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The new nuclear threat

Most people asssume that the end of the cold war has erased the risk of nuclear confrontation. But the break-up of the Soviet Union has actually increased the risk of accidental or "unauthorised" nuclear strikes

By Christoph Bluth   December 1998

For four decades the world lived in the shadow of nuclear war. But in the mind of the general public the threat has now receded out of sight; and the nuclear issue arouses little passion. This is at odds with the real situation.

The end of the cold war did mean the dismantling of conventional and nuclear confron-tation in Europe, but strategic nuclear arsenals have stayed largely intact, even after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. This will not fundamentally change, even when the strategic nuclear arms reduction treaties are implemented. Moreover, as Russia experiences severe dislocation, new dangers have…

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