Influential Foreign Policy Thinkers in the US and Russia Advocate Nuclear Escalations – Connor Freeman 6/19/23


Sergei Karaganov, who has served as a presidential adviser in the Kremlin both under Boris Yeltsin as well as Vladimir Putin, is making the case that Russia should lower the threshold for nuclear weapons use. His reasoning stems from the perspective that intellectual and moral degradation has Western elites dead set on escalation in its Ukraine proxy war, not just in an attempt to “weaken” Russia, but eyeing its destruction.

This may well lead to global thermonuclear war. If there is to be an end to this conflict, it will require the Washington-led side’s capitulation, he argues. NATO leaders must once again fear nuclear weapons for their own survival.

Karaganov, the Honorary Chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, is said to still be close to Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. His argument, published by Russia in Global Affairs, begins by highlighting extreme difficulties which may arise in the event that Moscow secures partial victories or even the complete “liberation” of Ukraine.

He assesses that “liberating” and “reincorporating” into the Russian Federation the largely pro-Russian east and south of current-day Ukraine, followed by the “complete demilitarization and the creation of a friendly buffer state” is only possible if the West’s will is broken and NATO makes a strategic retreat. This is where the nukes question arises.

The former Putin adviser’s analysis is that Ukraine has been exploited as a “striking fist” by ruling Western elites who see the writing on the wall that their long-held military, economic, political, and cultural hegemony is rapidly slipping away.

Kiev’s role in the conflict, therefore, is to tie Moscow’s hands, or even “blow [Russia] up.” Moscow is the “military-political core” of the non-Western world where the global balance of power has been rapidly shifting, driven economically by China and, to a lesser extent, India, Karaganov writes.

He also emphasizes that this is being done in order to weaken Washington’s rival superpower, China, before a war breaks out between the world’s two largest economies. This is strikingly similar to what retired US Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as secretary of state Colin Powell’s chief of staff, told Russia expert James Carden last year. “[The White House is] extremely desirous of a protracted conflict [in Ukraine] because they want to effect regime change in Moscow, destabilize Russia and then take on China. That is their long-term geopolitical strategy,” Wilkerson warned.

Fear of nuclear weapons has tragically abated, Karaganov charges. It has been more than three quarters of a century since Washington bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing civilians by the hundreds of thousands. Such an extended interim had led the West to forget that “hell” exists.

They have become catastrophically cavalier about the risks entailed with NATO’s proxy war against Russia, Karaganov continues. “That fear [which ensured relative peace] is gone…in a fit of desperate rage, the ruling circles of a group of countries have unleashed a full-scale war in the underbelly of a nuclear superpower.”

Thus, Russia’s military operation may go on for years, attempting to finish subduing Ukraine, but the conflict cannot end until the West is forced into this strategic retreat “or even surrender… compelling it to give up [Washington’s] attempts to reverse history and preserve global dominance, and to focus on itself and its current multilevel crisis.” Karaganov fears that unless Russia does the unthinkable, the US will go on supporting a low-level civil war indefinitely in Ukraine, even if Moscow takes the whole country.

Karaganov believes Russia will be required to lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, in order to once again arouse in Washington, London, and Brussels this discarded “instinct of self-preservation.” The threshold is currently set “unacceptably high.” Russia can rectify this situation “by rapidly but prudently moving up the deterrence-escalation ladder.” The first steps have been taken, claims Karaganov, namely the deployment of tactical nuclear bombs and their carriers to Belarus as well as the “increased combat readiness of strategic deterrence forces.”

Russia’s choice to station tactical nukes in Belarus was a direct response to London’s provision to Kiev of Challenger 2 tanks armed with depleted uranium munitions, linked to cancers and birth defects. The US may soon follow in the UK’s footsteps, sending the controversial ammunition which the Kremlin has compared to a dirty bomb.

There are more steps which can be taken such as issuing an evacuation warning to Russian “compatriots and all people of goodwill” living near facilities in NATO countries Moscow may target.

By building a “correct strategy of intimidation and deterrence and even use of nuclear weapons,” the risk of “retaliatory” strikes can be minimized, Karaganov theorizes. “Only a madman, who, above all, hates America, will have the guts to strike back in “defense” of Europeans, thus putting his own country at risk and sacrificing Boston [Massachusetts] for Poznan [Poland]. Both the U.S. and Europe know this very well, but they just prefer not to think about it. We have encouraged this thoughtlessness ourselves,” he adds.

Only a forced “catharsis” will bring the deluded Western elites back to Earth, Karaganov opines. If the anti-Russian Western crusade persists, if they have lost the instinct of self-preservation entirely and refuse to back down, “[Russia] will have to hit a bunch of targets in a number of countries.” This will be imperative, according to Karaganov, “in order to bring those who have lost their mind to reason.”…

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