India-Pakistan missile mishap is a lesson we need

The recent mistaken launch of a missile from India into Pakistan could have had disastrous consequences, and so could a misunderstanding over Ukraine.

The longer the fighting goes on in Ukraine, the more likely it is that an incident will cause a direct exchange of fire between Russia and NATO. Ukraine and NATO's triumphalism, with additional calls mounting in the West for some sort of regime change in Moscow itself, is the reason there can be no reconciliation at the moment and the main reason people are dying.

NATO should offer something to de-escalate

NATO's perception that only the Ukrainians are in trouble, and that it can just support them as a kind of proxy, is false. NATO is too close to wage a proxy war there, and faces too much risk to itself. The longer this goes on, the more likely it is that NATO will be dragged in against its own judgment.

The demands of the Russians have not changed (they just want neutral territories on their borders, not NATO-aligned countries bristling with nuclear missiles), so the choice to use force is no more than the extension of their attempts to come to an understanding with what they see as a deaf and inflexible partner. If diplomacy begins to yield results that are more promising for Russia's security than Ukraine's ongoing loss of military capability and territory, the Russians are likely to eagerly suspend combat operations. This puts the burden squarely on the side of NATO to avoid escalation and just make enough concessions that would allow the conflict to freeze along a new contact line, but they seem to be incapable of this, blinded by a belief that Russia can be thoroughly defeated in Ukraine.

Rather than de-escalation, we see increasing calls for NATO involvement in the conflict in Ukraine. With a drone wandering over the border into the NATO zone from Ukraine, and the possibility of projectiles eventually landing inside NATO territory, like the mistaken launch from India into Pakistan, there is a serious risk of escalation.

An escalation would be more inconvenient to NATO than Russia, which is why their top leadership has been quite sure of the need to stay out. Politicians without any responsibility for the NATO response are making unwise and bullish suggestions about some moral duty to attack Russian troops, likely just to improve their standing with belligerent and jingoistic voters. Anyone whose words carry weight, and could actually result in NATO aircraft taking off to attack Russia, is quiet.

The war should be frozen

NATO enjoys significantly more security than Russia, with substantial buffer states in Eastern Europe that can, I am sorry to say, be sacrificed to protect the core NATO countries like France and Germany without turning the conflict nuclear. Russia, by comparison, has its back to the wall. If events reach a point at which nuclear weapons are exploding in Ukraine, this will present an existential threat to Russia that can only be matched by it launching nuclear strikes as far as Germany to push the threat away. The use of any NATO weaponry to target Russian territory will prompt Russian attacks on the US homeland and cause global nuclear war.

Despite attempts to portray Russia as the side that has engaged in reckless expansion, Russia's back is to the wall. NATO was safe throughout the entire Cold War, when the Russians were in the middle of Germany, and that was considered to be a nicely balanced situation. It seems that now, we are so expectant of total domination and so convinced of the idea that we "won" the Cold War, that we can't allow the Russians any kind of buffer and we have to have NATO troops parading in Moscow.

Unlike between India and Pakistan, there are real heated statements and even deranged and murderous calls appearing right now in relation to the standoff between NATO and Russia. A misread missile launch at this time could lead to nuclear bombardment, recreating the grotesque atomic horror of Hiroshima on a vastly larger scale.

The two sides should pursue every effort to freeze the conflict immediately, no matter how dissatisfying this may be to them, and go no further.