A new nuclear arms race
Vladimir Putin’s boasting about his new nuclear weapons warrants a simple response, said Fred Kaplan: “Go ahead, waste your money.” The Russian president last week claimed his country had developed new, low-flying cruise missiles that could avoid missile defense systems. Computer-generated video showed one such nuke targeting Florida. But Russia and the U.S. have long had the capacity to launch hundreds of nuclear missiles at once, rendering “anti-missile missiles” useless in an all-out nuclear war; missile-defense systems are designed to prevent limited assaults from “small nuclear powers such as North Korea.” Putin probably made his threatening announcement in response to a recent Pentagon document calling for upgrades and additions to America’s nuclear arsenal. In the past, the tensions between Moscow and Washington over this nuclear buildup could be addressed in face-to-face diplomacy. But Putin is driven by a “pathetic yearning for renewed empire,” while President Trump scorns actual diplomacy and can’t negotiate with Moscow anyway because it would inflame suspicions Putin owns him. As a result, we appear to be heading for a “revival of the Cold War,” an expensive new arms race, and a new era of instability and mutual hostility.