Hey — the committee did say that Nobel was aspirational.
In an interview published today in Izvestia, Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of the Kremlin’s security council, said the new doctrine offers “different options to allow the use of nuclear weapons, depending on a certain situation and intentions of a would-be enemy. In critical national security situations, one should also not exclude a preventive nuclear strike against the aggressor.”
What’s more, Patrushev said, Russia is revising the rules for the employment of nukes to repel conventionally armed attackers, “not only in large-scale, but also in a regional and even a local war.”
Gulp. If I were in Georgia — or in any other country Russia considers part of its sphere of influence — that formulation would make me pretty anxious…
In the interview, he takes a swipe at the United States and NATO, saying that the alliance “continues to press for the admission of new members to NATO, the military activities of the bloc are intensifying, and U.S. strategic forces are conducting intensive exercises to improve the management of strategic nuclear weapons.”
“The military activities of the bloc are intensifying”? After Obama just pulled long-range missile defense out of Poland and the Czech Republic? The oddest thing about this isn’t Moscow’s willingness to nuke its neighbors — I’ve always taken that as a given, even though none of them could ever conceivably threaten Russia — but the fact that they’re willing to rattle their saber so soon after The One made a major concession to them. Are they trying to make him turn hawkish? Because that’s what’s going to happen, whether he wants it to or not, if foreign policy somehow becomes a key issue in 2012. Why not string him along for a bit and see if they can milk a few more concessions out of him? Who knows? He might be willing to yank eastern European missile defense entirely if they play ball on Iran.
Well, at least we know it can’t get much worse. Or can it?