Russia: January 19, 2000

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Russia has issued yet another new nuclear doctrine. The doctrine released by Yeltsin in 1997 officially made the "first use" of nuclear weapons acceptable, but only if the "very existence of Russia is threatened". The new doctrine, a response to the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, says that Russia will use "all forces and means at its disposal, including nuclear weapons, where all other means to settle the crisis have been exhausted or have proved ineffective". Liberals regard this as no major change since the policy still makes nuclear weapons a last resort. Conservatives note that President Putin has now made nuclear weapons acceptable to win a war, not just save the country.--Stephen V Cole

 

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