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Evolution of Indian Nuclear Doctrine: From NFU to Preemption

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India’s obscure nuclear doctrine of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) had evolved over the years since it was first declared in 1999 by NSAB’s (Nuclear Security Advisory Board) in the ‘Draft Nuclear Doctrine’(DND) that forms the very basis of the official Indian nuclear doctrine. Subsequently, in 2003after a review by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) the DND had emerged as India’s official nuclear doctrine. However, the later developments are quite evident that India has shifted its nuclear posture from NFU to preemption. In August 2019, a statement made by Mr. Rajnath Singh (Indian Defence Minister) made headlines amid rising tensions between India and Pakistan, the two arch-rivals in South Asia. This was an assertion of India’s likely shift from its long doubted NFU policy. This has further exposed the pretense of India‘s NFU policy, to which Pakistan has never given any credence. This shift in Indian nuclear doctrine seems to be purely Pakistan centric.  Such an Indian shift is further evidence of India’s focus towards nuclear war-fighting rather than maintaining deterrence. In the wake of the evolved tensions in the region, India’s offensive nuclear posture of preemption would have dire implications for the strategic stability of South Asia.

Over the period, various statements by the Indian government officials and prominent academicians have raised serious concerns over India’s adherence to the NFU policy. In 2010 Shivshankar Menon, the then National Security Advisor of India stated that according to Indian nuclear doctrine NFU policy is meant only for non-nuclear-weapon states. Hence, it implies that using a nuclear weapon could be a resort against nuclear-weapon states, particularly against Pakistan. Later on, in 2016 Manohar Prakar the then Indian Defence Minister questioned “Why do lots of people say that India is for no first use? Why should I blind myself?”  Moreover, in 2017 a prominent Indian scholar, Vipin Narang while speaking at the conference at Carnegie stated that India would not let Pakistan go first.  These assertions are quite evident that in a crisis, India might take a nuclear first strike against Pakistan. Such drifts in Indian policy have further enhanced Pakistan’s threat perception vis-à-vis India. Similarly, Pakistan would be further compelled to maintain a credible nuclear deterrence posture to overcome India’s offensive nuclear posturing.

India’s pursuit of offensive nuclear capabilities further reveals its aspirations of a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Pakistan. This, for instance, is further evident from the fact that India has been involved in developing ground-based and space-based surveillance, reconnaissance, and intelligence capabilities, and new precision weaponry for the last few years.  These would further embolden India to take any move toward pre-emption or first use. In the same vein, India’s adoption of Pakistan specific policy of first use would likely result in the lowering of the Indian nuclear threshold. This might bring serious implications for Pakistan’s existing nuclear deterrent posture which covers a broad spectrum of threats coming from India including its conventional advantage. It would further generate an unnecessary arms race in the region and might force Pakistan to further revisit its doctrinal and force posture vis-à-vis India’s notions of preemptions. The likelihood of India’s shift towards preemption would also mean that India’s nuclear weapons would be kept in the state of readiness. This would also increase the risk of unauthorized or accidental use of Indian nuclear weapons. Such a scenario would likely create a complex security dilemma for Pakistan, thus undermining the deterrence equilibrium in South Asia, primarily ensured by Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities.

In recent years, India’s massive naval buildup is also aimed at maintaining an offensive sea-based nuclear posture. In this regard, India’s acquisition of SSBNs (nuclear-powered submarines) is quite significant since along with the assurance of second-strike capability, they are also meant to be used to launch a multitude of nuclear weapons. Other than that, India has been maintaining an operational BMD (Ballistic Missile Defence) system; also, it would have the most advanced anti-missile systems like the Russian S-400 in its inventory very soon. Hence, having been assured that it would be protected against any counter-strike by Pakistan by its BMD systems; India might potentially launch a land, sea, or air-based pre-emptive strike against Pakistan. This would create a false sense of security among the Indian decision-makers and they might act aggressively in the time of crisis. Pakistan needs to keep a close eye on India’s shifting nuclear policy to counter the probability of a nuclear first strike initiated by India. Pakistan has already developed MIRV (Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle) capable short and medium-range ballistic missiles. Apart from that Pakistan has also developed a sea-based delivery system such as Babur-3, a Submarine Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM) which is aimed at ensuring a credible second-strike capability. These would serve as a reliable and credible deterrent against Indian notions of preemption.

