The New York Times thinks that Putin might use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine, but there is a flaw in the Times’ reasoning. Putin has nothing to gain from a nuclear blast and everything to lose. A nuclear weapon will not help Putin win the war in Ukraine, in fact, it would further deepen Russia’s isolation, strengthen the position of Russia’s enemies, and create a justification for NATO to enter the war. Putin would become a global pariah overnight inviting even harsher economic sanctions and criticism while greatly undermining his prospects for success in Ukraine. Detonating a nuclear device in Ukraine would undoubtedly prove to be the biggest mistake in Putin’s 22 year-long political career.
Only Washington stands to gain from a nuclear explosion in Ukraine because only Washington would benefit from a wider war that involved NATO. But the Times never mentions Washington in its analysis because–according to the Times–the only person capable of such perfidy is Vladimir Putin which strongly suggests that the list of suspects was determined before the article was even written. But, why? Why is the Times’ trying to incriminate Putin for an incident that has not yet taken place and for which other suspects have a clear motive? Is this a preemptive frame-up intended to shape public opinion on some future event? It sure looks like it. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“The White House has quietly assembled a team of national security officials to sketch out scenarios of how the United States and its allies should respond if Russian President Vladimir Putin — frustrated by his lack of progress in Ukraine or determined to warn Western nations against intervening in the war — unleashes his stockpiles of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.
The Tiger Team, as the group is known, is also examining responses if Putin reaches into NATO territory to attack convoys bringing weapons and aid to Ukraine, according to several officials involved in the process.” (“U.S. Makes Contingency Plans in Case Russia Uses Its Most Powerful Weapons“, New York Times)
Notice how the information is presented. The author assumes the tone of an objective and well-informed observer who is imparting his privileged information to 5 million of his closest friends. He provides zero hard-evidence to support his claims nor does he positively identify any of the officials in this elusive “Tiger Team”. In fact, by Sanger’s own admission, the members of this clandestine club only “spoke on the condition of anonymity,” which basically relieves the author of any responsibility to verify his claims.
But let’s ignore the article’s shortcomings for a minute and focus on the central assertion, that “White House has quietly assembled a team of national security officials” to explore the possibility that Putin might use WMD in Ukraine because he is “frustrated”. That seems particularly unlikely, after all, it takes more than a “hunch” about Putin’s mental state to convene a special advisory panel at the highest level of the national security state. So, while it might sound believable within the context of Sanger’s overall storyline, it’s highly improbable. There would have to be some extremely compelling intelligence suggesting that something serious was afoot, like the suspected transfer of nukes to locations closer to the front. That would certainly do the trick; that would precipitate the kind of response that Sanger is talking about, not just someone’s psycho-babble analysis of Putin’s alleged mood-swings. That’s not how government works.
Of course, we cannot prove that Sanger is lying, but the lack of any corroborating evidence or positive identification of the officials involved, coupled with the sketchy assertion that a special “hush-hush” Team was slapped together in response to Putin’s “frustration” makes us suspect that Sanger is not objectively reporting on events but crafting a narrative for some unknown agenda. Even so, we don’t dismiss what he says out-of-hand because the issue of nuclear weapons is too serious to ignore. So, we’ll move on to the next two paragraphs:
“Just a month ago, such scenarios seemed more theoretical. But today, from the White House to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, a recognition has set in that Russia may turn to the most powerful weapons in its arsenal to bail itself out of a military stalemate.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg underscored the urgency of the preparation effort Wednesday, telling reporters for the first time that even if the Russians employ weapons of mass destruction only inside Ukraine, they may have “dire consequences” for people in NATO nations. He appeared to be discussing the fear that chemical or radioactive clouds could drift over the border. One issue under examination is whether such collateral damage would be considered an “attack” on NATO under its charter, which might require a joint military response.” (“U.S. Makes Contingency Plans in Case Russia Uses Its Most Powerful Weapons”, New York Times)
Once again, the author’s analysis draws mainly from conjecture and the incendiary statements of public officials, but where are the facts? So far, there is not a scintilla of evidence to back up Sanger’s claims. Having heard many similar unverified claims in the last few weeks, we have to assume that the allegations may be nothing more than talking points that were conjured up to smear Putin and to lay the groundwork for a false flag operation that could be used to justify NATO’s intervention in the war. Is that Sanger’s real assignment, building a case for NATO intervention?
What is noticeably absent from Sanger’s analysis is the fact that Putin would be the last one to initiate a nuclear attack knowing that any such incident would be used by his enemies to widen the conflict and, possibly, derail the Russian military operation. No, the only people who stand to gain anything are the neocons in the State Department (and their allies in the Intel agencies and media) who see NATO involvement as critical to their geopolitical ambitions. If NATO stays out of the war, Russia wins, it’s that simple. And that is the outcome the neocons want to avoid at all cost. Here’s more:
“These are questions that Europe has not confronted since the depths of the Cold War… and many (leaders) have never had to think about nuclear deterrence or the effects of the detonation of battlefield nuclear weapons, designed to be less powerful than those that destroyed Hiroshima. The fear is that Russia is more likely to use those weapons, precisely because they erode the distinction between conventional and nuclear arms.
