By Joel M Skousen Editor World Affairs Brief 

As the US and Russia square up their support on opposite sides of the conflict in Syria, not a few mainstream news sources are beginning to fret about this confrontation breaking out into a larger war, which might go nuclear. In many ways the US is provoking Russia in Syria in sabotaging the ceasefire by attacking Syrian troops with US jets, sending in troops on the ground to advise and arm the Syrian opposition, and threatening a “no fly” zone over any place US troops reside. Most of the talk of war is in the EU and UK but at least one US general is putting out bravado about easily beating the Russians in a war, while admitting it will be deadly on both sides. On the one hand, it is a good thing that some people are waking up to the threat of the Russian military, which is already deep into strategic rearmament, but on the other hand, panicky claims too early will only put people back to sleep if they don’t pan out soon. Dozens of subscribers have written to see if all this means my timetable for WWIII has changed. This week I’ll give my updated analysis.

Daisy Luther wrote probably the most comprehensive “worry piece” about war breaking out between the US and Russia, in the Activist Post, listing “8 Alarming Warning Signs” which I’ll reference as the basis and counter point to my arguments.

How many more indicators do we need to see to realize that a major confrontation between Russia and the West is approaching rapidly? Is World War III upon us? Because it’s certainly starting to look that way, and I am far from the only person saying it. The most alarming thing about it is that WWIII is most likely to involve nuclear weapons, which brings the destruction to a level that threatens the very existence of humanity.

Frankly, you have to be more than an armchair journalist to understand all the strategic factors involved in going to war on such a worldwide scale. As I will analyze below, while the factors for a deadly confrontation in Syria are the highest they have been since Russia intervened, the strategic factors for a much wider conflict are not even close yet.

Steve Rosenberg, Russia correspondent for the BBC tweets constantly about the situation in Russia. To quote him: “When 1 Russian paper talks about a war between US & Russia, that’s worrying. When 2 papers do it, it’s very worrying.”

The Sun, a British tabloid, also voiced concerns for war, but, these are unschooled opinions which fail to really understand what it takes to prepare for a world war—which never happens for the “accidental” reasons promoted in the history books. These writers have failed to compare the current situation with the rise of Hitler and WWII. Not only were there dozens of papers talking about war in Europe but some also reported Russia massing troops and equipment, and openly intervening in neighboring nations. So far, that’s happening only in minor ways—compared to what a real pre-war scenario would look like.

In no particular order, here are 8 warning signs that should grab your attention right now.

#1 The Epic Civilian Drill: This one worries the daylights out of me. Russia is currently conducting a drill that involves more than 40 million people and scenarios will cover biological, chemical, and nuclear emergencies. The ministry revealed 40 million civilians, 200,000 emergency rescuers and 50,000 units of equipment are involved in the war game, which is running from October 4 to October 7.

Can you hear me now? An activity on that level, with 40 million civilians? Are you really convinced that is a drill? The logistics alone make me wonder if action is about to be taken.

This is no more an immediate harbinger of war than the kinds of moderate sized military exercises that NATO and Russia do on a regular basis. Besides, the 40 million participants number is an impossibility for an exercise. Russians engage in a lot of bravado themselves making their people feel proud once again to be a “major world power.” The Russians are counting all the citizens in the cities where these exercises are taking place—not just the active participants.

On the other hand, this is a harbinger of Russia’s long-term preparations—getting their people ready for nuclear war. Our government knows it is coming and is busy building a raft of new underground bunker cities for certain insiders—not its civilian population.

#2 The Deputy Commander of NATO and a US Admiral are worriedBack in May the former deputy commander of NATO, General Sir Alexander Richard Shirreff, warned about a major confrontation between Russia and the West. US Admiral James Stavridis, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe, echoed that view saying: “Under President Putin, Russia has charted a dangerous course that, if it is allowed to continue, may lead inexorably to a clash with Nato. And that will mean a war that could so easily go nuclear.”

Yes, NATO ought to be worried. They would face the brunt of a land invasion, and they are unprepared, except for modest sized elite units from various countries. That’s one of the reasons that NATO is starting to push for a unified European Army, but current anti-EU sentiment makes that politically impossible. So to a certain extent, the hype about a current Russian threat is meant to increase support for that EU army.

