US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a stark warning on Saturday about the normalization of nuclear blackmail, decent Western leaders accusing Russia of waging war in Eastern Europe.
Speaking at the annual Halifax International Security Forum, he said the nearly nine-month war in Ukraine has offered the global community a glimpse of a possible dark future where that the strong can do right.
Austin told forum participants, including political and military leaders from the United States, Canada, and Europe: “The Russian invasion offers a foreshadowing of a totalitarian and chaotic world chaos is possible – chaos that none of us want to live in.”
The Kremlin has repeatedly made threats — both implicit and sometimes specific — about the possible use of nuclear weapons. It is seen by many leaders and experts as a way to intimidate Western allies and prevent them from supporting Ukraine.
Dictators have taken notes – both militarily and diplomatically – of how the war unfolded, he said, and could rip the pages of future Russian President Vladimir Putin’s playbook.
“It’s an invitation to an increasingly insecure world obsessed with nuclear proliferation,” Austin said.
“Because Putin’s autocrats are watching, and they might conclude that owning a nuclear weapon will give them their own hunting license – and that could fuel a spectrum spiral.” dangerous nuclear weapons.”
No evidence of proliferation
The head of NATO’s military council, Admiral Rob Bauer of the Netherlands, called the concept “a concern” but was quick to add that the Western military alliance had seen no evidence that the countries were not involved. dictators without nuclear weapons are rushing to develop them.
He said it seemed obvious which countries Austin could refer to with his warning.
“We basically know this is about Iran,” said Bauer, who hosted a roundtable discussion with Canadian journalists on the sidelines of the forum on Saturday. This is about North Korea.
North Korea has become increasingly belligerent, issuing its own threats of a “comprehensive nuclear” response to what it calls US aggression. Pyongyang has fired a series of missiles into the sea off the coast of South Korea and Japan, and accused Washington of using nuclear weapons to blackmail.
Bauer suggests that not only the sound of the nuclear sword, dictators can also take notes on other aspects of the war in Ukraine, which began on February 24 when the country was invaded by Russia, in order to take advantage of what they want from neighboring countries.
He said that “Russia’s use of energy and food to threaten other countries and the people in those countries” is another sign of war.
Bauer is referring to how Moscow is trying to divide European countries by using natural gas and energy supplies, as well as blocking Ukraine’s grain exports – a protracted dispute that threatens famine. in some regions of Africa.
Austin’s speech was intended to emphasize why it is important to assist Ukraine in expelling Russian forces and came as forum participants debated how Western nations maintain their ability to recover in the face of rising food and energy prices.
Bauer argued that without Western support, Ukraine would lose the war fairly quickly.
“And if people think that will lead to lower gas prices, and [fewer] food and migration issues, I would say they were wrong,” he said.
“Because if Ukraine loses this war, there will be the next person in line, it’s Moldova or Georgia. The Russians won’t stop.”