According to Kristin Ven Bruusgaard, concerns in the West that Russia is lowering its threshold for the use of nuclear weapons are misplaced. Nuclear weapons remain Russia’s most important deterrence asset. However, Ven Bruusgaard also points out that Russia’s conventional and non-military capability advances, and a more restrictive nuclear strategy, demonstrate that Russia is actually less likely to use nuclear weapons early in a conflict today than even 10 or 15 years ago.
As Russia’s Zapad 2017 strategic exercise finishes, Russia-watchers and nuclear hawks will be looking for evidence of Russia’s alleged “lowered nuclear threshold”. This lowered threshold has become a key concern in recent years for Western policymakers watching Russia’s active military signaling. The official way of expressing this concern is to say that nuclear-armed regional adversaries should not think they “can escalate their way out of failed conventional aggression.” That is, a regional adversary (such as Russia) will not get away with conventional aggression against U.S. allies (such as the Baltic countries) by threatening to use or using nuclear weapons. Läs artikel