It's almost as if mainstream followed me:
The most worrying trend in the Russian debate is the discussion of the “de-escalatory” use of nuclear weapons.This concept revolves around the use of an early limited nuclear strike to deter NATO intervention. As Stephen J.Blank, senior analyst for nuclear strategy at the US Army War College, sums up the concept: “If Russia should decide to invade or seize one or more Baltic State, then that would mean it is prepared to wage nuclear war against NATO and the United States to hold onto that acquisition although it would prefer not to, or thinks it could get away with it without having to do so. The idea behind such a ‘limited nuclear war’ is that Russia would seize control of the intra-war escalation process by detonating a first-strike even in a preventive or pre-emptive mode, and this would supposedly force NATO to negotiate a political solution that allows Russia to hold onto at least some of its gains.”
AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR EUROPE", Gustav Gressel, ECFR
I wrote back in 2012-05:
This has its greatest potential in sudden flare-ups of border conflicts à la South Ossetia as well as in regard to a Ukraine breakup scenario or a Baltic coup de main scenario.An aggressor might see his chance in a coup de main (strategic surprise) coupled with deterring a counteroffensive with fait accompli and nuke threat. Would we really risk WW4 armageddon if the Russians had overrun and annexed Estonia by next week? Would we launch a conventional offensive to liberate it? Russia ain't Iraq, it has nukes. A low force density counteroffensive might actually stay below this deterrent 's actual threshold (this idea would require a lot of elaboration, of course).
There's a catch, though: He quoted a source half a year older, which I've never seen till today:
Stephen J. Blank (Editor), U.S.Army War College/SSI (see page 327)
Too bad, now I can claim little more than a belated parallel insight.
It's interesting to see how little the usual suspects' (permahawk) proposals for countering a Russian threat are worth in face of such a strategy: More spending, more, more, more - none of this addresses such a challenge. Meanwhile, I kinda did (here), which brings me back to this.