World War III Did Not Break Out TodayBy David Shavin
Nov. 16—Today was the first day of a two-day G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández met with China’s President Xi Jinping. Argentina wants to join the BRICS and China lent a big hand with $6 billion of support (and none of it for weapons!). Separate from the conference, Russia extended a hand to Japan and India on the massive Sakhalin oil and gas development, which both were happy to accept. That is a normal non-nuclear war day.
While it is as yet an unconfirmed allegation that the U.S. pressure on Kiev to look like they are interested in peace negotiations is only for show, President Zelenskyy’s performance Tuesday morning, Nov. 16, addressing the G20 event virtually, certainly gave that impression. Russia’s G20 representative, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, warned that such buffoonery would come to no good end. And a few hours later, Russia launched their biggest missile barrage against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. Bad timing on Russia’s part, or an unmistakable message?
The day didn’t end well for Zelenskyy. When Poland reported an explosion, apparently from a missile, and displayed a photo of the remnants of a missile, the Russian military explained that none of their 100 or so missiles that day were anywhere near that area. Further, the photo was that of an old Soviet air-defense missile that Ukraine employs today. Regardless, the AP found an unnamed U.S. official to assert that a Russian missile had attacked Poland, a NATO country, and Zelenskyy was off to the races, calling upon full-scale NATO intervention against Russia.
But this time, there were more than a few voices not quite ready to jump into World War III. Poland called for restraint, asking the media not to exaggerate. President Joe Biden weighed in, casting doubt that Russia had fired the missile (though, admittedly, in a somewhat confused sentence). Who was there left to applaud Zelenskyy’s bold assertion that there was no doubt that the Russians had fired upon Poland? Did someone switch the channel on the fellow’s show?
Otherwise, on the sidelines of the G20 summit, France’s President Emmanuel Macron made sure to reach out to China’s Xi and Russia’s Lavrov, with a renewed conviction that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin must be reasoned with, that the dialogue must be created. Germany’s Olaf Scholz seconded the idea. There are signs that countries may not want to plunge over the edge. Even the U.S.’s CIA director William Burns flew to Ankara, Turkey to meet privately with Russian Foreign Intelligence (SVR) director Sergey Naryshkin—evidently in the recognition that channels need to be opened before some crazies stampede the world into nuclear confrontation.
So, World War III did not break out today. Take it as a semi-miracle. On a day when President Biden might have been the most level-headed Washington, D.C. politician—on the model of the “one-eyed” being king in the land of the blind—perhaps it is a problem that U.S. politics have persisted in such a vast wasteland of mediocrities?
Hence, Diane Sare’s announcement, one week after a contentless U.S. midterm election, that she will run for the U.S. Senate from New York in 2024. Her theme? “A voice of reason is needed from the United States.”
Now, that would be the icing on the cake.