This is of course true, and not just of Montenegro, but literally any of NATO’s member nations. While Trump’s terming of Montenegrins as “very aggressive people”didn’t sit well with many, the potential for one smaller NATO member nation to provoke a war is not some new concern, but a frequent criticism of the NATO model for decades.
NATO officials were quick to criticize Trump, saying that NATO’s Article 5 provision for collective defense is “unconditional and iron-clad.” This only adds to concerns among NATO nations that Trump’s commitment to the alliance is by their standards imperfect.
NATO officials were already unhappy with Trump going into last week’s summit, and more so coming out of it. The latest comments are a reminder that the threat of World War 3 remains a serious concern for the US president, and one not easily dispelled.
Montenegrin officials were quick to fire back that they don’t intend to start any wars. Again, this misses the serious concerns of the alliance’s obligations, as NATO has no shortage of members liable to pick fights and then come running to the alliance for “defense.”
It’s not even just the current members of NATO. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has voted to express its support for “all” nations to join NATO if they want to. This means effectively any nation in the world with an axe to grind might join NATO with an eye toward using the alliance as its backup.
Trump is right in recognizing the dangers of NATO collective defense, something previous presidents have been loathe to publicly discuss. Yet in doing so he’s once again riled up angered foreign officials who didn’t like him in the first place.
Meeting with Donald Trump would be pointless because the deep state – not the president – controls the US, Bashar Assad said in an interview. He noted that the agenda of the deep state is to create conflict aimed against Russia.
In an exclusive interview with Athens daily Kathimerini, Assad said there was no reason to meet face-to-face with Trump, since the US president “says something today, and does the opposite tomorrow,” and is likely not even in control of policy decisions.
“[W]e don’t think the president of that regime is in control,” Assad told the paper, referring to Trump. “We all believe that the deep state, the real state, is in control, or is in control of every president, and that is nothing new. It has always been so in the United States, at least during the last 40 years, at least since Nixon, maybe before, but it’s becoming starker and starker, and the starkest case is Trump.”
Assad also dismissed the possibility of a third world war breaking out in Syria, telling the Greek newspaper that Moscow’s levelheadedness has so far prevented a catastrophic escalation – even as the US aims to expand the conflict. Asked directly if he was concerned about the possibility of a third world war, Assad replied: “No, for one reason: Because fortunately, you have a wise leadership in Russia, and they know that the agenda of the deep state in the United States is to create a conflict. Since Trump’s campaign, the main agenda was against Russia, create a conflict with Russia, humiliate Russia, undermine Russia, and so on,” the Syrian president said.
Assad ended the interview by vowing to reunify Syria and restore its sovereignty, adding that the US, France, UK, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey are ultimately responsible for the seven-year war and must be held accountable for supporting “terrorists” fighting in Syria.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were at a military parade Wednesday in Moscow. Putin has continually met with Iran’s leaders during the Syria conflict, a sworn enemy of Israel. (Maxim Shipenkov/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Moscow on Wednesday, where he and President Vladimir Putin will discuss military co-ordination amid new strikes in Syria that are being blamed on Israel.
Syrian state-run media said Israel struck a military outpost near the capital of Damascus on Tuesday. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the missiles targeted depots and rocket launchers that likely belonged to Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard in Kisweh, killing nine people.
Tensions between Israel and Iran are high over Iran’s efforts to expand its military presence in Syria, where it is a key ally of President Bashar al-Assad. Repeated airstrikes attributed to Israel have killed Iranian fighters and prompted threats of reprisal from Tehran. President Donald Trump’s announcement Tuesday that the U.S. would withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran has triggered uncertainty and threatened to spark more unrest in the Middle East.
“The meetings between us are always important, and this one is especially so,” Netanyahu said ahead of his departure. “In light of what is currently happening in Syria, it is necessary to ensure the continued co-ordination” between the two militaries. Netanyahu made no mention of the overnight strikes.
