Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Bush Threat of World War III

Bush Threat of World War III: Cuban Missile Crisis Redux

by Prof. Francis Boyle

During the course of an October 17, 2007 press conference, President Bush Jr. terrorized the entire world with the threat of World War III if he could not work his illegal will upon Iran . Then Russian President Vladimir Putin responded in kind by likewise terrorizing the entire world with the prospect of yet another Cuban Missile Crisis if he did not get his way on the provocative anti-ballistic missile (A.B.M.) systems that the Bush Jr. administration plans to locate in Poland and the Czech Republic. These American A.B.M.s in Europe will constitute a necessary adjunct to the longstanding U.S. plan of launching a strategic nuclear first-strike against the former Soviet Union, now reincarnated as the Russian Federation . Seemingly effective U.S. A.B.M. systems will be required to take out the miniscule Russian strategic nuclear retaliatory forces that might survive a U.S. first-strike.

What really matters here are the perceptions: Namely, the Neo-Cons in the Bush Jr. administration believe that with the deployment of a facially successful strategic nuclear first-strike capability necessarily including A.B.M.s, the U.S. government could ultimately compel nuclear-armed Russia or China or both to do its bidding during a geopolitical crisis (e.g., over Iran or Cuba again). The classic case in point here was the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis when the Soviet government knew that the United States wielded both strategic nuclear and conventional area military superiority, so it capitulated. American international political scientists have almost unanimously applauded this existential nuclear brinksmanship inflicted upon humanity by The Best and the Brightest (1972) of the Kennedy administration as a most salutary example of aggressive “compellence” as opposed to allegedly defensive “deterrence.”

Under the auspices of the Bush Jr. Neo-Cons, the U.S. government is breaking out of a publicly proclaimed strategic nuclear “deterrence” posture and moving into adopting a strategic nuclear “compellence” strategy with respect to nuclear-armed Russia and China , let alone the rest of the world. The Bush Jr. Neo-Cons calculate that henceforth the United States government will be able to compel even strategically-nuclear-armed adversaries like Russia or China or both to back down in a crisis, or otherwise to do its will, or at least to do nothing to stop it from attaining its geopolitical objectives. But see Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964).

By contrast, it was the terror of my own personal imminent nuclear annihilation during the Cuban Missile Crisis that first sparked my interest in studying international relations and U.S. foreign policy as a young boy of 12: “I can do a better job than this!” Unfortunately, my generation of Americans has not. But the next generation must pick up the torch and fight for the very survival of humanity and our shared planet earth.


Professor Francis A. Boyle is the athor of "The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence" (Clarity Press: 2002).

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Binoy Kampmark: Ineffectual Boycotts: The Beijing Winter Olympics
Making moral statements in the blood and gristle of international relations can often come across as feeble. In doing so, the maker serves the worst of all worlds: to reveal a false sense of assurance that something was done while serving no actual purpose other than to provoke. Anger, and impotence, follow... More>>

Keith Rankin: Science, Scientists, And Scientism
Science, in the not-so-recent-past, has often had a bad press. It's been personified, particularly by the political left, as Frankenstein, as agents of capitalism, classical liberalism, colonialism, sexism (yang over yin), eugenics, and god-like pretension. More recently though, in the zeitgeists of climate change awareness and covid, it's had an unusually good press; although we retain this persistent worry that viruses such as SARS-Cov2 may be the unwitting or witting result of the work of careless or evil scientists... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Can ACT's Dream Run Continue?

By most reckonings the ACT Party has had a very successful political year. Not only has its expanded Parliamentary team settled in well to its work, without controversy or scandal, but its leader has gained in community respect, and the party’s support, at least according to the public opinion polls, has increased sharply... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Question Time Is Anything But
The focus placed on the first couple of Question Time exchanges between the new leader of the National Party and the Prime Minister will have seemed excessive to many but the most seasoned Parliamentary observers. Most people, especially those outside the Wellington beltway, imagine Question Time is exactly what it sounds... More>>

Gasbagging In Glasgow: COP26 And Phasing Down Coal

Words can provide sharp traps, fettering language and caging definitions. They can also speak to freedom of action and permissiveness. At COP26, that permissiveness was all the more present in the haggling ahead of what would become the Glasgow Climate Pact... More>>

Globetrotter: Why Julian Assange’s Inhumane Prosecution Imperils Justice For Us All

When I first saw Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison, in 2019, shortly after he had been dragged from his refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy, he said, “I think I am losing my mind.”
He was gaunt and emaciated, his eyes hollow and the thinness of his arms was emphasized by a yellow identifying cloth tied around his left arm... More>>