Friday, March 7, 2014

World War III, not the TV mini-series

This is the narrative. When the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan the US and the West cut off grain shipments to the starving nation, the victim of the failure of its agricultural system. In the mini-series World War III starring Rock Hudson, the Soviets respond by a secret attack on the trans-Alaska pipeline.
They figure it will be a snap to take a crucial but remote pumping station. Unfortunately, a National Guard unit made up of Alaska natives is nearby.
Hopefully, the impasse between Moscow and the West will not end like the mini-series does. Hudson realizes the Russians are lying, believing they can launch a first strike because the US president has to go to Congress. Hudson's president hangs up and launches a full-scale strike.
Russian President Putin has already been caught lying; denying there are Russian troops in Crimea. The world has seen the trucks, and their armored personnel carriers.
Sixty-eight years ago this week former British Prime Minister identified the Iron Curtain. "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent,” he said.
Putin said the masked men may have gotten their unforms at an Army-Navy story. Jon Stewart asked : "10,000?"
The Soviets or Russians have always believed they have an advantage because democracies are weak. They are counting on that now.
Their threat to shutdown a natural gas pipeline going through Ukraine will stop shipments to Germany. NATO forces could easily take control of the pipline if the Russians try to bypass Ukraine.
German Prime Minister Angela Merkel will have no choice.
In fact, analysts on some US and international networks are saying Putin has lost. Without the billions from Europe for its gas its treasury will be empty.
The saying goes: "When the treasury is empty, regimes fall."
It has been an exceptionally mild winter in Europe, and energy stockpiles have built up. It may take some time for Norway, the US and other providers to fill the gap, but the Arab oil embargo did not work. Forcing people not to drive faster than 55 mph, and allowing cars with even-numbered license plates to buy gasoline on certain days, and odd-numbered plates on other days, was little more than a nuisance.
In the mini-series, the US is forced to launch its missiles not because of a power-hungry, fluoride-fearing general in Florida as in “Dr. Strangelove.” Rather, rogue KGB officers have deposed the president.
So far, Ukrainian forces endured insults, shots fired over their heads, and still not retalitated. The BBC said Russian troops attacked a Ukrainian base Friday, crashing through a gate. The BBC tried to minimize it, saying perhaps it was only the result of some Russian troops losing patience. Or were they following orders.


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