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How the West should respond to nuclear war Putin can't afford to throw in the towel

Putin will never stop (DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Putin will never stop (DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)


October 12, 2022   6 mins

Talking about nuclear war used to be taboo. Even during the Cuban Missile Crisis, both Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy refused to invoke the idea of it. But the story of 21st-century international affairs is, in certain regards, one rooted in the erasure of political norms. Now, any despot with a chip on their shoulder and a bomb in their hands can mouth off about nuclear Armageddon and hope it provides some protection to whatever heinous behaviour they are engaged in.

How did we get here? The answer is, once more, Vladimir Putin. On Sunday, he went on Russian TV to fulminate over a “terrorist act” he claimed was carried out by Ukraine’s security services the day before. Early that morning, an explosion on the Kerch Bridge linking the Crimean Peninsula to Krasnodar Krai in Russia caused parts of it to collapse. The Russians are saying it was caused by a truck bomb. Kyiv has neither claimed nor denied responsibility.

Either way, once Putin spoke of “terrorism”, my Ukrainian friends knew what was coming. “He was going to hit us hard,” one in the south told me. “We knew it would be our schools and hospitals.” And so it proved. Yesterday, another in Odesa described the extent of the attack:

“Three waves of attacks hit us in a one-hour period. Our Air defence announced [the presence of] 83 missiles (of which 43 were intercepted) and 12 kamikaze drones (nine were intercepted). The strikes came from the Black Sea, from Astrahan, from Belarus and from Russia. Our MoD is saying that three missiles even crossed Moldovan airspace. All the big cities and several small towns were hit. The Russians targeted energy infrastructure, specifically electricity and heating. Many cities are now lacking in both.”

I also spoke to a military contact on the ground in Kyiv. “I was near one of the strikes and it was strange,” he told me. “The missiles came in almost vertically, which means they leave huge craters but there isn’t a huge amount of shrapnel flying around. This was a poorly planned attack. Whatever coordinates they entered, they made a legitimate attempt to knock out comms and infrastructure across the country. But here in Kyiv they seem to have just fired as a form of intimidation.”

Shortly after the attacks, Putin went on television to announce the completion of a “massive strike” on Ukraine’s “energy, military command and communications facilities”. It was, he told his long-suffering Security Council, revenge for Ukraine’s long history of “terrorist” actions, including its attack on Kerch Bridge. He also made a threat: “If attempts to carry out terrorist attacks on our territory continue, Russia’s responses will be tough and will correspond in scale to the level of threats posed to Russia… No one should have any doubts about this.” Putin was once again alluding to nuclear weapons’ use — something he has done several times throughout the war.

The taboo, it seems, has been shattered. Now, Russian TV talks about this prospect regularly. For chat show host and Kremlin blowhard Dmitry Kiselyov, blowing up the UK has become a favoured topic. One Russian nuke could “sink [Britain] once and for all” or turn it into a “radioactive desert”, he said with customary restraint over the summer. He also claimed a single bomb would cause a 1,600ft radioactive tidal wave “plunging Britain to the ocean’s depths”.

Kiselyov obviously doesn’t control Kremlin nuclear policy — he’s a TV star. But as a de facto official Kremlin mouthpiece, he would never have said something so inflammatory without official sign off. This points to a further truth. The Russian military playbook in Ukraine is a variegated thing. It has consistently evolved in the face of Moscow’s repeated defeats and is, accordingly, one born not of strategy and foresight, but of emotion: generally, anger and the unceasing desire for revenge.

Ukrainian officials now consider nuclear war, or more realistically, the possible use of a tactical nuclear bomb — loosely defined as nuclear weapon of limited power designed to be used on the battlefield with friendly forces close by — a real possibility. When I was in the country earlier this year, I lost count of the number of conversations I had with Ukrainians who feared this. And the more the Ukrainian army pushed Russia back on the battlefield, the greater the frequency of these conversations.

This is the paradox facing Ukraine — and the paradoxical nature of much of military strategy. Sometimes, the more you succeed the more vulnerable you become. The classic example of this is an army that keeps defeating its enemy, pushing it further and further back into its own territory. But the further the successful army goes into enemy territory, the further it is from home, and the harder it is to supply, and thus the weaker it becomes. The same principle is clearly at work here: the more Ukraine defeats Russia on the battlefield, the greater the possibility it drives Putin into using a tactical nuclear weapon to even the score. The more it wins, the greater the chance it can lose spectacularly.

Ukrainians are bitter about this, not least because when the Soviet Union collapsed, a substantial part of its nuclear arsenal was on the territory of the newly independent Ukraine. Kyiv agreed — under the Budapest Memorandum — to give up the weapons in exchange for guarantees on its territorial integrity. And who made these guarantees? Principally, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom. No wonder they’re bitter. Had Kyiv nukes of its own, things might look different. But they don’t and this is what they are facing.

But it’s not simple for Russia either. If it decides to use a tactical nuke then it needs to, theoretically at least, avoid killing its own soldiers (not that Moscow has ever really cared about this) — and to achieve this it has to use the weapon competently. After what we’ve seen of its performance throughout the war, this is not a given. Then there are the wider issues. Ukraine is bordered by, among other countries, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania — all of which are Nato powers. If any of the nuclear fallout entered one or more of these countries, it would be considered an attack against a Nato state and thus — because of Article 5, which is the binding principle of collective defence — against every Nato ally.

Would Moscow risk war with Nato, which it would unquestionably lose? Not even Putin is that insane. Former US General David Petraeus has suggested that, in the event of nuclear weapons’ use, the US would sink Russia’s Black Sea fleet. It sounds equally nuts — but Washington could do it. That’s the point.

Then, of course, there would be the wider political and economic fallout. If Putin uses a nuke on the European continent, the international reaction would be beyond anything we have seen before. To take just one critical example: for decades, Russian energy has heated Berlin — and made it docile. But if Moscow went nuclear, even the Germans would have to go to wage economic war with Moscow and wean themselves off Kremlin gas, further crippling Russia.

Perhaps it’s unsurprising, then, that the past few days have ushered in a new phase of heightened tension that even Moscow can’t escape. Since the bridge attack, Putin has replaced several army commanders and defence officials. He has also seemingly placated Chechen leader and general psychopath, Ramzan Kadyrov, who had expressed public dissatisfaction with the trajectory of the war, but is now mollified — clearly delighted at the indiscriminate violence of the revenge strikes.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says he wants to open negotiations with the West, while the UAE (a close US ally) has agreed to meet with Putin. These are most likely moves to gain time for Russia to train up and integrate men from its recent mass mobilisation into something at least approximating a fighting force.

