Question: In Ukraine, what is the destruction difference between the most devastating conventional weapon and a tactical nuclear weapon?

As the war began, I used to read a lot about thermobaric weapons having many of the same elements of destruction as nuclear weapons. But I am unsure whether Russia has used any.

Any insight on this question?

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When Russia invaded Ukraine, I stocked up on high dose Iodine tablets. Probably the cheapest, easiest defensive measure you can take. A few other cheap measures are accumulating a good stock of N95 masks, and disposable rain ponchos, and a week or two worth of high energy density, non-perishable foods. Maybe some straw type water filters, and a change or two of cheap shoes. Very useful for minimizing your exposure/uptake of fallout in the event of a post-nuke evacuation scenario.

Further preparations start to get kind of bulky/disruptive, but these are the sorts of things you can just stuff in a bug out bag and forget about.

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Very good article, thank you.

I am thinking the probability of someone (probably many someones) putting Putin out if he started seriously suggesting using nukes is really very high in pretty much any situation. Like, 95%+ high. The reason being that there very likely won't be a Russia to rule afterwards, and unless they beat the entire world they will all be tried as war criminals after nukes start flying. Compare that to "Hey West, uhm, Putin went nuts and wanted to throw nukes around, so we went ahead and killed him. Sorry about this whole thing, here's his head and we promise to be good now that the crazy dictator is gone." In that case there is a very good chance that the oligarchs get to keep being oligarchs, and even the heir apparent gets to keep his spot if he is the one handing over the head.

Granted, the west could totally screw that up and even convince the inner circle that even if they turn on Putin we are going to end all of them, and maybe we will. Still, with barely functional strategic behavior we should be able to keep that escape hatch open for them to do what we want.

Writing out "barely functional strategic behavior" with regards to the US does, however, make me think I might be over estimating our chances all of the sudden...

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Who do "Schilling" and "Shilling" refer to? I thought maybe Schelling but I couldn't be sure! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Schelling

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>> What we need is for it to be clear to other nuclear states that the United States will be deterred from attacking because the cost of their retaliatory strike is unacceptable.

We unfortunately really fail at that. Being a Russian American, I know a lot of Russians actually believe in US decapitating first strike, to then bring an ultimatum for Russia to surrender and 'take their resources'.

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Fantastic, Zvi. Well done.

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Interesting post thanks, a few quick points:

When you say Russia goes to war with NATO do you imagine a Ukraine scenario? Because I imagine they would "go to war" with NATO very differently, more hybrid, below art 5 threshold etc. Which I think changes your probabilities a bit.

Russian doctrine is quite explicit on the thinking that the US would find an excuse (Ukraine) to bring its troops to Europe and an excuse to invade Russia, rather than Russia invading NATO.

I would also be more scared of Russian use of tactical nukes in response to Fin/Swe membership in May/June, thereby very much agreeing that the escalation would occur in the first half of the year.

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