An alternative to nuclear war

There has been speculation that a desperate Putin, if backed into a corner, might use tactical nuclear weapons and that this might escalate. The article below indicates that Putin, rather than risk a no-win nuclear war, might inflict catastrophic pain on those European countries supporting Ukraine by blowing up the undersea electricity, gas and electronic data cables that enable European countries to function economically. A crippled Europe would then probably cease to support Ukraine.

We do not regard the Daily Mail as particularly reliable source but the following excerpts from a recent article are very interesting indeed:

NATO fears Russia may have laid mines on critical European undersea infrastructure points

Russia may have already mined Europe’s critical underwater infrastructure, NATO representatives fear, as its intelligence chief warned on Wednesday Russia may sabotage them to punish Western nations for supporting Ukraine.

The alliance is seeking to boost efforts to protect undersea pipes and cables following attacks on the Nordstream pipeline in September last year, which saw three of the four main lines which transports gas from Russia to Germany damaged.

Threats to undersea cables and pipelines have become a focus of public attention since the as-yet unexplained explosions crippled the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea.

Threats to undersea cables and pipelines have become a focus of public attention since the as-yet unexplained explosions crippled the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea.

The alliance is so concerned by the threat of energy disruption it set up the Critical Undersea Infrastructure Coordination Cell in February, which seeks to monitor Russian espionage under the command of Lieutenant General Hans-Werner Wiermann, a retired German military officer.

Intelligence chief David Cattler said on Wednesday: ‘There are heightened concerns that Russia may target undersea cables and other critical infrastructure in an effort to disrupt Western life, to gain leverage against those nations that are providing security to Ukraine.

He added: ‘Russia is actively mapping allied critical infrastructure both on land and on the seabed.’

Mr Cattler said NATO vessels are patrolling more throughout the Atlantic than in recent years and have also stepped up activities in the North and Baltic seas.

‘Altogether, they carry an estimated 10 trillion US dollars worth of financial transactions every day, so these cables really are an economic linchpin.’

He warned NATO’s adversaries were realising the huge strategic advantage of being able to threaten the security of Western internet, energy and financial systems.

‘There are strong suspicions that cables or pipelines have been mined. Companies have their own highly classified information. We have a lot of suspicions,’ a NATO official told the Times.

13 Replies to “An alternative to nuclear war”

  1. Clearly the Nordstream incident was a warning. No-one took any notice so now it’s been leaked to the Daily Mail to make it more believable than the theory of some erudite defence columnist in The Times. Yes! Time to pull out of Ukraine folks. Now they need a reason e.g. Zelensky interferes with little boys or some such (just wait). Clearly, the Daily Mail cannot be seen to influence foreign policy. Let’s hope Rishi Sunak is smart enough to get the message.

  2. More an adjunct than an alternative, perhaps.
    A more incremental technique highlighting the perceived vulnerabilities of technological change , whether real or not. It does alert to the need for contingencies which seem to be often neglected at the alter of expediency in much of our industrialised society.

    1. “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.”

      Jacob, the article does not discuss “the end of the world”. That is your interpretation.

      1. Yes, I know. It’s not the end of the world, but for many people and a few peoples it may well be. Actually, the point I made in a roundabout way is; it’s geopolitical and the three big powers are manoeuvring and competing even when they are conniving.
        I would not be at all surprised if in due course it were to become clear to us, and en public acknowledged, that they have been conniving all along. The people who are in charge of the big three lose nothing and have a stake in affairs which may see them a lot more powerful and wealthy yet,… if it doesn’t blow up in their faces.
        Actually, I wouldn’t bet on the Moscow government surviving this.

        1. Jacob Yes! If you have the opportunity watch Series One of “The Diplomat” on Netflix.

  3. “ A crippled Europe would then probably cease to support Ukraine.”
    ….or it would consider it an attack on the EU, and go all-in.

  4. The underlying assumption of this post is “a desperate Putin, if backed into a corner”.

    What if there is not a desparate, but a winning and confident Putin, who has up to now reached a considerable amount of the goals that he had set himself? Are we aware what his goals are, which he clearly stated at the beginning of the SMO:

    1. Self-determination of the people of eastern Ukraine,
    2. Demilitarization of Ukraine,
    3. No NATO membership of Ukraine,
    4. De-nazification of Ukraine.

    The fundamental misunderstanding in the west is that we are thinking in terms of land gains, which mean verly little to the Russians. The two offensives of the Ukrainians and the following apparent “stalemate” (as we call it) over months has cost Ukraine about 300,000 soldiers killed and a similar number wounded, facing 20,000 rounds of artillery every day. The coming Ukrainian offensive will most likely be like the “Ardenne offensive of WWII”, Ukraine as well as the West have to a great deal run out of ammunition and military equipment, there is hardy any more Ukrainian air defense. The side effect of this war is not only the demilitarization of Ukraine, but of Europe and most of NATO as well.

    On the economic field one can say, that all the western sanctions against Russia have failed, with the only result of impoverishing Europe and de-industrializing Germany, greatly enhanced by our own green-dominated government. Sometimes I say, that the Morgenthau Plan would have been a welfare program compared to what we are going to face from the anti Russian (and expected anti-Chinese) sanctions and from our lunatic government.

    At the same time Russia is flourishing, not making the Sowjet mistake of stepping up military production at the cost of civilian, but improving both.

    Regarding geopolitics, 19 countries want to join BRICS, and day by day we see de-dollarization in international trade relations.

    So why should Putin be desparate? This view exists only in the western media.
    In the old days of the cold war 90% of western intelligence about Russia was collected by reading their newspapers and official publications. Why aren’t we doing this today, in order to learn how they think – in particular if we consider them as an enemy?

    Putin is very open and direct regarding his intentions, one only needs to listen to him. A good place to start is his speech and the following discussion at the Valdai conference in 2022:

    SMO = “Special Military Operation”, i.e. the war in the Ukraine.

    1. Maybe, DW had this to say:
      “ Russia’s Wagner paramilitary, which has been at the forefront of the monthslong battle to capture Bakhmut, announced it shall withdraw from the region on May 10.

      Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a statement on Friday that the lack of ammunition was the reason for the withdrawal. He blamed Russia’s defense ministry.

      “I’m pulling Wagner units out of Bakhmut because in the absence of ammunition they’re doomed to perish senselessly,” the group’s chief said.

      Wagner’s positions in Bakhmut will be transferred to Russia’s regular forces, Prigozhin said.

      Prigozhin published on Friday a video of himself standing among dozens of bloodied corpses, where he blamed Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu for the losses Wagner has suffered in Ukraine.

      He addressed Shoigu, telling him Wagner had a “70% shortage of ammunition” and asking where the ammunition was. Prigozhin said that the group’s losses would be five times smaller if adequate supplies were available.

      “These are Wagner lads who died today. The blood is still fresh,” Prigozhin said, pointing to the corpses around him. “They came here as volunteers and they’re dying so you can get fat in your offices.””
      I’m not convinced they’re meeting their KPIs.

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