The Russification of US Deterrence Policy

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December 26, 2017
by Nikolai Sokov

The following is an excerpt of an article originally published in the National Interest.

After a quarter-century monopoly on such capabilities, the United States finds itself essentially in the same predicament that the Russians or Chinese have faced since the end of the Cold War.

The new U.S. National Security Strategy (NSS), which was unveiled on December 18, is a thoroughly realist document that places premium on effective deterrence—which, the document says, has degraded in the recent years. The key paragraph describing these challenges paints a troubling picture:

“The spread of accurate and inexpensive weapons and the use of cyber tools have allowed state and non-state competitors to harm the United States across various domains. Such capabilities contest what was until recently U.S. dominance across the land, air, maritime, space, and cyberspace domains. They also enable adversaries to attempt strategic attacks against the United States—without resorting to nuclear weapons—in ways that could cripple our economy and our ability to deploy our military forces.”

One can only welcome the fact that policy and military planners have paid close attention to the acquisition of precision-guided long-range conventional strike assets by Russia and, in the near future, by countries like China, India and some others. These capabilities, indeed, change the strategic landscape in a fundamental way—after a quarter-century monopoly on such capabilities, the United States finds itself essentially in the same predicament that the Russians or Chinese have faced since the end of the Cold War: the threat of a strategic non-nuclear use.

Continue reading at the National Interest.

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