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Lowering the Nuclear Threshold? - Sergey Karaganov, Alexander Mercouris, and Glenn Diesen

2024-01-28 | 🔗
Lowering the Nuclear Threshold? - Sergey Karaganov, Alexander Mercouris, and Glenn Diesen
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Who is an honorary chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy and also a former advisor of President Yeltsin and President. Our topic today is an interesting article written by Professor Karaganov with the title Age of War, in which, well, you outline how the world is changing and the conflicts of In favor of lowering the thresholds for Russia's use of nuclear weapons. So I remember when we were in Sochi in October, Putin and I were in Sochi, and we were in Sochi, and we were in Sochi.
I found your argument to be very interesting because the premise is based on a real problem, which appears to be that nuclear deterrence... It would have been unthinkable that either side would have used their own weapons to strike deep inside the territorial. Where they should strike with U.S. weapons. And also, I guess, many were shook by seeing the use of American cluster ammunition being used against civilian targets in Belgorod. So it just seems like one red line is breached after another. Start world war three and yes now we support sending them so it's uh so the red lines doesn't seem to be don't seem to be
What is the solution? Does it solve it to reduce the threshold of using them? Clear posture. The crossing of the red lines and of doing something unthinkable in the previous It would have been asked, I mean, four years ago about that. He said that is impossible. He would have said no. But the decision is much more complex and dangerous than simply.
Dangerous and could lead only to three outcomes. One is that Ukraine Russians and especially from ukrainians um uh the second is that and collapses the second Whereas south and the east of Ukraine will rejoin Russia while kind of a Totally, they're not rice and the friendly to Russia will be the rest of Ukraine the third if that is not
Particular for the West is whether to agree on Over the flying banners, agreeing that it has lost but with dignity, or face a catastrophe. Winning this war, and we'll be winning this war, whatever happens. The problem is the cost for the Who got forbids for necessity to strike several European countries.
Uh whereas as well as the united states and as i argue i mean it is a viable option though i But the problem is even deeper. The use of the tectonic sheets in the world system, Many conflicts will emerge and eventually, ...by a desperate attempt by one of the powers to stop...
But the problem is that they're rolling back to a dignified state. Into an abyss even. But then, even just putting away the West problem, we will have new imperialist... ...undermining the foundation of the Western dominance, which we have had for 500... You're undermined the system.
Iran will be a great power. And they will compete. Uh... and uh... without uh... without a safety What I call an age of wars. So it is not only a question of immediate Russian Not the fate of the world. So it is not only Russia.
It is changing, of course, but not publicly as of yet. But about whether we could arrive at some kind of an understanding Two observations. I, of course, lived through the Cold War from the Western side. I mean, I was, you know, in the West.
Between the Soviet Union and the United States, there was the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which tried to halt the spread of nuclear weapons. There was also effects, constraints on the behaviour of the two superpowers. During the Vietnam War was bombing the Vietnamese port of Haiphong, that that might lead to attacks on Soviet merchant ships. And Lebanon. There were also concerns that if the United States launched
Danger of nuclear weapons or of nuclear war taking place. I can remember millions of people participating in Britain over those protests, in those protests. All that fear has gone completely
These things and the pressure to do that is huge and the counter pressure is all but non-existent now i find that extremely worrying perhaps because as i
With the Russians to try to find a graceful end to the war in Ukraine. My clear view is that no negotiations like that are going to happen, that there was a policy debate in Washington about it, and that those who wanted to stop negotiations have in effect won. So that is my concern. I think we are drifting into exactly the situation where, which you said, a defeat for the West in Ukraine, no negotiations at all, and at the same time, a very alarming situation where people no longer fear or even talk about the danger of nuclear war. The problem is that over the last 70 years, because the nuclear weapons provided us with a relative peace.
And we have a generation, especially in the West, of people who do not understand what is war. This is, I would say, it is a lack of. And the reasons why I opened up this debate was to sober up Fear and Remembrance Awards is much more limited here as well as in Asia.
