So, the kerfuffle of the moment is the claim that Russia paid a bounty to the Taliban for each killed American GI.

The sources are unnamed intelligence community members. No proof is provided beyond their anonymous word.

Intelligence communities never lie and certainly never anonymously and with no proof.


Meanwhile, the US and Russia had just begun talks to extend the New Start nuclear treaty. That treaty was to reduce the number of active nuclear launchers by half. Presumably, an extended treaty would reduce nuclear launchers or weapons further.

This is a good thing.

But it is not what a lot of people in the US military industrial complex want. Nor do they want Trump to leave Afghanistan, which he keeps talking about doing (though I doubt he will, even the possibility is anathema to the permanent state).

I think it is unlikely that Russia offered a bounty for US soldiers, but I don’t much care. US soldiers shouldn’t still be in Afghanistan, and if you want to talk hard realpolitik, Russia has interests in Afghanistan which far exceed those of the US. The US, which funded the Mujahideen to kill Russian soldiers (whether there was a bounty or not), is in no position to get all high and mighty about their occupying troops coming under attack by insurgents supported by another Great Power.

Whatever happened, further decreases in nuclear weapons, which are capable of wiping out all life on Earth, matter more.

Russia is a state which has done many evil things and is doing evil things today. Likewise, the US is a state which has done many evil things and is doing evil things today. Putin is a bad man (though, a competent one). Trump is a bad man (though largely incompetent–except not at campaigning).

Irrespective of the fact that both states have done bad things, including to each other, it is paramount that they reduce nuclear weapons, and that we avoid a nuclear war between these two states. We are not substantially safer than we were in the Cold War; they still have enough nukes to kill us all.

But also, don’t believe US intelligence agencies without hard proof, and certainly don’t believe anonymous sources.

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