Hence, at the present, the assertions of Indian officials to abandon the long doubted NFU policy and a move towards pre-emption is mere irresponsible and belligerent behavior. India in its pursuit to become a regional hegemon would destabilize the already conflict-prone South Asian region by further provoking an arms race. Pakistan needs to further increase international pressure by highlighting India’s aggressive and irresponsible nuclear posturing. The world needs to know that India’s shift from NFU is merely reckless and dangerous. On the other hand, Pakistan also needs to ensure its safety by further enhancing its assured second-strike capability and acquiring advanced BMDs while staying within its existing posture of minimum credible deterrence.

The writer is working as a Research Affiliate at the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), a non-partisan think-tank based out of Islamabad, Pakistan.

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Russia’s Weak Response to Finland’s Joining NATO

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Image source: kremlin.ru

On May 12th, Russia’s RT bannered “Finland’s NATO membership will trigger response – Moscow”, and reported that

Moscow has warned that Finland joining NATO would pose a direct threat to Russia’s security and its acceptance to the military alliance would prompt Russia to develop measures to ensure its safety. That’s after Finnish officials confirmed on Thursday their commitment to join the US-led bloc and announced plans to pen a formal application later this week.

“There is a current instruction from the president to develop a list of measures to strengthen our western flanks in connection with the strengthening of NATO’s eastern flanks,” said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov during a daily press briefing on Thursday. …

He added that Russia regrets Finland’s decision to join the hostile steps taken by the EU and warned that Helsinki’s attempts to join NATO would serve as a reason to develop respective mirror responses. …

Last month, the former Russian president and prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, who is currently deputy chairman of the country’s Security Council implied that if Finland and Sweden became members of NATO, Russia might be forced to deploy nuclear weapons to the Baltic region in order to preserve “the balance of power.”

It wouldn’t “preserve ‘the balance of power’,” because U.S./NATO will then be in position to place America’s nukes on Russia’s border near its brain-center Moscow, whereas Russia isn’t in position to place its nukes on America’s border near its brain-center Washington DC. 

If Finland joins NATO, then America will station its missiles on Finland’s Russian border, 507 miles from Moscow, and that is 7 minutes away from blitz-nuking Moscow.

During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, America threatened to initiate nuclear war against the Soviet Union if the Soviet Union would position nuclear missiles in Cuba, 1,134 miles from Washington DC, which would be about 10 minutes away from blitz-nuking Washington (but would have required much longer to reach Washington back in 1962).

Consequently, Russia now is in at least as dangerous a situation if Finland joins NATO as America was in during the Cuban Missile Crisis when America was threatening to launch a nuclear invasion against Russia if U.S.S.R. placed missiles in Cuba.

Furthermore: unlike America and the Soviet Union during the Cuba Missile Crisis, when BOTH nations were willing to negotiate a peaceful end to that Crisis, Russia is willing to negotiate a peaceful settlement this time around but America is not and has repeatedly refused to do so. Clearly, America is heading for conquest.

Consequently, Russia must now, if it is to adhere to the standards that both Kennedy and Khrushchev adhered to in 1962, make absolutely clear now to Finland’s Government that if and when Finland will join NATO, then Russia will have no alternative to blitz-nuking not only Finland but simultaneously nuking all other NATO-member nations.

Well, there actually IS an alternative: Russia’s Government can cede its sovereignty to America and begin negotiations on a surrender to the U.S. Government.

Russia’s current vaguely worded threat against Finland is just a vague way of doing that. However, another alternative exists for Russia, but one that Vladimir Putin seems not to be considering, at all, even though it really is the ONLY sensible one for Russia to do, and it would adhere to the model that JFK adhered to in 1962. But let’s first review what has led up to this Crisis, so as to place the Crisis into its proper historical context:

Russia’s first strategy against further enlargement of NATO was to demand, on 15 December 2021, to the U.S. Government; and, two days later, to America’s main anti-Russian military alliance, NATO; that NATO would never add any new member-nations — especially not Ukraine. This demand was firmly rejected, on 7 January 2022, by both America and its NATO arm. Worse yet for Russia: after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th, hoping thereby to prevent at least that country joining NATO, both Finland and Sweden were so scared that they might be invaded next, that both countries expressed in early April 2022 a desire to join the anti-Russian alliance, and were welcomed by America and its NATO arm to apply to join. So, even if Russia wins its war in Ukraine, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will have actually failed, because NATO seems now more likely even than before to increase — exactly the opposite of what Russia had been intending.

