America Risks Nuclear War by Boasting About Role in Killing Russians
Putin doesn’t endure such slights, especially since Moscow has been frustrated by its naval impotence going back to at least 1905.
“Diplomacy is war by other means,” General Carl von Clausewitz said. Members of the Biden administration ignore the Prussian’s wisdom and risk World War III when they boast of helping Ukraine sink Russian ships and kill its generals.
Americans want to aid Ukraine in its struggle to remain independent but not get drawn into a shooting war, much less a nuclear exchange — an option President Putin keeps on the table.
The White House insists he’s bluffing, but a first strike with The Bomb is part of Russian military doctrine, and the Kremlin just conducted simulated strikes in Kaliningrad, a province situated between our NATO allies Lithuania and Poland.
Early in the war, America kept its distance, letting Ukraine claim credit for sinking the Moskva, flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, but now some have decided to take victory laps.
NBC News reported “intelligence shared by the U.S. helped Ukraine sink the Russian cruiser Moskva, confirming an American role in perhaps the most embarrassing blow to Vladimir Putin’s troubled invasion.”
Mr. Putin doesn’t endure such slights, especially since Moscow has been frustrated by its naval impotence going back to at least 1905, when Tsar Nicholas II sent his Baltic Fleet 18,000 miles to fight Japan, only to suffer humiliation.
Would America have telegraphed the world if Japan had done it with our torpedoes? As for the Russian generals, that Ukraine has killed more than anyone since Joseph Stalin doesn’t sit well with the Kremlin, either.
Then there came a New York Times exposé blaring, “U.S. Intelligence Is Helping Ukraine Kill Russian Generals,” with its source saying the Pentagon “declined to specify how many generals had been killed as a result of U.S. assistance.”
This is not the time to play coy. Killing even a single Russian officer is an act of war, and the Ukraine conflict has left 317 dead, according to the Moscow Times. America just told its counterparts to guess how much of that blood is on our hands.
The Pentagon spokesman, John Kirby, tried to play cleanup with reporters, saying, “We do not provide intelligence on the location of senior military leaders,” but he was closing the barn door while horses were still galloping.
General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, boasted to Congress of the “significant amount of intelligence flowing to Ukraine,” and the National Security Council spokeswoman, Adrienne Watson, bungled her criticism of the Times piece.
“We do not provide intelligence with the intent to kill Russian generals,” she told Agence France-Presse. Well, what other “intent” is possible? Russians may use the Cyrillic alphabet, but they can read between the lines in English.
In “The Hunt for Red October,” America’s secretary of defense demonstrates the diplomacy that is called for in waging covert war. Reporting the loss of a Soviet submarine to their ambassador, he laments that the Kremlin didn’t come to him for help sooner.
When he suggests the USSR do so in future incidents, the ambassador confesses that the Russians have been unable to reach submariners off North Carolina. The American sighs. “Andre, you’ve lost another submarine?”
The CIA, of course, is behind both losses, but to tell their foes would have popped the Cold War into the microwave, and novelist Tom Clancy knew that nothing sinks a plot faster than characters who are fools.
The risks in Ukraine exceed those of pulp fiction, which is why in the proxy wars America fought with the Soviets, both sides maintained plausible deniability and kept open lines of communication.
In 2018, when pro-Syrian government forces started shelling American commandos, the attackers included Russian mercenaries. The Pentagon called Moscow, which disavowed them.
The defense secretary, James Mattis, then gave orders “for the force to be annihilated. And it was.” Russia claimed four citizens dead, but whatever the true number, it had to take its lumps in silence.
Such scenarios are no longer possible. As a March Washington Post story reported, “Top Russian Military Leaders Repeatedly Decline Calls from U.S., Prompting Fears of ‘Sleepwalking into War.’”
Let’s hope the White House and Pentagon wake up soon, putting distance between Americans and Russian losses. Otherwise, we will squander the chance for diplomacy to maintain peace — and may face war by nuclear means.