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Tactical Nuclear Fantasists

Bogeyman politics tends to be flatly unimaginative. The image of the nuclear-mad Russian President, counting his diminishing options, has caught the imagination of press and propaganda outlets across the West. Will Mad Vlad go the distance and deploy a nuclear weapon in Ukraine?

Certainly, his rhetoric suggests the possibility. Vladimir Putin has promised to “make use of all weapon systems available to us” in the event Russia’s territorial integrity is threatened. Moving Russian doctrine away from using nuclear weapons to defend the state’s existence to defending “territorial integrity” suggests an expeditious revision. But let us not simply focus on the customary trope of the mad Russian who thirsts for violence. The tactical nuclear weapon long lingered as a viable choice for those who have it.

The moment the innocents of Hiroshima were incinerated in August 1945, a weapon of mass lethality became a political option, the means to extract concessions and terrify opponents. Even more disturbingly, it also created an incentive on the part of powers to prevent others from getting it, thereby creating an exclusive club equipped with special amenities and privileges.

During a number of teeth-chattering moments of the Cold War, the use of nuclear weapons was contemplated. Historians note Cuba, Berlin and the Middle East. That they were not actually unleashed was a matter of unalloyed dumb luck and faux theory. Over time, this spawned an accepted, if nonsensical literature about the merits of having such lethal means. Precisely because of their potency, such weapons would never be used. Possessing them would be, to use a modern comparison, much like having unconvertible digital currency of huge value, more a matter of impressing your rivals than drawing direct benefit from them.

Having said that, one category of nuclear weapon has continued to mark a grey area, lending a disturbed, even lunatic’s legitimacy to the battlefield deployment of such weapons. The tactical nuclear weapon is deceptively seductive to military planners. Being of lower yield than their strategic, all-killing counterparts, they are seen as, in the words of the Union of Concerned Scientists, “more militarily useful, and less politically objectionable, and thus more likely to be used.” This does little to dampen the awful reality that such weapons can have yields greater than that of the first atomic weapon ever used.

The nature of such weapons is disturbingly nebulous in the military argot. In 2018, James Mattis, as US Secretary of Defense, opined to the House Armed Services Committee that there was no “such thing as a ‘tactical nuclear weapon’. Any nuclear weapon used at any time is a strategic game changer.”

Tactical nuclear weapons can comprise any number of devices with yields ranging from 1 kiloton to 50 kilotons. Alistair Millar, writing for Arms Control Today, mentions a few, including nuclear landmines, nuclear artillery shells, and missile warheads dropped by air or launched by missiles.

The 2018 US Nuclear Posture Review does away with much of the sentiment of the 2010 NPR in stressing the need to improve capabilities against Russia in various areas, including nonstrategic nuclear options. Moscow is specifically blamed for embracing a “limited first use” policy involving low-yield weapons that might “provide coercive advantage in crises and at lower levels of conflict.”

Special attention is reserved for Washington’s own nonstrategic nuclear options, with low-yield warheads for submarine launched ballistic missiles and a new submarine launched cruise missile being suggested additions. As Moscow had heavily invested in such tactical weapons, NATO forces would be caught short with only strategic options at its disposal. “We do not believe Russia would be expanding their limited resources to modernize and expand their nonstrategic nuclear forces if they had little or no confidence in this strategy,” asserted deputy director for strategic stability, Greg Weaver, one of the authors of the 2018 NPR.

The military and security establishments of such powers has effectively legitimised the potential use of such weapons. During the Gulf War of 1991, then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney chewed over the prospects of using tactical nuclear weapons against Iraqi forces. He went so far as to commission a study on how many would be needed to, in the words of then President George H.W. Bush, “take out an Iraqi Republican Guard division, if necessary.” The astonishing answer was 17.

During the administration of George W. Bush, tactical nuclear weapons became an object of serious interest. The ghoulish spectacle of civilian planes finding their targets against the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington did its fair share of unsettling. Cheney, for one, continued showing interest in using nonstrategic versions of such weapons in battle. According to Seymour Hersh, he mulled over using low-yield nuclear weapons such as the bunker-buster B61-11 against Iran’s underground nuclear sites, including the Natanz main centrifuge plant some two hundred miles south of Tehran.

Ambiguity when it comes to a prospective use of nuclear weapons is considered one of the great flaws of military and political planning. Each party should know what the other proposes to do in certain circumstances, be it in terms of command structure, control and communications. Who has the authority to launch what weapons and when? What are the safeguards to cope with error? As far as Putin’s threats go, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg holds to the traditional view: the Russian leader “knows very well that a nuclear war should never be fought and can never be won.”

