by Harry Kazianis at The Federalist
“How did we just kill a billion people?”
Over just three days, as I have done countless times over the last several years, a group of past and present senior U.S. government officials from both sides of the aisle gathered to wage a NATO-Russia war in a simulation at the end of 2019. In the course of what we called the NATO-Russia War of 2019, we estimated one billion people died. And if we aren’t careful, what happened in a simulation could happen if a NATO-Russia war erupts over Ukraine.
In fact, in the simulation I mentioned above from 2019, in which Russia invades Ukraine in a similar way as it did over the last week or so, not only does NATO get sucked in unintentionally, but Russia eventually releases nuclear weapons in its desperation. The result is an eventual escalation of bigger and more dangerous nuclear weapons whereby over one billion lives are lost.
But before we start staring into the abyss, allow me to explain the goal of such simulations. NATO clearly would have a massive conventional advantage in any war with Moscow, ensuring that in a straight-up fight Putin would lose. However, Russia has stated time and time again it will use nuclear weapons to defend its territory and its regime if it feels mortally threatened. Our simulation always seems to ask: Can we ever defeat Russian President Vladamir Putin in an armed conflict over Ukraine or the Baltics and not start a nuclear war in the process?
So far, over at least several years, and with at least 100 different participants that all held different ideas about war and political allegiances, the answer is a flat out no.