The fallout from the Salisbury nerve agent attack reminds us of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which was the most immediate catalyst - of many parallel narrative and sequences of events - that ultimately resulted in World War I. We are not alone in this reasoning, as one high-level retired Russian general warns the Salisbury poisoning could lead to the “last war in the history of mankind.”
Ret. Lieutenant-General Evgeny Buzhinsky — who served in the Russian Armed Forces for more than forty years — said relations between Russia and Washington could become “worse” than the climax of the Cold War and “end up in a very, very bad outcome” following the nerve gas attack in the United Kingdom.
More than 150 Russian diplomats have been expelled from 25 countries — including 23 from the United Kingdom since western nations accused Russia of being the sole actor responsible for using deadly chemical weapons on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in their Salisbury home.
Buzhinsky, who is now the senior vice president of the Russian Center for Policy Studies (PIR Center), told BBC Radio Today program:
“Please, when you say the world, you mean EU and United States and some other countries … you see it’s a cold war, it’s worse than the Cold War because if the situation will develop in the way this (is) now, I’m afraid that it will end up in a very, very bad outcome.”
Nicholas Robinson, a British presenter on the BBC’s Today program pressed Buzhinsky on what he meant by “worse than a cold war,” to which the Ret. Russian Lieutenant-General responded with this bombshell: today’s current situation is spiraling out of control and could develop into a “real war.”
The Daily Express shares a chilling transcript of Buzhinsky’s conversation on BBC:
He said: “Worse than a cold war is a real war. It will be the last war in the history of the mankind."
“Not the Salisbury poisoning but all the actions."
"You see the pressure from the United States, that you say the pressure is going to continue, what are you going to achieve? You are going to achieve the regime change, it’s useless. You don’t know Russians. The more external pressure, the more the society is solidified around the President.”
When asked how the dispute would lead to a real war, Mr Buzhinsky accused the UK of not wanting to discuss the Salisbury attack.
“Let’s start discussing,” he said. “You don’t want to discuss. You say Russia should change its behaviour, it’s not the kind of talk or compromise we need.
“Okay, you expelled diplomats. We expelled diplomats. You further expel, what is the next step? The breach of diplomatic relations."
“After that, I said it may lead to nowhere. Actually, you are cornering Russia. To corner, Russia is a very dangerous thing."
Mr Buzhinsky claimed it was “nonsense” Russia was behind the attack as President Vladimir Putin had no benefit out of the attack, which took place before the Russian Presidential election. The comments come after Mr Putin’s foreign minister accused Theresa May of “resorting to open lies”.
He said: “I believe that our Western partners, I mean primarily the United Kingdom, the United States and some countries that blindly follow them, have cast away all decency, they are resorting to open lies, blatant misinformation.”
Between cold, proxy and trade wars, as time moves on in the Trump era, it seems like the world has gone haywire. While history tends not to repeat itself - but rather rhymes - the fatalistic opinion of a veteran Russian expert and observer such as Buzhinsky has to be taken seriously. We can only hope that his forecast for a "last war" is wrong.