Not a nuclear winter, I think, but definitely a long and cold one. The idea of an instant climate change as a result of some 12000 nuclear bombs going of in a couple of days (max), will probably turn out to be something just as preposterous human induced climate change itself. Or as silly as energy too cheap to meter.
I would like to emphasize that while I am clearly stating a strong disbelieve in nuclear winter, this does not mean I think it is not possible that “there is a storm coming”, just to throw in another cinematic quotation.
Most NATO critics in this start-up to WWIII focus on the proxy part of Ukraine. This is not illogical, but it is also not the whole story. The goal of this war is not destruction. The destruction of Russia as a single entity is to be the tool to control China.
Russia is “just a gas-station with nukes”. Who ever controls the station, controls the price of gas in the local neighborhood. Of course it is not just gas, it’s also a lot of other raw materials. Mostly however it is energy. Fossil fuel to be exact, which is the key to USA-finance. The petro-dollar has been dubious source of riches for the USA and by extension western Europe. BRICS has been a minor threat since it’s inception, but not so small that it can be ignored. BRICS is growing and so is the influence of the gas-station. So who controls the gas-station controls the neighborhood. Next to USA the big and coming player in the “hood” is China.
This new player however is in need of stability. There is a transition happening in China and during this change actions can have (more) unexpected results than usual. Stability of supply lines is of the greatest importance in modern economy and China is certainly coming to the technological and economic forefront.
It’s clear that if NATO is in control of the Russian economy, it is also (at least for a large part) in control of the Chinese economy (and of the rest of the neighborhood).
NATO, which is USA, is not going to control the Chinese economy directly. It is unclear to what amount is has been in control, but as far as it was, this control is no longer there. Or at least close to zero. War or any kind of direct violence is not going to change this and would certainly only have negative effects. Warring on China would be like warring on “flyover country”. Remember the days when most of the consumer products were made in USA itself? If you do you are very old, it has been places but most of the stuff now comes from China. With Americans thinking they are at least partly owner of those factories. But the people who can destroy a thing, they control it (another quote, I am showing my age again, am I not). Taking control of large parts of the needed supply and controlling the stability of that supply would be enough to control China to a degree and in extension the other BRICS countries.
This is were the trouble starts: unlike Saddam, Russia has weapons of mass destruction. Ironically, this makes it impossible for the US to build a coalition and a invasion army and bomb the snot out of Russia for 42 days to then invade and install a new government. Another way had to be devised.
Opinions differ about when the planning started but the Kremlin knew for certain the train was rolling in 2007. In 2013 with the Maidan revolution, things were out in the open and military build-up for the confrontation was started.
From this moment on however, things become oddly complicated, sometimes downright weird and always contradictory in nature. It’s like nobody realizes that in war 3 things are important: logistics, logistics and logistics. Oh, and ever since that little thingy called the industrial revolution war is an economics project. Strategy is a production algorithm, and brute force is not going to make it when Russia is the enemy. Russia needed USA products during WWII, now it is a different story. The army buildup in Ukraine was not enough by far and it will be extremely difficult for NATO to improve on it now and/or build a coalition to do real damage to Russia. Just this week there was news about the 101th Airborne Division being close to the Ukrainian border.
Russian generals will not be impressed by 18000 American troops, elite or not. They would probably welcome them. Remember, to fight Saddam’s army, 700000 troops were put in to action by Americans alone. That was on a battle field were Saddam had no air support. None, and no high quality surface to air missiles. The Russians are now on Russian soil. The fight with Ukraine is still (mostly) a family feud. (One of the reasons, this war is dirty is that it’s mostly a civil war. Mostly Ukrainians from the west fighting Ukrainians from the east.) Russian troops are now fortifying positions in the new Russian territory. Real Russian troops, not insurgents from the Donbass. Russia has been extremely formal about this. If American troops are fighting in Ukraine, which they are, just like Pools, Brits, Canadians etc.., there is still some plausible deniability. If an airborne division enters what is now Russia, the statement “this has not been recognized by the UN” is not going to save this army from being destroyed. No Russian general is going to give a flying fig about heavy losses on the Russian side if these are necessary.
Ukraine alone is not going to win much terrain in spite of all the fanfare about their various offensives now. The Russian are fortifying in strategical locations and will let the Ukrainians get in to artillery range, that is it. No further room too maneuver.
