No generation ever expects their nation’s actions will lead to a global conflict. We are not days or even weeks away from a possible nuclear conflict between Russia and the U.S. – and that’s reassuring. However, we are one or two events away from a scenario that could spiral into a nuclear exchange between the Kremlin and Washington – and that’s what so frightening.
October 2016 – WASHINGTON/MOSCOW – Fears of World War 3 starting at any moment have gotten so bad that even Russian officials are stockpiling necessities and advising others to do the same — in case there is a nuclear war. In fact, while NATO and Western leaders talk excitedly about a possible invasion of Europe by an aggressive Russia, many in that country believe that an attack might be coming from the West. One Russian official even thinks that a nuclear war might break out between the United States and Russia before the American presidential election.
The Daily Beast reported this week that at least one Russian official believes tensions between the United States and Russia are so heightened that it would take very little to set off a major military altercation. Sergei Markov, a member of the Civic Chamber (a government oversight and consultative institution in Moscow), fears World War 3 might start soon. Duma Deputy Vadim Dengin also expressed concern, but he was hopeful that there would not be a war with the United States. “I cannot understand why the West cannot just leave us in peace, let us be,” he said. “Americans should realize that it will be their children looking for shelters, too, if they are serious about attacking Russia.”
Russia has engaged in hundreds of military drills in the past five years, claiming that it has done so due to the aggressive actions by the United States and its NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) allies. NATO has not only placed missile defense systems in Eastern Europe but has also increased troop strength along Russia’s western border. As for the United States itself, diplomatic maneuverings and economic sanctions against Russia since the 2014 annexation of Crimea and threats to invade neighboring Ukraine have kept matters tense between the two powers.
Russia, which has been under an intense re-militarization since the turn of the millennium, has used those mentioned above and other incidents and political squabbles to justify its push re-establish itself as a world military power. At the same time, news reports of impending nuclear war or World War 3 have been rampant in Russia, as was reported by the Inquisitr, many laced with admonishments for the public to prepare. In the last few weeks, such reports have grown increasingly ominous. Not only has state-controlled media pushed stories of nuclear war preparedness, such as going so far as to ask if citizens knew where the nearest bomb shelter was located, but Russian President Vladimir Putin himself went on national television to advise people to obtain gas masks and scout out their nearest nuclear shelter.
And, as The Daily Beast reported, orders were sent by the Ministry of Emergency Situations to ensure that the stadium being built for World Cup 2018 was equipped with shelters to be used in wartime. Still, not all believe that all the saber-rattling, re-armament, and constant military exercising is about actual preparation for a coming war. Experts believe it is simply President Putin and the Russian government’s way of instilling a sense of urgency in the people about a perceived danger, one that would justify more military spending. In fact, the military’s budget will take precedence in the upcoming Duma session. –Inquisitr
Why the risks of nuclear war are increasing: Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear saber-rattling and military brinkmanship have upended the rules that long governed relations between Moscow and Washington, presenting the United States with a dangerous dilemma. The next U.S. president will inherit an increasingly fraught relationship with Russia in which Washington’s attempts to deter Mr. Putin have mostly failed. Moscow’s decision this month to pull out of a landmark agreement on disposing tons of weapons-grade plutonium, coupled with recent reports that Russia deployed new nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea, underscore how Mr. Putin is flexing Russia’s power in new and often unpredictable ways.
U.S. and European officials are increasingly alarmed over Putin’s willingness to risk military confrontation and threaten the use of his country’s nuclear arsenal over issues the West sees as unrelated and separate. That makes it devilishly difficult for the United States and its European allies to find an effective response to Mr. Putin’s audacious tactics that in recent years range from Russia’s annexation of Crimea, to its air war in support of the Syrian regime, to its suspected hacking of America’s presidential election.
“It very much feels like we are entering a very troubled and dangerous phase in this bilateral relationship,“ said Julianne Smith, a former senior Pentagon official who now advises Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. President Barack Obama’s successor will have to choose from a range of unpleasant and risky options when it comes to handling a resurgent Russia. A more conciliatory stance, aimed at cutting a grand bargain with Russia focused on Ukraine, would defuse tensions in the short term but at the cost of emboldening Mr. Putin. A more hawkish line — like the one championed by Ms. Clinton — would risk escalation, with the chance of a military showdown in Syria or the Baltics.
The reports of the Iskander missile deployment to the Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad “represent the latest in a series of announcements and actions from Russia that call into question Russia’s commitment to minimizing the world’s most dangerous nuclear materials, and undermine the long path toward disarmament,” a senior U.S. official told Foreign Policy. Russia in recent years has expanded the scenarios in which its nuclear arsenal could be used. While running for election in 2012, Mr. Putin elevated the role of nuclear weapons, implying that they might even be used in a conventional war. Mr. Putin has since announced plans to modernize all three legs of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces.
In March, Mr. Putin said he had been ready to place nuclear forces on alert over the fate of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine. Asked if Russia was prepared to bring its nuclear weapons into the conflict, Mr. Putin told state television: “We were ready to do it. I talked with colleagues and told them that this (Crimea). –Post Gazette