Do we act in common or is it going to be every man for himself?
I returned to Brussels on Sunday after a month of travels in exotic and warm lands south of the equator. The re-entry shock upon arrival in Belgium was a lot greater than the 27 degree Centigrade drop in outdoor air temperature.
After a month of only very limited reception of Russian news, due to satellite issues and hotel service issues, last night I switched on Russian state television’s news and talk show “Sixty Minutes” on www.smotrim.ru and got a full blast of the current state of relations with the US, which are very close to Doomsday.
Allow me to share with you the key point, namely the soon to be announced changes to the Russian doctrine on first use of nuclear weapons and their new more precise red lines that have come about from the plans for Russia’s partition and destruction that seem to be aired daily on US television.
As usual, Yevgeny Popov, State Duma member and host of “Sixty Minutes,” put a lot of video segments from Western television up on the screen, including a lengthy statement by Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, former commander of all U.S. forces in Europe from 2014 to 2017, on how the Ukrainians must be given long range precision missiles for them to attack Russian Crimea and also further into the Russian heartland. The interview from which this declaration was made does not yet appear in Google search, but from interviews posted in 2022 it is clear that Hodges is no madman, and his statements must, as Popov said, be taken with utmost seriousness.
The context, of course, for the radical escalation now being discussed in the United States is the expectation of a massive Russian offensive to begin shortly as the anniversary of the Special Military Operation approaches. The imminent defeat of Ukrainian forces has focused minds in Washington.
One of the regular panelists on “Sixty Minutes” then faced the cameras directly and said that Russia’s nuclear doctrine is under revision in light of these aggressive plans being aired in the United States, so that Russia is headed towards a policy of ‘preventive’ tactical nuclear strikes, similar to what the United States has. Moreover, if Ukraine targets Crimea and heartland Russia, then Russia will respond according to plans now being laid down. These plans foresee counter strikes against U.S military installations in Europe and in the Continental United States using hypersonic missiles. The panelist calls for this threat of counter strikes in Europe and the US to be made public and explicit, so that no one is in doubt about what to expect from the Kremlin.
So here we are. The Russians are stripping away the fiction of a proxy war and revealing the co-belligerent status of the US and its NATO allies in preparation for a kinetic war with NATO. As our illustrious former President, a man of few words, would say: “Not good!”
Allow me also to share with my readership the bitter medicine that I just shared with our daughter: look for an escape hatch!
Either, as I fervently hope, there will be an anti-war movement in the USA, in Europe arising from the shock therapy news now developing with respect to the coming kinetic war between NATO and Russia, OR failing that, it will be every man for himself.
Back in 1937 there were Jews in Berlin who decided they could ride out the storm and stay put. There were others who took the first boats out, to England, to the US, to South America. All of us in the Northern Hemisphere now may be facing the same existential choice.
Gilbert Doctorow is an independent political analyst based in Brussels. He chose this third career of 'public intellectual' after finishing up a 25 year career as corporate executive and outside consultant to multinational corporations doing business in Russia and Eastern Europe which culminated in the position of Managing Director, Russia during the years 1995-2000. He has published his memoirs of his 25 years of doing business in and around the Soviet Union/Russia, 1975 - 2000. Memoirs of a Russianist, Volume I: From the Ground Up was published on 10 November 2020. Volume II: Russia in the Roaring 1990s was released in February 2021. A Russian language edition in a single 780 page volume was published by Liki Rossii in St Petersburg in November 2021: Россия в бурные 1990е: Дневники, воспоминания, документы.
His work may be found at https://gilbertdoctorow.com/.