In what can be described only as a virtual media blackout, a dangerous game of cat and mouse has been ongoing since October, 2007 between the United States and it's once arch rival Russia. Reported on by no U.S. media outlets, simultaneous and continuous war games have been conducted reminiscent of the Cold War between the old Soviet Union and the U.S., games that we all believed were over once Boris Yeltsin took the reigns of power.
Beginning in October of 2007, then Russian President Putin announced the commencement of long range bomber flights over the Arctic, flights armed with high yield nuclear weapons, to coincide with the massive Pacific war games known as Vigilant Shield being conducted by the U.S. At the same time that Vigilant Shield was underway, the U.S. and the Philippines conducted more Pacific-Asian war games, prompting the Russians to step up their resumption of bomber flights to include aerial tankers in order to keep aloft their bombers on an around the clock basis.
Called 'Bear Flights' by Northern Command in Alaska, the rapid development of war games into actual confrontational flights coming dangerously close to an international incident has been seen by analysts as a warning salvo being fired by the old guard in Russia against what they perceive to be military threats by the United States. U.S. and Canadian F-15's have routinely begun 'escorting' flights of six TU-160, TU-95, TU-22M3, and IL-78 bombers and tankers that have 'accidentally' strayed too close to U.S. soil.
The prospects for an accidental war happening between the two nations is at it's highest point in over 15 years, but yet, not one word is being spoken by the press on an issue of this importance. In point of fact, the press has been so remiss that one could easily call them complacent or incompetent when it comes to their investigative skills.
Take for instance the recent stories of the 'accidental' flight of nuclear weapons from Minot Air Force Base, wherein the 5th Bomber Wing flew a load of six nuclear tipped cruise missiles to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. Called an accident officially, there are also claims by military analysts that it was no mistake at all, but a clear signal to the Russians that we were indeed going through with President Bush's call for round the clock strategic bombers in the air for the first time in years.
The announcement by Bush last fall led to a joint Russian-Chinese exercise of massive proportions in the Volga region of Russia and the Urumqi area of China and code named of all things Peace Mission 2007.
So who is to blame for this below the radar Cold War being waged as we call each other friends and do unprecedented amounts of business with each other? There are arguments by many that it is all Bush's fault, and arguments that the Russians started the whole thing. But the simple fact is that BOTH sides were eager for a resumption of low level hostilities, and have been ever since the announcement of 'detente' by Gorbachev. As revered as Ronald Reagan is in public, the neo-cons hate his guts behind the curtain for his forcing of the collapse of the old Soviet Union.
See, there's a little industry in both the United States and Russia known as the military/industrial complex. To the purveyors of new weapons systems, the Cold War was nothing short of a Godsend. Every year, military spending had to be increased due to some new Soviet 'threat'. Threats that existed only in the imaginations of the fear mongers, but a scared American populace allowed for the new spending on such massive scales in order to be free from the Soviet nuclear menace.
But then, Reagan decided to end the Cold War once and for all, and after decimating every social program he could, he out spent the Soviets by such a vast amount, that the Russian economy was on the verge of collapse in their attempts to keep up, and boom! The Soviet Union came crashing down. this pissed off so many military contractors that scheme after scheme was thought up to present a new and even greater threat to the American people, because if the Soviets are gone, and Russia is now our good friends, then we no longer needed to build ever new and greater weapons systems did we? Bear in mind that the KGB/Russian defence industry wasn't very excited about glasnost either.
During the Clinton years, the rise of international terrorism became the focus of the need for increased military spending. Attacks were pulled off that the world had never seen before. But to this day, Americans refuse to believe that it was our very own government who funded the rise of terrorist groups such as Al-Quaida, Hezbollah, and even Hamas. Brought into being for the purpose of stirring up trouble in Iran, the only group actively trying to hurt both Iran and the U.S. is Al-Quaida. The other groups have their own agendas and hurting Israel is on the top of their list. So we created the very monsters that our glorious leaders argue for bigger and better guns to kill them with.
But that wasn't going to do the trick and the military industries of both countries knew it. The Russians giving rise to the advent of terrorism from Chechnya wasn't enough to feed their war machine, and our funding of terror groups all over the world couldn't do it for us.
Enter King George and the band of neo-con brothers from the days of the Nixon Administration. These Cold Warriors and their chicken hawk co-conspirators knew exactly how to reignite the old Cold War by increasing hostility towards America around the world. The doctrine spoken out loud of pre-emptive war so frightened the Russian and Chinese governments, especially after 9/11 and the unprovoked attack on Iraq, that under former KGB master Vladimir Putin, the Russian military began receiving vast amounts of money to update their arsenals. The same proved true for the Chinese. Vast trade imbalances and the influx of dollars gave the Chinese all the money they could ever hope for in order to build a military capable of giving the U.S. pause.
So yes, the U.S. and Russia are on far worse terms since Bush took office in 2001, but in the big scheme of things, he was but a cog in the military/industrial complex's ever turning wheel. This President enabled the new Cold War that is taking shape right in front of our faces, but it was the old school Cold Warriors such as Rumsfeld, Putin, Zubkov, North, Wolfowitz, Cheney, with a special nod in the direction of Bush the first and his traitorous sidekick, James Baker the third, that pushed Bush, a hands off type of guy, in the misguided direction of folly wars of convenience, which opened the flood gates for the military/industrial complexes of both Russia and the U.S.
Today we have Chinese subs shadowing our aircraft carrier battle groups, surfacing just behind them unannounced and unseen, just so the U.S. can see they have the capability to do so. Russian and American strategic nuclear bombers are in the air, testing one another's defences, and almost engaging in aerial dogfights over the Artic Ocean. A new militarism has taken hold in Russia, who is quietly going about the business of trying to regain it's former satellite nations, and the U.S. is attempting to set up a permanent and strategic military presence in Iraq, just off the Russian border. Iran and Al-Quaida are the threats du jour, but make no mistake, unless stopped by a new president with peace in mind and not beholden to the old Cold Warriors and their military/industrial friends, there will be another full blown Cold War, one which this time around, given the vast cash flows that both Russia and China have at their disposal now, we might very well lose.
This should weigh heavy on voter's minds this year as they head to the polls. Do we wish four more years of the Bush doctrine of military spending while the rest of the country falls apart and the rest of the world sees us as such a threat that they must rearm themselves? Or do we wish to see a return to sanity in both countries? Because if our policies are changed, then the Russian people are not going to long stand for Putin's doing the same to Russia what George and his compadres have done to us. Eisenhower warned of the rise of the military/industrial complex, no one heeded the warning, and we are where we are today because of it. It is time to stop this war culture so we as a race can survive and perhaps allow future generations to enjoy a planet of civility. But in order for that to take place, the old style Cold War thinking must be put out to pasture, or it will surely simmer and fester, eventually destroying us all.