Why Russia Calls a Limited Nuclear Strike “De-escalation”

Nikoali Sokov
March 13, 2014

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The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists:
Why Russia calls a limited nuclear strike “de-escalation”


Nikolai Sokov analyzes the conceptual and operational aspects of the Russian “de-escalation” strategy – the use of the threat of a limited nuclear strike to compensate for US and NATO’s overwhelming superiority in modern conventional weapons. Underlying this strategy were concerns generated by a series of wars in the Balkans and the Middle East and the perception that the West should be deterred from exercising the same option vis-a-vis  Russia. Sokov also discusses the possible implications of Russian efforts to catch up in conventional weaponry, including the positive (reduced reliance on nuclear weapons) and negative (more proactive foreign policy supported by military force) consequences.

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