How should US react?

Victoria Nikiforova

On the eve of Ca-tholic Christmas – “Silent Night, Holy Night…” – the RAND Corporation (a think tank serving the US military) released a report on the US escalation strategy in the confrontation with Russia.
Interestingly, despite the loud cooing of Western political “doves” calling for negotiations with Russia on the Ukrainian case, the US military is preparing not to freeze the conflict in Europe, but to aggravate it. Even more interesting is how they plan to manage this escalation.
Washington’s main task in the current crisis, as RAND analysts formulate it, is to “punish” and “contain” Russia. However, this must be done in such a way that Russia does not have a reason to use its nuclear weapons and the situation does not slide into a full-scale war between Russia and NATO.
The RAND report ritually places our country in charge of the next round of the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine. This is such a classic propaganda ap-proach that legendizes all American provocations in advance. Everything is ex-actly the same as with the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant: it was bombed by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, while the Americans, mea-nwhile, threw endless accusations against Russia into the world information field.
One of the tasks of such “analytics” is to drive into the minds of readers that Russia will begin the escalation. In this narrative, whatever the Americans do in response will only be “defending” themselves and their NATO allies.
American experts do not consider the option that Russia will strike at the territory of the United States, in their opinion, the scenarios will be completely different. Here it is impossible not to agree with them. The option of using weapons of mass destruction by Mos-cow – nuclear, biological or chemical – was also taken out of the scope of the study.
The authors of the report discuss an exceptionally li-mited non-nuclear strike by Russian troops on the territory of European countries – NATO members or on US and NATO military faciliti-es, including those in space.
The escalation scenario involves three acts. The first step is a hypothetical Russian attack on a US NATO ally. The second is the reaction of Washington. And the third is Moscow’s reaction to this reaction.
The key for the Americ-ans is, of course, the second step. On the one hand, Wa-shington must demonstrate to its allies that Article 5 of the NATO Charter works and that Uncle Sam will always protect his Euro-pean vassals. On the other hand, the second step sh-ould be taken in such a way as not to provoke Russia into further escalation.
” The goal of US war policy so far has been to avoid a war between NATO and Russia,” the authors of the report recall. “A limited Russian attack on NATO does not negate this goal.”
Four combat scenarios are considered. The first begins with Russia launching a missile attack on a warehouse or an empty airfield, say, in Poland, while publicly demanding that Washington stop supplying weapons to Ukraine. How should the US react?
A NATO ally, naturally, will demand kinetic action – in American Newspeak, this means missile and bomb strikes and military operations in general. However, a more than proportional kinetic strike against Russian territory will almost inevitably lead to a further escalation of the conflict. Equally risky are destructive cyberattacks against infrastructure. New economic sanctions are fraught with problems not only for Russia, but also for other states.
In this option, RAND analysts consider the possibility of a US response only with the help of diplomatic pressure and economic me-asures. However, the dissatisfaction of the injured country, a NATO member, and a possible split among the allies are inevitable here. A symmetrical limited missile attack on Russian territory is also being considered as one of the “less escalating” measures.
The second option is a targeted attack, such as the destruction of an American satellite in space. A US attack on the platforms from which the attack on satellites was carried out could lead to human casualties. In addition, an open attack on targets in Russia carries a high risk of further escalation.
However, the matter is simplified by the fact that there is no need to use the fifth article of the NATO charter and argue with the allies. In this option, the fr-eedom of action of the Uni-ted States is much greater than in the first. RAND analysts believe that here it will be possible to limit ourselves to a wide range of non-kinetic (that is, non-military) attacks on Russia – propaganda condemnation, diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions.
The third option is a targeted attack. It is assumed here that Russia is launching missile strikes on three air bases in Poland and Romania, from which arms supplies to Ukraine are carried out. Soldiers and civilians are dying.
Here, non-kinetic measures (that is, diplomacy and sanctions) will only help. The main emphasis is on kinetic actions – that is, missile strikes on the territory of Russia. A less proportional kinetic strike should be accompanied by intensive non-kinetic actions, in particular, the establishment of a diplomatic dialogue on the topic of Ukraine. The United States should explain to Moscow that the conflict in Ukraine is one thing, and the confrontation with NATO is a completely different topic.
