Russia’s threat to use a nuclear weapon against Ukraine, as well as its suggestion that it will possibly attack Western nations, are forcing us to intensify pressure on the U.S. administration to create a strong atomic umbrella over Poland for defense purposes.
Although NATO’s Article 5 guarantees a solidary defense of all nations in case of an attack against Poland, the stance of Germany and some other countries on Ukraine shows that we cannot be absolutely certain that it will be enforced instantly and with appropriate force.
The U.S. reaction will be key. If the Russians are sure that the U.S. will respond, it should deter Russia.
The matter becomes even more complicated when considering the threat of nuclear war. If a country is attacked with smaller warheads, it could cause a debate among NATO countries regarding how they should answer, which in turn prompts the Kremlin’s criminals to take such an option into consideration. Unfortunately, potential NATO paralysis and the psychological impact of this could be an option that appeals to the Kremlin.
The Russians would have much more to consider if they wanted to attack a country that has access to nuclear weaponry.
At the moment, the “nuclear option” remains completely unbalanced. Russia keeps hundreds of nuclear warheads aimed at Poland in Kaliningrad, while NATO has no nuclear weapons near the Russian border. Such a situation creates the temptation for Moscow to utilize its advantage.
This advantage could be reduced only by deploying atomic forces in Poland that are capable of responding to such an attack.
Theoretically, a part of Poland’s military assets could be used to transport nuclear weapons, but nevertheless, the necessary infrastructure would need to be constructed in order to use such weapons.
The most important question remains: where to acquire those weapons from? The U.S. started the Nuclear Sharing program decades ago, which involves them lending an interested country the nuclear warhead with the necessary infrastructure, but a final decision on how to use those weapons is still left to the U.S. president. This program could be the first step to acquire our own weapon of this type; even as it is, the program is a strong deterrence for any aggressor.
The level of insanity of the Kremlin might be close to its peak, but if there is a clear signal that Russia will be met with force if it uses nuclear weapons, it should be a splash of cold water for Moscow. Any potential hesitation would make it easier for the Kremlin to use blackmail, and this should be headed off now.