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Thoughts on Defcon Levels

The uses of nuclear weapons.
Is it a strategic or tactical?

The only reason to deploy them strategically is either to preemptively block another from launching on you or as a response.

Tactical use would be to achieve a non-nuclear end game. A nuke deployed for conventional military ends.

You cannot deploy tactical nukes against a nuclear adversary with any certainty of keeping the war predominantly conventional.

A nation can only use nuclear weapons tactically if they determine it will not escalate into a strategic contest. Which almost always would means a non-nuclear adversary.

It will be very very hard for Russia to deploy a tactical nuke against Ukraine. Ukraine is quickly becoming or already become a European nation in matters of identity both in Ukraine and in the west.

Europe and the US will almost have to respond in kind or with overwhelming force to completely suppress Russian military inside Ukraines pre-2014 boarders.
Politics and diplomacy are all about perception of will and centers of power.
Russia tried to use the same old net and cast it over Ukraine as part of the historic Russian empire, they failed.

The west has swept up Ukraine within its power center by bankrolling a willing nation whose willing to fight for their nation.
Russia had already lost by the end of April.
Now they are just trying to save face with every old tactic they can think.
They tried to seize the capital - they failed
They threatened the risk of nuclear escalation repeatedly in the last six months. For this line and that line - ad nausium.
They were bled badly in taking Mariupol,
Failed with Odesa,
Now they can’t even hold on to “Russian friendly” eastern Ukraine.

If Putin and his cronies don’t know this, well then their either extremely stupid which I doubt. Or extremely desperate.

At this point Putin is gambling there are enough Angela Merkel’ites out there who live by the dictum “Putin means what he says” to cause Europe to cave.

I believe this strategy of Russia also is failing.
This whole gambit of seizing Ukraine was based upon the knowledge or awareness of Ukraines national identity and sovereign status being too murky or vague for westerners to really care. That too has failed.

Ukraine is no longer a quasi-Slavic -Russian federation state that has ambiguous boarders, disputed history and vague national identity.

We saw this leading up to the war.
The information war leading up to a d through the first weeks of March were all about disputing and rewriting Ukraine history out of existence, the whole “boarder lands” argument.
Like some how they have been the step child of Russia for the last thousand years and they actually have no genuine national identity. So let’s all just agree to let Russia administer Ukraine.

If Russia were to use a tactical nuke in Ukraine. A nation now perceived as more European than not. Then the west would respond to it as a tactical nuke attack on Europe nation. V
NATO EU treaties agreements it makes makes no difference.

It’s all about perceived reality.
NATO IS already neck deep in seeing a sovereign Ukraine, they cannot easily stand down now either.
That explains Zelinskis nato membership comment. He was just stating the obvious “perception”.

So it’s only a matter of how long it takes for Putin’s government to fail.
Hopefully it’s just his government and not the Russian government.

It’s Dicey out there - maybe defcon 4 but I’m still a 5.