We’re in a Moment When
One Mistake Could Start a Nuclear War
Margaret Flowers and Scott Ritter / Popular Resistance and Clearing the FOG
(October 19, 2022) — NOTE: This is a transcript of a recent interview with Scott Ritter on Clearing the FOG. Ritter says the NATO military exercises simulating a nuclear attack against Russia that start this week could trigger a nuclear war and should be postponed, but “there are no adults in the room” willing to do that. Ritter also predicts how the proxy war in Ukraine is going to end and he offers important advice as we live in the historic era of the decline of US Empire.
Margaret Flowers (MF): You’re listening to Clearing the FOG, speaking, truth to expose the forces of greed, with Margaret Flowers. And now I turn to my guest, Scott Ritter. Scott is a former Marine intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union. He was also a Chief Inspector for the United Nations in Iraq in the early 1990s and was a critic of the US war in Iraq. Now he has been speaking out, writing, and providing an important analysis of the situation in Ukraine. Thank you so much for taking time to speak with me again, Scott.
Scott Ritter (SR): Well, thank you very much for inviting me.
MF: We last spoke in April and at that point, Russia was characterizing the conflict in Ukraine as a special military operation. Given the recent events, including the vote for four regions of Ukraine, Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson to join the Russian Federation, has that changed the nature of the conflict?
SR: Well, I mean, from a legal perspective, Russia continues to call it a special military operation. I’ve spent a lot of time now talking to Russians, senior Russians in a variety of levels of government from the military to intelligence service to the Parliament. I’ve come to realize that the special military operation is also an emotional reality that we in the West don’t understand.
This is not a conflict between enemies, at least, not from the Russian perspective. This is very much a conflict among family and the approach Russia takes towards Ukraine is not that of a nation trying to destroy another nation to subjugate a people. It’s a conflict that’s undertaken with deep sorrow and with reluctance, which explains a lot of the hesitancy that we see on the part of the Russians.
And so, for eight months, military analysts like myself were pulling our hair out, trying to figure out just what is Russia doing. Why are they doing it this way? I have to tell you as a marine, it’s just inexplicable, some of the things that the Russians were doing because that’s not how you win. I mean, Marines are all about winning wars. We are singularly focused on prevailing on the battlefield. And I looked at what the Russians were doing and that’s not what I would be doing. And one of the reasons why you’re not achieving spectacular results is because of what you’re doing. But that’s what Russia wanted to do.
They weren’t there to win in the conventional sense of the word. They were there to achieve a result that didn’t result in the death of Ukrainian civilians, the destruction of Ukrainian civilian infrastructure because as many Russians explained to me, you don’t destroy your neighborhood if you want to live in that neighborhood.
So, to see what is happening now, I think Russia has turned a corner recognizing that this conflict is no longer this family dispute between Russia and Ukraine, that basically the Ukrainian side has been taken over by what the Russians call the ‘collective West’. NATO, the United States, and the European Union have turned this conflict into a proxy conflict and in order to prevail, Russia would need to one, increase the investment — that’s why we have partial mobilization — and also change radically the foundational concept regarding this conflict.
It’s no longer a conflict fought between Russians and Ukrainians on Ukrainian soil. This is now a conflict fought between Russia and the Collective West about Russian soil. That’s the consequence of Russia assuming sovereignty over these for Ukrainian provinces — Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Lugansk. It’s now Mother Russia. And this changes the approach Russia takes now to confronting their enemy.
And I also think Russia is waking up to the fact that the Zelensky government has been transformed into a terrorist government. We see them carrying out acts of terrorism. The assassination of Darya Dugina, the daughter of Alexander Dugin, in Moscow was an act of terror and ironically the United States all but acknowledges this. When the CIA contacts the New York Times and says this was carried out by the Ukrainian intelligence services on orders of President Zelensky, that means without saying but legally speaking that the Ukrainian intelligence service is now a terrorist organization and the Zelensky government is a state sponsor of terrorism.
Even the attack on the Crimea bridge, I mean the Crimea Bridge is a legitimate military target, and if it was struck by a bomber, by a missile, by a commando force of special operators wearing the uniform of Ukraine, that would be a legitimate Act of War. But it’s not a legitimate Act of War when you have a civilian driver in a truck with hidden explosives committing suicide to drop the bridge. So, I think the attack on the bridge represented a red line that Russia had warned Ukraine not to cross. It was crossed.
