacks might have been better off as slaves. As a lifelong student of nineteenth century America I can assure him that they were NOT better off. The Hillary enthralled press has, of course, seized on this and is running with the ball. What a splendid way to "sell" their thematic material on the subject of conservative awfulness.
- And then there is the "break-down" in Kerry's Holy Land pursuit of the Nobel Peace Prize. This is laughable since everyone in Israel and Palestine knew from the beginning that there was not and is not any appetite for a peace there that does not wound and disadvantage one's opponents. Nevertheless, this is a splendid chance to blame the Palestinians for failure in this Quixotic effort.
- Natanyahu! What a mensch! Always quick on his feet, Bibi has risen to this occasion by lecturing the US as to what it must and must not do abut the Fatah-Hamas agreement. And, of course, he has every right to do that. As Simon Shama relentlessy implies in his excellent TV series "The Story of the Jews," why did not the US, USSR, and Britain prevent the slaughter of European Jewry during WW2? Our failure to do that is thought by Shama/Bibi to have placed a debt of servitude on us all that creates a "moral necessity" to obey the dictates of Israeli nationalism.
- CNN continues its search for the vanished airliner. What can I say about this? Nothing.
At the same time it is sadly clear that the American public and their newsies are oblivious of the possibility of nuclear war created by the determination of the US to force Russia to "blink." Actually, Americans do not seem to have any idea what nuclear war would be like or indeed the continued existence of nuclear armed forces in the the US and Russia that could simply make the earth uninhabitable and perhaps exterminate mankind. I will abstain from writing of the nuclear forces of the UK, France, China and Pakistan. Leslie Stahl of "60 Minutes" was taken out to a Minuteman silo site in Wyoming to be shown the beast. She commented on how old the helicopter was that she rode in and asked a USAF colonel who was her escort if the ICBM in the hole really had a nuclear warhead that could be fired, He assured her that the missile was armed and waiting for orders. She asked how many of these the Air Force has. 450 was the answer. She looked surprised. The colonel then reminded her of the other two "legs" of the Strategic Triad; the Boomer submarines (SLBM), and the bombers (B-52, B-1, B-2 and various other flying things) that are kept ready to fire nuclear cruise missiles into Russia or anywhere else that the commander-in-chief may direct. Once at the little base, situated in a vast plain dotted with farmsteads, she was introduced to the two officer crew of launch controllers who sit endlessly in their subterranean place of duty waiting for an order they hope will never come. She looked stunned. On set, Norah O'Donnell later asked her who the two "guards" were in the silo. She evidently had no idea that these two young people were launch officers and not security guards. Another journalist on the program's set, an African-American woman, piously stated that although she hoped that these missiles will not be used she felt comforted that they exist. Really? I don't feel comforted at all. Somehow the concept of the unusability of nuclear weapons for anything but deterrence has leaked away, gone like sand running between our fingers. The idea is growing that these are war-fighting weapons. At the same time, political control of them is in the hands of people who, as David Habakkuk wrote, do not have a firm grip on reality. pl