The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Special Issue: US-Russia relations: Cold War 2.0?
CHICAGO – May 4, 2016 – Over the last year, the relationship between Russia and the United States has deteriorated to a level not seen since the days of the Cold War. Are we entering a Cold War 2.0? Read this special issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for a unique look at US-Russia relations and the enigma that is Vladimir Putin.
In a key interview with Bulletin editor John Mecklin, former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul discusses US-Russia relations and how they might be improved, given Putin’s suspicious views of US intentions.
“Putin: The one-man show the West doesn’t understand,” by Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Fiona Hill, focuses on Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose “one-man show” is rooted in Russian history and political culture.
In 1953, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about the hidden costs of the military-industrial complex. The article “Barrels and Bullets: The geostrategic significance of Russia’s oil and gas exports,” by Michael Bradshaw and Richard Connolly, describes the explosive growth of Russia’s defense industry, and a looming decision in the government over whether to spend dwindling resources on guns or on butter.
Samuel Charap and Jeremy Shapiro dive into the core issue of the dispute between Russia and the US: the regional order in post-Soviet Europe and Eurasia. The authors describe the Obama administration’s refusal to address building competition over countries like Ukraine, and outline a new approach in their article “US-Russia relations: The middle cannot hold.”
In “Blurring the line between nuclear and non-nuclear weapons: Increasing the risk of accidental nuclear war?” Pavel Podvig examines recent provocative events between Russia and the West, and warns of the gradual blurring of the line—particularly in Russia—that separates conventional weapons from their nuclear counterparts.
Alexei Arbatov outlines a disturbing paradox: Despite a great reduction in the number of nuclear arms in the wake of the Cold War, the chance of their use is higher today than at any time since the tense years of the early 1980s. In “Saving nuclear arms control,” he explains that while recent confrontations between the United States and Russia might be the most immediate cause, the entire arms control system has been headed for a crisis for years.
A look at US-Russia relations would not be complete without a count of Russian nuclear forces, 2016. In last month’s subscription journal, Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris counted US nuclear forces; this month, they scrutinize the Russian arsenal.
Also in this issue:
In “The checkered operational history of high temperature gas cooled reactors,” M.V. Ramana examines the performance of high temperature gas cooled reactors (HTGRs) and offers a useful guide to what one can expect from future HTGRs—and reasons to reject them altogether.
In “The Rokkasho test: Has Japan learned the lessons of Fukushima?” Tadahiro Katsuta covers new regulations for nuclear power and nuclear reprocessing in Japan, implemented after the March 2011 Fukushima disaster. Katsuta gives credit to Japan for closing some safety gaps, but outlines the potential risks that have thus far gone unaddressed by the new review process.
In reviewing a new book by Michael Crowley on incapacitating chemical weapons, Malcolm Dando examines one analytical framework—holistic arms control—for dealing more effectively with existing weapons that employ toxic chemicals, as well new weapons that may evolve.
The United Nations projects that global population will reach 11.2 billion in 2100. For anyone concerned about climate change, this is a sobering prospect. The Global Forum in this issue continues a discussion begun on the Bulletin’s free-access website about Population’s part in mitigating climate change. Alisha Graves provides a US perspective with a view to separate sex from child-bearing; Alex Ezeh pens a Nigerian response, pointing out that there's a big difference between coercive state-led population control programs and efforts to slow rapid population growth; and China’s Wang Haibin wants readers to keep in mind that population is far from the only variable and by no means does it determine carbon emissions.
This issue features five free-access articles: the interview with former ambassador Michael McFaul, Bradshaw and Connolly’s “Barrels and Bullets,” “US-Russia relations: The middle cannot hold,” Hill’s look at Vladimir Putin, and the Bulletin’s Nuclear Notebook, which is always free.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists engages science leaders, policy makers, and the interested public on topics of nuclear weapons and disarmament, the changing energy landscape, climate change, and emerging technologies. We do this through our award-winning journal, iconic Doomsday Clock, public access website, and regular set of convenings. With smart, vigorous prose, multimedia presentations, and information graphics, the Bulletin puts issues and events into context and provides fact-based debates and assessments. For 70 years, the Bulletin has bridged the technology divide between scientific research, foreign policy, and public engagement.
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