I also think Russia has come to grips with the fact they’re no longer fighting Ukraine on Ukrainian soil. This is now a conflict between Russia and the Collective West on Russian soil. You know, the aftermath of the Russian absorption of four territories. And this is a transformative moment where Russia realizes that it needs to pivot away from the original concept of a special military operation, a family dispute, and move on to the new manifestation of the special military operation, which is an international conflict between Russia and the Collective West, which is why we see the Russians doing things like undertaking a strategic air campaign that is targeting critical Ukrainian infrastructure.
It mirrors, the strategic air campaign that the West did against Iraq in 1991. On day one, we struck these targets. It’s taken Russia eight months to get to this stage but they’re at this stage now. It’s a critical pivot point and you know the sad thing is that in achieving this victory, Russia is now going to be compelled to kill hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians and the loss of thousands of Russian lives, the destruction of the Ukrainian nation.
This is a war that didn’t need to be fought and shouldn’t have been fought. It could have been avoided had the West simply chosen diplomacy over confrontation. Russia did exhaust every diplomatic means possible before making the decision to go to war and now it appears that the West is closing down any diplomatic off-ramp possible by encouraging Ukraine to fight to the last Ukrainian.
MF: In the beginning, Russia was very clear that it was not going to hit a number of cities in Ukraine. It was trying to avoid civilian deaths. They did hit a communications tower a little outside of Kiev. Now with this new campaign, can you talk about what are they going after right now? And, I understand that the deaths were much higher in Shock and Awe.
SR: Well, first of all, the Russians are not targeting civilians. Now, I know people say wait a second, it was a power station. A power station is a critical piece of national infrastructure, and it is a legitimate target of war. There is no argument that can be made under international humanitarian law or any law that says that this is a war crime. This is a legitimate target to be struck because a nation’s military industry, command and control, communications that involve military related activity all required power and that power comes from these power generation capabilities that have been struck by Russia. But you know even one civilian death is a tragedy and should be overcome but given the scope and scale of the attacks that Russia made against these targets, the number of Ukrainian civilian deaths is under 20 at this point in time.
People need to understand that the United States in carrying out similar strikes against Iraq, which again were lawful under the laws of war, we killed thousands. Russia is going out of its way not to harm the civilian population of Ukraine, deliberate targeting of critical infrastructure in a way that minimizes civilian casualties.
MF: You talked about the attack on the bridge and the murder as being terrorist attacks. At the beginning of this conflict, I believe Biden said that the US had pulled the CIA and troops out of Ukraine. But recently, The Intercept reported that actually US Special Operations Forces are on the ground in Ukraine. Do you have a sense of how much coordination there is between the US intelligence, the US military and the Ukrainian military?
SR: Well, I can speculate based on past experience but I can also cite for instance the deputy director of the Ukrainian intelligence service in Kiev who says that there is a direct link between intelligence fusion cells — a fusion cell is where the United States and NATO bring together all of the intelligence capabilities, the satellites, the aircraft, the communications intercept, human intelligence, etc and they come together in a single cell where they combine it into an intelligence product that can be used by the Ukrainians in near real time. So, they’re collecting this data, assessing this data package and sending this data straight to Ukraine. And this Deputy commander basically said that Ukraine doesn’t do anything without this kind of intelligence support, which is why, for instance, Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite communications system is so important because it has enabled Ukraine to receive and use near real-time intelligence data and then communicate amongst one another in real time. That increases the proficiency of the Ukrainian military’s performance.
So, we know that there’s an ongoing intelligence coordination with Ukrainians. We’ve also heard from other Ukrainians who speak of specific intelligence support regarding the targeting of US-provided and NATO-provided artillery systems, both the towed artillery like the M triple seven Howitzer but also the HIMAR system, the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, that Ukraine received. The United States is providing the targeting for this and also the employment mechanism. For instance, they monitor Russian aircraft and Russian troop movements and they find a window of opportunity where the Ukrainians can maneuver their artillery into a specific location to strike a specific target without fear of retaliation.
