Kako znižati nuklearno temperaturo?

Osebno sicer ne verjamem, da bo Vladimir Putin v posledici velikih izgub in očitne ruske zmede tako v ruskem poveljstvu kot na zasedenih ozemljih v Ukrajini prvi sprožil jedrski napad. (Vprašanje je tudi, kam bi lahko lansiral prvo taktično jedrsko raketo, da bi dosegel cilj zastraševanja. Jedrski napad na Kijev bi pomenil nepovratni prestop Rubikona, taktična izstrelitev jedrske rakete v Črno morje pa slabo kopijo igračkanj Kim Jong Una). Zgolj grožnja z jedrskim orožjem, ne pa tudi njegova uporaba, se zdi še največje pogajalsko orožje, ki ga ima Putin. Ko ga bo prvič uporabil, te pogajalske moči ne bo več. Sploh če bo prvi poskus tak flop, kot izgleda sedanja zmeda v ruskih silah na zasedenih ozemljih.

Kljub temu pa jedrske eskalacije ni mogoče izključiti. Sploh v luči zadnjih bolečih porazov, ki jih je doživel Putin: uboj Darye Dugine v Moskvi, razstrelitev štirih cevi Severnega toka, ukrajinsko napredovanje v Harkivu in Hersonu ter napad na “Putinov most”, ki povezuje Krim z Rusijo. Ti porazi ne pomenijo zgolj javnega ponižanja Putina in odraza njegove naraščajoče šibkosti, pač pa tudi razraščanje kaosa na vseh ravneh ter predvsem v krogih vplivnežev okrog Putina. Slednji izgubljajo zaupanje v njegove sposobnosti. Kot je rekel eden izmed visokih oficirjev: “Starting the war was bad enough, but if we lose it’ll be even worse“. Ne Putin in ne najožji sodelavci okrog njega si ne morejo privoščiti, da izgubijo to vojno, zato je mogoče pričakovati dejanja iz obupa – od napadov na kritično infrastrukturo, vključno z energetiko, in vojaške cilje, do uporabe taktičnega jedrskega orožja. Tudi če bi – hipotetično – Putina čez noč zamenjali, bi novi oblastniki nadaljevali z njegovimi operacijami, le da še manj premišljeno.

V zahodnih medijih in strateških dokumentih je mogoče prebrati številne analize in “programske algoritme”, kako se odzvati na morebitini začetni ruski jedrski napad. Večina stavi na to, da Putin ne bo prvi uporabil jedrskega orožja in da bo prej izčrpal vsa ostala konvencionalna orožja in metode. Nekateri pa stavijo na opcijo “escalate to de-escalate“. Torej da bi Rusija s taktičnim jedrskim orožjem targetirala vojaški cilj v Ukrajini, nakar bi se zahodne države malce umaknile nazaj in pristale na pogajanja z Rusijo. V teh pogajanjih pa bi Putin pristal na deeskalacijo v zameno, da obdrži zasedena ozemlja ali za njihovo večjo avtonomijo v okviru Ukrajine.

Najboljši komentar, ki sem ga bral zadnje čase na to temo, je komentar Rose Gottenmoeller, nekdanje namestnice generalnega sekretarja Nata, danes pa profesorice na Stanfordu. Njen komentar je realističen v tem, da ne podcenjuje nevarnosti možne jedrske eskalacije. Zato pravi, da bi tako kot v času kubanske jedrske krize pred 60 leti morala začeti delovati diplomacija. Pa čeprav na začetku zgolj na tehnični ravni. Pred dvema letoma je Putin ponudil že ponudil odstranitev novih ruskih kopenskih jedrskih raket srednjega dosega iz Evrope pod preverljivimi pogoji. Podobno bi lahko ponudile tudi ZDA.

Nisem prepričan, da so Američani pripravljeni na to. Kar bi pomenilo, da ocenjujejo, da je Putin vojaško šibek, da je “izstrelil že vse naboje” in da zgolj še blefira z grožnjami glede uporabe jedrskega orožja. Če zahodne države niso mogle poraziti Rusije na gospodarskem področju (vsaj ne v doglednem času), se zdi, da danes “voditelji” teh držav, na čelu z ameriškim predsednikom Bidenom, verjamejo, da je Rusijo mogoče poraziti na vojaškem področju. Kar seveda povečuje nevarnost dejanj iz obupa bodisi Putina bodisi njegovih naslednikov. Vsekakor pa nepotrebno ogromno človeško in materialno škodo, tudi če bo prišlo “zgolj” do ruske uporabe konvencionalnih metod in orožja. Jaz (še vedno) verjamem, da je takojšnja mirna rešitev sedanje vojne bistveno boljša opcija od njene vojaške razrešitve.

Earlier this year, on the main Sunday night Russian news programme, London dissolved in a sea of radioactive flames. The TV presenters, all well-known figures on the official channel, accompanied these simulated nuclear attacks with chortling commentary. They were gleefully celebrating Russia’s power to vaporise the UK capital in an instant.

They were taking their cue from Vladimir Putin, who launched his adventure into Ukraine in February with the warning that any state that sent its troops to fight Russia would face “terrible consequences”. Although he did not explicitly state what these would be, the subtext was clear. If the west directly intervened in Ukraine, Russia would use its nuclear arsenal.

Putin has since repeated these threats, most recently last week, when he announced the annexation of Ukrainian territory after bogus referendums. He casually noted that the US had established a precedent for nuclear attack in 1945, at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. US president Joe Biden has now warned that the risk of nuclear “Armageddon” is at its highest since the Cuban missile crisis, 60 years ago this month.