Opacity is another factor complicating the whole business of how we cope with nonstrategic nuclear weapons. Numbers regarding the world’s tactical nuclear stockpiles remain sketchy. “Greater transparency regarding the size of tactical nuclear stockpiles would be an important first step towards establishing international norms against their modernisation,” proposes Brendan Thomas-Noone.

Paradoxically, even as such measures as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons gather greater popularity, the old members of the nuclear club continue to make mischief, modernising and adjusting their arsenals with little intention of ever abolishing them. The sheer allure of such weapons is unlikely to dissipate till their political dividends diminish. In the Ukraine War, such dividends abound.

 

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59 comments

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  1. Henry Rodrigues

    Just because one country dropped nuclear weapons on their enemies at the time, and inflicted huge destruction, does not justify, even whimsically, implied or otherwise, the right to do that to a poorer much more defenceless country, who let’s remember, did not start the conflict, unlike the previous target country of the first nuclear attack.

    Putrid Putin will dredge up and invent all sorts of scenarios where he might be forced to ‘defend’ the motherland against her implacable bloodthirsty enemies, but those who swallow his bullshit should hesitate before allowing themselves to be manipulated and be seen as puppets and enablers.

  2. Clakka

    They’re all mad, hairy chested droogs. Incapable of negotiation, trade and patience whilst they have the option of threats and resort to utter wastage via industrialised destruction and murder.

  3. Claudio Pompili

    As usual, you’re right on the money Binoy. You might be interested in Manlio Dinucci’s article on revamped US nuclear bombs in Italy/NATO/USA/EU…the article is available in multiple languages via menu

    Ttra poco. In Italia le nuove bombe nucleari made in USA.

  4. Harry Lime

    Extremely doubtful that Putin would actually use a tactical nuclear weapon,but he’s using the threat to terrify everybody else, especially the Ukrainians, into losing their so far, heroic resolve.The result of this terrorist act by Putin revolves very much around the West not losing their will to assist Ukraine,because the Ukrainians have united behind Zelensky,who has proven to be an inspiring leader ,which has thrown a big spanner into Putin’s planned easy conquest.The best Vlad the Foolish can hope to achieve,is to hang on to some of the territory they gained.One thing is certain..Putin is going out backwards.

  5. Douglas Pritchard

    I really do question the need for our “defence” minister to commit this countries taxpayers to staying with Ukraine for as long as it takes.
    This is supping with a collection of devils, and for why?
    Is it in support of exporting energy?
    Is it in support of an export industry for Bushmasters?
    Is it “making Australia (or should that read America?) great again?
    I`m confident that our neighbours in the Pacific agree that this is the premier concern for peace in this neck of the woods,

  6. Douglas Pritchard

    When we try to second guess what Putin may do, its worth remembering that without 24,000,000 Russians giving up their lives to the cause of WW2, there could have been an entirely different result.
    During this conflict about 450,000 from the UK, and slightly less from USA made the ultimate sacrifice.
    The Eastern front was Hitlers big mistake, and a Russian/Ukrainian winter sealed the deal.
    They made a huge commitment then, so why do we think things have changed?
    Its so easy to be nursed along an agenda where we “know” we are on the side of God!!!!!

  7. wam

    it could be possible that religious ‘apocalypse’ believing nutters, and there are plenty of them, could use the bomb.
    Putin has neither the god nor the fear to drive him into such a dangerous act.
    However the power of drones killing and destroying may elevate the fear???
    ps
    To me the destruction caused by the Hiroshima bomb was beyond any possible belief.
    To then destroy Nagasaki before japan could evaluate Hiroshima was beyond barbarism.

  8. B Sullivan

    Wam,

    We now know that Japan had offered to surrender prior to the bombing but with the conditions that their God-Emperor was allowed to remain and that military leaders were not put on trial for war crimes. The USA demanded unconditional surrender and dropped the first bomb. Japan still insisted that the Emperor be allowed to stay, so the USA dropped the second bomb. Japan still refused to give up their Emperor and were prepared to be bombed into oblivion just on that point. Fortunately the USA did not have any more bombs handy, and though they could produce one every week or two and go on and on destroying city after city on a regular basis, they knew such callous systematic destruction of innocent civilians would not go down well with their allies, so they allowed the Emperor to remain and everyone pretended that Japan had surrendered unconditionally.

    Also Putin is religious. Orthodoxy is his version of Hill Song. The rise and social domination and political interference of Orthodox Christianity in Russia is responsible for most of the dissidence in Russia and the Orthodox Church was the focus of the Pussy Riot protests.

  9. Fred

    Harry: Putin is the type of guy to destroy what he loves on the basis of “if I can’t have it then no one else can have it”. He has already shown that he doesn’t care about how many people die in support of his vanity. One carefully aimed bullet would end this madness.

