Russian Horn Threatening Europe

Ukraine accuses Russia of deploying nuclear weapons carriers near border

By Vasudevan Sridharan
August 10, 2016 08:34 BST

Russian and Ukrainian forces are reportedly beefing up their forces in the border region even as Kiev accuses Moscow of mobilising nuclear weapons carriers. The military build-up has come on the heels of Kiev saying that Russia could invade Ukraine “at any moment”.

Speaking to reporters during a media briefing, Vadym Skibitskyi, spokesperson for the intelligence wing of the Ukrainian defence ministry, said: “We do not rule out such a probability [the deployment of nuclear weapons in Crimea]. There are indeed carriers of nuclear weapons in the territory of the Crimean peninsula. These are grounds-based or air-delivered weapons,” reported the Unian news outlet.

Skibitskyi added: “Currently, nuclear weapons are stored at depots in the territory of Russia, near Novorossiysk, as well as in other facilities located in European Russia.”

Tensions are high in the border region especially among the residents of northern Crimea — the region that became a part of Russia in the fallout of the Ukrainian conflict — as long convoys of Russian weaponry were seen moving. The area where the military movement is taking place in the Crimean peninsula is not far from the Ukrainian mainland.

The Ukraine Today reported that heavy weaponry and anti-tank rocket launchers are being deployed in the region in the presence of scores of Russian military personnel. In addition to that, Russian helicopters and drones are also believed to have conducted manoeuvres from Crimea. “Border guards have recorded flights of nine Russian MI-8 and two UAVs over the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea in proximity to the administrative border. The interactive units of the armed forces have been informed about the facts,” the state border guard service of Ukraine was cited as saying.

Responding to the situation, Ukrainian forces are also scaling up their presence by deploying more army units and military equipment near the Crimean peninsula, Kiev authorities have said.

The Crimean peninsula, a former Ukrainian territory, became a Russian territory in 2014 during the height of the Ukrainian unrest. Ever since Crimea broke away from Ukraine, the region has become a focal point of geopolitical tensions in the region.

Russia Ups The Nuclear Ante (Daniel 7)

Russia Sends Nuclear-Capable Bombers to Crimea

Training Flights On Tupolev TU-95MS Bear Strategic Bomber
A Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-95MS Bear strategic bomber during a training flight, in Ryazan region, Russion on November 16, 2012. (Photo by Alexander Ryumin/Itar-Tass/ABACAPRESS.COM)
KYIV, Ukraine—As NATO and Russia simultaneously launch military exercises stretching from Eastern Europe into the Arctic, Russian defense officials said this week that supersonic bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons will be deployed to Crimea.

According to the Russian news agency TASS, Tupolev TU-22M3 strategic bombers will be positioned in the former Ukrainian territory as part of a snap military exercise involving Russia’s Navy’s Northern Fleet, which has been put on full alert, and other ground and air units across Russia. The Russian military drills comprise 40,000 troops, more than 41 warships, 15 submarines and 110 aircraft and helicopters, according to RIA news agency.

The TU-22M3 is capable of carrying the Kh-22 anti-ship missile, which was designed by the Soviet Union to target U.S. warships and is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads.

Russia’s military exercises began Monday and are scheduled to last until Saturday. The stated intent of the mobilization, according to Russian defense officials, is to evaluate Russia’s northern defenses and the capabilities of its Northern Fleet.

“New challenges and threats of military security demand the further heightening of military capabilities of the armed forces and special attention will be paid to the state of the newly formed strategic merging (of forces) in the North,” said Russian Defense Minister Gen. Sergey Shoigu, according to Russian news outlet Sputnik.

Russia also announced this week the deployment of Iskander tactical ballistic missile systems to the Kaliningrad region, according to TASS. The Iskander missile system has a range up to about 300 miles and is designed to carry both conventional and nuclear warheads.

