Russia Goes Ballistic

Russia will surpass U.S. nuclear capabilities within two decades if trends continue. America’s strategic force is a cold-war relic, and while Washington’s weapons break down, Moscow is making bombers and missiles that are newer and deadlier.

Issue: Sept-Oct 2008

OVER THE next ten to twenty years, the erosion of American nuclear superiority will have major ramifications for the global balance of power. It will place new constraints on our freedom of action and lead our friends and foes alike to doubt the credibility of all instruments of U.S. power. As a result, decades-old alliance structures may fracture amid a drift toward multipolarity. Leadership from Tokyo to Riyadh to Seoul may find new incentives to develop their own deterrents as the relative power of states like Russia and China increases. With our extended-deterrent power lost, the international system will change-and not in Washington's favor. But this scenario is preventable if policy makers cast away the illusion of safety and act quickly to correct a trend which has plagued Washington for nearly two decades.

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