Friday, September 5, 2008

Russia and Georgia

But that is what [Russia is] undoubtedly seeking to achieve and there's very little - or so it seems - the West can do to stop them.

The conventional wisdom is that logistics and the logic of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), preclude any western military intervention in Georgia. However, I disagree with the conventional wisdom.

The west has a superior conventional military capability to Russia, and could defeat Russia in an conventional war (if it came to that), and hence has no reason to launch a nuclear first strike against Russia. Consequently, any nuclear war would have to be started by Russia.

However, the only reason to start a nuclear war is if there is an existential threat to the state. Any war between Russia and the West would be solely about evicting Russia from Georgia, which is not an existential threat to the Russian state. Consequently, the only real threat of nuclear war is by accident or by Russia acting incredibly irrational (which can not be discounted as a possibility).