Matthew Kroenig, a professor of government at Georgetown University and director of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council, has argued that the best option for the administration, if faced with a limited Russian nuclear strike in Ukraine, might be to step up backing for Ukraine and conduct a limited conventional strike on the Russian forces or bases that launched the attack.
“If it’s Russian forces in Ukraine that launched the nuclear attack, the United States could strike directly against those forces,” Kroenig said. “It would be calibrated to send a message that this is not a major war coming, this is a limited strike. If you are Putin, what do you do in response? I don’t think you immediately say let’s launch all the nukes at the United States.”
But even a limited conventional strike by the U.S. military against Russia would be viewed as reckless by many in Washington, who would argue against risking a full-scale war with a nuclear-armed Russia.
Gosh, you think?! My God. Is there nobody eager to step in and try to get Ukraine and Russia to the peace table?
It's good that Russia got its nose bloodied hard, but can we please put a stop to this before it gets out of hand? At the UN yesterday, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said that unnamed Western countries that are militarily backing Ukraine -- that would include the United States -- are seen by Russia as part of this war. I, for one, would rather not risk nuclear war over Donbas. Look, I'm not saying Ukraine should surrender to Russia, whose invasion was immoral and contemptible. Putin's scarcely-veiled nuclear threat is disgusting, and reveals his thuggish character, just as the mass graves of Izyum disgrace the Russian nation. But I am saying that it is insane that there is serious talk now of nuclear exchanges, and nations aren't rushing to try to de-escalate tensions and end this war. This is not normal. Nobody wins if nuclear weapons are used. The world changes forever, even if they are used in a limited way by Russia. If that happens, Russia will be a pariah ... but a hell of a lot of incinerated people won't be around to appreciate the world's contempt for Moscow.
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UPDATE: Here is the first tweet of an important thread. The West's understandable hatred of Moscow for its war on Ukraine is preventing a lot of smart people from thinking clearly about an end game that could prevent more death, more destruction, and an escalation that could end God knows where.
It's the same kind of thing as with Iraq. Saddam Hussein was an evil man. We all knew that. But whenever skeptics of the coming US war asked "end game" type questions, and raised objections to the plan to turn Iraq into a liberal democracy, they were shouted down by warmongers -- neocons, in particular -- who accused them of being cowardly in the face of Evil, and even of being racist (e.g., "What, you think Arabs aren't capable of liberal democracy?!"). Our hysterical moral idealism led us into a catastrophe. Last night in Canada, I met an Iraqi Catholic refugee who showed me photos of his church back in Iraq that was destroyed by ISIS -- the rise of which is directly tied to US intervention there.