The US’s Post-9/11 Nuclear Strategy and its Security Implication for Russia

The 9/11 terrorist attacks revealed the vulnerabilities of the US vis-à-vis terrorists and so-called “rogue states”, and built strong consensus among policy makers about the country’s new security environment. Therefore, shortly after 9/11, in order to meet the challenges of a new security environment, new strategies, including a New Nuclear Strategy, were adopted. The New Nuclear Strategy was markedly different from the Cold War strategy. Although key components of the strategy (for example, New Triad and Ballistic Missile Defense) had an inherent defensive nature, they had dangerous implications for Russia, intended or unintended. The Strategy rendered Moscow insecure vis-à-vis the US because of Washington’s increased defense and offence capabilities. Despite being declaratively directed against rogue states and terrorist organizations, the new capabilities were actually highly suitable for achieving nuclear superiority over the US’ main contender in the field, Russia, and threatened to push Moscow into a costly arms-race that it could ill afford. This article aims to outline the changes that were introduced in the US nuclear strategy by the Bush Administration after 9/11, explaining why and how they were perceived as security threats by Russia.

Authors: Azad Garibov