Biden Drops and Detonates Ukraine Battlefield Nuke

(Image by Alexander Antropov from Pixabay.)

A battlefield nuke was detonated Tuesday night in the Ukraine War, and Presidentish Joe Biden was the one who pushed the button during the opening minutes of his State of the Union Address.

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Thankfully, it was a figurative battlefield nuke, but that could change.

“Putin,” Biden reminded us, “is now isolated from the world more than he has ever been.”

More than just Putin, it’s his entire coterie being targeted by Western nations in an effort to get the Kremlin to end its invasion of Ukraine.

By cutting off Russian banks from the international financial system, “we’ve caused the ruble to go into freefall and, Biden tells us, that’s made “Putin’s $630 billion war fund worthless.”

“We are choking Russia’s access to technology that will sap its economic strength and weaken its military for years to come,” Biden added.

He even directly addressed the “Russian oligarchs and the corrupt leaders who bilked billions of dollars off this violent regime” and told them: “No more.”

“We’re joining with European allies to find and seize their yachts, their luxury apartments, their private jets. We are coming for your ill-begotten gains.”

Biden concluded the epic rant with, “He has no idea what’s coming.”

But what if Putin and the oligarchs do know?

In fact, they certainly know. And they have battlefield nukes of their own.

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I have no problem — in fact, I encourage it highly — with providing Ukraine with all the 7.62 rounds, all the Stinger antiair missiles, and all the Javelin antitank missiles we can possibly get to them.

But crashing the ruble might be nuking a golden bridge too far — if you’ll allow me to tangle metaphors.

Sun Tzu’s advice to “Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across” has been bandied about more often in recent days as Putin’s Ukraine offensive has bogged down.

Losing an offensive war can make for an existential crisis for the Big Cheese who gave the Go order — Argentina’s Leopoldo Galtieri comes to mind. He took the Falkland Islands from Britain, the Brits took them back, then the police took Galtieri away.

That little adventure didn’t threaten Argentina directly; Britain was content with just getting the islands back.

So what do Galtieri and Argentina have to do with Sun Tzu and Putin?

Putin has already overcommitted in Ukraine. He can still win, of course, but the cost will almost certainly prove unacceptably high — and that’s just the military cost.

Vlad has got to be thinking of how to unstick himself from the Ukraine tar baby, but in a way that doesn’t end with him getting the Galtieri Treatment.

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That’s what a “golden bridge” would be — a somewhat magnanimous Western alliance helping Putin get out of the stinking pile that he, himself, made.

Why should we be so nice?

Because the other realistic options are worse, including Russia’s option to use literal battlefield nukes.

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There might have come a time where the oligarchs would have had a little talk with Vlad about maybe getting some rest, retiring to his dacha in Sochi, and letting them run the show for, you know, just a little while.

Because nobody, really, wants to resort to battlefield nukes.

But going personally after the oligarchs, Biden nuked that golden bridge — the one where Putin gets the Galtieri Treatment and Russia retreats to its own borders. Then, with Vlad Man Gone, everyone tries to pretend nothing happened.

The Russian Army has always practiced the use of battlefield nukes. It’s a part of Russian warfighting doctrine that, thankfully, they have not had cause to use.

The National Interest reported last week that “if NATO forces hit targets inside Russia or crossed over into Russian territory, Moscow might conclude that there is a danger to the existence of the state.”

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That’s a bright red line that, according to Russian doctrine, practically requires the use of battlefield nukes.

But what if NATO struck at Russian soil with non-kinetic weapons?

Crashing the ruble and cutting Russia off from global finance is an attack on Russia’s ability to continue functioning as a nation-state. It might be one thing to shoot down a few Russian jets or launch missiles at an airbase or two, but this sanctions regime is so severe it could undercut the Russian people’s ability to feed themselves.

Biden effectively dropped a battlefield nuke on another one of those golden bridges that Russia might have honorably retreated across.

Before the Ukraine War began, I was concerned that Biden would give away the store to Putin at the negotiating table in order to avoid war. Now that war has come, the real concern is whether Biden has made an enemy of all of Russia, instead of just Putin, and in what awful ways that might play out.

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