Medvedev’s Fundamental Misunderstanding that NATO will Accept Russian Use of Nuclear Weapons
Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, has stated recently:
“Let’s imagine that Russia is forced to use the most formidable weapons against the Ukrainian regime, which has committed a large-scale act of aggression that is dangerous for the very existence of our state. I believe that NATO will not directly interfere in the conflict even in this scenario. After all, the security of Washington, London, and Brussels for the North Atlantic alliance is much more important than the fate of an unnecessary Ukraine.”
Medvedev is also convinced himself that NATO countries are not going to “die in a nuclear apocalypse”, and therefore they will “swallow the use of any weapon” by Russia.
The reality is, if the only issue were saving Ukraine on the one hand or a “nuclear apocalypse” on the other, Dmitry Medvedev would have a really strong and good point, and I’d go as far as to say, he’s right.
The problem for Medvedev is that Ukraine is completely incidental to the entire question.
The real question for NATO is if NATO sits on its hands and does nothing while Russia nukes Ukraine, what are the odds that, after a time, Russia will use nuclear blackmail, or nuclear weapons, to take other territories on its borders, starting with Poland or the Baltic states?
Prior to the invasion of Ukraine, NATO would have been divided about whether to “accept” Putin’s use of nuclear weapons against Ukraine.
But since the invasion of Ukraine, and the war crimes and atrocities committed by the Russian Army against the men, women, and children of Ukraine, the answer is that NATO’s response will be forceful enough that even the thick-headed, stubborn and the I’m-not-listening-to-reality Putin cohort gets the message: Using nuclear weapons carries too high a price to use them again.
But as time goes on, the more and more convinced I am that Putin will use tactical nuclear weapons.
Mostly because the Putin cohort, like Medvedev, did not expect the West’s military response to the Russian invasion — they genuinely seem surprised by it — and they similarly will not expect the NATO response to Russia using nuclear weapons.
NATO’s reaction will be far, far from, as Medvedev put it, “swallow the use of any weapon.”