So that’s the level of support that’s happening, but that can be done remotely and that has been done remotely. Where the US forces are needed is in the covert transfer of these tens of billions of dollars’ worth of equipment from NATO countries to Ukraine. And here is where we have the special operators coming in. They are setting up networks of interim hide sites, covert warehouses, we call them safe warehouses, that change on a daily basis. And the location of these warehouses and the timing of the movements between the warehouses are closely coordinated with the intelligence that monitors Russian intelligence — when there’s a Russian satellite passing over, when a Russian surveillance aircraft is up in the air, when a Russian drone is in the air, things of that nature, and we identify (we being the West) identify gaps in Russian coverage and then we build a line of communication that navigates these gaps and gets this equipment from the border to the front.
A lot of people are saying, “Why is Russia allowing this? How could this happen? Why doesn’t Russia blow this stuff up at the border? Why is this stuff making it to the front line?” It’s making it to the front line because we have dozens if not hundreds of American special operators, covert warriors, who are overseeing this and making this happen. They’re not on the front line, they’re not fighting, but they’re the ones who enable the front line to exist the way it does today, and that’s what they’re doing.
MF: You recently had an article in Consortium News called “Pipelines versus USA,” and you wrote about the attack on the Nordstream pipelines. You said that beyond a reasonable doubt, it looks like the United States was behind this. Can you talk about those attacks on the pipelines?
SR: Well, first of all let’s talk about what the pipeline is. It’s a critical piece of energy infrastructure, not just for Germany and Russia, but for all of Europe. 55 billion cubic meters worth of gas was being brought in on the Nordstrom One Pipeline and had the Nordstream Two Pipeline gone into operation, it would have brought in another 55 billion cubic meters of gas. This is enough gas to supply, not just Germany, but most of Europe with cheap clean Russian gas that makes the European economy function, makes it efficient and because the Europeans aren’t paying market price for their gas, provides Europe with the kind of budgetary luxury that enables them to have free healthcare, free education, good working standards, a high quality of living and nice infrastructure. This is what Russia’s gas does.
The problem with Russian gas is that it keeps American gas off the market. America produces a lot of gas, but we don’t have a pipeline that connects the United States to Europe. We ship it as liquid natural gas, which is a whole different transportation configuration. You need special ships and special port facilities. You need special holding tanks and Europe, in order to get American gas, would have to expend many billions of dollars’ worth of investment to do that. And indeed, there was a push to make this happen but even then, the US could never match Russian gas for volume.
But the United States has had for some time now a problem with Europe’s addiction to Russian gas. We believed, wrongly so, that Russia would weaponize the gas. Russia is a provider of energy. That’s what its business model is. If your business model is to provide energy, you lose your credibility as a reliable supplier of energy the moment you “weaponize” it. The quickest way for Russia to lose the European market would be to weaponize gas.
Russia did not create the current situation where Russian gas is not flowing into Europe. The United States and Europe created the situation by sanctioning Russian gas. Now, the byproduct of sanctioning Russian gas is yes, gas was not flowing at the same rate into Germany. Germany is paying a huge price right now. They are literally going into the cold months. There were demonstrations in the street as Germans realized that this policy was not only going to make them cold and hungry in the wintertime, it was going to make them unemployed and unemployable. Their factories were going to shut down. They were going to lose these jobs, and so they started demonstrating in the street demanding that the German government turn on the Nordstream Two Pipeline, repair the Nordstream One Pipeline and get this gas flowing.
Now, Germany’s hands were tied because the government had bought into the European Union sanctions but there was pressure being brought on and any politician when confronted with the immediacy of their demise at the polls, has a sudden awakening and things that they weren’t going to do a week ago, they suddenly say they’re ready to do it. And the fear from the United States is that the Germans recognizing that they were losing the faith of the German population might, in fact, start turning on the Russian gas. So suddenly the pipeline went out.
Why do I say the United States did it? Here in the United States, the jails are full of people serving very long sentences who have been convicted on purely circumstantial evidence. There is a stronger circumstantial case about America attacking the pipelines then was used to convict many of these people.
There are three things you have to look at when building a circumstantial case. The first one is intent. We have a confession from Joe Biden, a clear statement of intent on February 7 he says, “If the Russian tanks go across the border in Ukraine, I will shut down Nordstream Two. It will cease to function.” And when a journalist said, “Wait a minute, that’s a German piece of infrastructure. How could you do that?” He said, “We’ll do it.” So that’s it. That’s a confession before the fact. That’s the clear statement of intent.
