Russia has gone on the offensive in the Baltic, warning Denmark that if it joins Nato’s missile defence shield, its navy will be a legitimate target for a Russian nuclear attack.

“I don’t think that Danes fully understand the consequence if Denmark joins the American-led missile defence shield. If they do, then Danish warships will be targets for Russian nuclear missiles,” said Mikhail Vanin, the Russian ambassador to Denmark, to the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Given that
Denmark is in Nato this is already the case, isn’t it?

17 thoughts on “And?”

  1. So Much for Subtlety

    I doubt that there is much in Denmark to waste a nuclear missile on except the Missile Defence Shield. That is probably what the ambassador means.

    After all, wasn’t it a former Danish Defence Minister who suggested abolishing the military and replacing it with an answering machine announcing their surrender?

    If your Army only works 9-5, Monday to Friday, and you’re twenty minutes sailing away from a Soviet marine infantry division, another Polish marine division, and two Soviet Air borne divisions, then you don’t really have an Army.

  2. Nobody would attack Danish warships with nuclear missiles, as conventional weapons would do an equally good job. This is simply sabre-rattling by the Russians to see if they can scare the Europeans into backing down on sanctions over Crimea and scare them into acquiescing when Russia snaffles its next tract of neighbour’s land. If this tactic encounters a pair of balls at some point it will end immediately, but thus far it appears to be working quite well.

  3. bloke (not) in spain

    TimN’s right. If the Russians were considering a nuclear option for Denmark’s naval assets we’d be so far up the threat ladder they’d be targeting the rest of NATO & courting a US response. The tactical nuclear exchange scenario with the dangers of escalation to strategic. The Doomsday option. Don’t see Putin going that far.

  4. How far do you see Putin going?

    Just as a thought experiment, if Hitler had been called out earlier do you think that we would have averted WW2? Or would it simply have started differently, and possibly a bit later? Actually, it’s a phenomenally good accident of history that that one finished with nukes rather than starting with them. Finishing with them was good because no one is in any doubt as to what even the small ones are capable of. Kudos to the Japs for holding out long enough.

  5. The tactical nuclear exchange scenario with the dangers of escalation to strategic. The Doomsday option. Don’t see Putin going that far.

    The Russians have always had a different view of the escalation ladder – they don’t think that any US President (well, except Reagan) would be willing to accept a threat to Baltimore to protect Bonn. Or in the this case, Chicago to protect Copenhagen.

    I’ve never been close enough to the US strategic planning side to know whether this is a reliable assessment – but I can’t see Obama, for one, playing ball. Whether he would have the choice given the notorious trigger-happiness of our trans-Atlantic cousins at the tactical level, is a different kettle of fish.

    Note that the French make exactly the same judgement as the Russians. Hence their independent deterrent.

    I don’t think our strategic judgement is that nuanced, personally. More a case of “punching above our weight”, “maintaining a seat at the top table” and other “interesting points of view.”

  6. sackcloth and ashes

    Throughout the Cold War, the Danes (along with the Norwegians) were constantly being targeted by Soviet propaganda, with a mix of threats and blandishments designed to get them to leave NATO.

    Moscow thought they were a soft touch because they were geographical outriders, had small militaries, and also traditions of neutrality and pacifism.

    Mind you, the Danes stayed in NATO throughout the Cold War despite having the Warsaw Pact on its doorstep, so I’m not sure they’re going to give much of a shit what Vlad thinks right now.

    @ So Much For Subtlety – you do know that the Poles are on our side now, and the GDR has disappeared? It’s just your comment indicates otherwise.

  7. @SE,

    Ahem, Armchair Field Marshal.

    Professor Most Very Reverend Dr. Dr. (H.C.) SIr the Lord Rt. Hon. Baron Cardinal Field Marshal, that is.

  8. Sebastian Weetabix

    Aye, and he knows fuck-all about the Danish military too, which is very professional, as anyone who has served alongside them knows. Very aggressive too. I’ve seen them open fire at East German border guards who declined to stop pointing weapons across the fence.

    It’s the Dutch who serve 9-5, mon/fri. The disgrace in Srebrenica showed how martial they are.

  9. the Danish military too … Very aggressive too.

    When their infantry finally moved back to Bastion, one of their sergeants was still walking around the base with a double-bladed Viking ceremonial axe strapped to his day-sack.

    He hadn’t been using it ceremonially out in the dashte.

    The ten-dollar-Talib were more than a wee bit more leary of them than they were of us.

  10. There’s a video on YouTube of some Scandies in Afgahnistan pre-patrol. Either Danes or Norwegians. Doing the whole “Til Valhal!” thing.

    Sent a chill right up my spine.

  11. The Danes are right on the shield not being aimed at Russia – Russian ICBMs head to the US over the pole (and vice versa). Only reason I could see for the Russians taking out Danish ships is them protecting a US carrier strike group.

  12. So Much for Subtlety

    Surreptitious Evil – “I know SMFS is the world’s most experienced armchair general but you think even he might have noticed that Poland joined NATO in 1999?”

    I would think that even you would notice the obvious point – if the Danes were not willing to defend themselves in any serious way against the Soviet threat, they are unlikely to defend themselves seriously against the lesser Putin.

  13. @Tim Newman – “Nobody would attack Danish warships with nuclear missiles, as conventional weapons would do an equally good job. ” – depends on the war.

    In a real war, nobody would bother with conventional warheads.

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