    Dr Kampmark: There is no rigid definition of what a Tactical nuke (TNW) is: other than it is not a long range “Strategic” nuke which are delivered via intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) or heavy bombers. TNWs are “short-range” weapons, which within the U.S.-Russia context, means land-based missiles with a range of less than 500 km and air or sea-launched weapons with a range of less than 600 km. TNWs are not covered by strategic arms control treaties.

    The blast yield energy at the high end is well above your stated “50 Kilotons”, although the US appears to like this number. The current US B61-3/-4 gravity bombs have yields of 0.3 to 170 Kilotons (more than 10 x Hiroshima blast). The US is undertaking an upgrade program: the B61-12, guided, 50 Kiloton bomb will replace all US strategic and tactical nuclear gravity bombs and also be supplied to NATO allies. Russia is purported to have TNWs with yields up to 500 Kilotons (vis. more than some “Strategic” and goes some way to justifying 500 km stand-off as “short-range”).

  10. Steve Davis

    Russia is not “using the threat to terrify everybody else,” Putin’s comments about nuclear weapons were in response to Western threats of nuclear war.

    Another thing that many forget is that Russia has no need to use nuclear weapons. Its non-nuclear weapons are so advanced that any potential enemy has no defence against them.

    It is the Western powers that are inching us ever closer to a nuclear exchange.

  11. leefe

    Douglas Pritchard:

    “They made a huge commitment then, so why do we think things have changed?”

    Because that was the USSR, not Russia. Because Hitler broke a non-aggression pact with Stalin and invaded. Because Putin is in charge, and he wants to recreate the old Soviet empire under his control.
    A great deal has changed since WWII

  12. Canguro

    B Sullivan, with all due respect, a bit more objectivity in comment would be appreciated.

    What exactly are you driving at with your observation that the Russian Orthodox Church is Putin’s version of Hillsong? Or that the
    ‘rise and social domination and political interference of Orthodox Christianity in Russia is responsible for most of the dissidence in Russia’?

    I’d like to think that you are aware of some of the basic facts in respect of the background of Russian Orthodoxy. That it is the largest autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Christian church, itself the second largest Christian church with around 220 million members. That it has been in inception since 998 CE., and has 194 dioceses inside Russia.

    A history of more than a millennium certainly gives credence to the claim of significance but social domination is a stretch too far if the figures alluding to attendance and prayer are to be believed, in the low 10 to 20 percent; and as far as making an analogy to Hillsong; ridiculous beyond comment. Russian religion does not display the variety of schism so commonly observed in western countries, where there typically exist dozens of versions and ramifications in divergence from the initial root creed.

    I’d suggest the dissidence in Russia is far more your everyday social dissatisfaction with the same sorts of grievances noted planet-wide; abuse by political powers and authorities, inequalities, insufficient social support structures, low pay, housing issues, poor infrastructure, widening gaps between rich and poor and so on… none of which fall under the ambit of the ROC.

    And assuming you’ve done your homework, you’d know that the Pussy Riots were primarily a protest against Putin, albeit they were protesting Putin’s relationship with the ROC they were not a protest against the church.

    By all means feel free to couch your comments in whatever form you wish, but from this writer’s perspective, the closer they correspond to consensual reality the more they will be appreciated.

  13. A Commentator

    “It is the Western powers that are inching us ever closer to a nuclear exchange”
    No western democracy has territorial claims on Russia.
    The Putin regime regularly threatens to use nuclear weapons
    The invasion of Ukraine is Putin’s vanity project, it is his attempt to restore Russia’s prestige.
    Ukraine, Russia and the rest of the world are paying a high price for Putin’s desire to leave a legacy

  14. Michael Taylor

    AC,

    If you’re wondering why a couple of your comments went straight into moderation (or lost), there is a simple explanation.

    For a couple of years now, our security system puts first-time commenters in moderation while we check out if they are a genuine person and not a spammer or abusive troll etc.

    As you’d spelt “Commentator” wrong, the system didn’t recognise you. Same with ToM.

    I apologise for this inconvenience. If it happens again, fear not. I’ll be onto it ASAP.

  15. A Commentator

    That’s ok, because I deleted them when I saw various typos!
    It sometimes seems that even a few sentences is beyond me!

  16. Michael Taylor

    Yes, I’ve noticed that. 😁

  17. Canguro

    Is this what Binoy means by a tactile nuclear fantasist?

  18. Douglas Pritchard

    We could waste this entire war labouring under a misapprehension that Putin wants to take over the world.
    When all he set out to do was a “special military operation” to restore democracy in 4 territories in Ukraine.
    He has achieved his goal by carrying out an election which restored these places to Russian influence.
    So the job is done.
    Except that Biden is expecting Energy contracts, and sales of war toys, and is in this thing till the last drop of Ukraine blood is spilled.
    With their selected President deleting any mention of peace The White house is quite happy with the current situation, thank you.