A more effective strategy by Russia might nonetheless still be possible. If so, I think that it would be something like this:

Russia will announce that its nuclear missiles will be targeted ONLY against the U.S. and its allies, including all NATO member-nations, no neutral or not-U.S.-allied nations. Consequently: Sweden, Finland, Ukraine, and any other nation that isn’t in NATO or otherwise treaty-bound militarily with the United States, will not be targeted by any Russian nuclear missiles.

In other words: any new NATO member-nation will thereby become a target added to Russia’s list for destruction in any WW III that might transpire between the United States and Russia.

Consequently, if  Finland or Sweden join NATO, then that nation’s likelihood of becoming annihilated if and when a Third World War starts, will enormously and suddenly increase, merely on account of that nation’s having become a NATO member.

Furthermore, Russia will simultaneously be announcing that if any nation wishes to have an assurance that Russia will never, under any circumstance, invade it, then Russia will welcome from that nation a request for such an assurance from Russia; and Russia will include in that announcement explicit invitations not only to Finland and Sweden, but to all other nations which have, at some time, expressed an intention or a possible future intention to join either NATO or one of America’s other anti-Russia military alliances, such as AUKUS. In this regard, Russia will also state that if ever Russia were to provide to a nation such an assurance and subsequently to violate it, then Russia would not only be violating its own tradition of rigidly adhering to international treaties that it has signed, but would also thereby be forfeiting any and all of its rights under international law, by doing so. In other words: Russia would, in advance, be surrendering to any country that it would subsequently be violating by its having invaded the country that it had promised never to invade. This in-advance promise to forfeit all of Russia’s rights under all international laws in any such circumstance, would be a surrender in-advance, under all existing international laws; and, consequently, under the arrangement that is being proposed here, there would be no nation in the entire world that has, or ever did have, so strict an international legal obligation as Russia would be having under this proposed arrangement.

Finally: this proposed arrangement will be offering, to all existing member-nations of NATO and of America’s other anti-Russian military alliances, a promise that if and when any such existing member-nation will quit that anti-Russian military alliance, Russia will be happy to — at the moment that this is done — automatically provide to that nation the same legal commitment never to invade that nation, as has just been described here. In other words: the proposed arrangement will be offering, to the entire world, a stark and clear choice between two options: on the one hand, being allied with the most aggressive nation in all of the world’s history — the nation that sanctions, coups, and outright invades, any nation that fails to cooperate with its goal to replace the United Nations as being the ultimate arbiter of international laws, by the United States as being, instead, the ultimate arbiter of what it calls “the rules-based international order” (in which all of those ‘rules’ come ultimately from whomever rules the U.S. Government).  Versus, on the other hand: building upon and remaking the U.N. into what had been the original intention for it by its creator and namer, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, which was for the U.N. to replace the historically existing (until now) rule-of-force by-and-between contending international empires, by, instead, a peaceful and democratic international order, in which there will be a “United Nations” which will be a worldwide federation of all nations, in which international laws will be produced by the global legislature of duly authorized (under each individual nation’s own internal laws) representatives; and adjudicated by the global Supreme Court, and enforced by the sole global possessor and user of strategic weaponry, the U.N. itself, so that penalties that are ruled by this global Court of international relations can be enforced against the Government of any nation that has been ruled by this Court to have violated the rights of any other nation’s Government. In this understanding of the U.N.’s proper scope of power and of authority, the U.N. will have no authority and no power regarding the Constitution or laws of any nation that apply only internally to a given nation, but ONLY to international laws, which pertain only to international relations, never to a nation’s internal matters. FDR’s objective was to make another World War — another war between empires — impossible, by eliminating all empires, and replacing all of them by an international democracy of nations. Russia, in the proposed arrangement, would be striving to achieve, for the entire world, what FDR had planned for the post-WW-II world, but which tragically became promptly changed and abandoned by his immediate successor, Harry S. Truman — the founder (on 25 July 1945) of the present global U.S. empire (and of its hamstrung currently existing — Truman’s — U.N.).