This frame grab from video provided on Wednesday by Syria News shows people standing in front of flames rising after an attack on an area known to have numerous Syrian army military bases, in Kisweh, south of Damascus. (Syria News via The Associated Press)
The Israeli and Russian militaries have been in contact throughout much of Russia’s intervention in Syria, where Moscow has waged an air campaign in support of Assad’s forces since 2015. Russia also considers Iran a strategic ally.
Director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, SOAS, University of London
April 19, 2018
As the US, Russia and China test each other’s patience and strategic focus, speculation about the chances of a world war has hit a new high. But many of the people seriously engaged in this weighty discussion often get it wrong.
When it comes to estimating military capability, the Western media is principally concerned with the weapons capabilities of weaker states – and it rarely pays much attention to the colossal capability of the US, which still accounts for most of the world’s defense spending.
Any sensible discussion of what a hypothetical World War III might look like needs to begin with the sheer size and force of America’s military assets. For all that China and Russia are arming up on various measures, US commanders have the power to dominate escalating crises and counter opposing forces before they can be used.
Take missile warfare alone. The US Navy already has 4,000 Tomahawk cruise missiles, and the Navy and Air Force are currently taking delivery of 5,000 JASSM conventional cruise missiles with ranges from 200-600 miles. Barely visible to radar, these are designed to destroy “hardened” targets such as nuclear missile silos. Russia and China, by contrast, have nothing of equivalent quantity or quality with which to threaten the US mainland.
The same holds true when it comes to maritime forces. While much is made of Russia’s two frigates and smaller vessels stationed off the Syrian coast, France alone has 20 warships and an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean – and US standing forces in the area include six destroyers equipped with scores of cruise missiles and anti-missile systems. At the other end of Europe, the Russian military is threatening the small Baltic states, but it is rarely noted that the Russian Baltic fleet is the same size as Denmark’s and half the size of Germany’s.
Meanwhile, China’s aggressively expansionist behaviour in the South China Sea is reported alongside stories of its first aircraft carrier and long-range ballistic missiles. But for all that the Chinese navy is large and growing, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, it’s still only numerically equivalent to the combined fleets of Japan and Taiwan, while the US boasts 19 aircraft carriers worldwide if its marine assault ships are included.
But overhanging all this, of course, is the nuclear factor.
Out of the sky
The US, Russia and China are all nuclear-armed; Vladimir Putin recently unveiled a new fleet of nuclear-capable missiles which he described as “invincible in the face of all existing and future systems”, and some have suggested that China may be moving away from its no-first-use policy. This is all undeniably disturbing. While it has long been assumed that the threat of nuclear weapons acts as a deterrent to any war between the major powers, it’s also possible that the world may simply have been riding its luck. But once again, the US’s non-nuclear capabilities are all too often overlooked.
US leaders may in fact believe they can remove Russia’s nuclear deterrent with an overwhelming conventional attack backed up by missile defences. This ability was cultivated under the Prompt Global Strike programme, which was initiated before 9/11 and continued during the Obama years. Organised through the US Air Force’s Global Strike Command, it is to use conventional weapons to attack anywhere on Earth in under 60 minutes.
This is not to say the task would be small. In order to destroy Russia’s nuclear missiles before they can be launched, the US military would need to first blind Russian radar and command and communications to incoming attack, probably using both physical and cyber attacks. It would then have to destroy some 200 fixed and 200 mobile missiles on land, a dozen Russian missile submarines, and Russian bombers. It would then need to shoot down any missiles that could still be fired.
Russia is not well positioned to survive such an attack. Its early warning radars, both satellite and land-based, are decaying and will be hard to replace. At the same time, the US has and is developing a range of technologies to carry out anti-satellite and radar missions, and it has been using them for years. (All the way back in 1985, it shot down a satellite with an F15 jet fighter.) That said, the West is very dependent on satellites too, and Russia and China continue to develop their own anti-satellite systems.
