Putin’s Roulette

PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

Vladimir Putin (Credit: Maddoxfanx)

Vladimir Putin (Credit: Maddoxfanx)

Events this past week are changing the world in a way it never did since the end of World War II. It even made the Cold War look like a drill in preparation for what to come: a war to end all wars. Indeed, the next war – World War III – would end in the annihilation of life on Earth. Yet, there are those who believe that if they struck first at the United States, the U.S. wouldn’t have the capability to launch a second-strike against the attacker, which in this case would most likely be the Russian Federation.

If there is anything that could spark World War III today, it’s the civil war in Ukraine, which is perceived to be a proxy war between the U.S. and Russia. On February 12, 2015, after a marathon 17-hour summit of Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President François Hollande, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Minsk, Belarus, they agreed on a ceasefire and a slew of measures to achieve peace in Ukraine.

But peace was as remote as it was before the summit. No sooner had the four leaders signed the ceasefire agreement than 50 Russian tanks, 40 missile systems, and 40 armored vehicles crossed the border into Ukraine, which begs the question: Can Putin be trusted?

Ceasefire

Ceasefire line

Ceasefire line

With a shaky ceasefire holding tenuously in Ukraine, Putin set his sights on Ukraine’s neighbors – the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which were once parts of the Soviet Union. With Crimea tucked safely in Putin’s trophy collection, the small Baltic States could – or would – be Putin’s next targets. But small as they are, they belong to the 28-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which, by treaty, would defend them in the event of a Russian invasion. The question is: Is Putin crazy enough to attack them knowing that there are 25 other NATO members — including the U.S. — who would come to their defense?

In my opinion, Putin is sane – and smart — and he wouldn’t dare start a war he couldn’t win. And there is no way he could bring NATO to her knees unless he could launch a first-strike nuclear attack and destroy all of the NATO countries’ nuclear arsenal. But if Russia’s first-strike failed to wipe out NATO, then a NATO second-strike nuclear attack could wipe out Russia.

Russian roulette

Russian Roulette

Russian Roulette

But Putin is playing his own version of Russian roulette. The traditional version of Russian Roulette is: the player puts one bullet in a revolver, spins the cylinder, places the muzzle against his head, and pulls the trigger. The player has five out of six chances to survive since there are five empty chambers of the six-chamber revolver.

Putin's Roulette

Putin’s Roulette

“Putin’s Roulette” works differently. Putin puts five bullets in five of the six chambers, spins the cylinder, places the muzzle against his opponent’s head, and tells his opponent: “You only have one chance out of six to live. Give me what I want and I’ll spare your life; otherwise, I’ll pull the trigger.” And that’s what happened when Putin grabbed Crimea in 2014, which caught NATO napping in the barn.

Putin must have thought, “If it worked once, then it could work again.” Recently, he played “Putin’s Roulette” against the U.S. when Russian intelligence chiefs went to Germany to take part in a “secret meeting” with American intelligence officials. The secret meeting’s agenda must have been classified since it wasn’t leaked to the media. But what was reported in the media was that the Russian delegation told their American counterparts that Putin would consider any attempt to return Crimea to Ukraine as an invasion and a “declaration of war.” They said that Putin had threatened to take all necessary steps to retain Crimea, including the use of nuclear weapons. He also demanded that NATO breaks up her “rapid response force” in the Baltic States and stops arming the pro-NATO Ukrainians fighting the pro-Russian separatists in East Ukraine.

Nuclear war

Nuclear-War.9Putin probably believes that NATO, particularly the U.S., wouldn’t risk a nuclear war with Russia over Eastern Europe. He is probably convinced that U.S. President Barack Obama doesn’t have what it takes to go to war against Russia. Indeed, Obama had indicated more than a few times in the past that war with Russia was not winnable. Suffice it to say, if the U.S. wouldn’t go to war against Russia, then her NATO allies wouldn’t go, too.

Putin must have sensed that the “secret meeting” was held to reach a compromise to end the Ukraine civil war, settle the status of Crimea, and stop any attempt by Russia to invade the Baltic States. He must have presumed that the U.S. was looking for an easy way out of the Ukraine crisis and was willing to agree to a compromise that would give territorial concessions to Russia in exchange for peace in Europe. But he must have seen it as a sign of weakness and decided to go for the jugular – all or nothing. The Russians told the Americans that any of these flashpoints could lead to nuclear war between Russia and the West.

The question is: Does Putin really expect the U.S. and her NATO allies to capitulate and abandon the Baltic states and throw the pro-NATO Ukrainian government under the bus?

If this happens, then it would be the end of NATO. It would also be the end of America’s influence over Europe… nay, the world. It would be the end of Pax Americana. Russia would then become the new superpower. It would be the dawn of a new world order, Pax Russica under Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

Nuclear blackmail

Operation Atlantic Resolve

Operation Atlantic Resolve

Operation-Atlantic-Resolve-2015.2In early March, Obama postponed sending 300 paratroopers to Ukraine to train Ukrainian soldiers in battlefield tactics. The deployment was delayed due to fears that it would undermine the ceasefire that was agreed upon last February 12 in Minsk.

