Poutine and stupid diagonal
It was not to be hoped or feared that the master of the Kremlin would be greatly humiliated, and the reprisals were not long in coming. The barrage of rockets that rained down on Kiev and other Ukrainian cities on Monday, October 10th, is indeed a direct response to Putin’s humiliation of 48 hours earlier, which in the eyes of the Kremlin could not go unpunished. At 3 o’clock on Saturday, October 8, when the Russian president just celebrated his 70th birthdaye On the anniversary, an explosion occurred on the Kerch bridge connecting Russia and Crimea, the honor of the Russian president and the most complete symbol of his rule over the territory of Ukraine, which was annexed in 2014.
To attack this bridge was to strike at the heart of Putin’s imperialism and highlight its fragility, and worse, herald its end. It was also a mockery of the Russian president’s failings, and the Ukrainians did not hesitate to do so. A provocation that provides an excuse for Putin’s new haste in a worrying escalation that increasingly threatens the stability of Europe.
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This is indeed the paradox of Russia’s mad war: As Putin’s power weakens, so does the risk of an escalation of the war in Ukraine, and behind it lies the nuclear threat regularly stoked by the Russian president. Backed into a corner in Ukraine, where he has been steadily losing ground for several weeks, faced with the discontent of his population, forced to mobilize 300,000 people, and challenged even in his inner circle, the Russian president has no other option. He needs to flex his muscles and threaten the Ukrainians and their allies more, as he has done several times since the start of the war, with clear hints of nuclear weapons. So much so that Joe Biden has publicly admitted it exists “If things continue as they are, a direct threat of using nuclear weapons”throw out the dreaded word as possible “apocalypse”.
The atom, which we hope will be consigned to the waste shelf of history thanks to successive denuclearization treaties, therefore takes a powerful turn in our collective representation and reactivates our ancestral fears of the end of the world. What seems exceptional in the rational world of nuclear deterrence (nuclear weapons exist only so that we will not use them under any circumstances) becomes plausible in the irrational world of a dictator. The risk, which has never seemed higher since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, is now being taken seriously by international experts. One of them, American Joseph Cirincione, details four possible scenarios for Putin’s nuclear strike for Obs. As we understand it, in all cases, a violation that would represent the use of a weapon that has remained dormant since Hiroshima and Nagasaki can only lead to an ultimately fatal escalation for the Kremlin and the entire regime.
“A dictator cannot lose a war”: Putin, a human bomb
Will Vladimir Putin, who defied most predictions by invading Ukraine, take the madman’s diagonal in the giant chess game he started? The fundamental transgression of the annexation of one sovereign country by another has brought us to this point: almost eight months after the start of the war, everyone is speculating about the choice of a man whose arrogance has shown that he can defy all logic. But as in any war of nerves, this sword of Damocles should not lower the West’s guard, on the contrary.
This is the time to highlight all the implications of deterrence and understand first of all what such crossing of the red line will mean to Russia’s potential allies, including China. Recognizing the dangers, but standing in solidarity with Ukraine, we must leave nothing to chance in the face of Russian imperialism: forcing Putin to admit that he cannot bluff for long.