The air war
Russia’s bomber aircraft date back to the Soviet era, so despite the alarm they provoke when they nudge at Western countries’ airspace, they pose no major threat in themselves. Were the Russian and US planes to face each other, the Russians would find themselves under attack from planes they couldn’t see and that are any way out of their range.
US and British submarine crews claim a perfect record in constantly shadowing Soviet submarines as they left their bases throughout the Cold War. Since then, Russian forces have declined and US anti-submarine warfare has been revived, raising the prospect that Russian submarines could be taken out before they could even launch their missiles.
The core of the Russia’s nuclear forces consists of land-based missiles, some fixed in silos, others mobile on rail and road. The silo-based missiles can now be targeted by several types of missiles, carried by US planes almost invisible to radar; all are designed to destroy targets protected by deep concrete and steel bunkers. But a problem for US war planners is that it might take hours too long for their missile-carrying planes to reach these targets – hence the need to act in minutes.
One apparently simple solution to attacking targets very quickly is to fit quick nuclear ballistic missiles with non-nuclear warheads. In 2010, Robert Gates, then serving as secretary of defence under Barack Obama, said that the US had this capability. Intercontinental ballistic missiles take just 30 minutes to fly between the continental US’s Midwest and Siberia; if launched from well-positioned submarines, the Navy’s Tridents can be even quicker, with a launch-to-target time of under ten minutes.
From 2001, the US Navy prepared to fit its Trident missiles with either inert solid warheads – accurate to within ten meters – or vast splinter/shrapnel weapons. Critics have argued that this would leave a potential enemy unable to tell whether they were under nuclear or conventional attack, meaning they would have to assume the worst. According to US Congressional researchers, the development work came close to completion, but apparently ceased in 2013.
Nonetheless, the US has continued to develop other technologies across its armed services to attack targets around the world in under an hour – foremost among them hypersonic missiles, which could return to Earth at up to ten times the speed of sound, with China and Russia trying to keep up.
The remainder of Russia’s nuclear force consists of missiles transported by rail. An article on Kremlin-sponsored news outlet Sputnik described how these missile rail cars would be so hard to find that Prompt Global Strike might not be as effective as the US would like – but taken at face value, the article implies that the rest of the Russian nuclear arsenal is in fact relatively vulnerable.
Starting with the “Scud hunt” of the First Gulf War, the US military has spent years improving its proficiency at targeting mobile ground-based missiles. Those skills now use remote sensors to attack small ground targets at short notice in the myriad counter-insurgency operations it’s pursued since 2001.
If the “sword” of Prompt Global Strike doesn’t stop the launch of all Russian missiles, then the US could use the “shield” of its own missile defences. These it deployed after it walked out of a treaty with Russia banning such weapons in 2002.
While some of these post-2002 missile defense systems have been called ineffective, the US Navy has a more effective system called Aegis, which one former head of the Pentagon’s missile defense programs claims can shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles. Some 300 Aegis anti-ballistic missiles now equip 40 US warships; in 2008, one destroyed a satellite as it fell out of orbit.
In advance of the Iraq war, various governments and onlookers cautioned the US and UK about the potential for unforeseen consequences, but the two governments were driven by a mindset impervious to criticism and misgivings. And despite all the lessons that can be learned from the Iraq disaster, there’s an ample risk today that a similarly gung-ho attitude could take hold.
Foreign casualties generally have little impact on domestic US politics. The hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians who died under first sanctions and then war did not negatively impact presidents Clinton or George W. Bush. Neither might the prospect of similar casualties in Iran or North Korea or other states, especially if “humanitarian” precision weapons are used.
But more than that, an opinion poll run by Stanford University’s Scott Sagan found that the US public would not oppose the preemptive use of even nuclear weapons provided that the US itself was not affected. And nuclear Trident offers that temptation.