2015_3_17_Russia-Ukrane_Rusenko(v6)-01
The deployment of nuclear platforms within striking distance of NATO forces during this week’s drills highlights the role of nuclear weapons in Russia’s national security strategy, said Michaela Dodge, a policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation.

“Russia does think about NATO as one of its primary adversaries, threatens NATO allies with a nuclear attack, and states that nuclear weapons use can be de-escalatory under some circumstances,” Dodge said.

“Provided that we have a good insight into what the Russian troops are doing in the field,” Dodge added, “opportunities for miscalculations should be low.”

In an interview aired on Russian television Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had considered putting his nuclear arsenal on alert if U.S. or NATO had intervened in Russia’s March 2014 annexation of Crimea.

“We were ready to do that,” Putin replied when asked if he was willing to put his nuclear arsenal on alert. “That’s why I think no one wanted to start a world conflict.”

Russia’s exercises this week parallel several high-profile NATO operations, underscoring the escalation of tensions to levels not seen since the Cold War.

On March 9, Norway, a NATO member country, launched a military exercise in the northern region of Finnmark, which borders Russia’s Murmansk Oblast.

The exercise, called “Joint Viking,” comprises 5,000 Norwegian military personnel.

In another NATO operation, a convoy of U.S. Army Stryker armored fighting vehicles is set to depart Saturday for a 1,100-mile journey across Eastern Europe.

The operation, named Dragoon Ride, is part of a ratcheted-up U.S. military presence across Eastern Europe in response to Russia’s involvement in the ongoing Ukraine conflict as well as other recent provocations such as repeated flybys of NATO countries by Russian warplanes and the infiltration of Russian submarines into Swedish territorial waters.

As part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, the U.S. Air Force recently deployed 12 A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany and forward deployed F-16 fighters to Amari Air Base, Estonia and Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania.

Despite the tit-for-tat military exercises with NATO and the deployment of nuclear weapons platforms, Russia’s actions this week are probably not a serious threat to the alliance, said Luke Coffey, Margaret Thatcher fellow at The Heritage Foundation.
 

I do not think that these exercises and troop movements are anything more than posturing,” says @LukeDCoffey

“At this point I do not think that these exercises and troop movements are anything more than posturing,” said Coffey, a U.S. Army veteran. “Nevertheless, it is important that NATO keeps an eye on Russia’s actions in the region. After the invasion of Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea nothing can be completely ruled out.”Nolan Peterson

Babylon The Great Playing With Russian Nuclear Fire

Russia: Ukraine’s import of U.S. nuclear fuel risky

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk  gestures, during a press conference in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk gestures, during a press conference in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia says Ukraine’s deal to buy U.S.-made nuclear fuel for its Soviet-built reactors could trigger a nuclear accident.

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk of Ukraine announced Tuesday that his nation has reached a deal on nuclear fuel deliveries with Westinghouse to reduce dependence on Russian supplies.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry deplored the move as a “dangerous experiment that threatens safety and health of the Ukrainian citizens and peoples of Europe.” It said nuclear fuel produced by the U.S. company doesn’t quite fit Soviet-built nuclear reactors that Ukraine has.

The ministry said Ukrainian authorities must take a responsible approach to nuclear safety, or risk disasters such as the 1986 Chernobyl one, which was a result of a flawed Soviet reactor design coupled with serious mistakes made by the plant operators.

In a statement Tuesday, Westinghouse said it “has been working in the Ukrainian market since 2003, and brings diversification of suppliers, global best practices and technology to the Ukraine market. Westinghouse fuel is currently operating safely and efficiently at the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant without any defects in performance.”

Ukraine’s Big Lesson: Don’t Give Up Your Nukes

World War 3: Russia’s Nuclear Weapons Threat Has Ukraine Discussing Restoring Nukes

2014-ukraine-crisis-map
Posted in: Politics Posted: September 14, 2014

 
Ukraine is apparently preparing for the possibility of World War 3, with Ukraine’s defense minister responding to Russia’s nuclear weapons threats by claiming they may consider restoring Ukraine’s nuclear weapons programs.In a related report by The Inquisitr, Vladimir Putin has been escalating tensions lately with the announcement of a Russian nuclear weapon test launch of an ICBM from a nuclear submarine. Putin has also promised the Western world that there will be “corresponding countermeasures” to any sanctions, and is already working hard on improving Russia’s nuclear weapons programs.
Due to recent world events, Catholic leader Pope Francis has declared that World War 3 has already begun in a “piecemeal” fashion in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Gaza, and Africa.