To restore the feeling of self-preservation. And that's why it's not only lowering thresholds, it's just reminding people that Much more dangerous at any time and will be more and more dangerous if we don't change the course. In 46, 47, I am a historian of war and a historian of strategy. There was no real possibility of a war. The strategy of the United States and NATO was a fake. I know that for sure. Because when the Americans understood...
Possibility of delivering a couple of workers on their territory, they just stopped thinking Really dangerous in this world is that Secretary Blinken and then his president went on record That means that these people are mad, and they, and I quote on quote-unquote, To change these people and to sober up their elites and European elites, unfortunately.
Europe except for two or three in the United States it probably will remain but we see what the heads To reinstall the nuclear fuse before it is too late. Even an obligation to lower the nuclear threshold to save the world from For necessity for example to start trial tests of nuclear weapons
In the north. I mean, so just to remind people what hell is. People will get sober. There are signs, though, that at least in the United States, people are getting a bit more sober. They have been saying that russians will never use europeans continue to do that because they have lost their sense of
In very serious ways, that the United States would lose a war if it starts. Obey to the orders of political leaders if the orders are to use nuclear weapons. It is not only United States and Europe, which is, I mean, the whole world is becoming different. Before the new balance will be settled. And unfortunately, I do not see any other way but to reinstall the nuclear fuse.
What do you say to the either they will be destroyed or they will Retreat with flying banners, in a dignified manner, but Or more died indirectly. I would love to stop that before. The West has lost this war.
Can I just say, I agree with our assessment. I would say that in terms of the events of the last year, 2023, the shock to the collective psyche of the West, or at least Western governments, of the defeat of Ukraine's summer offensive can Achieve some big effects. And the fact, I mean, I read articles about this, that, you know, the United States, Britain, Germany threw everything at Ukraine that they reasonably could or thought they could. Suggest an alternative to the one that you've been outlining, which is what about, rather than lowering thresholds, which again, as a child of the Cold War, I am very nervous about, what about working towards
I think it is going to be very, very difficult for a while to involve the West in direct negotiations. But Russia has been very effective, it seems to me, in building strong relations. We see BRICS coming together in interesting ways and a topic where Professor Deeson is far more informed than me. We also see processes of Eurasian integration now starting to take shape. Might it not be a more effective way to sort of say to the Americans than the Europeans, well, look, you're going down this.
I agree with you. Of course, I agree with you. It would have been better to do it by building a new system. The problem is the I mean, the battles are changing, and we have for about 15, 20 to 20 years. Hopefully, will be built. This is an opening, but it is also a gap. And this gap has to be filled. I hope that, I mean, 15... Which are the global majority, including parts of the West. Europe will be out.
And will form a new kind of an arrangement. Or Bricks Plus, because you have totally, unfortunately, So, and of course, nonproliferation is not working, and that's why I unfortunately, philosophically, Viable and stable unless we live through this period without a major nuclear war.
And Napoleonic and Hitler at times is attacking Russia, we could punish them, but that would be terrible because I am partly European. Of course, we are talking with the Chinese, we're talking with Indians, we'll talk on ...at this juncture to talk, unfortunately, to talk with our American or European partners. By the way, they are forbidden to talk to us.
The police, I know quite a few or else, you know, a few cases like that. I mean, it's not, things are difficult. What they had been doing before. But that is a safe question. Problem or Russian Western problem in Europe, which is, by the way, of course, now in the center. Is the major shift of power in the world.
Then, all of a sudden, it was stopped by a collapse of the Soviet Union for its own reasons. But now it goes on with... By cold-blooded hands, and if people do not have Out of a stick, hopefully only showing the stick, not using it. And Russia, because I remember back in December of 2021, before Russia invaded, the former
I could go to war because the risk or the threat of doing nothing became greater than the threat of actually doing something. Couple of years, it would be impossible to change this projection. It reminds me also what William Burns, the now director of CIA, argued that if they continue to push into Ukraine, Russia would invade, even States and NATO seemingly can attack inside Russian borders with impunity, and again,
Fails, then to respond, then it may signal that it redlines, doesn't matter, and it can be trampled. So I'm just, this is a problematic. This would be a possible pathway to a war. I'm just, how do you assess it? Conventional war yeah I'm afraid that if uh Nuclear weapons would be used, and NATO would be devastated. Several European countries will suffer.