There still might be time enough for Putin to make that offer, not only to Finland, but to the world.

NOTE: Finland was an ally of Nazi Germany in WW II, invading the Soviet Union during 1941-1944, in Hitler’s “Operation Barbarossa”, aiming to conquer it and enslave the Soviet peoples to Hitler’s Nazi regime. This time, Finland would be serving the U.S. regime to conquer Russia. Unless, perhaps, Putin makes this offer, and Finland accepts the offer.

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Afghanistan’s Forgotten War: The Clash Between the Taliban and ISKP

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Amid the Ukrainian war, the Afghan crisis accurately represents a forgotten conflict. Notably, the rivalry between the Taliban and the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP), personified by violence and instability, has, much to the detriment of analysts, continued to bleed the country dry. Additionally, food and health insecurity fuelled by climate change and COVID-19, suppression of women’s rights and freedoms due to distorted beliefs of de facto rulers, and intensifying border tensions with Pakistan have compounded uncertainty facing the Afghans. While these factors have added to the growing, multi-dimensional gordian knot mirroring the deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan, the security concerns shaped by the Taliban-ISKP rivalry are central to the Afghan quagmire.

Nevertheless, as the world rapidly shifted its attention from the fallout of the international coalition’s withdrawal from Afghanistan to the Russian military intervention in Ukraine and the subsequent humanitarian catastrophe, the graveyard of empires has continued to experience far-reaching turbulence.

Untangling Afghanistan’s security profile

The Afghan state’s security dilemma has widened over the past year due to the new regime’s ineptitude at eliminating incoming attacks staged by the ISKP. It stands true, as it did in the immediate aftermath of Kabul’s fall in August 2021, that ISKP will partially fill the security vacuum, challenging the Taliban’s authority without posing an existential threat. However, ISKP’s constant attacks operating interchangeably between high and low-intensity ones, and their impact – fatalities, sectarian tensions, fear, mistrust, and paranoia – are collectively dismantling the fragile security architecture instituted post-2001.

Since last year, ISKP-led attacks have repeatedly jolted the Afghans and those reportedly responsible for their security, in quick succession. This has prompted analysts to wonder about the veracity of claims made by the interim government about being in control of the country’s entirety. The ideological and resource-based competition driving such attacks and counter-retaliations by the emerging law and security-enforcement agencies have failed to derive a definitive victory for either faction. Furthermore, this has undermined any semblance of normalcy which could have taken root – for better or worse. Furthermore, the Taliban’s counter-response has adopted a flawed logic, driven by their ideological hostility towards Salafism, of which The ISKP has adopted a distorted interpretation – Salafist Jihadism. On the other hand, the Taliban are followers of the Hanafi-Deobandi school of thought.

Beginning with the blast at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul in August 2021, the ISKP has routinely undermined chances of achieving relative security in Afghanistan after the regime change. Two bomb blasts rocked Kabul in the days preceding the Eid celebrations.

On 30th April 2022, at least one individual was killed, three were wounded when a passenger van exploded, and 10 (although the death toll was at least 50) were killed when a bomb was detonated inside a mosque on 29th April 2022. Although nobody assumed responsibility for the first attack, it aligns with the modus operandi of the ISKP.

Earlier, on 19th April 2022, bomb blasts at the Abdul Rahim Shahid High School injured at least 17 and fatally wounded six others. The death toll later catapulted to 20 in a predominantly Shia Hazara neighbourhood. This was closely aligned with ISKP’s operational style.

While the Salafist-Jihadists, i.e., the ISKP terrorists, have staged violent attacks against civilians, amid which senior commanders have also lost their lives, the Taliban has conveniently forgotten that not all followers of Islam’s Salafi doctrine have violent inclinations. Nevertheless, the Taliban leaders have stepped up their crackdown on Afghan Salafis to display that the fight against an opposing terrorist group is steadily attaining success.

