WASHINGTON, DC, May 9 – If war is hell, what is nuclear war? It’s nothing less than a one-time, cataclysmic, end-of-the-world event. Well, Russia blatantly promises that they will initiate nuclear war if they don’t get their way. The out loud threats that they are making are unfathomable – nothing less than obscene insanity. Russia has become a rogue nation under Vladimir Putin and, indeed, has the end-of-life, nuclear wherewithal to carry out such a monstrous event. We have our own formidable nuclear arsenal. So, one can only ask, why the threat? It can only be explained as a MAD we-die-they-die threat – mad for its insanity and MAD for Mutually Assured Destruction.
How real is the threat? It’s pretty convincing, according to the Wall Street Journal and other reliable sources. The Journal published an article recently noting that Russia has successfully conducted a first test of its Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile. It’s capable of delivering a very large nuclear payload into our laps and those of our NATO allies. The Opinion article was authored by Seth Cropsey, founder of the Yorktown Institute. He is regarded as one of America’s leading experts on maritime and defense strategy.
In his words, “If Russia’s military situation appears dire, Mr. Putin has a dual incentive to use nuclear weapons. This is consistent with publicly stated Russian military doctrine. A nuclear attack would present Ukraine with the same choice Japan faced in 1945: surrender or be annihilated. Ukraine may not break. The haunting images from Bucha, Irpin and elsewhere demonstrate Russia’s true intentions. A Russian victory would lead to mass killings, deportation, rape and other atrocities. The Ukrainian choice won’t be between death and survival, but rather armed resistance and unarmed extermination…Nuclear use would require NATO to respond. But a nuclear response could trigger retaliation, dragging Russia and NATO up the escalation ladder to a wider nuclear confrontation.”
Backing up Cropsey’s dire assessment are other reliable news sources as well as Malcolm Davis, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. He’s an expert in the field of “future warfare.” Davis’ take is that “any direct military intervention by NATO, even below the nuclear threshold, would almost inevitably lead to a wider NATO-Russia war, and with it, the near certainty of nuclear escalation. It’s that specter of nuclear war – as opposed to a single detonation – that constrains NATO’s responses, even in the face of Russian atrocities in Bucha and Kramatorsk. In particular, the prospect of such a war escalating to strategic nuclear exchanges and devastating the planet will be in the minds of NATO decisionmakers.”
Peter Huessy, Director of Strategic Deterrent Studies at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies and President of his own defense consulting firm, GeoStrategic Analysis, puts the blame for this imminent threat on President Biden. He told the Gatestone Institute, “The bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan and the unwillingness to effectively support Ukraine since our 1994 guarantee and especially over the past year have led nuclear-armed enemies to ratchet up threats to the U.S. and its allies…They sense a growing American weakness.”
In the end one can only hope that Britain’s BBC was correct when it pointed out that Vladimir Putin may simply be trying to “create a sense of fear” among the U.S. and its NATO allies. The BBC quoted Dr. Mariana Budjeryn at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. She took to social media to say, “Putin is comfortable in the ‘stability-instability’ world, while the West is deterred by his nuclear bluster as if NATO’s billion-dollar deterrent is nothing but a paper tiger.” Let’s pray that she and the BBC have got it right because Putin’s arsenal of nuclear weapons is frightening at best.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists offers this assessment of Russia’s nuclear capability: “As of early 2022, we estimate that Russia has a stockpile of approximately 4,477 nuclear warheads assigned for use by long-range strategic launchers and shorter-range tactical nuclear forces, which is a slight decrease from last year. Of the stockpiled warheads, approximately 1,588 strategic warheads are deployed: about 812 on land-based ballistic missiles, about 576 on submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and possibly 200 at heavy bomber bases. Approximately another 977 strategic warheads are in storage, along with about 1,912 nonstrategic warheads. In addition to the military stockpile for operational forces, a large number—approximately 1,500—of retired but still largely intact warheads await dismantlement, for a total inventory of approximately 5,977 warheads”
As for the U.S. policy on the use of nuclear weapons, it does not include a “no first use” provision; we rely on a first use threat and our massive nuclear response capability to deter bad actors such as Putin. “The Obama Administration considered adopting a ‘no first use’ policy in 2016. However, both military and civilian officials opposed this change. Some argued that a policy of calculated ambiguity provided the President with options in a crisis; others noted that the shift could undermine deterrence and stability in an uncertain security environment. Secretary of State Kerry and Secretary of Defense Carter also raised concerns that a ‘no first use’ policy could undermine the confidence and security of U.S. allies. Reports indicate that several allies also weighed in against the change in policy during the Obama Administration and again when the Biden Administration considered the possible adoption of a sole purpose policy. Author Information,” according to the Congressional Research Service.
Meanwhile, what Henry Kissinger had to say about the potential of Russia resorting to an all-out nuclear war. Kissinger, who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under two presidents [yes, he’s still around at the age of 99], offered his insight on this matter at a recent Financial Times function in Washington DC. He has quite a history with Vladimir Putin, having had one on one meetings with him some 25 times over the past decade and a half.
“I learned his thinking. I thought he was kind of a mystic – with faith in Russian history as he perceived it…Six months ago I would not have thought he’d start a war of that scale in Europe or anywhere…how much will he continue? Or has he reached the limit of his capabilities? [W]ill he escalate by moving into the category of weapons that in 70 years have [not been used]? Or will he accept the results [of a Ukrainian victory] without resulting to weapons that could have ended [the war] with different results? We have to think how we react to that. We can’t just accept it. It would open the world to a new world of blackmail…Every war since World War II has been fought with conventional weapons. [But] Ukraine has put an emphasis on [the possible use of] nuclear weapons…[and] the high tech countries will have to live with the consequences of their technology…If the line in nuclear weapons is crossed, it is something of a great consequence…It is not possible to ignore it or pretend it didn’t happen.”
Footnote: Anders Corr at Corr Analytics, which publishes the Journal of Political Risk, warns that the Russia’s nuclear threat is real but that Vladimir Putin is not the only bad actor we need to keep an eye on. It’s worse than we thought. It’s Corr’s educated guess, as he put it in an alarming new opinion article in the Epoch Times: “Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran are toying with the offensive use of nuclear weapons rather than seeing them as a defensive deterrent. The American allies they target, including Ukraine, Taiwan, South Korea, and Israel, should strengthen their nuclear defenses in response.”
We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...
Support AMAC Action. Our 501 (C)(4) advances initiatives on Capitol Hill, in the state legislatures, and at the local level to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, and the rule of law.Donate Now