Russia and the USA on the brink on nuclear war

Russian nuclear missile launcher on display. Via RUSI.

There are two foreseeable ways the conflict with Russia and the USA could end.

One is a Russian victory, which would make it the dominant military power in Europe. The other is nuclear war.

Ukraine cannot defeat Russia on Ukraine’s own soil.  It is outnumbered and outgunned.

Russia is on a war footing.  It can produce enough munitions to keep the war going indefinitely.

The USA and its NATO allies are not on a war footing.  They are depleting their own arsenals.  

If things go on as they are, the European Union nations will have disarmed themselves by the time the war ends.  Russia will be the only power left standing.

The only way they could win is by taking the war to Russia itself.  This already is happening.

The Ukrainian forces have fired missiles at airfields where Russian bombers and their nuclear weapons are stored.  They murdered Darya Dugina, a Russian nationalist TV commentator.   Three of Russia’s Nord Stream pipelines have been blown up.  All these actions are acts of war.

President Joe Biden and other American leaders have called for Russia to be crushed.  Some talk of dismembering Russia and putting Vladimir Putin on trial for his alleged war crimes.

Knowing the fates of Slobodan Milosevic, Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi, I don’t think Russian leaders think Biden and the rest are just kidding.

President Vladimir Putin has stated that Russia will use nuclear weapons “in response to the use of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it or its allies, and also in case of aggression against Russia with the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is threatened.”

If that happened, Russia would go full Doomsday Day Machine.  There wouldn’t be any tit for tat escalation, or use of limited nuclear weapons.  Russia would unleash its full nuclear arsenal upon its enemies. 

President Putin in his speech Tuesday to the Russian Duma said that the USA and its allies “plan to finish us once and for all. In other words, they plan to grow a local conflict into a global confrontation. This is how we understand it and we will respond accordingly, because this represents an existential threat to our country.” 

He announced that Russia is suspending participation in the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (START), which is the last of the treaties that were intended to reduce the chances of nuclear war.

It is important that he suspended participation in the treaty rather than renounced the treaty altogether.  This leaves open the possibility that the treaty could be restarted.

But in the rest of the speech, he said the Russian government regards nuclear war as a real possibility, and is preparing to wage it if necessary.  He also announced Russia is prepared to resume nuclear testing, but won’t do so until the USA does.  

An analyst called David Sant says the balance of nuclear forces is temporarily in Russia’s favor, which might tempt Russia leaders to strike against the USA now while they have the advantage.

The Russian armed forces currently has hypersonic weapons, which the USA cannot defend itself from.  It also has a more advanced missile defense system than the USA has.  This means Russian leaders might think they could strike at the USA while avoiding destruction themselves.

Eventually the USA will develop its own hypersonic weapons and its own missile defense, so Russians will not have this perceived opportunity for long.

I don’t know enough to judge whether this is technically possible.  What is important is that Russian leaders may think this is possible, and be tempted to act accordingly.

The other danger is that, with the world’s two nuclear superpowers on nuclear alert, a mistake or misunderstanding might trigger a nuclear war, as has almost happened a number of times in the past.

None of the things I’m writing about are things I want to happen, of course.  

And of course the worst doesn’t always happen.  But sometimes it does.  And, in the case of nuclear war, it only has to happen once.


Full Text of the Presidential Address to the Russian Federal Assembly on Feb. 21, 2023.

The Dire Significance of Putin’s Feb. 21 Speech by David Sant for The Vineyard of the Saker.  I don’t know Sant’s credentials, but he seems to know what he’s talking about.  Read and judge for yourself.

In the Spirit of Russian ‘Total War’ by Simplicius the Thinker.  Russians think they’re in a war for survival and are planning accordingly.

Prospects for World War 3 by Aleks for Black Mountain Analysis.

Amateur Hour Armageddon and Rubble and Rhetoric on Deep Dive with Lee Shusher.

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One Response to “Russia and the USA on the brink on nuclear war”

  1. wtfbuddy1 Says:

    Russians are like Maga – say something enough and they will believe it, the New START Treaty limited Strategic launch platforms only, and the number of warheads deployed. It did not limit operational or tactical warheads on other platforms. I have not seen, read, observed the US saying they will use Nuclear weapons, only Red Russia is using those words against the US and NATO. Anyone believe Russia will stop at western Ukraine’s border is in a false sense of Putin’s intentions. So sabre rattling is something to watch, but no-one wants to order a launch against each other. Cheers

    Liked by 2 people

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