On this day in 1952 Vladimir Putin was born in St. Petersburg. If he didn’t show a particular penchant for mischief as a child, he’s more than made up for it by now.
Going back to the past few weeks, we have seen the Russian President twice raise the prospect of using nuclear weapons in a war he started alone.
When Putin makes an ill-conceived move to reclaim his nation’s position as an imperial power, it backfires.
That he is willing to risk oblivion for the planet suggests he is not working on a rational cost-benefit analysis. His commitment to destroy Ukraine further united the world.
Far from being fired, his ruthlessness and boundless irresponsibility warrant that he be watched all the more closely.
Nuclear gaming is something we haven’t had to seriously consider in decades.
The weapons he will use are unlikely to be nuclear warheads carried by ICBMs.
The fear of these city destroyers determined the Cold War.
Rather, it is Russia’s non-strategic or tactical nuclear weapons designed to be launched from ground-based missiles, aircraft or naval vessels that can be used.
The largest mobilization of Russian forces since 1945 has already resulted in 60,000 of Putin’s soldiers being either killed or seriously injured.
Now that his forces are rapidly retreating in Ukraine’s Donbass region, his threats may sound like desperate saber-rattling, but they still need to be taken seriously.
Putin’s warheads are being stored. If he used them, the weapons would be released from storage and transported by truck or helicopter. Once deployed – say in missiles or planes – Putin would have to give a direct order to deploy them. Each step could be recognized, giving the West and its allies time to react.
The hope is that an early warning would and should put intense diplomatic and other pressure on Putin to stop before he triggers a nuclear catastrophe. Preparing to take advantage of this warning is the best defense against it.
A nuclear explosion in Ukraine, even a low-yield one, would kill both civilians and soldiers and contaminate Russia, Ukraine and beyond.
World leaders have warned of dire consequences. This can only trigger a major war with Russia. It is much better that Putin stops before such a catastrophe. Its disastrous mobilization of 300,000 additional troops has sparked surprising resistance and protests in Russia.
He was made to think. It may be wishful thinking to expect him to think on a broader scale. In Russia, it is a tradition to pull the ears of the birthday boy.
If only someone of influence could grab one of those ears and whisper in, as they are able to retreat and end this needless war.
Getting ever closer to catastrophe is neither in his interest nor in the interest of others.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/as-long-as-vladimir-putin-stays-in-power-we-edge-ever-closer-to-nuclear-catastrophe-42046819.html As long as Vladimir Putin stays in power, we are getting closer and closer to a nuclear catastrophe