Putin uses nuclear weapons to confront the West

Although it has been some time since the open threat of nuclear weapons was made public by a world leader in such a manner, Vladimir Putin just did it.

Putin uses nuclear weapons to confront the West

He warned that he has the weapons if anyone attempts to stop Russia from taking over Ukraine.

Although the threat was not real, it was merely a barrage of fangs from Putin, but it was noted. It sparked nightmares about a scenario in which Putin's ambitions to take over Ukraine could result in a nuclear war by accident or miscalculation.

Putin stated that Russia is still one of the most powerful and influential nuclear states, even though the USSR was disintegrated and a significant part of its capabilities has been lost. This was in his pre-invasion speech on Thursday morning.

It also has an advantage in many cutting-edge weaponry. If it attacks our country directly, this should not be a surprise.

Putin suggested a nuclear response by merely mentioning the possibility of a conflict between Russia and the United States.

People who grew up during Cold War times are familiar with this apocalyptic scenario. In those days, American schoolchildren were instructed to cover their desks and duck under their desks in the event of nuclear sirens. But the danger slowly faded after the fall and dissolution of Soviet Union. The two countries seemed to be on a smooth path to disarmament and democracy, and prosperity.

Even young people knew the frightening.idea behind mutual assured destruction (or MAD) before that. This was a strategy in nuclear capability that kept each side from the atomic trigger. It was intended to prevent either side from using the doomsday weapon, which could lead to the end of a conflict.

Amazingly, no country has ever used nuclear weapons since 1945 when President Harry Truman dropped bombs against Japan believing it would be the fastest way to end World War II. However, it did result in the loss of around 200,000 civilian lives in Hiroshima/Nagasaki. Many people around the globe consider that a crime against humanity, and wonder if it was worth it.

The United States held a temporary nuclear monopoly for a short time following the war. However, the Soviet Union declared its own nuclear bomb a few years later and both sides engaged in an arms race to develop and build more powerful weapons over the following decades.

The end of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the transformation of that country into a desired democracy under Boris Yeltsin led to the United States and Russia agreeing to limit their armaments. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, other post-Soviet nations like Ukraine and Belarus gave up their nukes.

Recent years have seen nuclear weapons being discussed in context of stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons to countries such as Iran and North Korea. (Iran denies it wants them, and North Korea has been steadily building its nuclear weapons.

Many were shocked when Donald Trump, the former U.S. president, impliedly threatened to use nuclear weapons against North Korea in august 2017. Trump spoke before diplomacy, and Kim's illegitimate summits began in the next year. Trump said that North Korea should not make further threats to the United States. He spoke at his Bedminster, N.J. golf club.

Since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, President Joe Biden was aware of the risk of nuclear war between Russia (NATO) and Ukraine. He has stated that NATO will not send troops to Ukraine since it could lead to direct fighting between Russia and the U.S., possibly leading towards nuclear escalation, and even World War III.

It was a tacit admission by the United States that it would not engage in military action against the Russians over Ukraine and instead relied on extraordinary sanctions to slowly strangle the Russian economy.

However, the admission was not complete without another truth. Ukraine was left on its own in fighting against a Russian invasion because it is not a NATO member and therefore does not qualify for nuclear protection.

Biden stated that if Putin attempted to attack any of America's NATO partners but it would be a completely different situation because the pact was fully committed to mutual defence.

Knowing that Biden had already rejected a military response, Putin didn't bother to bring it up in his speech.

He may have wanted to maintain balance with the West, in order to stop it from aggressively defending Ukraine against Putin's blitzkrieg drive for takeover.

The deeper meaning of his desire to demonstrate to the world that Russia was a powerful country, should not be overlooked, seemed to be the context. Putin speaks repeatedly about Russia's humiliation after the Soviet collapse. He echoed the brazen stare of the Soviet Union at the United States, waving his nuclear sword and earning respect.

The Pentagon responded to Putin's speech with a muted response. They did not respond to Putin's threat of using nuclear weapons against any country trying to intervene in Ukraine.

On Thursday, a senior defense official spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss internal deliberations. He said that U.S. officials don't perceive an increased threat, but would not go into detail.

Putin's words touch a nerve at the Pentagon, as it highlights a long-standing concern that Putin might be prepared to use nuclear weapons in Europe in an emergency.

Washington tried unsuccessfully for years to persuade Moscow not to limit so-called tactical nukes -- weapons with a shorter range that could be used in a war. Russia holds a significant numerical advantage in this weaponry and officials claim that the gap is growing.

Coincidentally, as the Biden administration was finishing up the Nuclear Posture Review (a study of possible changes in U.S. nukes and the policies that govern them) Russia's troop buildup close to Ukraine reached crisis stage this month. It is unclear if the results of that study will be revised in light Russian invasion.