By Kung Chan
After rounds of successive defeats in the Ukraine war, Russian President Vladimir Putin has now threatened to use nuclear weapons. He is too desperate that he would use any means at this moment.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sees the issue in the same way, saying in a recent interview with CBS that he doesn’t think Putin is “bluffing” about the nuclear threat. Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons could become a reality, he said. “He wants to scare the whole world. These are the first steps of his nuclear blackmail. I don’t think he’s bluffing. I think the world is deterring it and containing this threat. We need to keep putting pressure on him and not allow him to continue”, Zelenskyy noted.
Nuclear war is something serious. Zelenskyy has previously said that Russia’s use of it is to scare the world. The Ukrainian President appears to change his mind this time, which means that this is something peculiar. In essence, what he said is that,
1. The United States, Ukraine, and possibly some other Western countries have shared intelligence that Russia is going to launch a nuclear war. This time, it is not a “bluff”. Russia is really preparing to do so.
2. The United States takes this nuclear threat seriously and is taking proactive action to prevent Russia from doing so.
3. There is not much that Ukraine and Europe can do if Russia does use nuclear weapons. Germany for instance not only will not be able to do anything, but it will also be against others from taking action. France too will abstain from doing anything further, and even if it has nuclear weapons, it will not have the courage to act. Therefore, the whole of Europe may not do anything except distributing some anti-radiation pills. In short, Europe cannot stop Putin.
4. The United States, on the other hand, can do many things, even stopping Putin from launching the nuclear war, but that is where “nuclear equilibrium theory” comes in.
The theory of nuclear equilibrium mainly includes two aspects. First, it is the nuclear equilibrium that prevents nuclear war, not any nuclear weapons agreement nor the humanitarian motive of the weapon-possessing nations. It is the fear of the mutual-destruction that creates the equilibrium, and this has been the case for decades. Second, nuclear equilibrium emphasizes the balance of power. It is only when different countries own similar amounts of nuclear weapons that the equilibrium could exist. As for those countries with only dozens or hundreds of nuclear weapons, it is practically not much of use, and they can be destroyed at any time.
What the United States can do now is act according to the theory of nuclear equilibrium. It is also easy for it to stop Russia, i.e., convincing Russia that if nuclear weapons are used, the United States will retaliate with nuclear weapons as well. To prevent Putin from taking risks out of desperation, it must convince Russia that after a nuclear war is triggered, the United States will not tolerate the nuclear power being controlled solely by Russia, which means that the equilibrium has been completely broken. Therefore, once a nuclear war is launched by Russia, the United States will have no option but counterattack to the point where Russia is annihilated. It will be the denuclearization of the world by means of “de-Russification”, so to speak, to achieve equilibrium again.
This is not mere empty talk. In fact, such a thing has been done in the United States before. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, American nuclear bombers, nuclear submarines, and militia nuclear missiles were all close to launching. Humanity is never at a far distance from a nuclear war.
There does not seem to be any other solutions.
Through the nuclear equilibrium theory, we can see that this is actually equivalent to a tug of war. The world’s peace is rather fragile now, and the reason is the stalemate of nuclear weapons. Whichever party launches a nuclear war first will be the loser, as according to the nuclear equilibrium theory that party will bear the responsibility as it is the beginning of the imbalance.
While the Russians and the North Koreans might do whatever Putin commands them to do, so as to prevent nuclear war, the United States and the West will defend their way of life, and will not make such choices out of fear, and would choose death over the other option.
About the author:
Founder of ANBOUND Think Tank, is one of China’s renowned experts in information analysis. Most of his academic research activities are in economic information analysis, particularly in the area of public policy.
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