Senior Policy Director John Erath spoke with DW about the Russian threats to use nuclear weapons.
“Clearly, we are at something of an inflection point,” John Erath, Senior Policy Director for the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, told DW. “One of the means Russia has chosen to accomplish its end is to make threats of the use of nuclear weapons.”
That end — taking control of Ukraine, and breaking US and NATO support — has so far not come to pass. However, using nuclear weapons as a “diplomatic tool,” Erath said, has been somewhat effective at moderating that support. The US has been careful to avoid escalation that could draw it into direct conflict with Russia, and German officials have often expressed their concern about crossing a line that would make Germany an official party to the war.
“The real danger lies in if this conflict concludes with Russia perceived as succeeding, and this tool being perceived as being effective. Because that opens the floodgates,” Erath said. Other nuclear-armed states, such as North Korea, could make bolder threats with their own arsenals.
There are several small and midsize nuclear-armed states, but Erath said it is China “where things are changing in the nuclear world.” Moreover, the US lacks the awareness and lines of communication of the kind built up with Russia over decades.
“If there were to be a crisis over Taiwan, it’s a little bit harder to get that direct line to Beijing,” he said. Read More