Nuclear deterrence: After and with Putin- a Russian Dr. Strangelove and the return of madman theory?
How did the US win the Cold War? Well, it started with nuclear deterrence. After the USA and the Soviet Union quickly acquired atomic bombs and then the associated delivery systems, the USA in 1945 with the atomic bomb and Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Soviet Union in 1949, but there were not yet enough mutual bomber fleets to properly wipe out each other, even initially on both sides The USA had such nuclear war plans from Half Moon to other plans that Berndt Greiner published in his book „On the way to World War 3“ in the 1980s in the Pahl-Rugenstein publishing house, which was co-financed by the Soviets, and was the US nuclear strategy at the time and that of the time newly founded NATO the Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD)-the mutual destruction. It was already clear with the Sputnik shock that the Soviets had begun the era of intercontinental missiles that can also reach the USA and, conversely, the Minutemen’s ICBM program was launched under Kennedy.MAD was also the official nuclear detterrence stratgey throughout the 1950s, when a young Harvard professor named Henry Kissinger wrote his groundbreaking book „Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy“ with support from Rockefeller, who wanted to become US opresident against Nixon and since Kissinger´s book limited nuclear wars were considered before a global nuclear nuclear war and leverage, wanted to bring them into the foreign policy arsenal by means of brinkmanship, i.e. the idea of threatening limited nuclear wars, also with the further threat of threatening a global nuclear war, to which the other side would give in and make concessions. So no longer just on defense, but on offensive use of nuclear weapons potential to extort concessions. This was reflected in the deployment of medium-range nuclear missiles in Turkey that could reach Soviet territory, especially the urban centers west of the Urals. The basic idea was that by means of so-called „forward based systems“ the USA would not attack the Soviet Union from the US soil, but would pose a nuclear war threat from another country, which in extreme cases would only trigger a Soviet preventive strike on this country and the USA would be not attacked by means of then a limited nuclear war and could emerge unscathed and unmolested, but the US in turn could pass nuclear threats unchecked to the other side. Something similar happened under Reagan with the NATO double-track decision (NATO- Doppelbeschluss) , the deployment of Pershing 2 and Cruise missiles in Germany and the threat of limited nuclear wars and Euroshima. Khrushchev did not want to accept this, which was why he began depolying medium-range nuclear missiles in Cuba, which is why the Cuban Missile Crisis came about on the edge of a global nuclear war, right up to Kissinger’s brinkmanship, and then on the edge of a nuclear war both sides gave in. The Soviet Union withdrew its medium-range nuclear missiles from Cuba and the United States from Turkey. Then there was the detente, the START, the moratorium on nuclear weapons testing, and the policy of détente and flexibe response.
A year after the Cuban Missile Crisis, China acquired nuclear weapons itself, which is why Nixon suggested to Brezhnev that a kind of joint military attack should destroy the Chinese nuclear infrastructure, which Brezhnev rejected, whereupon Nixon and Kissinger visited Mao and entered into an alliance against the Soviet Union. Brezhnev continued to arm the Soviet Union, supported so-called liberation movements everywhere in the Third World, from Vietnam to Angola to Mozambique, Central America or military coups like in Ethiopia. Furthermore, the Soviet Union began to undermine the nuclear balance in Europe and Asia by deploying SS-20 intermediate-range nuclear missiles—ala Kissinger before the Cuban Missile Crisis. The USA and NATO responded to this with the NATO double-track decision, the deployment of accurate, fast Pershing 2 and cruise missiles including Airland battle.
Furthermore, an important psychological moment came in. Kissinger had also invented the so-called „Madman theory“ for his new nuclear strategy. This means that you find a US president and politician who the other side assumes is so fanatical that he doesn’t shy away from a nuclear war and intimidates the other side so much that they give in. At first it was thought to have found this person in the fanatical anti-communist Nixon, but apparently this did not intimidate the Soviet Union, especially since the USA first had to overcome its Vietnam trauma, Nixon was also deposed in favor of Carter, who the Soviet Union perceived more as a weak democrat, what moved them to invade Afghanistan and deploy the SS 20 to take advantage of alleged weakness of the West and the USA . Still, Carter had a rather aggressive National Security Advisor Brzezinski, who urged that the US should drown the Soviet Union in the Afghan quagmire and that NATO rearmament should quickly counteract it. In any case, the USA and the Republicans found the perfect Madman in Ronald Reagan, who also credibly embodied this – on the one hand with his deadly arms program, his rhetoric of the Evil Empire Soviet Union, which had to be disposed of on the rubble of history, loud nuclear war threats and also nuclear jokes, the strategy of limited nuclear wars up to Colin S. Gray’s „Victory is possible“, i.e. nuclear wars could be conducted, winnable and also limited. Furthermore, Reagan launched the Ample Archer maneuver to deploy the Perhsing 2 and Cruise missiles in Europe, which caused panic in the Kremlin as it was believed that the US and NATO wanted to start a war against the Warsaw Pact. Furthermore, Reagan launched the Ample Archer maneuver to deploy the Perhsing 2 and Cruise missiles in Europe, which caused panic in the Kremlin as it was believed that the US and NATO wanted to start a war against the Warsaw Pact. A kind of Cuban Missile Crisis, especially since the Soviets were reassured, allegedly because of their agent Topas (Rainer Rupp), at NATO headquarters that there was no immediate serious danger of war.