The control of major conventional weapons as well as WMD needs urgent attention from international civil society, media and political parties. There is still time to galvanise behind the Nobel-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and the nuclear ban treaty, and to revive and globalise the decaying arms control agenda of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which played a vital part in bringing the Cold War to a largely peaceful end.
Like the Kaiser in 1914, perhaps Trump or one of his successors will express dismay when faced with the reality a major US offensive unleashes. But unlike the Kaiser, who saw his empire first defeated and then dismembered, perhaps a 21st-century US president might get away with it.
If this report of a US ground invasion of Syria is true, which I doubt, it will be a consequence of Russian passivity in the face of Washington’s aggression.
Is the Russian government too humane to comprehend the evil that Russia confronts?
If Russia and China do not take steps to defeat the US before Washington forces nuclear war on the world, we are all doomed.
The American people are denied information, are uninformed, and helpless. The same is true for Europe and Britain, Canada, Australia, Japan.
Even if the peoples knew, they are impotent.
Putin often relies on non-existent or impotent common sense in the West, but does Russia have enough common sense to realize that there is no common sense in the West that can be effective?
The Russian government does not understand that the “rule of law” constructed by Washington is not a rule of law. It is a rule of Washington’s rule. Washington owns Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan, the Atlanticist Integrationists inside Russia, and the UN. This is why Russia’s appeal to the UN is pointless, as Russia just again learned: https://www.rt.com/news/424171-unsc-russia-resolution-syria/
To restate the point once again, the passivity of the Putin government in the face of Washington’s aggressiveness is leading directly to nuclear war and the end of life on earth.
A destroyed bus is seen in the Barzeh district, north of Damascus, on Saturday. (Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)
Damascene — a name given to the people of Damascus — had little presence in the Syrian uprising against president Bashar al-Assad compared to those from other Syrian cities.
For one reason or another, Assad decided to hold on to Damascus fiercely, so those who wanted to rise up against him either had to leave the city for good, or stay in prisons for undetermined periods of time.
News of the airstrikes by the U.S. and allies on Syria early Saturday made headlines all over the world, but for those who live in Damascus it was nothing more than bizarre theatrics and an un-accomplished mission.
‘I thought it’s the final day of the world’
The strikes came at 4 a.m. in Damascus, the city that sleeps so little these days. Some people were partying and others were sleeping in the safety of their beds when a loud siren started to wail. People mumbled to one another, “Donald Trump has launched his airstrikes.”
“I was asleep when I heard the airstrikes. It was so loud that I thought it’s the final day of the world,” said Noor T., not her real name, a university student who had a project to deliver on Saturday.
“My entire family woke up, too. Some dared to look through the windows and others talked about going down to the basement. I live in Mashrou Dummar (7 km from the centre of Damascus). I opened my Facebook to check on what the heck was going on. And then I received messages from friends who live outside Syria who wanted to check up on me. I was so scared, and I prayed to God to protect all of us.”The noise of the aircraft varied in intensity across the city. Bilal A., also not his real name, said he was up when he heard the siren.
“I thought to myself, ‘we are doomed,'” he said. “I live in Abu Romanah (1½ km away from central Damascus) in a neighbourhood that is close to the air force intelligence building. I thought the building was going to be on the target list, but it wasn’t.”
Since Bilal had heard that attacks were coming, he had planned to sleep over at his relatives’ house. “I was scared because the airstrikes were carried by big countries, and I thought, ‘this going to be huge.'” But uncertainty about timing made him reluctant to leave home.
‘God damn you, Trump’
Mazen Haffar, a cameraman, had made plans with his team to cover the attacks whenever they happened. He lives in Alzahira, about 2 km away from central Damascus.
“Ten minutes after the launch of the attacks I was ready to hit the road with my camera. I made sure that my family was safe and I drove up to Al-Mazzeh area where I was supposed to turn on a live feed,” he said. “I avoided passing by Almazzeh airport and drove on a high speed next to some other sensitive locations. On the way I was praying to God to protect us and our beloved city.
