It's a form of conditioning, something we're not very good at detecting. We are being mentally mobilized for war, something that begins by demonizing our adversary.
The warning came in the form of an editorial in the German financial paper, Handelsblatt. It offered the chilling observation that, in the wake of the Russian takeover of Crimea, the people of the West were being "mentally mobilized for war."
No mention of NATO's decade long march to Russia's doorstep.
No mention of how Washington fueled the uprising in Ukraine.
"The world has got to a dangerous phase," former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said in an interview with state news service RIA Novosti on Monday.
Now America seems to be drifting into a muzzle-to-muzzle confrontation with Russia in Syria. Having already been outmaneuvered by Putin in the Syrian civil war, partly a function of America's war fatigue with its 15-year long and no end in sight conflicts in the Middle East, Washington may not have as many options remaining as it would like.
Is the United States trying to provoke war with Russia? Probably not. Is the United States deliberately trying to menace Russia? Absolutely. The map above illustrates how close NATO forces in the Baltics are to Moscow. Imagine a similar deployment of Russian forces that close to Washington. Yet we treat it as tantamount to an act of war when Russia deploys Iskander missiles to its sovereign Baltic territory of Kaliningrad.
This nonsense, this drift, has to stop. We have to revisit the idea that we are responsible for creating the very conditions in which nations have backed themselves into protracted and bloody wars in the past.