First, it does, because a preemptive strike is considered by international law as a response to aggression that has already become inevitable. You really have to prove that aggression was inevitable. But hardly anyone after a nuclear war will be interested in evidence. The one who will survive will win, and the few will survive (if they survive). And these will be individuals and / or communities, not states or international organizations. So, if the Russian leadership receives information about the inevitability of a massive nuclear strike on Russia in the coming hours, it has the right (and even the obligation) to launch a preventive nuclear attack, and this will not be the first use of nuclear weapons.
Secondly, it doesn’t matter at all, because even if a preemptive strike is delivered by conventional high-precision weapons, it will be directed against positional areas in which nuclear weapons and anti-missile defense systems threatening Russia are deployed. From the point of view of the military doctrines of both the USSR and Russia, the massive attack of strategic nuclear facilities was equated with the start of a nuclear war and gave the right to a nuclear response. Americans approach this question in the same way.
So, in principle, it does not make sense to discuss whether Vladimir Putin meant a preventive or exclusively a reciprocal nuclear or non-nuclear strike from Russia. He clearly emphasized the sharply increased danger of nuclear confrontation. And this is the main point. Because “who first began” will not matter, but no one will know about it.
So the question that interests us should sound as follows: “Why did the Russian president talk about the threat of a nuclear catastrophe right now, when we are not experiencing the deepest aggravations of the Syrian and Ukrainian crises, and on the Korean peninsula Seoul and Pyongyang demonstrate an unprecedented level of friendliness, seriously discussing denuclearization of the peninsula in the framework of the development of inter-Korean dialogue and economic cooperation between the North and the South? ”
I am sure that this was a preventive response to the US decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty (medium and short-range missiles) announced a day later.
Why did this decision provoke such a sharp reaction? After all, the INF Treaty, signed in Washington by Gorbachev and Reagan on December 8, 1987, entered into force in June 1988, and by June 1991 was already completed. That is, all the complexes that fell under the ban were destroyed by both Russia and the United States. Moreover, the development of military equipment over the past 30 years allows for tasks that were solved by the complexes destroyed by the Treaty to be entrusted to other systems that, formally without violating the Treaty, are even more effective.
The treaty prohibits the production and deployment of ground-based missiles with a range from 500 to 5000 kilometers. But today, Russia has an armed Iskander complex (up to 500 km), airborne and sea-based cruise missiles Caliber are deployed (not subject to the Treaty’s limitations, which the Americans themselves insisted on). The declared range of these missiles on ground targets can reach 1,500 kilometers. However, some sources say about 2000-2500 kilometers. The range of the “Dagger” complex (including the range of the carrier) located on the Tu-22M3 reaches 3,000 kilometers. But this, if we bear in mind the combat radius of the aircraft at supersonic, in the mixed mode, the combat radius of the aircraft increases from 1500 to 2500 kilometers, respectively, the range of the complex, together with the rocket, can reach 4000 thousand kilometers.
That is, without a formal violation of the treaty, Russia is able, with the help of the latest developments, to solve tasks that in the past century were available only to medium-range missiles. Moreover, the latest developments, which should go to the troops in the next 10-12 years, generally have an arbitrary range, that is, for them, in principle, there are no inaccessible targets on planet Earth.
Let me also remind you that Russia in its time stated the possibility of its withdrawal from the INF Treaty in response to the withdrawal of the Americans from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. I think that the way out was therefore not carried out, that it turned out to be more efficient to develop and put into service a new high-precision weapon, which allows not to violate the Treaty and at the same time not be particularly connected with it from a strategic point of view.
For thirty years, Russia has just turned the situation around. At the conclusion of the INF Treaty, the United States had an overwhelming advantage in non-nuclear high-precision weapons, capable of hitting the then Soviet (and later Russian) strategic carriers in the framework of the first disarming massive non-nuclear strike. The USSR opposed these classes of American missiles (including air-based and sea-based “Tomahawks”) to their medium-range missiles, in the production of which had a technological advantage. The United States withdrew cruise missiles of naval and airborne bases from the Treaty’s operation (promising that they will be in service exclusively in non-nuclear equipment), but at the same time completely deprived the USSR / Russia of a whole class of strategic armaments in exchange for for them are not fundamental.
That is, at that moment the United States could solve strategic issues without medium-range missiles, but Russia could not, and therefore it was advantageous for Washington to destroy these missiles. Now, to the great chagrin of the Americans, it turned out that in terms of high-precision weapons (including cruise and ballistic missiles), Russia has seriously surpassed them, and in the near future this superiority will increase. Moreover, Moscow can do this without formally violating the INF Treaty.
Restoration in service of the class of medium-range missiles, thus, it took Washington solely to ensure that its technological gap with Moscow does not become a factor in its strategic helplessness. You and I understand that a T-90 tank can destroy a T-34 tank, even without approaching the target fire of its gun (not to mention effective hits). With rockets as well. What is important is not just a rocket, but its tactical and technical data.
But just as an outdated tank can destroy its ultra-modern brother, if it is close enough to effectively defeat it, the flaws of missiles can be compensated for by the proximity of its deployment.
This is where the danger lies. If the United States has not yet lost the technology for producing those medium-range missiles that were in service with them in the 1980s, they can comparatively quickly stamp hundreds of the same Pershing-2. Next question: where will they be placed? From the territory of the United States, they will not finish Russia. There are three options: Europe, Japan and South Korea. It’s not a fact that Seoul will agree to take part in the new round of the arms race, taking into account its honeymoon with Pyongyang and the overt fear of being substituted by the United States for a retaliatory strike by North Korean or Chinese missiles. And it is possible to shoot from the Korean Peninsula and the Japanese Islands only in the Far East, where, frankly, there are few targets for these missiles and they are covered well.