Nevertheless, the first shock of Madman Reagan and Ample Archer,this kind of brinkmanship along with economic sanctions as the COMECON list and SDI, led to Gorbachev being elected to the Politburo, who then began glasnost and perestroika, the INF treaty was signed in Rekjavik with Reagan, which then led to the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union. Then came Yeltsin and the Kosovo war with NATO bombing of Serbia and secession of Kosovo without UN legitimacy, which Russia saw as a breach of international law.
Accordingly, it is now striking how Putin is repeating all of these Western patterns. With his hybrid war, Putin’s general Vladimir Gerrassmiow only copied what the USA was already doing – from disinformation and fake news propaganda campaigns, to the infiltration of social media, the founding of the Wagner mercenary group based on the model of MPRI or Blackwater in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia precisely to support political groups and politicians from Trump, Nigel Farage, Le Pen, AfD, FPÖ, Bolsonaro, Orban., Babjis, Berluconi, etc., in order to then even promote colored revolutions in capitalist countries, so to speak, be it the storm on Capitol Hill or the attempted coup against Lula in Brazil, which is not to say that Putin was solely responsible. But Frexit and Dexit are still on the hybrid warfare agenda through Le Pen and AfD after Brexit.Be it the appeal to protect the Russian minority population in the Donbass from genocide like NATO intervened at the time because of the alleged Horseshoe plan (Hufeisenplan) and ethnic cleansing of the Milosevic Serbs, including the secession of Kosovo and now the Donbass republics and Crimea, anti-fascist rhetoric against the alleged Nazi government in Kiev and now, in the course of the war, nuclear war threats and Madman appearances, also from TV presenters and hardliners.
Actually, Putin only copies what NATO brought in the Kosov war, the USA in the Iraq war by means of fake news about weapons of mass destruction or Reagan’s nuclear war threats. What to make of the MSC’s newly-crowned opposition government-in-exile Khodorkovsky’s claim, shared by Eastern Europeans and Ukrainians and all humanist bellicists, that if Russia wins in Ukraine, there will be a war against NATO. On the one hand, Khodorkovsky claims that Putin is not suicidal and therefore fears strategic nuclear weapons and will not use them. But that would be the case in a war against NATO. Or does he hope that this could be conducted conventionally or nuclear limited to Europe – with the exception of the USA and Russia? Limited nuclear wars in Euroshima? Does the much-cited nuclear deterrent no longer apply or has it become an empty shell, a paper tiger? In his book „The Senkaku Paradox- Great Power Wars on Small Stakes“, Michael O Hannon sees the scenario in the case of the Baltic States or Taiwan and the East and South China Islands that the USA will use the USA and NATO because of the occupation of small territorial gains Hybrid war and green men could become paralyzed and divided and could be given the choice of nuclear war or acceptance and inaction, which is why they then do not start a nuclear war and there must therefore be an „integrated detterence“,
This raises the question of whether the USA and NATO should stick with the existing nuclear deterrence or not, and even use their own madman as a counterpoint, who, like Putin, is ready to escalate with threats of nuclear war up to a new Cuban missile crisis or not sometimes uses Ample Archer maneuvers against it. In addition, it is often said that it would not be better to leave Putin in office because more fanatical hardliners and a not-so-rational Madman could come to power. It’s possible, but then the question is how to react. Insofar as a new hardliner or fanatic would destroy a European city with nuclear weapons in the hope that the USA and NATO would then give in, the counterattack would have to be to incinerate two Russian cities first. Whether he dares to wipe out an American city with an ICBM would then be answered with the destruction of two Russian cities. You would have to do that with a Madman or Dr. Strangelove clearly on the Russian side, be it Putin or a hardliner who is still taking risks. However, the difference to the Cold War is that there are now many nuclear powers, especially China with ICBMs and Northkorea and maybe soon Iran. The difference from the Cold War, however, is that there are now many nuclear powers, most notably China with ICBMs and North Korea and perhaps soon Iran. Reagan won the Cold War because he, threatened one main enemy, the Evil Empire, the Soviet Union with a armsrace to the death, modified the nuclear strategy, was initially perceived as a madman and also held maneuvers like Ample Archer. Can the United States now start an arms race with China, Russia and North Korea to death, now that Putin also announced to cancel START after his speech, or couldn’t China threaten the United States with an arms race to death, since today, unlike in the 1980s, China is an economic world power thanks to the United States‘ approval of its WTO accession 2001 and today is allied with Russia