Putin is a dictator and dictators, especially in Russia, cannot afford to lose wars if they wish to remain in power. Whatever is happening on the battlefield — or bridges — of Ukraine, he is not about to throw in the towel. He can’t afford to — even if deploying a tactical nuclear weapon is the only alternative.

If this happens, it would be more dangerous than perhaps any act in history. And it is for this very reason that we would have to remain steadfast despite the horror. We would have to continue to resist Putin and his genocidal dreams.

If he were to use nuclear weapons and see them achieve all his goals, he will never stop. Neither, for that matter, would North Korea or China. And every despot — from the Mullahs down — would dash for a bomb to achieve their goals of conquest and perennial autocracy. Facing down a tyrant who has used a nuke would be the most terrifying thing we have ever had to face, but it would be necessary for the sake of all of us — Ukrainians and non-Ukrainians alike.


David Patrikarakos is UnHerd‘s foreign correspondent. His latest book is War in 140 characters: how social media is reshaping conflict in the 21st century. (Hachette)

dpatrikarakos

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Darwin K Godwin
Darwin K Godwin
1 year ago

Observing the collective West’s lack of diplomatic talent or even a desire to pursue a peaceful solution is like sitting in a shopping mall by a burbling fountain where two gangs of toughs are posturing with fistfuls of grenades. I served in the US Army as a Defense Information School graduate and later with an Airborne Battalion Combat Team stationed in Europe during the Cold War. I’ve been on plenty of NATO exercises. Today, I see two driving forces at play on the side of the good guys, a naive pack of political hacks posturing and playing way out of their league, and a barely visible group of official spooks trying to beat the house from the comfort of a hardened office somewhere in the vicinity of the Potomac (they showed their hand in 2014). This insulated mission creep coming from institutions I once fully trusted to care for the common welfare of citizens. Now the constant traffic of misinformation and manipulation has been successfully camouflaged by the public clamor for more justice – more heroic action. Well, my young dudes, you’re going to get it.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

Spoken like Real Russian.

Edward H
Edward H
1 year ago

They were attempted – Ukraine made various offers early in the conflict. Russia rejected all proposals.

Andrzej Wasniewski
Andrzej Wasniewski
1 year ago

Two gangs? Macron, useful idiot as he is, attempted to talk to Putin before the invasion, the peace talks with Ukraine started few weeks after the invasion. What exactly is the result? Dead Ukrainian civilians, ravaged cities and Russian official cretins talking about dropping nukes on London. Go and find a Russian who would like to talk peace.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrzej Wasniewski
Michael Askew
Michael Askew
1 year ago

There is no peaceful solution short of victory or defeat. Putin will either win this war of conquest and annex Ukraine like he did with Crimea or lose it and his own tenure as President.

Charles Elliston
Charles Elliston
1 year ago

So you have one tin pot dictator in Russia and a whole host of wannabie dictators in our declared democracies. I’d love to think our western governments have our best interests at heart, but it seems to me that over the past 3 years they have finally come out of the closet to declare themselves as liberal autocracies.. It has been observed that it is not old school authoritarianism, but one done with a liberal, caring face. Lockdowns, mandated mask wearing, travel restrictions, denial of social gatherings etc, all done on the basis of protecting the population from fearful danger with the authority of an institutionalised science carefully orchestrated with the aid of a purchased MSM and a liberal censorship of free speech. Democracies are soo unwieldy and allow just too many people to question and even disagree with the ‘right’ policies. Far easier to keep everyone in a constant state of fear and compliance, present people with easy, uncomplicated choices, make us believe the choices are our own and when everything does fall down about us, it was never their fault.

Patrick 8888
Patrick 8888
1 year ago

ermmm….cross-purposes to actual subject?
and grading it as x-purposes is probably generous.

Charles Elliston
Charles Elliston
1 year ago
Reply to  Patrick 8888

On the contrary it is the reason why we accept that Putin is a war mongering megalomaniac and Biden backed by his massive military industrial complex has only the best intentions for the Ukrainian people and that the western world can feel perfectly safe with his senile hand hovering over the red button. That the Ukrainian president would never call for preemptive strikes against the Russians, that the Ukrainian army have never shelled and killed their own civilians, committed atrocities, shelled nuclear power stations held by the Russians. There is no possibility of a negotiated peace because Putin is a deluded power crazed maniac so we must go on feeding a furnace with our gifts of destruction until the country and its peoples are laid to waste.

Patrick 8888
Patrick 8888
1 year ago

Well, you’re a smart guy, according to yourself, and everyone else is stupid, according to yourself.
Walk us through how YOU solve it and end up with everyone picking daisies in the meadow together. ?
aside to audience- Hilarious how this gets turned around on everyone EXCEPT Putin and Russia , by a certain element. . The same general element , btw, who I distinctly recall sneeringly denying that there was even GOING to be a Russian invasion back in February..smugly assuring us that entire thing was Western ‘warmongering” and ‘hysteria”.

Last edited 1 year ago by Patrick 8888
Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
1 year ago
Reply to  Patrick 8888

I think by ‘general element’ you may mean the usual load of increasingly obvious Russian bots leavened with the woeful cohort of people who have indulged in playpen politics about how horrible the west is, and how very horrible we were in 1700 and whenever, and who are so lost in their mirage of a world view (basically created to make them look ‘nice’) that they can’t bear to call out Putin for what he is lest they appear to be at one with the nasty *Gammons*

Fred Paul
Fred Paul
1 year ago

Mr. Godwin, I would like to thank you for your service. I”m sure you’ve been in a few hot spots. I know you’re angry, but, I honestly don’t think you are skilled in the knowledge set required to assume and analyze the political spectrum we now face. War is insane. It’s stupid. There’s no right or wrong. Your country either wins or loses. The outcome is all that counts. Since WWII, I’m yet to see the Americans win a war. Panama and Granada were jokes. Even then, those two were messed up. So forgive me if I take what you said, given that you were trained by the same organization that didn’t win those wars, with a “grain of salt.”

Don Juan
Don Juan
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred Paul

“Mr Godwin”? You are terribly polite to a bot or a stooge or both! In fact, every time there’s a Ukraine article it is remarkable how the bots/stooges emerge from the meta. Like a quick-witted scammer, they are learning to cover their tracks using ever more sophisticated guises so that they become harder to “sbot”.
About the article, the main thrust is that we face-down a tyrant threatening nucleur or we don’t. If we don’t, then the consequences are also unpalatable.

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
1 year ago

Ukraine has been Russian territory for hundreds of years until very recently and yet the western hacks are prepared to go nuclear to defend this very recent status quo. Russia has a serious strategic interesting the country and a strong moral claim to Crimea and the Donbas. To Putin, he is defending his country from NATO aggression and he will do whatever he needs to do. Yet the west is pushing him to nuclear war over a patch of land that means nothing to us.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

“Would Moscow risk war with Nato, which it would unquestionably lose? Not even Putin is that insane.”
Then why this story? 