“War is madness,” Pope Francis declared. “Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction. War is irrational; its only plan is to bring destruction: it seeks to grow by destroying. Greed, intolerance, the lust for power. These motives underlie the decision to go to war and they are too often justified by an ideology.”

It’s not only the Western world that fears World War 3 is around the corner. A recent poll in China showed that a majority of the Chinese believe World War 3 will happen relatively soon.

Ukraine’s Nuclear Weapons Program Restored?

Under the Clinton administration, Ukraine was urged to give up its nuclear weapons it had retained from the former Soviet Union. The Budapest Memorandum obligated the United States, England, and the newly formed Russian Federation to respect Ukraine’s border in return for Ukraine’s agreement to give up the Soviet nuclear weapons. If any party were to violate Ukraine’s territory, or to provide “threat or use of force” or “economic coercion,” the Budapest Memorandum obligated each party to “seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine.”

According to Vestnik Kavkaza, Minister of Defense of Ukraine Valerii Heletei claimed earlier today during a press conference that Russia is threatening Ukraine with tactical nuclear weapons.

“I am drawing attention to Russia’s threatening Ukraine with the use of tactical nuclear weapons,” Heletei noted. “If we fail to defend Ukraine today, if the world does not help us, we will have to get back to the creation of such weapons, which will defend us from Russia.”

Fortunately, Ukraine will not restore the development its own nuclear weapons immediately, but it is being considered as an option for the future. Heletei stressed that Ukraine’s nuclear weapons programs would only be an option if NATO member states do not provide weapons, especially from member states like the United States and England.

According to BBC News, Heletei also claimed that some NATO countries have begun sending Ukraine weapons.

“I have no right to disclose any specific country we reached that agreement with. But the fact is that those weapons are already on the way to us – that’s absolutely true, I can officially tell you,” he said.

Defense officials representing the United States, Italy, Poland, and Norway have already denied there any plans to send weapons to Ukraine.

So far, the Ukraine war has resulted in 2,600 deaths in the last five months of conflict with pro-Russian forces. According to NATO, Russia’s military has about 1,000 troops in eastern Ukraine, while an army of about 20,000 more are stationed near the border. Russia denies sending direct military aid to the rebels, insisting any Russian soldiers are “volunteers” fighting in the war.

Do you think the Ukraine war could potentially escalate into World War 3? How do you think the world’s leaders should resolve the conflict?

The Australian Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7:7)

Australia in talks to help Ukraine avoid energy crisis by exporting uranium and coal to the war-torn region

Australian Uranium Mining Sites

Australian Uranium Mining Sites
Updated about 2 hours agoWed 10 Dec 2014, 7:49pm

Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko is in Australia for a two-day state visit.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Melbourne this morning, Mr Poroshenko said the two countries had been brought together by the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 tragedy.

He said both countries were now keen to discuss ways of strengthening the bilateral relationship.

“I want to stress that my visit, the first visit of the Ukrainian president to Australia, is a demonstration of the strategic character of our partnership and Ukraine recognise and thank Australia,” he told reporters.

“We discuss today the possibility of the cooperation in the sphere of nuclear energy; there is a possibility to buy Australian uranium for our nuclear power station.

“We discuss about the possibility for supply of Australian coal for Ukraine energy system.”

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs website, Australia’s trade relationship with Ukraine is “modest”.

“Merchandise exports from Australia were valued at $35 million in 2013 and consisted mainly of manganese ores and concentrates,” the website stated.

