The Russian Nuclear Horn’s Threat Has Worked

Russia’s Nuclear Threat Has Worked

The war in Ukraine has reasserted the relevance of nuclear weapons as a major deterrent in global conflicts. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, a great power has publicly threatened to deploy tactical nuclear weapons. And the threat worked: the West has been carefully calibrating its arms supply to Ukraine in order to avoid giving Russia reason to resort to nuclear escalation. Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine wouldn’t have happened had Ukraine not surrendered its nuclear arsenal under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, which included American and Russian guarantees to respect and defend its territorial integrity.

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