And Biden Got His Gun*

We should rewatch Stanley Kubrick’s film “Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.” Not that I am implying we’re on the brink of nuclear war, but this movie is useful to understand the Cold War climate in which a spark, a miscalculation or a misstep could have caused a catastrophe, born from the extreme mistrust between the U.S. and the USSR after defeating the Nazis in 1945 and ending with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

World peace — theirs because they did not take into account colonial wars, coups, assassinations and invasion — was based on the acronym for mutually assured destruction, MAD. No matter who drew first, nuclear annihilation was guaranteed for both parties because a response would be automatic.

Antoine Perraud reminded us in InfoLibre of a scene that took place between Charles de Gaulle and the Soviet ambassador in Paris, who was angry because France had sided with the U.S. The diplomat warned him that he was placing France under the spotlight for a possible nuclear attack. De Gaulle, who already had his atomic bomb, countered, “Alas, Mr. Ambassador, we shall die together.”

For decades, the MAD doctrine prevailed over the agreements to reduce nuclear weapons. The idea was that nobody should have the attack capability to allow the temptation or hope of destroying another completely in exchange for merely partial self-destruction.

The U.S. and Russia, which succeeded the Soviet Union, don’t know how to think beyond the framework of the Cold War. This is not just about safety. Moscow has emotional reasons for acting this way as well: it sees Ukraine as part of old Russia.

Poker Player

The Russian leader, a chess player, has five possible moves: doing nothing, encouraging splitting off the Ukrainian region of Donbass, making a move in America, maintaining tension by bringing Belarus into the game in order to upset the Europeans, or invading everything. The last move is the most unlikely. Vladimir Putin’s problem is that he sitting across the table from a poker player. The nuclear missiles are still there, and they are now more modern and efficient.

While Putin is advised by nationalist hawks who yearn to restore the glory of the Soviet Union, Joe Biden is not surrounded by doves either. Journalist Olga Rodríguez, in her article “Fuck the European Union,” published in, highlighted the role of Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, a former U.N. ambassador.

In 2014, Nuland pulled some strings during Euromaidan, the Ukrainian revolts that ousted pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych. She is currently one of the president’s main advisers during the current crisis. Hers is not a neutral voice: her father, born in the Bronx, was a descendant of Ukrainian immigrants.

Biden must have not read Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War,” for he has moved aggressively. One of Sun Tzu’s principles is to leave a way out for the enemy so that it will not turn around and fight fiercely. The entire game right now is taking place on European soil against the EU’s interests.

Select Committee

Biden is weakened after the disastrous evacuation of Kabul, Afghanistan. His domestic reform plan is stuck. He is sinking in the polls. His job assignment as president, getting Donald Trump out of the White House, ended the day he took the oath of office. His presidency reeks of being a single-term administration.

Democrats are focusing their hopes on the select committee investigating the assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. A huge swath of Trumpism may emerge from this with fatal injuries. The Ukrainian crisis gives Biden a convenient way to feel like the leader of the free world, as if we lived in the olden days and as if China was not another key player at the table.

Afghanistan and Libya, and now Ukraine, are all warnings for the EU. NATO, a Cold War construct meant to halt Soviet expansionism — i.e., Russia — has become the arm of America’s global games. It is urgent and imperative that there be European armed forces, inside or outside a common defense framework with the U.S.

Putin disregards the EU as well, and supports the far right. Marine Le Pen, from France, is getting presidential campaign funds from Russia through a Hungarian bank. The Kremlin plays a different game in Latin America: Venezuela and Nicaragua are the proxies it uses to scare Washington.

In conclusion, here’s another film recommendation for parlor warmongers. It takes place during World War I and is called “Johnny Got His Gun,” based on the book by Dalton Trumbo, a victim of McCarthyism, a far-right, racist virus that never disappeared. You can still find it in the DNA of American politics.

*Editor’s Note: The original Spanish text of this article is available with a paid subscription.

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