Moscow is trying to rattle Washington by projecting its political and military might as the most dangerous crisis develops in U.S.-Russian relations since the Cold War era. The suspension of the 2000 plutonium agreement may threaten a whole range of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation treaties.
The Russian leadership has precipitated an even graver confrontation with the United States, abandoning its ambition for a diplomatic leadership role in Syria. The rupture looks like a preemptive strike by Russia in the context of the U.S. election campaign.
So far, Moscow and Washington have proved incapable of ending Syria’s civil war. But a settlement is impossible without them.
Modern western leaders might wish to consider that, in the end, what killed the Soviet system was not Reagan’s Star Wars, or even the scarcity of goods in the shops. What actually did it was the loss of public faith in the domestic political system. So, improve or beware of exposure.
After more than two decades during which Cold War-era visions of nuclear Armageddon faded from public consciousness, alarms are sounding anew as a result of tense relations between Russia and the West.
The most advantageous option for Russia and the United States is to sign another START agreement on more cuts in nuclear weapons. However, if that is not possible, it makes sense for the two sides to extend the current treaty signed in 2010.
Today, we have vast nuclear arsenals and the number of countries with nuclear capabilities have increased around the world. Current threats are being addressed with temporary solutions. In an even more alarming prospect, the possibility of using nuclear weapons in Europe due to a local conflict is now on the table.
What is the worst and dangerous for Russia is the feeling of self-assured satisfaction and perception that it is a great, powerful and invincible country with unlimited resources. It can lead to another stagnation.
Against a backdrop of Russian, Chinese, and U.S. strides in science and technology, trilateral consultations could help address potential threats from new weapons.
The risk of outright conflict in Europe is higher than it has been for years and the confrontation between Russia and the West shows no sign of ending. To prevent misunderstandings and dangerous incidents, the two sides must improve their methods of communication.