for a multipolar world – by upgrading their ICBMs and other AI, cyberspace and high-tech weapons and maybe also in interaction and cooperation with Russia? Especially since one has to include India and Pakistan, Israel as further nuclear powers and possibly also a nuclear arms race in the Near and Far East, if the non-proliferation regime with a nuclear Iran and a North Korea with nuclear ICBMs should become obsolete. The CSBA study „Rethinking Armaggedon“ played through such scenarios using the previous NSS main enemies of the USA China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. So the question is, can you survive with the old Reagan arms race to death and today’s nuclear strategy, or can you create such a meganuclear madman or go back to a multipolar MADman. What do you want? Flexible response, integrated detterence or Madman or back to MAD or a new hybrid- nuclear deterrence strategy? Those discussions will come. And not just against one enemy, but in a multipolar nuclear treath. In a nuclear multipolar world as China becomes the next ICBM nuclear power or if Putin will become the new madman or be toppled by a more fanatic hardliner.
Putin is officially ready to renegotiate New START, as long as the USA does not carry out any further nuclear weapons tests and the European arsenals are taken into account at NATO, specifically GB and F.
“Putin is threatening an arms race
In his speech to the nation, the Russian president announced that he would put the last major disarmament treaty on hold. At the end of the speech, Vladimir Putin struck a big chord: NATO is demanding that Moscow again allow Western inspections of Russian nuclear weapons facilities as part of the New Start treaty on the limitation of strategic nuclear weapons. “This is absurd theatre. After all, we know that Western specialists and technology took part in the attempts of the Kiev regime to attack the bases of our strategic air force.” On the other hand, the US did not allow full-fledged inspections of the Russian side. Therefore, Putin explained, he is suspending participation in the New Start treaty. The fact that Putin put the last major disarmament treaty between Russia and the United States on hold on Tuesday was more than just the closing point of his annual speech to the State Duma and the Federation Council. The treaty, which was only extended to five years in 2021, limits the number of nuclear warheads in the USA and Russia to 1,550 and 800 delivery systems.
Now Putin is promising a new arms race, albeit with reservations: he has instructed the Ministry of Defense to prepare everything for nuclear tests, but these will only be carried out when the Americans themselves have tested nuclear explosives. Russia is ready to renegotiate the treaty. „But before that, we have to be clear about what countries like France or Great Britain are planning and how we should assess their strategic arsenals, i.e. NATO’s overall attack potential.“
Significantly, Macron now wants to talk about nuclear deterrence at the right time and seems to be offering to use and expand the force of the frappe for Europe again The discussion about nuclear deterrence is just beginning – Macron is leading the way.
“Macron calls for a strategic debate, including on nuclear deterrence
Paris and Berlin are at odds over air defense. French President Macron is now calling for new unity. A strategic debate about the French nuclear umbrella is part of it. The question of European air defense divides France and Germany. France is not participating in the European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI), with which Chancellor Olaf Scholz pushed ahead in the fall. At the Munich Security Conference, French President Emmanuel Macron publicly indicated for the first time that he was willing to give up his previous blockade. Macron wants to host a conference on European air defense in Paris to give more weight to strategic issues. He specifically addressed “the German, British and Italian partners”. Chancellor Scholz was not present during Macron’s speech in Munich, even if the proposal was mainly addressed to him. He would like to discuss “the issue first from a strategic perspective”, “which includes the question of deterrence,” said Macron. The Russian aggression took place “in the shadow of deterrence”. „This is a reminder of the importance of the role that nuclear weapons play and must continue to play in the EU and in NATO,“ said the Frenchman. He repeated his offer for a close dialogue with the European partners on the French nuclear force, which he had already made in February 2020 in a keynote speech at the Ecole de guerre. In Germany, the offer was received defensively. At the time, the tricky questions of nuclear deterrence and a possible supplement to nuclear sharing with America were preferred not to be made public. Therefore, there was a certain relief in Berlin that Macron’s initiative was forgotten due to the pandemic.
Ex-NATO General Domroese Jr. also commented: “…I would put it differently: deterrence including nuks. At its core, it is about EUROPEAN DEFENSE. We need to do more…so the US can do more in the Indo-Pacific….And of course FRA wants THE leadership.”