Simulated nuclear war drills will be held in both Russia and NATO at the same time.
“All of these nuclear war drills, including those done by NATO and Russia, should be stopped.
Other false warnings occurred back then.
NATO held its Able Archer nuclear war games two months after the Petrov near-miss.
Moscow began to think that the Able Archer exercise was just a cover for a nuclear attack that was about to happen.
The Russian president frequently discusses using nuclear weapons. According to the American president, it has been a while since we “confronted the prospect of Armageddon” like this. The former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, the highest-ranking US military officer, says that Vladimir Putin is like “a cornered animal.” Hence, “we need to stop talking about Armageddon” and start real diplomacy right away before everything goes wrong. The head of the United Nations says that all of us are “just one misunderstanding or one mistake away from nuclear annihilation.”
The violence also increases as the rhetoric does, with large pipelines exploding, the Crimean Bridge on fire, and Russia and Ukraine pelting each other with ever-heavier explosives.
Enter NATO, which decides to simulate nuclear war at this challenging time.
What. Too early?
In a press release, NATO assures the public that no live nuclear bombs will be used. (Having said that, Belgium is one of the few countries in Europe that hosts US nuclear weapons and is the official host of Steadfast Noon.)
The Pentagon scrapped plans to test-launch a few of its intercontinental ballistic missiles six months ago. Even then, when Russia had just invaded Ukraine, it was thought there was too much of a chance for a nuclear “miscalculation” to occur.
Today, the chances of miscalculation, aggression, and emotion are all immeasurably higher. However, Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, doesn’t think it’s a huge concern.
Last week, Stoltenberg told the media that would send the wrong message.
As ridiculous as it may sound, NATO is not the only moron in our interconnected world. Simulated nuclear war drills will be held in both Russia and NATO at the same time.
The White House says that “Grom” or “Thunder,” the Russian version of “Steadfast Noon,” will involve a lot of nuclear force maneuvers and real missile launches. It is anticipated to begin soon.
Steadfast Noon and Grom are recurring drills, and the US government officially emphasises how normal everything is. At the height of a global crisis, when Putin is “a trapped animal” and we are eerily near to “Armageddon,” a small error from “annihilation,” everyone is simply limbering up the nuclear war machine. Still, it’s all routine and there’s nothing to see.
Of course, even “routine” can turn out to be disastrous. This year, India accidentally fired a supersonic missile that could carry a nuclear warhead right into Pakistan because of a “technical malfunction” during routine maintenance. Pakistan still finds humor offensive, but we should all be thankful that Islamabad was patient back in March and didn’t think a nuclear sneak attack was happening.
Would Moscow or Washington stay calm if a similar “technical fault” happened at Grom or Steadfast Noon?
These kinds of ideas have crossed the minds of US war planners. Reuters reported that a “senior US defense official” said that it was “irresponsible” for Russia to do this exercise while at war with Ukraine. Other unnamed US officials note that it can be difficult to tell the difference between an exercise and the opening moves of a nuclear attack. One insider told Reuters, “This is why you don’t want to have scorching language at the same time you’re going to have nuclear practice.”
All of these nuclear war drills, including those done by NATO and Russia, should be stopped. This is just common sense. We urge Washington and Moscow to sit down and have a conversation rather than pretending to destroy one another—always keep in mind that a nuclear war would result in the mass killing of both people and children. As most countries around the world have asked, we need that to help mediate peace in Ukraine and to reaffirm our treaty commitment to work toward reducing all nuclear weapons in the world. Pollyannish, huh? The day of disarmament might be nearer than you believe. Even the brief news statement from NATO announcing Steadfast Noon ends with the claim that NATO is ready for “a world without nuclear weapons.”
However, for the time being, the US official line is that NATO exercises should continue while Russia’s should be canceled because they are careless. If it weren’t so spooky, it would be amusing. Katrina Vanden Heuvel, the editor of the Nation, says that the Cuban missile crisis was stopped 60 years ago because of “strategic empathy.” Still, we’re relying on “careless sociopathy” to get through.
Steadfast Noon makes one think of another now-famous 1980s NATO nuclear war drill, Able Archer. US-Russian relations were terrible then, as they are now.
In June 1980, at 2:30 in the morning, the US military woke up the White House national security adviser. As a result of an early-warning system report, Soviet submarines fired hundreds of nuclear missiles, an attack that would destroy the US. Before the president could be roused, the military announced a false alarm in a third phone call after confirming the attack in a second call. An unreliable 46-cent computer chip was the problem.
Other false warnings occurred back then. In 1982, a natural gas pipeline in Siberia blew up for no reason. The explosion was so big that it could be seen from space. (This was triumphantly hailed as a successful CIA operation many years afterwards.)
By 1983, the thick veil of mistrust and fear made it difficult for Washington and Moscow to see one another. We still don’t have a high-tech defence to stop incoming nuclear missiles, but when the Reagan administration announced plans for one in May, the Soviet Union was very scared.
On September 1, 1983, a Soviet fighter shot down a passenger plane from New York to Seoul. The soldier thought the plane was a spy plane and thought it was a spy plane. The 269 people on board perished. On September 26, 1983, the Soviet early-warning system turned to raise the alarm. It announced the arrival of American missiles. But Stanislav Petrov, who was on duty that night and is now frequently hailed as the man who “saved the world,” refused to accept this and failed to alert his superiors.
Two months after the Petrov near-miss, NATO held its Able Archer nuclear war games. The Able Archer was started in Belgium. It was advertised as “regular” and was like today’s Steadfast Noon in that it happened often. This time, though, NATO tried out more realistic things, like a new coded communications protocol, some long radio silences, and the participation of heads of state like Margaret Thatcher of the UK.
The Kremlin was already on edge because of unidentified pipeline explosions, mistakenly shooting down passenger jets, broken warning systems, and rumors that the US would soon have a missile shield it could hide behind. All of this “reality” added to the tension. Moscow began to think that the Able Archer exercise was just a cover for a nuclear attack that was about to happen.
You might be surprised to find out that, at the time, the US intelligence community completely missed this. That’s one lesson we are steadfast in refusing to learn, according to a later review by the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, which noted that the intelligence community made the “especially grave error of assuming that since we know the US is not going to start World War III, the next leaders of the Kremlin will also believe that.”
Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network