The U.S. Strategic Command, which is in charge of waging nuclear war, will hold large-scale bomber exercises this week—days after Russia held what Moscow called “massive” war games simulating a U.S. and NATO nuclear attack.,, Ten U.S. B-52 bombers and up to six B-2 strategic bombers will take part in the war games called “Global Lightning 14” from Monday through May 16, the command said in a statement late Sunday… Moscow and Washington also have been battling over Russia’s plan to upgrade aircraft used in conducting permitted spy flights over the United States that intelligence officials say could undermine U.S. security. The flights are carried out under the Open Skies Treaty. Russia temporarily blocked a U.S. overflight of Russia and a spokesman mentioned the dispute over the new Russian aircraft in criticizing U.S. officials… ~ U.S. to Conduct Strategic Bomber Exercise by Bill Gertz
Defective signaling … when Russian foreign minister Lavrov spoke this week (in English) about the possible need to come to the aid of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, Washington had to guess whether he was stating the public rationale for an invasion, sending a warning signal to Kiev about its internal counter-terror campaign, or trying to accomplish some other purpose. Misinterpretation of such signals can become a reciprocal process that sends both sides up the “ladder of escalation” quickly, to a point where nuclear use seems like the logical next step… Command breakdown. … with nonstrategic nuclear weapons, which at some point in the course of an escalatory process need to be released to the control of local commanders if they are to have military utility. U.S. policy even envisions letting allies deliver tactical warheads against enemy targets… Russian doctrine endorses nuclear-weapons use in response to conventional aggression threatening the homeland, and obstacles to local initiative often break down once hostilities commence… And because Ukraine is so close to the Russian heartland (about 250 miles from Moscow) there’s no telling what might happen once the nuclear “firebreak” is crossed… ~ Four Ways The Ukraine Crisis Could Escalate To Use Of Nuclear Weapons by Loren Thompson.
Russian studies Professor [of Princeton university] Stephen Cohen told a CNN-TV audience March 9, “I think were two steps from a Cuban Missile Crisis and three steps from war with Russia for the first time.” Prof. Cohen was talking to host Fareed Zakaria, and insisted, “We need to get a negotiation going on…. Over the last 20 years we’ve moved NATO right to Russia’s borders. Ten years ago Putin announced very clearly, I don’t like NATO on my borders, but looking ahead, I have two red lines, one is Georgia, the former Soviet republic. We crossed that red line, he thinks. And we had a war. Now he thinks we’ve crossed the red line elsewhere in Ukraine.” ~ Russia Expert Stephen Cohen: ‘Two Steps From Cuban Missiles Crisis’.