Tag: Nuclear Weapons

We Must Prepare for Putin’s Worst Weapons

Russia’s foreign minister and its ambassador to the United States have both signaled that Russia’s debacle in Ukraine could lead to a nuclear strike. By claiming that Russia is readying its weapons, by warning of a “serious” risk of nuclear escalation and by declaring “there are few rules left,” they purposefully rattled the ultimate saber. […]

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There Are Two Endgames in Ukraine. Both Carry Big Risks.

Last week brought a little clarity to the fog of the Ukraine war: The significant date of May 9, the celebration of the Soviet Union’s victory over Hitler’s Germany, came and went with no change of Russian strategy. When Vladimir Putin came out to inspect the military parades and intercontinental ballistic missiles, there was neither […]

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Biden Could Make the World Safer, but He’s Too Afraid of the Politics

No president can carry out everything in his party’s platform, of course. But Mr. Biden won’t even repeal policies imposed by the president he defeated and reinstate those of the president he served. And in the case of Iran, that unwillingness is both absurd and dangerous. It’s absurd because there was no good reason to […]

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C.I.A. Director Says Putin Might Consider Nuclear Weapons

WASHINGTON — The director of the C.I.A. said on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir V. Putin’s “potential desperation” to extract the semblance of a victory in Ukraine could tempt him to order the use of a tactical or low-yield nuclear weapon, publicly discussing for the first time a concern that has coursed through the White […]

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The Fear of Nuclear War Looms

In an interview that aired in December, Putin lamented the fall of the Soviet Union, which he had previously called the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century. “It was a disintegration of historical Russia,” he said in the interview. “We turned into a completely different country. And what had been built up over 1,000 […]

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How America Watches for a Nuclear Strike

In late February, when President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia declared that his country’s nuclear arms were entering “special combat readiness,” America’s surveillance gear went on high alert. Hundreds of imaging satellites, as well as other private and federal spacecraft, began looking for signs of heightened activity among Russia’s bombers, missiles, submarines and storage bunkers, […]

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Defying Putin’s Nuclear Threat — Responsibly

Like the United States, Russia surely possesses tactical nuclear weapons, which have exponentially less power but could each still yield an explosion of 10 kilotons and potentially up to 50 kilotons of TNT (the Hiroshima bomb’s yield was about 15 kilotons) and would cover relatively short battlefield ranges. It has reportedly been building up its […]

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Biden’s Putin Gaffe Has Nuclear Consequences

Joe Biden’s speech in Warsaw on Saturday was the capstone of a months-long effort to strengthen key strategic alliances and, in particular, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The president’s remarks were a sort of manifesto for the organization, which has been hobbled in recent years by […]

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This Is What It’s Like to Witness a Nuclear Explosion

In the early days of his war against Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin told the world that he had ordered his nation’s nuclear forces to a higher state of readiness. Ever since, pundits, generals and politicians have speculated about what would happen if the Russian military used a nuclear weapon. What would NATO do? Should the […]

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Relocation of Presidential Office in Seoul Heightens Security Concerns

SEOUL — When North Korea on Thursday conducted a test of its most ​powerful intercontinental ballistic missile to date, South Korea’s Defense Ministry was busy with another urgent task: making plans to move. Earlier this month, South Korea’s president-elect, Yoon Suk-yeol, announced plans to move the Defense Ministry to another building in Seoul so that […]

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U.S. Makes Contingency Plans in Case Russia Uses Its Most Powerful Weapons

BRUSSELS — The White House has quietly assembled a team of national security officials to sketch out scenarios of how the United States and its allies should respond if President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia — frustrated by his lack of progress in Ukraine or determined to warn Western nations against intervening in the war […]

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How Will the Ukraine War End?

U.S. officials have said that Russia appealed to China for military and economic support. Biden warned China’s leader, Xi Jinping, that granting that request would incur “consequences,” though the administration has not specified what those consequences might be. “The administration’s dilemma is that China is the world’s second-largest economy and the origin point of countless […]

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A New Iran Deal Leaves Us Meeker and Weaker

What does President Biden think he will get out of a new nuclear deal with Iran? A year ago, the answer seemed reasonably clear to the administration: Tehran had responded to Donald Trump’s decision to walk away from the original 2015 deal — known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or J.C.P.O.A. — by […]

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A New Iran Deal Leaves Us Meeker and Weaker

What does President Biden think he will get out of a new nuclear deal with Iran? A year ago, the answer seemed reasonably clear to the administration: Tehran had responded to Donald Trump’s decision to walk away from the original 2015 deal — known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or J.C.P.O.A. — by […]

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The Smaller Bombs That Could Turn Ukraine Into a Nuclear War Zone

In destructive power, the behemoths of the Cold War dwarfed the American atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. Washington’s biggest test blast was 1,000 times as large. Moscow’s was 3,000 times. On both sides, the idea was to deter strikes with threats of vast retaliation — with mutual assured destruction, or MAD. The psychological bar was […]