“My main focus was to go live as soon as possible and show what was happening to the world.”
Mazen Haffar is a cameraman who had agreed with his team on a plan to cover the attacks if and when they happened. (Submitted)
At 5:05 a.m. Mazen started broadcasting from a rooftop of a residential building. “Of course I was scared, but I had a mission to accomplish, and I could capture two airstrikes and Syrian anti-missiles live,” he said.
George Khoury, an information technology worker who lives in Al-Kasaa area (about 2 km from central Damascus), wasn’t asleep yet when he heard the airstrikes. “I rushed to the rooftop along with my kids and wife to watch it, I saw our Syrian anti-missiles illuminating our sky. On the rooftop we repeated ‘God damn you, Trump.'”
‘It was such a bizarre show’
At 5.15 a.m., silence fell over the city. The strikes appeared to have ceased, but people waited, unsure it was the end.
“During this 45 minutes people were terrified, they did not know what to expect, some went live on FB, or read news, or went down to shelters, or did not even wake up,” said Bilal. “Others were roaming streets by their cars and playing national anthems. But when people realized that the strikes were over they laughed out loud; it was such a bizarre show. The mortar shells that we have witnessed over the past seven years were way more serious.”
But Bilal couldn’t go to sleep afterwards. “I thought the forces were just warming up.”
George Khoury works in IT and lives in Al-Kasaa area, about 1.9 kilometres from central Damascus. (Submitted)
Khoury, on the other hand, “went to bed happily.” He said that there were times when mortar shells had made him more scared. “The airstrikes failed to accomplish any goal. Our anti-missiles that is 30 years old could stop 70 of their ‘smart’ missiles; I can’t be more proud of our military,” he said.
Mazen, meanwhile, kept his camera feed live until he was totally sure the airstrikes were through. “When it was over, I felt at ease. People were relieved; they thanked God that the airstrikes passed … they were also very proud of our National Syrian military who stopped more than 70 airstrikes.”
U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence said the strikes “crippled the chemical weapons capability of Syria.”
‘The morning of resilience’
At 11 a.m., the president’s office posted a video that appeared to show Assad arriving for work on Saturday just hours after the attack. The video ran with the caption “The morning of resilience.” Meanwhile, hundreds of Syrians gathered at landmark squares in the Syrian capital, honking car horns, flashing victory signs and waving Syrian flags.
George Khoury woke up around 7 a.m., read the news and slowly hit the road to work. “Life looked totally normal,” he said. “If anything is new it’s that people were cursing the United States and its allies out loud.”
Bothered by the night’s events, Bilal decided to take a day off. But yet “nothing major has changed in the city,” he said. “Only a higher level of public sarcasm. People were celebrating victory in the streets and making fun of the United States.”
While Donald Trump was tweeting “Mission accomplished,” people all over the Syrian regime areas were celebrating what they perceived as their country’s victory in protecting their people.
The U.S. has said the attacks were carried out to avoid civilian casualties.
“The United States should have waited for the chemical weapon experts’ report,” said Khoury. “The strikes made a reverse effect; it boosted people’s belief in their army and political leaders.”
The Syrian raid was so perfectly carried out, with such precision, that the only way the Fake News Media could demean was by my use of the term “Mission Accomplished.” I knew they would seize on this but felt it is such a great Military term, it should be brought back. Use often!
The U.S. has been attempting to enter Syria for almost five years now, and the chemical weapons pretext has been in play since the invasion of Iraq.
We seem to be in a repeat cycle. Some kind of macabre Groundhog Day where no matter how many times we manage to survive the day, we keep waking up to the same twisted scenario.
Retired General Wesley Clark told us over a decade ago of the military plan to invade Syria, and now in the Syrian theater, the drive to force Russia into retaliation against the U.S. is deadly persistent. This would undoubtedly start a global nuclear conflict. Double plus ungood.