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Both Adolph and Hirohito thought they ‘had a chance’ so why not Mr Putin?

David Moody
David Moody
1 year ago

Hirohito didn’t think he could beat the US in a long war. The plan was to have a short war, destroy the Pacific fleet and bring the US to the table. His war cabinet even thought they could survive the Atomic bomb since it did not actually do much to their military capability to defend Japan. They eventually gave up because the Russians joined the war! Adolf was also of the view that Britain would continue to follow the path of appeasement. The answer is that dictators always under estimate their enemies and appeasement never works on these types.

Fred Paul
Fred Paul
1 year ago
Reply to  David Moody

David Moody, finally someone who knows history.

Patrick 8888
Patrick 8888
1 year ago
Reply to  David Moody

Not sure if Hirohito was ever really at the wheel of any of it anyway..

Patrick 8888
Patrick 8888
1 year ago

Adolf. Adolph/e is French form..like Adolphe Menjou..

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Simple! Putin may well deduce that even if he does use a TNW it will NOT risk a full scale nuclear war with NATO. There is at least the possibility he is correct in that assessment. Hence he does not have to be insane to take a calculated risk. After all, JFK took a calculated risk that blockading Cuba would not result in all out Nuclear war and he was correct in that, and presumably not insane?

Jim R
Jim R
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

JFK de-escalated the standoff by making a secret deal to remove nukes from Turkey. But he got the soviets to agree to let it look like he stood firm with them. Let’s hope our current politicians remember that ultimately peace requires compromise – though as usual in the west, any compromise will have to be presented as victory for our image conscious politicians.

Patrick 8888
Patrick 8888
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim R

yes…but what would have happened if Kennedy never traded off the Turkey-based missiles?
If he just blockaded Cuba, said na..no USSR ships comin’ in…fired on them to halt them if necessary..
What does Kruschev do then?
The curious thing about that deal is Kennedy being able to keep the Turkey half of it either secret or very subdued…and that the Russians agreed to have it that way?
(Turks themselves went nuts about it, apparently..)

Patrick 8888
Patrick 8888
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I agree with your point that Putin might believe the TNW does NOT bring a nuclear-war, and I might even agree with him on that.
But I question your analogy re JFK/Cuba.
Kennedy’s line in the sand or gamble did not involve Step 1, press a nuclear button, and see what happens next.
Kennedy judged correctly that Russians would not try to force his naval blockade of Cuba , setting anything on the table in motion from there. It MIGHT have been a dodgier more dangerous gamble than Putin actually using a TNW in Ukraine might be now…but I don’t think comparisons match up very well.
Putin is in danger of worsening humiliation compared to what he and Russia already has suffered…and from there, overthrow of his personal position.
In military position/scenario..it reminds me a little more of MacArthur’s alleged demands to deploy a nuclear weapon against China in Dec 1950, re the Chinese army’s entry into North Korea.
Naturally MacArthur was refused/over-ruled by Truman ,Gen B. Turgidson – Dr Strangelove style. But, that too, if it had been done, at that time, may NOT have actually escalated to anything much more than what MacArthur intended it to be.

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
1 year ago

Here’s a wild and crazy idea: The United States should tell Zelensky and his people to cut a deal with the Russians. The parties would cut a deal. The war would be over.
We’ve known for months — years, really — what a deal would look like: cede autonomy to the Donbas region and commit to not joining NATO.
Instead, what is the US/EU/NATO bloc pursuing? Regime change in Russia?
After this whole business wraps up, there is still going to be a Russia. the West is going to have to get along with these people.
A Putin cabal may not survive this business, but there will be a cabal that runs Russia like a Mafia family enterprise; that cabal will not be comprised of people who buy into our completely corrupt concept of “Our Democracy (TM)”.
Where are the adults?

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago

I wonder how much of this is a Biden family feud. Hunter must have provided something to the Ukraine for all that cash he got, given his lack of anything useful for the business he was supposed to be in. I suspect it was telling the Ukraine – “My Dad will cover your back if you poke the bear once too often.”
A pity the US MSM refused to look into the contents of his laptop drive because they wanted Trump out.

Fred Paul
Fred Paul
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

Mr. Bill Bailey… just for my information. Do you have any legitimate information source to back what you said?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

So what does Ukraine get out of that deal? It loses a vast swathe of its territory, and isn’t able to guarantee its defence by joining NATO? It’s never going to take Russias word that it will respect it’s sovereignty as they did that back in the 90’s and look where we are now.
Why on earth would it agree to your plan, especially as it’s currently pushing Russian forces backwards?

Andrew Holmes
Andrew Holmes
1 year ago

I think that some of the adults aren’t confident that the sacrifice of the Donbas will satisfy Putin, who has repeatedly asserted that the Ukraine is historically and forever Russia.

Patrick 8888
Patrick 8888
1 year ago

Another of the if only the victim would be more reasonable and just surrender this could all be over” brigade. They are bloody incredible.
Apparently not without historical precedent, though.
We all know how Hitler invaded Poland , starting WW2, when UK/France sighed and honoured their pledge to Poland, and realizing they’d been made complete berks of re Czechoslovakia.
Less well known, is that quite a number of Polish military made it to France as refugees, in the period between Poland’s surrender, and Germany’s attack on France itself 10-May 1940.
One thing the Poles did, is try to inform/warn the French about the German tactics and weapons, suggesting, correctly as things turned out that as things stood, with what the Poles could see of the French army, the Germans would do France in like a dinner, just as they had done Poland in like a dinner.
Firstly, they were sneered at like Monty Python-sketch French, at the very notion that the French army could be defeated in the same way by the same entity by same methods as Polish one recently had been. (If anything,as it played out, the Poles probably put up the better fight, all things considered)
But secondly, incredibly, it was also hinted not too subtly that as far as the French were concerned, the whole war and France’s now involvement in it, was Poland’s fault for not just handing Danzig to Hitler as Hitler had perfectly reasonably demanded.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

“…not least because when the Soviet Union collapsed, a substantial part of its nuclear arsenal was on the territory of the newly independent Ukraine. Kyiv agreed — under the Budapest Memorandum — to give up the weapons in exchange for guarantees on its territorial integrity.”
As I understand it, whilst the missiles were on Ukrainian soil, they were controlled centrally from Russia: The Ukrainians could not have used them even if they had kept them. The Big Red Button was in Moscow.

Last edited 1 year ago by polidori redux
Ci Cero
Ci Cero
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Interesting point – are there sources for it?

