Who is Responsible for Ukraine Crisis and the Rise in Nuclear Tensions Worldwide?
10:12 12.09.2023 (Updated: 10:13 12.09.2023)
Dramatic warnings about the dangers of the conflict expanding into a global nuclear holocaust have accompanied the long-running Ukrainian crisis' expansion into a full-fledged NATO proxy war against Russia. Who is at fault? Is there a way out? Recently, a top official gave his opinion on Russia's attitude.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the hands on its world-famous 'Doomsday Clock' to 90 seconds to midnight earlier this year, citing mounting risks of a nuclear war being sparked by the crisis in Ukraine.
From 2022 onward, Western officials, media, and think tanks have churned out statement
after statement and article
blaming Moscow for the escalation, with some going so far as to claim that Russia might preemptively use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, ignoring both the text of Russia's nuclear doctrine, and statements by top Russian officials, including President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov, on the unacceptability of such a scenario.
"A great danger in the context of the Ukrainian conflict is linked with the fact that the United States and NATO countries, while gearing up for confrontation, run the risk of becoming involved in a direct armed clash between nuclear powers. We think that this course of events can and must be prevented. This is why we must remind everyone about the existence of enormous military and political risks and send sobering signals to our opponents," Lavrov said in an interview for Russia’s International Affairs journal last month.
“I want to stress that our country is fully committed to the principle that a nuclear war
would be unacceptable and proceeds from the premise that there can be no winners in such a war. Therefore, it must never be fought,” Lavrov emphasized, urging the world’s nuclear powers to “remain committed to these understandings and exercise maximum restraint.”
Who’s Responsible for Nuclear Escalation?
to a recent article by Garbuzov on purported Russian "theses of state propaganda" on the causes for the Ukrainian crisis, Russian Ambassador Plenipotentiary Alexander Kramarenko
pointed out that the academic's "manifesto of Americanism’ itself ironically “consists entirely of propaganda clichés from Washington," and is stripped of even an attempt "to assign part of the responsibility for the current aggravation" onto the West.
Focusing on the danger of nuclear escalation, a subject he is all too familiar with in his capacity as a senior diplomat, Kramarenko, who also serves as director of the Russian Foreign Ministry Diplomatic Academy’s Institute of Current International Problems, detailed the long list of steps undertaken by the US to undermine Moscow's trust.
“It was not Moscow that began the dismantling of the entire system of arms control,” he recalled, pointing out that Washington kicked off the process by unilaterally withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002, before proceeding to try to build up a missile shield in Europe. In 2019, the US took the next step, quitting the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), and threatening to allow the now suspended New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty expire without renewal.
Moscow, Kramarenko recalled, was forced to take “steps to preserve the balance of power which guarantees the maintenance of international peace and security” through the creation of new hypersonic and autonomous underwater nuclear delivery systems, only after the US ignored Russia’s fundamental security interests and concerns.
“Secondly, regarding the question of who is violating what: what’s the meaning of the US concept of a ‘prompt global strike’, involving the destabilizing use of strategic carriers? How about other weapons of mass destruction, including chemical ones (whose destruction Washington long delayed under the ridiculous pretext of lacking funds) and biological ones?” Kramarenko asked.
“In the case of the latter, the United States and its Western allies stubbornly refuse to begin work on a verification protocol of the Bioweapons Convention, and the network of American biological laboratories around the world, including those identified in the course of the special military operation in Ukraine, raises questions about US guarantees not to use such weapons,” the diplomat added.
Comprehensive Arms Control
The senior Russian diplomat also asked what “excuses” Britain and France, which possess the world’s fourth and fifth-largest nuclear arsenal, respectively, have for not participating in global arms control
efforts, despite their alliance with the US within NATO. Pointing to US violations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) through the stationing of nuclear weapons in six countries, including Germany, Kramarenko stressed that similar concerns apply to Australia amid its decision to acquire American nuclear submarine technology under the “trilateral transcontinental Anglo-Saxon AUKUS military bloc, taking the world back to the period at the start of the Cold War.”
"Fourthly, regarding China: Why not propose to the US an agreement on equality of nuclear missile capabilities of the whole geopolitical troika, including China, which could stimulate Beijing to consider joining the multilateral arms control process?" Kramarenko asked. "After all, only recently, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley spoke about the 'three great powers' of the United States, Russia and China. Why wait for the inevitable? Doesn't the American policy of containment in fact encourage all countries that it targets to seek to acquire nuclear weapons as a means to protect themselves against the threats of pressure and destabilization?"
