I applaud (mainly through gratitude) the US and allies’ response to the Syrian CW attack on its own people.
In my own mind I think that Putin is equally culpable and the petty policeman president should also be brought to heel. I don’t think there is any doubt about Putin’s aggressive nature ( Crimea? Salisbury? )
So as per the title, could we levy a tariff on Putin and his cronies and beat him at his own game? If the West took out some of his subsurface assets could we maintain plausible deniability what could be the consequences good or bad?
Disclaimer: I am no military expert and have never been in the military or know anything classified:
It might be plausible to sink a Russian submarine and make it seem like another Kursk-type incident, but any more than one Russian submarine and the game is totally obvious, cover blown. And even then the Russians might try to inspect the wreckage. If they do so, it might be very evident indeed as to whether it was a Kursk-type accident or an intentional sinking by a US torpedo. The Russians would investigate very thoroughly, that’s for sure.
I doubt Russia would be fooled, but the rest of the world might be.
And if the US did do this sort of thing, what’s to prevent Russia from sinking some US ships or attacking US assets and passing it off as an accident likewise?
Plausible to whom? A North Korean submarine apparently sank a South Korean surface warship (not quite the same as this hypothetical but still involving an unseen submarine) in 2010. Besides what appeared in media the ROK authorities published the exhaustive report in book form ‘Cheonan-ham pigyeoksageon baekseo’ (Cheonan warship sinking incident white paper) including the evidence from recovered pieces of the torpedo.
However some people in South Korea don’t believe that’s what happened, besides anywhere else.
Another thread now here has ‘Syria watchers’ claiming it’s ‘too convenient’ that Assad would have now launched a chemical attack against civilians in a rebel held area so that might be the rebels themselves. Not claiming I know it was Assad BTW, though I don’t agree with the logic ‘why would he when he has the upper hand anyway?’ (to further the upper hand and judging the US/West won’t do anything really serious about it, and in view of Trump just before saying ‘we’re getting out of Syria like real soon’). Anyway lots of disembodied voices of experts on the internet about everything with all kinds of views.
If it was the West/US, you’d have the counter-culture based belief by many in the West that their own political system, society and culture is to be viewed with more suspicion than any other, whereas nationalism is stronger in places like Russia. So ironically given the generally lower value accorded to truth in Russia than the West (manifest IME whether it’s -ist to say so or not), the West would probably have the harder time pulling off a ‘deniable’ act of aggression v Russia than vice versa.
If Putin doesn’t believe we sunk a Russian sub, then there’s no deterrent value.
If Putin does believe we sunk a Russian sub, he’ll retaliate and attack something of ours. If Russia doesn’t have the capability of sinking an American sub, they would just attack some equivalent target.
Numerous books on the subject suggest the U.S. does completely outclass them. In addition, there are tactical considerations - the Russians have only a limited number of submarine bases, so it’s possible (thought to be common) for the quieter American attack submarines to camp outside these bases, with their superior passive sonar, pick up the noisy russian subs leaving, and tail them.
This means that in a www3 scenario, when the russian submarines surface to fire their nuclear tipped ballistic missiles, they will make a large amount of noise to do this. The missiles can’t be fired all at once, so each submarine might only get to launch 1-2 ICBMs before torpedoes from the American sub kill them. Zero if the situation goes really well.
This probably won’t matter at all (so the russians don’t nuke the already glowing crater of LA or DC), but it might.
Anyways, the Americans can sink a russian submarine, probably whenever they want. Maybe if they use some kind of special torpedo that leaves damage that looks like an accident they might even get away with it, once. Might. It’s not worth the risk as this is essentially provoking ww3.