Are We Trying To Start A War? – NATO To Hold Nuclear Drills
The whole world is watching the situation in Ukraine. Joe Biden is talking about Armageddon. Putin is raining missiles on Ukraine and increasingly backed into a corner. It is time for cool heads to act and work to de-escalate this situation before it is too late and we see the nuclear exchange we have been working to avoid for eighty years.
So, of course, NATO has just announced that it will hold nuclear drills, which will include simulated strikes by combat aircraft.
Most of the world knows about the Cuban missile crisis and how close the United States and the Soviet Union came to nuclear war. What most people do not know is that we came at least that close again in the 1980s, and it was all because of NATO drills simulating war.
In November 1983 at the height of the Cold War, the Soviets detected NATO aircraft carrying what appeared to be nuclear weapons exiting hangers in Western Europe. Shortly thereafter, the Soviets began to pick up communications concerning a possible NATO strike on the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. It was all part of a NATO simulation based on a scenario in which the United States had decided to respond with nuclear weapons to a Russian chemical attack.
The Russians did not know it was an exercise. They feared it was real. They began to spin up their own forces and prepare to launch nuclear weapons at Europe and the United States. The commander of the Soviet 4th Army Air Forces in Eastern Europe ordered all of his units to make “preparations for the immediate use of nuclear weapons.” Russian personnel loaded actual nuclear bombs onto several combat planes and prepared for war.
Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced Tuesday that NATO would proceed with annual nuclear exercises next week. The exercise, called Steadfast Noon, will last a week. It involves fighter jets capable of carrying nuclear weapons staging simulated strikes on targets. It also involves command post exercises, refueling aircraft, and a host of other assets. Fourteen NATO nations will take place.
“It would send a very wrong signal if we suddenly now canceled a routine, long-time planned exercise because of the war in Ukraine. That would be absolutely the wrong signal to send,” Stoltenberg told reporters. “NATO’s firm, predictable behavior, our military strength, is the best way to prevent escalation,” he said. “If we now created the grounds for any misunderstandings, miscalculations in Moscow about our willingness to protect and defend all allies, we would increase the risk of escalation.”
Just to make sure that the tension with Russia was ratcheted up to the maximum extent – apparently, NATO will also hold meetings Thursday of its Nuclear Planning Group. This is the body empowered to make decisions about the use of NATO’s nuclear forces.
The United States has a large number of nuclear weapons stored in Europe. Both Britain and France have their own nuclear forces. The situation is significantly complicated by an arrangement that the United States has for the “sharing” of atomic weapons.
Basically, it works like this. The United States keeps nuclear weapons in Europe guarded and maintained by American forces. In the event of a crisis, however, and pursuant to a decision of the Nuclear Planning Group, those weapons could be turned over to other “non-nuclear” NATO countries for delivery.
Press reports indicate that American nuclear weapons are currently stored in Germany, Turkey, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands. So, if you are Putin you not only now need to worry about the Americans deciding to use nuclear weapons against you but the possibility that nuclear weapons will be released to a whole bunch of other countries any one of which might decide to move first and stage a strike.
The idea of using an exercise as a cover to give you a running start on staging a first strike is nothing new. The Russians themselves just did this before invading Ukraine. In 1941 when the Germans attacked the Soviet Union the Russians were well aware of the massive buildup of men and equipment on their border. Hitler peddled the story that this was all part of an exercise in preparation for an invasion of Britain.
Stalin bought the lie. He paid the price – millions died. It is understandable, then that the Russians might be a wee bit hesitant to believe anybody’s claim that they are just conducting “war games.”
On the battlefield in Ukraine, the Russians have lost so many tanks that they are resurrecting Cold War-era T-62s from mothballs. Those things were obsolete when I was an Armor officer forty years ago. Officers in Russian units moving to the front are refusing to give their men ammunition until they are actually in combat for fear they mutiny.
The wheels are coming off for Vlad. He is increasingly desperate. Now is not the time to push him harder and rattle his cage. What we ought to do is announce we are delaying Steadfast Noon and accompany that announcement with a call for Putin to sit down, negotiate a ceasefire and begin the process of bringing this conflict to an end.
We will not. We will push ahead with an exercise that may trigger the unthinkable.
Maybe we are trying to start a war…
Doug MacGregor reports columns of gleaming new T80 tanks heading towards Ukraine. What do you make of him? As for this multi-dimensional escalation and its idiocy, I'm 100% aligned. But I also see that this is only the latest of the West's provocations in Ukraine. There was that pesky little coup in 2014, but hey, we are 'the good guys', right? But I can't shake the question I always have when I see Victoria Nuland - who put her in charge of things?
On a positive note, the exercise (if that's all that comes of this) will give some U.S. forces a pleasant respite from DEI training.
On a dire note, who knew that "Build Back Better" could be the slogan for rebuilding on top of irradiated rubble?