""This is the most dangerous moment in relations between Russia and the west since the Cuba missile crisis," Mr Nikonov argues. Dmitri Trenin, a less strident analyst who runs the Carnegie Moscow Center, also evokes the nuclear stand-off of 1962. Mr Trenin spells out a possible ladder of escalation in which western military support for Ukraine enrages Russia. In response, Russia might then mount a full invasion of Ukraine and even go nuclear – or, at least, use a nuclear-capable missile with a conventional warhead. . . .
Funnily enough, I had had the same scenario spelt out for me by a senior Polish official in Warsaw a couple of weeks earlier. The Poles worry that, having swallowed Crimea, Mr Putin will now be tempted to grab a larger part of Ukraine – perhaps the southern chunk of the country that the Russians have taken to referring to as "Novorossiya. . . ."
"Putin has worked the west out," says one gloomy Polish official. "He knows we won't use force." The darkest Polish scenario is also that Mr Putin might be tempted to go up to the nuclear brink by using conventionally armed missiles that could carry nuclear warheads. The dangers of such a policy hardly need spelling out. But destroying the credibility of Nato's security guarantee to the Balts – and therefore of Nato itself – would be a tremendous prize for Russia.
so this is how you win
you don't use them but you threaten to use them and you place them in full sight at the border and than you talk about the fact that as a nuclear power you should be respected
meanwhile you continue your proxy war and you have all the time because everybody is sitting chickenshit frightened about the prospects of a limited nuclear war with Putin who has lost his head and has become totally bonkers
and just to proof that you have lost it and that you are there isolated in your Kremlin while outside the whole economy is starting to crumble you are playing your last cards, sending more missiles to the border and airplanes and ships to every possible place where you would like the west to take notice
now as they have all other problems - so have you but you don't have to care about opposition (in jail or already left the country), the press (you own them) or elections (nearly impossible to oppose you) and street demonstrations (you just lock them up for up to 2 years without trial) - you just suppose that they they won't have the stomach to answer your bluff and
* you can go further with your proxy war because the other western armies are not ready to give military support or material to the Ukranian forces
* the western alliance is becoming deeply divided between the eastern countries (who feel they are now in a dangerzone and need more support from the rest of the alliance) and those more in the west who don't understand why I can only be stopped when it is clear that risks have become too great. Meanwhile those European dwarfs have no leaders and no visionaries who see the big picture as I see it. My vision, work of a lifetime, a new Russian empire.
russian military at the border