Scott Ritter: 2023 will be our last year on the planet
06/21/2023 // News Editors // Views

Scott Ritter, former UN nuclear arms inspector, hears Johnny Cash’s cancer-ravaged voice, speaking those haunting words at the end of his song, “The Man Comes Around.”

(Article by Deborah L. Armstrong republished from

“That’s what we live in today,” the former US Marine intelligence officer said at a press conference aptly titled “Can Nuclear War Be Avoided?”

“This isn’t some sort of, you know, future look into a hellish earth,” Ritter continued. “Death is on a pale horse riding to us as we speak! And if you don’t recognize that, if you’re not aware of that, then you’re just gonna blissfully go to the abyss.”

Ritter was one of five panelists who spoke at the online conference on January 8th, which was put on by Diane Sare (I-NY), a candidate for US Senate from New York. In addition to Ritter and Sare, there were three more speakers:

Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the widow of American political activist Lyndon LaRouche, also a German activist and founder of the Schiller Institute.

Col. Richard Black, a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War and Republican politician who served in the Virginia State Senate.

Steven Starr, former nuclear weapons director of the University of Missouri’s Clinical Laboratory Science Program and a senior scientist at the Physicians for Social Responsibility who has worked with foreign governments to reduce the nuclear weapons stockpile worldwide.

Top row: Col. Richard Black, Scott Ritter, Steven Starr. Bottom row: Senate Candidate Diane Sare (I-NY), Schiller Institute Founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche. Photo: Sare for Senate


The webinar, which you can watch on Rumble, was organized in response to recent events which are escalating the tensions between Russia and the US and its NATO allies. Recent comments such as those of former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former French President Francois Hollande, indicating that the Minsk II Peace Accords were never actually about peace, and were instead intended to buy Ukraine more time to arm itself against Russia and the break-away republics in the Donbass region.

At this point, it may appear to Russia that there is no point in negotiating, since it’s now known that the US and its allies did not negotiate in good faith. The US/UK/NATO alliance is presently sending armored vehicles into Ukraine, and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has cynically rejected an Orthodox Christmas ceasefire offered by Russian president Vladimir Putin. Senate Candidate Diane Sare believes it is up to us to change the policy of the US if we want to avoid a nuclear confrontation with Russia, which would be an Extinction Level Event (ELE).

“In a literal sense, we are on the brink of thermonuclear war,” Diane said during her introductory comments, “largely as a result of policies from the West, particularly the United States. And as American citizens, we do have some control over that.”

How much control the American people have over the increasingly apocalyptic direction the US has been taking in this proxy war with Russia is a matter of debate, but Sare and the other panelists had some ideas. “The point is to change the policy so we avoid the immediate threat to human civilization,” Sare said.

Atomic cloud rising over Nagasaki, Japan. 1945. Photo: Library of Congress

“We are looking at the end of mankind. That’s what this danger implies. And we are moving right now so quickly towards an escalation,” said Helga Zepp-LaRouche, who favors a diplomatic solution and believes that the best hope we have may be the offer put forth by Pope Francis, “who said that he will offer the venue of the Vatican as a place for peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russia without any preconditions.”

Zepp-Larouche believes that lack of preconditions is essential if any kind of diplomatic settlement is to be reached. The Schiller Institute, she says, has begun a letter-writing campaign which has already garnered the signatures of more than 100 prominent individuals from 37 countries. She asked those present to sign the letter as well. If the Pope sees that there is support for his campaign, Zepp-Larouche says, it may be possible to “make an international pressure on the United States, on the other NATO countries.”

“And frankly I think at this point,” she continued, “that the only thing that will help to stop this is if you see around the world, millions of people in the streets. As you know we are very, very far from that.”

Indeed, peace protests seem to have gone to the same place where all the flowers, and flower children, of the 70’s, went. Only a few dedicated souls continue to protest against war, and their lone voices are often drowned out by the resounding choir of pundits who pound the drums of war, and the roar of armored vehicles and tanks from NATO making their way into Ukraine.

Zepp-LaRouche also referenced recent comments by former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev indicating that hypersonic nuclear missiles have been deployed off the coasts of the US and Europe. “Basically, they are so quickly coming,” she said, “that the US president would not even have the time to enter Air Force One.”

The aftermath of the atomic blast in Hiroshima, 1945. Photo: Library of Congress

Col. Richard Black, who spoke via a previously recorded message, believes some are fired up about war because they are of the opinion that Putin shouldn’t be allowed to “get away” with this. The “War on Terror,” he says, has been used to “sap the US constitution of its vigor and diminish the rights of American citizens and citizens all across the globe.”