Yeah, I will also suffer, and I'm a Russian, and I don't know. Of children, so I do not want that. You have, sometimes you have to do that. I, again, We're having a lot of debates on that and that you In 1997, since their founding act, that it could come to war. Then I was telling everybody that there will be a war.
We were the main force of the war. Unfortunately, we procrastinated for too long. Tragedy. President Putin said also he admitted that we procrastinate The problem is the cost, and the cost for Ukrainians, which are devastated, the cost And returning to my basic point, it is not only a European issue. You see that, I mean, the flare-ups of conflicts are everywhere.
Close to a genocide of Israelis, is recreating an Of the repercussions is through is or is You see that everything is changing and then Pakistan starts to attack Iran and vice versa. Going already in Africa. Nobody pays attention to that in Africa.
And we are not leaving the period by reinstalling nuclear fuels. Which will have something like 3 to 12, 13 more powers. I'll start to build a new balance, a new balance, a more fair system. But again, the question is. We have just put on that is aimed in that and it has been this report has been widely
First to reinstall the fuse, otherwise we are doomed. That people are dying. But as a, let me call myself, quote-unquote, strategic thinker and historian, Now I'm saying that if we do not stop the slide towards third world By reinstalling the nuclear fuse, hopefully without using nuclear weapons.
To get with our colleagues on new concepts of deterrence and new strategies of deterrence. Because all deterrence has several... That the world could be built. The big wars are actually in the world of multiple powers.
Well, can I just say, just a few points to follow up. I mean, you may be interested in, I don't know whether this has reached Moscow yet, but I think the plan... To ferment an insurgency there this is the new apparently plan that people are talking about i think it's a disastrous plan by the way it's a terrible plan for ukraine and i think it's also a terrible plan for europe but i'm not going to spend time discussing it there as i said i think it is terrible plan at multiple levels but again i wonder whether diplomatic approaches don't sometimes achieve the very kind of outcomes that you're talking about i mean we've seen this big rapprochement between russia and north korea now north korea acquired nuclear weapons because it felt threatened by the
They are worried about the United States, which is now talking openly, by the way, of missile strikes on Iran. Iran, are able now to move forward and they're able to go again to the other side, to Russia, to the BRIC states. They're able to reopen trading systems. They're able to establish alternative security arrangements, which does provide a degree of deterrence which hadn't existed before and does perhaps construct to some extent or accelerate the construction of this security architecture, bringing in other powers, other rising powers that you've been saying. So isn't that perhaps, again...
Of history and is or the title of history And we think that eventually we will write what you're talking about. A much more fair system, a much more fair political...
I really regret that I'm so old, because the world which I envision to be the third new world war, Much freer. But we have to A much freer world will also have a lot of problems, which also should be taken care of. Uh so we have to stop their new arm several new arms races i mean uh now we have uh the new uh
And they are a godsend weapon, forbid me for being so nasty. Ready and uh people are talking about x And in order to deter biological, we also have to reinstall deterrence. And it would need a change of mentality of the peoples in the new world, people in their
Yet on dissent, for example, there are threat of biological weapons, which is almost as bad. Article on the age of wars. So we have to arrange But to lower the threshold, to go up the ladder of escalation, hopefully, of People do not, do not.
Are all over and nuclear weapons will be used here or there. The weapons of the poor, they're cheap and their dissemination is cheap with all kinds Facing which we do not want to talk about and to think about. ...to say that, and I had all kind of moral problems of thinking about that for several years.
Direction would be harsh. And I invited fire on myself, which I'm happy To get over this period relatively peacefully. Points you address the perhaps need of reforming capitalism you know as due to the continuous growth being measured in ever more consumption you discuss the digital technologies of dumbing down rather than
Whatever, 13 or 14 topics which I put down on the table were only an invitation to a larger discussion. Thoughtful discussion on that. I think we would welcome that. Thank you very much. That would be very interesting. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.
Transcript generated on 2024-02-05.