#3 Peace talks about a cease-fire in Syria have broken downTalks between Washington and Moscow that aimed to broker a peaceful solution in Syria broke down completely last week.

The rift between the U.S. and Russia deepened Monday as the Obama administration quit talks over the failed cease-fire in Syria, saying Moscow’s role in the bombardment of Aleppo left nothing more to discuss. The decision ends for now prospects for a truce and threatens to send the long war in a perilous new direction and makes hopes for a political settlement more distant.

In today’s situation, it is true that Russia is in the midst of a stealth invasion of the Ukraine, but the reason it is by stealth and not openly is that Russia isn’t ready to start a massive war with the West. In Syria, Russia’s intervention is defensive of its ally, Bashar al Assad. Western globalists actually started this ginned up “civil war” against Syria by importing fighters and arming them with anti-tank weapons. In Syria the globalists are clearly the aggressors, fueled by constant US media propaganda filling the airwaves with falsehoods about Assad using chemical weapons on his own people and bombing hospitals and aid convoys. Each of those have been US and British black operations designed to blame Assad and justify US intervention which Russia is countering. Today, the US Sec. of State Kerry had the audacity to blame Russia for war crimes over these incidents the US created.

#4 Russia is no longer participating in a nuclear disarmament agreement that has lasted since 2000: Russia has backed out of a deal to convert 34 tonnes of weapons grade plutonium into nuclear fuel each year. Russia has just withdrawn from its agreement to dispose of enough weapons-grade plutonium to make 17,000 nuclear warheads. And…they’re blaming the change of heart on the US.

This is part of the Nunn-Lugar one-sided agreement where the US agreed to pay for the disarmament of Russian missiles. The US eliminated (at our own taxpayer expense) about half of the Soviet “Satan” liquid fueled missiles, and turned the nuclear warheads back to the Russians. Mid-way through the agreement, the Russians backed out and decided to keep those liquid fueled missile engines for heavy satellite launch vehicles—a smart move.

The US also built a state of the art nuclear warhead refurbishing plant for the Russians in order to do the work of disposing of the warheads, supposedly turning them in nuclear fuel. However, after the Russia plant was completed the Russians refused to let US inspectors inside to ensure that the nuclear fuel the US was buying from Russia actually came from decommissioned warheads. A few years later, the Russians denied US inspectors any access to Russian Missile factories and storage areas. Still the US continues to allow Russian inspectors access to our facilities and bases.

Thus, the recent decision to back out of the nuclear fuel deal only means that the Russian will stop selling nuclear fuel to the US. The US had never known whether this program was living up to its disarmament purposes.

#5 Russia is gearing up in Syria: It was reported that Russia has positioned a battery of S300 in Syria. The specific type is said to be S-300VM, also known as Antey-2500. These are specially designed for defending against ballistic- and cruise missiles. The system will be stationed near Tartus harbor and will protect the Syrian east coast as well as the Russian fleet in the eastern Mediterranean. These also have good capabilities against attacking planes. A volley cruise missile attack by the U.S. against the Syrian and Russian airports and air forces in Syria, discussed in various U.S. papers as the start of a “no-fly zone” war, will be severely hampered by this.

You bet it will. The issue of the no-fly zone was raised this week by VP candidate Pence pushing this globalist tactic on Russia. It’s one thing to ground the limited Libyan air force with the threat of a “no fly” shootdown but you don’t get away with that with the Russians, who also have the more advanced S400 anti-aircraft missile system at Khmeimim airbase in NW Syria. US fighter planes are under orders to stay out of its lethal range.

#6 Four different European militaries have had to head off Russian bombers: A document released by the French Ministry of defense states that on September 22nd FOUR European countries scrambled fighter jets to head off two Russian Blackjack bombers. The bombers headed across the top of Scotland from Norway, before skirting Ireland’s west coast towards France and Spain. Norway, the UK, France and Spain all sent up fighters to intercept them.