  19. Fred

    DP: Incorrect. Putin’s intent for the “special operation” was the entire Ukraine, not the world and not just 4 territories. His ramblings give insight into his desire to restore the USSR. Had the operation been successful as Putin expected, occupying other non-NATO former USSR states was on the cards. As for Russian “democracy” and validity of the referendums they have as much credence as “the moon is made of cheese”.

  20. Steve Davis

    “The Putin regime regularly threatens to use nuclear weapons.”

    That is not correct; why are you making stuff up? The Russian policy on the use of nuclear weapons is clear, concise, and purely defensive. The fact that Putin has to continually remind others of the policy shows the level of competency that Russia has to deal with. By contrast, check out the US policy.

    “The invasion of Ukraine is Putin’s vanity project,…”

    Wow, you’re wasting your talent here, the ability to read minds is pretty special.

  21. A Commentator

    Here’s a start, I’ll find more if required
    Putin comments (other members of his (fascist) regime have been even more threatening…
    * 24 Feb-
    “Russia remains one of the most powerful nuclear states. Moreover, it has a certain advantage in several cutting-edge weapons. In this context, there should be no doubt for anyone that any potential aggressor will face defeat and ominous consequences should it directly attack our country.
    * 27 Feb-
    Putin ordered Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov to put the ‘Russian Army’s deterrence forces on high combat alert’ because ‘top officials of the leading NATO countries are indulging in aggressive statements directed at our country’. This order led to no observable changes to Russia’s nuclear posture
    * 21 Sel
    ” I would like to remind those who make such statements regarding Russia that our country has different types of weapons as well, and some of them are more modern than the weapons NATO countries have. In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff”
    * 30 SEP
    “…to protect our land with all the forces and means at our disposal”

  22. Michael Taylor

    Call me crazy, but I don’t trust any country who have nuclear weapons.

  23. leefe

    DP:

    I never said anythging about Putin wanting to take over the world. I said what Fred has said and expanded upon: Putin’s intent is restoring the USSR boundary as a country entirely under his control. His actions against other former member states has made that bleeding obvious.

  24. Steve Davis

    My goodness, AC, you fell into a trap that I didn’t even set !

    I said in my first comment that “Putin’s comments about nuclear weapons were in response to Western threats of nuclear war.”

    Then, to justify your assertion that “Putin regularly threatens to use nuclear weapons,” you gave 4 examples of statements from Putin that proved my point – all were in response to threats, just as I said.

    Is there a comprehension problem here?

    Perhaps you should stick to reading the minds of global leaders so that we peasants can be kept informed as to what’s going on in the halls of power.

  25. Steve Davis

    “Call me crazy, but I don’t trust any country who have nuclear weapons.”

    Michael, I agree.

    At the moment, we are on a knife edge.

  26. A Commentator

    I’m aware that the Putin regime sees a “threat” to their territorial integrity as one where a country intends to take back territory that Russia has annexed, contrary to international law

  27. Douglas Pritchard

    Leefe,
    I just love the “bleeding obvious”, but in context.
    The fact that the NS 1&2 pipelines were sabotaged comes to mind.
    USA had long worked to switch Europe dependence from reliable, and cheap Russian sources, to its own market.
    Europe depending on USA for energy is yet to be proven, btw.
    It is not so “bleeding obvious” that the Russians would shoot them selves in the foot in that fashion, but it is a story coming out of the White House to satisfy western ears.
    What we are asked to believe during this sh**storm stretches our imagination beyond “reasonable” to “ludicrous”.
    And to profess that an event is “bleeding obvious” does concern me since we are all intelligent souls on here.

  28. Fred

    Claudio: There are lots of websites that have sensationalised and pure BS articles of which https://www.globalresearch.ca/ appears to be one. I followed your link to the article by Manlio Dinucci and wound up spending hours looking at the vast range of BS, opinion, lies and facts available. The article sensationalises the deployment of B61-12 bombs (50 kiloton) to Italy etc. and how these are “first strike” weapons implying a change in threat level but fails to mention that B61-4 bombs (170 kiloton), equally classified as “first strike”, are and have been deployed there for considerable time. In reality little has changed other than advances in the weaponry allowing the plane delivering the nuclear bomb a greater stand-off distance and greater delivery precision.

    SD: “Another thing that many forget is that Russia has no need t o use nuclear weapons. Its non-nuclear weapons are so advanced that any potential enemy has no defence against them.”

