At this years annual address to the federal assembly, Russian president Vladimir Putin has showcased several new nuclear technologies, with no distance limitations, that have no analouges anywhere in the world. In a stoic warning to the west, Putin stated that systems that can resist them simply do not exist.
In 2002, the United States unilaterally and without consultation, withdrew from the landmark Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. President George W. Bush noted that the treaty is “now behind us,” describing the ABM Treaty as a Cold War relic. Signed in 1972, the ABM Treaty barred both the US and the USSR from deploying national defences against long-range ballistic missiles. The treaty was based on the premise that if either superpower constructed a strategic defence, the other would build up its offensive nuclear forces to offset the defence. The superpowers would therefore quickly be put on a path toward a never-ending offensive-defensive arms race, as each tried to balance its counterpart’s actions.
The United States under W. Bush in 2002 seemed to arrogantly assume that neither Russia or anyone else for that matter would ever again be in a financial position to counter their world hegemonic power.
Putin clearly announced that any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies, be it small – medium or any range, would be considered an outright nuclear attack on Russia. This is in response to the United States lowering the bar for the permissable use of nuclear weapons, to that of a conventional attack or even a cyber attack. And possibly threats from neo cons and the western media toward Syria and Iran, both allies of Russia.
Today, there is no instrument in international law that prevents the possibility of mutually assured destruction. Putin has been sending out warnings for over 10 years – all of which fell on deaf ears. Last year – he appealed to international journalists at the St Petersburg Economic Forum – to deliver the message of imminent danger to their respective news outlets. “I don’t know how to get through to you anymore”