‘Three minutes’ from a global disaster. US Army top brass in Kiev


Last week the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, founded in 1945 by concerned US nuclear scientists, published a disconcerting report. The clock indicating how many minutes we are (figuratively) from a disaster that will end all life on the planet, stands at 3 to 12. The best point in this regard was 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed: 17 minutes to 12. After that the US through NATO has begun a forward press towards the Russian border that has brought the world to the brink of a nuclear confrontation. And even if we succeed in avoiding that, the climate will finish us. 
So, time to dispatch general Fred Hodges (pictured), commanding officer of the American forces in Europe, to Kiev.


The NATO advance is one aspect of the life-threatening situation; the other is the complete failure of governments to change course in the direction of a green economy. Last year alone another $660 billion has been invested in new sources of oil and gas. When I cycle in North Holland province in the summer, even there I see a ballpark-size complex, with a drilling tower rising above it, of which I have heard (it is entirely surrounded by anonymous fences) that this too is a shale oil/gas field. So whilst two-third of currently known, conventionally accessible oil and gas reserves in the world would be best left in the soil if we are to avoid a climate catastrophe, even in the marshy grassland of this low-lying area of our country we are polluting ground water with chemicals to exploit, by un-conventional means, extra oil and gas.

All governments in the world are almost equally responsible for this disastrous, suicidal policy.

The West however is responsible for the new nuclear arms race. ‘Putin’ can only be blamed for taking up the challenge, as happened in the Soviet era. Because Russia has a much weaker economic basis that the US and the NATO countries, it will lose any race as long as it remains ‘economic’. If things go wrong, we are all finished. The real warning time is incidentally eerily close to the figurative 3 minutes, viz., 15 minutes—one mistake, a computer error, a Christian fundamentalist in the US, or a drunken officer in Russia… Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, ‘Dr. Strangelove’, comes to mind, and must be viewed again by new generations.

That the clock has moved from 17 to 12, to 3 to twelve between 1991 and today, has only one cause and that is the NATO and EU policy to try and push Russia against the wall. On the brutal coup d’état in Ukraine in February last year, there was a fine piece of reporting in the New York Times earlier this month. Fine, because the writers, whilst obviously paying lip service to the new Cold War mantra that everything coming from Russian sources is lies and propaganda, still have done their job. Thus they found that whilst the ministers of foreign affairs of a few EU countries negotiated an agreement with Yanukovych, there were parallel talks in the German embassy in Kiev, at ambassadors’ level. How an ambassadors’ meeting can override a ministerial/presidential one, transpires once we learn that at this meeting, the US too was represented. The Ukrainian side was represented by Andriy Parubiy, in balaclava, and identified in the report as the security chief of the Maidan occupiers (that he is also the founder of the neo-fascist Svoboda party is not mentioned). Parubiy threatened to have the arms captured by his supporters in Lviv transported to Kiev if the West continued to deal with Yanukovych.

Since there had already been a bloodbath among demonstrators and police (according to the Estonian foreign secretary, by the Maidan occupiers—so if Parubiy was indeed their ‘security chief’, under his responsibility), this was taken seriously.

In the meantime, following the signing of the agreement with the EU, Yanukovych had left for a tour of the Donbass, his home base; the riot police, with no clear instructions forthcoming, was beginning to melt away. In Kiev Parubiy, Yatsenyuk, and their followers seized power and that was it.

Again, reading such a report requires some background knowledge, otherwise one cannot entirely grasp which political and international forces are represented by the different personalities. Or why the US did not participate in the negotiations with Yanukovych, but was present in the Germany embassy conversation with Parubiy. Still it leaves you with the sense that these journalists take their profession seriously, within the limits of what they licensed to write.

In the meantime the Americans are going to train to Ukrainian army, first in the west and then in the direction of the frontline. 4800 dead counted, more than ten thousand injured, almost a million refugees.

And three to twelve.

Kees van der Pijl






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