“In the same period, Australia imported $46 million worth of products from Ukraine, mainly fertilisers, and electrical circuits equipment.”

Mr Abbott said if an export deal could be secured, it would be good for both jobs and prosperity in the two countries.

“Australia is an energy super power and energy security is very important to Ukraine, particularly given its current vulnerability to supply shocks,” he said.

Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine in June over a pricing dispute forcing Ukraine to take steps to conserve its insufficient reserves for the current winter.

Ongoing embassy in Kiev to expand diplomatic relations

Australia had established an interim embassy in Ukraine following the MH17 disaster and today Mr Abbott indicated the Government would set up a permanent diplomatic post in Kiev early next year.

“Coming from this tragedy, I believe will be a strong and lasting friendship between the Australian people and the Ukrainian people,” Mr Abbott said.

“Already there are some tangible manifestations of our friendship.

“We have an interim embassy in Kiev, we expect to open our ongoing embassy in February.”

Mr Poroshenko welcomed the move and said he had invited Mr Abbott to visit Kiev next year.
“I told him that he is one of the most popular foreign politicians in Ukraine,” he said.

Mr Abbott responded, telling journalists it was nice to be popular “even if just in Kiev”.

The two leaders had attended a prayer vigil in Melbourne for the 298 victims of the MH17 tragedy.

Ukraine Preparing For World War III

World War 3: Russia’s Nuclear Weapons Threat Has Ukraine Discussing Restoring Nukes

World-War-3-Russias-Nuclear-Weapons-Threat
 
Ukraine is apparently preparing for the possibility of World War 3, with Ukraine’s defense minister responding to Russia’s nuclear weapons threats by claiming they may consider restoring Ukraine’s nuclear weapons programs.

In a related report by The Inquisitr, Vladimir Putin has been escalating tensions lately with the announcement of a Russian nuclear weapon test launch of an ICBM from a nuclear submarine. Putin has also promised the Western world that there will be “corresponding countermeasures” to any sanctions, and is already working hard on improving Russia’s nuclear weapons programs.

Due to recent world events, Catholic leader Pope Francis has declared that World War 3 has already begun in a “piecemeal” fashion in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Gaza, and Africa.

“War is madness,” Pope Francis declared. “Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction. War is irrational; its only plan is to bring destruction: it seeks to grow by destroying. Greed, intolerance, the lust for power. These motives underlie the decision to go to war and they are too often justified by an ideology.”

It’s not only the Western world that fears World War 3 is around the corner. A recent poll in China showed that a majority of the Chinese believe World War 3 will happen relatively soon.

Under the Clinton administration, Ukraine was urged to give up its nuclear weapons it had retained from the former Soviet Union. The Budapest Memorandum obligated the United States, England, and the newly formed Russian Federation to respect Ukraine’s border in return for Ukraine’s agreement to give up the Soviet nuclear weapons. If any party were to violate Ukraine’s territory, or to provide “threat or use of force” or “economic coercion,” the Budapest Memorandum obligated each party to “seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine.”

According to Vestnik Kavkaza, Minister of Defense of Ukraine Valerii Heletei claimed earlier today during a press conference that Russia is threatening Ukraine with tactical nuclear weapons.

“I am drawing attention to Russia’s threatening Ukraine with the use of tactical nuclear weapons,” Heletei noted. “If we fail to defend Ukraine today, if the world does not help us, we will have to get back to the creation of such weapons, which will defend us from Russia.”

Fortunately, Ukraine will not restore the development its own nuclear weapons immediately, but it is being considered as an option for the future. Heletei stressed that Ukraine’s nuclear weapons programs would only be an option if NATO member states do not provide weapons, especially from member states like the United States and England.

According to BBC News, Heletei also claimed that some NATO countries have begun sending Ukraine weapons.

“I have no right to disclose any specific country we reached that agreement with. But the fact is that those weapons are already on the way to us – that’s absolutely true, I can officially tell you,” he said.

Defense officials representing the United States, Italy, Poland, and Norway have already denied there any plans to send weapons to Ukraine.