In 2013, I wrote an article regarding the Obama administration’s threats to bomb Syria:
“With the United States government mobilizing to live up to expectations that it would eventually find justification for the bombing, destruction, and occupation of Syria, those of us who’ve overcome the fear propaganda of the security state are forced to watch in unspeakable sadness as the resources of this nation are again stolen by our geo-political chess masters. The institutions that we so faithfully support with our tax dollars are once again demonstrating their disinterest in serving us, opting instead for blood in foreign lands, off on some veiled agenda of the elites, leaving America to toil in ruin. ” [Source]
As the U.S. continues to aid and support ISIS, Al-Nusra and other terrorist organizations in its ploy to overthrow the Assad government for the primary benefit of Israel, a false flag event signaling the beginning of a direct confrontation with Russia could come at any time. At present it looks as though the most likely scenario would be something along the lines of the USS Liberty attack, which would involve the deliberate targeting of our own forces while creating the perception of a Russian attack on U.S. or NATO components.
The situation in Syria is ripe for exactly this kind of covert, subversive tactic. There is historical precedence to suggest that a Syrian false flag event is imminent, therefore people the world over must prepare to resist and to survive this. [Source]
Now, as the world waits to see what the fallout will be from Trump’s April 13th strikes against Syria, I’m reminded of American mystic Edgar Cayce’s prophecy about Russia somehow preventing World War III.
In October of 2015, I wrote about this prophecy:
In a series of what he called ‘World Affairs Readings,’ Cayce made many remarkable statements about the future of world finance, world leadership, collective spirituality, and interestingly the role that somehow Russia was to play as a force of right in the coming global turmoil that we see unfolding before our eyes today.
Cayce foresaw that future world crises would hinge on finance, and he pointed to Russia as being the thorn in the side of the financial powers that were organizing themselves against the good of humanity in a post WWII world.
When asked in 1932 about political and economic trends in Europe Cayce zeroed in on Russia:
Europe is as a house broken up. Some years ago there was the experience of a mighty peoples being overridden for the gratification and satisfaction of a few, irrespective of any other man’s right. That peoples are going through the experience of being born again, and is the thorn in the flesh to many a political and financial nation in Europe, in the world… Q. What is the name of that nation referred to? A. Russia! (3976-8)” [Source]
At present we are in a situation where yet another American president ignores international and domestic law to start war, and we can only hope that Russian president Vladimir Putin responds in a way that manages to again de-escalate the West’s efforts to exacerbate the conflict. For whatever reason, this seems to be Putin’s most important role at the moment.
Journalist Paul Craig Roberts explains how Russia represents the current moral footing in the region and why the Neocon infested U.S. government sees humanitarian decision-making as a path toward provocation.
“Russia is intent on avoiding a conflict, not because Russia is scared of the US military, but because Russia understands it is dealing with a government of psychopaths that are willing to destroy not only seven Muslim countries in whole or part within the past 17 years, but also the entirety of humanity. Therefore, Putin sidesteps each orchestrated confrontation and stands on international law and legal norms.
The result, however, is not what a humane person would expect. The result of Russian humaneness is to provoke more provocations from the evil that is the West.” ~Paul Craig Roberts
Sheer madness is the only thing that explains the behavior of the U.S., France and England at present. In short, we’re dealing with psychopaths who clearly want a major escalation and are crafting the perfect storm for global nuclear war.
As crazy as it sounds, it seems that Vladimir Putin does indeed have an incredibly important role in stopping World War III at the moment.
Dylan Charles is the editor of Waking Times and co-host of Redesigning Reality, both dedicated to ideas of personal transformation, societal awakening, and planetary renewal. His personal journey is deeply inspired by shamanic plant medicines and the arts of Kung Fu, Qi Gong and Yoga. After seven years of living in Costa Rica, he now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and enjoys spending time with family. He has written hundreds of articles, reaching and inspiring millions of people around the world.
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone