Putin threatens to destroy the world

Russia released ballistic missile submarines and land mobile missile launchers on March 1 in what was called an exercise.

Two days earlier, Vladimir Putin had deployed Russian nuclear forces “special combat preparation“, in other words, high alert.

Minutes before the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian president warned of “consequences that you have never known in your history”.

“Yes, Putin could do the unthinkable” noted James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence, at Business Intern.

For nearly a decade, Russian doctrine has been to “escalate to defuse,” threaten or even use nuclear weapons at the onset of a conventional conflict or crisis. John Hyten, until last year the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, more correctly calls the doctrine “climb to win, climb to finish.”

As said by Peter Huessy, principal investigator at the Hudson Institute and president of GeoStrategic Analysis Newsweek“climbing to win” assumes that nuclear threats “will compel an enemy to stand down and not fight”.

Ukraine, at the moment, is still struggling. Putin apparently believed the country would fall within days. As the conflict now enters its third week, Russian forces continue to struggle on the battlefield.

Many analysts say nuclear weapons have no use in Ukraine, but that assessment ignores Putin’s wickedness. One of the uses of tactical nukes would be to avoid high casualty, street-by-street battles in Kyiv and other cities.

Why doesn’t the now famous 40-mile column of Russian tanks enter the Ukrainian capital? Mud, fuel shortages and enemy attacks might not be the only reasons. Russia could consider using weapons of mass destruction, chemical or nuclear, before trying to seize Kiev.

While Russian forces encountered unexpected resistance, threats from Russia came at a rapid pace. Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs noted Wednesday that World War III would be nuclear.

‘Nuclear war is part of our strategic culture,’ an unnamed retired Russian diplomat says Recount US foreign policy analyst Harry Kazianis on the sidelines of a Track 2 dialogue in 2012. “Yes, we would start one if our homeland, our way of life, was threatened, absolutely. Why not us?”

Remember, few thought Putin would launch a full-scale invasion, which has now become the biggest assault on Europe since World War II. Strong powers have completely failed to deter a conventional attack by a weak power, so now we must be prepared for deterrence to fail again.

For three decades, Americans did not think seriously about nuclear weapons. Instead, they resorted to slogans, like the one President Biden adopted last June in a joint statement with Putin: “A nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with the head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, a big business lobby group, at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 2, 2022.

Moreover, Biden could go beyond the mere slogan. Until the invasion of Ukraine, many expected his administration to announce in the nuclear posture review the adoption of a no-first-use or single-purpose policy. Both policies, radically different from those in place since the 1940s, would prevent the United States from using nuclear weapons to protect its allies from non-nuclear attacks.

“It gives the enemy the initiative, should they wish to go nuclear as part of an escalation-to-win strategy, and seriously undermines the extended nuclear deterrence we provide to our NATO and US allies. Western Pacific,” Huessy said. Newsweek last year, referring to Biden embracing such policies. “It would be a huge gift to China and Russia,” noted a “European official” at the FinancialTimes.

China, Russia’s “limitless” partner (the pair adopted the phrase in the 5,000-word joint statement last month), has officially embraced No First Use. And Beijing is watching closely what is happening in Ukraine.

If Putin’s nuclear threats prevent others from coming to the aid of Ukraine, he will no doubt use similar warnings to seize the Baltic states, Poland and other regions. The ambitious Russian leader wants to reassemble the Soviet Union, but it seems he also harbors even bigger ambitions, such as incorporating all the territories of the former Russian Empire. He can even look for more than that.

China is also claiming “lost” territory. To seize it, Beijing has periodically made unprovoked threats to incinerate US population centers. And starting last July, Chinese propaganda was talking about launching nuclear weapons at Japanese and Australian cities.

Beijing’s main target remains Taiwan. Former Chinese disarmament diplomat Sha Zukang once issued a public warning that China was going to nuke the island republic.

“As Russian nuclear forces have already deterred President Biden from sending troops to Ukraine and deterred NATO from giving more fighter jets to Ukraine, China has long since decided to use nuclear blackmail to prevent the United States from committing future murder against Taiwanese democracy,” said Richard Fisher of the International Center for Assessment and Strategy for Newsweek. “But that’s not all. Over the past decade, China and Russia have built a military understanding that has long included cooperation in ‘strategic defense,’ or defense against US nuclear missiles. It is very plausible that China and Russia have already decided to cooperate in a “strategic breach” or the coordination of their nuclear forces to blackmail or even destroy the United States”.

President Biden, when asked on February 28 whether Americans should be worried about a nuclear attack, gave a one word answer: “No.”

The correct answer was “yes”.

The day after Putin raised nuclear forces to full alert, the US Strategic Command launched his “doomsday plane”, the E-4B, into the air. The device is designed to protect the President, senior civilian officials and senior military commanders in the event of a nuclear attack.

Gordon G. Chang is the author of The impending collapse of China. Follow him on Twitter: @GordonGChange.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

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