A not so gentle hint from the Kremlin on what comes next?

My latest essay, “How Far Can Diplomacy Go?” dated 7 January, has taken on a life of its own.  Shortly after it was re-posted on http://www.antiwar.com in the early hours of 8 January it was immediately translated into Russian by politros.com, a St Petersburg based news portal. This was then picked up and re-posted by a half a dozen other Russian news websites including www.yandex.ru, the country’s equivalent of google.com, as well as fbm.ru, discover24.ru and rznonline.ru. It also was placed on the youtube channel 24NEWS plus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AA7IVHljLH4, where the translated text of my article is read by a female voice, while the video shows Russian submarines and synthesized views of their cutting edge technology nuclear deap sea drone, Poseidon. The youtube broadcaster plays the theme song of state television Rossiya 24, but otherwise it is not clear what their relationship may be.

I emphasize that my articles are very rarely spotted and translated by Russian media. Their website specializing in such translations, inosmi.ru has done this only a few times over the past five years. Other Russian sites have occasionally re-posted me in Russian, but these appeared to be machine translations, unlike what politros produced, and took several days to appear.

I also point out that the translation which the Russian portals have now disseminated is a partial translation, amounting to about two-thirds of my original text.  They left out my comments on the “crackpot” whom I identified as a source of the “window of opportunity” argument which no doubt is driving the present Russian ultimatum to the West to revise the security architecture in Europe in its favor. They left out my remark on how revising this architecture must take place before Vladimir Putin’s current mandate in office expires in 2024 so that he may retire in peace and let the country move on to normal democracy.

More importantly, the Russian reposting of my article leaves out my mention of “surgical strikes” as the way for Russia to prove to our skeptical foreign and military policy establishment in the United States and Europe that their demands are not a bluff, but are backed up by superior strategic and tactical military force.  Instead, the reposting focuses on placing Russian strategic arms just off the American shores, and in particular on stationing there submarines carrying the Poseidon, Russia’s new state of the art nuclear armed deep sea drone which is capable of setting off tsunamis that destroy coastal cities and installations.

The advantage of the offshore stationing of such weapons of mass destruction is that they pose an existential threat without need to actually destroy anything or kill anyone as would happen with the other show of force I had mentioned, “surgical strikes” on the Ukrainian Black Sea coast naval bases now being outfitted and manned by US-UK teams.  A secondary advantage is that the pressure is piled on against one country, the United States, the moving force of the Alliance. The negotiations which follow would then be strictly bilateral talks, without the cacophany of the other 29 NATO members delaying or preventing achievement of results.

The threat of Poseidon by itself would be very unlikely to elicit a kinetic response from the United States and NATO.  But will such a threat alone be sufficient to win for Russia the capitulation it is now demanding from NATO?  Perhaps, but only perhaps. There are simply a great many stubborn and proud global hegemonists in Washington who will not be persuaded by a purely peaceful display of might. 

Time will tell

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2022

One thought on “A not so gentle hint from the Kremlin on what comes next?

  1. I don’t like the Poseidon idea either. It would not dissuade the “global hegemonists” in Washington because it would be read as a naive bluff of Russia trying to convince the West she is ready to wipe out life on the planet. It’s just another way of being ineffective. Unfortunately, some daring, shocking action (duplicated, if necessary) in Russia’s back yard is the only erffective – and defensible – measure that I can see at this point. Vladimir Vladimirovich let it be known that he, as a youngster, fought with bullies in the mean streets in Leningrad. And therefore he said, he knows the value of the first strike. I hope he means it, and won’t be sucked into playing a chekist with a cap as “blue as the sky”, as Solzhenitsyn mocked to phoney sense of superior moraiity cultivated in the corps of trained murderers. So far, he did everything right in the crisis. Ryabkov said this morning that the “talks” may not last past the first meeting on Monday. Right! He and everyone else in Moscow knows that at this point further jaw-jaw is a waste of precious time. One can only hope Russia is ready for what comes next.


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