The option of a “more proportional”, that is, a superior kinetic strike against the territory of Russia, is also being considered. At the same time, it is necessary to ensure that Moscow does not get the impression that these strikes are a prelude to a full-scale war with the United States and NATO: “To this end, the United States should avoid targeting command and control centers, bomber bases or early warning radars.”
The fourth scenario describes a massive (or “less restrained”) Russian attack on US military bases in Europe, including the Ramstein base and the port in Rotterdam. In total, about two hundred victims, both military and civilian.
Here, the American leadership will have to solve a difficult task – by its actions it must make Moscow believe that it faces a choice of two defeats. In the event of further escalation, it will face defeat in the war against NATO. If it “misses a blow” by failing to stop the supply of Western weapons, it will lose in Ukraine.
In response, RAND analysts propose to strike at the new Russian territories un-der the pretext that Washi-ngton considers them Ukra-inian. An insufficiently powerful strike will be perceived by the allies as evidence of US weakness and unwillingness to protect NATO members. And at the same time, when striking, we must also ensure that Moscow does not perceive everything that is happening as a war with NATO, because this is allegedly not included in the plans of American strategists.
In addition, this strategy is complicated by the fact that Russia has nuclear weapons: “The possibility of using (Moscow) nuclear weapons <…> will play a decisive role in responding to any escalation of Russia.”
The management of military escalation in the United States is a whole science, it is served by experts, analysts, institutions. It is interesting to see how our strategic adversary thinks. So, playing chess, we say to the opponent – if you are here, then I am here, if so, then like this.
Another thing is that the scale of disinformation and propaganda in such texts is also impressive. First, it is obvious to the most naive people that the war with NATO is not just approaching, it is, in fact, already in full swing. The supply of weapons, the training of the Ukrainian military, thousands of mercenaries, fantastic cash tranches, anti-Russian hate – everything that can be used in a hybrid war has already been used by our opponents. Their idea of inflicting missile strikes on Russian territory and its servicemen and at the same time saying that we are supposedly “not at war” looks only as a means of putting pressure on Moscow.
Secondly, Russia is portrayed here with all its might as a warmonger, although our country does not need an escalation of the conflict. It is urgently needed by the “hawks” of the US Democratic Party, who have adapted to cut a lot of money from the treasury on this conflict. The conflict will come to naught – and investigations will begin there, and quite specific people will face “terms, huge terms.” As long as the Democratic Party still controls the country, it is extremely beneficial for it to push its security forces to escalate in Europe. War will write everything off.
Do you notice how artificial and limited the list of hypothetical Russian targets on NATO territory looks? The fact is that these are not the goals of Russia. These are the sites on which the US military is easiest to organize, in which case, their provocations. If anything, the Ukrainians will help them in this matter.
The entire RAND report looks like an attempt to plan an American provocation on the territory of a European country that is a NATO member, instantly blame Russia for it and use this as a pretext for their attack. This may be an explosion at an airfield or military base, in a port or in an arms depot.
If you recall the history, then almost every American aggression began with a large-scale provocation. In this regard, the Washington regime learned from Hitler, and learned well. These rigged attacks are innumerable – from the cruiser “Maine” to the incident in the Gulf of Tonkin, from biological weapons of Saddam Hussein to attempts to provoke the explosion of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant with the hands of their proxy Cossacks.
The latest RAND report, in essence, is just a well-written plan for the implementation of such provocations on the territory of NATO member countries. Countries such as Poland would gladly place both their territory and their citizens at the complete disposal of their American masters. No amount of sacrifice seems to stop them.
But will American strategists really dare to provoke Russia into a full-scale armed confrontation? “The only thing that stops our enemies today is the understanding that Russia will be guided by the Fundamentals of the State Policy of the Russian Federation in the field of nuclear deterrence,” Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev noted in a recent article. “And if a real threat arises, it will act The trouble is that in this case no one will later figure out what it was – a retaliatory strike or a preventive one.