Russia Asserts Its Right To Use Nuclear Weapons

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev asserted his country’s right to use nuclear weapons to demonstrate “determination to defend the independence, sovereignty of our country, not to give anyone a reason to doubt even the slightest that we are ready to give a worthy response to any infringement on our country, on its independence.”  Medvedev went on to say there were several grounds under which Russia could use nuclear weapons including an attack on the country or encroachment on infrastructure that would paralyze their nuclear deterrent forces.

This statement may seem to raise nuclear tensions, but it really doesn’t.  The US also asserts the right to use nuclear weapons if it is attacked and it would be wrong to take Medvedev’s statement to mean that the slightest attack on Russia would mean nuclear war.  The Russians here are trying to stoke fear for those who feed and profit off of fear.  The current nuclear deterrent posture is based on the principle of Mutually Assured Destruction or MAD.  The thinking goes that war will remain limited and conventional because the consequences of escalation and a nuclear war would assuredly destroy Russia, the US, Europe, China, and pretty much everyone else in the bargain. Since the invasion of Ukraine, pundits have been going on TV and saying that attempts to resist Putin’s conventional war in Ukraine would lead to nuclear war as well.  This turns the conventional deterrence strategy upside down.  Instead of the chance of nuclear war reducing the chances of another world war, this reasoning says that Russian conventional arms should not be resisted because if we are successful in doing so, Putin will nuke the world.  Were this line of unreason to take hold it would also require us to sit by and allow China to invade Taiwan, Iran to destroy Israel, or North Korea to invade South Korea because if we intervened, all would use nuclear weapons on us in order to further the aims of their conventional arms invasions.

It doesn’t take any mental gymnastics to see the unreason of saying, “We can’t resist China invading the US and killing us with conventional weapons, because if we do, they will kill us with nuclear weapons.”

You are still dead either way.

 

 

Our Gaff Prone President Sends mixed Messages That Could Lead to a Russian Miscalculation

In the last three days, President Biden has said some things on camera that could cause a significant miscalculation by the Russians.

First Biden stated that sanctions against Russia were never intended to deter Putin from invading Ukraine.  This statement directly contradicted previous statements made by his Vice President, National Security Advisor, and Secretary of State that the purpose of sanctions was to deter Putin. The President’s statement was so obviously false that just about every mainstream media outlet slavishly friendly to the administration was all but forced to call him out on it.

Back in December 2021, we said that Putin did not fear sanctions but would fear(and be deterred by) US weapons in Ukraine.  The President here seems to be interested in trying to re-write history to cover what will be remembered as a massive foreign policy failure for his administration that made a direct contribution to Ukraine being invaded and tens of thousands of civilians dying. What the President should have done t deter Putin was help arm it to the teeth to deter Russian aggression and immediately imposed the “crippling” sanctions it promised offering to lift them when Russian troops withdrew.  Instead, the administration offered a cheap bluff that didn’t work.  We say a cheap bluff because President Biden seemed to be playing catch-up with his own policy, watching companies and countries unilaterally imposing their own sanctions and trying to keep pace with them.  The biggest example was cutting off Russian oil exports to the US, which oil companies like Shell and Exxon announced they were doing before he did.

As for the sanctions being comprehensive and crippling, they haven’t stopped Russia in its tracks and it appears were are still adding to whatever “comprehensive” was supposed to be with new sanctions being announced almost daily.

The apparent truth is that sanctions really don’t work as a deterrence.  They didn’t work on Iran or North Korea and they didn’t work on Russia. They don’t result in authoritarian regimes changing their behavior or cause the suffering population to rise up and overthrow their leaders.  What works in Ukraine in stopping Russia was weapons and, lots of them.

As part of a three-day trip to Poland, President Biden gave a speech calling for world unity in helping Ukraine repel the Russian invasion and added, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” speaking of Vladimir Putin. In past administrations, foreign policy was generally defined as whatever the President said it was, but this is not the case with President Biden who has been constantly corrected by his own staff about what his policies really are.

It took only hours for the “White House” to correct the President saying the regime change was not US policy and that the President “was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia or regime change,” but that Putin “cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region.”

Then while speaking to US troops deployed to Poland, the President implied that they would be going into Ukraine, “You’re going to see when you’re there, uh some of you have been there.  You’re going to see — you’re going to see women, young people, standing, standing in the middle, the front of a damned tank.”

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Again, the White House was quick to correct the President, “The president has been clear we are not sending U.S. troops to Ukraine and there is no change in that position.”

This was just in the last three days and it’s really dangerous.  Russia is a country deeply steeped in paranoia about being surrounded by enemies all bent on their destruction.  This is not entirely without cause.  Russia was conquered by the Mongols and almost conquered by the Swedes, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, France under Napoleon, and by Nazi Germany. Even the US invaded Russia along with 14 other powers after the Bolsheviks overthrew the Tzar and murdered his entire family in 1918.

That paranoia makes them more inclined to Biden’s gaffs than the corrections by his staff so this President needs to stay on the script, read the teleprompter, and not ad-lib at all.

 

Photo: AFP / Alexey Druzhinin / Sputnik

The Purge of Russian Flag Officers Continues Within Ukraine and in the Kremlin

The commander of the 1st Tank Army of the Western Military District fighting in Ukraine, Major General Sergei Kisel has been relieved of duty. His army was tasked with taking Kharkiv in the first days of the war and not only failed but took crippling casualties at the same time. Kisel is lucky to have just been relieved of duty rather than being ordered to drive the lead truck in a supply convoy on any road in Ukraine.

Ukraine is claiming that a missile strike on the command HQ of the 49th Army in Southern Ukraine has killed Lt General Yakov Rezantsev.

Ukrainian intelligence is claiming that a scandal in the 13th Regiment of the 4th Russian Tank Division has emerged.  Only one out of ten main battle tanks in the division was found to be battle-ready due to issues of maintenance and supply.  The Colonel in charge is said to have committed suicide.

Graft, corruption, and theft are an institutional part of the Russian military but have these unwritten rules.  You can only steal as much as your power and position reasonably allow.  A low-ranking officer or official may steal a little bit but will get put in jail for stealing more than a captain or major should be allowed to steal.

This war has proven deadly to Russia’s command and control structure with Russian officers of flag rank dying, comitting suicide, being sacked, and even suffering heart attacks in the case of the Russian Army Chief of Staff, General Shoigu

The unofficial tally so far,

Min of Defence General Shoigu, incapacitated by illness.

Chief of General Staff Gerasimov MIA

9 Generals arrested

8 Generals KIA

14 Colonels KIA

15 Lt Colonels KIA

1 Navy Senior Captain / Deputy Commander, Black Sea Fleet KIA.

As we joked in an earlier SITREP, that the only place the Russian government is saving money in this war is on the future pensions of its senior officers.

 

 

 

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