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Ci Cero

Sorry but I can’t remember. It was someone that I felt ought to know what they were talking about. Which isn’t much of an answer!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I’m sure in the 30 years that have passed since Ukraine became independent they could have found a way to launch them if need be

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You don’t need an ICBM, a truck or even a Mule will do.

Brian Burnell
Brian Burnell
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Many of them were of a similar variety to those built in the west, – aircraft bombs like the UK’s tactical bomb. It wasn’t fitted with fancy hi-tech locks. Just an ordinary lock, and there was only one key, kept with the weapon. It could be delivered by fast jet, by naval helicopter, and with a little tinkering by a truck. The Ukrainians are inventive chaps as we have seen.

Jeff Andrews
Jeff Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

No they wouldn’t, they would have sold them.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Maybe so, but such is the nature of the beast that any nuclear weapon will have as much security built into it as human ingenuity can devise.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Sure it wouldn’t be beyond the wit of smart Ukes to modify those Nuke controls close to the business ends?

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Curiously there are no complaints about the Soviet Army retiring from East Germany lock, stock and barrel.

John McKee
John McKee
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Yes, and a nuclear scientist has said that without the codes, the missiles are worthless. She also said that she would not work on any nuclear device for which she did not have the codes. This scientist posted anonymously probably because she was afraid of being cancelled for going against the Mainstream narrative.

Adam McDermont
Adam McDermont
1 year ago

I am not quite sure Putin has “genocidal dreams”. I would like to see at least some evidence of this. He might be overly aggressive, cruel even, but this does not amount to genocide or prove that he has “genocidal dreams”. This term suggests that even the genocide of Ukraine would not be enough for him. Where does the author think his next genocide after that will be? I wonder. It’s a shame a sober and informative piece ended with an unfounded claim.
The Heritage Site | Adam McDermont | Substack

Herd Management
Herd Management
1 year ago

China has been silent for the most part. I am waiting to see what she does to bail Putin out.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

Why do you think that?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

What’s in it for China? The bulk of their market is with the west which I can’t see Xi risking just to appease Putins adventures

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You need to check out the Chinese press mate https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202210/1276613.shtml

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

There’s nothing in that story about China and Putin. Your imagination is running away with you.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

I think your a bit rude it talks about China Russia relations if you go to the global times index and read the different articles you get a good feel of the attitude of the Chinese government to America and Russia, that is the equivalent of china’s bbc, and your other point below it says paragraph 12 of the article I shared ‘positive attribution is far from guaranteed at least 15 countries have access to low earth orbit and many more to geosynchronos orbit….. The nature of every object launched cannot be known….
Nuclear weapons can be concealed in the clutter of the super-synchronous graveyard orbit and called down for suprise use.’
I did say they alluded to the fact this could be the case, not that it was. I just thought it was interesting this was most read article in chinese press this week and yet none of our governments are talking about the danger of nukes detonated at high altitude and causing emp.
It also says last two paragraphs nuclear war can be won and Russia and us competitors are prepared to emerge as victors…. Us should respect China and Russia before its too late.

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
P Branagan
P Branagan
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Your problem is you have NO imagination – a facility I thought was pretty fundamental to being a sentient being. But sure maybe I’m wrong……………

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  P Branagan

I read the article again and the only mention of China and Putin is the last paragraph which says we should respect the core priorities of China and Russia. There’s nothing in that link about what’s in it for China. Maybe more could be read into that line. But that would require someone to read more into what was said.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Global Times – you think that’s a reflection of chinese policy? It’s on a par with the crazies on Russian tv, used by the government to feed red meat to its extremists and to lie to their own people.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Stewart
B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Oh my. I said it was a interesting article, I literally shared it because I thought it was interesting and no one was talking about this high altitude detonation business, even gchq said yesterday they might not see it coming or know where it came from. And it was kind of the point that it is chinese biased and therefore a good reflection of their attitude to the US. I don’t understand why some of the users on here are so full of vitriol.
Just Google high altitude nuclear detonation there’s actually loads of info https://warontherocks.com/2022/09/getting-serious-about-the-threat-of-high-altitude-nuclear-detonations/ looks like it not just the global times talking about it

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Bruce V
Bruce V
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

You’re right it is interesting. Thank you for sharing both links.  

Last edited 1 year ago by Bruce V
B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce V

No worries I just wanted people to be prepared for all eventualities!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Is it though? Are you sure? Have you evidence?

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Indeed, I’m not sure Ian Stewart has ever actually read it, if you actually compare the global times to say our daily mail some of the articles, especially on science are far more informative than anything in our press, do you know the Chinese are streaming live lessons and experiments from their new space station straight into their schools on things like ‘the capillary phenomenon of liquids in a weightless environment’ makes our education system look worse than a joke.

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

..like we stupid Europeans did just to appease our US puppet masters!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

So Europe should have simply let an aggressive expansionist Kremlin march unopposed right up to its borders?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Can you explain how it mighg be in China’s interest to”bail out” Russia? A weakened, humiliated, Putin-free Russia might be a better ally to China than the current one? China plays the looong game. I suspect it will intervene when it suits China to do so, eg to keep Russia from being totally smashed (militarily and/or economically). It will demand negotiations before that happens and keep its nose out (as we Europeans should have done) in the meantime.

Ibn Sina
Ibn Sina
1 year ago

I think that china is going to be much more interested in Russia’s weakness and the prospects of taking over poorly defended parts of the Eastern Russian empire.

Tom Blanton
Tom Blanton
1 year ago

Patrikarakos could add to his list of despots making nuclear threats our own home(US)-grown would-be tyrants like Joe Biden, who recently said:

Those who say the blood of Patriots, you know, and all the stuff about how we’re gonna have to move against the government.  If you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.

One thing this war shows – nuclear power can be effectively resisted by conventionally well-armed local communities.

James Stangl
James Stangl
1 year ago

The writer fails to really answer the question posed in his title: How the West should respond to nuclear war. It’s easier to say “stand firm, don’t give dictators/nut jobs with nukes an opening,” but what specifically does Patrikarakos propose? Direct NATO involvement, at least with air forces? Boots on the ground? Attacks on Russian command/control/supply bases in Russia? Lobbing a tactical nuke their way??

Yes, Russia has shown itself to be at best a second-rate military power with its conventional forces. However, it still has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, including a huge number of strategic weapons. If one is going to engage in brinksmanship, one better make an objective calculation as to the likely outcomes.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Tactical nukes wouldn’t even help much on such a dispersed battlefield, so one assumes Putin would use them to kill more civilians en masse, with the reasoning being ‘how many people are you prepared to lose?’ Even then, the Ukrainian cities are blessed with extensive shelters so, with warning from the West, the loss of life would be limited. And China would then get involved against Russia.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

You seem very sure of yourself!

