Fearful! No Apprehension of Nuclear War in the West - Putin’s Direct Line
Dmitry Peskov, Press-secretary: I'm sorry, but I already promised. Anton Vernitsky, Channel One Russia.
Anton Vernitsky: Mr. Putin, during our Soviet childhood we were very afraid of a nuclear war. — Maybe you even remember the songs...
Vladimir Putin: Aren't you afraid today?
- ...songs like "yes, yes, yes to a sunny world, no, no, no to a nuclear blast". Four decades have passed since that and major newspapers, on both sides of the ocean, have started printing entire scenarios of a nuclear strike exchange between Russia and the USA. The word "war" started to sound more and more often ordinary, at the kitchen table. How can you, as the president, reassure my little son who fears a nuclear war just as I do, reassure me, and all of us? With what words and actions? Thank you.
- You know, I think you are right. It just came to my mind that all of the danger of such a scenario in the world is fading, going away. It seems impossible, or just not so important. Meanwhile, if something like that happens, it could lead to the death of all of civilization, maybe even the whole planet. So the questions are serious. It's a pity that such a tendency of underestimating happens to be and happens to progress. There are special aspects and dangers today. But what are they? First of all, what we see today is the breakdown of the international arms deterrent system. An arms race. When the USA withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which was the cornerstone in the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and a restraint on an arms race, as I've said a thousand time before, but nonetheless, we had, I emphasize, had to respond by creating new weapons systems to penetrate the anti-ballistic missile shield.
Now we hear that Russia has an advantage. Yes. It's true. There currently aren't any other such systems in the world. But the leading powers will eventually have them, but not now. We do have a certain advantage. But in general, in the strategic balance, it's an element of deterrence and equalizing the balance of power. That's what it is. It's just a means of maintaining the balance of power. Nothing more. Now they are doing the next step: withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. What will happen? It's hard to imagine how the situation will develop in the future. What should we do if those missiles appear in Europe? Of course, we would have to provide our security by some steps. Let them not squeak that we're gaining some advantage. We are not gaining an advantage, we are preserving the balance and providing our security.
The same goes for the New START treaty. Just the same. It will expire in 2021, but there aren't any negotiations regarding it. Not interested, don't need it? Okay then. We will carry on. We will provide our security. We know how to do that. It's very bad for humanity in general though because it leads us to a very dangerous line.
Finally, there's another circumstance that I can't but mention. There's the tendency of lowering the threshold of application. There's an idea... an idea of creating low-yield nuclear weapons not for applications on a global scale, but a tactical scale. Some experts in the West even express such a thought that there's nothing terrible in using such weapons. The lowering of the threshold may lead to a global nuclear catastrophe.
That's one of today's dangers. The second one is the application of ballistic missiles with conventional warheads. However, our American partners have apparently given this up but the idea itself continues to exist. What does it mean? A ballistic missile, conventional or non-conventional, was launched, an early-warning radar detects the launch, the launch site, and a few seconds later, it evaluates the flight trajectory and the possible warhead impact territories. But it all is on the verge of a possible mistake. It is terrible, one can't let that happen. However, the idea of implementing conventional ballistic missiles exists. If a submarine launched a ballistic missile from the global ocean, how the hell should one know if it's conventional or not? Go figure it. It is a very dangerous thing. People manipulating and discussing it. That is dangerous.
But I judge from the assumption that humanity will have enough common sense and a sense of self-preservation to avoid that kind of scenario.