The Doomsday Clock, set by the US-based magazine Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, has been moved to 90 seconds to midnight. That’s the closest ever to total nuclear doom, the global catastrophe.
The Clock had been set at 100 seconds since 2020. The Bulletin’s Science and Security Board and a group of sponsors – which includes 10 Nobel laureates – have focused on “Russia’s war on Ukraine” (their terminology) as the main reason.
Yet they did not bother to explain non-stop American rhetoric (the US is the only nation that adopts “first strike” in a nuclear confrontation) and the fact that this is a US proxy war against Russia with Ukraine used as cannon fodder.
The Bulletin also attributes malignant designs to China, Iran and North Korea, while mentioning, only in passing, that “the last remaining nuclear weapons treaty between Russia and the United States, New START, stands in jeopardy".
"Unless the two parties resume negotiations and find a basis for further reductions, the treaty will expire in February 2026.”
As it stands, the prospects of a US-Russia negotiation on New START are less than zero.
Now cue to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov making it very clear that war against Russia is not hybrid anymore, it's "almost" real.
"Almost" in fact means “90 seconds.”
So why is this all happening?
The Mother of All Intel Failures
Former British diplomat Alastair Crooke has concisely explained how Russian resilience – much in the spirit of Iranian resilience past four decades - completely smashed the assumptions of Anglo-American intelligence.
Talk about the Mother of All Intel Failures – in fact even more astonishing than the non-existent Iraqi WMDs (in the run-up to Shock and Awe in 2003, anyone with a brain knew Baghdad had discontinued its weapons program already in the 1990s.)
Now the collective West “committed the entire weight of its financial resources to crushing Russia (…) in every conceivable way – via financial, cultural and psychological war, and with real military war as the follow-through.”
And yet Russia held its ground. And now reality-based developments prevail over fiction. The Global South “is peeling away into a separate economic model, no longer dependent on the dollar for its trading needs."
And the accelerated collapse of the US dollar increasingly plunges the Empire into a real existential crisis.
All that hangs over a South Vietnam scenario evolving in Ukraine after a rash government-led political and military purge. The coke comedian – whose only role is to beg non-stop for bags of cash and loads of weapons – is being progressively sidelined by the Americans (beware of traveling CIA directors).
The game in Kiev, according to Russian sources, seems to be that the Americans are taking over the Brits as handlers of the whole operation.
The coke comedian remains – for now - as a sock puppet while military control over what is left of Ukraine is entirely NATO’s.
Well, it already was – but now, formally, Ukraine is the world's first de facto NATO member without being an actual member, enjoying less than zero national sovereignty, and complete with NATO-Nazi Storm troopers weaponized with American and German tanks in the name of “democracy”.
The meeting last week of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group – totally controlled by the US – at the US Air Force base in Ramstein solidified a sort of tawdry remix of Operation Barbarossa.
Here we go again, with German Panzers sent to Ukraine to fight Russia.
Yet the tank coalition seems to have tanked even before it starts. Germany will send 14, Portugal 2, Belgium 0 (sorry, don't have them). Then there's Lithuania, whose Defense Minister observed, "Yes, we don't have tanks, but we have an opinion about tanks."
No one ever accused German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock of being brighter than a light bulb. She finally gave the game away, at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg:
“The crucial part is that we do it together and that we do not do the blame game in Europe because we are fighting a war against Russia.”
So Baerbock agrees with Lavrov. Just don't ask her what Doomsday Clock means. Or what happened after Operation Barbarossa failed.
The NATO-EU “garden”
The EU-NATO combo takes matters to a whole new level. The EU essentially has been reduced to the status of P.R. arm of NATO.
It’s all spelled out in their January 10 joint declaration.
The NATO-EU joint mission consists in using all economic, political and military means to make sure the "jungle" always behaves according to the "rules-based international order" and accepts to be plundered ad infinitum by the "blooming garden".
Looking at The Big Picture, absolutely nothing changed in the US military/intel apparatus since 9/11: it’s a bipartisan thing, and it means Full Spectrum Dominance of both the US and NATO. No dissent whatsoever is allowed. And no thinking outside the box.
Plan A is subdivided into two sections.
1. Military intervention in a hollowed-out proxy state shell (see Afghanistan and Ukraine).
2. Inevitable, humiliating military defeat (see Afghanistan and soon Ukraine). Variations include building a wasteland and calling it “peace” (Libya) and extended proxy war leading to future humiliating expulsion (Syria).
There's no Plan B.
Or is there? 90 seconds to midnight?
Obsessed by Mackinder, the Empire fought for control of the Eurasian landmass in World War I and World War II because that represented control of the world.
Later, Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski had warned: "Potentially the most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition between Russia, China and Iran."
Jump cut to the Raging Twenties when the US forced the end of Russian natural gas exports to Germany (and the EU) via Nord Stream 1 and 2.
Once again, Mackinderian opposition to a grand alliance on the Eurasian landmass consisting of Germany, Russia and China.
The Straussian neo-con and neoliberal-con psychos in charge of US foreign policy could even absorb a strategic alliance between Russia and China – as painful as it may be. But never Russia, China and Germany.
With the collapse of the JCPOA, Iran is now being re-targeted with maximum hostility. Yet were Tehran to play hardball, the US Navy or military could never keep the Strait of Hormuz open - by the admission of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Oil price in this case would rise to possibly thousands of dollars a barrel according to Goldman Sachs oil derivative experts – and that would crash the entire world economy.
This is arguably the foremost NATO Achilles Heel. Almost without firing a shot a Russia-Iran alliance could smash NATO to bits and bring down assorted EU governments as socio-economic chaos runs rampant across the collective West.
Meanwhile, to quote Dylan, darkness keeps dawning at the break of noon. Straussian neo-con and neoliberal-con psychos will keep pushing the Doomsday Clock closer and closer to midnight.
Pepe Escobar is a Eurasia-wide geopolitical analyst and author. His latest book is Raging Twenties.