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Does Hillary's victory guarantee a nuclear war?

It's unlikely but similar, weaker statements are probably true

Criticisms of Donald Trump are usually ill-defined insults, slurs, or accusations, or ad hominem attacks focused on things that don't matter. Even though he is no "clearcut conservative", Trump has personified the targets of many weird far left-wing conspiracy theories. For example, a part of the left-wing ideological psychopaths known as the climate alarmists have turned Trump into the man who will single-handedly destroy the Earth by making it fry through global warming.



I genuinely hope that as a president, Trump could have both the strength and the moral qualities to stop the climate hysteria for good. You know, to strip the emergent warming fascists of their power could be easier than to warm the whole atmosphere by several degrees. Trump's climatic skeptical credentials may be some 20% of the reasons why I prefer him over Clinton.

We're facing lots of fearmongering – I have always thought that an overwhelming majority of the fearmongering that surrounds us is just silly – but we're facing it on both sides of the presidential campaign. One of the latest memes that has emerged from several sources is that Hillary Clinton, if she wins the U.S. presidency, will unavoidably drag the U.S. to a nuclear war against Russia.




Many people have probably offered this prediction. But I will pick two prominent enough sources, one from Russia and one from the U.S.




Ms Jill Stein, the Green Party's U.S. presidential candidate, said that both major candidates have lethal policies and she won't sleep well in either case. However, a Hillary Clinton that can control the nuclear buttons is much scarier than Donald Trump, Stein suggested.

These worries are mainly based on

  1. Clinton's particular plans to support Assad's jihadist opposition in Syria
  2. the general anti-Russian hysteria that Hillary Clinton became an important source of
The idea is that Clinton wants to call for a no-fly zone or other explosive policies in Syria which will produce an open Russian-American conflict on the Syrian territory that may expand to a full-fledged war – and, indeed, it may be a nuclear war because Clinton and everyone around her seems pre-programmed by making the Russian-American relationships worse than ever.

Am I worried about this possibility? Yes, I am slightly worried. Do I find a nuclear war reasonably likely? So far, not so much. I don't really believe that Clinton and other Russophobes are so fanatical that they would really be willing to sacrifice the U.S. cities. And you know, Russians are willing to do something like that under certain extreme enough circumstances. And in a recent debate, Donald Trump has correctly observed that the Russian nuclear toolkit has undergone a more intense wave of modernization than its American counterpart. America really doesn't have the nuclear muscle to act in an excessively self-confident way towards Russia.



It's one thing to boast about one's hatred towards Russia or nurture conspiracy theories about Trump's being an agent of the Kremlin. It's another thing to press the button that sends the nukes somewhere – and that may guarantee a mirror nuke landing in the U.S. So far, I am not really willing to think that Hillary would do the latter.

Of course, Russia may in principle press the nuclear button first. Some disagreements in Syria could in principle be enough for that. But do I believe that Russia would send nukes to the U.S. as soon as Clinton would declare a no-fly zone in Syria or something like that? I don't believe it, either. There may be a U.S.-Russian conflict in Syria but I think that it would probably remain confined to the territory of Syria – and to the domain of words. Even if Russians deliberately bombed a U.S. warship near Syria or something like that, the conflict between the powers would probably not spread outside the Middle East.



In this video, Hillary basically says that she will declare war on Russia as soon as some hackers are "accused" of being Russian. Not to mention that many more hackers are American than Russian. What she says is absolutely nutty but should you take the macho words seriously? Some Russian media think otherwise. They endorsed Hillary because they believe that she will be a weak president which will be good for Russia.

My Russian source is Vladimir Zhirinovsky. He said that the American-Russian relationships cannot become worse anymore. With one exception. When Hillary Clinton is elected, they will become even worse because the nuclear war will start. That's why those Americans who prefer the peace in the world should better vote for Donald Trump, Zhirinovsky says. Under Hillary, Hiroshimas and Nagasakis will be everywhere.

These comments reflect Hillary's new status as a self-appointed Russophobe-in-chief. Her hostile words ignite reactions, according to Newton's third law, and Zhirinovsky's words are one such reaction. But is Zhirinovsky thinking about some more specific mechanisms that will kickstart the war? I am not sure. A general question is how seriously Zhirinovsky's words should be taken.



CNN has asked Russia's FM Lavrov what he thought about the pußy that Donald Trump has grabbed in 2005 – which led to Trump's Pußy Riot moment, analogous to Russia's Pußy Riot moment. Lavrov, uncertain whether his English as a second language would sound decent enough, answered that there are so many pußies around both campaigns in the presidential elections that he would choose not to comment on them. :-)

You know, he is a boss of a nationalist party in Russia – one of the four parties in the Parliament. No self-declared anti-Putin party has made it to the Russian Parliament. So Reuters calls him "a Putin ally". It's a very problematic label, of course, because he is still leading a different party that competes with Putin's. Putin is mainly an old-fashioned conservative politician not too different from Helmut Kohl and many others. Zhirinovsky is the head of a highly idiosyncratic nationalist party. To say that they're "the same" means to show the lack of understanding for Politics 101.

