The only man in the room - Kennedy 1962

by slimboyfat 20 Replies latest social current

  • slimboyfat

    The interview in this video with prize winning journalist Christo Grozev is the most frightening interview I’ve ever seen. Putin is talking privately about using tactical nuclear weapons against a NATO country if the war in Ukraine goes badly. (As I am sure you have noticed, the war is going badly)

  • Fisherman


    I think the video downplays the importance of Ukraine to Russia as the proximate cause of the invasion.

    I agree that President Putin is concerned with Nato in Eastern Europe but Russia would still want to invade Ukraine for other reasons.

    I don’t agree that the Russian people have not reached a breaking point. They don’t want Putin to start a nuclear war.

  • slimboyfat

    Putin believes in spheres of influence for great powers. He would prefer that Ukraine was part of Russia but a separate Ukraine that was aligned with Russia would have been acceptable, just as he finds the political situation in Belarus acceptable. (However that ship has sailed for Ukraine now, unfortunately) What Putin, and many Russians too, find unacceptable is a Ukraine which is aligned with the west, because he finds the idea of a military base so close to Moscow intolerable. (In this context Vlad explains, with many examples, that Putin is completely obsessed with the speed of nuclear weapons in particular)

    I have no special insight on the feelings of the Russian people. I find the explanation of a Vlad Vexler informative because he grew up in Russia, understands Russian, follows developments in Russia closely, and is a political scientist/philosopher by training. He gives a fuller explanation of the situation in Russia in the video below, including what Russian people think, and the limited ability to curtail Putin. His explanation of the trembling of Russia’s security chief before Putin was particularly incisive—and terrifying for its implications for Putin’s intentions and the inability of those around him to alter his course.

  • slimboyfat

    Vlad Vexler says the clans around Putin who are positioning themselves for power are more radical than Putin himself and that in some ways Putin’s threat of using nuclear weapons was intended to appease those who would go further at this moment. That is a terrifying analysis, if true, because not even the deposition of Putin offers any solace. There may truly no longer be any viable way out of this horrendous situation. The best chance we have might still be along the lines suggested by Yanis Varoufakis: immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine in exchange for the guaranteed permanent neutrality of Ukraine and removal of NATO troops from Eastern Europe. This is certainly far from ideal, and far from what the west wants, but western leaders really need to consider carefully that it may be much better than the alternatives, which are too awful to contemplate, but we must contemplate and face with realism and pragmatism.

  • LoveUniHateExams

    @SBF - excellent video, essential viewing.

    It also strikes me as funny when people say 'Putin's gone mad!'. The reality is Putin hasn't changed - it's the media and politicians who never knew the real Putin.

    And that's pretty scary. Putin and his colleagues aren't going anywhere.

    We've got to deal with him, and by that I mean handle with extreme care.

  • Anony Mous
    Anony Mous

    I think JFK royally screwed that one up though. In the end JFK practically chose for Cuba to be a terrorist dictatorship with terrible suffering for millions over the years and gave Turkey over to Islamic and particularly Iranian interests which led to the modern era of Turkey being a hellhole, Afghanistan, Iraq etc. Not only that, it lead to a massive nuclear scare, nuclear missiles off the coast of Florida means the US was permanently weakened.

    There would've been no nuclear war, this is all just grandstanding, the Soviets knew they had no chance of winning any war, but they knew JFK was a weak president, they didn't do the same with Nixon or Reagan, because they knew that actions have consequences with those presidents.

    Just like Russia knows they cannot win a nuclear war, China knows that would be the end of both their empires, it's all just grandstanding in the hopes that a weak US President will just give them what they want. They're basically North Korea, only bigger.

    Sometimes leaders just got to tell their constituents that they have to sacrifice, that is true leadership, not cowering and letting others take both the blame and bear the results of your actions.

  • Fisherman
    but a separate Ukraine that was aligned with Russia would have been acceptable

    And that can only be achieved with an invasion.

  • titch

    Just one other small correction----JFK's brother, Robert F. Kennedy, was the Attorney General, not the Secretary State. Just thought I'd mention that. It didn't change the way that things happened, though. Best Regards, Everyone


  • slimboyfat

    The Soviet leaders had already delegated the use of nuclear weapons to local command in 1962. So in effect they had already chosen the nuclear option. It was pure luck that one officer refused to agree to the use of nuclear torpedoes. .

    So I don’t know where this idea “there would have been no nuclear war” comes from. As a general statement of belief that it’s simply “incredible” somehow, it’s a very dangerous attitude, because extreme vigilance and caution is required if we are to have any hope of avoiding it long term. Complacency is disaster.

    The idea that “Russia know they can’t win” has little to do with it. There are many reasons a human could convince themselves that a nuclear strike isn’t completely insane. It’s the kind of topic that can tie even the most rational of people in a logical mess. Note that even the pacifist Bertrand Russell briefly advocated a first strike against Russia because he worked himself into such a state that he concluded it might be the least worst option. The idea that Putin isn’t capable of making gross miscalculations is contradicted by the invasion of Ukraine itself. Plus if Putin is given no longer way out then, no matter how bad the odds, he may opt for a strike. In fact a good journalist, with god sources, reports soberly that those around Putin think it’s currently the plan. This is an extremely perilous situation we’re in.

    titch thanks for the correction on RFK being the Attorney General.

  • Anony Mous
    Anony Mous

    @slimboyfat: The incident surrounding Vasily Arkhipov was not due to a command from up high, it was a commander that had gotten the idea that the US had already launched because he lost communication. This wasn't the first and definitely not the last time these things happened. There are various occasions that due to miscommunication threatened to launch a war.

    There was no indication during the Cuban missile 'crisis' that the Russians would strike, putting the nukes in Cuba would have given no warning to the US had a missile strike been ordered against southern US states. So it seems insane that JFK would think they would first strike and then allowed them to put the missiles so close to home, he would have no warning when they actually did. I think both parties correctly assessed and backchanneled that neither would launch a first strike and the whole thing was just political theater in the end.

    But JFK had, like Biden, no idea who or what would come after him, the fall of the Soviet Union dismantled a lot of protections in the command structure and like Biden he didn't care, as long as he had his political 'win' and could go another election (well, that was his plan at least). They don't think long-term, like China does. Hence why China doesn't want a long-term war nor a nuclear option, they, like the Soviet Union think not about winning today's battle but about winning tomorrow's war.

    I think here too, there are still a lot of backchannels into Putin's organizational structure. The media isn't telling us everything, the government sure as hell isn't and Putin, like Biden is probably oblivious to the puppet masters that pull the government strings. I stand by the notion that even if Putin loses, he will not pull the trigger and if he did, there is definitely someone standing in the shadows to put a knife in his back if he truly loses it. His health is already weaker, so it'll probably blamed on that, the next president will then not admit defeat but start consolidating his forces and that will be it.

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