Thursday, April 28, 2022

RUSI- Operation Z: The Death Throes of an Imperial Delusion

CEPA-Vicious Blame Game Erupts Among Putin’s Security Forces

Read them and then Edward Luce in the FT. Leiter says we're sleepwalking into Armageddon. I agree.

Luce: The return of the 20th century’s nuclear shadow

Vladimir Putin’s willingness to threaten to use nuclear weapons is in one respect a good sign: it means Russia is probably losing in Ukraine. It is also a potentially catastrophic one. If Putin’s aim is to scare the west, he is failing. Nato keeps stepping up its supplies to Ukraine. The question is what he would do if he thought Russian defeat was inescapable. Putin keeps implying he knows exactly what steps he would take. Is he bluffing? It is plausible even he does not know the answer.

Either way, the genie is out of the bottle. Putin has broken a post-Cuba taboo on threatening to go nuclear. That, in itself, puts us in new territory. Without most people being aware of it, the world is entering its most dangerous period since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. The majority under the age of 50 have grown up thinking the nuclear spectre is a relic of the last century. In the past few weeks, the prospect of a nuclear exchange has become the most live threat to this century’s peace.

In terms of public awareness, the debate about Putin’s language is a good example of “those who don’t know talk, and those who know don’t talk”. It is easy to think of Putin as a poker addict trying to bluster his way out of a bad bet. Eventually he must fold. US civilian and military officials suffer from no such complacency. Many have taken part in war game exercises where the use of low-yielding tactical nuclear weapons as often as not escalates to strategic nuclear exchange — doomsday, in plain English.

If there were a 5 per cent chance of Putin detonating a battlefield nuclear weapon, the world would be at more risk than at any point in most people’s lifetimes. In the past few days, Moscow’s signalling has arguably raised the chances to one in 10. Putin described last week’s test of the Sarmat hypersonic intercontinental ballistic missile as giving the west “food for thought”, which would not sound out of place from Blofeld, the 20th-century Bond villain. On Wednesday, Putin said: “We have all the instruments for this [responding to an existential threat to Russia] — ones nobody else can boast of. And we will use them, if we have to.”

...A pressing question is how Biden would respond if Putin detonated a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine.

Luce gives US leaders, and himself, too much credit. There's no question Putin is losing, but that's not enough for war criminals who need to moralize. If Putin uses a tactical nuke the US should just declare victory and send in doctors. That would be real moral superiority, and it would save all of our lives. 

Zelensky wanted war between Nato and Russia. The answer needs to be no. Nato led him on then shut him out, playing games. They're all playing Russian roulette with the rest of us. 

But Luce at least in't a liberal. Idealism will kill us all.

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