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Oops, taking on the Unherd comment culture, where self doubt doesn’t exist!

Hunter Hustus
Hunter Hustus
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

As someone with a exstensive experience in nuclear deterrence, I see little upside for nuclear use by Putin. I don’t see how it advances his battlefield or political objectives. Even as an act of desperation, it brings great risk that would negatively impact Russia for decades.

William Fulton
William Fulton
1 year ago

Nuclear weapons require an entire industrial base dedicated to maintaining nuclear weapons. Additionally, the “Ukrainian” weapons were controlled in Russia.
There is no way Ukraine could overcome these two obstacles to attain a nuclear capability. Sorry, just facts.

0 0
0 0
1 year ago

Forget Ukraine! Forget Rooshia! The most important single question is as follows:
Who…is REALLY managing the store at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

Patrick 8888
Patrick 8888
1 year ago

One of the few more appalling visions and abominations than Putin himself in this whole thing, was a sound-bite this week of Chechen leader Kadyrov..seems to combine the worst of a Russian monster with a middle-eastern style one. But although I’m appalled by this quadruped, I’m not THAT surprised..that outfit gave us the Tsarnevs at the Boston Marathon, AND Beslan, and probably the Russian-theatre siege where Russian security forces killed about 150 people inside with a bungled breach ….the only curious footnote is that Chechens themselves have a savage separatist war with Moscow in not that distant memory. Now their leader, along with that other neanderthal in Minsk…..is one of Putin’s foremost boosters???

Last edited 1 year ago by Patrick 8888
Andy E
Andy E
1 year ago
Reply to  Patrick 8888

I studied that. The Chechen in the end had chosen to be with Russia, not against it as their best interest. I think the West is not fully comprehending that the same will happen with the Ukrainians. After the war is over there might be a process of acknowledging common interests. I imagine that even a part of Ukrainian professional military would join Red Army.. BTW that happened during Crimea event in ’14. Now think about two joint armies with the most of practical experience… with nukes in the background…

Jim Nichols
Jim Nichols
1 year ago

Most likely end point will be that Ukraine beats Russia back to close to the pre 24/2 borders before winter, and a ‘temporary’ ceasefire is then agreed.

Water supply to Crimea agreed to by the Ukrainians on humanitarian grounds.

Neither side gives up any of their territorial claims, but fighting stops.

Sanctions remain on Russia, and Ukraine becomes more integrated with Europe (but doesn’t join EU or NATO)

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
1 year ago

Did anyone else notice that the author didn’t answer the question in the headline? So, how should the west respond? Remain steadfast, that’s it? I was expecting a little more detail. If sinking the black sea fleet is nuts what exactly would he like us to do?

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Check out the mainstream Chinese press this was number one most read there last week, they say America has failed to see the danger of nukes detonated at high altitude which would cause an emp wiping out all electrical equipment https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202210/1276613.shtml
They also alude to the point that apparently Russia could already have such a thing in space to be called down when needed and no one would be able to tell which country it has come from making retaliation very difficult.

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

I don’t see anything in that story that suggests such a thing actually exists, and it certainly doesn’t say Russia has it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

paragraph 12 of the article I shared ‘positive attribution is far from guaranteed at least 15 countries have access have access to low earth orbit and many more to geosynchronos orbit….. The nature of every object launched cannot be known….
Nuclear weapons can be concealed in the clutter of the super-synchronous graveyard orbit and called down for suprise use.’
I did say they alluded to the fact this could be the case, not that it was. I just thought it was interesting this was most read article in chinese press this week and yet none of our governments are talking about the danger of nukes detonated at high altitude and causing emp, could cause more carnage on a wider scale than a few tactical ones aimed at cities say.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

What are you trying to say: that the Chinese are more informed than Americans? If they don’t exist (I don’t know if they do) then why would we be discussing it? I really don’t know what you’re getting at.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

This is from https://warontherocks.com/2022/09/getting-serious-about-the-threat-of-high-altitude-nuclear-detonations/
And before you start it’s backed by the University of texas and not the Chinese government so you see both sides are discussing this:
‘The threat of nuclear explosions in space is marginalized because the potency of their effects is not widely known and the likelihood of nuclear attack in space is assumed to be negligible. Despite this skepticism, war planners should recognize that the growing number of satellites in space may change the incentive structures to disable them in some sort of nuclear attack. The dynamics of escalation are also not straightforward. The use of a nuclear weapon in space may not invite a nuclear response. This means that the traditional way to deter nuclear use — the threat of catastrophic reprisal — may not be as straight forward as many think. Taken together, there is ample incentive to explore making American infrastructure in space more resilient to this on-going threat’

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Brian Burnell
Brian Burnell
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

The US tested some in the atmosphere in the 1960s, so it’s fairly certain that the Americans are fully aware and up to speed. One test blacked out the electrical grid in Hawaii, one thousand miles from the blast.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian Burnell

What about a Neutron Bomb (ERW) assuming that Mr Putin has squirrelled some away?

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Global Times – an Orwellian propaganda publication. You undermine your own credibility here by citing it.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

So full of vitriol you miss the point entirely, by reading press in other countries as well as your own mainstream you get a good idea of issues around the world from different perspectives, some, as the case here with the global times, sometimes publish something your own press has not or looks at it from an angle your country hasn’t. You obviously have to account for bias. Gchq yesterday said very similar that they may not see it coming. I give up tbh I thought the space thing was interesting. https://warontherocks.com/2022/09/getting-serious-about-the-threat-of-high-altitude-nuclear-detonations/
Also lookup operation starfish prime.

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

So why would Russia make its own electronics useless?

Then it becomes impossible to strike Ukrainian infrastructure, the only card Putin has left.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

I totally get your point, if you read the war on the rocks link:
To do so, the Department of Defense should consider developing a coherent research portfolio with consolidated oversight that aims to maximize the survivability of military and commercial satellites from charged particle radiation. The portfolio should focus on rapidly characterizing the space radiation environment, disseminating this information for satellite countermeasures, vectoring excess charged particles out of orbit, and continuing to subsidize the ongoing commercialization of radiation resilient electronic components

Maybe russia and China have been preparing for this better than the US? Sounds like it’s possible to protect against from reading that but I don’t know to be honest I’d be interested in thoughts on this.

Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

That doctrine has been around since the mid 70s. It was a common scenario in NATO exercises in the 80s and, as a result, much vital strategic infrastructure is nuclear-hardened.

I don’t know how well the Internet has incorporated nuclear hardening in its build, but the threat of a significant EMP pulse hasn’t gone away.