For example, alleged reports about Salafist seminaries and mosques being raided or closed down have increasingly emerged since last year. While the ideological differences and ambition to wholly assert control over Afghanistan’s entirety are the rationale of the Taliban’s domestic policies, it is significant for the new regime to consider that such actions will prove detrimental to maintaining security.

A war with no end in sight?

This war will get more chaotic and bloody as the days go by, and the international coalition’s belief that the Taliban would be able to keep domestic and international security threats at bay has now been proven to be a critically incorrect presumption, even a disillusion perhaps.

Deadly incidents such as these are understandably a cause for concern and compounds the resentment of the restive population that cannot access essential services amid rising inflation and where at least one in five families are compelled to force their children to take up jobs as domestic help as financial insecurity has skyrocketed.

On the other hand, the Taliban’s counter-response will allow the ISKP to recruit moderate Salafists to swell its ranks. This will be a gradual process, yet all the more dangerous to the country’s security situation. It is so because vis-à-vis a more rapid pace of recruitment, a slow and steady process would be more inconspicuous and would occur more easily below the radar. Moreover, in a country where despite trillions of dollars of aid being pumped over twenty years, the intelligence apparatus proved inconsequential in determining and thwarting the Taliban’s advance, it would be at least a couple more decades before the incumbent regime could turn the tide around. Nevertheless, such improvements would prove rather challenging for an administration that is cash-strapped (on a legitimate front) and has proved unable to make a convincing case for its recognition by the global community.

Worsening the problem is the possibility of people taking up arms against the state in the face of food and financial insecurity, which will continue to mount as long as violence and instability continue to plague the society. Perhaps, defections from the Taliban could also take place in protest of deteriorating human security conditions and the leaders’ ineptitude at governing as per the Islamic traditions while vying to align closer to the western world.

It would also open small, albeit multiple fronts against the Taliban and the broader Hanafi-Deobandi adherents. The victims of attacks on places of worship have remained confined to the Shia Hazara community’s members. However, non-conforming Sunnis also perceived as heretics. A civil war with cross-sectarian colours would witness mass hysteria, bloodshed, and displacement. Additionally, the decimation of infrastructure – roads, government, health, etc. – and modes of connectivity would take a hit in the second round of impact.

On the other hand, neighbouring Pakistan, which is swiftly transforming itself into a polity dominated by militant-religious groups, could act as a quicksand, further fuelling the contentious disputes about the Durand Line and aggravating border conflicts, setting ablaze both itself and Afghanistan. After all, developments in either country have rarely remained independent, at least in the contemporary era. The power and security vacuum created under such circumstances invariably results in fomenting ground for foreign fighters to commercialise war and reap profits by fighting as mercenaries for the warring factions that pay the maximum rewards. Strategically straddling Central and South Asia, Afghanistan would be appropriately positioned to be the hub of terrorist haven, training camps, and centre of ideological spillover.

While this does not mean granting international recognition to the Taliban government, it means formulating a mechanism to continue delivering aid directly to the Afghans in the long term and empowering them. In addition, there is a necessity to ensure that an international peacekeeping mission is ready for deployment if a wider conflict engulfs Afghanistan. Since raising funds and equipped personnel for such tasks would be a long-drawn-out process, it is pertinent for invested stakeholders, including Russia and China – to carefully review the developments and, through a carrot and stick policy, contain any untoward dilemmas from arising. It has less to do with helping the interim rulers and more to do with assisting the ordinary Afghans in navigating the multi-pronged complexities and preventing the fallout of a broader war from permeating the borders these countries share with Afghanistan.

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Apparent Poor Planning by Putin of the Invasion of Ukraine

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Image source: kremlin.ru

Russia’s first strategy against further enlargement of NATO was to demand, on 15 December 2021, to the U.S. Government; and, two days later, to America’s main anti-Russian military alliance, NATO; that NATO would never add any new member-nations — especially not Ukraine (the only nation that’s within a mere 5-minute’s missile-striking-distance away from nuking Moscow). This very reasonable demand was firmly rejected, on 7 January 2022, by both America and its NATO arm. Worse yet for Russia: after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th, hoping thereby to prevent at least that country joining NATO, both Finland and Sweden were so scared that they might be invaded next, that both countries expressed in early April 2022 a desire to join the anti-Russian alliance, and were welcomed by America and its NATO arm to apply to join. So, even if Russia wins its war in Ukraine, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will have actually failed, because NATO seems now more likely even than before to increase — exactly the opposite of what Russia had been intending.

