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Andreas Kluth

Putin Is Making Nuclear Warfare the New Normal

If Russian attempts at nuclear blackmail are seen to succeed, the world will be a more dangerous place forever.

A vision of hell.

A vision of hell.

Photographer: Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP via Getty Images

Put aside, if you can, the growing anxiety about Russian President Vladimir Putin going nuclear in his barbaric war against Ukraine. Even if he doesn’t — and the risk, though real, remains small — he’s already brought the whole world closer to atomic disaster occurring at some point. 

That’s because Putin, with his repeated threats to drop nukes on Ukraine or other European countries, has in effect kicked off a new and global arms race in these diabolical weapons. He has proven, if proof was needed, that having atomic bombs gives you power, whereas lacking them — as Ukraine does — leaves you vulnerable. As a result, ever more countries will build or grow their own arsenals — and rewrite their strategies for using them.