But the most recent example of terror, Black pointed out, was the attack on the Nordstream pipelines, which has been blamed on Russia despite evidence that a NATO country was the culprit. “Just moments after these massive detonations took place,” he said, “a text was intercepted. It was transmitted by British Prime Minister Liz Truss, directed to Secretary of State Tony Blinken, and it simply said ‘it’s done.’ That was the total sum of the message.”

“This was one of the greatest terror attacks in history,” Black continued. “The western media immediately jumped all on board and accused Russia of having destroyed one of its greatest engineering achievements in history. Somehow the Russians had done it. Why? Because the Russians always do it. And if an election doesn’t go the way of the Deep State, the Russians did it. Everything is easily attributed to the Russians. The claim needn’t be rational. It needn’t be logical. It can be totally irrational. As it was in this case.”

Indeed, the masses all too willingly seem to accept without question that “the Russians” destroyed one of their most valuable economic lifelines to Europe for no other reason than because Russians are just “really bad people who do really bad things,” Black said. And the lie, no matter how illogical or irrational, is repeated over and over until people believe it. Especially when all other explanations are censored.

No doubt the Nazi head of propaganda Joseph Goebbels would be very proud of this remarkable achievement on the part of modern intelligence and its network of operatives and assets in mainstream media.

“We are on the cusp of thermonuclear war,” said Maj. Scott Ritter. He recalled his former mentor, General Polk, who served under President John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. “You know how we avoided war during the Cuban Missile Crisis? Diplomacy. Old fashioned diplomacy. Americans talking to Russians and Russians talking to Americans.”

Back then, Ritter says, there were proven “back channels” used by the leaders of countries to talk when official channels were no longer working. “But today, we don’t talk. Yeah, we have our intelligence heads meeting in Ankara and other places around the world, but this isn’t a negotiation. We are in the midst of not just a heightening of tensions, but we lack the mechanisms to resolve these tensions. There is no diplomatic action worthy of the name between the US and Russia today.”

Ritter said he had recently eaten lunch with the Russian Ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, who negotiated the New START treaty with Barack Obama, the last arms control treaty between the US and Russia. But these days, Ritter says, the Russian Ambassador sits in a “gilded cage” here in the US and “nobody talks to him.”

“Nobody is talking disarmament, everybody is talking arms race,” Ritter said. And though our so-called “representatives” on Capitol Hill believe in the course the US is taking, which is bringing us ever-closer to Armageddon, Ritter believes they are deluded. “The Russians will annihilate us in a nuclear conflict. There is no debate, no doubt in this.”

Russia’s Belgorod Submarine. Photo: Eurasian Times

At one point in time, Ritter says, there was a belief that the US could launch a “decapitation strike,” that would nullify Russia’s leadership, and that our ballistic missile defense system could protect the world from the inevitable retaliatory strike launched by Russia’s Perimeter system, known as “the Dead Hand.”

“Well, the Russians have not only checked us on this but check-mated us on this,” he said. “They have weapons today, and they’re deployed. It’s not theoretical weapons. Real weapons, deployed, that nullify all of this. So, America has no chance. If we ever initiated something like this, we would be destroyed before the people who initiated it realized they had failed! That’s how quick the Russian retaliation would be.”

Ritter said that the US is poised to spend trillions of dollars to modernize its weapons in the hopes of matching Russian capabilities. “But we can’t,” he said, “and I will tell you this without a shadow of a doubt, without a fear of contradiction: Every weapons system that we are currently talking about employing to replace the existing triad is not sufficient to the task. It won’t work, and they don’t intimidate the Russians at all!”

Ritter, who recently authored a book titled “Disarmament in the Time of Perestroika,” says that times were just as dangerous in the 80’s — except that then, we were talking. The US and Russia were negotiating. “We came up with a treaty,” he said. “Why? Because the negotiators were veterans. They’d been doing this a long time.”

Photo: Barnes and Noble

The people who negotiated the START and INF treaties, Ritter says, were the same ones who had negotiated SALT 1 in the 60’s and SALT 2 in the 70’s. They were experienced negotiators who had successfully drawn up treaties before. But since those days, the US has withdrawn from all but the New START treaty, which Ritter says, the US and NATO are “cheating on” regularly.

“Why in God’s name would Russia sit down with the United States for anything? For anything? We’re liars. We’re cheaters. We can’t be trusted,” Ritter said, adding that NATO countries such as France and Germany can’t be trusted as interlocutors, and the UN Security Council can’t be trusted because it approved the Minsk II Peace accords, which turned out to be a sham all along.

