While world powers and Iran were embroiled in last minute negotiations last week, Brookings hosted a panel discussion on the meaning of another power’s recent nuclear threats: Russia's. In recent months, Russia has rattled the saber, with Vladimir Putin remarking on his nuclear options during the Crimea crisis and making a mild threat to nuke the Danish navy. Given that Russia maintains enough nuclear muscle to destroy the world---theoretically anyway---how seriously should we take these provocations?
The panel was moderated by Brookings Fellow Jeremy Shapiro and featured Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists and Brookings scholars Pavel Baev and Steven Pifer. Together, the trio took a deep dive into Russia’s recent nuclear threats during the Crimea crisis, the country’s capabilities---both conventional and nuclear---relative to NATO, and its ongoing modernization program. The three conclude with terrifying thought: The folks surrounding Putin just might not fully understand deterrence.