“The nuclear apocalypse remains possible as long as the world does not cooperate in nuclear disarmament”

Grandstand. Here is Europe plunged back into its old nightmare: a major war on its soil. Since De Gaulle, France thought that its defense was ensured by nuclear deterrence. Yes “the Ukrainian crisis also has a nuclear dimension”, as recalled in The world the researcher in international relations Mélanie Rosselet on February 2, it seems however to evolve by the traditional methods (mobilization, strikes, economic pressures, diplomacy), without deterrence having weighed.

As a matter of fact, “the balance of terror” has never prevented “classic” wars, from Korea to Vietnam and Afghanistan. China, the USSR, and the United States committed hundreds of thousands of soldiers there without the imminence of defeat prompting them to trigger nuclear fire. So there is a flaw in “deterrence”.

However, the French consensus on the effectiveness of nuclear deterrence is again recalled, in these columns, by Fabien Gouttefarde for La République en Marche (December 31, 2021), by Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Bastien Lachaud for La France insoumise (January 11 ). The LFI authors, fearing that our nuclear submarines will soon be spotted, plan to add an equally dissuasive threat to them: a militarization of space allowing the electronic paralysis of the adversary.

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Without going into this technical debate, it is the very LRM-LFI consensus for nuclear deterrence that we ecologists reject. Deterrence is based on game theory. Imagine a country A (France) with nuclear weapons, attacked “classically” in its vital interests by a country B (Russia). He can retaliate by annihilating the main cities of country B: Moscow, Saint Petersburg, etc.

A corridor to Kaliningrad

So B, knowing this, will not attack A. As we have seen: this reasoning has never prevented conventional wars, because, if B also has nuclear weapons, he would not fail to destroy in retaliation the cities of A (Paris, Lyon, etc.). A will therefore not respond to a conventional attack with a nuclear strike. B is therefore free to attack A, but by exclusively conventional means.

In short, nuclear deters nuclear, but only deters nuclear. The passage to the act of nuclear deterrence would not be “a” crime against humanity, but, by triggering the apocalypse, “the” final crime against humanity and living things on Earth.

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Yet it is such crimes that our three authors seriously consider, invoking the threat to “the very existence of our nation” as a mitigating circumstance. But, another nuance: Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Bastien Lachaud do not mention “our allies”, we are not concerned by “the old border disputes” between Russia, Ukraine and Lithuania. And certainly Ukraine is not bound by a treaty with the European Union or the United States.

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