Last time, the main position areas of medium-range missiles were deployed by the United States in Western Europe (in Germany, Britain, Italy, Denmark). Then the “Pershing” flight time to Smolensk was 6 minutes, to Moscow – up to 10 minutes. This dramatically reduced the time to make a decision in a crisis situation and increased the likelihood of accidental conflict. That is why then the Soviet leadership, like the Russian one now, warned that the United States had begun a dangerous game, fraught with disruption into an uncontrollable conflict, which could instantly escalate into a full-scale nuclear war.
Now it’s far from the fact that Americans will be able to deploy rockets in the same countries as in the last century. So far, only the UK has unequivocally supported the United States, saying that it no longer considers itself bound PRSPD. Germany and Italy will clearly not be delighted if they receive such a proposal. In addition, Trump started an economic war against the EU, directed by its point just against Old Europe.
But there is a new Europe. Who can guarantee that Poland, the Baltic States and Ukraine that has joined them will think for a long time, having received from the US a proposal to place Pershing (or something similar) on its territory? But then, the flying time of the rockets to Moscow will be no more than 3-4 minutes, and to St. Petersburg and at all a minute and a half.
This is a situation in which any accident can provoke a preemptive strike. Moreover, in the situation when it is applied to the starting positions of American nuclear missiles, one can, without further ado, immediately launch intercontinental missiles along Washington. Anyway, the breakdown of a conflict into a full-scale nuclear will be a matter of a few minutes, at best a few hours.
Putin spoke about this in Valdai when he promised the aggressors that we would go to heaven, and they would simply die.
The system of international treaties designed to ensure nuclear stability was based on the MTCR (non-proliferation of missile technologies), NPT (non-proliferation of nuclear weapons), ABM (anti-ballistic missile defense), SALT-1 and SALT-2 (on strategic offensive arms) treaties, START- 1, SNV-2, SNP, SNV-3 and DIAC.
The MTCR treaties and the NPT have practically turned into little significant pieces of paper. Having spat on them, India and Pakistan got nuclear weapons. Informally, Israel is also a nuclear power, the capabilities of which are estimated at 100-200 tactical nuclear warheads, but the “civilized world” pretends that it is not aware of the violation of the treaty as a permanently belligerent country. Well, after the DPRK was not only able to implement its nuclear program, but using the technologies obtained from Ukraine to create all classes of missiles, including intercontinental ones, there is no need to speak about the effectiveness of the MTCR treaties and the NPT. What Kim Jong-un has managed will be able to everyone whose international weight is at least a little larger than that of Swaziland or Lesotho.
As is known, the United States has withdrawn from the ABM Treaty.
The SALT-1 Treaty limited strategic arsenals at levels reached by the end of 1972 (and these are tens of thousands of carriers). The SALT-2 Treaty did not enter into force because the US Senate blocked its ratification due to the introduction of Soviet troops in Afghanistan. The START-1 and SNP treaties are not relevant, since they were replaced by the START-3 Treaty, which slightly reduced the total number of deployed carriers compared to SNP. The START-2 Treaty (prohibiting the equipping of missiles with multiple warheads of individual guidance) was signed in 1993, ratified by the State Duma in 2000, and in 2002 Russia withdrew from it in connection with the US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty.
Thus, today, after the declared withdrawal of the United States from the IMDS from the entire system of international treaties regulating the system of strategic potentials, only the START-3 Treaty is in effect, but it means little in the course of the unfolding arms race.
Perhaps the US wants to repeat the successful attempt to blackmail the 80s of the twentieth century, which forced the USSR to make concessions and ultimately contributed to its final collapse. But the situation is radically different. First, Russia has the relevant experience and knows that it is impossible to believe in the word “gentlemen”, and the treaties that they sign, too. Secondly, if Russia is still moving along the ascending line both in politics and in the economy, then in the United States, at best, we can talk about stagnation.
However, Trump prefers to talk about the crisis that he wants to overcome and “make America great again.”
Third, in terms of military technology in the last century, the USSR was catching up, and now it is catching up with the United States.
Fourthly, the stories of the 5th generation fighter jets, the newest destroyers and littoral ships show the glaring inefficiency of the US military-industrial complex, when funds are mastered gigantic, and the result is absent.
Fifth, in the last century, all the world centers of power (USA, EU, China, Japan) were against the USSR, which was forced to stretch its meager military, political, financial, economic and diplomatic resources into confrontation with everyone.
Now even Japan does not quite unconditionally support the United States. In Europe, they still have the UK torn apart by internal contradictions and some of the poor Young Europeans. With China, they are in a tighter confrontation than with us, and now they are also talking about imposing sanctions against India. financial, economic and diplomatic resources on confrontation with all. Now even Japan does not quite unconditionally support the United States. In Europe, they still have the UK torn apart by internal contradictions and some of the poor Young Europeans.
In general, if we proceed from the actions of the United States as an attempt to blackmail, then it is doomed to failure. But this does not cancel the military danger of such games. If you fry kebabs on a barrel of gunpowder, it will explode sooner or later. So a new system of international treaties aimed at limiting, reducing, and, ideally, eliminating nuclear arsenals, will have to be developed. But first, it is necessary for the United States to realize its place in the new world and put up with it.