Leadership: Cold War Paranoia Lives On

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December 17, 2013: Although the Cold War ended in 1991, and Russia lost, many Russians refuse to accept that outcome, nor the loss of half the Russian empire that the czars (mainly) and the communists spent several centuries putting together. Thus we have senior Russian officials still accusing the United States of planning to destroy Russia in various imaginative ways. The latest threat, according to a December 11 announcement by a deputy prime minister, is a new American missile designed to deliver a non-nuclear on a target anywhere in the world on short notice. Deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin wanted the world (and Russians) to know that if the U.S. tried using such a weapon against Russia, then the response might well be Russian ICBMs armed with nuclear warheads.

The problem with this complaint, like many before it, is that the American weapon the Russian officials are complaining about does not exist. Although the system Rogozin described was proposed in the United States (as the global strike program) it was abandoned over five years ago. In other words, it was an idea that proved scary to the Russians and impractical to the Americans. That sort of thing occurred many times during the Cold War. Most of the paranoia was Russian although a few times the U.S. succumbed to it as well. If nothing else it makes it easier for politicians to get a larger defense budget out of the taxpayers.

 

 


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