I’m more concerned about my fridge and car, which would certainly stop. The Morris Minor would still start


B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

Thank you for some clarification, I feel that’s good to know! So if this is a legit threat and potentially we won’t see it coming or be able to identify the launch site any thoughts on what the west could/ would actually do? We won’t be able to retaliate at all until they confirm where its come from and in the meantime potentially all our electrical equipment on the ground is fried, this really could cause way more disruption without direct casualties than if he hits ukraine directly….and it would finish off the dollar and the economies of the west surely.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Nothing spectacular in that piece I thought but one glaring inaccuracy: the notion of Russia being ” crippled” economically? The rest of the world, especially Europe is more crippled than Russia thanks to its pointless interference in a war none of its business.
It is now clear that the EU countries can no longer assume that we humans managed to evolve beyond stupid belligerence just because the majority of us in the EU have. With brutal warmongers in the US as well as in Russia we have to recognise that as a species many of us continue to be stupid supporters of despotic psychpaths, ie as primitive and savage as we ever were. How sad..

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

You think Russia isn’t going to struggle? They’ve lost tens of thousands of soldiers, around 200k men of working/fighting age have fled the country and they’ve called up hundreds of thousands more conscripts, removing them from the economy.
They also have to fund a war in an economy that contracted 5% last year despite record oil and gas prices, and is expected to fall another 10% in the year ahead. All this while inflation is running at 20-25%, they’ve lost their major European export markets, thousands of foreign companies and jobs have left the country.
Yes the surge in oil and gas took a lot of the sting out if the sanctions, and made things much harder for the Europeans who foolishly made themselves reliant on a despot, but to suggest this isn’t going to seriously hurt Russia is just nonsense

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
1 year ago

This article petered out when it got to the important part. Face down the tyrant how exactly? Does the US nuclear umbrella extend to every country neighboring Russia and China? I wish every politician running in our Midterms would answer that question because few in the US I know personally support General Petraeus’ position that we directly engage Russia, risking nuclear war, in the event of 1 or more tactical nukes being used in Ukraine.

Patrick 8888
Patrick 8888
1 year ago

But the further the successful army goes into enemy territory, the further it is from home, and the harder it is to supply, and thus the weaker it becomes. The same principle is clearly at work here: the more Ukraine defeats Russia on the battlefield, the greater the possibility it drives Putin into using a tactical nuclear weapon to even the score. The more it wins, the greater the chance it can lose spectacularly.”
Those two things are not really the same principle.

Alexander Selensky
Alexander Selensky
1 year ago

And this extremely biased piece of warmongering propaganda is even called ‘analysis’? It’s not analysis at all. It’s again the most biased piece of warmongering propaganda even CNN or BBC would have been ashamed to post. I was shocked to read this article on Unherd which presents itself as independent objective unbiased source immune to mainstream propaganda and carrying our an objective fact-based analysis. But this article proves exactly the opposite – that Unherd posts worse propaganda than even CNN. That’s shocking.
First of all, the chief author’s point is that we should ‘defeat Putin’ at any cost, even at the cost of the nuclear destruction? So better nuclear apocalypse than Putin’s even partial ‘victory’, is that the point? Then the author of the article is basically calling for nuclear war and should be held accountable for dangerous, possibly criminal instigations. People like that should not be posting articles. They’re almost directly calling for nuclear war, and I find this warmongering at the stage when we’re as close to actual nuclear war as we never were since Cuban missile crisis, VERY problematic. In shoes of Unherd editor, I would have immediately fired this author as incompetent and dangerous warmongering propagandist – for failing to do his job of a quality journalist.
Speaking of the rest of his ‘analysis’, it’s absolutely not objective. It just repeats NATO and Kiyv propaganda word to word, naively assuming that everything Kiyv says is 100% true but everything Putin says is 100% lies. That’s very simplistic and biased approach again. The author cynically disregards Kiyv attacks on civilian infrastructure – Crimea bridge – which is a serious war crime if proven, but condemns Russia for the following strikes which were made in retaliation for a terror attack on Russian civilian infrastructure carried out by Ukrainian government. What? You don’t believe that it was a terorr attack carried out by Ukrainian government? Then prove it with facts, don’t just dismiss it and make baseless claims. But you can’t prove it because most likely based on all the evidence this terror attack was indeed carried out by Kiyv. To just disregard it is the worst kind of cynical hypocrisy.
The author then goes on to say that Russia again bombs ‘schools and hospitals’ again WITHOUT OFFERING A SHADE OF PROOF to his words! Officially, Russia says that it launched strikes on key Ukrianian military, energy and communication centers, not on ‘hospitals and schools’. Again, you do not believe it? THEN PROVE IT WITH FACTS, not with your baseless claims! The author makes more and more baseless slanderous claims though without offering a shade of proof to ANY of his words. It’s not quality independent journalism, it’s extremely biased warmongering propaganda.
P.S. I’m aware that warmongering establishment dummies would accuse me of being ‘Putin’s spy’ for my comment but I honestly do not care. If speaking the truth against propaganda, being concerned about nuclear destruction and seeking peace, not more war, and, most importantly, calling for objective fact-based quality journalism instead of biased warmongering propaganda is being ‘Putin’s spy’, then I’m proud to be that.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alexander Selensky
Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

I don’t know where you’re from, but the general idea here is of a diversity of opinion. I’m not that gung-ho on the war, but you’re insisting that the writer be fired, not that he’s employed by UnHerd, gives me enough reason to lean towards one side a little more.

Alexander Selensky
Alexander Selensky
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

I’m generally also for allowing all the voices to speak and for a full freedom of speech too. But when we’re on the brink of nuclear war and this guy basically says ‘let’s burn down the whole world but not let Putin win’ – I find those articles very problematic and dangerous for all of us. It is certainly not an ‘analysis’ as it was said below the heading of the article, but warmongering propaganda. And yeah I do believe that calls for nuclear wars should be banned same as calls to murder say gay or Black people. To call for murder of vulnerable groups or for a nuclear destruction is downright dangerous hate speech which is not covered by the freedom of speech definition which even the most pro freedom of speech folks agree upon.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alexander Selensky
John McKee
John McKee
1 year ago

I think that articles such as this should be criticized, not banned. Banning it serves no good purpose, and tends to lend credence to its position: look they don’t want us to hear him; he must be right.

