You don’t really need to find out
What’s going on
You don’t really want to know
Just how far it’s gone
Just leave well enough alone
Keep your dirty laundry

[Don Henley]

     I don’t generally watch long videos, and the one below is over 25 minutes. But I watched it from end to end. I didn’t look away for a moment. If you watch it, you’ll see why:

     I’d say the looming prospect of a full-scale nuclear war is important enough to spend 25 minutes watching a video, wouldn’t you? Of course, being in a first-strike target zone will sharpen one’s answer. But even persons far distant from military installations, and therefore unlikely to be part of a counterforce targeting pattern, should take at least some interest in the subject.

     No, this isn’t about preparing for Armageddon. It’s about what’s bringing the prospect ever nearer.


     First, here’s something I wrote a long time ago. It first appeared at Eternity Road in September of 2003:

     Deterrence fails when your opponent is willing to be severely damaged or destroyed if he can first inflict even a far smaller amount of damage on you. At that point, what matters is your own tolerance for death and destruction.

     I mulled this over at some length a few months ago, going all the way back to the classics of strategic thinking and conflict resolution — Thomas Schelling; Herman Kahn; Albert and Rebecca Wohlstetter; Bernard Brodie; Donald Brennan; even John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern. To a man, they shared an invisible assumption that limited their theory, the theory undergirding MAD and every other warfighting doctrine of the Industrial Age: they assumed that there was a maximum price the opponent was willing to pay for victory.

     With some sorts of people, countries and “civilizations,” this assumption does not hold. We have seen this demonstrated by repeated suicide bombings in Israel and by Black Tuesday here in the United States.

     Because we have strong, highly constraining views of the value of human life plus a desire to keep on living it — in other words, because there is a maximum price we’d be willing to pay to impose our will on another country — we cannot abide the possibility that a group of madmen willing to die for their cause (and take a whole country with them) might get hold of a weapon of mass destruction and the means to deliver it to our soil. In our hands, it would be just another card to play against an enemy. In the hands of a true fanatic – one who is willing that he and all he values shall be destroyed if only he can inflict harm on his enemy – it would be the Ace of Trumps, not because we couldn’t match it manyfold, but because of our far greater sensitivity to death and destruction, at every level.

     Some of the above remains true…but perhaps not all of it.


     The cleavage between ordinary Americans and the political Establishment has grown wider as time has passed. You might make a good case that there was no Establishment, as such, before the elections of 1896. However, that watershed year saw the open emergence of the enduring political “machine,” which by virtue of its organization, funding, and commitment is capable of contriving dominance over the political party from which it sprang. Such machines became the Establishments of the two major parties.

     These past thirty-five years – I date it from the elevation of George H. W. Bush to the presidency – those party Establishments have coalesced into a national Establishment that holds to Orwell’s observation about such things:

The aim of the High is to remain where they are.

     That unified Establishment works to retain its grip on political power, especially at the federal level, and to exclude from the corridors of power anyone who doesn’t share the Establishment’s aims. When a maverick slips through the barriers – both Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump were such – Establishment loyalists immediately encyst him in layers of delay and misdirection. The overriding necessity at that point is to keep him from rocking the Established order beyond what would be recoverable after he’s been purged. An old observation from Oklahoma Senator David L. Boren is much to the point:

     Boren, formerly a state legislator and governor, went to Washington expecting to make some changes. “What impressed me most is the great power of the bureaucracy compared to that of elected officials. All the talk about growing control by the bureaucracy is not exaggerated. The shift in power is very real…. There is almost a contempt for elected officials.”…

     Senator Boren found, to his surprise, that a Senator has great difficulty even getting phone calls returned by the “permanent” employees, much less getting responsive answers to his questions.

     The voters can’t “throw the rascals out” anymore, because the main rascals are not elected but appointed….

     Regulatory bureaucrats have extra power because they can outlast the elected officials. “Often,” Boren explains, “I’ve said to a bureaucrat, ‘You know this is not the president’s policy.’

     “True, Senator, but we were here before he came, and we’ll be here after he leaves. We’re not in sympathy with his policy. We’ll study the matter until he leaves.’”

     [Armington and Ellis, MORE: The Rediscovery of American Common Sense.]

     Thus is Establishmentarian dominance maintained. Yet even if you’re in sympathy with most of the Establishment’s aims – if you’re a member, you’d jolly well better be – you might not approve of all of them, nor of the price that might be demanded for their pursuit.


     In the Tucker Carlson video embedded above, Colonel Douglas MacGregor advances several quite disturbing theses. The most terrifying of these is that the officials that dominate Washington today are so committed to a Ukrainian victory against Russia that they’re willing to countenance unlimited American participation in the conflict: all the way to threatening to use nuclear weapons.

