CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
I have been accused by many of being cynical. My accusers make this claim in the context of my being “pessimistic, sardonic, or negative.” Having been a middle-school student crouching under his desk with a piece of notebook paper over his head during the “Cuban Missile Crisis,” a teenager expelled from high school for organizing a student walk-out against the Vietnam War, a witness to the Nixon “presidency,” and all and sundry since, I prefer to regard myself as a realist. A pessimistic, cynical realist.
I admit, I have devolved over the time since middle-school from a true believer in the myth of America as world policewoman, to a defender of the US Constitution as the last hope to avoid nuclear annihilation. Now, I see, I may have been wrong. Rather than harp on the “negative” aspects of nuclear war, I should have focused on how a “nice, little nuclear war” may actually be a good thing.
Recent events in the Mideast, Syria, Jordon, and Israel indicate, to my cynical nature, that the USA may get the answer to all those “Nuke ‘Em” prayers so many Americans have been trumpeting for so long. If things “go wrong” with Syria, a “nice, little nuclear war” could be in the cards. You have Syria, with Russian troops present, being struck by US cruise missiles. This is dangerous enough. But in addition, you have the USA building up troops in Jordan as reported by the Marine Times on Friday the 13th of April, 2018:
As tensions come to a boil in Syria over an alleged chemical attack, thousands of U.S. troops and Marines will be gathering in neighboring Jordan for the start of a major training exercise.
Nearly 3,600 U.S. troops, including Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, or MEU, will be in place Sunday for the start of a nearly two-week training exercise known as Eager Lion, military officials confirmed to Marine Corps Times.
It will be a rare display of allied firepower, which couldn’t come at a more tense time as U.S. Navy warships are steadily building a presence in the Mediterranean in preparation for what analysts presume will be a tomahawk cruise missile strike on Syria.
Of course, the US troop buildup is just for “training” and no countries in the region, Iran, Syria, etc., ought to be concerned, the USA is a nation of (Sarcasm Alert) peace and never invades any countries in the region. But, accidents do happen. With all the above factors contributing to the possibility of error, Israel, with its nuclear weapons, its bombing runs in Syria, could be drawn into any conflict. Of course, Syria and Iran are strategic allies. Syria is usually called Iran’s “closest ally.” Needless to say, Iran is no ally of Israel.
Tinderbox, my cynical side asks? Throw some gasoline there? Ordinarily, I would counsel no, but then I had a thought. A non-cynical thought. What if something goes wrong and the US strike touches off a wider conflict? Many are the tempting targets. Dense is the “fog of war.” What if, in that foggy climate, Iran is tempted, or Syria, or Israel to take advantage of the situation to “improve” their particular view of “security” by taking action? What if things spiral out of control? What if, having nuclear weapons, Israel is convinced the escalating conflicts placed it in a “use ‘em or lose ‘em” status regarding their nukes? Remember, these countries are not far apart and many shared borders are there.
Maybe a “nice, little nuclear war” would result. Rather than a humanity ending Russia v. USA exchange, just the Israeli arsenal was used. Sure, it would be bad for the region. Depending on the way the wind was blowing Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and some others would get hit by a little radiation, but it could all be for the best! If that was it, and the rest of the nuclear powers backed off, it is possible, just possible, humanity would look at the massive deaths, disease, suffering and the uninhabitable mid-East and say, “Never again!”