“Escalate To Deescalate” is one of those Dr. Strangelove-sounding oxymoronic strategies from the Bad Old Cold War Days, when the Nuclear Bomb of Damocles hovered over our heads.
It’s true. It’s not from the Cold War. It is the current Russian doctrine and could be here as soon as Monday.
I wrote earlier Friday about how Biden administration officials were playing “dangerous games” by publicly admitting to American intelligence that helped Ukraine kill Russian generals, and even sink the Moskva cruiser missile destroyer last week.
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin may be playing a dangerous game of his very own.
May 9 marks the anniversary of Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany 77 years ago. Putin will likely take one or more of the three possible actions that he may take during Monday’s huge celebrations, despite the ongoing struggle with Ukraine.
Most people believe that the original goal was to have a big victory in Ukraine for the WWII anniversary. It’s clear that this is not possible, but the men from Delta House can tell you that “This situation absolutely demands a really futile, stupid gesture.”
Or an Earth-shattering one. Literally.
Yesterday, I discussed two options:
Analysts believe Putin could announce some type of victory. Putin could “officially” annex the occupied territories of Ukraine and bring down the war to something quieter than the low-intensity fighting which has been ongoing since 2014.
Some argue that Putin will declare war. Russian law says that this is far more serious than the current “especially military operation.” However, Putin can declare an official war.
There is a third option, thanks to the pseudonymous “Laughing Wolf”, an author who earned his master’s in open-source spying against the Soviets.
Vladimir and his circle will not allow any conventional attacks if they have any sense. They won’t, but I don’t think they can. If I was a gambler, I would bet on the tactical use of special weaponry.
Special Weapons: Chemical, biological and nuclear
Where does “Escalate To Deescalate” fit in all this doomsday talk about?
After this short aside, I will answer.
ASIDE: America only has two strategic interests in Ukraine. Neither has anything to do about whether Putin takes all or some of the country. The war must not expand. Our secondary goal is to help Ukraine harm Russia enough so that Moscow is discouraged from future adventurism.
Geopolitics is full of tragic complications. Our interests can sometimes be at odds.
Russia can win the war against Ukraine by allowing it to be overthrown, but Russia may still try to invade further. Russia might be hurt too much to expand the war and make it more painful for us.
Russia must stop importing NATO weapons into Ukraine. NATO members have pledged to increase their shipments. As it stands, the Ukraine War doesn’t look great from Moscow’s perspective.
NATO could be forced to de-escalate by escalating the war.
Putin could, as the Laughing Wolf prays for, keep things normal. He could escalate his cyberattacks on NATO’s infrastructure with devastating consequences. He could escalate his attack on NATO countries’ infrastructure to the point of destroying it in a spectacular, 9/11-style attack.
Maybe after ten weeks of brutal conventional warfare, these special weapons seem too tempting to resist.
Imagine a strategic nuclear strike at an important rail junction near Lviv, western Ukraine. Instead, imagine the use of persistent chemical arms at transport sites near the Polish-Ukraine border. Worst of all, think about the use of biological arms — Russia is violating every treaty it ever signed prohibiting their development — in order to clear out a few villages on the frontline recently retaken by the Ukraine Army.
Laughing Wolf also suggests other options, such as direct action against NATO frontline members like Poland.
Each of these escalating strikes will be accompanied by a de-escalation message for NATO leaders: “Things cannot get worse from here.” We’ll stop supplying weapons to Ukraine, and you’ll also stop allowing us to use special weapons again.
Escalate to deescalate.
Madness? Genius? Both? It doesn’t matter what you call it; it’s part of Russia’s military doctrine. This could give Putin the break he needs during the Ukraine War.
Perhaps the Biden clique would prefer a larger war to distract them from domestic troubles.
Biden’s administration, hell, all Western leaders, and likely Xi Jinping should spend the weekend in a diplomatic flurry trying to end this war.
It’s unlikely that we will see anything like it. It’s possible that we may see something we haven’t seen before.