In fact it was NATO that originally doctored a strategy that called for the use of tactical nuclear weapons to halt a massive Soviet advance into western Europe. Ironically it is now the Russians who must rely on their tactical arsenal as a trump card.
NATO had no intention to launch a first strike. And still does not. The Warsaw Pact on the other hand is the only alliance in recent history to invade its own members. And now you have Russians engaging in nuclear blackmail against their neighbours again.
There's more reasons why NATO didn't adopt a No First Use nuclear doctrine. It wasn't just about Soviet numbers. NFU would have meant that if nuclear war did break out, by the time tactical nukes were in play, they'd be employed against the adversary on NATO soil. This is part of the reason, France substantially withdrew from NATO. It wanted to be able to nuke Russians before they touched French soil, and wasn't confident they'd be allowed to do so. The French were just fine with the idea of nuking Germany and Italy to stop the Soviet horde.
Also, if there was an NFU policy, defence budgets would have to be double what they were, possibly with drafts in North America, just to have the ability to match the Warsaw Pact numbers.
Firstly, the first CW was informed by agreed upon norms of behaviour in the international community that were generally adhered to. I can only see what passes for today's 'international system' and associated norms and behaviours being increasingly unclear and unstable.
Yeah. No. The Cold War was messy too. It was just nice for white Europeans and North Americans that millions of Asians and Africans were killed in proxy wars instead.
The current era, for all the rhetoric, is relatively peaceful by contrast. And would have continued to be so, if Putin hadn't decided that wrecking Ukraine was in his personal interest. Let us be clear what drove this for Putin. There may be some delusions of grandeur. But I'm betting the vast majority of his motivation is the threat to his Kleptocracy from this:
A resolute development of Ukraine’s untapped reserves in the production, export and storage of energy would be in the interest of all sides involved.
Funny how the new minimalist Russian goals are now about capturing the very areas that could end Europe's dependence on Russian gas, and by extension Putin's kleptocracy.
Supply Ukraine with materiel, food, petroleum and humanitarian assistance. Keep Russia engaged in socio-cultural matters and some politics, but slowly withdraw from their markets.
I fail to see why socio-cultural contact is sacrosanct. Especially when the regime specifically relies on this for legitimacy at home. If I had my way, every Russian NHL player would be reliving their childhood in Russia right now.
Not to mention that those socio-cultural ties are increasingly weaponized by the regime for their influence campaigns. From Russian émigrés who support the homeland to propaganda outlets like Russia Today.
Unlike previous Putin adventures, the real backlash from Europe is the first time that Russians are even aware that there's displeasure at their country's actions.
I don't see how regime change can take place internally, Putin's inner circle and military leadership is tied to his name.
Nobody can predict regime change. If they could, they'd be billionaires. What we can do is incentivize it. This is exactly what Biden (albeit clumsily) attempted to do by telling the world to look beyond Putin. The subtext there is that we can deal with a Russia that doesn't have Putin in power. You can bet that every CIA station chief is passing the message to his/her SVR counterpart around the world.
It's clear that Putin is substantially out of touch. And it's now also clear that his kleptocracy has moved from costing Russia its wealth to costing them their lives.
Economically, the only thing the Russians had beside resources was weapons. And one has to wonder how much of that prowess will keep up in light of brain drain and sanctions that both limit critical components and critical machinery.
Their Central Bank is propping up the ruble now. But reserves aren't infinite. Whether it's a year or a decade, none of this is sustainable. Especially if brain drain kicks in. We should trade these NHL players for AI developers from Russia and help speed up the process.
My bet is that Putin is gone before the end of his natural life. I hope it's sooner.