the start & finish of this are boring, but here is the middle bit

Is Nuclear War Becoming Thinkable? (middle bit)
Phil Giraldi, AmConMag, Oct 5 2016

Official Pindo policy is that NATO provides conventional deterrence at such a level that Russia would not be inclined to start a conflict with any vassal lest it be defeated in short order. But Russia would have certain advantages if it were to attack without warning, relying on internal lines and deploying locally superior forces. And the reliability of a coordinated NATO response can be questioned, as the raison d’etre for NATO itself is wearing thin even as the alliance has expanded to include countries like Montenegro. One Pindo Army officer observed to journalist Mark Perry, “How many British soldiers do you think want to die for Estonia?” The problems involved in actually mounting a credible conventional defense in Europe are why there is a second level of deterrence: the nuclear umbrella maintained by Pindostan, Britain, and France. Pindo boxtops used to suggest that Washington and NATO would not be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict, but that was never an actual policy. Last month there were reports that Obama had considered committing to “no first use” but was overruled by his cabinet, with Ashtray Carter describing such a pledge as “a sign of weakness.” Two liberal Congress critturs have since introduced a bill that would prohibit first use of nuclear weapons, but it appears to have little support and is likely to die in committee. Ashtray, who describes nuclear weapons as the “bedrock” and “guarantor” of Pindo security, recently spoke at several Minuteman missile bases in Pindostan. He stated that Pindostan and its Euro vassals are now “refreshing” Pindo strategy by integrating conventional and nuclear weapons in order to “deter Russia from thinking it can benefit from nuclear use in a conflict with NATO.” Ashtray explained that Moscow has little regard “for long-established accords of using nuclear weapons,” raising “serious questions” about “whether they respect the profound caution that Cold War-era leaders showed in respect to brandishing their nuclear weapons.” Ashtray elaborated:

If deterrence fails, you provide the president with options to achieve Pindo & vassal objectives … all to reduce the risk of nuclear weapons being used in the first place.

He emphasized “our will and ability to act.” He did not suggest that Pindostan would not be the first to use nuclear weapons, and was clearly indicating that such weapons are in the mix of how to respond to what he obviously sees as an increasing Russian threat. Ashtray is admittedly an anti-Russian hawk crank. He is a physicist by training, and is somewhat of an expert on policies relating to the use of nuclear weapons. Some of the changes he has made to our nuclear deterrence policies were recently observable on CBS 60 Minutes, which ran a series on the state of the Pindo nuclear arsenal. On board a nuclear-armed Ohio-class submarine, officers spoke openly of the heightened state of alert since “Russia invaded Crimea,” back up to a Cold War level. A relatively new tactical option was also discussed, referred to as “escalate to de-escalate,” which envisions defeating a conventional attack by means of a nuclear demonstration strike. The nuke would serve as a warning of more to come if the attack continued. The concept of using a nuke as a warning is not exactly new. “Going nuclear” was considered a viable option during Pindostan’s two Iraq wars, if Saddam possessed WMDs and was prepared to use them, and it has also been a part of the battle plan should Pindostan go to war with Iran. But what has changed the calculus is the sophistication of the weapons themselves.

New tactical nuclear weapons, like the latest versions of the Pindo B-61, are small and portable. They can be launched from a bomber or as part of a cruise missile or even from a ground installation or vehicle. Further, their operators can “dial up a yield,” ie select the size of the explosion on the bomb itself. That means a demonstration nuclear strike can be effectively “nuclear” while being designed to have a relatively small footprint to reduce both civilian and military casualties. This selectivity makes such a bomb, in the minds of some generals and politicians, potentially an effective warning rather than an automatic escalation of the fighting, and as a result it is a weapon that is much ‘more usable‘. The Russians, of course, have similar weapons, and by some accounts their nuclear arsenal is more modern than that employed by Pindostan. Moscow’s war doctrine was recently spelled out by Putin. He said that Moscow “would reserve the right to use nuclear weapons if the existence of Russia is threatened.” This has been interpreted as Putin acknowledging that his conventional forces cannot go head-to-head with those of Pindostan in the long run, and warning that Russia might be forced to go nuclear first, relatively early on in the conflict, to defend itself. So one should conclude that both sides confronting each other over Eastern Europe are now prepared to go nuclear under certain circumstances. No one is asking the Poles and Slovaks, whose land might well be the site for such a demonstration, what they think, but their governments are officially on board with NATO strategies designed to deter Russia. Germany has, however, expressed considerable nervousness over the sabre-rattling, as memories of the Red Army are still somewhat fresh.

There are frightening indications that some senior military officers might be eager to get things started in the belief that a war with Russia could actually be winnable. Certifiable loose cannons on deck include Wesley Clark, who reportedly tried to engineer a confrontation with Russian peacekeepers in Kosovo in 1999. Crazier still, Gen Breedlove (who retired earlier this year) worked hard during his time as SACEUR to get NATO and Pindostan involved in a proxy war over Ukraine. In leaked emails, an interlocutor suggested he and the UN Sec-Gen might “fashion a NATO strategy to leverage, cajole, convince or coerce Pindostan to react” to the Russian “threat.” Breedlove found this “very promising.” Breedlove, who has regularly lied about the extent of the Russian presence in Ukraine, has hysterically described Moscow as a “long-term existential threat to Pindostan & our Euro vassals.” The general was also reportedly in contact with State Dept Asst Sec State for European and Eurasian Affairs ‘Toria’ Nuland (nee Nudelman – RB), who helped engineer the coup that overthrew the Ukrainian government in 2014. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is calling Putin a new Hitler, while the  NYT editorializes against “Vladimir Putin’s Outlaw State.” And the real danger is that the Russian people are watching this display with concern and might soon believe themselves to be backed into a corner by an implacable enemy. Putin has several times warned that there is an increasing perception in Russia that the country is being surrounded and endangered by the continuous expansion of NATO as well as by threats relating to his country’s involvement in Syria. Opinion polls suggest that the average Russian now expects war with the West.

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