During the Oct. 15 debate among Democratic presidential candidates, neither they nor the liberal mainstream media showed any awareness of a massive Russian nuclear forces exercise then ongoing, rehearsing World War III.
Instead, liberal media interlocutors and Democratic candidates all focused on bashing President Trump for withdrawing 1,000 U.S. troops from Syria and allegedly "abandoning the Kurds."
Never mind that the tiny U.S. contingent in Syria was surrounded by much larger hostile forces, hundreds of thousands of Russian, Syrian, Iranian, and terrorist fighters who would love to give the U.S. a bloody nose.
It was a massacre waiting to happen.
Never mind that the Kurds are not U.S. allies by treaty, as is Turkey, a NATO member
Never mind that the U.S. rescued the Kurds by defeating ISIS, not vice versa, and that the destruction of the ISIS "Caliphate" is mission accomplished. Now that the common cause against ISIS is over, should the U.S. continue supporting Kurdish separatists and PKK terrorists against Turkey, a NATO ally?
Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., and most other Democratic presidential candidates threatened to kick Turkey out of NATO, even while paying lip service to the importance of alliances.
Do they even know that, after the United States, Turkey is by far militarily the strongest NATO member state? Turkey has more tanks, aircraft, and troops than any nation in European NATO.
Turkey is the only NATO member in the Mideast and for decades has been a “rock of Gibraltar” for U.S. and NATO policy in that very dangerous and vitally important neighborhood. Indeed, Turkey was such a trustworthy member of NATO that the U.S. has tactical nuclear weapons stored on their territory, at Incirlik AFB.
Unfortunately, under the leadership of Islamist President Recep Erdogan, Turkey has been drifting away from NATO and the U.S. and toward Russia. The situation is becoming so bad, the U.S. may withdraw its tactical nuclear weapons (50 B-61 gravity bombs) from Turkey—and should.
Three years ago (Aug. 2, 2016), I recommended in Newsmax that the U.S. withdraw tactical nuclear weapons from Turkey.
Nonetheless, breaking with Turkey will be a tremendous blow to NATO, and could even begin unraveling the larger NATO alliance.
Compared to these stakes, the Kurds are trivial.
The U.S. should make every effort to reconcile with Turkey, accommodate Turkey’s legitimate security interests on the chaotic Syrian borders, and keep Turkey in NATO.
Judging from their debate on October 15, the only threat from Russia that Democrats and the liberal media see is alleged Russian meddling in U.S. elections. (Democrats are unconcerned by massive election fraud threatened, and almost certainly already committed, by millions of illegal aliens penetrating the unprotected U.S. southern border.)
However, oblivious though Democrats and the liberal media may be to the Russian nuclear threat, Moscow’s nuclear muscle was on full display during the Democratic presidential debates on October 15.
While Democrats quibbled over the Kurds and bemoaned Trump’s withdrawal from Obama’s Iran nuclear deal (which by enriching Iran, facilitated terror attacks on Israel and the Kurds) — Russia launched on October 15-17 their massive nuclear wargame THUNDER-2019.
According to Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Major General Yevgeny Ilyin, THUNDER-2019:
- Mobilizes 213 strategic missile launchers, 105 aircraft, 5 submarines, 15 surface ships, and 12,000 troops to simulate a nuclear war.
- 16 missiles will be launched, including ICBMs, SLBMs, and cruise missiles, practicing nuclear strikes."Seaborn cruise missiles will be test-fired at the naval ranges in the Barents, Baltic, Black, Caspian and Okhotsk Seas."
- Bombers will launch cruise missiles in the “Western, Southern, Central Military Districts, and Northern Fleet” at four aviation firing ranges.
THUNDER-2019 involves the whole of Russia’s nuclear forces, and all of the military districts and geographic regions of Russia.
Russian Maj. Gen. Ilyn claims, absurdly, "The drills are solely of defensive nature."
This claim is belied by the fact that the offensive nuclear missile systems being utilized are designed to strike the United States and European NATO.
Moreover, "The drills’ scenario envisages that the situation escalates along the perimeter of the Russian border . . . " In other words, Moscow is warning NATO to tread carefully, as something could happen that would trigger massive Russian nuclear strikes against NATO Europe and the United States.
One wonders, and Major General Ilyn leaves carefully undefined, exactly what border "provocation" by NATO might move Russia to launch an all-out nuclear war?
Is it a coincidence that THUNDER-2019 is happening exactly when the U.S. and Turkey are at odds, and NATO is experiencing perhaps the most serious internal crisis in its history?
Is THUNDER-2019 intended to impress Turkey with Russia’s nuclear power and resolve, in contrast to the increasingly troublesome relationship with the United States, and to lure Turkey away from NATO, into Russia’s orbit?
Destroying NATO is one of Russia’s major foreign policy objectives. We do need to tread carefully at this moment, and not help Moscow destroy NATO by driving Turkey into their arms.
Alas, not one of the Democratic presidential candidates seemed aware of the Russian nuclear threat or the risk to NATO of losing Turkey. None are competent to be commander-in-chief.
Dr. Peter Vincent Pry is executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security. He served on the Congressional EMP Commission as chief of staff, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the House Armed Services Committee, and the CIA. He is author of "Blackout Wars." For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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