March 1, 2018 By
LAVROV: Challenging the dangerous policies put forth by the US and its allies.
During this week’s UN Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov revealed to delegates that that the US has been training Europeans on how to use ‘tactical nuke’ in the field of battle, with the intent of using those weapons against Russia.
“The US military is training the armed forces of European countries to employ tactical nuclear weapons against Russia,” said Lavrov.
This disturbing news comes amid other recent statements by Russia regarding its general defense policy and the issue of nuclear retaliation in the event of a NATO strike on their country.
One such statement came today, as Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his annual State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly, stating:
“I believe it as my duty to say this: any use of nuclear weapons of any yield – small, medium or whatever – against Russia or its allies will be regarded as a nuclear attack against our country. Retaliation will be instant with all the ensuing consequences,” said Putin.
“Nobody should have any doubts on that score,” but added the caveat, “on the contrary to come to the negotiating table to give thought to an updated, future system of international security and the civilization’s sustainable development.”
“We’ve talked about that all the way. These proposals remain in effect. Russia is prepared for that,” he concluded.
But Putin also echoed FM Lavrov saying that Russia is extremely concerned about the disturbing new unofficial US doctrine which seems to be lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons in the theatre of war. He stated:
“Some of the provisions of the updated US nuclear strategy review, which reduces the threshold for using nuclear weapons, trigger tremendous concern. One can try to calm down anyone behind the scenes as one chooses, but we read what has been written. It is written in such a way that it can be used in response to a conventional weapon strike or even in response to a cyberthreat.”
Some leading US critics have also come forward to oppose the insanity of this US doctrine. George Perkovich from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace explains:
“If the U.S. justifies the first use of nuclear weapons in response to possible cyberattacks, it will invite others to lower the threshold for using nuclear weapons. This is exactly the opposite of long-standing U.S. interests. A state with superior conventional and cyber capabilities should raise the nuclear threshold, not lower it.”
Regarding the issue of US tactical nukes, Lavrov also told the Geneva conference, “Nuclear disarmament is hampered by the US non-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe,” and criticised NATO member nonconventional deployment exercises and “nuclear so-called sharing missions,” which feature “non-nuclear (EU) member states taking place in the planning of the use of US non-strategic nuclear weapons, and involved in corresponding skills training.”
He insisted that “the presence of ready-for-use US tactical nuclear weapons in Europe is not just remnants of the Cold War, but clearly an aggressive stance” and implored European citizens to ‘say no’ to the deployment of US nukes on their soil by “the one and only state which has already used it,” – clearly a swipe at US atomic bombs dropped on Japan at the end of World War II.
The New Russia is Not the Same as the Old Russia
In the recent report entitled, ‘Russia’s Military in 2035: Killing the Enemy from Distance (With Cruise Missiles)‘, the author remarked how Moscow’s new range of cruise and balistic missiles give it a district advantage over its European counterparts, like the Kalibr-NK cruise missile or Iskander-M ballistic missile – both of which were actually late Soviet era projects that were moth balled in the 1990’s during its economic crisis. While in previous years, Russia had to rely solely on its Soviet era nuclear arsenal as its primary method of deterrent, today it boasts an array of ‘next generation capabilities which can be mobilized effectively on a moment’s notice.
Ultimately, Russia is not the threat that the Soviet Union once was. But nor is Moscow quite as weak as it was in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union where the Kremlin had to rely solely on its nuclear arsenal for deterrence. Modern Russia has the means to strike back conventionally against potential threats. “Russia now has a really decent conventional standing force,” Kofman said. “They no longer depend on nuclear weapons as their only deterrent.”
This week, Russia revealed its much-anticipated new fifth-generation Su-57 fighter jet, over the skies of Syria.
Other next-generation systems include the S-500 air and missile defense system, the Zircon hypersonic anti-ship cruise missile, the Tupolev PAK-DA stealth bomber and the new izdeliye 129 engines fitted in their new Sukhoi PAK-FA fifth-generation stealth fighter.
While war pundits and security scholars will debate about the risks and benefits on either side of a conventional war, it’s much harder to calculate the outcome of a conflict which features thermonuclear weapons.
One thing is certain though: by adopting an aggressive nuclear weapons stance, the US and its NATO allies are gambling with the lives of hundred of millions.