"We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks." Bonnie Tyler sang those words in the 1980s. She wasn't talking politics. But her statement seems like an apt description for the tense framework of today's US-Russia relationship.
It goes from one flashpoint to another. At one time it was Russiagate. Another time it was election interference, not to mention Ukraine, Georgia, and others. Today it's Belarus.
Item: "Protests Erupt In Belarus Over The Results Of Presidential Election." --NPR [SPARK]
Item: "Europe must not abandon the new Belarus to Putin." --Atlantic Council [SPARK SPARK]
Item: "Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka says that Russia has agreed to offer security assistance in the case of external military threats." --BBC [SPARK SPARK SPARK]
Kaboom: Belarus could be the triggering spark. Potentially it could set off an explosive reaction between Russia and the US. That could be a doomsday scenario. Both countries uniquely possess the nuclear power to devastate the planet.
Over 100 key American foreign policy experts just shouted out this danger in plain language:
"US-Russia relations are at a dangerous dead end that threatens the US national interest. The risk of a military confrontation that could go nuclear is real again."
Those experts have pressed the alarm button, but the siren is being drowned out by news of petty bickering between US political factions over relatively less consequential matters regarding Russia. Some of the political concerns certainly have merit. But important as they are, they pale in comparison with the potential obliteration of the planet.
Nuclear devastation likely sounds like a remote abstraction to many if not most Americans. Popular attention is focused on more immediate domestic concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic, stubbornly persistent racial bigotry, and widespread outbreaks of mass lawlessness. These are real issues we learn about in everyday news.
But putting our heads in the sand over an equally real nuclear threat will offer no protection from its ultimate danger.
"The nuclear threat outweighs every other concern. If we don't handle this one adroitly, we won't be alive to deal with the rest of our challenges" proclaims Sharon Tennison, president of the Center for Citizen Initiatives. She believes that citizen action is imperative.
American University in Moscow president Edward Lozansky is singing the same tune. "Do not wait for the government; use public diplomacy, identify Russian experts who are willing to talk, break into interest groups and start building a positive agenda for US- Russia relations. Please do it soon -- before Doomsday arrives." he implored recently in the Washington Times."
Tennison adds that "we need to have a sense of whether this [nuclear] reality is penetrating the consciousness of our American people.
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).