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Patrushev’s Pre-emptive Nuke Policy

patrushev101509.jpgFor some reason or another, Russia is feeling very insecure these days, and the #3 silovik in the government, Nikolai Patrushev, is pushing a new military doctrine governing the deployment of nuclear weapons … he thinks it should be looser for pre-emptive strikes, even against conventionally armed nations.  Many of Russia’s neighbors have had to get used to being regularly threatened with nuclear annihilation a long time ago, but now this doctrine theoretically brings it a step closer.  Of course we know that Russia is extremely unlikely to ever do something like that, but that’s what makes this just so unnecessary.

From Wired’s Danger Room:

In an interview published today in Izvestia, Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of the Kremlin’s security council, said the new doctrine offers “different options to allow the use of nuclear weapons, depending on a certain situation and intentions of a would-be enemy. In critical national security situations, one should also not exclude a preventive nuclear strike against the aggressor.”

What’s more, Patrushev said, Russia is revising the rules for the employment of nukes to repel conventionally armed attackers, “not only in large-scale, but also in a regional and even a local war.”

Gulp. If I were in Georgia — or in any other country Russia considers part of its sphere of influence — that formulation would make me pretty anxious.