Here’s why the West should finally listen to Russia’s warnings — RT World News

The recent squabble over provocations, which has tested Moscow's red lines, shows that simply ignoring the Kremlin will no longer work

We have experienced an acute, if muted, crisis in the ongoing political-military confrontation between Russia and the West via Ukraine. The crux of this crisis is simple: Kiev and its Western backers have lost the initiative in the proxy war in Ukraine and may be on the verge of defeat, as senior Western officials increasingly have. He confesses.

In response to this self-imposed US impasse, several important Western players have threatened further escalation. Most notably, Great Britain's Foreign Secretary David Cameron publicly encouraged Kiev to use British Storm Shadow missiles to strike Russia. French President Emmanuel Macron continued to threaten direct intervention – not covert, as is the case at present – by French forces, that is, NATO forces (in addition, there is an interesting and much discussed intervention). condition It was reported that the deployment of 1,500 soldiers from the French Foreign Legion had already begun. While her sources have been difficult to evaluate, her claims seem too plausible to be easily dismissed.)

In return, Moscow issued a set of stark warnings, setting – or highlighting – red lines. He. She Announced exercises With tactical nuclear weapons. Belarus I did the same thing; In the case of Minsk, the weapons in question are of course also Russian. In addition, the British and French ambassadors received a very frank talk about the dangers to which their governments are exposed.

In its speech in London, Moscow made clear that hitting Kiev inside Russia with British missiles would expose Britain to danger 'Disastrous consequences' particularly, Russian retaliation against British forces anywhere. Regarding France, Moscow criticized its position “warrior” And “provocative” behavior And challenge it as useless French attempts at production “strategic ambiguity”

Currently, this particular crisis appears to have abated. There is some evidence that the West got the message. NATO character Jens StoltenbergFor example, NATO has insisted that NATO does not plan to send troops – overtly – to Ukraine.

However, it would be a mistake to feel too reassured. This is because this crisis was, in essence, a conflict between a Western problem that has by no means disappeared, on the one hand, and an ongoing Russian policy, on the other side, which many in the West seem to reject. To take it seriously enough.

The Western problem is that defeat at the hands of Russia would be orders of magnitude worse than the fiasco of withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. Ironically, this is because the West itself has accused its unnecessary confrontation with Russia of force. To cause unprecedented damage to NATO and the European Union:

First, by insisting that Ukraine be treated almost as a de facto member of NATO, which means that Moscow, by defeating it, would also defeat Washington's main alliance. Second, by investing increasingly large sums of money and supplies in this proxy war, the West has weakened itself and, perhaps more importantly, exposed its own weakness. Third, by trying to destroy Russia's economy and international standing. The failure of both attempts has strengthened Russia's power in these two areas, once again revealing more of the limits of Western power. Fourth, by radically subordinating the EU to NATO and Washington, geopolitical damage has been exploited.

In short, when the Ukrainian crisis began in 2013/14 and then escalated dramatically in 2022, Russia had vital security interests at stake; The West did not do that. But so far the West has made choices that have strengthened this conflict and its outcomes with the potential to cause great strategic damage to its credibility, cohesion, and power: overexpansion has consequences. This, in short, is the reason why the West reached a dead end and remains there after this crisis.

On the other side, we have this continuing policy of Moscow, its nuclear doctrine. Much Western commentary tends to overlook or downplay this factor, caricaturing Russia's repeated warnings about nuclear weapons. “Sabers rattle.” However, in reality, these warnings are consistent expressions of a policy that has been developing since the early 2000s, that is, for almost a quarter of a century.

A key feature of this doctrine is that Russia explicitly reserves the option of using nuclear weapons at a relatively early stage in a major conflict and before an adversary resorts to them. Many Western analysts have described the purpose of this position as facilitating a strategy “Escalation to de-escalation” (sometimes abbreviated as E2DE), here specifically meaning ending a conventional conflict on favorable terms through the limited use of nuclear weapons to deter an adversary from continuing.

the condition “Escalation to de-escalation” appeared in the WestNot Russia, and this Western interpretation of Russian policy has played an important role in Western politics and debates, thus It has its critics as well. Additionally – but this is a separate question – some analysts point out that the idea of ​​E2DE is not so much in any country's national ownership as something inherent in the logic of nuclear strategy, that other nuclear powers have similar policies, and that the whole idea, and whoever is adopting it, It may not work.

In addition, Russian nuclear doctrine is complex, as might be expected. While French President Emmanuel Macron used to brag about the constant volatility, which he described as… “Strategic ambiguity” Moscow is able to inflict some real, measured uncertainty on its adversaries, with less ostentation but more effectively. Hence, one aspect of its nuclear doctrine asserts that nuclear weapons can only be used if the existence of the Russian state is in danger, As just confirmed once again Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. But to misunderstand this as a promise that Moscow will do so Just Using nuclear weapons if Moscow is under siege and half of Russia's territory or population is already gone would be foolish.

Indeed, there is also room in its nuclear doctrine to address the problem Territorial integrity and unconditional sovereignty Russia as critical thresholds. How do we know? From various Russian documents, there is no need to mention them here because Ryabkov reminded us of this aspect of Moscow's policy as well. In the same statement in which he emphasized the standard “The existence of the state.” Take that, Emmanuel.

There seems to be a final point that needs to be highlighted as well: Russia has never restricted its option to use nuclear weapons, or any kind of weapon, in a specific local conflict zone, for example, Ukraine. The opposite is true. Moscow explicitly reserves the right to strike beyond the boundaries of this battlefield. This is something that President Vladimir Putin made clear in his speech to the Russian Federal Assembly in February of this year. This is exactly the message that Britain also received in the latest crisis.

Whichever way you analyze it, Russia's official nuclear doctrine carries specific messages for potential adversaries. Moscow has applied this principle consistently throughout the Ukraine war and in its recent warnings – through training and diplomatic endeavors – to its Western adversaries.

But there is a problem: the West has a history of insisting on not hearing Russian messages. That's how we ended up in this war in the first place. Russia has repeatedly warned the West since President Vladimir Putin's famous speech at the Munich Security Conference in 2007, at the latest. The last major warning came in late 2021, when Russia — with Sergei Ryabkov, incidentally, at the forefront — offered the West what turned out to be a final opportunity to abandon its unilateral policies and specifically NATO expansion, and negotiate instead a security framework. new. The West ignored this offer. With nuclear weapons at hand, it is time for Western elites to finally learn to listen when Russia sends a serious warning.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of RT.

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