     But the threat might trigger Russia to respond with a full-scale nuclear strike against NATO and the United States. If the roles were reversed, that would probably be the American reaction. For a long time it was our strategic doctrine that when it comes to weapons of mass destruction, the threat is equivalent to the use. That might still be the case; I’ve been out of touch with such things for a while.

     A nuclear exchange with Russia, owner of the world’s largest stock of such weapons, would mean the end of the United States as we know it. Therefore we must evaluate the probabilities. Given the reluctance of our ruling elite to admit defeat, my evaluation is a bleak one. So the question of the hour is whether our own war hawks, the officials who have the political altitude to commit the U.S. to such a course, can be deterred from doing so.


     The forces that are capable of deterring a power are those that possess a credible capability of inflicting unacceptable damage on that power. That’s what to deter means, after all: to inhibit through fear. But what does our Establishment fear above all other things?

     For some people, their greatest fear is of physical pain, mutilation, or death. For others, it’s the fear of being forced to betray their highest ideals. And for still others, the supreme fear is that of losing their perches: the power, prestige, and perquisites of office.

     In a more blatant oligarchy – i.e., one that no longer maintains the fiction of the consent of the governed – the fear of being pulled down includes the fear of what would happen next. That’s seldom pretty:

     Historically, whenever some troublemaker had roused the rabble to a greater pitch than the Establishment of that time and place could tolerate, it had disposed of him with no compunction and extreme prejudice. There were parts of the world where that was still the inevitable price of rising to power—places where a dismissal from high office was always administered with high-velocity lead. Power seekers in such lands arrived in their palaces with their death warrants already signed and sealed; they merely awaited delivery.

     Whether that’s uppermost in the minds of our high federal officials is unclear. If it is, would that increase their commitment to a Ukrainian victory over Russia, or decrease it? More baldly: Would our Establishment rather play nuclear chicken with Russia than admit defeat in Ukraine? Is the Usurper Regime’s fear of the consequences to itself of losing in Ukraine greater than its fear of a nuclear exchange?

     Theorists have argued that a counterforce first strike against the U.S. would not target Washington. The aim of such a strike is to disarm the targeted power, putting it in an untenable position for the continuation of hostilities and therefore willing to admit defeat. But that notion, like all the rest of deterrence theory, is founded on the premise that the target nation is deterrable: i.e., that there is some maximum price its rulers are willing to pay for what they seek.

     Are men who’ve cheated their way to power, whose felonies and duplicities are even now being exposed to the public eye, and who have good reason to fear the public’s wrath, deterrable? Or is their commitment to themselves and their power great enough to embroil the world in a nuclear war, so that the rest of us would go down with them?



Skip to comment form

    • Nolan Parker on September 18, 2023 at 9:26 AM

    Biden continues to pump Our money into that proxy war. It’s all manufactured. NATO has continually pushed and prior To Putin THAT was a complaint and Everyone who knows anything about what Is Actually happening knows THAT Is where this came from. That Bloodthirsty Putin Staged his army on the border for over a week. WHY? Just to waste food and fuel? Or to make calls and Try to get NATO to back off.

    The military industrial complex Must use their inventory so they can make more. Trump wouldn’t help them, so he’s evil.

    Biden stated we are low on bullets. What happens when Normal weapons are depleted But “the enemy” won’t stop? Ohh, Now you are Forced to use nukes.

    Gee,we didn’t Want to escalate, but we had no Choice.

    • NITZAKHON on September 18, 2023 at 10:00 AM

    First, very timely:

    You’re Not Supporting Ukraine Enough Until The Nuclear Blast Hits Your Face – The Burning Platform


    I’ve been commenting for a while – on Granitegrok and on Gab – that I think there’s another layer to this seeming push to precipitate a nuclear exchange: the effects of the Jab.

    Already, something like 1/3 of the American public answers positively to a question about whether they know someone hurt / killed by the Jab.  Not by Covid, but by the “vaccine”.  That switch from Jab enthusiast to Jab skeptic really only goes one way, because that flow is based on facts and personal experience, whether of themselves or loved ones.  That percentage will do nothing but grow.

    As that number rises and people become aware of the damage done, both in the short term as seen by injuries and even deaths, but longer term as the infertility aspects arise to the fore, there will be a preference cascade against pharma and government (and inferentially the Globalists pushing this).  And IMHO – and note well that I don’t approve of violence against pharma and government, but I’ll understand it – things could get ugly.

    What better way to hide those effects, and the coming depopulation in general, by a nuclear exchange?  With grids down, people dying in droves from radiation and privation and the ensuing societal breakdown, who’ll notice a slew of “died suddenly” victims?  Infertility will also be thus explained away.  Plus, with the 7.3 billion person question in the process of being answered by war and the Jab and the downstream consequences of the same, the Globalists have every incentive to push for this hoping / believing they’ll be well-enough hidden to survive.

