by Martin Leduc
Updated May 2, 22 at 7:14
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By mustering 40 countries and providing a $33 billion budget to Ukraine, in the conflict opposing it to Russia, Washington is choosing to ignore Vladimir Putin’s threats to use nuclear weapons and facing Moscow less and less under a veil, seemingly not afraid to push the Russian president into a corner.
The day after a Washington-organized meeting in Ramstein, Germany to organize nearly forty countries’ support for Ukraine, Mr. Putin on Wednesday promised a “quick and light” response in the event of outside interference in the conflict.
The Russian president mentioned “those tools that no one else can now boast of,” a somewhat veiled reference to a tactical nuclear weapon, which Russian military doctrine states use to force an opponent to retreat.
Far from backing down, Joe Biden responded the next day by asking Congress for a massive budget extension of $33 billion, of which 20 billion should go to arms supplies, roughly Seven times more than the huge quantities of weapons and ammunition already supplied to Ukraine Since the Russian invasion, which began on February 24.
The US administration now delivers heavy weapons In Kyiv, such artillery, helicopters and drones, after a long reluctance to do so for fear of spreading the conflict to other NATO countries.
The nuclear threat has been put aside
That concern appears to have faded in Washington, where Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin set his sights Monday on “seeing Russia so weak it can’t do the same things as invading Ukraine,” after returning from a visit to Kyiv.
Within the US government, the nuclear threat from Russia has now been pushed aside.
And so Joe Biden criticized Vladimir Putin’s “irresponsible” threats on Thursday, arguing that they showed “the sense of desperation that Russia feels, in the face of its miserable failure with regard to its primary goals.”
On Friday, a senior Pentagon official said Washington “does not believe there is a risk that nuclear weapons will be used or that NATO territory is threatened.”
Russian threats ‘less serious’
For Lawrence Friedman, Professor Emeritus at King’s College London, the various threats from Russia are “taken less seriously than before”. “It really is a waning force,” he adds on his blog.
Conclusions shared by Gideon Rose, of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. “Moscow will not use nuclear weapons during the conflict,” he asserted in the Foreign Affairs magazine.
Vladimir Putin knows that extraordinary reprisals and global contempt will follow, without any strategic advantage being able to justify them, not to mention that the radioactive effects this would cause could easily fall on Russia.
Although Mr. Biden claims that the United States is “not attacking Russia,” Washington has just accelerated the delivery of military equipment to Ukraine, and is now openly training Ukrainian soldiers in American heavy weapons, having done so discreetly.
So the conflict takes on all semblance of a “proxy war” against Moscow, through the mediation of the Ukrainians, as Princeton University’s Sam Winter Levy notes in the specialist blog War on the Rocks.
This type of proxy war, such as the war between Saudi Arabia and Iran through the Houthi rebels in Yemen, “is the worst possible outcome” because it presents the risk of escalation and this type of war generally lasts a long time, this expert estimates. who also collaborates with the US Military Academy at West Point.
But, he adds, “it might be the best possible option,” because Westerners “have no choice.” “Ultimately, the only option worse than a proxy war is a cheap Russian victory in Ukraine, or a direct confrontation between the United States and Russia.”
Source: © 2022 AFP
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