A Corrected Version and Updated Version of "The Missiles of November" by Norman Markowitz

Below is an edited version of the comments I posted Yesterday.  I did so  in a very great rush and the typos proliferated, even by my standards.  I apologize to all readers.  Unfortunately, the news today on Thanksgiving is not good, as President Putin is sending air defense missiles to the Russian base at strike at any air plane threatening Russian planes.  To make the crisis  even  more like Catch -22 or Dr. Strangelove  than when I first posted the  article , the follow below is from an AP news report today

"It will be ready to destroy any aerial target posing a potential danger to our aircraft," Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a meeting with military officials. He also announced the severance of all military ties with Turkey and said that from now on, Russian bombers will always be escorted by fighters on combat missions over Syria.

Ozgur Unluhisarcikli, director of the German Marshall Fund in Ankara, said it is possible Russia could down a Turkish plane.

"Turkish planes violate the Syrian border daily, either for reconnaissance flights or for anti-IS operations," he said. "In the same way that Turkey argues it has rules of engagement, Russia could also declare its own rules of engagement, saying it has the right to protect the skies of its ally."

There is a very famous quote from Karl Marx which I will paraphrase, "history repeats itself.  The first time as tragedy the second time as farce."

In October, 1962, the world was literally on the brink of a nuclear war, because a U.S. U-2 plane had discovered missiles sites in Cuba, the U.S. had established a naval blockade around Cuba and given the Soviets ultimatums about dismantling the sites, and Soviet ships were sailing toward Cuba.

  The U.S. at the time had nuclear missiles pointed at the Soviet Union on the territory of its NAT0 ally Turkey, which we now know were an issue for the Soviet premier Nikita Khruschev.  Eventually, the crisis was overcome, even though the then head of the Strategic Air Command, General Curtis Lemay, did everything he could to provoke a nuclear war, including sending his bombers toward Soviet radar, since it was his belief that the sooner the U.S. fought a nuclear war with the Soviets the better, because war was inevitable and the Soviets would only grow stronger over time. 

Fortunately, President Kennedy removed Lemay who later was to become, along with General Edwin Walker, the real life inspiration for the character General Jack D. Ripper in Dr Strangelove

Today I awoke to find the mass media all a flutter about Turkey downing of a Russian jet, apparently in Turkish air space, in which at least two of the crew have been killed.  According to the latest report, Mass media today is reporting that there are "Russian missiles" pointed at Turkey and Vladimir Putin's angry rhetorical response, referring to the attack as a "stab in the back" perpetrated by the accomplices to terrorists, has led to   legitimate fears of an escalating crisis.


I said farce at the beginning of this article, but farces can also be sinister.  Putin, everyone should remember is the head of state of a country that represents essentially the rump of what was the Soviet Union, a country which dismantled Soviet socialism and has struggled to replace it with a kind of state and crony capitalism, against all sorts of popular opposition--a country that has raw materials and great military power, but, frankly, compared to the Soviet Union little else.


Recently, Putin has been demonized in the press of the U.S. NAT0 bloc as a "new Stalin," an absurd formulation used to support "freedom fighters" from the Western Ukraine who identify with fascist henchman of  Adolf Hitler, whom the Soviet people and the Stalin leadership defeated in the second World War. 

Putin would of course not wish to be identified with Nikita Khruschev, who was the Soviet leader during the Cuban missile crisis. Accused of installing "Communism" in Cuba.  If Curtis Lemay were still alive, he might accuse Putin of seeking to install "Communism" in Syria and see the last 24 years of Russian history as an elaborate charade to fool the "West," as Ronald Reagan saw detente in the 1970s, accusing Henry Kissinger of being "soft on Communism" in its own way the equivalent of calling Putin a revolutionary socialist

But there are real dangers in this farce.  Turkey is aiding rightwing Muslim forces against the Damascus government, as are the Saudis and the U.S. and others.  Russia has entered the conflict with its military power attacking various targets of the   uprising, including the Al Quaida spinoff, ISIS.  The Obama administration has criticized Russia for failing to join in a coordinated attack against ISIS

 But nothing in reality is coordinated among those  who have turned the region into a war zone and how can it be when the various  outside powers are supporting and opposing various factions, including of course, ISIS, whose attempt to establish a barbarous feudal theocratic regime has brought about  the legitimate wrath of people through the world

Russia today is not the Soviet Union, but NAT0 still exists.  If Russia were the Soviet Union, the prospects for peace would in effect, I would say, be greater, since the Soviets struggled to implement a policy of peace and used education to advance that policy among the Soviet people. 

I doubt the sort of rhetoric Putin has engaged in today would have been used in the Soviet Union, although his points about Turkey aiding terrorists are certainly valid

What would happen if a conflict between Turkey and Russia, enemies since the 17th century,  did break out into war?  What given the conditions of the NATO  alliance, would the major NATO states do--the U.S. Britain, France, and Germany?

These are the sorts of questions which should be raised today, along with an understanding that NATO  itself is essentially a sort of appendix that serves no real purpose in the post-Cold War era except to act the way Marx saw Czarist Russia in the 19th century, the "gendarme" or policeman of Europe, in this case, the policeman of the world

Diplomacy, at least the best of old fashioned diplomacy, would be to work out a policy of joint international action in Syria to eliminate ISIS and disarm the various factions, and since Russia is really the only actor not opposed to the Damascus government, offer to end the support for the Kiev government and its fascist minions in exchange for Russia ending its support for the Damascus government and supporting a policy of both peace and democratic political reconstruction in Syria. 

That would make sense. unless one wants to do a remake of Dr. Strangelove, with Donald Trump as General Jack D. Ripper, Ben Carson as General Buck Turgidson, and perhaps, Hillary Clinton as President Muffly Muffly




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