In response to a question about what the worst U.S. foreign policy disaster has been, Mearsheimer agreed with a fellow panelist that at that moment Iraq looked like the worst, but said he believed U.S. policy on Ukraine would prove much worse in coming years. He spoke of the fact that Russia has thousands of nuclear weapons, and that it’s entirely possible those weapons will be used if Russia feels threatened.
‘Because the Cold War is in the distant past, most people, especially younger people, haven’t thought a lot about nuclear weapons and nuclear deterrence, and they tend to be quite cavalier in their comments about nuclear weapons, and this makes me very nervous,’ Mearsheimer said.
In 2016, Mearsheimer was asked what the biggest disaster in U.S. foreign policy was. The panelist next to him said Iraq. Here’s his answer. In my business, this is called a crystal ball. pic.twitter.com/pFBnOIJ5Jm — David Sacks (@DavidSacks) June 19, 2022
It makes me nervous too. Especially when we’ve got a steadily escalating proxy war which the standoff in Lithuania could easily see spin out into a direct hot war between Russia and NATO powers, and when we hear the U.K.’s top army general telling troops to prepare for World War Three.
Most of what I see in public discourse about escalating aggressions between the U.S. power alliance and Russia reflects the cavalier attitude Mearsheimer spoke of in 2016, as do my own interactions with people online. Most of what I’m seeing in the behavior of NATO powers indicates this cavalier attitude about nuclear weapons as well. People, from the rank-and-file public to the upper echelons of empire management, don’t seem to be thinking very hard about what nuclear war is and what it would mean.
As Mearsheimer said, this does seem to be because we’re so removed now from the days when everyone was acutely aware that the missiles could start flying at any time…”