These are probing flights to electronically eavesdrop on Western intercept tactics, as well as to analyze what kinds of radar tracking we use, and from which site. All of these are strategic tactics involving the gathering of intelligence—not short-term threats of war. But they do indicate a Russian long-term objective to attack the West.

#7 President Obama seems to be deliberately trying to provoke Putin: This conflict is not just about Russia. Our own president has engaged in a peeing contest and has been every bit as provocative – possibly even more so. Obama has put boots on the ground in Syria, aiding the rebels who want to overthrow the current government of a sovereign nation. You CANNOT just show up in another country and start calling the shots because you don’t like the way they do things [unless you have ulterior motives, like creating conflict].

Is this just sabre-rattling or does Obama really think he has the right to invade a foreign country, shoot down the aircraft of that country, and also shoot down the aircraft of an invited guest in that country? Does he really think he would get away with it?

First of all, it isn’t Obama’s doing. He’s just a puppet taking orders from his National Security Council, which are all globalists. But, yes, globalists do arrogate to themselves the right to intervene anywhere they want—that’s part of getting the world used to being bullied by global governance.

Obama is not directly trying to provoke other world leaders—that’s why all this propaganda campaign blaming false flag attacks on Syria so as to make direct US intervention appear justified for humanitarian reasons.

Does Obama actually want a war? Because this is how you get a war.

Yes, globalists really want a nuclear WWIII, but they have to wait until the Russian-Chinese axis is ready to start it with a nuclear pre-emptive strike against US military forces. But, no, this is NOT how you get the kind of world war the globalists intend. A major war with Russia over Syria would not drive Americans into a global New World Order. In fact, it would only increase anti-war sentiments following decades of costly intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In fact, this intervention by Russia was not anticipated by the US or Britain. They had seen Russia stand by for years and let the US have their way in Iraq, Iran and now Syria. Even I was caught by surprise. Why, after letting the US get away with intervention for 10 years does Russia finally intervene? It broke a pattern.

At first, Russia let US have its way militarily in order to eavesdrop on US operations. Russia gained a lot of intelligence on US military operations by NOT intervening on behalf of Iraq as they had promised Hussein to do. Perhaps they got enough intel and wanted to gain some actual combat experience for their pilots and Special Forces. That’s a real possibility too.

I’m sure it also was part of Putin’s thinking that he could embarrass the US failure to actually attack ISIS. He could tell they were faking it by attacking empty buildings and by refusing to attack ISIS oil convoys being marketed through Turkey. While the US was embarrassed by the Russian attacks on ISIS oil convoys, they have now developed other ways to “fight” ISIS while allowing them to escape to fight elsewhere.

#8 Putin is provoking right backRecently, Russia stationed troops a mere 50 miles from the US border in Alaska. Russia has been building its forces in the Arctic due to the natural resources present in the region but the latest move takes things to a whole new level. The forces are scheduled to be in place in less than two years time.


A defense meeting on Tuesday saw Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defense Minister admit that the decision to garrison troops in the area was actually made in 2015 and he confirmed the plans to push ahead with the formation of the Coastal defense division by 2018. The force will protect the coast from the Arctic in the north to the Primary Territory in the south.

This small force in Eastern Russia is no threat to Alaska, and not a provocation at all. But, it is indicative of a long-term Russian strategy to build up forces in the Arctic and in the East where there is a growing contest over oil.

In reality, Putin is trying NOT to provoke the West. The stealth invasion of Ukraine, rather than open invasion, is the best example of not trying to provoke the West, but still get his way. We must also remember that Putin refused to retaliate for the shootdown of one of its planes by a Turkish F-16—which he could easily have justified. He even mended relations with Turkey recently, which has put Turkey’s usefulness as a US puppet in the phony war on terror at risk—risk of spilling the beans to Russia.

I think the above reasons support my thesis that Russia still isn’t ready to take on the West. And we must keep in mind that Russia and China are in this together. Each has to wait until the other is ready.

Personally, I don’t think Syria is a big enough issue to justify starting a world war. It certainly wouldn’t justify nuking the US even if another Russian fighter got shot down. However, North Korea is a different story. It makes a much better trigger event than Syria for joint Russian and Chinese intentions because:

1) It’s got a few nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them—so triggering a nuclear war is a very real possibility. Yes, Russia has nuclear weapons too, and a lot more of them than NK, but Russia doesn’t qualify on the second point.