So far, the Ukraine war has resulted in 2,600 deaths in the last five months of conflict with pro-Russian forces. According to NATO, Russia’s military has about 1,000 troops in eastern Ukraine, while an army of about 20,000 more are stationed near the border. Russia denies sending direct military aid to the rebels, insisting any Russian soldiers are “volunteers” fighting in the war.

Back To Cold War Nuclear Threats

Russia Threatening To Drop Nuclear Bomb In Ukraine, Defense Minister Claims

 
Russian Nuclear Missiles

Russian Nuclear Missiles

Russia is threatening to use nuclear weapons if Ukrainian forces continue to fight pro-Russia separatists, the Ukrainian Defense Minister is claiming.

On Monday, Defense Minister Valeriy Heltey wrote on his Facebook page that Russia is making threats of a nuclear attack against the country if the war continues.

“The Russian side has threatened on several occasions across unofficial channels that, in the case of continued resistance they are ready to use a tactical nuclear weapon against us,” Heletey wrote.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has escalated rapidly after more than 1,000 Russian troops poured across the border last week. Fighting has picked up between both sides, and there are reports that Russian troops massacred hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers who were trying to retreat.

The alleged mass killing took place outside a besieged city about 22 miles east of Donetsk. Reports say that Russian troops initially agreed to let the Ukrainian troops retreat, but then reneged and opened fire, leaving hundreds of bodies littered along an agreed retreat route.

Lt. Col. Nikolai Gordienko, of the Ukrainian National Guard, said: “They were given the corridor to exit and they were shot. It is a violation of international conventions.”

The international community has condemned Russia’s actions and undertaken a series of sanctions meant to squeeze them out with economic pressure. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has even claimed that Russia is effectively waging war against the entire EU.

“It is the fact that Russia is in a war state against Ukraine. That means it is in a state of war against a country which would like to be closely integrated with the EU. Practically Russia is in a state of war against Europe,” she said.

“That means we need to help Ukraine to… defend its territory and its people and to help militarily, especially with the military materials to help Ukraine to defend itself because today Ukraine is fighting a war on behalf of all Europe,” the leader of the former Soviet state said.

But amid the pressure and reports that Russia is making nuclear threats against Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has remained unmoved. This week he reportedly told outgoing European Commission President Jose Manual Barroso that he could “take Kiev in two weeks” if he wanted, Italian media reports have said.

Obama Inaction Will Lead To More Nukes

Obama inaction on Ukraine could impede nuclear disarmament

 
Obama's Foreign Policy

Obama’s Foreign Policy

The muted American response to Russia’s invasions of Ukraine could have consequences far beyond Eastern Europe, according to security analysts who fear the crisis may discourage countries in the future from swearing off nuclear weapons like Kiev did in a 1994 treaty.

Three years after the Soviet Union’s breakup, newly independent Ukraine was compelled by the three nuclear superpowers to enter into the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, a treaty that guaranteed its signatories would respect the “territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine” and “seek immediate U.N. Security Council action” if the country should face an “act of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used.”

Although the agreement only requires the signatories take immediate action if Ukraine is threatened with nuclear weapons, foreign policy and Russian experts say U.S. inaction risks signaling to countries like Iran, Pakistan and North Korea that their sovereignty could be at risk without a nuclear arsenal.

“Arms reduction should be a policy in consideration for all nations that have them. But I don’t think that’s the reason that Ukraine is experiencing the problems it is having,” said Brad Blakeman, a former adviser to President George W. Bush and former president of the national security group Freedom’s Watch. “The reason is a weak America and a Cold War relationship with Putin where there is neither respect nor fear of the United States.

“The U.S. has no credibility. Why would anyone enter into an agreement with us now?” he asked.

Stephen Blank, a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council who specializes in Russian affairs and international security, agreed.

“To countries like Iran and North Korea, this is one more example that giving up their nuclear weapons makes no sense, because no guarantee will stand,” he said.