Now we come to motive. One of the questions a prosecutor asks is “cui bono?” Who benefits? Enter Anthony Blinken, Secretary of State. Instead of consoling his European allies, his close German friends, America’s partners, about this horrible loss of 12 billion dollars’ worth of critical infrastructure that’s going to throw Europe into the Stone Age this winter, Blinken says this is a great opportunity because it allows the United States to introduce its gas at 10 times the market rate. So, we’re making windfall profits while squeezing out that cheap Russian gas. It is the clearest statement of motive that one can have.
And then we have means. The United States, of course, holding a naval exercise over the very location that the bombs went off that blew up the pipeline and we know there were bombs. The Swedes investigated. Everybody’s investigated and said, no, it’s clearly explosions that did this. And what were we training? Unmanned underwater vehicles, one in particular called the Sea Fox. Why do I bring up the Sea Fox? Well, in 2015, a Sea Fox was found nestled underneath the Nordstream One Pipeline. So clearly, we’ve been using Sea Fox. It blows a hole in the pipeline. We trained on the Sea Fox in June. And then in September, we have aircraft capable of operating Sea Fox flying right over the pipeline on September 25 and 26, the days of the attack. So, we have the means.
I could take all three of those things, go to a court and convict the United States beyond a reasonable doubt about committing the crime against this pipeline.
MF: It’s just mind-boggling to me that the United States would do this. It’s an attack on infrastructure outside of Ukraine. The message that it sends to the EU is that the US is willing to do anything in this conflict and to that end, there’s NATO military exercises that are scheduled to begin on October 17. What are your thoughts on those exercises? What are the risks of this?
SR: Well, these aren’t just exercises. These are exercises of NATO’s nuclear deterrence. This is an exercise where NATO is going to take aircraft that are designated as nuclear-capable and they’re going to simulate putting a B61 nuclear bomb on it. The B61 is an American nuclear weapon that we store in Europe in various locations and they are earmarked to be turned over to various NATO countries whose airplanes are capable of handling it. Their pilots are trained for one purpose only, dropping nuclear bombs on the Russians and that’s it. There’s no other reason for them to exist. So, we’re going to be carrying out a nuclear exercise using nuclear capable aircraft simulating a nuclear attack on Russia. Now in normal circumstances, one would be insane to do this because it just sends the completely wrong signal. But a week ago, we had the Ukrainian president begging NATO to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Russia.
When Russia started sending the cruise missiles against the Ukrainian infrastructure targets, a panicked Zelensky did his broadcast and was begging NATO to launch a preemptive strike against Russia, a nuclear strike. That alone creates optics problems. I mean, so you have the Ukrainian president, an ally of the West and the West is committed to supporting him, begging for a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the Russians. And now, NATO’s running an exercise where they are preparing to carry out a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Russia. I mean, what is the other purpose of this exercise? So, optics alone dictate that mature people in NATO should shut this exercise down and say this is not a good time to run this exercise. We don’t want to create any potential for misunderstanding.
And there isn’t just the theory of this potential. One only needs to look back to 1983. There was a similar NATO exercise called Able Archer 83 where after surging American troops into Europe as part of the ReForGer exercise, return of forces to Germany, where we fly in tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of troops who marry up pre-positioned equipment to be prepared to stand up against a Soviet attack. We then said we’re going to exercise, NATO’s ability to employ nuclear weapons. The Soviets were monitoring this and they interpret this as NATO’s already got all the troops they need and now they’re going to launch a preemptive nuclear strike against us and use these troops to attack us. So, Russia elevated its nuclear posture to the very highest levels, put their nuclear forces on standby. One mistake, one misunderstanding could have resulted in a globe-destroying nuclear Holocaust. That’s how dangerous Able Archer 83 was.
It was so bad that Ronald Reagan, Mr. Evil Empire, when briefed on this a year later by the CIA, he said wait a minute, the Soviets actually thought we were going to launch a preemptive nuclear strike and the CIA said yes, they thought that was the case. Ronald Reagan said this is insane and he began the process of moving towards nuclear disarmament that manifested itself in the signing of the intermediate nuclear forces treaty in December, 1987 and the implementation of the treaty in June of 1988.
