June 1, 2023

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Threat of Nuclear War: Almost Complete Ambiguity

There is a lot of confusion in European minds about what they would do if Russia attacked Ukraine with nuclear weapons, on the orders of Vladimir Putin. The seriousness of the threat of nuclear war emanating from Moscow is the subject of great debate. The United States, as NATO’s dominant power, calls for moderation, and according to moderate American leaders, it is unlikely that the Russian president will go to the nuclear option. But President Joe Biden is sticking to his repeated policy of strategic uncertainty with China over the Taiwan crisis, meaning he is leaving the question of how they would respond in the event of a Russian nuclear attack on Ukraine in the dark.

Photo: Getty Images

NATO does not have a clear picture of what would happen if Moscow destroyed hydropower plants in Ukraine with a low-yield nuclear device equivalent to one-tenth the size of the Hiroshima bomb. What they didn’t talk about:

NATO members do not possess significant tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.

Contrast that with Russia, which has about two thousand tactical nuclear weapons in uncertainty. In addition to the independent French nuclear strike force – 280 installed warships, some of which are tactical and strategic, that is, with variable explosive power – we know from open sources about a few dozen American B61 thermonuclear bombs stored in Germany, possibly in Belgium. and/or the Netherlands. These new versions of the B61 bombs are now either tactical (less powerful) or strategic (larger, twenty times, fifty times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb).

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A headline in Politico’s European edition reflects the confusion: “Macron Attacked for Saying France Will Not Retaliate If Russia Launches Nuclear Strike on Ukraine.” The attack against the president comes primarily from forces opposed to Emmanuel Macron, mostly from the left.

G7 Leaders G7 Leaders Schloss Elmau, GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - JUNE 28: French President Emmanuel Macron speaks to the media at Schloss Elmau, near Garmisch-Parten, Germany on June 28, 2022.  Germany.  Leaders of the G7 officially gathered under the motto: "Move towards a more equal world" Global issues including war, climate change, hunger, poverty and health will also be discussed.  Overshadowing this year's summit is the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine.  (Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Emmanuel Macron ruled out the possibility of a mirror response
Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

On Franceinfo radio, Macron’s predecessor, Francois Hollande, did not primarily attack Macron for rejecting the mirror response, but instead echoed a specific US position, a policy of strategic uncertainty, and called the current president to account. In English: To keep the opponent, in this case Moscow, in a state of uncertainty.

Saying as little as possible and doing as much as possible

– The former president advisedly said that attempts to return to the forefront of politics will continue to appear in the French press.

As the military commander of the EU’s sole nuclear power, Macron is well aware of the responsibility that falls on him as the leader who makes decisions about the deployment of nuclear weapons. According to politico.eu, he made it clear that he would not deploy a French nuclear force because of Ukraine, which could scare some Eastern and Middle Eastern European leaders, Romanians, Slovaks, Poles and Baltics.

The duke of the Elysée Palace is familiar with NATO rules, which do not deal with a nuclear attack. Despite the hype

A significant number of experts see no serious possibility of Putin deploying nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

Jeremy Fleming, head of Britain’s Electronic Intelligence Service (GCHQ), says there are no signs Russia is preparing to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

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Pavel Podvig, a nuclear weapons expert who once studied in Moscow, points out that the deployment of nuclear weapons has symptoms that can be detected by other side systems. It is a visible process, the Guardian quotes a scientist from Russia. Bodwick pointed out that the possible pre-deployment of tactical nuclear weapons would be far from the danger associated with them.

Militarily, it doesn’t make much sense to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on the Ukrainian front because such a weapon could destroy a dozen tanks, he added.