From Global Research
By Mike Whitney
December 16, 2022
The primary purpose of the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) is to deceptively “rebrand” the offensive use of nuclear weapons as a justifiable act of defense. The new criteria for using these lethal WMD has been deliberately maligned with the clear intention of providing Washington with a green light for their use and proliferation. Accordingly, US foreign policy warhawks have established the institutional and ideological framework needed to launch a nuclear war without fear of legal reprisal. These arduous preparations were carried out with one objective in mind, to preserve America’s steadily-eroding position in the global order through the application of extreme violence.
Vladimir Putin is worried. Very worried.
In a recent press conference, the Russian President expressed his concern that the United States might be planning a nuclear strike on Russia. Naturally, Putin did not state the matter in such crude terms, but his comments left little doubt that that’s what he was talking about. Here’s part of what he said:
The United States has a theory of a ‘preventive strike’…Now they are developing a system for a ‘disarming strike’. What does that mean? It means striking at control centres with modern high-tech weapons to destroy the opponent’s ability to counterattack.”
Why would Putin waste time on the various theories circulating among foreign policy wonks in the United States if he wasn’t concerned that these ideas were actionable?
The only explanation is that Putin is worried, and the reason he is worried is because he knows that these ideas (preemption and ‘disarming strike’) hold-sway among the elite cadres of powerbrokers who decide these matters in Washington. Putin probably realizes that there is a sizable constituency in Washington that support the use of nuclear weapons and who believe they are essential to preserving the “rules-based order”. In short, Putin believes these ideas are “actionable” which is why he expressed concern.
So, let’s think about the point Putin is trying to make. He’s saying that the US tacitly supports a preemptive “first strike” policy, that is, if the US feels sufficiently threatened, then it claims the right to launch nuclear missiles at an enemy whether that enemy has attacked the United States or not.
Does that sound reasonable to you?
And what about Russia; does Russia support the same policy?
No, it doesn’t. Russia’s Nuclear Doctrine explicitly precludes the first use of nukes. Russia will not launch a first strike. Period. Russia will only use Nuclear weapons in retaliation and only in the event that the nation faces an ‘existential threat’. In other words, Russia will only use nuclear weapons as a last resort.
US Nuclear Doctrine is the polar opposite of Russia’s because the US will not abandon its support for a first strike. And what’s more troubling, is that US Doctrine has been so grossly expanded that could be construed to include almost anything. For example, according to the recently-released Nuclear Posture Review(NPR), nuclear weapons can be used: “in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or its allies and partners.”
Chew on that for a minute. That could include anything from a serious threat to national security to the sudden emergence of economic rival. Are we going to nuke Beijing because their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is projected to be bigger than America’s within the decade?
We can’t answer that, but it certainly meets the NPR’s grossly expanded criteria.
Can you see why Putin might be concerned about all this? Can you see why Biden’s unwillingness to jettison the “first strike” policy might make Washington’s adversaries a bit nervous? Can you see why these new watered-down standards for the use of nuclear weapons might send up red flags in Capitols around the world?
Putin wants people to know what’s going on. That’s why he’s speaking-out at public venues. He wants everyone to know that the United States no longer regards its nuclear arsenal as purely defensive. It is now seen as an essential instrument for preserving the “rules-based order”. Can you see that?
And this is just part of what Putin said in a very short press conference. He also said this:
Now they (the US) are developing a system for a ‘disarming strike’. What does that mean? It means striking at control centres with modern high-tech weapons to destroy the opponent’s ability to counterattack.”Continue reading