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., who heads the Armed Services Committee, said on Wednesday that if Putin used a weapon of mass destruction — chemical, biological or nuclear — “there would be consequences” even if the weapon’s use was confined to Ukraine. Reed said radiation from a nuclear weapon, for instance, could waft into a neighboring NATO country and be considered an attack on a NATO member….” (“U.S. Makes Contingency Plans in Case Russia Uses Its Most Powerful Weapons”, New York Times)
Wait a minute: It wasn’t Putin who withdrew from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF) nor did Russia develop an entire new regime of low-yield “usable” nuclear weapons. That was the United States; just like it was the US under Obama that refused to abandon its first-strike policy (National Posture Review) that allows Washington to preemptively use nuclear weapons if it thinks its national security is threatened. So, if we had to hazard a guess about ‘Who might use a nuclear weapon in a false flag operation in Ukraine’, Uncle Sam would top the list.
“There now is a push to overturn existing U.S. policy barring the development of new nuclear warheads or nuclear weapons for new military missions in order to build new types of “more usable” nuclear weapons. In December 2016, the advisory Defense Science Board recommended the development of a “tailored nuclear option for limited use”… The pursuit of new nuclear weapons, however, would represent a radical reversal of existing U.S. nuclear policy and practice, which stipulates that the “fundamental role of U.S. nuclear weapons is to deter nuclear attack.” (New, ‘More Usable’ Nukes? No, Thanks, Arms Control Association)
He’s right, the “fundamental role of nuclear weapons is to deter nuclear attack,” but that doctrine has changed. In fact, there are a number of fanatics in the Deep State who appear to be looking for the right opportunity to use one of these low-yield nukes. Naturally, this has the Russians quite concerned. Here’s how Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergie Ryabkov, summed it up recently:
“This reflects the fact that the US is actually lowering the nuclear threshold and that they are conceding the possibility of the waging a limited nuclear war and winning this war. This is extremely alarming.” (You Tube)
“The US arguments for fielding low-yield nuclear warheads is intended to blur the lines between strategic and non-strategic nuclear weapons which inevitably leads to the lowering of the nuclear threshold and the growing threat of nuclear war…. Those who like to theorize about the flexibility of US nuclear capability, must understand in line with Russian Military Doctrine, that such actions (using low-yield nukes) will be seen as warranting retaliatory use of nuclear weapons by Russia.” (“Russia slams US argument for low-yield n-warheads”, You Tube)
It’s not Russia that’s “lowering the nuclear threshold” and making the case that nuclear weapons are “usable”, it’s Washington. And that is why we think there is a constituency in Washington for using a nuclear device in Ukraine.
That’s also why we are spending so much time parsing Sanger’s article which appears to have been maliciously crafted to prepare the public for a false flag operation that will undoubtedly be quickly blamed on Putin.
“The Pentagon argues the weapon is necessary to counter what it says is Russia’s willingness to use low-yield nuclear weapons, first to gain an advantage over the United States and its allies in a regional conflict and secondly, to prevail in such a war…. the stated purpose is to make their use “more credible” in the eyes of U.S. adversaries, which means that they are meant to be seen as “more usable.” (“Pentagon Deployment of New, “More Usable” Nuclear Weapon Is a Grave Mistake“, Just Security)
See what I mean? The Pentagon is making the case that low-yield Nukes–which can blow up a city the size of Hiroshima, and which are already deployed on Trident subs around the world– are “usable”. This is a fundamental change in US Nuclear Doctrine. (which emphasizes “deterrence”) Also, it is wrong to say that Russia has developed low-yield nuclear weapons. That’s not true. Russia’s nukes come in a range of sizes, but they have never explicitly developed nukes with the intention of reducing their impact so they could be used on the battlefield. Russia’s nuclear doctrine ONLY allows the use of nukes if the country faces an existential crisis, that is, if Russia’s very survival is at risk. For Russia, nuclear weapons are the last resort. Here’s more from Sanger’s article:
“A U.S. official said Biden remained adamant about keeping U.S. forces out of Ukraine. But the official said the administration believed it would be misguided not to closely examine the thresholds, if any, under which the president would reverse himself, or to be prepared to deal with the consequences of the use of weapons of mass destruction.
A senior administration official said any use of a “small” tactical nuclear bomb by Russia — even inside Ukraine and not directed at a NATO member — would mean that “all bets are off” on the United States and NATO staying out of the war. But when pushed, the official declined to lay out the responses under discussion.
The official said American and NATO intelligence communities had not seen any activity by Russian military officials that suggested preparations to use a nuclear weapon. But he said that during internal discussions, administration officials were urging caution, because there was more at stake than just Ukraine…” (New York Times)
So, Sanger waits until the very end of his article to tell us what we should have figured out from the very beginning; that he’s got nothing; no facts, no reliable intelligence, and no expert corroboration to support the basic thesis. Nada.
The article is an exercise in perception management. That’s all. Sanger’s job is not to produce evidence or convey the truth. His job is to put the seed-thought into peoples’ minds that if a chemical or nuclear attack takes place in Ukraine, the motive and the identity of the perpetrator will have already been revealed by the Times. Sanger is using the power of insinuation and innuendo to divert attention from other, more likely, suspects, (Like Uncle Sam) in order to frame Putin. More importantly, he is building the case for a broader and more violent conflict which, as always, will be spearheaded by the New York Times.
[su_panel background="#d5e3f7" color="#101215" border="5px solid #4c3a3a" shadow="3px 1px 2px #eeeeee" radius="3"]Mike Whitney is an independent writer and photographer residing in Washington State.[/su_panel]
^3000US citizens have no real political representation.
We don't live in a democracy. And our freedom is disappearing fast.
I don't want to be ruled by hypocrites, whores, and war criminals.
What about you? Time to push back against the corporate oligarchy.
And its multitude of minions and lackeys.
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