- Jan 28, 2006
From the piece @number 1 posted:Counterpoint: Nukes.
If Russia didn't have nukes, we would have at minimum enforced a no fly zone by now, if not a full-on Gulf War style air campaign. The Russian air force and their air defense haven't even managed to shut down the Ukrainian air force, so NATO would be having a field day.
But, Russia has nukes. 6500 of them. As much of an insane humanitarian tragedy as the invasion is, nuclear war would be much, much worse. Any argument for NATO involvement has to face that fact, and argue that Putin will not cross that line and let the genie out of the bottle. With how Putin's been acting, that's a worrying prospect.
I don't think it's ideology keeping NATO out, I think it's that fact that trying to save Kyiv with direct intervention could cost us Kyiv, Moscow, Berlin, London, New York and essentially every other major population center.
"The American fear of escalation has been a repeated note throughout this conflict. But to the extent American leaders express that sentiment, or spread such notions to receptive reporters, they make matters worse, giving the Russians a psychological edge. The Russians can (and do) threaten to ratchet things up, knowing that the West will respond with increased anxiety rather than reciprocal menace. We have yet to see, for example, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin telling the world what a wretched hand the Russians are playing militarily, and how superior ours is—a message he is particularly fit to deliver."
Cohen addressed the nuclear issue also:
"As for the nuclear question: We should not signal to the Russians that they have a trump card they can always play to stop us from doing pretty much anything. Nuclear weapons are why the United States should refrain from attacking Russia directly, not why it should fear fighting Russians in a country they invaded. Only a few years ago, the United States Air Force killed Russian Wagner mercenaries by the hundreds in Syria; American and Russian pilots tangled in the skies over Korea and possibly Vietnam. Nuclear deterrence cuts both ways, and the Russian leadership knows it. Vladimir Putin and those around him are ill-informed but not mad, and the use of nuclear weapons would threaten their very survival."