Source: James A. Nollet

The United States has committed numerous Acts of War against Russia this year.  This is not a value judgment.  I make no claim here about whether the United States has acted wisely, or has acted with justification.  I simply note it.  And the world may now be tumbling into an interlocking cycle of escalation beyond control and foreseeable consequences, just as it did in 1914.

That the United States has committed Acts of War in no way justifies Russia’s actions; neither is it to say therefore that World War III and nuclear war have become inevitable, though Russian state media are openly speculating about the real risk of these.  Countries often commit Acts of War against other countries, and no war breaks out when the offended party chooses for whatever reason not to respond.  But they can respond, and that is the point here.

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Iran committed an Act of War when it seized the 52 embassy hostages during Jimmy Carter’s presidency.  This was an especially grievous and barbaric Act of War, because embassy officials are supposed to be sacrosanct.  Even Nazi Germany and the USSR understood and respected that in 1941 when Germany attacked the USSR; despite the attack and the state of war, both sides dutifully and peacefully exchanged their respective embassy staffs.  In this sense, Iran was even more barbaric than those two, and the United States would have been within its rights to seek a Declaration of War, though chose not to.

The United States committed an Act of War against Mexico with Operation Fast & Furious.  The United States sent weapons to drug cartels who have established quasi-independent narco sub-states inside Mexico, in rebellion against the central government in Mexico City.  Mexico would have been within its rights to declare war on the United States for this breach of its sovereignty, though it chose not to.

The American Acts of War against Russia come in two flavors: 1) economic sanctions, and 2) transfer of weapons and intelligence to a belligerent with whom Russia is at war.

The history of the lead-up to World War II shows both of these at work.

Economic Acts of War

 Japan attacked the United States in 1941 despite the fact that America had never fired a shot at Japan, had never invaded any Japanese-held territory, and had never armed anybody Japan was fighting.

Japan attacked the United States purely for economic reasons.  It attacked in response to American economic sanctions against Japan, which in turn were in response to Japan’s ongoing war in China.  America had embargoed exports of oil, steel, and rubber to Japan, all vital war materials.  To assure its continued access to these things, Japan felt it was forced to attack Southeast Asia and various islands in the Indo-Pacific Oceans.  Knowing that this would draw the United States into war, Japan decided on pre-emptive attacks on Pearl Harbor and the Philippine Islands, and so began America’s participation in World War II.

Japan regard economic sanctions as Acts of War, and acted accordingly.

In the Atlantic Ocean, the United States committed numerous overt Acts of War against Nazi Germany, in violation of its own and Germany’s neutrality.

Four days after Pearl Harbor, Adolf Hitler asked his Reichstag for a Declaration of War against the United States.  Below are some of the purported violations of German neutrality committed by the United States which Hitler cited in his speech:

  • Lifting of the Neutrality Act enabling shipment of American weapons to nations at war with Germany;
  • Advising France on June 15, 1940 that the United States was willing to send weapons to France if France would agree not to lay down its own weapons against Germany;
  • Lend-Lease;
  • The shipment of 50 destroyers to England in exchange for basing rights in several English bases in the Western Hemisphere; later 20 PT boats were turned over to England;
  • The forced scuttling of several German merchant ships;
  • Impounding of German ships and nationals in American harbors;
  • The occupation of Greenland and Iceland, which were sovereign Danish territories;
  • On June 9 1941, September 29 and October 7 the US Navy depth-charged a German U-Boot off Greenland.  A U-Boot torpedoed the USN destroyer Reuben James;
  • On November 6 the US Navy seized the German freighter Odenwald on the high seas and interned it and its crew inside the United States

All of these things the United States did against Germany – yet Adolf Hitler chose not to respond until the time of his own choosing.

In the current war, it is well-known that the United States and NATO have furnished Ukraine with billions of dollars’ worth of lethal weapons.  In addition there are credible reports like this one which state that US intelligence has been able to track Russian generals who’ve been forced to travel to the front lines to direct the sagging fortunes of their units, and has given this intelligence to Ukrainian forces, which have killed them.  And the May 6 edition of The New York Post reports that US intelligence enabled Ukraine to sink the Russian Black Sea flagship Moskva.

In the law, someone who assists an assassin is regarded as guilty as the assassin himself.  Were Russia to choose to do so, it could definitely regard these and many other acts as so many Acts of War, and issue a formal Declaration of War.

Currently, Russian state media is openly speculating about the real possibility of nuclear war.  The Daily Mail reported on April 28:

Margarita Simonyan, editor of state broadcaster RT and one of the Kremlin’s highest-profile mouthpieces, declared on TV last night that the idea of Putin pressing the red button is ‘more probable’ than the idea that he will allow Russia to lose the war.

Two days before that, Fortune quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov:

The risk of nuclear war between Russia and the West is now “considerable,” according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

There is an old English saying, “In for a penny, in for a pound.”  Given that the United States has already committed Acts of War with no direct response from Russia, should not the United States continue doing more of the same – for example, extend a no-fly zone over Ukraine?  After all, is not the goal a Ukrainian victory?  And as long as Russia’s own borders aren’t violated, would Russia respond?

I don’t know.  I think nobody in the West, and maybe not even Putin himself, really knows.

Actually, the war has already been brought inside Russia.  There have been numerous, massive explosions in Russian border cities like Belgorod and Kursk.  And if Chechens could explode terrorist bombs inside Moskva and derail the Moskva – St. Petersburg express train, surely Ukraine could too.

 The Guns of August and World War I happened because escalation toward World War I occurred with a life of its own.  Nobody wanted World War I, but it happened anyway.  Likewise, nobody today wants World War III, but history may repeat itself now, anyway.

Ed Ames sang what arguably could be the greatest song of the 20th century, Who Will Answer?  He asked,

And if a secret button’s pressed

Because one man’s been outguessed,

Who will answer?