    Please stop it – I almost hurt myself laughing. Russia has lost more tanks, which are particularly susceptible to attack from above, than the combined inventory of the UK, France and Germany. Clearly they are not accurate based on the ratio of civilian dwellings versus the military targets hit. Russia has no answer to or any equivalent of HIMARS, which is making life difficult for the aggressors. Putin is pleading for the west to stop supplying Ukraine with weapons. If Russia’s weapons were superior, then whatever the west supplied would not matter.

  29. Michael Taylor

    “contrary to international law”

    Same thing happened here, AC, thanks to James Cook.

    In 1770 under Customary Law and Maritime Law it was illegal to usurp, occupy or repopulate lands of First Nations and treaties with these peoples were hence the legal norm.

  30. Steve Davis

    To my comment that “Russia has no need to use nuclear weapons. Its non-nuclear weapons are so advanced that any potential enemy has no defence against them.”
    Fred replied; “Please stop it – I almost hurt myself laughing.”

    I think you should do some actual research before posting.

    Or you could suck on this from a UK defence specialist; “Simply put, there is no single operational missile defence system that is capable of intercepting a hypersonic missile.”

    We won’t even talk about the accuracy, which is extraordinary.

  31. Steve Davis

    AC said ” the Putin regime sees a “threat” to their territorial integrity as one where a country intends to take back territory that Russia has annexed, contrary to international law.”

    That is a blatant misrepresentation of Putin’s responses to attack and invasion threats against Russia.

    Russia will use all available means to defend its territorial integrity, as we would expect.

    AC lost the argument about the context of Putin’s responses to threats, lost the argument in grand style I might say, so now he is attempting to pull defense of the Donbass republics into the discussion.

    He misses the point. Russia has no need to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war. End of story.

  32. Henry Rodrigues

    Some people seem to be missing the point. Putin the KGB thug and his band of murderers, took it upon themselves to ‘upset’ the world order and the relative peace and cooperation that Europe and the rest of the civilized world has become accustomed to, by insisting that Nato and others were conspiring to attack “Holy mother Russia”, ransack it and deliver her people into slavery and destitution. So the little putrid prick, decides to do it first by invading a sovereign defenseless country, who had decided to live according to the wishes of their own people, as free democratic citizens beholden to no one except by their own choosing.

    Isn’t that what free democratic nations. like Australia do ? Should we also, always be afraid of suffering Ukraines fate ? Why then is it acceptable in the opinion of some here, that the Russian maniac is allowed free reign to terrorise and forcefully destroy anyone who does not toe his line ? It started with the annexation of Crimea, and the Putrid prick got away with it. Now he imagines he’ll get away with threats of a nuclear war.

    Ideology is one thing, but naked outright aggression in the name of that ideology, is disaster for the whole world.

    Let me pose this question to everyone, would you rather live in Putin’s Russia or Emperor Ping’s China or Kim’s kingdom or the temple of the Ayatollahs or the charnel house of the Myanmar generals, or, anywhere where one is free to express their opinions and walk the streets without fear of a bullet in the back of your head ?

    I know what the Ukrainian’s would choose.

  33. A Commentator

    Putin’s most recent threats to use all means available (ie nuclear weapons), were a direct reference to the illegally annexed regions.
    As I said, no western democracies have territorial claims on Russia.
    So there is no threat to Russia’s territorial integrity, other than restoring the borders that are internationally recognised, rather than those the fascist regime happens to imagine this week

  34. Steve Davis

    “So there is no threat to Russia’s territorial integrity, ”

    To say that, when your own quotes from Putin were responses to actual threats; well, you have no shame.

  35. Fred

    SD: I beg your pardon, actual research… how much have you done. Yes, hypersonics are problematic and Russia appears to be slightly ahead (3M22 Tsirkon and Kh-47M2 Kinzhal in “production” and Kh-95 in development) of the US which is in testing phase. For an already dated report to congress about US hypersonics see: https://news.usni.org/2022/10/18/report-to-congress-on-hypersonic-weapons-8.

    Russian hypersonics will not determine the result of the war because 1) Russia does not currently have any significant quantity of them (estimates are circa a total of 20), 2) there is doubt about Russia being able to obtain significant quantities of the chips used in the build and 3) they are expensive and difficult to make because of the high temperature materials required and specialised scram jet engine. Also, there is doubt about the precision of hypersonics which doesn’t matter so much if armed with nukes.

    Sorry for not having discounted hypersonics in my previous post.

    Please provide the details of game changing Russian superior weapons.

  36. A Commentator

    Please describe the threat to Russia’s territorial integrity, when there is no territorial claim

  37. Steve Davis

    AC asked “Please describe the threat to Russia’s territorial integrity…”

    So expanding NATO to within striking distance of Russia is not a threat to territorial integrity? He lives in a fantasy world.

    Next he’ll be telling us that NATO is a purely defensive organisation, utterly benign, with no harmful or aggressive intentions.