US Responsibility for Ukraine Crisis
Turning to the Ukrainian crisis, which is now being cited as the main cause of the escalation of the nuclear danger, Kramarenko recalled that on the eve of its escalation in late 2021, it was Washington, not Moscow, that refused to entertain the idea of security guarantees "in the context of NATO's expansion and the approach of alliance infrastructure toward our borders."
"What's wrong with the military-political neutral status of Ukraine, one wonders? Moreover, we were told that our nuclear deterrent meant that we did not need any guarantees. In short, they point to nuclear weapons as a means for protecting our security interests, but at the same speak of a ‘nuclear taboo’. This did not prevent the breakout of an analogue of the Cuban Missile Crisis on our borders… nor the hollowing out of the very status of NATO membership in the case of Ukraine, whose territory was being absorbed by the alliance despite the then formally ‘neutral’ status of Kiev," the diplomat wrote.
Throughout the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis from 2014 onward, Kramarenko recalled, Moscow supported maintaining a strategic dialogue with Washington, with the process ultimately failing to achieve any results in assuring Russia’s security. "The US, it turns out, is not capable of maintaining such a dialogue with China, either."
"Who is to blame?” Kramarenko asked.
"The trust between our countries was undermined a long time ago. Suffice it to mention the West’s aggression against Libya, when we failed to stop what appeared to be a humanitarian resolution in the UN Security Council. Then came the obstruction of the 2015 Minsk Agreements on resolving the civil conflict in Ukraine, also approved by the Security Council, which, as has subsequently been explicitly stated
, were meant only to buy time for our neighbor’s rearmament in order to inflict a military or ‘strategic’ defeat on Russia. What kind of trust can we talk about here?...And what is the purpose of such contacts, when everything happens in spite of them? It turns out that Washington is simply incapable of negotiating, and this is not only our view," the diplomat stressed.
Recalling Biden National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s comments
at the Aspen Security Forum in July on the US’s willingness “to take risks” to “provide support to Ukraine,” Kramarenko suggested this “Jesuitical formulation…hides a willingness to take the risk of nuclear escalation,” and signals that the very idea of nuclear deterrence has failed to stop US aggression against Russia.
“As for the Russian nuclear doctrine,” the diplomat pointed out that it is “much more clearly formulated” than that of its American counterpart, which plays with ideas of strategic ambiguity (including about the willingness to launch preemptive nuclear strikes) “and at the same time seeks to tightly control others,” including even its own allies.
Multipolarity and the Future of Global Arms Control
"Should we lament the destruction of arms control by the Americans? A new process seems to be approaching, now grounded in the realities of a multipolar world, and will take shape after the completion of the present geopolitical turning point. It is already clear that this process will be multilateral, involving China at a minimum, which with time will catch up to the US and Russia in the number of warheads deployed on strategic missiles. American experts themselves admit that this will happen by 2030, when China will no longer be able to be "contained"," Kramarenko wrote.
The senior Russian diplomat emphasized that the Ukrainian crisis appears to have been planned out by the US as a "blitzkrieg" to "deal with" Russia before pivoting to China "and thereby avoiding a 'war on two fronts'." The question, he stressed, is why the US felt the need to start such a confrontation in the first place, and on what sorts of analyses Washington’s decisions were based.
"Why take such a risk without being prepared for the possibility of a direct conflict with Russia, which is being now being talked about literally on every street corner by American side? This seems to be the key question, and the current US administration will have to provide an answer, both to its own citizens and to the international community, instead of irresponsibly trying to improvise to try to avoid 'losing face'," Kramarenko noted.
Russia is not to blame for the present global crisis, whatever figures like Garbuzov and their sympathizers might say, Kramarenko stressed, and if anything, Moscow’s only real fault has been its "naivety" reliance "on the good will of the West," and "difficulty breaking with the illusion that we must be like them, and that they will accept us as their own."
"After all, this would mean leaning in toward the so-called 'golden billion,' and taking part in the neocolonial robbery of the entire non-Western world,” something the doesn’t fit into Russia’s "history and mission in the world," the observer noted. Instead, Kramarenko now hopes, the Ukrainian crisis will finally free Russia “from the West and its ideational and other forms of oppression."
"And it must be made clear, as it is clear to many in the non-Western world, that without Russia, others will not be able to gain such freedom. And if this was not clear to Western elites before February 24, 2022, by all appearances it’s clear now," the diplomat summed up.