Prior to the 1994 accord, Ukraine harbored the third-largest nuclear arsenal in the world. In April Ukrainian parliament member Pavlo Rizanenko told USA Today that many of his colleagues were already discussing the possibility of rearmament.

“We gave up nuclear weapons because of this agreement,” he said. “Now there’s a strong sentiment in Ukraine that we made a big mistake.”

Then-acting Ukraine President Oleksandr Turchynov also wrote an op-ed for The New York Times warning that the apparent consequences of Ukraine’s disarmament “may lead to nuclear proliferation around the world.”

Ariel Cohen, director of the Center for Energy Natural Resources and Geopolitics at the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, said the situation “looks like a disaster for Ukraine, but more importantly, it looks like a disaster for the cause of nonproliferation.

“This is because the three principal nuclear powers guaranteed Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty in exchange for its abandoning its nuclear weapons, and now the Russians are paying a relatively low price for violating the Budapest protocol.”

Mr. Cohen, who spoke to The Washington Times via telephone from Kiev, added, “This sends a strong signal to proliferators such as North Korea, Pakistan, Iran and others that any kind of security guarantees from the existing nuclear club are not worth the paper they are written on. Events in Ukraine have turned a nonproliferation regime on its head.”

The Budapest Memorandum also promised that its signatories would not place undue economic pressure on Ukraine so that it would not be compelled to surrender its power in exchange for financial aid; the current Moscow-Kiev conflict erupted in March after the Ukrainian Parliament ousted former President Viktor Yanukovych for accepting a $15 billion bailout from the Kremlin.

When the crisis began, the State Department issued a press release in March noting that President Obama had called then-acting Ukraine President Oleksandr Turchynov “to assure him of the strong support of the United States,” and also called Mr. Putin to tell him that Moscow was violating the 1994 treaty.

Nearly three weeks later, Russia annexed Crimea, and the Kremlin has also struck back with a public relations campaign aimed at the White House. New Russian military incursions into eastern Ukraine were also reported over the last week, raising talk that Moscow might try to create a Russian state in the region.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has accused the U.S. and EU of “active connivance” in what it referred to as “the coup d’etat in Kiev, acting against the political independence and sovereignty of Ukraine in violation of their obligations under the Budapest Memorandum.”

Last Monday at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak defended the Kremlin to a small group of political science students arguing that the conflict is between Ukraine and its own people, not Russia and Ukraine.

“The biggest problem in Ukraine is that the government in Kiev, instead of talking to their own people, started bombing. And by bombing, they create more and more opposition to Kiev,” he said.

David Satter, a renowned Russian scholar who lived in the USSR from 1976-1982 and was expelled from Moscow last year by Mr. Putin’s government, says the Kremlin is resorting to Soviet-style propaganda.

“What they’re saying [is] not convincing to a world audience,” Mr. Satter said. “It’s not convincing people who have access to objective information, but it is convincing to a population that is relying for its information on state-controlled television, which is in the grip of chauvinistic euphoria right now. They can say anything they want to that kind of audience. The more threatened Putin feels he is, the more he will be tempted to resort to war to distract the Russian public from the truth. People who are swept in the war hysteria may believe a lot of it.”

Nuclear Deterrence Is A Fallacy

The Ukraine nuclear delusion
by Gareth Evans*

Image
20 March 2014 /GENEVA
An argument now widely heard is that Ukraine would not be in the trouble it is in had it retained its substantial stockpile of nuclear weapons at the end of the Cold War. This has dangerous policy implications, and must not go unchallenged.