    It’s a good story, but does not fit well with the facts.

    The RAND Corporation provides advice to the Pentagon on military and security matters. In 2019 RAND produced a report for the US military titled Overextending and Unbalancing Russia. The name says it all, but I know that will never be enough for a Russophobe. So I scrolled down through a summary of the report and found this. “Reposturing bombers within easy striking range of key Russian strategic targets has a high likelihood of success…”

    A threat to bomb Russian targets is a threat to Russia’s territorial integrity. It matters not at all if the threat is only a ploy, a tactic. A threat is a threat. A territorial claim is not necessary.

  38. A Commentator

    “So expanding NATO to within striking distance of Russia is not a threat to territorial integrity?”
    No
    Unless there is a threat to occupy or claim territory.
    That’s why it’s called “territorial integrity”

  39. Steve Davis

    A threat to bomb Russian targets is not a threat to Russia’s territorial integrity, according to AC. Wow. What can I say?

    I’m trying to expand AC’s intellectual horizons but he insists on sticking to a position on territorial integrity where he thinks he’s had a win. He’s completely worn me out; I’ll just have to play along.

    Putin recently said “The Western goal is to weaken, divide and ultimately destroy our nation. They are openly stating that, since they managed to break up the Soviet Union in 1991, now it’s time to split Russia into many separate regions that will be at each other’s throats.”

    That sounds very much like Russia is worried about a threat to its territorial integrity. No doubt AC would respond by saying its nonsense, that there is no threat, it’s just Putin sounding off.

    Except it’s not.

    I don’t know what information Putin has on this matter, (unlike AC I cannot read Putin’s mind) but the US-Helsinki Commission held a conference on 23 June 2022 titled “Decolonizing Russia : A Moral and Strategic Imperative.”

    When we consider that plans to break-up Russia are not a new or an isolated development, and that this is an ongoing feature in foreign policy discussions within the US – influential figures such as Zbigniew Brzezinski and Dick Cheney having had exactly the same objective – Putin has every right to be concerned about such a blatant threat to Russia’s territorial integrity.

    Now AC, don’t embarrass yourself by saying that plans to break up Russia are not territorial claims. The plans are a threat to Russia’s territorial integrity.

  40. Fred

    SD: Incorrect – no threat has been made. Rand Corp scenario modelling is not policy. All prudent major powers do “war gaming”. Back in the good ‘ol “USSR” days, that Putin would like to return to, the borders were shared with various NATO countries. No attacks on the USSR were carried out by NATO then or after the collapse of the USSR on Russia. Had Ukraine fallen to Putin’s illegal “Special Operation”, he would again be sharing a sizable border with Poland – a NATO country.

    Let’s be clear, the document you refer to is not stated US policy and opens with “…coupled with deep-seated (IF EXAGGERATED) anxieties about the possibility of Western-inspired regime change, loss of great power status, and even military attack”. It is naive to listen to and get sucked in by Putin’s banter about being “threatened”. He a master manipulator, frequently plays the “victim” card while being a bully and he lies a lot. Do not confuse “Playing politics” with “Reality”.

    Imagine Ukraine in a local context – a bonkers leader say Dudton has anxieties about the “threat” of China, but China has not officially uttered threats to attack us. Dudton is “worried” about the chain of islands that China is building and populating with military personnel. At the rate they are being built one should turn up just outside territorial waters in the next 1000 or so years. Dudton makes a speech with an incongruous claim that Indonesia really is part of Australia as we were one blob during the breakup of Gondwanaland some 150+ million years ago and announces a “Special Operation” to invade Indonesia… Sound familiar? Sound equally bonkers? (And before you all jump on me, yes Homo Sapiens evolved some 200,000 years ago, but remember Putin’s justification included Catherine the Great.)

  41. B Sullivan

    Canguro

    The Russian Orthodox Church is a religion, that is an ideology that binds and restricts people not with reasoned ideas based on knowledge but with the ignorance of faith. A religious person is obliged to accept that reality is determined by faith, not by reality. Remember, the very word religion means ‘tied up’ it is not as if they have freedom of conscience to do what they know is right, they are obliged to do what they have been told to believe is right, or else renounce their religion – essentially self excommunication.

    Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Orthodoxy has become more popular and more assertive in inflicting it’s beliefs on Russians used to more tolerant attitudes under communism. Freedom of Religion doesn’t alas guarantee freedom from Religion. When religions impose their beliefs on people who find those beliefs outrageous you get dissidence. Pussy Riot is just a well know example that came to fame when they protested in St Basil’s Cathedral while Putin was attending mass.

