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October 3, 2022 10 mins

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
We have so clearly conveyed to President Putin that any
use of nuclear weapons will have severe consequences for Russia.
It will, it will of course totally changed the nature
of the conflict. It's not clear what NATO or the
US response would be if Russia used a nuclear tactical

weapon on the battlefield in Ukraine. What do you think
it should be? Well, I think the message to him
is if use nuclear weapon, it's a suicide weapon. And
and the response from NATO and the United States doesn't
have to be nuclear. So that first voice was the
guy who runs um what jin Stoltenberg NATO, Oh yeah, yeah,
he's the native right, And then then that was General McMaster.

After that, the question being asked to a whole bunch
of people over the last week or so, do you
think he'll use nukes? And what if he does? Too
horrible to contemplate, Yet we must, So let's contemplate it
with Dr Jeff mccaslins, CBS News, military consultant, founder and
CEO of Diamond six Leadership and Strategy llc UH. Dr

mccoughlin also Senior Fellow at the Stockdale Center for Ethical
Leadership at the Naval Academy. Jeff, always a pleasure. How
are you, sir? Doing well? Great with you guys. So
it is practically uncontemplatable, and yet we must the idea
that say, let's start with Vladimir Putin conducts a quote
unquote nuclear test and blows up something under the ocean.

On up through levels key of how what sort of
reaction could we expect to see? Well, if you made
an attack on Ukraine, I think the responses could be
pretty broad. Albeit it is not going to be totally
laid out in advance because one of the things that
you want to enhance the terrance to a certain amount
of ambiguity. But he will have to calculate how the

West would response. What could the West do well? The
first thing, if you would like a no fly zone
over Ukraine with NATO airplanes flying over Ukraine, I can't
think of a faster way to get there than the
Papa nuke on Ukrainian territory. If you'd like to see
NATO forces on Ukrainian territory at least providing direct logistical
and training support, something they've requested, again, a quick way

to get there. If you'd like to see a lot
of NATO ships in the Black Sea facilitating the export
of grain out of Ukraine. Two countries around the world,
you might get there. And obviously, in addition to that,
Mr Putin would have to calculate what would be the
response elsewhere. Is support around the world is dwindling as
this war goes on. Even the Chinese, I think are

providing the best sort of tacit support. There's been no
evidence of clear direct Chinese support except they buy a
lot of oil at heavily discounted prices. So if you
want to become the next, as Tom Freeman said, next
North Korea and totally isolate yourself internationally, that's waiting the
way to go. And then, last but not least, Mr
Putine might want to calculate the use of the nuclear

wepon Kreining a territory the winds blow from west to
east and that part of Europe most generally. So any
kind of a radioactive fallout would not only and as
Ukraine of course and kill thousands of innicent civilians be
a criminal act, but a lot of that radio TV
could very clearly end up on Russian territory and on
Russian forces well. General Petraeus yesterday on ABC This Week

indicated that if he uses a tactical nuke, and he
didn't specify of what level, but if Putin uses a
tactical new we would wipe out everything on land and
see that we could identify. Do you think we would
go that far? And if we did, how long would
that take? Well, it depends, of course on what kind
of weapon and where it's done. I mean, you have

to calibrate response to some degree like that. But clearly
you know Dave's not off the mark. That would be
one of the calculations. But I come back to what's happened.
That is, the Buying administration privately has made it pretty clear.
So they claim to the Russians that the response would
be pretty overwhelming. They're never gonna lay it out very
close exactly what we're going to do, because to do

so undermines your deterrence. Some US suggested, for example, that
that Russians might do a demonstration strike. They might drop
one over the Arctic, because they might have dropped one
over the Black Sea to show how really angry they are.
I kind of doubt that's going to happen. When you
can I come back to Russian military doctrine, which I
studied a lot. Lessons say in their military doctrine, we
use a tax on nuclear weapon an effort to break up,

you know, a static line of defense and for our addissary,
and then use that to do a rapid armor advance.
They don't have the forces left to do that, and
and bringing in untrained recruits what they're doing right now
is hardly going to enhance that effort. Furthermore, the Russian
army in that particular region is in pretty sad shape
right now. As a consequence, I don't think they're sophisticated

enough to protect themselves, resupply themselves at the nessary protective equipment, water,
et cetera, to protect yourself in close proximity to a
nuclear attack. They would do a great deal of good. So,
as a student students of of real politic and UH
I have an enthusiasm for studying negotiation, I'm trying to