Despite its superficial plausibility, the argument does not withstand scrutiny against the available evidence about how states behave. Nuclear weapons are simply not the effective deterrent that most people think, whether the context is deterring war between large nuclear-armed powers or protecting weaker states against conventional attack.
The claim that the balance of nuclear terror between the United States and the Soviet Union maintained peace throughout the Cold War — and has been important since in restraining other potential belligerents (including India and Pakistan, India and China, and China and the US) — is not nearly as strong as it seems. There is no evidence that at any time during the Cold War either the Soviet Union or the US wanted to initiate war and was constrained from doing so only by the existence of the other side’s nuclear weapons.
We know that the knowledge of an adversary’s possession of supremely destructive weapons (as with chemical and biological weapons before 1939) has not stopped war between major powers in the past. Nor has the experience or prospect of massive damage to cities and civilian death tolls caused leaders to back down — including after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There is now strong historical evidence that the key factor driving Japan to sue for peace was not the nuclear attacks; it was the Soviet Union’s declaration of war later that same week.
But if nuclear weapons have not preserved the “Long Peace” since 1945, what has? A plausible alternative explanation is simply that the major powers realized, after the experience of World War II (and given all of the rapid technological advances that followed), that the damage inflicted by any war would be unbelievably horrific, far outweighing any conceivable benefit.
What of the notion, more immediately relevant to today’s Ukraine, that nuclear weapons are a strategic equalizer, necessary to compensate for inferior conventional forces and capabilities? North Korea certainly believes that possession of even a very small number of nuclear weapons constitutes some deterrent against forcible regime change, with the experience of Serbia in 1999, Iraq in 2003, and Libya in 2011 no doubt reinforcing its perception that states without such weapons are particularly vulnerable.
But weapons that would be manifestly suicidal to use are not ultimately a very credible deterrent. They will not stop the kind of adventurism now seen in Ukraine, because the risks associated with their deliberate use are simply too high. Both sides in these situations fully understand that. Russian President Vladimir Putin knows that Ukraine would be no more likely than the US to nuke Moscow for sending tanks into Crimea, or even Dnipropetrovsk.
Nuclear weapons are not the stabilizing tools that they are commonly assumed to be. Maybe that is because the scale of nuclear weapons’ destructiveness makes their practical military use unthinkable in almost any conceivable circumstances. Maybe it is just the well-understood ethical taboo that inhibited even US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles: Had the US used nuclear weapons in Korea or Vietnam, or against China over Taiwan, Dulles said, “We’d be finished as far as present-day world opinion was concerned.”
Whatever the reason, conflicts have regularly occurred in which nuclear weapons could have played a part, but did not. Consider the long list of wars in which non-nuclear powers either directly attacked nuclear powers or were not deterred by the prospect of their nuclear intervention: Korea, Vietnam, Yom Kippur, Falklands, the two in Afghanistan since the 1970s, and the first Gulf War.
Then there are the cases where both sides’ possession of nuclear weapons, rather than operating as a constraining factor, has given one side the opportunity to launch small military actions without serious fear of nuclear reprisal, owing to the too-high stakes of such a response. Think of the Kargil War between Pakistan and India in 1999.
There is substantial quantitative, as well as anecdotal, evidence to support what is known in the literature as the “stability/instability paradox” — the notion that what may appear to be a stable nuclear balance actually encourages more violence. The old conservative line is that “the absence of nuclear weapons would make the world safe for conventional wars.” But it is more plausible to think that it is the presence of nuclear weapons that has made the world safer for such wars.
There is one thing that the presence of Ukrainian nuclear weapons would have added to today’s mix: Another huge layer of potential hazard, owing to the risk of stumbling into a catastrophe through accident, miscalculation, system error, or sabotage. Even true believers in nuclear deterrence must acknowledge that it has always been an extremely fragile basis for maintaining stable peace.
It simply cannot be assumed that calm, considered rationality will always prevail in the enormous stress of a real-time crisis. And it certainly cannot be assumed that there will never be human or technological errors, with harmless events being read as threatening (as in 1995, when Russian President Boris Yeltsin was advised to retaliate immediately against an incoming NATO missile, which proved to be a Norwegian scientific rocket).
There is also a major risk of miscommunication (now compounded by the sophistication of cyber weapons) and of basic system error. Much archival evidence of the Cold War years has now revealed how close to calamity the world regularly came — much more often than was known at the time. And recurring reports of security failures and acute morale problems at US missile sites today add further alarming weight to this concern.
Nuclear-weapons enthusiasts seem to have an inexhaustible appetite for bad arguments. Nothing we have heard in the context of Ukraine suggests that their record is improving.