This is obviously failure on his part. His demand for a halt to NATO’s further expansion was essential for the national security of the Russian people against a possible repeat of Hitler’s “Operation Barbarossa” against Russia but this time with nuclear weapons, which might be the nuclear stage of an invasion that will start with a non-nuclear air-and-ground invasion to grab Russia. However, if there is to be a non-nuclear invasion of Russia, then Russia won’t wait but will immediately respond to it by unleashing against all of the invading countries Russia’s nuclear weapons in order to destroy as much of the U.S.-and-allied retaliatory weapons and command-structures as possible and thereby greatly reduce the intensity of the U.S.-and-allied nuclear response. 

In other words: NATO’s further expansion will lead inevitably to a world-destroying nuclear war. However, America and its allies made clear on January 7th, that they want this. Consequently, Putin had to act, because they forced Russia into a corner, and Russia’s geostrategic situation had become desperate because NATO already had expanded dangerously close to Moscow.

His big blunder was that he should NEVER have invaded Ukraine UNTIL Ukraine would FIRST have invaded Donbas. If he had done that, then many of the billions of people who consider him a war-criminal for his having been the first to invade, would not, and would clearly understand that Zelensky is (because he would have invaded first) and that everyone who participated in Obama’s 2014 Ukrainian coup and its aftermath that has led to this war is a war-criminal, but Russia is acting instead on the basis of the existential threat to Russia that Obama started and is guilty for. I consider Obama a psychopath and the most dangerously evil person in modern times because he started the path to WW III. However, if Putin had prepared in advance for an invasion of Ukraine that would be responding to Ukraine’s invasion to grab back its former Donbas region, then there would have been no cause for Finland, Sweden, or any other non-NATO-member-nation, to be seeking now to become targeted by Russia’s nuclear missiles (which certainly will be done if and when any new nation becomes added to NATO — such a nation would thereby be declaring itself to be an enemy of Russia, and would be treated as such BY Russia).

Given that on January 7th, America and its allies made clear, by their action on that date (saying no to Putin’s entirely reasonable demands), that they are determined to conquer and take over Russia, Russia needed to respond accordingly. However, if that response had instead been to wait for (the long-expected) Ukrainian invasion of Donbas, and invaded Ukraine only AFTER such an invasion was already launched by the U.S. side, then the public image of Russia around the world would now be vastly more favorable toward Russia than is now the case — and vastly less sympathetic to the Ukrainian side than it is. (Especially not favorable to Zelensky if they knew these things about him.)

The PR value to the U.S.-and-allied side, of Russia’s having invaded first, made a vast difference in favor of America’s gang, and against their intended victim, Russia. For example: it enabled the scandalous shipments of tens of billions of dollars worth of U.S.-and-allied weapons into Ukraine, that are increasingly tilting the battlefield into the Ukrainian regime’s favor, to be viewed favorably by Western publics. This wouldn’t have been the case if the war had started with headlines such as “Ukraine Invades Breakaway Republics.” It would instead be seen as arming the aggressor.

If, however, Ukraine — facing such a waiting-game with Russia — were instead to have decided simply not to invade Donbas, then Russia’s continuing waiting-game with all of the U.S. side would have greatly strengthened Russia at the expense of Europe, because Europe is massively dependent upon Russia for gas and oil to heat its buildings and run its factories. Europe’s suicidal choice to cooperate with the sanctions that both U.S. and UK imposed on Russia would cause their economic collapse and possibly even the end of the American empire. Every week of delaying an invasion of Ukraine was consequently adding to Russia’s power over the situation, and weakening America’s power over it. That Russian victory was a real possibility which Russia’s premature invasion of Ukraine likely will prevent (by instead spurring NATO’s growth). As the U.S.’s CIA Director William Burns said in his 9 May 2022 interview in the Financial Times, regarding the likely addition to NATO of Finland and/or Sweden, “These are choices that Putin himself has driven by the ugliness of his aggression against Ukraine.” Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine before Ukraine invaded Donbas was the worst geostrategic decision in modern times. However, it might not necessarily be fatal. My 28 April 2022 article “A More Effective Russian Strategy Against Further Enlargement of NATO” described what might be a way to eke out a win here — both for Russia and for the future of the entire world (except U.S.-and-allied billionaires, controlling owners of firms such as Lockheed Martin and ExxonMobil). It offers a shred of hope, but every day longer that goes without Putin’s doing it, is an additional nail not only in Russia’s coffin but in ours.

