Is The Russian Missile Strike On Poland A False Flag Operation Designed To Pull NATO Into The Ukrainian Conflict And Start World War III?
While it is no Pearl Harbor, the alleged Russian missile strike on Poland appears poised to trigger a serious global discussion about whether NATO should intervene militarily in Ukraine. Many of the reactions that I have seen have been bated-breath ones that leave the reader with the impression that NATO is obligated to act. After all, two Poles died. But should it?
Call me a skeptic. My initial gut reaction when I saw the news was that Russia cannot possibly be stupid enough to trigger World War III over a minor missile strike. My impression has solidified as I have seen more news throughout the day, and I seriously question whether the alleged missile strike is a false flag operation.
Let’s start with the initial reports. Poland has officially confirmed that it was a Russian-made missile that struck 15 miles inside its border and killed two people. I have subsequently seen commentary from Western military analysts that the debris from the missile indicates that it was a Russian Kh-101 cruise missile – the same cruise missile that has been the central weapon in Russia’s attack on Ukraine’s power grid over the past few days. Russian analysts have responded that the debris indicates that it is a Ukrainian S-300 surface to air missile – a claim that is not entirely without merit since Russia itself has modified S-300 missiles to conduct surface to surface strikes in Ukraine.
If the Western analysts are correct, the situation intensifies ten-fold. The Kh-101 cruise missile is a long range, stealth, precision missile designed for tactical land attacks and is usually fired from an aerial platform like the Russian Tu-95MS strategic bomber. It has an operational range of 2,800 miles, meaning that Russian bombers could safely fire the missile from Russian airspace. Most importantly, it has a circular error probability of +/- 5 meters. In other words, it will usually land within five meters of the target selected. In other words, the strike was either a deliberate attack or a terrible accident.
Just because the Kh-101 is a Russian missile though does not mean that Russia fired it. Ukraine has previously sold the Kh-101 from its own stockpiles to China and Iran. Where those missiles have gone and whether Ukraine still has any are open questions. I also give some credence to the plausibility of the Russian analysts’ claim about an S-300 missile although retaining my doubt about who fired it.
That leaves the spectating world with an act that we may never have fully explained and a whole lot of questions about motive.
The main reason for my skepticism regarding the view that Russia intentionally conducted a missile strike on Ukraine is that, of all the players in this global drama, it has the least incentive to provoke foreign involvement in its conflict with Ukraine. It has fared poorly in its invasion of Ukraine despite the territorial gains that it initially made. Over the past week, it has made a series of tactical and strategic withdrawals to regroup and re-strategize. These withdrawals would have proved unthinkable at the start of the conflict when many Western military analyst predicted that Ukraine would quickly lose a conflict with Russia. Quite simply, Russia has struggled mightily against a foe who has been unable to establish air superiority over its own skies but has denied it air superiority. Why would it involve more sophisticated nations such as the United States that have proven their ability to establish devastating air superiority in nation v. nation conflict against Russian-made air-defense systems during the First Gulf War?
Additionally, NATO has been resistant to Ukraine becoming a member to this point. An intentional Russian attack on a NATO country could potentially accelerate its acceptance into NATO, resulting in the precise geopolitical development that Russia sought to frustrate in the first instance: a NATO country right on its borders. In other words, Russia has very little to gain and a hell of a lot to lose by involving other nations in a conflict that it already appears to be losing.
Who would have motive then? Start with Ukraine. It has desperately begged NATO to intervene militarily since the start of the conflict. Its officials have viciously attacked anyone who has suggested that it should make concessions to Russia in exchange for peace. I get it. They are a proud people, but they are also looking at the destroyed shambles of their nation and the impossibility of eliminating Russia as a future threat on their own. Additionally, wars have an economic component. While the West has generously supplied aid, arms, and munitions, Ukraine will not survive on perpetual aid alone. The West will eventually have nothing more to give without strategically compromising itself. When that day arrives, the Russian economy and production capacity is likely to still be capable of producing enough material to prevail in the war if their manpower capability keeps pace.
In other words, Ukraine faces the prospect of being trapped in a long-term war where defeat and subordination is a very realistic possibility and the chances of it offensively neutralizing Russia as a threat are slim to none. It needs NATO’s military involvement to achieve a long-term and lasting victory where Russia is neutralized as a regional and global military threat.
Faced with this reality and aided by the fog of war, it is quite conceivable in my opinion that Ukraine may have made an attempt to frame Russia in an effort to provoke NATO military involvement.
Who else would have motive? How about the armaments industry? I am not just talking about well-established, white-shoe companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and others. I am also talking about black market arms dealers who profit off of supplying weapons in lengthy conflicts. The more war, the better for their financial interests. Would a bigger war create more opportunities? Quite possibly, yes. They too could take advantage of the fog of war and the involvement of mercenary groups in the Ukrainian conflict to stage a missile strike with the goal of drawing NATO into the conflict and expanding the war.
The early possibilities for motives all favor a true false-flag theory in my opinion. Sadly, the debates and decision-making over who to blame and how to respond will not occur in the halls of legislatures though. It will occur in echo chambers where agendas will battle for dominance over the decision-making. Ukraine has indisputably won the propaganda war in the Western world, and sympathies will naturally lie with it. Indeed, even if it didn’t win the propaganda war, Western sympathies would still lie with it. The Cold War didn’t end with the fall of the Berlin Wall. It never ended.
Article V of the NATO Treaty will be tested soon, but Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution will sadly remain a dead letter as Congress will engage in no meaningful debate over whether to engage in a war that the West may be baited into. Instead, we will see a gradual escalation of limited interventions until we have a flaming hot war.
The volatility of restrained war and a pre-occupied NATO and United States could set the stage for China to move on Taiwan and other countries as well as assert itself in the European conflict. Does that lead to World War III?
I think so.