(USDI) The Soviet Union’s old doctrine was: You deter World War III with nuclear weapons. Now Russia’s new doctrine: Threaten to use nuclear weapons against any major power that may try to block Moscow from having its way in a regional conflict, a specialist in Russian nuclear strategy said on Monday.
Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Nikolai Sokov said, “The targets are military.” A slide he used at the presentation before the Washington, D.C., think-tank, showed the targets could be reached by medium or heavy bombers and include bomber bases in the United States; aircraft carrier battle groups in the Baltic and Pacific; as well as those in the Indian Ocean and Black Sea-Mediterranean.
“Bases are platforms,” said Sokov, who is now affiliated with the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. He noted Russian exercises in 2003 carried out a simulated nuclear strike against Diego Garcia, and in 2007, against Guam.
What changed in Russian leaders’ minds after the collapse of the Soviet Union was “a perception [that] the United States will go around using force in promoting democracy and human rights.” […]
Pavel Podvig, director of the Geneva-based Russian nuclear forces project, said, “Strategic forces play a role supporting whatever moves Russia makes,” including Ukraine, Crimea or Georgia. The threat of escalation in a regional conflict is “a deliberate policy of Russian leaders because nobody wants” to engage in nuclear conflict for limited stakes. […]
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