    Orthodoxy supports Putin so Putin supports orthodoxy. Perhaps he doesn’t really believe in a god, but like Morrison in Australia he can count on Church support to get elected (according to an electoral system approved by the USA itself). So, the analogy to Hillsong, if that is what I made, is that Putin like Morrison appears to be influenced by a religious organisation, which I brought up because wam commented that Putin has neither the god nor the fear to drive him to such a dangerous act as nuclear war.

    I don’t often get the chance to reply to questions my comments may evoke, and I’m sorry if my observations don’t conform to consensual reality, but that’s not my fault. Reality is more important than consensual reality which in days like these just doesn’t seem real at all.

  42. A Commentator

    Let’s just recap Steve.
    You said- “It is the Western powers that are inching us ever closer to a nuclear exchange”
    Then you referred to Russia’s territorial integrity.
    Thus far you have not been able to nominate a single statement by a government representative or organisation that justifies this.
    Quoting think tanks and lobbyists is not evidence of government policy.
    It is odd that you seek to move the blame for the potential use of nuclear weapons, from the regime that is currently threatening to use them, to governments that are providing support to the defence of a sovereign nation

  43. Steve Davis

    Fred says that the RAND report “Overextending and Unbalancing Russia” is not US policy; that it’s merely war-gaming.

    Fred’s naivety is adorable.

    Then AC chimed into support Fred with this; “Quoting think tanks and lobbyists is not evidence of government policy.” Is that so?

    The stated aim of the report is to present options to overextend and unbalance Russia’s economy and armed forces and the Russian government’s political standing at home and abroad.

    Fred and AC have apparently not noticed similarities between options in the report and US actions in Ukraine. Or that various statements from the US before and after Russia decided to act are an echo of the aims outlined by RAND Corp. Remember when they were going to “turn the rouble into rubble”? Remember when Biden said Putin must go?

    Here’s a few of the Rand options that were acted on. “Imposing deeper trade and financial sanctions.” “Increasing Europe’s ability to import gas from suppliers other than Russia.” “Providing lethal aid to Ukraine.”

    The US govt does not pay RAND for advice that it does not follow. The war in Ukraine is the 2019 RAND report in real life. The war in Ukraine was and is a foreign policy objective of the US.

  44. Steve Davis

    AC said “Let’s just recap Steve.
    You said- “It is the Western powers that are inching us ever closer to a nuclear exchange”
    Then you referred to Russia’s territorial integrity.”

    Nice try from AC, I see the old straw man argument is still in vogue. It was AC who introduced the term “territorial integrity.”

    He went on; “It is odd that you seek to move the blame for the potential use of nuclear weapons, from the regime that is currently threatening to use them,…”

    AC’s capacity for misrepresentation is just awesome !

  45. A Commentator

    You’ve referred to lobbyists and think tanks as the evidence of the threat to Russia’s territorial integrity.
    Nothing about government policy of statements
    The only country that does not accept the status of Russia’s borders is Russia

  46. Henry Rodrigues

    Can any of Putin’s admirers or defenders or mouthpieces here, enlighten us as to when Georgia or Moldova or Chechnya or the opponents of Hafez al Assad in Syria, attack Holy Mother Russia ??

    Let’s widen the net. Did Nato assist, arm or run covert or overt operations against Holy Mother Russia in the past 75 years ? Did any one complain about the threat of the Warsaw pact countries potential to attack the democratic free nations of Western Europe.

    Why does bombing civilian homes, farms, businesses infra structure seem to the only acceptable response by Putin to the disastrous performance of his “well trained, dedicated, ideologically pure soldiers ? Are these Putin troops the successors to the 24m patriotic troops of WWII , many of whom raped hundreds of thousands of German women some as young as 8 and some as old as 80, after the fall of Berlin ? The images of ruthless savages hell bent on revenge and destruction will always linger on in history. The person most responsible for shedding Russian blood was none other than their own leader, Stalin, the idol Putin chooses to follow, compleat with the gulags and the progroms against the jews and the violent suppression of free speech

    Nato, anyone ?

  47. Steve Davis

    AC said “You’ve referred to lobbyists and think tanks as the evidence of the threat to Russia’s territorial integrity. Nothing about government policy of statements.”

    Not only did I refer to a think tank as evidence, I then showed how a think-tank report became govt policy that was then implemented.

    The situation might actually be worse than the progression I’ve outlined.

    It’s quite possible that the report provided a justification for an existing govt ambition, providing the details that turned ambition into policy.

    But I’ll say one thing about AC, not only is his capacity for misrepresentation awesome, his never-say-die attitude is right up there also.

