Op-eds

Seven Reasons Moscow Will Say “Nyet” to Nuke Cuts: Prof. William Martel

Real Clear Defense

William C. Martel is Associate Professor of International Security Studies at The Fletcher School, Tufts University.

Last week, President Obama called for a new round of nuclear arms talks with Russia, but Moscow in response voiced its opposition to the drastic reduction Obama proposed.

Despite the allure of reducing nuclear arsenals, it is not clear why the United States proposed a new round of nuclear arms cuts. Worse, there are powerful reasons why such a proposal is doomed to fail.

1. Russia’s only measure of power is nukes. For Moscow, nuclear weapons are the sole remaining symbol of its former superpower status. No wonder President Vladimir Putin lamented that the "demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.”

Consider Russia today. Putin gradually dismantled democracy in Russia, while harassing and jailing opponents. Russia faces demographic challenges that loom over its future along with crippling corruption that stifles any forward progress.

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