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February 10, 2023

Ukraine Gave Up Nuclear Weapons at Our Behest. Here’s What We Owe Them.

By Jon B. Wolfsthal

The world is on the cusp of a dangerous new nuclear era, and the war in Ukraine might be a glimpse of what is to come.

Reflecting this, the hands of the iconic Doomsday Clock, an indicator reflecting the opinion of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists as to how close humanity finds itself to self-destruction, were recently moved up 10 seconds — to 90 seconds to midnight. This is the closest they have ever been to Armageddon.

The United States cannot give up on the effort to find ways to negotiate agreements with adversaries such as Russia and China to reduce the danger of nuclear conflict.

But even if the Ukraine war never goes nuclear, any ultimate Russian victory would add to the sense that nuclear weapons are increasingly useful elements of state policy, for both offense and defense.

That said, because Russia retains the ability to escalate to the nuclear level, ensuring Russian defeat is not a simple problem that can be solved by arming Ukraine with every weapons system it requests. To properly appreciate the difficulties, it’s important to understand the nuclear history involved.

Read the full article from The Washington Post.

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