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Empire’s Royal Defense Think Tank Proposes a ‘Crimean Missile Crisis’ To Settle Russia-Ukraine War

May 21, 2022 (EIRNS)—Malcolm Chalmers, Deputy Director General of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), is proposing that an eyeball-to-eyeball nuclear showdown—a “Cuban missile crisis on steroids” that could result over a Ukrainian attempt to retake Crimea—would make it “easier” to settle the Russia-Ukraine war—on British terms. This, from the institution which describes itself as “the world’s oldest and the U.K.’s leading defense and security think tank.”

This stunning proposition is outlined in Chalmers article, “This War Still Presents Nuclear Risks—Especially in Relation to Crimea,” published May 20 by RUSI. RUSI featured it in its weekly newsletter, and reports an abbreviated version appeared on May 14 in the Financial Times. In it, Chalmers methodically discusses how Russia could be forced into a nuclear confrontation, from which, he assumes, it would ultimately back down.

Chalmers describes NATO’s strategy over the last three months as that of “boiling the Russian frog”: progressively increasing the size and sophistication of its weapons supplied to Ukraine. Because of those weapons, Ukraine may be in a position to reverse Russia’s recent territorial gains, and retake Kherson and Mariupol. That, however, would not occasion a nuclear threat; nor would Ukraine using those weapons and territorial gains “to destroy bridges, railheads, storage sites and air bases” inside Russia.

But, should Ukraine move to retake Crimea, strike at the “tempting target” of the Kerch Bridge, for example, now that could lead to a “Crimea Missile Crisis,” Chalmers argues.

He bares all in his concluding paragraphs:

“A specific threat to use nuclear weapons in relation to Crimea ... might be viewed by Putin as a way to restore some of his coercive power, even if he (and the U.S.) doubted whether he would deliver on such a threat.... If a red line were not accepted by Ukraine, Russia might then feel that it had to consider a series of further escalatory options, such as putting its nuclear forces on higher alert. Faced with the alternative of the likely loss of Crimea, Putin might believe that Ukraine (with U.S. encouragement) would be likely to blink first. It would be a moment of extreme peril, with all the parties seeking to understand the intent of each other even as they looked to pursue their national interests.

“Precisely because of the peril inherent in such a situation, a nuclear crisis of this sort could make it easier for leaders to make difficult compromises. Provided that the war was ended and the blockade of Odessa lifted, Ukraine’s leaders might be willing to postpone a settlement of the Crimea question. For Putin, the failure of the invasion, and the subsequent success of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, would have been a massive humiliation. But he would at least be able to argue that the might of the Russian strategic arsenal had, at a moment of great national weakness, successfully deterred NATO’s designs for dismembering Russia. This could be enough for both sides to avoid the worst outcome of all.”

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