Vladimir Putin has made no secret of the fact that he intends on having Russia’s nuclear weapons surpass the United States in capability. But apparently the Russians have already won the arms race in sheer numbers, if not in capabilities. But some experts are warning that both Russia and the U.S. believe they can win a Cold War 2, which may cause harm to bother countries in the long run.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, the thousands of Russians who marched in the streets of Moscow last month claim Vladimir Putin represents the “war party.” Attempts at deescalating tensions have Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov suggesting the Kremlin and the White House should hit the reset button on relations, although he also blames the United States for making this difficult. In contrast, Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov claims Putin is a bigger threat to the United States than ISIS or 1,000 al Qaeda terrorist groups. All the saber rattling has American writers living in Russia trying to remind the world that Putin is not the Russian people.
The fact that Russia’s nuclear weapons now outnumber U.S. nuclear weapons came to light when the U.S. State Department released documents about the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). Back in 2012, the U.S. had 1,722 nuclear weapons deployed, while Russia’s nuclear weapons were counted at 1,499 WMDs. As of 2014, the Obama administration has reduced the U.S. nuclear arsenal down to 1,642 nuclear weapons. In contrast, Vladimir Putin has increased Russia’s numbers up to 1,643, which means they barely hold the edge on numbers.
Sen. James Inhofe, a Republican on the Senate Committee on Armed Services, wrote in Foreign Policy that he blames both President Obama and Vladimir Putin for the current situation.
“The White House was at best naïve to Russian duplicity; at worst, it was complicit,” Inhofe wrote. “Russia used the arms control process to reduce the threat posed by U.S. strategic nuclear forces, while simultaneously pursuing alternative nuclear capabilities — such as cruise missiles — in support of its military strategy and national security. The United States under President Obama, on the other hand, has tried to set a disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation example by reducing the role and numbers of nuclear weapons in U.S. strategy in the hope that the rest of the world would follow. It hasn’t. What’s harder to explain, is why we let them get away with it.”
In the same time frame, China’s nuclear weapons capabilities have also increased and the U.S. Navy has been discussing strategies to deal with any worst case scenario.
As the world seemingly enters Cold War 2, Paul J. Saunders, executive director of the Center for the National Interest, released a collection of essays from Russian and American experts about how each nation is treating the current Ukraine crisis. The overall conclusion seems to be that both countries believe they can realistically “win” the coming long-term confrontation.
“The overarching conclusion of the four papers is that both the U.S. and Russian governments are likely to believe that they possess acceptable policy options to not only confront one another but to impose significant costs on the other party if necessary,” writes Saunders, who warns that the “foundation of this judgment…is a failure to recognize the potential price that their own nation may pay in a direct conflict or (more likely) in a long-term adversarial relationship.”
While Vladimir Putin continues to pursue the goal of modernizing Russia’s nuclear weapons, the Russian people are already starting to pay the price of this global confrontation. Global investors pulled about $850 million out of the country in 2014 and the Russian economy increased by only 1.3 percent instead of the previously projected 3.9 percent. If tensions continue to escalate, the economic collateral damage may only become worse, never mind if Pope Francis’ version of World War 3 continues to spread.