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.