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Why America Should Not Deepen Its Military Involvement in Ukraine

In his stirring address to Congress on Wednesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine asked the United States for more help as his nation defends itself against a brutal and unjustified Russian invasion. Invoking the attacks on Pearl Harbor and the World Trade Center, Mr. Zelensky said simply, “I call on you to do more.” Given […]

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Why North Korea Won’t Give Up Its Nuclear Weapons

North Korea is steadily growing its weapon capabilities, and has shown no sign of stopping. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images  How will Americans know when North Korea has developed nukes that could strike the United States? A missile defense expert was once asked. He shrugged and said, “Well, you’re going to see a bright light.” The […]

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As Russia Digs In, What’s the Risk of Nuclear War? ‘It’s Not Zero.’

A major war raging on Russia’s and NATO’s borders. Increasingly bold Western military support. Russian threats of direct retaliation. A mood of siege and desperation in the Kremlin. Growing uncertainty around each side’s redlines. As Russia and NATO escalate their standoff over Ukraine, nuclear strategists and former U.S. officials warn that there is a remote […]

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India Accidentally Fires a Missile at Pakistan. Calm Ensues.

JAIPUR, India — One nuclear-armed state fired a cruise missile at another nuclear-armed state this week. They were not at war, and it did not start one. On Friday, India acknowledged that one of its missiles had mistakenly been fired into Pakistan two days earlier. Pakistan criticized India’s “callousness and ineptitude” in a “nuclear environment.” […]

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Iran Nuclear Talks Paused Following Russian Demands to Ease Sanctions

BRUSSELS — The talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran were paused on Friday because of recent Russian demands that sanctions imposed on it because of its war on Ukraine exclude its dealings with Iran. European officials are concerned that the pause may turn out to be the death knell for efforts to […]

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U.S. Says North Korea Is Testing a New Intercontinental Missile

WASHINGTON — The White House said on Thursday that North Korea had begun testing a new intercontinental ballistic missile in recent days, and that American forces were putting their missile defense units in Asia in a state of “enhanced readiness” for what they expect will be another launch intended to demonstrate the range of the […]

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Evgeny Maslin, Russian General Who Secured Nuclear Arsenal, Dies at 84

Along with his daughter Ekaterina, he is survived by his wife, Nina; another daughter, Elena; a brother, Nikolai; three grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. He joined the Soviet Army in 1954, with plans to become an infantry officer. But his father, who had fought on the front lines during World War II, objected; as a compromise, […]

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Would Putin Really Go Nuclear? Well …

Lynn Rusten, a former White House staffer now at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit, points out that Russia is already pursuing an ambitious assault on Ukraine using more traditional methods. “It seems unimaginable that Russia would use nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” she says. “There would be no reason for it.” Russia’s conventional forces are […]

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How to Avoid Nuclear War With Russia

In September 1983, Stanislav Petrov was a lieutenant colonel in the Soviet military, assigned to the command center that monitored early-warning satellites over the United States. During one of his shifts, the alarms went off: The Americans had seemingly launched five Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles. This was at a peak of Cold War tension, just […]

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North Korea Launches Ballistic Missile, South Korea Says

SEOUL — North Korea on Saturday launched a ballistic missile toward the sea off its east coast, its second missile test in a week, South Korean defense officials said. The missile was launched at 8:48 a.m. from Sunan, near Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, the South Korean military said. South Korean defense officials provided no […]

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Washington’s Newest Worry: The Dangers of Cornering Putin

In fact, President Biden announced expanded sanctions on Thursday, aimed at Russia’s oligarch class. Many of those named — including Dmitry Peskov, Mr. Putin’s spokesman and one of his close advisers — rank among his most influential defenders and the beneficiaries of the system he has created. Mr. Biden, reading a prepared statement and taking […]

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Welcome (Back) to the Nuclear Age

For many theorists, that makes radiation an important marker of human influence on the planet. In 2016, a group at the International Geological Congress presented possible start dates for the Anthropocene, the unofficial name for our current human-dominated geological age. There were many candidate markers, including plastic trash, pesticides, concrete, and domestic chicken bones. “We […]

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Putin Is Brandishing the Nuclear Option. How Serious Is the Threat?

This article is part of the Debatable newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it on Wednesdays. Over the weekend, as his military laid siege to Ukraine for the fourth day, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s nuclear forces into a higher state of alert, the first time the Kremlin has done so since the […]

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Putin Declares a Nuclear Alert, and Biden Seeks De-escalation

WASHINGTON — When Vladimir V. Putin declared Sunday that he was putting his nuclear forces into “special combat readiness” — a heightened alert status reminiscent of some of the most dangerous moments of the Cold War — President Biden and his aides had a choice. They could match the move and put American forces on […]

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