Russia's Nuclear Doctrine Is Being Distorted Once Again

Authored by Vladimir Kozin via Oriental Review,

On June 13, 2018, the Washington Post published an original piece by Paul Sonne that describes America’s potential use of the low-yield nuclear warheads that are to be installed on the future US B-61-12 nuclear bombs, as well as on the ballistic missiles carried by the Trident II submarines in the form of W76-2 warheads, in accordance with Washington’s 2018 nuclear doctrine.

The article claims that the introduction of low-yield warheads and the idea of their potential use is being justified by the Pentagon as necessary due to the fact that Russia is allegedly prepared to use similar warheads against NATO countries, based on that nation’s current nuclear doctrine and because a purported strategy of “escalate to de-escalate” has apparently been “approved” by Moscow.

It should be kept in mind that the Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation, which has sections covering the potential use of nuclear weapons, says nothing about the power of the nuclear weapons that might be utilized, nor is there any mention of warheads with either high or “low” yields in TNT equivalents. Those sections of the official doctrine do not even categorize Russian nuclear weapons into strategic vs. tactical varieties.

Only one term is specified in Russia’s military and strategic posture: “nuclear weapons.” And only two circumstances are listed as a basis for their potential use: the first — only in response to the use of nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction against the Russian Federation and/or its allies; and the second — in the event of aggression against Russia that employs conventional weapons to the point that “the very existence of the state is threatened.” In other words, only reciprocal actions are permitted in either case.

Nor does the Russian nuclear doctrine list the countries or alliances against which nuclear weapons can be used.

It seems odd that the US still does not understand the basic tenets of Russia’s nuclear posture. And it must be said that this is not the first time that Western analysts have taken such an unprofessional approach. This has become especially glaring in the run-up to the next NATO summit, which will take place July 11-12 in Brussels.

On the other hand, the newest US nuclear doctrine, which was approved last February, specifies 14 justifications for the use of nuclear weapons, including “low-yield” warheads, which is how US arms experts classify nuclear warheads of 5.0-6.5 kilotons and below. These are precisely the sea- and air-launched warheads the Pentagon intends to utilize in accordance with its new concept of “escalating to de-escalate.” Under that theory, low-yield nuclear warheads can be employed by US nuclear forces on an increasing scale in a variety of regional conflicts, with the aim of “de-escalating” them, which might be accomplished with the help of a nuclear first strike.

This practice could cause a chain reaction in the use of nuclear weapons, involving not only “low-yield” warheads, but also more powerful nuclear explosives.

The practice being described — the potential use of low-yield nuclear weapons, which is a real fixation for the current US administration and is being discussed with increasing frequency in the US — suggests that America’s military and political leaders are committed to dramatically lowering the minimum threshold for their use and expanding the list of acceptable reasons to utilize them under real-world conditions.

The adage from the past that everyone could relate to — “A nuclear war cannot be unleashed, because there will be no winners” — is now absent from the political statements that are being heard. It is clear that forces have taken the upper hand on Capitol Hill that are still incapable of imagining the consequences of a nuclear Armageddon. Such a path, even if this scenario proves unlikely, will inevitably lead to a potential undermining of the already fragile non-proliferation regime and a breakdown in the negotiations on establishing control over nuclear facilities, which — and this is not news — very few countries are taking part in at the present time.

For all these reasons, a dangerous future practice like this needs to be reexamined by Washington, in the interests of preserving global stability. In order to achieve this goal, the strategic guidelines for inflicting a first “preemptive and preventive” nuclear strike, as well as the continuing premise of “unconditional offensive nuclear deterrence,” which have remained unchanged since 1945, must be completely eliminated from American nuclear strategies.

These are not ultimatums, as someone defending US nuclear policy has already tried to portray them. This is a completely natural, logical, and sensible step, which would no doubt be positively received all over the world.


