Hey did you hear that Putin has ordered state officials to bring their loved ones back to Russia amid a rising threat of a Third World War? If you read The Daily Mail Online you probably did. No doubt you’re probably reading this blog post on a short break before you get back to constructing your own private bomb shelter. If that’s the case, I’ve got good news for you- the story is bullshit.
First of all, here’s the same story from Meduza, which is based on the same source, Znak.com. Notice that the issue of war isn’t mentioned anywhere in the Meduza article. In fact, war is only mentioned one time in the original article, as a minor point compared to the repeated scandals about the children and relatives of Russia’s elite living luxurious lives in the West.
What you have just witnessed, dear reader, is how a minor story based on highly questionable unnamed sources evolves into panic-mongering clickbait about nuclear war. I too had been asked by someone to write up a story based on the piece in Znak, but quickly decided to kill it when I saw the paucity of sources. I’m only including that personal anecdote in hopes that others will follow the example the next time a sensationalist story like this one pops up.
On the topic of nuclear war I will say this. The children and relatives of the Russian elite would probably rather die in a nuclear holocaust than be pried from their luxury flats in London or their Brooklyn lofts and forced to live in Russia, even for their last days on Earth. Nuclear war these days isn’t just a matter of mutually assured destruction, but for the Russian elite it’s the end of any reason to live even if one survives. What is the point of surviving if, in the end, not only has your own country been reduced to ash (and it will be, Mr. Kiselyov, rest assured of that), but all those glitzy upscale shopping centers and night clubs have also been destroyed by your own warheads? Why go on living when you cannot lord your wealth over the people from whom you stole it?
Supposing there had been a nuclear war between the US and USSR, both countries at least had their own self-sufficient systems. In this way the survivors could hypothetically rebuild according to their own structures, laws, etc., paving the way for all kinds of post-apocalyptic tales. This is not the case today; Russia is integrated into the global economy. As such, it can be severely wounded without its enemies even firing a shot. The idea that the Russian ruling class has recently been imbued with a sense of genuine patriotism and plans to make Russia self-sufficient is nothing but a laughable delusion in the minds of “geopolitical experts.” Their very class existence is rooted in access to Western wealth, Western luxury, Western credit, and so on.
Lastly, it is true that Russia has been engaging in a lot of war-mongering hysteria lately, but I think there’s a logical reason for this. Russia’s antics are that of an unruly teenager craving attention. They want to be seen as a great power and as a spoiler when it comes to the plans of Western countries, in particular the United States. But what is happening right now can most likely be pinned on one thing- the US presidential election. They no doubt correctly calculated that Obama would not take any significant action that might hurt his party’s chances in November, and they’re going to try to get away with everything they can before mom and dad get home, so to speak.
I have no doubt that they’ll continue their current behavior for some time after the election, and possibly into the next administration as well, but I’m predicting the possibility of a noticeable plateau in Kremlin bullshit some time in 2017. Everything points to a Clinton victory at the moment, and they’ve done much to piss her off throughout this campaign. It will be a fresh administration and the US can levy more sanctions on Russia without any significant losses from the pathetic “counter-sanctions,” unlike little European nations that will throw Ukraine under the bus just to sell their fucking cheese to Russia.
So yeah, we’re in the middle of a “New Cold War,” but this one’s going to be much shorter and sadder than the last.