By Ray McGovern

Hats off to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines for her Senate May 10 testimony on the likelihood of nuclear war with Russia, even though parts of it were surreal, as we discuss below.

From an intelligence perspective, she told it like it is. Not only that; she took the quintessential nuclear-use question a step beyond what CIA Director William Burns had told the Financial Times on May 7. Burns pointed out that Russian President Vladimir Putin “doesn’t believe he can afford to lose” in Ukraine. Burns added:

“I don’t think this means Putin is deterred at this point because he staked so much on the choice that he made to launch this invasion that I think he’s convinced right now that doubling down still will enable him to make progress.”

Whether or not Burns read our brief VIPS Memo of May 1, it was, frankly, good to see that he and we were on the same page regarding the key judgment that the Ukraine conflict is a must-win for Putin.

Ms. Haines took VIPs’ warning (about an “existential threat” to Russia) a step further. Swallowing hard and, uncharacteristically, stammering a little, she answered THE big question when asked by Sen. Mark Warner (D, VA):

“We’re supporting Ukraine but also we don’t want to ultimately end up in World War III and we don’t want to end up in a situation where actors are using nuclear weapons. Our view is, as General Berrier indicated, there’s not a sort of an imminent potential for Putin to use nuclear weapons. We perceive that … as something that he is unlikely to do unless there is effectively an existential threat to his regime and to Russia from his perspective.

“We do think that that could be the case in the event he perceives that he is losing the war in Ukraine, and that NATO is sort of, in effect, either intervening or about to intervene in that context, which would obviously contribute to a perception that he is about to lose the war in Ukraine.

“But that there are a lot of things that he would do in the context of escalation before he would get to a nuclear weapon, and also that he would be likely to engage in some signaling beyond what he has done thus far before doing so.”

Do You Dare Follow the Logic in this Syllogism?

Major Premise: We don’t want to end up in WWIII, using nuclear weapons.

Minor Pemise: Putin may use them if he perceives that he is losing the war in Ukraine.

Conclusion: Thus the U.S. will do what it takes to make Putin “perceive” he is losing in Ukraine.

See what I mean about surreal? Oh, but not to worry; Putin will probably first signal “beyond what he has done thus far” before using nukes. Right!

Putin Need Not Be Paranoid

It did not take a tirade by Sen. Lindsey Graham, or the outspoken “Victory Over Russia in Ukraine” pledges of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate leader Chuck Schumer, or the “weakening Russia” objective advertised by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to give President Putin a complex. Nor is it some kind of surprise to him that he is atop the list of those to be removed by “regime change.”

What causes wonderment is the nonchalant way that prominent US policy officials proceed willy-nilly, apparently without really comprehending the dangers at hand – even when those dangers are laid out before them by top intelligence officials like Haines and Burns.

Putin, of course, is under no illusions. He is only too well aware that this is what the U.S.-arranged coup d’etat in Kyiv in 2014 (rightly labeled the “most blatant coup in history”), was all about. That coup sharpened the Kremlin’s understanding of the existential threat Russia faced. If confirmation were needed, it came – surprisingly – from the US Defense Intelligence Agency. In DIA’s Dec. 2015 “National Security Strategy Report,” DIA Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart asserted:

“The Kremlin is convinced the US is laying the groundwork for regime change in Russia, a conviction further reinforced by the events in Ukraine. Moscow views the US as the critical driver behind the crisis in Ukraine and believes that the overthrow of Yanukovych is the latest move in a long-established pattern of U.S.-orchestrated regime change efforts.”

So, you don’t have to be paranoid … Paranoia or not, the likelihood that nuclear weapons might be used if Putin “perceives” he is losing in Ukraine is NOT something to be treated with such nonchalance. Reasonable policy makers would be well advised to change the Conclusion resting beneath those premises in the fateful syllogism depicted above.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. His 27-year career as a CIA analyst includes serving as Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and preparer/briefer of the President’s Daily Brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).


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  1. The Kremlin has made it clear that any attack directly upon Russia would warrant a nuclear response. So far there have been several small incursions by Ukrainian forces. IMHO they have already responded with tactical or zero yield nukes looking at the high casualty rate the Ukrainian Military is suffering from personally I’d say the Rooskies are methodically collecting intel and mapping the locations of NATO’s nuclear facilities and the only warning they’ll get is a mushroom cloud.

  2. There was a great Dust Bowl drought in the USA during the 1932-33 Ukraine Holodomor.

    There is also today a great USA drought now, timed with today’s Ukraine war.

    Please make known the following USA drought monitor web address, that is updated once a week on Thursday morning at 8:30 am EST, so that people can pray about healing this USA drought.

  3. I ran into her years ago at a McDonalds in Clarksville, Md. We started talking and i gave her my Alex Jones version of 911. She told me that I was totally wrong, that she knew for sure, and with a wink and a nod, was gone. I am now sure that is who I spoke with. I do not forget a face. Central Maryland is a small world.

  4. What should we expect to hear from Talmudic script-writers?
    If they say “HERE” is where we’re coming-from, we should look “THERE” instead. It’s like looking 4-ways before crossing a 1-way soi in BKK.

  5. Putin already should have dropped a couple small tactical nukes over ukies heads. If the saudis they were used them on Yemen and the little shit country used it on Syria and Lebanon and everybody looked the other way about it…. why Putin wouldn’t have the right ??

  6. Does everyone have Psaki syndrome in the Washington establishment?
    I’m reading or listening to what nonsense they are talking – I’m just shocked. Do they themselves so sacredly believe in what they say?

    If the moment comes, Russia will use its nuclear arsenal. No doubt. The world is impossible without Russia 😎

  7. The danger that I and many others see, is signaled by the effort in the MSM, to portray the Russians as “losing” the war in Ukraine, when they are, by most measures, winning it. Our fear is, that this effort to portray the Russians as losing, is to prepare the ground for a false-flag op with some mini-nuke or other WMD “used by the Russians because they are losing.”

  8. That’s rich. The USA has been using tactical nukes since forever, Gordon Duff can give the point-to-points. And, I’m certain the Ruskies know it, just like they know that Israel nuked us on 9/11 and got away way with it. Putin must be smiling and shaking his head in disbelief, as do I.

  9. Putin will “warn” that he is ready to start nuclear war.
    He will do it by detonating a small “nuke” somewhere unimportant in the Ukraine.
    That will be his last warning, while the “Sarmat” are already loaded with fuel.
    And that will be when NATO (USA actually), crosses the “Rubicon”.
    (who, by the way, already have a wet foot).
    He waits for that event, and he prays.

  10. I think the time has come for the Khazar Zionists to execute Operation Blackjack… you know that mysterious slideshow that many people disregarded back in 2009 and subsequent years and yet it’s still there, although unlike before, it’s now behind a paywalll but it’s still there nonetheless.

    They are losing the economic war against Russia and very soon the war in Ukraine, I can’t think of any better way for them to turn the tide of their current predicament

    • This is the reason in my opinion why they’ve been trying everything up to date in order to prolong this war… In the slideshow it displays the events as happening in June 22 (instead of the day that many people thought throughout the years, could 22 be reference to the current year 2022?)

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