Messages for North Americans

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By RUBEN BAUER NAVEIRA*

Reflections on Vladimir Putin's Annual Address to the Russian Parliament

The President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, delivered on February 21 his annual speech to the Russian parliament, widely reverberated in the West due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. Among all the topics addressed in the speech, which one had the greatest impact? Most analysts will say that it was Russia's withdrawal (defined by Putin as "suspension") from the New START treaty. Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) with the United States, signed in 2010 to reduce the nuclear arsenals of both countries.

Undoubtedly, this is an announcement with immense impact and repercussions, however, in terms of a nuclear war between Russia and the United States (which would devastate the entire planet), it was not the one with the greatest impact and repercussions of the speech – two other, even more significant announcements went largely unnoticed by Western analysts.

The first of them was this one (note: in order not to incur a misinterpretation or ambiguity of texts first translated from Russian into English and then translated from English into Portuguese, we chose to always use throughout this article the official transcriptions, in English, by Kremlin or Tass Agency; translations into Portuguese follow in notes at the end of the text):

"We know the truth. We are aware of the fact that certain types of US nuclear weapons are reaching the end of their service life. In this regard, we know for certain that some politicians in Washington are already pondering live nuclear tests, especially since the United States is developing innovative nuclear weapons. There is information to that effect. Given these circumstances, the Defense Ministry and Rosatom must make everything ready for Russia to conduct nuclear tests. We will not be the first to proceed with these tests, but if the United States goes ahead with them, we will as well".(1)

Since the 1990s, both countries have adopted a moratorium on nuclear tests, and both have ratified the CTBT treaty (acronym for Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, or Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty), which however did not enter into force because it had not been ratified by other countries in the nuclear club (China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea).

The fact is that nuclear weapons have a shelf life, after all they are based on radioactive materials. How then could they be “answered”? If it is not possible to carry out new tests of nuclear weapons, the only way is to preserve historical technological knowledge (knowledge) in this regard. It turns out that most of the nuclear arsenals of both the United States and Russia were built before the 1990s. Russia has managed to preserve technological know-how in the field (Vladimir Putin mentioned in his speech that the modernization index in the Russian nuclear arsenal reached 91,3 .XNUMX%), but what about the United States?

This excerpt from Vladimir Putin's speech sent a stern message to the US military: the Russians know that a significant part of the US nuclear arsenal has already expired or is close to expiring. And they also know that the Americans today have no choice but to resume their nuclear tests, which they will soon (most likely still in 2023). By the way, for over two years the Russians have been renovating the former Soviet nuclear test site on the Nova Zembla archipelago in the Arctic Circle. As soon as the Americans resume their nuclear tests, the Russians will do the same, in yet another moment of shock for the world.

The other ad that went even more unnoticed is arguably the scariest. Anyone who hastily reads the passage, however, at first sees nothing more than Putin's usual anti-Western rhetoric: "The Western elite make no secret of their goal, which is, I quote, “Russia's strategic defeat.” What does this mean to us? This means they plan to finish us once and for all. In other words, they plan to grow a local conflict into a global confrontation. This is how we understand it and we will respond accordingly, because this represents an existential threat to our country. [...] I would like to stress that the United States and NATO are openly saying that their goal is to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia.(2)

It turns out that in June 2020, Putin signed a decree (Basic Principles of the Russian Federation's State Policy in the Domain of Nuclear Deterrence) updating the country’s doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons, which now provides that: “The Russian Federation retains the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear weapons and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it and/or its allies and also in the case of aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons , when the very existence of the state is put under threat.(3)

Quite explicitly, by resorting to the expression “existential threat” (existential threat), Putin defines the current situation as one in which Russia attributes the right to resort to nuclear weapons (and it would not even be necessary, say, to attack Moscow; it is worth remembering that, after the plebiscites that took place in the four provinces annexed to Russia, they are now legitimately considered Russian territory).

Americans have always granted themselves the right to what they call "first strike” (first blow), a devastating and surprise nuclear attack to decapitate the Russian leadership without giving them time to react and to destroy the Russian missiles still in their launch silos – so the eventual installation of missiles in Ukrainian territory was a “ red line” for the Russians and a longing for the Americans, given the geographic proximity (the flight time of a missile to Moscow would drop to about four minutes). The Russians, from now on, grant themselves exactly the same right, without resorting to expressions like “first stick” that draw attention and cause alarm. At a time when military escalation on both sides is advancing in Ukraine, there could be worse news for the rest of the world.

In fact, Vladimir Putin had already hinted at this new stance when, on December 9, 2022, when speaking to journalists after the Eurasian Economic Union summit in Kyrgyzstan, he said ironically that “with regard to a pre-emptive strike to disarm the enemy, something that our American partners for many years have not hesitated to suggest, who knows, maybe we should also be inspired by these concepts that they adopt to guarantee their safety, now that we have our hypersonic missiles?”. At that time, this joke ended up being taken as a bluff, however, just over two months later, Vladimir Putin shows that he was very serious.

Specifically regarding Brazil's international performance, which proposes the role of mediator for the war in Ukraine, we have already had here the opportunity to warn about the critical importance of intelligence information to support this action, after all, we are all facing a scenario that is too complex, as well as too dangerous for the very destiny of Humanity.

*Ruben Bauer Naveira is a political activist. Book author A New Utopia for Brazil: Three Guides to Get Out of Chaos (available at http://www.brasilutopia.com.br/).

Notes


(1) We know the truth. We are aware of the fact that certain types of US nuclear weapons are reaching the end of their useful life. In that sense, we know for a fact that some politicians in Washington are already considering nuclear field tests, especially given that the United States is developing innovative nuclear weapons. There is supporting information. In view of this, the Ministry of Defense and Rosatom must leave everything ready for Russia to carry out nuclear tests. We won't be the first to proceed with these tests, but if the United States goes ahead with them, so will we.

(2) The elite in the West make no secret of their objective, which is, I quote them here, "the strategic defeat of Russia". What does this mean for us? That means they plan to liquidate us once and for all. In other words, they plan to fuel a local conflict into a global confrontation. That's how we understand it, and we will respond accordingly, because it poses an existential threat to our country. […] I would like to emphasize that the United States and NATO are openly saying that their objective is to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia.

(3) The Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear weapons and other types of weapons of mass destruction against itself and/or its allies, as well as in case of aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is threatened.


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