The Fog Of War: Maniacs & Armageddon
Many living Americans still have indelible memories of the closest encounter with Armageddon during October 16, 1962 – October 29, 1962. Although it seems like ancient history to most millennials, the Cuban Missile Crisis wasn’t far in the remote past. The Cold War had reached a boiling point when a combination of Russian missiles and nuclear weapons were spotted in Cuba- less than 100 miles from the continental U.S.
At the helm of this unprecedented situation, a young untested president, combined with a collection of military leaders nearly brought the world to the brink of annihilation. Lest we forget, most of the commanders advising the Cuban Missile Crisis served in WWII merely a decade prior, little time in the grand scheme of things to shift their military mindset from Nazi’s to Communists.
The most aggressive of the decorated leaders that made up the joint Chiefs of Staff was the head of the Air Force, Curtis LeMay, who was resolute that nuclear conflagration with the Soviet Union was certain and viewed the appearance of Soviet missiles as a golden opportunity to get the inevitable over and done with.
Robert McNamara, who served in the U.S. Air Force under Lemay during WWII, notes in the chilling documentary “Fog of War” that LeMay was not an easy man to say no to. He was emblematic of the leader who both talked and walked the walk.
One particular anecdote leaves a chilling impression that shines a bright spotlight on those few ‘touch-and-go’ days in which we faced Armageddon. LeMay was commander of British sorties against the Germans during WWII. McNamara led a staff that did statistical analysis on operations. In one report he noted that an unexpectedly high number was not completed. McNamara reasoned that the likely cause was fear of getting shot down. LeMay’s immediate reply- that he would be the lead pilot in future sorties, strongly emphasizing that crew of any plane that did not complete the mission would face court martial. No surprise the number of incomplete missions dropped to nearly zero. This preternaturally zealous warrior would have probably loved to fly the lead bomber which took out the Russian nukes in Cuba. In LeMay’s reasoning, the mushroom clouds that would follow was a price worth paying for eliminating an enemy.
And so, an untested president and his Secretary of Defense who were quite familiar with obeying direct orders from LeMay (as well as the others on the Joint Chiefs) were being urged to do the “right thing.”
I doubt there are few Americans – even those that have vivid memories of this event – that have any idea how close we came to worldwide annihilation.
For many years I had very mixed feelings about Kennedy. After watching the Fog of War, I came to regard him as a true hero – a man whose spiritual sense what was right shielded the world from utter disaster. What is especially frightening about today is that domestic leaders such as Biden and his advisors are far more hawkish than the military. On a number of occasions the military have argued for negotiations- and in all those cases- the domestic leaders have denied their requests.
I’m not alone in my growing fear of nuclear annihilation. In March 2022, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved their doomsday clock to 100 seconds to midnight which is used as a metaphor for worldwide extinction. For perspective, since it was introduced in the aftermath of WWII, with the clock initially set at 7 minutes to midnight, it was moved to 2 minutes before midnight in 1953 as both the U.S. and Russia embarked on testing hydrogen bombs.
When the Cold War ended in 1991, the big hand moved to 17 minutes before midnight, its most distant and safest point since the Bulletin was introduced. The clock’s setting in March marked the first time that the time to Armageddon was being measured in metaphorical seconds, no longer minutes.
Finally, I want to say that while I think a decisive victory in the Ukraine, especially by the Russians, which contrary to all the propaganda becomes more likely by the day, will put the question of Armageddon to the West.
War In Ukraine Hits Major Inflection Point For NATO
As the war in Ukraine approaches its first anniversary, events suggest that even 100 seconds may be too optimistic. Foremost the war is not against Ukraine but rather between NATO and Russia. Without interference from NATO – and in particular Britain and the U.S. – a negotiated settlement would have likely been reached in the very early part of the war, probably in April or May. Turkish leader Erdogan had done a lot of the heavy lifting in establishing a framework and assuring that the parties were ready to make at least some concessions.
