The fear and frenzy over Our Impending Doooooom! has reached fever pitch. So many online commentators are certain that The Hag will get us into a nuclear war with Russia -- over Syria, Ukraine or someplace -- that they are literally freaking out over it. We Are Doomed!
Now stop, I say. Stop. It. Right. Now.
The fear of Nuclear Annihilation time-honored tactic for control of domestic populations used by both the US/NATO and the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War, though neither power had any intention of using nuclear weapons against the other -- except in the most extreme circumstance, a circumstance that never arose.
But boy was the fear of what might happen ever useful and effective.
What we're witnessing right now is a classic example of Cold War style Brinkmanship and propaganda which is being exploited to the max by both sides with the undeniable implication that one or the other will engage in a nuclear first strike --- and we're all gonna die!
Over Ukraine. Over Syria. Over... well, something, somewhere, somehow, some time.
And Putin is a Madman.
This whole frenzy depends on the underlying belief that Putin is a Madman who will sacrifice Mother Russia and the Russian people to demonstrate how low hanging and clangy his big brass balls are...
No. That's not how Brinkmanship works.
Yes, there are plenty of neoCon cage rattlers in the US/NATO governments who appear to want to engage in a Nuclear Holocaust with the Soviet Union, erm, Putin's Russia. Russia Hate is that strong, and "destroying" Russia is their aim.
But that can only happen if Putin is the Madman the propagandists try to make him out to be. I say he is not. Nothing like it.
And he has absolutely no intention of sacrificing Mother Russia to slow or stop the Imperial Juggernaut.
The cage rattlers will not get their Nuclear Holocaust, not this time, and with any luck, not ever.
But the fear of what might happen will continue to be ratcheted up, the better to control domestic populations, not so much to strike fear in rivals.
The propaganda campaign against Russia started up in earnest as Edward Snowden settled into what appears to be a very comfortable exile as the guest of the Russian Federation. I have long felt that the Snowden Thing started out as a Black Op -- part of a rivalry between The Agencies, meant to provide an upper hand to one faction of security/spy agents over another. The initial exposures of domestic spying by the NSA, for example, didn't tell us anything (much) that we didn't already know or suspect. Greenwald, et al., had to scramble to point out that this was confirmation of what we knew/suspected and that was the main point of the revelations, and that was good!
Whatever. There was little more than proforma outrage from the powers that be, styling to be seen as responsible adults and all that. But when details of foreign spying operations were published, everything changed. What The Agencies were doing to foreign governments was not supposed to be released, I guess, and at that point -- starting before then, of course -- Snowden became a real persona non grata, and his protector Putin became The Evil One as far as the propaganda machine was concerned.
In addition, WikiLeaks, which once seemed like a Honeypot to snag various malcontents, but as Snowden accomplice and helper, was subjected to increasingly intense pressure from all sides.
I think that much of the anti-Putin and anti-Assange propaganda is due in large measure to the continued presence of Snowden as guest of the Kremlin, and that (temporary) resolution to the current Brinkmanship will be found in withdrawing the Russian welcome extended to Snowden.
He's the card Putin can play to bring a (temporary) end to the present state of affairs.
That doesn't mean that it won't happen again (it most likely will; the Imperial Project is relentless, and the dismemberment of the Russian Federation is a long-ago announced goal); but its current iteration will become inoperative.
In the meantime, it's worthwhile to review how Brinkmanship works, and to understand that Putin at least is no Madman.
See all of this as a shadowplay, not as reality.