That’s the treaty that I was involved in. I was one of the first inspectors on the ground in the Soviet Union to get rid of these nuclear weapons. That’s how important and how dangerous Able Archer 83 was. We’re doing the same thing today in a circumstance where a leader of a European nation is begging NATO to carry out a pre-emptive nuclear strike and we’re exercising the very means to do that.
This is a dangerous situation. This is foolhardy and it’s even made more so by General Stoltenberg’s statement. The Secretary General of NATO got up and said, and remember NATO has been denying that they’re playing a role there, they’re not a party to this conflict even though they’re supplying weapons. He said a Russian victory in Ukraine would be a defeat for NATO and that therefore it’s imperative that NATO flex its muscles and carry out this exercise.
So, this is literally as if the children have taken over the kindergarten, the adults have fled and the children are in charge and just ridiculous things are happening. That’s what’s happened to NATO. Where is the adult leadership? This is a very dangerous period of time in not just American history, but world history because there’s accusations going both ways. People are talking about a Russian nuclear attack, even though the Russians aren’t getting ready to carry out a nuclear attack. The Russians are concerned about an overreaction by NATO, concerns that will be even more hyped up now because of this nuclear exercise. One mistake, one misunderstanding could lead to an exchange of nuclear weapons that ends the world as we know it.
MF: I don’t think people are grasping the seriousness of the situation. You also had a recent piece in Consortium news where you wrote about the nuclear doctrine of both Russia and the United States and how it is the United States that has first strike capability written into its doctrine. Can you talk about that?
SR: One of the things right now that people are talking about, the big fear in the West, is that Russia will use a nuclear weapon against Ukraine, a tactical nuke. There is no Russian Doctrine for using tactical nuclear weapons preemptively. And moreover, we come back to the special military operation, Russia is not going to nuke Ukraine. Ukraine is family. If Russia is going to use a nuke, they’re going to use it against Europe, not Ukraine, but they would never do that preemptively. Russia has two conditions under which they can use nuclear weapons. The first is if they’ve been attacked with nuclear weapons, and then they will retaliate with everything they have. The second is if a conventional combat capability is brought together that threatens the survival of the Russian State, then Russia can use all the means at its disposal, including nuclear weapons, to resolve that threat.
But here we’re being told by so-called experts that Russia has a third doctrine, and they even acknowledge that it’s not in writing, so they say it’s an unspoken doctrine. No such thing, but that is to escalate to deescalate, that Russia when confronted with its impending defeat in Ukraine will choose to use a nuclear weapon against Ukraine to escalate the conflict in order to get the West, confronted with the horrific reality of nuclear conflict, to deescalate.
The only people that have an escalate-to-deescalate strategy is the United States and we’ve exercised it. We built a nuclear weapon just for this, it’s called the W76-2 low-yield nuclear weapon, a warhead that’s put on the Trident missile operated in the Ohio-class submarine, ballistic, missile, submarine. And in 2019, we actually did an exercise where the Secretary of Defense in the Omaha, Nebraska headquarters of the United States strategic command practiced issuing the release orders for the W76-2 Warhead in a scenario that involves Russian troops advancing on the Baltics.
So, our goal was to escalate to get the Russians to deescalate. We have that doctrine. We’ve exercised that doctrine. And now, we’re mirror imaging that doctrine onto Russians, but the Russians don’t have that doctrine. So once again, when we talk about miscalculations based upon ignorance, if we believe the Russians have an escalate to deescalate strategy and then we’re acting in response to that using our own escalate to deescalate strategy, I think you can figure out that this could lead to a rapid misunderstanding and the release of nuclear weapons.
If you use a nuclear weapon, the world ends. There’s no such thing as a limited nuclear war. No such thing. One nuclear weapon and the world ends. And here we have people in the United States and NATO believing they can use that one nuclear weapon to escalate to deescalate, but the Russian Doctrine clearly says, you hit us with one nuclear weapon, we release everything. Putin has said that yes that means we will be martyrs, but you’ll be going to hell as the perpetrators of a global annihilation.
MF: How do you see this ending? Is there any likelihood that there could be peace negotiations? The US and NATO seem like they’ve done everything to thwart that. It feels like this is really a battle for the future of NATO, for the future of the US and Western domination of the world and its resources.
