The prospect of all-out nuclear war just became very real, with the latest terrifying escalation [OPINION]

Support us and go ad-free

The prospect of all-out nuclear war just became very real after the latest sh*tstorm to hit international relations.

Russia has followed the increasingly provocative actions of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) with the deployment of nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad. The move, which has been played down by Russian officials, marks an alarming development in current tensions between the East and West.

It’s decisions like these which move us closer to midnight on the Doomsday clock. We are currently at three minutes to disaster on this clock, according to the Science and Security Board for The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. And once it strikes twelve, all hell breaks loose.

Russia’s ‘regular’ drill

On 7 October, Estonia raised concerns that Russia appeared to be moving nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad. Russian officials soon confirmed that suspicion.

Kaliningrad is Russian territory situated on the Baltic coast. It’s sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland (both NATO members), and houses a number of Russian defence forces.

The Guardian claims there have been previous reports suggesting the Iskander-M missiles would be moved to Kaliningrad, but not until 2018-19. But Russian officials insist the deployment is part of the country’s regular drills. A defence department spokesperson said:

contingents of missile troops have been moved many times and will continue to be moved to Kaliningrad region as part of a Russian armed forces training plan

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Frants Klintsevich, the deputy head of the Defense Committee in Russia’s Federation Council, commented:

They [the Iskander missiles] do not bear any threat, they are designed to ensure the security of our territory in the event of any real threat. Nothing else

Two can play at that game

Russia’s ‘regular’ drill follows many recent military exercises carried out by NATO. In September, a two-week-long anti-submarine warfare drill was undertaken in Canada by the military alliance. Another called ‘Slovak Shield‘ was carried out in Slovakia early this month. And one of NATO’s biggest military exercises, entitled ‘Joint Warrior‘, is currently underway in Scotland.

These recent exercises come after numerous similar ones in 2015. Many of these took place in Ukraine, which borders Russia.

NATO also held a summit in Warsaw in July 2016, during which it declared Russia at the top of its list of “challenges and threats“.

Russian aggression, NATO announced, is threatening the alliance’s “long-standing goal of a Europe whole, free, and at peace”. In response, NATO pledged to build up a hefty military presence directly on Russia’s borders.

The rotational military buildup will position itself in six countries: Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. This essentially places hostile troops on all Russia’s accessible western borders.

In February, when the plan was first touted, Russia’s envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko warned that if the initiative went ahead, it “can’t be left without a military-technical answer”.

That “answer” is now terrifyingly clear.

The nuclear nightmare

Having Russia’s nuclear weapons lined up on one side of Kaliningrad’s border while NATO troops are standing on the other is a recipe for disaster. If those on the ground or monitoring systems in that area suspect the other is engaged in aggressive actions, the potential for reaction is immense. As Noam Chomsky pointed out in his 2013 book Nuclear War and Environmental Catastrophe:

There are plenty of times when automated systems in the United States – and in Russia, it’s probably worse – have warned of a nuclear attack which would set off an automatic response except that human intervention happened to take place in time, and sometimes in a matter of minutes. That’s playing with fire.

Currently, Russia and the US have between 7,000 and 8,000 nuclear weapons each. Yes, thousands. And according to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), the US has around 200 of these weapons stationed in European countries as part of NATO’s defence agreement.

The consequences of such nuclear force being unleashed on the European continent, either deliberately or in error, would be catastrophic. And that’s why all the dangerous and destructive sabre-rattling has to stop.

All those involved in the new Cold War must take a step back and work out these issues at a negotiating table. And if they don’t, we must elect politicians that will. Before it’s too late.

Get Involved!

Take action with the CND to create a world free of nuclear weapons.

– Email your representative, in the UK or US, to insist on the urgency of finding a diplomatic solution to this crisis.

Support The Canary if you appreciate the work we do.

Featured image via CTBTO/Flickr

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed