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"We are on a path of escalation to nuclear war, nothing less" - Jeffrey D. Sachs

By Jeffrey D. Sachs

October 07, 2022


JEFFREY SACHS: I was attacked in The Atlantic for being on the side of peace. And I confess, I'm on the side of peace. I'm very worried we are on the path of escalation to nuclear war, nothing less than that.

Russia feels that this war is at the core of its security interests. The United States insists it will do anything to support Ukraine's defeat of Russia. Russia views this as a proxy war with the United States. Whatever one thinks about this, this is the path of extraordinary, dangerous escalation. And I am very fearful.
A lot of the world is watching these events in horror, and a lot of the world doesn't like this NATO expansion, which they interpret as at the core of this. They want to see a compromise between the U.S. and Russia.

In vote after vote in the United Nations, basically, it has been the Western nations that have been voting for sanctions and denunciations and other actions. Whereas most of the world, certainly most of the world counted by population, is on the sidelines. They just view this as a horrible clash between Russia and the U.S. They don't view this, as we describe it in the media, as an unprovoked attack by Russia on Ukraine.

Anyone in the U.S. thinks, "well, what else is it?" But that is because of the way our media has been reporting this. This conflict goes back a long time, it didn't start on February 24, 2022. In fact, the war itself started in 2014, not in 2022, and even that had antecedents.

Most of the world doesn't see it the way we describe it. Most of the world is just terrified right now, frankly.

It is unbelievable to be hearing on one side that they will use nuclear weapons if they have to, while the other side says, "You can't frighten us."

Europe is in a very, very sharp economic downturn. The sharp decline in output and living standards also shows up as a rise in prices, but the main fact is the European economy is getting hammered by the sudden cutoff of energy.

And now to make it definitive, the destruction of the Nord Stream Pipeline (which I would bet was a U.S. action, perhaps U.S. and Poland). That is speculation.

BLOOMBERG HOST: Jeff, we've got to stop there. Why do you feel that was a U.S. action? What evidence do you have of that?

JEFFREY SACHS: Well, first, there is direct radar evidence that U.S. military helicopters that are normally based in Gdansk were circling over this area. We also had the threat from the U.S. [President Biden] earlier this year that "one way or another we are going to end Nord Stream."

We also had a remarkable statement from Sec. Blinken last Friday in a press conference where he said "this is also a tremendous opportunity." That's a strange way to talk if you're worried about piracy on international infrastructure of vital significance.

I know it runs counter to our narrative, you're not allowed to say these things in the West, but the fact of the matter is all over the world when I talk to people, they think the U.S. did it. Even reporters on our papers that are involved tell me "of course" [the U.S. did it], but it doesn't show up in our media.

[About the lack of trust in media and government]

The bigger problem is we have major geopolitical conflicts, not only the U.S. and Russia, but also the U.S. and China. Again, with a tremendous amount of provocation coming from the U.S. side, so we're breaking any sense of stability right now. For the moment, many in Europe are saying that the U.S. is their closest ally and they need to hold on but watch what is happening politically. There is upheaval in Europe. Country after country right now. We're entering a period of enormous instability. And we're unstable in the U.S. right now. We went through an insurrection, we're still not past that.
So we're entering the most unstable geopolitical era in many decades. We're entering the first hyperinflation in more than 40 years. And we're entering the first escalation to the nuclear precipice in 60 years. 60 years ago exactly this month was the Cuban missile crisis. This is the most dangerous moment since the Cuban missile crisis.

It is an extraordinary overload and we see no attempt to tamp this down or to quiet it down. Every day is about escalation, we're going to defeat the other side, we have our rights, we can stand up for what we want. We have Speaker Pelosi flying to Taiwan. We have so many provocations in the midst of huge instability!

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