SR: Well, I believe that this is going to end in a Russian military victory in Ukraine. I think that’s inevitable. I also think that one of the reasons why the Russians are pacing this conflict the way they are is they are alert to the fact that they don’t want to panic NATO and the United States into overreacting If you rapidly win and you confront somebody with the immediacy of their defeat, in their decline you can you can precipitate an overreaction on their part.
For instance, NATO moving into Western Ukraine, NATO seeking to put a no-fly zone over Ukraine — something that creates a direct conflict between Russia and NATO. But if you slow roll your victory, even at a tremendous cost to yourself, and you gradually introduce the reality of defeat to NATO, then NATO, recognizing that they have no other viable response to this, will back away and that’s what we see happening now.
We see NATO coming out and saying we don’t want a conflict with Russia. We will continue to provide weapons to the Ukrainians but we will not get engaged in any way that has NATO forces fighting with Russian forces in Ukraine. And I think this is a byproduct of the way the Russians are waging this war. So, for all those people out there who are pulling their hairs out saying why isn’t Russia just winning this thing quickly? The Russians are smarter. They are the only adults in the room and they recognize that a rapid decisive victory could actually create more problems than it solves. But Russia must win this war from its perspective because Russia’s goal isn’t the destruction of Ukraine. Russia’s goal, as it stated before, is a new European security framework. They put forward draft treaties to this regard in December of last year. It talks about not the end of NATO, but NATO pulling back away from the Russian border, a sort of a neutral zone where the special interests of both Europe and Russia are respected. And that’s the ultimate goal that Russia has here.
I believe Russia is going to achieve this not because NATO is going to wake up tomorrow and say yeah we believe in that. NATO isn’t going to exist very much longer. I mean Europe is going to go through some very radical transformations this winter. The European Union is falling apart as we speak. NATO is deeply fractured. The G7 is losing its reason for being. It’s supposed to be the seven most dominant economies in the world, but after this winter, are we really going to be able to call the German economy, the Italian economy, the French economy, and the British economy the dominant economies in the world. The G7 is fracturing. NATO, they’re going to be confronted with not only yet another embarrassment. Remember, it was only last year that NATO was humiliated in Afghanistan. Now they’re going to be humiliated by Ukraine and they are going to be confronted with the fact that in order to do what the United States wants, which is to continue to stand up to the Russians, they’re gonna have to spend trillions of Euros that they don’t have.
Their economies are collapsing. The European nations are going to realize that the path out of this problem isn’t turning their back on Russia, but actually asking Russia to re-engage as a provider of energy. The United States is showing itself to be the most horrific friend imaginable. Friends don’t blow up pipelines, but we do. Friends, when a friend is in need, don’t come in and say here’s liquid natural gas but you have to pay 10 to 15 times the market value because we’re exploiting the situation to bring in windfall profits for American companies. Friends don’t behave that way. We do and Europe is going to wake up that United States is not their friend.
Now people say well wait a minute, where is Europe going to get that gas? Putin had a meeting with Turkey’s President Erdogan two days ago where he basically talked about creating a Turkish energy hub. There’s an existing pipeline supplying gas to southern Europe called the Turkstream. It comes from Russia, through the Black Sea to Turkey. Putin’s talking about building the second pipeline and elevating Turkey to the status Germany would have had had they operated both pipelines, becoming an energy hub to supply strategic energy requirements to Europe, to North Africa, and to the Middle East. This will benefit the Turkish economy, but also get Russian gas back into play into Europe.
And I pretty much guarantee you that this time in the spring Europe is going to be begging for this gas and Russia is going to be there to deliver it. So, there’s going to be a new political reality in Europe that might be more conducive to actually listening to the Russians when they say we’d like to talk about a new European security framework. And this is going to result in the retrograde of the United States out of Europe and indeed the world.
