Ukraine War, April 26, 2022: Another day in the war; Lavrov makes new nuclear threats

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To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.

Dispatches

1) James Marson, “Russia’s Lavrov Says NATO Is Using Ukraine as a Proxy, Warns Against World War III; Ukraine said the Russian foreign minister’s comments suggest that Moscow senses defeat,” Wall Street Journal, April 26, 2022 (updated 1:34 pm ET);

2) “Letters: A terrible suspicion that Britain could yet look the other way as Russia destroys Ukraine,” The Telegraph, April 26, 2022 (12:01am);

Commentary

Letter to the Editor of The Telegraph

A letter to the Editor from a retired British colonel expresses the core obscenity of NATO’s response to the invasion of Ukraine, in succinct and eloquent terms. He writes:

SIR – It would seem as though we are approaching a status quo on Ukraine wherein Western governments have convinced themselves that direct action to save Ukrainians from slow annihilation from Russian bombardment is inappropriate.

Moreover, by publicly supporting Kyiv and sending weapons to counter the Russian army, our politicians are gaining a great deal of credit and elbow room at home. I don’t think it’s too cynical to suggest they are milking Russian failures at the expense of Ukrainian lives.

It seems to suit us to take on the Russians without the emotional and political risks of committing our own forces, and it would seem that Vladimir Putin just has to move his hand metaphorically towards the nuclear button and we have a great excuse for inaction. Nuclear deterrence has been replaced by nuclear cowardice.

We all understand that Ukraine is not a member of Nato, but that did not stop us from sending coalition forces into Iraq and Afghanistan. It invites the question: “Why do we not care enough about a country that seems to have more courage and integrity than the rest of Europe put together and actually fight to save it from the despicable death and destruction being imposed upon it by the most evil dictator since Hitler?”

Could it be that, were the Russians to succeed in enslaving Ukraine, we could actually just look away and carry on as normal? I’m beginning to feel a little ashamed.

Colonel Mark Rayner (retd)
Eastbourne, East Sussex

Another day in the war

We see the news reports today, about the latest developments in what could be a long war. To our modern consciousness and its limited attention span it already seems like the war has gone on for a very long time. But we are only two months into the war.

With over eight million Ukrainians having fled the country, there remain some 36 million Ukrainians in Ukraine who can still be killed by the Russian barbarians.

At times, news reports seem like daily action reports about the latest attacks and developments in a major conflict like World War II.

Lacking in the news reports is any in-depth coverage of the big picture, of the goals and strategy of NATO and the West in this military and civilizational struggle against Russian fascism and its horrific atrocities.

Just another day in the war. Maybe it’s more like daily news reports in World War I. One can imagine the cry of the bystanders, NATO officials and citizens of NATO countries, “Can’t you speed this thing up, so we can get back to normal?”

And to the obvious question, “Aren’t you going to do anything directly to stop the atrocities, even if it involves the use of conventional forces?” the response is immediate and clear.

“As Putin says, ‘You fight me, One, Two, Three, World War Three.’

Lavrov’s Renewed Nuclear Threats

Putin knows where Biden’s button is, and with Sergey Lavrov’s new nuclear threats he is trying to push it again.

The paradoxical thing about the threat is that if “World War Three” occurs–whatever that means–it will be because Vlademir Putin, not Joe Biden, starts it.

What it is likely to mean is that Putin could detonate a tactical nuclear weapon, or escalate the conflict by using chemical weapons.

If he were to do so, it is very likely that NATO would then intervene directly in the conflict with overwhelming conventional force. NATO could probably neutralize Russia’s military in Ukraine in short order.

That could lead to further escalation, and nuclear escalation with the attendant risk that things could accidentally get out of hand.

Putin should remember, however, that NATO also has nuclear weapons.

Of course, neither he nor Russian civilization will have any place in history if history itself is obliterated from the face of the earth.

It would appear nearly inevitable that at some point the conflict in Ukraine will escalate to a nuclear confrontation between the U.S. and Russia.

This could come by way of Putin escalating as his army faces defeat or becomes stalemated and faces a war of attrition.

It could also come if Russia begins winning the war, over time, and the U.S. and NATO are forced to face the the hard reality of a potential loss to Russia.  Once they squarely face the likely consequences of a Russian victory,  they are likely to act to avoid that outcome.

In any event, the U.S. and NATO countries should be planning now for such a nuclear confrontation, and explaining to their citizens what they are doing to ensure that it can be managed successfully.

The Trenchant Observer

***

See also,

Only force can stop Putin

“Ukraine War, April 5, 2022 (II): Force must be used to stop Putin,” The Trenchant Observer, April 5, 2022.

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.

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