This is one aspect of the weirdness of this war; NATO is putting a strong emphasis on propaganda. Russia is just doing old fashioned grunt work, while at the same time offering long time trade contracts to every one willing to pay in a currency which Russian can actually use internationally. The propaganda was and is very successful and so is the Russian strategy. This however is winning a battle, it is not winning a war. Both sides won one battle each, this is going nowhere.
Russia seems unwilling to win the war. This is the reason it was called a special military operation. Russia is going along with the charade that implies it is fighting Ukraine and nothing else. In a war you have to defeat the enemy, the one you are fighting. NATO is saying that Putin has to be defeated, telling the world it is not fighting Russia. So it is doing the same thing; NATO does not want to defeat Russia, it just wants a regime change.
In the short term, none of these things are going to happen, if there is not a strategy change. The USA can continue to cannibalize NATO “partners” qua military equipment AND economically. This however is only possible for so long. The EU will probably make it through the winter but with heavy damage, so this has to stop. Building an actual viable invasion force is not a NATO option any longer it will take to long and be to expensive. Main reason for this high price is that much weapons have already been spent on the battlefield.
This is probably why there has been so much talk about the use of either a dirty bomb or a tactical nuke.
Any radioactive-sort of deployment will change the direction of this war, however. Except for one, let me explain: a dirty bomb will cause a couple of thousand dead people. This is very a very bad situation but after the weapons of mass destruction, the return of slavery in Libya and most of all the poison gas attacks in Syria no general will tell his government this is a reason to actively support NATO against Russia. Not after what has been going on militarily and economically for the last eight months. Deployment of a tactical nuke will have the same results militarily. The propaganda results will also be the same for both. Propaganda however will not change anything at all any more. In the west Putin is already Putler. OK, drop a bomb and make him superPutler, this isn’t going to help much now is it? The Russians are not hoping for another Chernobyl (they already have a couple of them, mostly smaller ones to be honest), but they can cope with it. They will just go on with their lives. Part of which is now destroying NATO beyond their red-line. SO the only use of nukes that will make a change will be the use of more tacticals. This will work until the kremlin is convinced NATO will continue this path until there is an actual regime change. If there is an actual regime change in this case it will be to remove Putin because he waited to long with retaliation. The ones removing Putin will than retaliate and probably to the max. The kremlin and military staff is mostly populated by people who vividly remember the Yeltsin days. The days that the life-expectancy dropped almost 14 percent. That was when the Russian economy was under western/democratic management. These guys probably feel like they are living in fly-over country and are being told to import some more fentanyl. Do make an estimate of the Russian culture for what you expect them to do.
This change will be the destruction of Russia if the Russian elite bails out. The other part of this will be that the rest of the world is Iraq in a very cold winter. The USA will have the world in a vise and determine prices for everything. It will be petro-dollar squared, and thus will kill “the colonized world” and the colonizer even faster. If the Russian elite does not bail out their response to continued use of tacticals will most probably be massive use of thermos nuclear weapons. If an escalation line is crossed it’s not sensible to cross the line and join in. There is only sense in doing the next escalation step because this will cause massive damage to the enemy and protect yourself. This is the possible storm coming. The storm will result in a couple of years of colder weather and a long economic winter.
The dice seem to have been rolled. The last possibility is the worst option for the western world. It is also pretty bad for the rest of the world. However for the rest of the world, NATO winning is also pretty terrible: China will be in servant status again. Other countries (especially other BRICS and brics-wannabe’s Egypt, SA, Turkey, Iran, Argentina) only have to look at Iraq or Venezuela to see what it means to be on the wrong side of NATO. The third world will be the third world of the 1960 again a playground for western multinationals. These countries will be in an economic vise just as the lower classes in the western world itself. Which have already been told that energy and provisions have been to cheap for the last 50 years.
Still, these countries chose to oppose NATO. The continuing decline of the USA is the most probable reason for this choice. The center cannot hold, things fall apart. The third world is wise to be as far away from collapse as possible. For the EU: remember the words of Victoria Nuland. Those words showed that it was gong to be bad for the EU if the USA won. Things will not be better for vassal states if the USA loses, which eventually the USA will. It might win some more battles maybe even this war but, it is mostly fighting itself now, eventually it can only lose.