Alexander Selensky
Alexander Selensky
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

P.S. It’s not about freedom of speech even. The job of a good journalist is to do a neutral reporting or objective fact-based analysis, I guess we can agree on that? When a journalist fails to do his job by posting an extremely biased one-sided and certainly not fact but opinion based warmongering propaganda instead, this person should be fired just like every other person who fails to do their job.I didn’t know this guy wasn’t hired by UnHerd. Well then UnHerd should do at least a basic fact-check of the articles which appear on their wepage before posting them to not fall lower than CNN and Fox News taken together.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alexander Selensky
John McKee
John McKee
1 year ago

This position is very valid and supported by much evidence, persuasive, if not irrefutable in he non mainstream media. I am disappointed UnHerd assigns almost all of its articles on this subject to Mr. Patrikarakos, who is simply a propagandist for Ukraine. His tone and style are not that of a professional, disinterested journalist who is trying to give a balanced account of a very messy issue which lacks white knights in thing armor and satanic villains. many of the comments show little thought and much emotion reminiscent of schoolyard name calling. I also find the role of the UK and its military prowess to be considerably overstated. Please try for a more civil discussion based upon fact and logic and some modicum of respect for differing views.

JĂŒrg Gassmann
JĂŒrg Gassmann
1 year ago

There is no conceivable way responsible politicians – and we still had many of those, in the US, Europe and Russia, back in the ’90s – would have allowed the successor states of the Soviet Union to keep nuclear weapons. First of all, it would have driven a coach and horses through the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Secondly, it was completely unknown how those entities would develop politically; in most of them, local Communist Party cadres installed thinly veiled dictatorships (among the European Soviet Republics, Belarus is the remaining example).
Given the complete lack of restraint, responsibility, or regard for human life shown by the Ukrainian powers that be, if Ukraine had kept nuclear weapons, we’d already be in a nuclear war.

Stephen Kristan
Stephen Kristan
1 year ago

What if a broad coalition of powers, led by the West but perhaps including India, were to convey to Putin that if he uses even a tactical nuclear weapon, they will instantly cut off all trade, all avenues of finance, all forms of foreign assistance (except for allowing emigrants escaping Russia) indefinitely? In short, effecting as total an isolation and anthematization of Russia as possible, such as to force a collapse of their society without firing a weapon. Such a boycott would likely stir the Russian populace to more-aggressive protest and threaten the fortunes of the less ideologically crazed members of the military and governmental ranks.
Also, can we count on the people who would launch any nukes to refuse to obey orders?

William Perry
William Perry
1 year ago

Any commanders who refused an order to use nukes would know that they would then have a very narrow window of opportunity to kill or arrest Putin before he did the same to them. They’d better have their coup d’Ă©tat plans all worked out and ready to roll well in advance of any such possible order.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  William Perry

Nowt to worry ye there lad! EVERY senior military guy in a despotic regime does that. After all, strategy is their expertise!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

What’s in it for India to incur the wrath of its neighbour and fellow BRICS+:buddy, apart from pleasing its useless ‘ally’ the US? The BRICS+ countries have finally seen through the US hegemony and are sick of it! Much more to be gained by BRICS+ to sit it out, like China and look forward to a weakened US, weakened EU and weakened Russia albeit one of the own bRics buddies.. It will clear the way for a more economically powerful India!

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago

Why would India want to become a US lackey?
The myth is that the world is against Russia. During the summer 52% of the world by population couldn’t give a toss and was refusing to abide by any sanctions at America’s bidding. Currently they are all benefiting (relatively speaking) from Russia’s gas.
Other than that, the West has done everything you said, which is why we are hurting so much. The sanctions hurt us more than Russia. Russia sells less gas at a higher price to the East, who then sell the excess on to the EU at an even higher price, but not in enough quantities to save the EU from a winter of discontent.
Meanwhile Russia appears to have said Nordstream 2 can carry gas, the sabotage didn’t destroy it. Which I suspect means it wasn’t the US who blew it. It also means the EU/Germany has the chance to backslide, which was what prompted whoever it was to attempt to blow up the pipelines in the first place.
Putin’s best bet isn’t nuclear exchange, it is General Winter hurting Germany & the EU so much they break with the US and ask for Nordstream 2 to come online.
Meanwhile I wait for another spiking of the Nordstreams, as someone doesn’t want the EU to deal with Putin.
Which is ironic, because this whole debacle started when Putin offered the Ukraine a better deal including gas than the EU which led to the Russian leaning legitimately elected President of Ukraine scrapping the EU deal and going with the Russia deal. To then be replaced in a US backed coup.

Bruce Edgar
Bruce Edgar
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

Loud and clear. Lots implied here, well done.

Bruce Edgar
Bruce Edgar
1 year ago

Perhaps a better way for that group to achieve its goals: focus on America and NATO. Dramatic Nato expansion plus American refusal to listen to Putin’s position on security concerns caused the invasion. You know, sometimes silence can speak louder the words. In this case, Putin clearly heard and understood America’s silence. Hence, announce to all NATO countries and the US especially that further intransigence on your part, should it lead to a nuclear weapon being used will cause the same sanctions and penalties you listed. Putin is continuing for existential reasons: America is silent for perpetual un-ipolar, imperial domination.
This would raise your suggestion to the level of an accurate, serious, logical proposal. Which, at now, it isn’t.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bruce Edgar
martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

I think taking what any Real Russian says literally is a grave error.

Real Russians routinely threaten apocalyptic consequences for any perceived slight–and immediately back down when they meet resistance.

Far more worrying would be the LACK of nuclear threats. As we saw with Putin prior to 24 Feb, when Real Russians deny any given course of action, it means they are almost certainly trying to deceive us, and will attack without warning.

Real Russians see themselves as a weak people surrounded by powerful enemies who are out to destroy them–because they know if they had the power of NATO, they certainly would destroy anyone weaker.

Mindless threats are part of everyday life in Russia. Putin will threaten nuclear war in Ukraine, just as he would threaten nuclear war if jostled on the underground.

Calm down.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Do you actually know any Russians? Have you ever been to Russia? This attitude is terrifying, my friend married a Russian lady last year I think your comment is insulting and dangerous.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Have studied Russia my whole adult life, and have made many trips to the Former Soviet Union.
Also read writers like Bulgakov and Ivanov in the original.
So no, I am not an expert like you.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

You are not serious, think you might have just destroyed your credibility. So on the one hand you say russia is fine to go work or study in when it suits you but otherwise its a country full of people that subjected you to mindless threats on a daily basis?! What did you study? I assume you must have thought the Russian education system good enough to go there to study in the first place.

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Given that the West has invaded Russia 3 times in the last 2 centuries, resulting in millions of Russia dead, and the usual way of defeating the invader was to force them to cover about 800km of scorched earth then face General Winter one can understand a little paranoia. Then given that the 800km was mainly ‘The Ukraine’, then a part of Russia, NATO turning up on the Russian border wouldn’t exactly be something to welcome.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

Russia may have been invaded from the west, but not by the West. In fact, those who did the invading were being fought by the rest of the West, with Russia an ally. The UK risked a great deal by sending supplies to Russia via Arctic convoys to help defeat the last invader.
Sometimes, it helps to think before posting comments.

