Monday, February 24, 2020

Sir John, You Should Have Copywrited That Nuke COA

Either we are playing a clunky game of "build a little of something to entice the Russians to come to the negotiating table" or we are doing some highly questionable thinking about nuclear war.

If the later, then there is so much wrong here, I'm not sure where to start.
Russia fires a nuclear weapon at a U.S. installation overseas. The U.S. retaliates in kind. How does it all play out?

U.S. Strategic Command simulated that scenario for Defense Secretary Mark Esper during a visit this week to Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. The exercise is part of the Pentagon’s routine slate of wargames and other events that it uses to consider its steps if nuclear war erupts, and comes as the U.S. is pursuing so-called “tactical” nuclear weapons to counter similar assets in Russia’s stockpile.
Of all the possible uses of nuclear weapons that I can ponder, sure this is one of them, but it stands somewhere down around #45 in all likelihood.

Why did they pick this one? What it lacks in probability, it makes up for with illogic.

Does anyone really see the most pressing thing SECDEF needs to ponder when it comes to nuclear weapons something as stupid as the Russians dropping one - 1 - nuke on ... where exactly?

They are not going to drop (1) nuke on a place where we have nukes stored, as anyone with 5-minutes to think about it would know that would trigger a massive "use it or lose it" response.

Where, exactly, would the Russians send (1) nuke as a signaling device?

A google search will tell you which bases we have nukes at in Europe with a NATO stamp on them. Take those off your list. 

We also know they won't nuke the UK - they have their own nuclear weapons and attack there doubles the response-risk to the Russians.

Naples? That packed coastal town next to an active volcano? No.

Sigonella? Sure, nuking the side of another active volcano sounds like winner. No.

The heart of Bavaria? Really? Anyone review fallout patterns recently?

There is no such thing in the 21st Century as a "tactical" nuke. You don't nuke densely populated modern nations just once and expect it to end there. You will lose control of everything within 36-hrs.

Do we really have our best and brightest in the loop here?
A recent Slate article noted that, in a different scenario, Obama-era National Security Council members looked at how the U.S. might react if Russia invaded a Baltic state and fired a low-yield nuke at NATO troops or at a base in Germany.

“The principals decided we had to respond with nuclear weapons, to maintain credibility among our allies and adversaries,” according to Slate. “They decided to fire a few nuclear weapons at the former Soviet republic of Belarus, even though, in the game, it had no involvement in the Russian attacks—and then they ended the game, without playing the next few steps.”
I appears not. I hope they actually stopped the game because they realized their wargame is being played by idiots.

Belarus? Really? It isn't even Russia. Besides that, all they did was steal a plot twist from General Sir John Hackett's, 1982 novel, The Third World War: The Untold Story.

I'm sorry, but that is frankly bullsh1t, a waste of time, talent, & intellect.

Unless ... this is just a ploy to bluff the Russians to come to the negotiating table.
“We have no intention to field a new low-yield system in Europe,” the defense official added. “Our response to the Russian violation [of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty] is a conventional response. We’ll respond with conventional cruise missiles and conventional ballistic missiles of the range that’s captured by the INF Treaty, but we have no intention to make it nuclear-capable, nor have we actually spoken to the allies about basing it on their territory at this time.”

DOD is developing other nuclear weapons to counter foreign stockpiles as well, including ground- and sea-launched cruise missiles. The INF Treaty banned deployment of ground-based ballistic and cruise missiles, nuclear or conventional, built to strike targets between 500 and 5,500 kilometers away. The U.S. left the treaty last August in protest that Russia was flouting the pact.

Esper told reporters Feb. 19 he believes the Russians should count both strategic and non-strategic nuclear weapons under a renegotiated version of the New START Treaty, which dictates stockpile sizes and expires next year.
Let's hope that is the case. If so, then it is a clunckingly transparent one ... and will probably work.

Maybe if we were not being clever, we may stumble in to an opportunity.

Finally, I'm going to bring one of my hobby horses out of the bunker. Feast on this pic;

We have a Navy Admiral wearing camo utilities in a bunker in Nebraska while SECDEF is visiting while wearing a tie.

Your boss in your guest and you make him look overdressed.


I'm sorry, this habit - you see it in DC every day - is insulting and narcissistically unprofessional. On top of that ... you are a Navy Admiral. If you wanted to be a ground guy, you are a few decades too late in making that call. This isn't COSPLAY for the wannabe, this is the US Navy. Dress the part or go home.

That is the minor point, but I will tell you this; not matching the attire of a guest of honor, and especially if that guest is your boss, is the height of rudeness. 

Manners matter.

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