2) NK has the image of having a bizarre and crazy young leader that is constantly making rash threats against South Korea, the US and Western civilization. Russia and China have a lot to gain by keeping this little tyrant in power. If he starts the war, and the US responds to North Korea, they come out ahead in the game of “who started it?”

She ends the piece with this good question:

Are you ready for this? Be sure you’re prepped with emergency food, water, and other vital supplies, because when this goes downhill, it will gather speed in a hurry. We are living in very troubling times and if we’re not careful the time to prepare for what lies ahead will have passed. We need to think very carefully about the preparations we make for the welfare of our family.

Relative to my timing, I’m still convinced a nuclear war is improbable at this time, given that both Russia and China are in the midst of a major building program for new advanced weapon systems. And it’s not enough to have just a few of them. They need them in quantity—planes, missiles, satellites, submarines and a blue water Navy—not to mention support bases around the world. That’s the whole reason for making islands in the East China Sea, and China has a long way to go. So does Russia.

That said, I don’t know how hot this situation in Syria is going to get. The globalists have been set back for 3 years now in the quest to oust Assad, so Israel can get on with provoking a war with Iran. The globalists don’t like taking “no” for an answer, and we have seen them create ISIS as an excuse to get back into Syria.

Now the Russians are blocking the way, and the US is pushing hard to justify some kind of direct military intervention based on the humanitarian crisis it is responsible for. I am more than a little concerned that the US will probe Russia’s patience more deeply in Syria, but I’m betting that Russia will avoid shooting down US aircraft even if the Syrian army suffers for it. However, the Russians have let the US know it will not tolerate another attack on Syrian forces, says CNN:

Russia warned the United States about taking direct action against the Syrian regime, saying it would cause negative consequences across the Middle East, Russia’s state-run Sputnik news agency reported Saturday.

Sputnik reported that Russian’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, “If the US launches a direct aggression against Damascus and the Syrian army, it will lead to terrible, tectonic shifts not only on the territory of this country but also in the region in general.” She said the United States risked creating a power vacuum in Syria were it to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Such a power vacuum would be filled by “terrorists of all sorts,”[absolutely true].

If the US shoots down Russian aircraft, all bets are off. It might go tit for tat, with a US aircraft shot down, but I don’t think it will mushroom into nuclear war. That’s still coming in the future.

Meanwhile, the US military is still in denial about the possibility of a real nuclear war. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley is the one guilty of the bravado I mentioned above, although he does make a mention about the woeful state of preparedness that US forces are in after decades of debilitating wars of intervention. The US has gained a tremendous amount of military experience in those wars, but so has the enemy, watching our every move and eavesdropping on how we do things. He mentions that too, but somehow isn’t that worried, which is a mistake. He was speaking at the prestigious Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., so this was no off-hand set of remarks. has the story.

The U.S. Army’s chief of staff on Tuesday issued a stern warning to potential threats such as Russia and vowed the service will defeat any foe in ground combat.

Perhaps, but the next war won’t see ground combat until US forces have been severely depleted by nuclear and conventional aerial bombardment. Russia has a fleet of bombers, fighter attack aircraft and cruise missiles to do just that, and many more offensive short, medium and long range ballistic missiles that can overwhelm US anti-missile systems that have no explosive warheads.

“I want to be clear to those who wish to do us harm … the United States military — despite all of our challenges, despite our [operational] tempo, despite everything we have been doing — we will stop you and we will beat you harder than you have ever been beaten before. Make no mistake about that.”

No credible military leader can make such a statement without considering the nuclear pre-emptive strike which (after decades of disarmament) the US is woefully unprepared for. Make no mistake, he’s talking conventional war at current standards, and I don’t think Russia is going to allow this war to stay conventional even if it starts off that way.

The Army has struggled to rebuild its readiness after more than a decade of extended combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The service has significantly cut the size of its force since the Cold War and decreased its modernization budget in the last decade, Milley said.

