Nuclear Weapons in the Multipolar World, October 1998

In this paper, Dr. Sergey Rogov, Director of the Institute for USA and Canada Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, lays out what might be considered some of the most serious consequences that may unfold from the nuclear weapons tests that first India and then Pakistan conducted in the spring of 1998. He points out that, with these initiatives, nuclear weapons have reentered the fabric of international politics. We had all hoped that the centrality of nuclear weapons would fade away after the end of the Cold War. Dr. Rogov also lays out some approaches to deal with the collapse of the nonproliferation regime. He sees the need for the major advanced countries to meet regularly and to coordinate their efforts. One great fear that Russians have, and that Dr. Rogov points out, is that Germany and Japan might one day be no longer content with their subordinate, nuclear-less status in world affairs.

It is especially noteworthy that he calls attention once more to the huge nuclear arsenals still maintained, and at great cost, by the United States and Russia. He makes yet another plea for the Russian Duma to ratify START-2. Even without START-2, he points out that the Russian arsenal will shrink. Yet, if proliferation continues, Dr. Rogov notes that Russia might have to make a costly new effort to rebuild its strategic nuclear forces.

For the American reader, it is worth noting that Dr. Rogov published these views first for the Russian audience. The Center for Naval Analyses’ publication of his views is meant to continue the building of bridges to reconcile Russian and American strategic thinking. After the learning experiences of the Cold War, we found we could understand each other quite well. Now–as the Russian economy staggers from crisis to crisis, as Russians turn inward, and as the United States is diverted elsewhere–there is a danger that our strategic perspectives will diverge. We need to take every opportunity to ensure that this doesn’t happen.

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Nuclear Weapons in the Multipolar World, October 1998 [37 Pages, 1.3MB]

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This post was published on September 15, 2023 11:43 am

John Greenewald

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