Nuclear Brinkmanship Is Back: Putin OKs Using Nukes In Response To Conventional Attacks

For over the past year it seems every month has witnessed Washington and Moscow upping the ante on nuclear weapons rhetoric, which has been accompanied by the breakdown of key treaties, including recently the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and more lately 'Open Skies' — now with even New START on the chopping block.

Russia has vowed that for each time Washington moved the goal posts in terms of backing off of prior policies of nuclear weapons restraint, it would respond in kind. This also as the Trump administration has gone so far as to reportedly seriously consider restarting nuclear tests, which hasn't been done in three decades. 

Putin appears to now be making good on 'reciprocal' threats, on Tuesday signing into effect a new nuclear policy allowing Russia to use nukes in response to conventional arms attacks.  

It's essentially a clear rejection of a "no first use" policy which escalated nuclear tensions to frightening levels during the Cold War, which a number of world powers have since long fought to implement globally. 

But now the Kremlin policy will mirror the United States official nuclear doctrine, which even includes allowance of deploying a nuke if “reliable information” of a direct threat of ballistic missile attack is confirmed.

As the AP underscored, it sends a direct message and warning to the United States:

In line with Russian military doctrine, the new document reaffirms that the country could use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack or an aggression involving conventional weapons that “threatens the very existence of the state.”

But the policy document now also offers a detailed description of situations that could trigger the use of nuclear weapons. They include the use of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction against Russia or its allies and an enemy attack with conventional weapons that threatens the country’s existence.

The shift in deterrent policy also appears to preempt the US placing missiles in Europe, a serious fear after the breakdown of the INF.

Needless to say US-Russia relations at their lowest point in post-Cold War modern history, now dangerously close to a nuclear brinkmanship scenario which once witnessed Americans having to huddle into bomb shelters on fears of 'imminent' apocalyptic nuclear destruction. 

Perhaps at some point soon we'll witness a return to the 20th century phenomenon of rapidly construction bomb and fallout shelters across the nation? 

And as a reminder amid this extremely dangerous escalation with apparently "no off ramp" - we were assured for years by Russiagate advocates that Trump is some kind of Russian puppet in the White House, yet at every step he's in reality worsened relations with Moscow.