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Thread: Escalate to De-escalate : A Russian Nuclear Weapons Strategy?!

  1. #1 Escalate to De-escalate : A Russian Nuclear Weapons Strategy?! 
    Forum Masters Degree Double Helix's Avatar
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    Dec 2020
    There has been speculation that one of Russia's approaches to winning a conventional war which has become problematic is to use a small nuclear weapon to force the "enemy", whoever that might be, to negotiate terms for ending a conflict acceptable to the Kremlin. This doctrine is known as "escalate to de-escalate" *.

    Quoting from the reference below, a U.S. Defense Department’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review states:

    “Moscow threatens and exercises [i.e., rehearses] limited nuclear first use, suggesting a mistaken expectation that coercive nuclear threats or limited first use could paralyze the United States and NATO and thereby end a conflict on terms favorable to Russia.”

    and :

    “Employment of nuclear weapons can radically alter or accelerate the course of a campaign. A nuclear weapon could be brought into the campaign as a result of perceived failure in a conventional campaign, potential loss of control or regime, or to escalate the conflict to sue for peace on more favorable terms.”

    end quotes

    According to public comments from Russia, the escalate to de-escalate doctrine is not part of their strategy on the use of nuclear weapons.

    Quoting from the same source:

    "The Kremlin reaffirmed in a 2020 defense document that it will only consider the nuclear option under two circumstances: 1) as a retaliatory measure against the use of nuclear weapons or other WMDs, or 2) when “the very existence of the state is in jeopardy.” "

    end quote

    Based on the Kremlin's repeated denials that it would invade Ukraine, one cannot have a great deal of confidence in their public claims regarding warfare of any kind. Since things are going rather badly for the Russians, with an apparently developing stalemate and continuing heavy losses, some think Putin may be considering his alternatives. Knowing Putin as the world does at this point, with his murderous attack on Ukraine and its civilians, the employment of a nuclear escalate to de-escalate policy clearly cannot be ruled out.

    One can only wonder how Ukraine, and NATO, would respond.

    "Russia’s Crazy Nuclear War Strategy: De-escalate? "


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  3. #2  
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    Jan 2022
    I see two possible solutions to this situation.

    1 - The USA needs to build more nuclear weapons than Russia.

    2 - (More likely to work)

    We need to change the MADD doctrine. It needs to look at attacking a civilian population more broadly. The response to a full scale nuclear war needs to be total eradication of the first launcher, by means beyond just responding with nuclear weapons. It should include Sarin gas, and fighting and winning a conventional war after all the nuclear weapons have been used, then going house to house and killing every single human being in the country that launched.

    If we do anything less extreme than that as a MADD response, then the first nuclear war won't be the last. Many individual citizens in Russia right now probably think they can survive a full scale nuclear exchange. That their odds are better than 0%. That perception of hope makes the prospect look more like a gamble, and less like a death sentence. If war happened, and anyone survived on the attacker's side, that would make it look like a "winning outcome" of sorts is possible for a few. (Especially with a nation like Russia that doesn't care about its own people, looking at how many conscripts it has allowed to die so far.)

    If not even one single citizen of the attacking nation survives the outcome, that would make it far less likely anyone ever tries it again.

    I always say that America's "bunker busters" are the most important part of our arsenal.

    And I'm not saying I would really want to retaliate that way. I'm hoping that, if we set the policy that way then hopefully we'll never have to carry it out. Oddly, America's history with native Americans plays to our favor here, though. Because the world would believe we are capable of total genocide.

    - I don't want to sound like a maniac. Just, if we're talking about MADD we should discuss it the way it is. Not dress it up. Don't pretend those are toy soldiers on the other side of the ocean.

    People will die if there's a first launch. Zero is the best number of exchanges, closely followed by "1". "2" is a really bad number, because if there are 2 there will probably be 3.

    Last edited by The Raven; June 22nd, 2022 at 01:11 AM.
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