The world is turning its back on the United States. Take a look at what Saudi Arabia just did together with Russia. Saudi Arabia, America’s long time guarantor of energy security where they over develop the Saudi oil fields so that Saudi Arabia could on demand either increase or decrease production to suit the needs of the United States. Joe Biden crawled to Saudi Arabia on his knees in July and begged Saudi Arabia to increase oil production by a million barrels a day. Saudi Arabia deferred saying we have to wait to talk to the OPEC cartel plus and that plus is Russia, which means Saudi Arabia went to Russia to see if OPEC would be willing to help America out. Well, the answer was not just no, but hell no. Russia and Saudi Arabia, instead of increasing oil production, recently agreed to decrease oil production by 2 million barrels a day. This is going to put Joe Biden in a very difficult spot coming up the midterm elections with prices now going up at the pump and heating oil as America cools down going up. So, the United States is in trouble.
The world’s turning away from the dollar. The deals that are being done now for oil that used to be done with the petrodollar are being done in national currencies. The United States lost the trust of the world. How can you have the United States dollar as the global reserve currency when on a whim, the United States will seize the sovereign wealth fund of nations that are held in banks around the world. They seized 600 to 700 billion dollars of the Russia’s sovereign wealth fund. How could anybody in the world trust the United States again? They can’t.
So, it isn’t just that the United States has betrayed Europe. The United States has betrayed the world and the world is starting to recognize that. That’s why Putin and the Chinese President Xi, when they met on February 4 of this year in Beijing, signed a 5,000-word joint statement that basically declared an end to the American dominated rules-based international order. And they said, there’s a new multilateral international law-based order that they’re taking the lead in. And that’s the direction the world is gravitating to.
Look, if you’re an American, wake up, guys. You’re living in a moment of history. This is literally, the decade we’re in right now, is going to be studied by historians if we survive and be looked at as one of the critical points of modern history. We’re seeing the end of the American Empire. The rules-based order that has governed this globe since the end of the Second World War has run its course. It’s being replaced by something else and we’re living through that transition period. It’s going to be a tough period for Americans. But every once in a while, just take a pause and understand what’s happening because you are literally living in one of the most important moments of modern history.
MF: That’s something that Alfred McCoy has also written about, calling the 2020s the decade of the end of US Empire. So, what is your recommendation to people in the United States? Is there anything that people here can be doing to call for adults to be in the room on our side as well?
SR: Well, the important thing is the end of empire doesn’t mean the end of life. America will still exist if we allow ourselves to exist. We will still have the same homes, still be able to drive the same road, send our kids to the same schools. We’re just going to be a lesser nation in terms of the impact we have around the world. We have to learn to work responsibly with nations as opposed to a dictating to nations. And hopefully from the perspective of most Americans, we’re going to live in a world where the American Military isn’t this dominant force, that maybe we don’t have to spend 800 billion dollars a year to build up a military that defends an Empire that’s going away.
But the important thing in here is that we don’t decide to burn down the planet as the planet transitions away from American Empire. We Americans need to be mature enough to understand what is happening and why it’s happening and to guide it as it’s happening in a way that doesn’t result in the death of not just America, but the world. The end of American Empire does not mean the end of America. America can still exist as a prosperous nation state that’s true to its ideals and values.
It’s time that the United States start turning inward and solving the problems here at home, instead of trying to dictate solutions to the world’s problems abroad. In order to do that, we need to elect the right people to office. What’s the most important thing that Americans could do to preserve democracy in America? The answer is really simple. Almost everybody comes up with the same answer — get the money out of politics. If you remove money from politics. If you overturn Citizens United, you literally can begin to populate the House, the Senate and even the White House with people who aren’t owned by special interests, people who are responsive to the American people. And that’s what has to happen.
The solution to America’s problems is American democracy properly implemented. And so people need to wake up, get involved, start moving to create whatever needs to be created to get the right people in office. We need adults to be sitting in the seats of power when the critical decisions about how the world is going to transition away from American Empire are being made, adults who recognize this isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world, that America can survive and prosper if we don’t allow ourselves to overreact and decide to fight everybody as our Empire is the disintegrating.
So, the American people need to wake up because otherwise we’re going to give our future over to a political Elite and economic Elite who are going to do everything possible to preserve what they have for as long as possible, even if at the end it means the destruction of everything that they purport to be trying to save.
MF: Thank you so much for all that you’re doing to be the voice of reason out there to clarify all of this for the public. This is a really critical time and I think that we need to be having these discussions more and more about the role of the United States, how things are shifting and how we need to be moving towards more cooperative diplomacy, not military domination of the world. Thank you so much for taking time to speak with me today.
SR: Thanks for having me on.
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