NATO won't surrender if Russia nukes Warsaw – ex-US Supreme Commander

Retired U.S. General Wesley Clark. © Mike Segar
“Putin-dominated” Russia is mistaken if it expects the US to surrender in a hypothetical conflict after Moscow nukes "say, Warsaw," a former NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Europe told CNN, promising retaliatory measures.

There is hardly a risk that Russia is going to stage a surprise attack tomorrow, yet Russia has invested in “a whole new set of military hardware” and has an “absolutely new doctrine,” retired US General Wesley Clark told CNN Money's Cristina Alesci.

“They are using nuclear weapons in their military exercise as a means of deescalating a conflict, as though they could fire a nuclear weapon at, say, Warsaw, and then NATO would say, “Oh, my goodness, we did not know you really mean it,” the former NATO commander said.

His opinion comes in unison with fears of Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski, who said last month that “Russia’s activity is a sort of existential threat because this activity can destroy countries.”

“‘Since you fired a nuclear weapon at us – we surrender. You can have it.’ They think that way, that’s what they’re practicing,” Clark said.

“They’re making a big mistake, because that won’t work that way. We’re going to play back then,” the retired general said.

Quite to the contrary of Clark’s nuclear exchange scenario as a result of a Russian “surprise attack,” Moscow believes that NATO expansion to the East enables the alliance to deploy forces next to Russia’s borders and then accuse Moscow of “carrying out dangerous maneuvers” near the alliance’s bases, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in late April.

“This is a mean-spirited attempt to turn the issue upside down,” Lavrov told Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter daily.

“NATO military infrastructure is inching closer and closer to Russia’s borders. But when Russia takes action to ensure its security, we are told that Russia is engaging in dangerous maneuvers near NATO borders. In fact, NATO borders are getting closer to Russia, not the opposite,” the Russian FM said.

In the meantime, Wesley Clark believes there is no Cold War under way and there won’t be one because “there is no Iron Curtain today, despite [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s efforts to reinstall it.”

“He cannot quite do that,” Clark insists, because Russia is connected to the west “by bonds, by investment and by debt and by travel.”

“So he has clamped down on travel, but there is still a lot of money that flows back and forth, including some of his investments,” Clark said, once again making a specific point that the US’ allies in NATO “aren’t doing enough” to contribute to joint security financially.

The retired general acknowledged that the structure of national security has been “relatively consistent” for the United States since the end of WWII. “We’re tied irrevocably with our bonds to Europe, especially through NATO,” Clark said.

“So we may get mad at our European allies but we need them. And they need us. Economic forces come and go but if nations stay together and they’re bond by these alliances – they can spread stability and peace throughout the world,” Clark said.