Thursday 30 May 2024

The Most Serious Escalation Yet

The great Professor Thomas Fazi writes:

Over the past week, another massive red line was crossed in the no-longer-so-proxy war between the West and Russia. On 23 and 28 May, Ukraine conducted long-range drone strikes on two Russian radar stations that are part of the country’s early-warning radar system designed to detect incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) — primarily nuclear-armed ones.

Both of these attacks occurred deep in Russian territory — respectively 300 and almost 1,000 miles of Kiev-controlled territory — and at least one strike appears to have caused some damage. Such an attack on one of the pillars of Russia’s nuclear deterrence infrastructure marks the conflict’s most terrifying escalation yet, bringing the world another step closer to the verge of thermonuclear war.

Ukraine claims that the sites in question are used to monitor Ukrainian military activities, and that the goal of the strikes was to diminish Russia’s ability to track the Ukrainian military’s activities in southern Ukraine. But speaking to the Washington Post, a US official refuted this argument: “These sites have not been involved in supporting Russia’s war against Ukraine”, they said. This means that Russia’s nuclear early-warning system was the target of the attack. It goes without saying that in escalatory terms targeting nuclear command and control and early-warning sites is as dangerous as it gets, short of an actual nuclear attack.

“Unlike the United States, the Russians do not have space-based satellite warning systems that can see ballistic missile attacks globally. This means that the radar coverage lost by the attacks on these radars greatly reduces the warning time against attacks on Moscow from the Mediterranean and Indian oceans”, commented Dr. Theodore Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and National Security at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “I cannot emphasise enough how frightening and dangerous this development is”, he added. Ralph Bosshard, a retired Lt. Col. in the Swiss Armed Forces, expressed a similar sentiment.

According to the aforementioned US official, the US is very “concerned” about the strikes. However, this good cop-bad cop act — which implies that the US was unaware of the attacks — no longer fools anyone, let alone the Russians. Especially since the attacks come at a time when Nato leaders, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, have begun to openly talk about allowing Ukraine to strike targets inside Russia — with weapons provided by Nato, guided by Nato surveillance and targeting systems, and likely operated by Nato personnel. At this point it is dangerously disingenuous to continue to pretend that this is a proxy war — or that Ukraine may have conducted the strikes in question without full support.

The mood in Moscow was probably best captured by Dmitry Rogozin, the former head of Roscosmos, the Russian federal space agency, who wrote on Telegram that “given Washington’s deep involvement in this armed conflict and the Americans’ total control over Kiev’s military planning, the claim that the United States knew nothing about Ukrainian plans to attack the Russian missile defence system can be dismissed”.

At this point, millions of increasingly terrified Europeans are probably asking themselves the same question: what game is Nato playing at? Do they think they can keep provoking Russia without triggering a reaction? Whatever the case may be, they are playing an incredibly dangerous game — one that could, quite literally, get us all killed.