On February 27, deputy director of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security Matthew Kroenig was quoted in an article in the New York Times titled “Putin Declares a Nuclear Alert, and Biden Seeks De-escalation.” Kroenig points out that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s heightened nuclear alert is just one of multiple historical examples of leaders threatening nuclear retaliation, including former President Trump. However, Kroenig asserts that leaders will not follow through because it threatens their extinction.

Nuclear-armed states can’t fight nuclear wars because it would risk their extinction, but they can and do threaten it.

Matthew Kroenig
Forward Defense

Forward Defense, housed within the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, generates ideas and connects stakeholders in the defense ecosystem to promote an enduring military advantage for the United States, its allies, and partners. Our work identifies the defense strategies, capabilities, and resources the United States needs to deter and, if necessary, prevail in future conflict.

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