    Yes, pray.

    Have a good week one and all.  I’m under a work deadline and a crunch to get my company legal again.

  1. An excellent analysis, Francis, and a crystallization of sorts concerning my own thoughts on the matter. Indeed, pray.

    • Nolan Parker on September 18, 2023 at 11:02 AM

    I wish I could offer Any argument. They Told us they want to limit the global population to 500million. The jab is the first open move, they’ve been at war against us for decades. The vaccination schedule and autism rates run in parallel, and everyone screams, it’s not Proof of Causation! Well, it’s sure Looking connected.

    Boys have been drugged into submission for not wanting to sit in a classroom for decades. Frankly,, I’m surprised they can still find enough boys to field football teams.

    Yeah, nothing Hides dying people quite like dead people. At least add fallout from nukes to the equation to muddy up the Why are they so sick? Question..

    The jabs? Naah, it’s the fallout..

    • OneGuy on September 18, 2023 at 11:07 AM

    There is a problem here that isn’t sufficiently addressed.  I’m not sure I can come up with a good simile but I will try.  It is like being a passenger in a 747 that is about to crash and the stewardess is coming around telling you to fasten your seat belt.  Anyone old enough, I’m 80, to remember the duck and cover drills in school should at least have an idea what I’m getting at.  It is becoming apparent that the unthinkable is actually thinkable after all and even likely.  The world is about to experience a full blown nuclear war.  What most Americans don’t know is both Russia and China have extensive nuclear bomb and fallout shelter systems for civilians with even more elaborate systems for their military personal and equipment.  We, on the other hand, have almost nothing.  Some facilities and plans for senior government leadership and that’s it.  Not even facilities for our military personal or equipment.    Some estimates are that in a full blown nuclear exchange about 2 billion people will die, roughly half of those in the first two weeks and the rest in the first three months.  Almost everyone in North America and Europe will die.  Also, in what seems to be contradictory, most of those people could be saved if we prepared for a nuclear war.  And more importantly the preparation necessary to save those lives is not a difficult thing.  It wouldn’t be pretty, surviving a nuclear war will not be a picnic but it would be surviving.  What we need to focus on is how we, we citizens, can survive what is coming.

    1. Well, when I left strategic analysis, I stopped thinking much about surviving a nuclear exchange. I’d rather not die in one, mind you, but what would life be like for the survivors? Even if I installed one of these babies, you can’t stay down there forever, and there’s the problem of our dogs and cats as well. I couldn’t leave them to die alone.

      New York State is a primary target for a counterforce strike, and New York Metro is a primary target for a countervalue strike, so in all probability if an exchange should occur, I won’t be around afterward. (Nice knowing you all.)

    • June J on September 18, 2023 at 2:24 PM

    I agree with WOPR: nuclear war is “a strange game” in which “the only winning move is not to play.”

    • OneGuy on September 18, 2023 at 3:53 PM

    That’s not true.  The only winning move is to make sure that a large percentage of your population ad most of your military survives intact.  That is what China and Russia have planned.  They do expect to win.  That is what makes this both frightening and likely.   Maybe not as a result of the Ukraine conflict, I don’t know, no one can know, but they are absolutely planning on surviving a nuclear war and we are absolutely planning on not surviving.  That is my whole point.  Not that it will be really difficult or uncomfortable or that some are so terrified at it that they would simply prefer to die in the first blast.  The Russians and the Chinese have taken extensive steps to make sure that their workers, families, military and necessary equipment and infrastructure survive intact and we haven’t done anything.  Not that we haven’t done enough, we haven’t done anything.  I defy you to find one, a single one fallout shelter near you or for that matter anywhere in the U.S. that is intended for common citizens.  The Russians and the Chinese have them, hundreds of them.  Fully stocked with food, watter and necessities.  We have none!  Why do they have them???   Because… they plan on surviving nuclear war.

    • George Mckay on September 19, 2023 at 7:06 AM

    I used to think MacGregor was a crackpot – no longer.  He has provent to be dead on.  THAT should scare the shit out of even the most hardened hardon.  Neocons like Bushies and so forth will be the death of us all.  Preparing for the inevitable seems foolhardy at best and a waste of time and resources.

    Now, I don’t have a death wish and I want me and my progeny to flourish but, for heavens sake you boil it all down to money, power and hubris.

    Money because the greedy m-f’ers can never have enough and he has more so I must get more.

    Power because it is the ultimate aphrodesiac and after all don’t they worship the orgasm?

    Hubris because pride goes before a fall and boy will these m-f’ers fall.

    I say we give them a good, hard fall into prison and sue for peace.  We are so screwed on the Ukraine front and due to the wokism infesting our nation I see no easy or cheap solution – just stop wasting our hard borrowed money on a war that we cannot and will not win.


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