How serious is Russia about nuclear war? Revelation 16

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Mikhail Tereshchenko/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, Vadim Savitskiy/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

Alexander Nazaryan

·Senior White House Correspondent

Sat, May 7, 2022, 3:00 AM·9 min read

WASHINGTON — The war in Ukraine has led some military experts to rethink the conventional wisdom on nuclear weapons, a reconsideration rooted in an acknowledgment that as frightening as the prospect of nuclear war is, a policy predicated on these fears has given the Kremlin too much license in Ukraine.

“I think we have exaggerated the threat of the Kremlin using nuclear weapons and have made some policy decisions based on that exaggerated fear,” retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, chair of strategic studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis, told Yahoo News.

Mainstream thinking about nuclear war has been guided by two related realities: that atomic weapons are immensely destructive and that if used once, they will be used repeatedly in a series of back-and-forth strikes that will only compound the devastation until there is nothing much left to devastate.

Those were the lessons of Proud Prophet, an intensive 1983 simulation conducted by the U.S. government at the National Defense University in which dozens of security agencies and military commands took part.

Proud Prophet began with what was expected to be a limited nuclear strike by the Soviet Union, only to quickly slip from the grasp of the combatants. “The result was a catastrophe that made all the wars of the past five hundred years pale in comparison,” Yale historian Paul Bracken wrote. “A half-billion human beings were killed in the initial exchanges and at least that many more would have died from radiation and starvation.”

Given the diligence with which the simulation was conducted, Proud Prophet offered chilling evidence that however a nuclear war began, it could end only in annihilation.

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