What shape would such an attack take? Speculation has swirled around the “escalate to de-escalate” scenario. Losing ground on its “new territories” in eastern and southern Ukraine, Russia would target a single tactical nuclear weapon on a military facility. Another option would be a nuclear demonstration strike, perhaps over the Black Sea. However, its purpose would be the same — to terrorise Kyiv and its western partners into capitulating. Once they had run to the negotiating table, Russia would de-escalate and demand terms for continued ownership of Ukrainian lands.

This would propel us all into a nuclear crisis that no one wants but the Kremlin. Even Russia’s tough guys are beginning to oppose the nuclear threat. Igor Strelkov is a military adventurer who operated in the Donbas after the annexation of Crimea, and whose militia is allegedly responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17. This week, he declared that the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine would be a mistake. Even the “zombified” Ukrainian population, he said, are “our own people”; attacking them with nuclear weapons would be a crime.

Could such internal critiques deter Putin? Perhaps, if they gain in number. Working out what will deter Putin is the question of the moment. The US and Nato have been firm about the devastating consequences of a Russian nuclear attack, and the three-part response: political, economic and military.

The political deterrent might turn out to be surprisingly effective, given the skill with which Kremlin propagandists have turned the global south to their side throughout the crisis. The southern hemisphere, however, is also familiar with Russian propaganda that weighs a heavy moral burden on the US for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Despite his brave talk of precedents, Putin may be loath to assume this burden for himself.

Moreover China and India, two of Russia’s last remaining major allies, criticised Putin’s adventurism during last month’s Samarkand summit. They are bound to be influential in Moscow, not least because they are significant oil consumers.

Overall, the threat of further economic sanctions is probably the least effective deterrent against Putin. He has already wrapped himself more firmly in self-reliance than Kim Jong Un, the North Korean tyrant who flogs the principle. Putin seems to believe that the Russian economy will survive no matter what economic sanctions come at it.

Which brings us to military deterrence. Washington has made it clear that a military response is on the table. Options may range from kinetic attacks, perhaps on Russian targets in Ukraine, perhaps on Russian military sites responsible for the attack. No doubt, the response would be carefully planned to avoid escalation and conventional (rather than nuclear) in nature. Another possibility is a non-kinetic response, perhaps using offensive cyber means.

There is little enthusiasm for these options in Nato capitals, however. Military options are there for deterrence, rather than any desire to strike Russian targets. It is a dangerous moment, and one we should do our utmost to unwind.

Which brings us to diplomacy. Is there any chance that negotiation could change Putin’s calculus? The Cuban missile crisis ended with a quiet bargain — the US would remove its missiles from Turkey and the USSR would remove its missiles from Cuba. With Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence at stake, there is no obvious trade.

But some quiet nuclear diplomacy might produce results. Two years ago, Putin offered to remove Russia’s new ground-based intermediate-range nuclear missile from Europe under verifiable conditions, thus underpinning a moratorium on such missiles in Europe. When Putin and Xi Jinping met in Beijing prior to the February invasion, they spoke of extending such a moratorium to Asia. Perhaps it is time to launch discreet talks, if only at a technical level, to explore what the two men had in mind. It would not solve the horrendous crisis in Ukraine, but it might lower the nuclear temperature.

Vir: Rose Gottenmoeller, Financial Times

2 responses

  1. Korak naprej, …ampak kje je bila Ga.Gottenmoeller, ko so ZDA razveljavile (oz. ne podaljšale START), kje je bila, ko so unilateralno odpovedale Antibalistic Missille Treaty in nameščale lanserje v Romuniji, kje je bila, ko so ZDA odpovedale sporazum o raketah srednjega dosega v Evropi, kje je bila, ko je Ruska Federacija zahtevala varnostno ureditev v Evropi decembra lanskega leta?

    Vsa ta jedrska histerija je zahodna, ne ruska. Če ste natančno brali tekst Putinovega govora ob priključitvi ukrajinskih oblasti, je govoril o jedrskemu odgovoru samo kot o odzivu na zahodno “jedrsko izsiljevanje” in ne kot unilateralno akcijo Ruske federacije.

    Ne glede na to, niti za trenutek ne dvomim, da bi Ruska fedracija odgovorila z jedrskim orožjem v primeru direktnega zahodnega posega, tudi samo konvencionalnega. Spomnim se debate dveh indijskih generalov na indijski TV (žal ne najdem več link-a), ko eden izmed njih komentira, da je v vseh primerih skupnih vojaških vaj z vojsko Ruske federacije, v simulacijah nemudoma prišlo do uporabe jedrskega orožja v primeru, da bi ocenili, da je situacija za ruske sile kritična.

    Spomnim se še mojega šolanja za rezervne oficirje v bivši JLA. V glavnem so bili vsi scenariji vedno rdeči vs. modri, ampak, ko smo simulirali vojno delovanje proti silam Varšavskega pakta (kar, roko na srce , ni bilo prav pogosto) smo imeli vedno opravka z jedrskimi udari sil Varšavskega pakta (beri Sovjetske zveze). Ne vem, če to kaj pomeni, ampak spomnil sem se na to, ko sem poslušal indijske generale.

  2. Danes je Putin naredil samomor iz zasede. Ta bombardiranja so dejanja obupanca, Ukrajince je s tem samo še bolj zainatil.

    No, lahko se tudi motim, ker si o Dražgošah tudi mislim, da je to junaško dejanje in da so za pokol krivi nacisti in ne partizani.

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