El Vaquero 07564111 Wed, 06/27/2018 - 01:07 Permalink

Oh, sure, Russia MIGHT decide not to respond with a fuckload of 550kt warheads at the use of a 5kt enhanced radiation warhead or five.  They're rational, and on this front, so were the Soviets.  But who the fuck wants to take a chance?  Something that I've believed for years:  So long as the world has the capability of building or maintaining nuclear weapons, an above ground test should be carried out every five or ten years, with the world invited to watch.  Every single person that I've talked to who has watched one, and I've known a few, knows that you cannot comprehend what they do unless you see it for yourself.  A 1kt explosion is beyond the imagination of most people. 


Then again, I think that this is just the madman strategy resurrected. 

In reply to by 07564111

OverTheHedge El Vaquero Wed, 06/27/2018 - 01:28 Permalink

Put the shoe on the other foot: someone uses half-a-dozen low-yield nukes against US border troop concentrations on the Mexico/Texas border whilst trying to invade CONUS. What happens next?

Or even a single small device on a base in Somalia. Would the retaliation be measured, carefully considered and commensurate? US military doctrine is for overwhelming firepower at all times - how overwhelming would it be if the US was attacked by nuclear weapons?

In reply to by El Vaquero

gregga777 OverTheHedge Wed, 06/27/2018 - 06:36 Permalink

We've had low yield devices before like the Davy Crocket nuclear round. If someone insane assumes power it really doesn't matter whether they're low yield or not  

The authorities were worried about what happens if a bomb doesn't produce its design yield. Can parts of it be recovered for reverse engineering? The Engineers/scientists at Lo Alamos calculated that if a, say, 20 kT device "fizzled" it'd still produce a yield in the hundreds of tons of TNT equivalent. In other words, it's atoms would be splattered all over Hell's half-acre. 

In reply to by OverTheHedge

WTFUD Wed, 06/27/2018 - 04:19 Permalink

Taking out the Congress Building, in sitting, with one of those babies makes the most sense.

Serial Treasonous MIC/Banker Vermin that they are.

Kopfs Wed, 06/27/2018 - 05:23 Permalink

Putin made Russia's stance on nuclear weapons crystal clear after the US doctrine changes. Russia doesn't care if it's a big nuke, or a little nuke. Any nuclear weapons used against Russia--or its allies--will be seen as a nuclear strike against mainland Russia.

It couldn't be any clearer. When it comes to Russia, there is no wiggle room with nukes. It's worth reading the Russian military doctrine, which is available online. Russia's nuclear response is reactionary, and doesn't require any confirmation. If an appropriate scenario occurs, then the action that should be taken is set out and must be followed. That response is an all-out nuclear counter-strike, because the Russian's believe if they don't use their nukes immediately they will lose the ability to do so.

oncemore1 Wed, 06/27/2018 - 05:58 Permalink

US loses each and every war.

US needs nukes rto win those imperial agressive wars, without nukes it will be more and more difficult.

Russia is not waging expansionist imperial wats on behalf of nonRussians. Russia needs those wrapons as a deterrence only.

I see thos point, as the main reason for US obsessipn and stupidity to start the anihilation of the planet.

PrivetHedge Wed, 06/27/2018 - 06:18 Permalink

The US/Zio fascination with of low-yield warheads is because they have been testing (using) them in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, those large bangs in China and also in WTC1,2,5,6,7 as well.


Let it Go Wed, 06/27/2018 - 06:57 Permalink

Enough is enough and more than enough is to many! With all the talk about war it is important to on occasion revisit the subject of nuclear weapons. Like many people I do not find what is known as the concept of Mutual Assured Destruction, or MAD to be reassuring.

The nuclear deterrent we hold is a hundred times larger than needed to stop anyone sane or rational from attacking America, and for anyone else an arsenal of any size will be insufficient. The article below delves into the risk, size, and cost of these weapons.

 http://Nuclear Weapons Putting The Issue In Persoective.html

Money_for_Nothing Wed, 06/27/2018 - 07:22 Permalink

So the US should conform to Russian wishes? Low yield nukes stationed in Poland make the US safer from a Russian first strike on DC. Russia can't decide that ethnic Russians are threatened and do to Poland what they did to Georgia without losing an army or two.

Russia and China did the destabilization by threatening US Carrier strike groups with supersonic missile.

US Carriers are now as obsolete as large-gun-battleships. US Space Force will replace.