‘Wars & Rumors of War’

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

The imagery of the “semi-mobilization” in Russia is alarming, to say the least. It definitely feels as though we’ve entered a new stage of the Russo-Ukrainian War one that might see an escalation between the two nations either now before it snows or in the spring.

Add to this that Russia has cut Europe off from its gas reserves and we really do have the winter of our discontent rushing towards us. But the question is, of course, is Russia going to remain stable going forward or is this mobilization the first step in a rapid decline in the stability of the world’s largest nuclear power?

I honestly don’t know. But history would definitely indicate that that is a real possibility. Repeatedly in Russian history major political debacles have caused massive political change.

Or, put another way, the world is a lot less stable than you might otherwise think. It’s at least possible that we’ll look back upon 2022 as a modern day 1937, where we got a shot across the bow that a world war was brewing. It seems to me very possible that what might happen is the United States for some reason withdraws from the global order — be it because of civil war, military junta or MAGA themed autocracy — and that is the thing that pushes into something akin to a new world war in 2024 – 2025.

The point is — Pax Americana is in its last days. We’re about to go through a very, very turbulent period in human history. There will be no narrative or value to any of it until it’s over and we figure out who the winners are.

Good luck.

What Would Happen If Russia Used Tactical Nukes On Ukraine?

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I’ve written about this before, but this time I want to be as clear eyed as possible about what would happen if Russia used tactical nukes on Ukraine. The first thing we have to figure out is, of course — why?

Why would Putin break the 70-odd year taboo against using nukes as a part of war? The key issue is — is Putin still a rational actor or not? Let’s suppose there was a method to his madness.

The thing that becomes clear whenever thinking about Russia using tactical nukes on Ukraine is it’s unlikely to be a value free situation. Putin would not just use a few nukes here and there, he would probably have to go all in, using a number of tactical nukes across Ukraine. I say this because any use of tactical nukes would be met with such international outrage that he can’t just give Ukraine a “love tap” and move on.

He would have to use tactical nukes to soften up Ukraine to the point that he could swoop in and take over the entire country without much opposition. Or, at least, that would be what he would be thinking going into the situation. Even Putin would have to come to grips with the cold, hard fact that if he nukes Ukraine that to wrap up the conquest of the Ukraine nation he would have to do a massive general mobilization of the Russian population.

We have to get out of the way the obvious — no amount of nuking Ukraine with tactical nukes would pacify them. The entire Ukrainian population would be in a very blood thirsty rage if, say, a dozen or so tactical nukes were used across their nation and, as such, Russia would have to throw everything it could muster at Ukraine to keep the country under its jackboot.

Ok. Now take a deep breath.

The thing you have to game out is Russia using tactical nukes all across Ukraine would not happen in a vacuum. Once the taboo regarding using nukes doesn’t exist anymore, then there would likely be a cascading series of events all across the globe in rapid succession.

Other nations with nukes would at least seriously think about using the nukes that they have to settle scores. As such, you could see India and Pakistan nuke each other into oblivion. You could see Israel and Iran do the same. And then, of course, there is the wild card of both China and Taiwan and the DPRK and South Korea.

Put another way, the nukes of nukes by the Russians against the Ukrainians would be Patient Zero of a nuclear-tipped contagion that would zoom across the globe at an alarming rate. WW3 would begin and millions — maybe billions — would die.

Another crucial element to all of this would be what would happen within Russia itself. After the shock wore off, I believe the Russian population would freak the fuck out and either a civil war or revolution — or both — would break out. And all of this would be happening in the context of WW3 happening.

There is the chance, of course, that the outrage over Russia nuking Ukraine would force the hand of the United States, especially if the world was already falling into WW3. As such, NATO might confront Russia directly in Ukraine and, well….I don’t what to tell you then.

I’m not an expert. I’m always wrong. Let’s hope Putin is a rational actor and we don’t have to worry about shit like this.