figure out how Ukraine and NATO achieve their goals while
giving putin on off ramp as they say that doesn't
include the use of nuclear weapons and and that sort
of thing. It's a it's a tough needle to thread
right now. Giving Putin. Given Putin's disastrous uh moves of light,

what do you picture as an end to this? Yeah,
and you're exactly right. Oh, by the way, Well, I
think the use of actnutru weapon for a second longer
is low probability. It's certainly not zero for sure. And
the problem you get into is, at what point does
Mr Putin say that, you know, backing off is such

a personal or national humiliating catastrophe that I'm willing to
you know, roll the cosmic, roll the dice with a
nuclear weapon, which might be some degree of success. How
blocked in? And are you Oh, by the way, this
is something John Kennedy worried about almost exactly sixty years
ago when we were going through the Cuban missile crisis.
Ukrainians in their response to the announcement by the Russians

that they have next this territory, you know, by the way,
Mr Putin is taking up his offerings, because what he
said in his speech on the thirtie was not only
these provinces now Russian territory, even though they don't go,
by the way, control the territory of those provinces, but
that is permanent. He called on the Ukrainians to go
to a ceasefire and come to the negotiations, but they

indicated that would be with them accepting the permanence of
that territory being transferred to Ukraine. Well, there's no way
in health right, frankly, the Ukrainians are going to do that.
In the Ukrainian response, again making this even more difficult,
was to say they hardly saw any possibility of negotiating
as long as Putin was still in charge in Russia.
There are the cons and CBS News military consultant on

the line. Go ahead, Jack, there are some headlines that
have just come out. Um, they're not from your best
media sources, but that a Russian nuclear train militrane has
been seen on the move. We'll see that turns out
to be verified or not, because that's one of the
things I heard Secretary Lloyd Austin and others talking about.
We've seen no uh, indication of them moving around the

forces or whatever that would lead us believe they're gonna
use nukes. But away from that topic, Senator Marco Rubio
yesterday said he's more concerned about a conventional sort of
strike on a NATO country, like are we prepared for
a response if Russia attacks a train station in Poland
that is, you know, where a lot of the supplies
are leaving from our that sort of thing, How how

do we respond to that because it's not you know,
it's not the clear red line of of of nukes
that the world might um you know, rally around. Do
we do we attack the same way or what happens? Then? Yeah,
of course that would invoke Article five was an attack
on one country as an attack on alcohol, and prudent
fully understands that. But I mean there's a variety of

ways that he can still escalate, and we've seen that
played out over the last week or so as well.
I mean, and I happen to believe, though I can't
absolutely prove it that the attack on this UH pipeline
in the ball that he was done by the Russians.
I mean, I can't figure who else would do it. It
It was a sophisticated attack, requiring submersible drones or divers.
I don't think al Qaeda's got submercible drones in the

Baltic right now. So I think that that was clearly
the Russians, but it's an effort for them to further
intimidate the Europeans over energy. Oh, by the way, they
did it only a day or so after a new
pipeline was opened between Norway and Poland, suggesting once again
the Europeans it could be a cold winner if you
don't force the Ukrainians to in fact come to the
negotiating table. They could do the attack, like Rubia suggested,

they could do a large scale cyber attack. They could
cause problems elsewhere, for example in the Balkans or with Moldova.
There's a variety of other things that Putin can do,
and he has in his toolbox to escalate. And I
trust that NATO leaders Washington included, are examining each one
of those and trying to think through what would be
our response and calibrating that based on what the Russians

actually do. So my final question is I I was
just reading that some of the Kremlin approved the channels
in Russia are actually stating that NATO troops are on
the ground in Ukraine fighting actively. We are already at
war with NATO. Is that sort of thing going to work?
It's all possible. Part of Russian propaganda and Mr Trutin's

speech announced in the annexation. He really described this more
and more as a conflict between the West and Russia,
even described the United States and the West as a tonic.
Are you ready for that uh? And suggested that in
fact it was the goal of Washington and NATO to
destroy Russia. But this is for domestic consumption back home,
don't forget more. Young Russians have fled the country since

he announced this three hundred man mobilization, then probably have
fought in the Ukraine since this war began, So he's
got to pay attention to domestic consumption and painting this
as a threat by the West, a threat to the existence,
rally to the motherland, all those kind of things. It's
the traditional thing the Russians have done, and Putin has
done it a couple of times during this crisis to

get the people behind this particular effort. Dr Jeff mccausl
and CBS News military consultant Jeff thinks has always really
enjoyed it. My pleasure. Armstrong and Jetty
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