From Dan Sanchez at antiwar.com:
Blackadder: You see, Baldrick, in order to prevent war in Europe, two superblocs developed: us, the French and the Russians on one side, and the Germans and Austro-Hungary on the other. The idea was to have two vast opposing armies, each acting as the other’s deterrent. That way there could never be a war.
Baldrick: But, this is a sort of a war, isn’t it, sir?
Blackadder: Yes, that’s right. You see, there was a tiny flaw in the plan.
Baldrick: What was that, sir?
Blackadder: It was bollocks.
— From the British television comedy set in World War I, Blackadder Goes Forth, 1989
Today we are only a few miscalculations and missteps away from a nuclear world war: fewer than ever since the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Last week Turkey shot down a Russian military plane over Syria. Turkish-backed fighters on the ground then executed one of the parachuting crew members. The militants also shot down a responding Russian rescue helicopter with a US-supplied anti-tank missile, killing a Russian marine.
Turkey justified the shootdown with allegations about airspace violations (lasting mere seconds), which Russia denies. The Turkish prime minister boasted that he personally authorized the attack.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the incident a “stab in the back by the accomplices of terrorists.” Russia retaliated by imposing sanctions on Turkey and by allegedly “wiping out” the militants in the area of the shootdown with heavy bombing. Russia has also built up defenses for its planes operating over Syria near Turkey: fighter-plane escorts for bombers, as well as cover by sea-to-air and ground-to-air missile launchers.
Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg proclaimed that NATO “stands in solidarity” with Turkey and vowed support for the member country in any future war with Russia.
What if a Russian jet violates Turkish airspace for a few seconds again? What if Turkey shoots that one down too? What if Russia uses its increased defenses to retaliate? What if Turkey retaliates in turn? What if NATO makes good on its commitment to support Turkey such a conflict? What if all-out war breaks out between the West and Russia? Such a war could escalate to the use of nuclear weapons.
How secure does that make you feel? How do you feel about giving up your life, your children, your hometown, etc, for the absolute sanctity of Turkish airspace? Or for the sake of Turkish assets fighting alongside Syrian Al Qaeda to overthrow a secular head of state on the other side of the world? Or for the sake of protecting the flow of ISIS oil into Turkey and Turkish arms to ISIS ?
To continue reading: The Fallacy of ‘Collective Security’