  48. A Commentator

    • You referred to territorial integrity… Let me know whether you accept this definition…
    “Territorial integrity refers to the territorial ‘oneness’ or ‘wholeness’ of the State. As a norm of international law, it protects the territorial framework of the independent State and is an essential foundation of the sovereignty of States”
    • There is no western democracy that has territorial claims on Russia.
    • The Putin regime has repeatedly threatened the use of nuclear weapons. Either directly or obliquely.
    There is no evidence of any country impinging on Russia’s territorial integrity.
    • Your blaming of the west for Putin’s threat of nuclear war is disingenuous

  49. Steve Davis

    AC said “You referred to territorial integrity… Let me know whether you accept this definition…”

    I did not. I used the term in response to your use of the term. Are we back to a comprehension problem here, or are you making an art form out of the straw man tactic?

    “There is no western democracy that has territorial claims on Russia…There is no evidence of any country impinging on Russia’s territorial integrity.”

    I warned you to not embarrass yourself by continuing down that path. The US plan to break up Russia is a signal of aggressive intent. To play semantic games over an issue that could destroy humanity as we know it is the height of irresponsibility, and gives us an insight as to your character.

    “Your blaming of the west for Putin’s threat of nuclear war is disingenuous”

    Your misrepresentation continues. You demonstrated with your quotes from Putin that his references to nuclear war were not initiated by Putin, they were in response to threats. Repeating a misrepresentation will not make it true. The question is – can you stop the misrepresentation ?

  50. A Commentator

    You talk about threats to Russia and can’t specify them

  51. Fred

    AC: I wouldn’t bother trying to sensibly discuss anything with Steve Davis. It seems he is playing games and keeping score ref: “AC lost the argument” and “lost the argument in grand style I might say”. He makes outrageous comments then “plays the man” rather than the issue i.e. “Your misrepresentation continues”. He clearly has not read the translations of Putin’s speeches available from the Kremlin, which gives insight into Putin’s ambition to restore the USSR and the utter BS given as justification for the war.

    In Putinesque style he makes allegations that are false and then blames the other side for misrepresentation: “That is a blatant misrepresentation of Putin’s responses to attack and invasion threats against Russia”. Weird, if one considers that no “attack and invasion threats” were made against Russia. No proof is offered in support.

    He doesn’t respond to requests for further information like “please provide the details of game changing Russian superior weapons”.

    His first comments were:
    1) “Russia is not “using the threat to terrify everybody else,” Putin’s comments about nuclear weapons were in response to Western threats of nuclear war.

    2) Another thing that many forget is that Russia has no need to use nuclear weapons. Its non-nuclear weapons are so advanced that any potential enemy has no defence against them. (Obviously “de fence” is not high enough. :))

    Despite the vast amount of information available which shows that Putin was the first leader to imply the use of nuclear weapons in the current “Special Operation”, Mr Davis continues to hold the contrary line. There is no response on item 2.

    There is no point in continuing.

  52. Steve Davis

    I asked AC the question “can you stop the misrepresentation ?”

    He replied “You talk about threats to Russia and can’t specify them” when I had previously outlined a serious threat to Russia in some detail. He gave a misrepresentation in response to a question about misrepresentation ! There must be a word for that; whatever can it be ?

  53. Harry Lime

    Is it interval yet?Is that Laurie Wilson on the Hammond organ I hear?Can we get some fantails? What’s the feature movie tonight?

  54. Michael Taylor

    Harry, the site seems to be playing up.

    If you get the error message, don’t worry as the comment still gets published. Click the “Homepage” link and you’ll see that your comment is there.

    I’ll get the tech team onto it tonight.

  55. Phil Pryor

    Steve Davis, enjoy the delights of self belief in seeking some contribution based on honest and accurate observation, unlike some who chronically and stubbornly embrace subterranean depths of the depravity of contrived blinkered stupidity. (who?)

  56. Michael Taylor

    Phil, did you get an error message when posting your comment?

    I’m still getting one. ☹️

  57. Phil Pryor

    M T, I did but waited for a while (puzzled) and then sought an answer, to find it had gone through. On that post, slightly impolite, I aimed to say we should be seeking paths to peace, not merely raving from sidelimes to assert our position as if guaranteed righteously accurate. No elder statesman or woman seems able to rise, Obama, Cameron, Merkel, etc. No current ones are worth a pinch of excrement, the Truss, Trump, Erdogan, even Macron types, let alone clear ratbags. Where are the popes, prelates, leaders, UNO, Emirs, Sheikhs, Kings? Crimes, agonies, days of further misery go on and some want to assert “I’m right!” , when Adolf, Benito, Josef and others did that. It’s the futility of it, and people like us are displaced, reduced, killed, embittered.

  58. The AIM Network

    Thank you, Phil.

    The problem is more severe than we thought. We’ll put up a post shortly to explain what’s going on.

  59. Pingback: Nuclear news – scary stuff this week, but we need to be aware. | Nuclear Australia

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