Would Putin Roll the Nuclear Dice?

Posted on Tuesday November 1 2022

By Steven Pifer, Time, October 18, 2022

Since Russia launched its most recent invasion of Ukraine in February, Moscow has threatened—sometimes subtly, other times explicitly—nuclear escalation should the war not go its way. Ukraine and the West have to take such threats seriously. But the Kremlin also needs to take their probable responses seriously and would have to weigh the substantial risks and costs of using a nuclear weapon.

Shortly after Russian forces assaulted Ukraine on Feb. 24, Vladimir Putin ordered a “special combat readiness” status for Russian nuclear forces. But it’s unclear what that means since the Pentagon has consistently said it sees no change in Russia’s nuclear posture. The alert may have amounted to little more than additional command post staffing.

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Articles

Would Putin Roll the Nuclear Dice?

Posted on Tuesday November 1

By Steven Pifer, Time, October 18, 2022 Since Russia launched its most recent invasion of Ukraine in February, Moscow has threatened—sometimes subtly, other times explicitly—nuclear escalation should the war not go its way. Ukraine and the West have to take such threats seriously. But the Kremlin also needs to take their probable responses seriously and […]

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We can’t afford US Congress wavering in its support for Ukraine

Posted on Tuesday November 1

By Steven Pifer, The Guardian, October 27, 2022 On 24 October, 30 members of the House Democratic Progressive Caucus released a letter to Joe Biden calling for a “proactive diplomatic push” on Kyiv to work toward a ceasefire and “direct [US] engagement” with Moscow to end the Russia-Ukraine war. One week earlier, Republican House leader Kevin […]

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Taliban facing backlash after U.S. drone strike against al-Qaeda leader

Posted on Monday October 3

By Pamela Constable, The Washington Post, August 2, 2022 KABUL — The U.S. drone strike that killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri here early Sunday also struck a humiliating blow against the Taliban regime, which had secretly hosted the aging extremist in the heart of the Afghan capital for months but failed to keep him safe. […]

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Beneath Kabul’s surprising veneer of normalcy, a precarious balancing act

Posted on Monday October 3

By Pamela Constable, The Washington Post, August 11, 2022 KABUL — An uneasy calm has settled over the Afghan capital this summer, a wary detente between the country’s stern religious rulers and a deflated, worried populace that is struggling to survive but also relieved that the punishing 20-year war involving foreign troops is over. Both […]

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Restore Reagan’s Military ‘Margin of Safety’

Posted on Wednesday September 7

By Roger Zakheim, The Wall Street Journal, August 28, 2022  The U.S. faces the most daunting security landscape in 45 years. That’s no coincidence. Earlier this year Russia launched the bloodiest armed conflict in Europe since World War II, and this summer China publicly displayed plans to strangle or swallow the free people of Taiwan. Leaders […]

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What is America’s end-game for the war in Ukraine?

Posted on Thursday July 28

By Felicia Schwartz and Amy Kazmin, Financial Times, May 29, 2022 Shortly before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February, General Mark Milley, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave a pessimistic view of the prospects. One possible outcome, he told a closed congressional hearing, was that Kyiv could fall within 72 […]

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Collapse of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces: An Assessment of the Factors That Led to Its Demise

Posted on Monday June 27

By the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), May 2022 Since 2002, the United States has allocated nearly $90 billion in security sector assistance to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), with the goal of developing an independent, self-sustaining force capable of combating both internal and external threats. Yet, in August 2021, […]

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The big emerging question: How to finance the net-zero transition in emerging markets

Posted on Monday June 13

By Paul Bodnar, Jean Boivin, and Isabelle Mateos y Lago, Black Rock Investment Institute, October 2021 Climate change is a global crisis that requires a global response. Without a successful green transition everywhere, climate risk is unmanageable anywhere. Reaching the globally agreed climate goals requires speed – notably a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030, […]

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USAID Development Assistance Counter Terrorism: A Guide to Programming

Posted on Friday May 6

Below you will find the USAID document that Stacia George thought would provide a helpful background in advance of her May 2022 presentation on counter terrorism. USAID Development Assistance Counter Terrorism: A Guide to Programming. October 2009. This guide discusses the implications for practitioners pursuing development objectives in the context of counter-extremism (CE). Because programming […]

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Understanding Central Asia’s Cautious Approach to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Posted on Friday April 1

By Bruce Pannier, Foreign Policy Research Institute, March 25, 2022 The governments in Central Asia are treading cautiously in their remarks about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Central Asia, too, was part of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union, and, when some in Central Asia see the news from Ukraine, they might wonder if they are […]

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Ambassador Laura Kennedy: Article, Podcast, and Video

Posted on Friday April 1

Below you will find an article, podcast, and video that Ambassador Laura Kennedy thought would provide a helpful background on the “Stans” in advance of her April 2022 presentation. Dealing with Kazakhstan’s Nuclear Inheritance, Foreign Service Journal, March 30,2022. Ambassador Kennedy’s book review of Atomic Steppe: How Kazakhstan gave up the bomb by Togzhan Kassenova. To […]

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Trump and Obama: The odd couple who broke ‘extended deterrence’ for the Indo-Pacific

Posted on Thursday March 3

By David Cooper in The Hill on February 24, 2021  If there is an upside to nuclear weapons it is extended deterrence. This term refers to the “nuclear umbrella” that the United States promises to extend over its closest allies in Asia and Europe to protect against hostile nuclear powers who otherwise might be tempted to […]

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A Nuclear Cruise Missile Could Be Vital For Arms Control And Nonproliferation Efforts

Posted on Thursday March 3

By David Cooper in Breaking Defense on September 7, 2021 A simmering debate over the fate of the new intermediate-range nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missile (SLCM-N), initiated by the Trump administration, has centered on whether the weapon is needed to strengthen deterrence in the face of escalating geostrategic competition with China and Russia. Because then-candidate Joe […]

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Turning Away from the Middle East

Posted on Wednesday February 16

By Steven Simon in the New York Review of Books, April 8, 2021. The Biden administration will not have a lot of time for the Middle East. Its foreign policy agenda will more likely be shaped by the looming question of how to come to grips with Xi Jinping’s China. To read the entire essay, […]

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Why is the U.S. Military Occupying Bases Across Africa?

Posted on Friday January 21

By Eric Schewe in JSTOR Daily, April 11, 2018 In recent months, many Americans have been surprised to learn that the U.S. has an extensive military presence in Africa. In recent months, many Americans have been surprised to learn that the U.S. has an extensive military presence in Africa. An intelligence snafu over fitness tracker […]

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