Vladimir Putin’s announcement “of a ‘breakthrough in developing new models of strategic weapons,’ designed to ensure that Russia’s nuclear forces can defeat any defense the U.S. now has or can build” doesn’t make any significant difference to the deterrence status quo that has existed between the two countries since the advent of nuclear weapons.
From Politico Magazine:
Consider the new missile that presumably can defeat all of our defenses: Russia now has, and has had for many decades, missiles that can readily defeat U.S. defenses. Russia does not have to attack the U.S. from the south to do so. We have always believed that Russian missiles have decoys that can defeat our defenses by saturating them, even if our defenses were to work as advertised. And if we were to build more and better defenses, Russia would then build more and better decoys, or for that matter, more warheads for the missiles they already have. Building more decoys or more warheads is always easier and cheaper than building bigger and better defenses to defeat them. Even if our defenses were to shoot down 80 percent of the warheads in a large-scale attack (a percentage that no experience and no test data support), 200 to 300 nuclear warheads detonating in the U.S. could hardly be considered a successful “defense.” That is what the Russians can do with their present arsenal — and we can do the same. That is what mutual deterrence is all about.
Consider the widely touted new Russian long-range nuclear robotic submarine, designed to totally destroy any of our port cities. Russia already has a multitude of systems that can do the same thing in a different way. And we can do the same to Russian cities without resorting to robotic submarines. So even if these systems are real, even if they can do everything Putin claims, even if they are already available — it doesn’t change the deterrence posture and it doesn’t give Russia any significant new capability.
Read the whole thing …
So, in practical terms, nothing has changed. A nuclear war between Russia and America would inevitably bring about the extinction of the human race.
Neither country would do anything to precipitate their own as well as their enemy’s destruction.
Nonetheless, should such destructive capability ever fall into the hands of ideological extremists, it could be a different story.