He’s badly understating the US military’s condition of readiness. Our equipment is wearing out, and our experienced troops and pilots have been leaving in droves. You can’t fight a global war with a small volunteer army and a depleted Navy whose newest high tech ships are having major breakdowns at sea. Then he mentions something that worries me a lot:

“While we focused on the counter-terrorist fight, other countries — Russia, Iran, China, North Korea — went to school on us,” he said. “They studied our doctrine, our tactics, our equipment, our organization, our training, our leadership. And, in turn, they revised their own doctrines, and they are rapidly modernizing their military today to avoid our strengths in hopes of defeating us at some point in the future.

He’s talking like a ground pounder, but war is much more complex than troops on the ground. The Russians have been eavesdropping not only on ground tactics and communication, but more importantly on our electronic jamming techniques used to protect our fighters in the air. If you don’t have air superiority over your troops, they won’t last long in a war of weapons of mass destruction. The US has never gone up against an air force with modern jamming techniques, nor modern anti-aircraft missiles, and the Russians have the best anti-aircraft missiles on the planet, and probably the technology to block most of our radar jamming techniques.

Milley also quoted a senior Russian official as saying publicly, “The established world order is undergoing a foundational shake-up” and that “Russia can now fight a conventional war in Europe and win.” The general warned that future warfare with a near-peer adversary will “be highly lethal, unlike anything our Army has experienced at least since World War II.”

The Russian leader is being coy by boasting about a conventional war. This was for NATO consumption, whose military forces are fractured and ineffective against the Russians. But in fact, Russia has no intention of fighting a convention war until after the devastation of nuclear missiles has done its job. The single US/Polish anti-missile battalion will be overwhelmed by the number of short and medium range missiles Russia has next door in Kaliningrad—an enclave the globalists knowingly granted Russia control over after the phony breakup of the Soviet Union—just to make sure they would start a war with a major advantage close to the Baltics and Poland.

“Our formations will likely have to be small; we will have to move constantly,” he said. “On the future battlefield, if you stay in one place for longer than two or three hours, you will be dead.” Despite the challenges, Milley said the Army will adapt to survive such a dangerous battlefield.

Sorry General, but there is no way a major army can be on the move constantly. The support elements are just too big and cumbersome to do that. He’s talking small unit tactics and small units don’t win a major ground war. You’ve got to have an air and missile umbrella shield. We have a few dozen units around the world but they are designed for long-range ballistic missiles—and not very good at intercepting those, let alone cruise missiles and Iskander missiles.

“It’s a tall order for sure — to project power into contested theaters, fight in highly populated urban areas, to survive and win on intensely lethal and distributed battlefields and to create leaders and soldiers who can prevail. Tough? Yes. But impossible? Absolutely not,” Milley said. “Make no mistake about it, we can now and we will … retain the capability to rapidly deploy,” he said, “and we will destroy any enemy anywhere, anytime.”

Add China to the mix, and this is pure bravado. To meet these two larger strategic threats, you’ve got to prepare to stop a pre-emptive nuclear strike on US military forces, and the US is still laboring under PDD-60 warning our missile forces to be prepared to absorb a nuclear first strike—even though political leaders have never emphasized this to our military since 1997. None of our elected leaders know anything about this secret restriction either. Braggadocio military leaders like Milley still think our leaders intend to fully support our troops. They won’t, at first, when it really matters. The US has always disarmed and played vulnerable before any world war, but this next time the results of those suicidal disarmament pacts will be devastating to our military.

And when you look at the way in which our military is be weakened by mandatory transgender and homosexual indoctrination, it’s not a military I’d feel comfortable serving in, and many current servicemen are getting out for that reason. Retention has never been worse.

In conclusion, I’m very much convinced the US will absorb a nuclear first strike, and that single event will drive the US into a militarized global government. But we are dealing with three grand conspiratorial forces here: Russia, China, and the Western globalists. Each is a predator that wants to create their own version of a New World Order and eliminate the others. Dealing with conspiratorial motives is an art rather than a science, so while I still believe the big war isn’t coming until the next decade, it would be wise to be prepared earlier than that. I’m doing just` that, and so should you.

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