If Russia strikes a nuclear strike, the West's response will be devastating

Putin is a brutal aggressor, but he is not crazy, says General Ben Hodges.

He said Russia was unlikely to start a nuclear war. But if that happens, the West will respond – and that response will be devastating for Russia, writes Deutsche Welle.

Until 2017, US General Ben Hodges was Commander-in-Chief of US troops in Europe. The 64-year-old reserve officer is married to a German woman and lives in Frankfurt am Main. In an extensive interview with the authoritative German newspaper Die Zeit, the general also commented on widespread fears that Russia could use nuclear weapons.
“The answer will be devastating for Russia”

Hodges takes the threat seriously but believes a nuclear strike is unlikely – because it does not give Putin a tactical advantage. However, the general warns that in the event of a nuclear strike, the West and NATO will respond.

“And the answer will be devastating for Russia. By the way, this answer does not have to be nuclear at all. We can imagine several things. Our F-35 stealth fighters can destroy Russian units in Ukraine – it will not take long. Vladimir “Putin could lose most of his Black Sea Fleet and suffer many other losses. The response of Western troops will in any case be devastating for the Russian army. And without the use of nuclear weapons.”

Asked whether Putin was acting rationally, General Hodges shared his conviction that the Russian leader would ultimately not risk a nuclear war.

“He’s a brutal aggressor, but he’s not crazy. Besides, there are people around him who need to know that life goes on after Putin. Because the rules are such that he can’t push the button himself. Besides, I guess our the government has made it clear to the Kremlin what will happen if someone detonates an atomic bomb, “Hodges said.

Journalists from The Zeit remind the general of the view of the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas that no one can win a war against nuclear power. In response, Hodges commented:

According to the Russian nuclear doctrine, nuclear weapons can only be used if someone invades Russia. But we are not threatening Russia. The most important thing is to make it clear that we remain firmly on the red line. This war will not lead to an invasion of Russia. absolutely no interest in any piece of Russia. ”

“I overestimated the Russians”

From the publication in The Zeit, we learn that some time ago Ben Hodges published an almost prophetic book. In it, he describes how, after a pandemic that depleted Europe and the United States, Russia and China allied and attacked weakened NATO nations. How does the author himself view these “predictions” now?

“I overestimated the Russians,” he said. “I knew, of course, that there was corruption in both the government and the army. But I didn’t realize how deep this swamp was. A lot of people put a lot of money in their pockets and the soldiers didn’t get what they needed. If we rethink it now – everything is the same. If we carefully analyze the Russian operations of recent years – Georgia, Syria, Crimea, we will immediately see that only a small part of Russia’s armed forces are involved in hostilities, mostly paratroopers, special forces, and the Wagner mercenaries. Most of the army has no experience at all. ”

Later in the interview, Hodges talks about his very interesting conversation with the former commander-in-chief of the Finnish army:

“I asked him why he thought the Russians were not mobilizing the reservists. And he explained to me that most of these reservists had no equipment or training, and they didn’t think they were obliged at all. In other words, there are no divisions that only According to current estimates, the Russians can muster 900,000 combat-ready troops, but today I think there are hardly more than 500,000. corruption. The generals say they have to pay so many soldiers, but in fact, they pay no more than half. The rest of the money goes to the bosses. ”

“It could get even worse.”

Towards the end of the interview, Ben Hodges quoted a well-known German military leader from the last century:

“Prussian general and military theorist Karl von Clausewitz writes that with each offensive comes a climax when the attackers lose energy for the further offensive. I think the Russians are experiencing this culmination right now. In the coming weeks, the Ukrainians may launch a counteroffensive. However, when the Russians realize that they have reached the climax, then they will begin to strike even harder with what they have – that is, with even more artillery. And the situation could become even more appalling. ”

USA: Russia’s aggression should not distract us from the threat from China

The United States will try to use the bloc formed in connection with the Russian invasion of Ukraine to counter the threat from China, which Washington considers more serious and long-term, writes the British newspaper “Independent”, citing the long-awaited speech yesterday of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinkon on policy towards Beijing.

In addition to using the coalition, other measures included in Biden’s policies include investing in US infrastructure and technology, as well as strengthening diplomatic contacts with potentially vulnerable countries.
The administration of the current US president has generally maintained the confrontational policy towards Beijing adopted by former President Donald Trump over China’s actions in the Xinjiang Uyghur region, Tibet, Hong Kong, and the South China Sea. The US government sees areas where cooperation with China is possible – such as climate change – but Blinkon said cooperation in this area would not be at the cost of compromising the rule of law and human rights.

The American newspaper “Hill” points out five key moments of the speech that should be remembered: First, according to Blinkon, Beijing is lobbying against American laws. Second, the foundations of the international order are threatened. Third, the climate is an important area of ​​cooperation. Fourth, the United States does not support Taiwan’s declaration of independence but condemns Beijing’s efforts to isolate and intimidate the self-governing island. Fifth, Blinkon spoke out against the anti-Asian hatred that has grown since the discovery of the coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan. “Racism and hatred have no place in a country built by generations of immigrants to fulfill the promise of equal opportunities for all,” he said.

According to Blinkon’s speech, the United States is seeking an asymmetric force to prevent conflict with the communist regime, the Washington Examiner reported, recalling that the Chinese military is also seeking asymmetric advantages, according to a Pentagon report published last year. year.

According to Blinkon, China is the only power with the potential to change the rules of the world order, notes the British Financial Times. He said Beijing’s vision would take the world away from the universal values ​​that have helped make progress over the past 75 years, noting that “during President Xi’s (Jingping) tenure, the Chinese Communist Party has become more repressive at home and more aggressive. abroad”.

The defense of Putin’s war in Ukraine should worry everyone in the Indo-Pacific region, Blinkon added. He has already sparked excitement by saying Washington would use military force to defend Taiwan, although he later said US policy toward China has not changed and they continue to oppose “any unilateral change in the status quo.”, notes the British edition.

In his speech, Blinkon described the competition with China as a clash between two ideologies – democracy and authoritarianism – but stressed that the United States is not trying to change China. The US administration’s strategy is not focused on conflict or a new Cold War, he said.

The three main directions of American policy towards China are investing in US competitiveness and innovation; cooperation with partners and allies; and competition with Beijing aimed at protecting American interests, according to the Washington Post. But the first will require the support of both parties in Congress, which the president is finding difficult to secure, except on issues related to Ukraine, the publication notes.

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