Andy E
Andy E
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

>invaded from the west, but not by the West.
It’s so funny indeed. Who did invade then, Aztek or maybe Inuit? Not French, Germans, Croatian, Hungarians, Pols, no?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy E

No, and being facetious tells us something about you but nothing about history. Anyone with any sense of history would understand that the concept of “the West” simply didn’t exist at the time of Napoleon, and didn’t become a fully-formed geopolitical concept until after WW2.

John McKee
John McKee
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

WHAT????? are not Napoleonic France and Hitlerian Germany part of the West?

Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

Inconvenient truth alert: Most of the West were fighting Russia’s invader. Had they not done so, Russians would now be speaking German.

Bruce Edgar
Bruce Edgar
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

I thought that the Russians held off approx 140 Nazi division single-handedly for several years, with little to no help from the West. They chased the Nazis all the way back to Berlin, which they were the first to enter. D-Day was made easier by their sacrifice, at a human cost of millions. France which surrendered to the Nazis is on the permanent Council. Russia is too, but it was not invited last year or previous years to share in the D Day commemoration held in France. That’s Nato for you.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce Edgar

A naive, Russo-centric view.
Russia fought a low tech war against a low-tech Wehrmacht. All the high tech was focused on the Western Allies.
Factually, half of German production involved high tech weapons like aircraft, submarines, radar etc. All to fight the US and Britian.
And of course, no Russian offensive could have possible succeeded without half a million US trucks. They would have stalled just like the Wehrmact.

Andy E
Andy E
1 year ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

>Russians would now be speaking German
Look at the front line where it was by the d-day in June 1944 . Wait for five years and then come for the dessertï»ż? OK. Look at the maps and numbers.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

The real problem is that the EU wasn’t as strong or as ruthless as the Nazis.
If they had been, Putin would almost surely have allied with them, a la China and Hitler.
Real Russians fear and detest peaceful nations. They know it is either a ruse to prepare an attack–or the said nations are fools that deserve to be subdued.
Nothing else makes sense to a Real Russian.
Why do you think conscripts come back two weeks after they’re called up?

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Your comment ‘
Real Russians fear and detest peaceful nations. They know it is either a ruse to prepare an attack–or the said nations are fools that deserve to be subdued.
Nothing else makes sense to a Real Russian.’
Really??? Where are you getting this stuff? I fear for your head space.

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
John McKee
John McKee
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

This fact is always overlooked by the Ukraine/NATO supporters, as is the fact that 80% of German casulaties in WW2 were inflicted by the Red Army.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago

Putin isn’t Hitler, never was. He’s the result of the US/NATO trying to screw (and succeeding under Yeltsin) Russia. Now he’s had enough, but the greatest war machine the world has known is fighting him, albeit with a proxy army. Wake up, US/NATO is at war with Russia – Putin is right about that.
Next is the fact that the borders are Soviet drawn borders , and the Soviet world is dead. Crimea is Russian, the Donbas is effectively Russian. The moment Kiev looks as though it is going to take Crimea is when Putin will nuke them.
Peter Hitchens has been pointing out that Russia is a big nuclear armed country but a 2nd rate power in the world. The Warsaw Pact was NATO’s opponent, so why is NATO still around? Why does it defend the North Atlantic in places like Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan?
Why of the two former corrupt oligarchies, former Soviet Republics with Soviet drawn borders in a post Soviet world being supported by anyone in the West when they fight over them? How much is Hunter Biden’s money mine worth fighting for?

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

You ask: “The Warsaw Pact was NATO’s opponent, so why is NATO still around?” Two answers: (1:) Because it is much easier to create a governmental agency than to abolish it, and (2:) Because the Russian tyrant’s pattern of aggressive moves over the past 10 years or so have amply proved the Soviet origin of his expansionary ambitions. After Ukraine wins this war, I sincerely hope it WILL be allowed to join NATO.

Andy E
Andy E
1 year ago
Reply to  Wim de Vriend

>I sincerely hope it WILL be allowed to join NATO
Not a chance. there are only two outcomes:
a. Ukraine exists as a neutral state, no blocks
b. No Ukraine exists whatsoever.

I think it’s time to stop fantasize about a posibility to win this war with Russia like that idiot Borrell dreams. Russian history knew some retreats in the past, but it’s clearly not possible now, with thousands of nukes. Putin says: “we don’t need this world without Russia”. Take it as a hint.

Don Juan
Don Juan
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy E

Sbot the Bot: “Idiot Borrell” is actually very learned, very cultured. Believe me, when he speaks people listen, he has command of the room. You under-estimate Mr Borrell as you over-estimate the bully in the Kremlin and the stooges that pander to him.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

When Russia launches nuclear-capable missiles from its heavy bombers, to attack civilian targets of no military value, it’s safe to say no one in the Kremlin expects a nuclear stand off.

As always, such talk is meant to cow the weak and ill-informed.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

Rather off-topic to the only question now:
What comes after Putin?
Casualties are now near 100,000, with 80% of the tanks used on 24 Feb destroyed or unusable.
Most important, the mobilization is a disaster, and will only further weaken his hold on power. He will soon go.
So, the question becomes: will the small minority of psychotic war-supporters win out, or the vast majority of business people, oligarchs and bureaucrats?
If the former, the nation sinks into civil war. If the latter they just might be able to re-establish something like Putin’s early regime, only with most Russians living as they did in the 90s.
Real Politik quite rationally demands that we weaken a Russia that might still be a threat to European stability. This will destroy the lives of almost all Russians.
Not nice.
But Real Politik was never about being nice.

Romi Elnagar
Romi Elnagar
1 year ago

Excellent article IMHO. Thanks, Unherd, for publishing it!

I.A. Johnson
I.A. Johnson
1 year ago

Given Putin’s overarching strategic goal to shatter NATO and reabsorb select former Soviet satellite states, it may be irresponsible for Putin not to ‘go nuclear’ in Ukraine while confronting a toothless energy-poor Europe and an infirm US President?

Andy E
Andy E
1 year ago
Reply to  I.A. Johnson

In December Putin asked for a buffer zone (neutral Ukraine+Minsk agreement) with NATO moved away where it was agreed in 1999. He was laughted at. Is anybody still laughing out there?

Last edited 1 year ago by Andy E
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Frankly, nuclear annihilation looks a better option than continuing to live in The Pipls Republictoylitte of Nu National Socialist Britn….

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago

Why take everyone else with you? That is the mindset of the Jihadi or the mass murderer. You can simply book a ticket to Geneva for yourself if you feel that way.