Russia’s biggest task was that Ukraine agreed to stay neutral between NATO and Russia. Just like the United States during the Cuban missile crisis- Russia did not want to be surrounded by NATO members and had ready access to nuclear arms. Ukraine had agreed that it would agree to remain neutral. My guess is the Russian speaking regions that had been under constant attack for eight years was an issue that could have been resolved with proper monitoring. You can never prove a counterfactual, but it is clear that once Boris Johnson (the then PM of Britain) began to show up regularly in Kiev, the negotiations ground to a halt as Ukraine refused to participate following Johnson’s visit.
I know some of this may be hard to believe. The reason it’s hard to believe is due to the enormous control of Western media and skewed narratives of which our leaders have indoctrinated the masses.
Here is one of the most chilling examples of skewed mass indoctrination. Angela Merkel, originally from eastern Germany, was widely regarded as a major reason the Euro zone had remained cohesive for as long as it has. Although few Americans are familiar with Merkel, she was a giant on the Western political stage for more than a decade. Incidentally, Angela Merkel left office shortly before the Ukraine war began. However she recently gave a jaw dropping interview to German media. Noteworthy, not one major or even minor media outlet in the U.S. has even mentioned the interview. Yes the interview was in German, but Google translate tends to work pretty well.
Merkel’s most telling comments during the interview were about the Minsk accords that followed in the aftermath of the coup. Many credible sources believe the coup was engineered in 2014 by the United Stated but that’s up for speculation. True or not, the coup resulted in throwing out a democratically elected president, who was doing his best to stay neutral between Russia and Europe. The president was replaced by a pro-Europe puppet. Putin reacted by invading Ukraine. He took back Crimea and also set up the Donbass as a separately governed part of East Ukraine.
The Donbass was pro-Russian and were treated as second class citizens. By and large their native language was Russian, yet they were only permitted to speak Russian in their homes. Putin’s justification was that the pro-European leader was not willing to give Putin access to the Black Sea. Crimea has always been a Russian speaking part of the Soviet Union and was a critical port for the USSR. In the 1950s Khrushchev had made Crimea, which had always been a separate part of the USSR- annexed to Ukraine. I don’t believe the reasons for Khrushchev’s are known. We do know that during the days of Khrushchev, this annexation had little to no geopolitical significance.
It wasn’t until Ukraine showed clear signs of wanting to join NATO that Putin made an attempt to deal with the situation, created by Gorbachev’s negligence for not insisting on keeping the port region of Crimea as part of Russia, in a fair and friendly way.
What followed Putin’s 2015 invasion was constant shelling of the eastern Russian enclaves, the Donbass by military forces in the west. All of this led to the Minsk accords, which both sides, Ukraine and Russia signed off on. In brief Ukraine constantly violated the first Minsk accord and a second was negotiated, which Ukraine also violated and continued to violate.
He had proposed that Russia be granted a long-term lease on Crimea for which Ukraine would be paid. The ousted leader had agreed. But his replacement was going to annul the agreement. Moreover, with a growing chance Ukraine would become a NATO member there was a growing chance that Russia- similar to what happened in 1961- would result in an ‘iron ring’ around Russia, entirely surrounded by NATO members of which all had access to nuclear weaponry.
The difference is this time around- the roles were reversed. Western Ukraine (where the capital is located) has vast cultural and linguistic differences from Eastern Ukraine. While Ukrainian is commonly spoken in the West- Russian is commonly spoken in the East. Indeed, according to language analysts in Ukraine, the language actually has more in common with Polish than with Russian.
Back to Merkel’s interview. The jaw-dropper was that she made clear the West never had any intention of honoring the Minsk accords, rather they had used them to buy time so that they could create a powerful fighting force in the Ukraine army – an army with intentions to challenge Russia and effect regime change.
Again, think about the immense treasure trove of natural resources in Russia which would be there for the taking if Putin would fall and Russia were split into multiple separate countries. The bottom line from Merkel’s interview is that for 8 years, Russians were shelled by the Ukraine military in the west. And all the while they were being trained by NATO and given a large stock of weapons. The West, America et al. has, of course been keen on painting Putin as a psychopathic fascist who cares only about conquest. While the Merkel narrative doesn’t make Putin a candidate for canonization… It certainly shatters the Western media’s narrative.