Nuclear weapons and NATO-Russia relations
Cornwell, Graham C.
Yost, David S.
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Despite the development of positive institutional arrangements such as Russian participation in the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Bosnia and the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council, the strategic culture of Russia has not changed in any fundamental sense. Russian strategic culture has not evolved in ways that would make Russian policies compatible with those of NATO countries in the necessary economic, social, technological, and military spheres. On the domestic side, Russia has yet to establish a stable democracy and the necessary legal, judicial, and regulatory institutions for a free-market economy. Russia evidently lacks the necessary cultural traditions, including concepts of accountability and transparency, to make these adaptations in the short-term. Owing in part to its institutional shortcomings, severe socioeconomic setbacks have afflicted Russia. Russian conventional military strength has been weakened, and a concomitant reliance by the Russians on nuclear weapons as their ultimate line of defense has increased. The breakdown in the infrastructure that supports Russian early warning and surveillance systems and nuclear weapons stewardship defense, coupled with a tendency towards has exacerbated Russian anxiety and distrust toward NATO. Russia's reliance on nuclear weapons as the ultimate line of defense, coupled with a tendency toward suspicion and distrust toward NATO, could lead to dangerous strategic miscalculation and nuclear catastrophe.
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