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What will Putin do?

Lead Summary
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

When Vladimir Putin looks back a year, I suspect he is quite startled at how things have turned out.

Putin has recently renounced existing nuclear treaty provisions. It has also been announced that Russia has placed tactical nuclear warheads on ships for the first time in 30 years. So far, this action applies to the Baltic Sea, creating a particular threat to Norway and NATO.

If I were Putin, I would do something a bit more diabolical, trusting the reaction will be all talk and no action.

I would move these nuclear-weapons-laden ships beyond the Baltic. After all, in the big picture, the Baltic is something akin to the swimming pool in one’s backyard.

Then, again if I were Putin, I would monitor daily the notoriety this move creates. My orders would be to move slow and in a random pattern. I don’t know if I would send such ships over the pole or to the south, but my ultimate destination would be Taiwan.

Again, judging the furor or lack of furor this move makes, I would then linger in the South China Sea.

At the time of my choosing, I would pop off a baby nuke or two at Taiwan, roughly aiming for semiconductor chip plants.

What’s the excuse for this? Those chip plants make the brains of some of the weaponry from the West, especially the United States, which is being sent to Ukraine.

What happens as a result of this?

The United States sends a “strongly worded protest” to Moscow.

NATO won’t react – "sorry, it is out of our territory,” they'll claim.

The alliance between Russia and China becomes tighter than a fresh application of Fixodent.

It is demonstrated China can take over Taiwan anytime it wants, in fact, how about next week?

Putin’s stock rises at home and in China.

The Ukraine War is over, and Russia wins.

The United States is thought of as a mere shadow of its former self.

Look, if we can’t figure out balloons that are in strange places – out of position – what makes anyone think we would react to such a move as this with any force?

Russia and China form a powerful alliance.

Then, the next shoe drops. Russia and China care little for the climate change discussion.

Now that they have an extremely strong alliance, climate change will disappear from the dialogue faster than a melting iceberg.

It only takes a couple of little tactical nuclear warheads.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at

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