Also, I've been watching Zhirinovsky for some 25 years. He's been a part-time clown. All of his famous propositions that have made it to the media were tainted by some conspiracy theories or immense exaggeration – and, I believe that in many cases, intentional humor (which is a good thing in Russia because they usually have a shortage of it). In some cases, I could feel a sympathy with the "core" of his proclamations. Sometimes, I disagreed. But I don't remember that his propositions could have been considered as accurate, trustworthy predictions or realistic plans. For us in Czechoslovakia, Zhirinovsky was always somewhat analogous to Dr Miroslav Sládek, a "republican" nationalist leader who was visible shortly after 1989 and who is trying to return to politics these days (with no chance). Sládek is Mr Bean's lookalike, he agrees with this comment, and he has even said that Mr Bean was a 3rd-class comedian who was amplified by someone in order to damage the image of Dr Sládek! ;-)

Sládek has said lots of things that were mostly interpreted as jokes by most of the Czechs, not real positions and plans to think of, and he surely realized that they were "mostly jokes". For example, the Subcarpathian Rus should have been returned to Czechoslovakia, he proposed, gypsies should have been relocated over there, and the Subcarpathian Rus should be returned to Ukraine, he once said. Or the gypsies should move to Spain because they can eat bananas there and don't need to work. And stuff like that. Zhirinovsky seemed like a similar guy. You shouldn't evaluate his propositions as full-fledged political ideas or programs. You must partly rate them as arts and (usually highly provocative) entertainment.

But in this case, like in several others, I do think that the core of Zhirinovsky's and Stein's pronouncement is true. Hillary Clinton's victory will probably bring us another wave of deterioration of the Russian-American relationships and the increase of the risks for the global peace. And the Clinton presidency could (not so?) ironically lead to a new wave of McCarthyism in which people are being harassed for their allegedly positive attitudes to Russia. It's a scary path but I don't think – but I can be wrong – that the out-of-Syria American-Russian war is imminent.

One reason why I think that it isn't imminent is that it's not being freely discussed. People who "hate" the other side aren't talking about specific enough plans to ignite the war yet. They're not proposing visions about the better world after this war is won yet. This is a different situation than in early 1939 when people in Germany and outside Germany were already discussing some detailed aspects of the coming war, the balance of power, probability of victory, and sketches of the post-war world. After all, Adolf Hitler has written many dramatic things about the future war in Mein Kampf, a book that was published 14 years before the Second World War began.

Hillary hasn't written her Mein Kampf yet (if we ignore several books with similar titles that she has penned) that would outline such a big war and its advantages. So I think that people around her realize that it would be largely an uncharted territory with huge risks and their hysterical anti-Russian discourse won't translate into acts. On the other hand, Donald Trump has calm and somewhat positive relationships to Russia – and he also realizes that Putin's policy in Syria is way more sensible than Obama's – so there could be some improvement.



But it's not just Hillary and her campaign that is producing terrifying anti-Russia message. Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley – arguably the most important general in the whole Pentagon – has presented a hysterical hateful outburst in which he promised to destroy the enemies – Russia was mentioned on par with North Korea and two others – in a way that the enemy will be beaten harder than he's been ever beaten before etc. According to Milley, it's enough to "oppose the United States [and its allies such as the EU]" and you will be eradicated. Wow. Most citizens (or at least almost 50%) of the European countries oppose the EU, its deepening integration and its recent policies. Most British voters have opposed the EU in a referendum. And some 50% of the Americans oppose most Obama-era policies. Does it mean that Mr Milley is promising to eradicate us, too? OK, I surely don't want this kind of the United States to be building a missile defense radar 20 miles from my home. This kind of the United States is a kind of a country I want to be defended against and if a highly imperfect country such as Russia would have to be this defender, it would still be better.

I don't know how it works in the army. But holy cow, Mr Milley is clearly a brain-dead pile of proteins and steroids. It's not so hard to speak really aggressively and/or send troops or lethal weapons to various random places and kill many people. ISIS and Al Qaeda can do such things. If Mr Milley and others is being worshiped for this kind of a skill, it's too bad. It's much harder to carefully figure out which action is actually a helpful one. Mr Milley is clearly an example of a military that has run out of control by the citizens. The weakness of Obama's presidency has created a vacuum that has encouraged such generals who might want to play their own games.

Can the collaboration or competition between the likes of Hillary and the likes of Milley produce a nuclear war? It probably may. But such risks have always existed – although they existed in different geopolitical conditions and the detailed worries kept on changing in time.

So while I don't expect a full-fledged devastating war as the most likely scenario for 2017, I could sleep better if Trump were elected because it would be better for the sustainability of peace at the global level. There could be other things to make me and others lose sleep – for example, I do think that the world stock markets will lose several percent (unjustifiably so, because of a totally bogus propaganda and hysteria) after Trump wins (just like they did after the Brexit referendum) – but the global peace is arguably much more important and Hillary is growing into a threat for the global peace.

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