Russian War Will Increase Nuclear Proliferation

Ukraine and Nuclear Proliferation
Russia’s invasion has made U.S. assurances seem meaningless.

Russian war will increase nuclear proliferation

Russian war will increase nuclear proliferation

Updated March 19, 2014 9:00 p.m. ET
The damage to world order from Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Crimea will echo for years, but one of the biggest casualties deserves more attention: the cause of nuclear nonproliferation. One lesson to the world of Russia’s cost-free carve-up of Ukraine is that nations that abandon their nuclear arsenals do so at their own peril.
This story goes back to the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia’s nuclear arsenal was spread among the former Soviet republics that had become independent nations. Ukraine had some 1,800 nuclear weapons, including short-range tactical weapons, air-launched cruise missiles and bombers. Only Russia and the U.S. had more at the time, and Ukraine’s arsenal was both modern and highly survivable in the event of a first strike.
Russian forces wait outside the Ukrainian firefighters brigade headquarters. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
The U.S. was rightly concerned that these warheads could end up in the wrong hands, and the Clinton Administration made controlling them a foreign-policy priority. The result was the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances in which Ukraine agreed to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and return its nuclear arsenal to Russia in exchange for security “assurances” by Russia, the U.S. and United Kingdom. Those included promises to respect Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty within its existing borders, as well as refraining from threatening or using force against Ukraine.
Officials in Kiev clearly had the potential for Russian aggression in mind when they sought those assurances, which is one reason they wanted other nations to co-sign as well. China and France later added somewhat weaker assurances in separate attachments to the Budapest Memo.
Ukraine also wanted to take many years to turn over its weapons, but the U.S. wanted quicker action and by 1996 Ukraine had given up its entire nuclear arsenal. It was an important victory for nonproliferation—a success rooted in the world’s post-Cold War confidence in American power and deterrence.
Contrast that with the current crisis. President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have blasted Russia for its clear violation of the Budapest accord, but those U.S. and U.K. assurances have been exposed as meaningless. That lesson isn’t lost on Ukraine, but it also won’t be lost on the rest of the world.
Had Kiev kept its weapons rather than giving them up in return for parchment promises, would Vladimir Putin have been so quick to invade Crimea two weeks ago? It’s impossible to know, but it’s likely it would have at least given him more pause.
Ukraine’s fate is likely to make the world’s nuclear rogues, such as Iran and North Korea, even less likely to give up their nuclear facilities or weapons. As important, it is likely to make nonnuclear powers and even close U.S. allies wonder if they can still rely on America’s security guarantees.
Japan and South Korea are sure to consider their nuclear options as China presses its own territorial claims. South Korean public opinion is already in favor of an independent nuclear deterrent. And several Middle East countries, notably Saudi Arabia, are already contemplating their nuclear options once Iran becomes a nuclear power. Ukraine’s fate will only reinforce those who believe these countries can’t trust American assurances.
Perhaps the greatest irony is that President Obama has made nuclear nonproliferation one of his highest priorities. In April 2009 in Prague, he promised to lead a crusade to rid the world of nuclear weapons with treaties and the power of America’s moral example. But documents and “assurances” have never kept any country safe from the world’s predators. Only comparable military power or the protection of a superpower like the U.S. can do that. When the superpower’s assurances are called into question, the world becomes a far more dangerous place.
On present trend Mr. Obama’s legacy won’t be new limits on the spread of nuclear weapons. Instead he’ll be the President who presided over, and been a major cause of, a new era of global nuclear proliferation.
To underscore the point, next week Mr. Obama will travel to The Hague to preach the virtues of nonproliferation at his third global Nuclear Security Summit. Also expected: Vladimir Putin.