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No Prospect of World War - The US Is Bluffing

A direct US-Russian confrontation is impossible, but there are fears of incidents in third countries, states an influential Russian daily newspaper

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

The Pentagon called war between Russia and the USA a hypothetic scenario, according to its spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Michelle Baldanza speaking to Izvestia. But American and Russian experts queried by Izvestia are certain that despite the generals’ prognosis, real armed conflict between the two nuclear powers is possible.

American political expert and senior fellow at New York University and former Senior Advisor to the US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Barnett Rubin, told Izvestia that generals do not push for war between Russia and the USA, but they plan for the unexpected.

“The main thing they said is that if there was a new world war, it would be devastating beyond imagination. That’s why the only solution is that Russia and the USA cooperate to solve problems” — Rubin said.

Discussions of war between the USA and Russia began after American generals spoke at a Pentagon meeting on October 4, saying that war would be “quick and lethal”. Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley said that armed conflict between Washington and Moscow was “almost guaranteed”.

Moreover, Major General William Hicks said war would begin “in the very near future”, and the Pentagon has begun to prepare for combat on a scale that the US has not seen since the Korean War. Deputy Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson, pointed out that “modern nation states behaving aggressively in the context of military rivalry” are a real threat to US security. “What does this remind us of? Russia”, - Anderson replied to his own question.

Russian military in turn, do not give credence to the statements by American generals. For example, according to Colonel General President of the Academy of Geopolitical Issues, Leonid Ivashov, the Pentagon is bluffing, trying to intimidate Russia.  

“The US understands that in the event of war, it would not escape strikes on its territory. The Pentagon says one thing, the State Department – another. One thing is clear: this statement was made to intimidate Russia and stall action in Syria,” he said to Izvestia.

State Duma Deputy Victor Vodolatsky confirmed to Izvestia that it was very hard to imagine a direct confrontation between Russia and the USA, and that it was a personal opinion of some generals that world war was inevitable.

Contradictions between Moscow and Washington are experienced most intensely in Syria, and a direct confrontation is most probable there. Senior Fellow of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut and political analyst Yazid Sayegh, analyzing the situation in Syria, told Izvestia that there was no prospect of real war between the US and Russia.   

“By its actions in Syria, the US showed that it did not want a direct military conflict with Russia, and Moscow is not interested in a “hot war” against Washington either. Only an indirect confrontation through allies in Syria is likely,” — he said.   

American political analyst and Senior Advisor at Gulf State Analytics, Theodor Karasik told Izvestia that the statements of a few American generals were the opinions of “hot heads” of the Cold-War generation.

“They are still convinced that world war is inevitable, failing to understand that we have been living in a completely different geopolitical reality. There is a high probability of confrontation between America’s new fifth generation fighters and the Russian S-300 missile systems in Syria, but world war is unlikely. Escalation between Russia and the US would further destabilize not only the Middle East but also Eastern Europe and the Arctic Region,” —  the American expert said.

Richard Weitz, Director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute told Izvestia that a direct US-Russian war is almost impossible because the future of the whole world would be at stake.

“Washington does not consider this scenario a realistic one, although accidents could lead to the death of Russian and American soldiers, as  happened with the Russian plane shot down by Turkey last year. General Milley said that the nature of war had changed, starting with rapid decision-making and ending with destruction. That is why the army is preparing for “probable” wars, exercising for possible confrontations with equal rivals like Russia and China, as well as the fight against terrorism and other military operations. We will face the most serious threat if terrorists, who can seize nuclear weapons, attack these countries. Terrorists can carry out this type of operation making it look as though certain countries are behind them. Moscow and Washington traditionally cooperate to combat this kind of threat. Despite recent quarrels over plutonium and an agreement on nuclear research, I still hope that cooperation will be resumed,” - Weitz concluded.

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