But last March 30, after talks between U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, the U.S. decided to send 290 paratroopers to Ukraine to train her troops.

Meanwhile, U.S. troops, warplanes, and ships continue to position themselves in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a NATO training exercise to counter Russian hostility in Europe. Recently, the U.S. decided to expand the operation to include Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Georgia. The mission statement issued by the U.S. Department of Defense bluntly said that the deployment was “aimed at demonstrating U.S. commitment to Europe and NATO in light of the Russian intervention in Ukraine.”

It is expected that it would infuriate Putin. Indeed, Operation Atlantic Resolve is a clear signal to Putin that “Putin’s Roulette” is not going to force the U.S. and her NATO allies into submission. Simply put, nuclear blackmail doesn’t work when it is directed at countries that collectively possess more than 8,000 nuclear warheads, about half of which are directed at Russia. This time, NATO is pointing a revolver at Putin with all six chambers loaded.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)


9 Responses. Have your say.

  1. Fernando Habito says:

    Putin play war game the “Russian Roulette” using Ukraine as his initial card tactic.

  2. Don Azarias says:

    “Indeed, Obama had indicated more than a few times in the past that war with Russia was not winnable. Suffice it to say, if the U.S. wouldn’t go to war against Russia, then her NATO allies wouldn’t go, too”—Perry Diaz

    Perry,

    While I’m not an Obama supporter, I agree with his stance on the nuclear war issue. He proves himself to be a more responsible and cautious leader compared to the tough-talking and soulless Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin. Putin is no different from North Korea’s saber-rattling crybaby named Kim Jong-un.

    If you remember, even Pres. Ronald Reagan held the same view as Pres. Barack Obama with regard to the consequences of the aftermath of a nuclear war.

    However, in dealing with Putin, Obama must have to show some backbone and determination, like Pres. John F. Kennedy, when Kennedy warned then Soviet Union’s leader, Nikita Khrushchev, during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, to remove all those Soviet missiles in Cuba—or else. Luckily, Khrushchev didn’t call Kennedy’s bluff—if Kennedy was, indeed, bluffing—and complied with Kennedy’s demand.

    I agree with you that Putin would never risk a nuclear war with the Western Alliance knowing fully well of the unimaginable result it will have not only to his Fatherland but to mankind. Heck, I don’t believe that he has the guts to play the Russian Roulette even with an unloaded gun.

    Don

  3. Jose Samilin says:

    I don’t think so Perry and Don, Putin is soulless human, he can’t be trusted on ceasefire agreement, he played too much risk, he seem to be a fool and gullible to act in an omenous way sooner.

    • Don Azarias says:

      Jose,

      Honestly, I’m puzzled by the relevance of your statement to what I said.

      Don

      • pat talens says:

        If I read Jose’s mind correctly, Putin is that crazy and unafraid (fool and gullible) that Putin will without doubt go nuclear against the West in pursuit of his vision and geopolitical interests.

        What I suspect here though is Russia, along with NKorea, has long been secretly providing nuclear material and knowhow to Iran to eventually transform Iran into a nuclear bomb nation capable of dropping atomic bombs to USA and the West—without Russia doing it.

        Let us remember most folks of Islamic faith believe in suicide and martyrdom, and that their nuclear holocaust of the world is but to them the mother of all their martyrdoms , with 20 virgins waiting for each of them.

        That is why my hindsight tells me a nuclear conflict of the future can begin from Russia (under Putin), in the short run or it will originate from the Middle East, in the long run. God forbids.

        • perry says:

          Hi Pat,

          Good analysis. With the prospect of Russia starting a nuclear war by using Iran, the next U.S. president would be bolder to use “first-strike” against Russia. With the “Prompt Global Strike” system pretty close to perfection, the U.S. can launch a massive non-nuclear conventional attack (more than 7,000 missiles) against Russia within one hour. This would incapacitate Russia from launching a nuclear attack. This is what’s giving Putin nightmares.

          • pat talens says:

            Hi Perry, my other hunch here is that the remaining years of President Obama will usher into more violence, territorial conquests, and wars throughout the world. Adversaries of the USA such as Russia, China, Iran will no doubt take advantage of Obama’s weakness, appeasement, and fallacious vision of world order while he is the President of the United States. They know they will never meet and see an Obama-like US President for a long long time.

            While G. W. Bush spearheaded the chaos of the MiddleEast by deposing Sadam Hussein, who ironically was then the deterence and equalizing influence against Iran, Obama, whose imaturish, flawed military and geopolitical strategies, is the one who brought about more chaos and much diminished US influence around the world.

            It is very ironic President Obama was once conferred a Nobel Peace Prize, as he is at the moment the leader of the free World whose erroneous and failing Obama foreign policy doctrines that are responsible for the rise of Iran and more violence and deaths—and possibly the onset of a Nuclear War.

          • perry says:

            I couldn’t agree less, Pat. My take of Obama is that he’s a “peacenik” who’d trade territory for peace. But “peace” is a temporary situation while ceding territory is permanent.

            Perry

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