Also on May 9th, Putin delivered a speech, in which he said:

Last December we proposed signing a treaty on security guarantees. Russia urged the West to hold an honest dialogue in search for meaningful and compromising solutions, and to take account of each other’s interests. All in vain. NATO countries did not want to heed us, which means they had totally different plans. And we saw it.

Another punitive operation in Donbass, an invasion of our historic lands, including Crimea, was openly in the making. Kiev declared that it could attain nuclear weapons. The NATO bloc launched an active military build-up on the territories adjacent to us.

Thus, an absolutely unacceptable threat to us was steadily being created right on our borders. There was every indication that a clash with neo-Nazis and Banderites backed by the United States and their minions was unavoidable.

Let me repeat, we saw the military infrastructure being built up, hundreds of foreign advisors starting work, and regular supplies of cutting-edge weaponry being delivered from NATO countries. The threat grew every day.

Russia launched a pre-emptive strike at the aggression. It was a forced, timely and the only correct decision.

“Forced” there means that no alternative decision would have better served the national-security needs of the Russian people. I respectfully disagree with that. “Timely” there means that what had been, until February 24th, Russia’s long waiting-game with the U.S. regime and its current stooge-leader in Ukraine, ended at the best possible time and in the appropriate circumstances. I respectfully disagree with that, too. 

However, even if all of what he said there is true, then why is he not, right now, before Finland (the country that, other than Ukraine, has the longest European border with Russia) joins NATO, issuing to Finland the offer that I had described in my 28 April 2022 article “A More Effective Russian Strategy Against Further Enlargement of NATO”? The following is an excerpt from that, describing its core:

Russia will announce that its nuclear missiles will be targeted ONLY against the U.S. and its allies, including all NATO member-nations, no neutral or not-U.S.-allied nations. Consequently: Sweden, Finland, Ukraine, and any other nation that isn’t in NATO or otherwise treaty-bound militarily with the United States, will not be targeted by any Russian nuclear missiles.

In other words: any new NATO member-nation will thereby become a target added to Russia’s list for destruction in any WW III that might transpire between the United States and Russia.

Consequently, if  Finland or Sweden join NATO, then that nation’s likelihood of becoming annihilated if and when a Third World War starts, will enormously and suddenly increase, merely on account of that nation’s having become a NATO member.

Furthermore, Russia will simultaneously be announcing that if any nation wishes to have an assurance that Russia will never, under any circumstance, invade it, then Russia will welcome from that nation a request for such an assurance from Russia; and Russia will include in that announcement explicit invitations not only to Finland and Sweden, but to all other nations which have, at some time, expressed an intention or a possible future intention to join either NATO or one of America’s other anti-Russia military alliances, such as AUKUS.

In any event, regardless of whether Putin or I am right on the question of whether the “pre-emptive” nature of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was “forced” and “timely,” would it not — now and going forward on this — serve the interests of the Russian people, and the interests of the Finnish people, and the interests of the whole world (except perhaps U.S.-and-allied billionaires), for Russia, right now, to make this offer, right now? 

An alternative to joining the U.S. regime’s alliance to conquer Russia needs to be offered to any nation that is considering, or might consider, joining the U.S. gang. Is that not so? And is that not, really, the ultimate question here (regardless of whether or not Russia’s invasion on February 24th was not only forced, but, also, timely)? So: when will that offer be made; or else, why won’t it be? Shouldn’t Putin be asked that question?

Author’s note: first posted at The Duran

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