“Helga, I wish you the best of luck with the Vatican, I really do,” Ritter said, directing his comment to Helga Zepp LaRouche. “And I hope you prove me wrong. I want you to prove me wrong. I want you to come up with an adequate negotiating forum that actually works, but I’m here to tell you right now, Russia will never, ever, ever negotiate with anyone about Ukraine.”

Ritter believes that the only way the US/NATO can be brought to the negotiating table is through a defeat, which he compared to the US defeat of Japan in 1945, where the choice was “sign the document or die.”

Japan’s delegation gathers to sign the formal surrender document on the US Navy battleship USS Missouri, 1945. Photo: Reuters

“NATO will lose. The question is, will NATO lose gracefully?” Ritter asked, and referenced a poem by Dylan Thomas. “Is NATO willing to ‘go gently into the good night’? Or is NATO going to ‘rage, rage against the dying of the light’? And that’s the choice, unfortunately, that’s what we come down to. If NATO opts to ‘rage, rage against the dying of the light,’ ladies and gentlemen, it’s been a pleasure knowing you. 2023 will be the last year that we are all alive on this planet. Kiss your loved ones goodbye. Do what you need to do, it’s over.”

Ritter believes that there is no more hope for negotiations, because Russia can no longer trust the US or NATO. From this point forward, he believes, Russia will not be seeking negotiations. It will be seeking victory. And if NATO and the US do not find a way to accept that gracefully, we are all doomed to a nuclear annihilation.

I’d love to prove Ritter wrong. But, given Ukraine’s rejection of Russia’s Christmastime truce, the likelihood of negotiations seems further away than ever. And adding to this gathering “perfect storm” is the fact that younger generations are not as aware of the dangers of nuclear war as those of us who grew up during Cold War times.

Diane Sare recalled the peace efforts made by the Kennedy Administration during those harrowing years in the 1960's. She played an excerpt from Kennedy’s inaugural address, which you can watch here.

Compare it to the hawkish tones of our current leaders.

“Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction. We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.”

“But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course — both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind’s final war.”

“So let us begin anew — remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”

— John F. Kennedy, inaugural address, 1961.

“How do we fight back?” Sare asked. She believes that ALL of the files on the Kennedy assassination must be released “and the agencies that were involved in that assassination have to be purged of their criminal elements and made accountable to the American people, or abolished.”

But that task, she cautions, is far too dangerous for a single president to handle. After all, Kennedy had voiced his intent to try shortly before he was murdered. “It can only occur as a movement,” Sare said.

Sare credits Oliver Stone’s film, “JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass,” with generating public demand for the release of the documents pertaining to the president’s assassination. Some of the documents were released, but heavily redacted. Others which were scheduled to be released were withheld, first by President Trump and then by President Biden.

Screen print of redacted documents pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Source: National Archives

“We have to end the reign of terror of the intelligence agencies in this nation,” Sare said, “if we wish for the human race to survive, let alone be free. Everyone who’s followed what happened with the Twitter files, knows that. But I would add, it’s deeper. Who tells the intelligence agencies what to do? Who funds Hollywood? Who owns the news media? Who controls the universities? Who pays for the campaigns of the millionaires in congress? City of London and Wall Street. And this is why Lyndon LaRouche was such a threat. He would say, ‘we have to bankrupt Wall Street and bury it so deeply that the stench doesn’t come up to suffocate us!’”

Sare believes that the JFK documents would provide ample proof that our nation has become untrustworthy to its people, and might open the door to legal action. “The United States has to return to the commitment and the principle that not only are all men created equal, but humanity is good. Life is good.”

Sare wants to see the US create an economy which is beneficial to everyone, which would eliminate the poverty brought on by flawed policies. “All of this has to be changed in short order. We have to put the system through bankruptcy, reorganization. The billionaires should pay for this. They’ll survive. Maybe they’ll live in jail. But they’ll live.”

But only cockroaches might live if the Ukrainian conflict erupts into Armageddon. Steven Starr, who regularly lectures students about the realities of modern nuclear war, is shocked by how naïve young people these days are.

“They really have no idea what a nuclear weapon is or what a nuclear war would mean,” Starr said. “It’s like a piece of the sun. And when it detonates, in one second it will create a fireball, and the surface of the fireball is actually hotter than the surface of the sun. If you happen to be beneath that, you’ll be vaporized.”

A person’s image burned into concrete during the bombing of Hiroshima. Photo: The Sun UK

You can, and should, watch Steven Starr’s entire presentation here:

And can somebody, anybodyPLEASE prove Scott Ritter wrong…?

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