As things get hotter between Russia and NATO, Putin is waving his nuclear dick around. Russia plans to conduct massive nuclear war manoeuvres. Yesterday, it successfully tested its new Bulava ("Mace") submarine launched nuclear missile, hitting its target with complete accuracy with its dummy warheads.
The Red Fleet's Commander-in-Chief Admiral Viktor Chirkov said that it blasted off from the White Sea, hitting its objective in the Russian Federation's far east minutes later. The Bulava can travel for 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometers) to rain nuclear death in the form of six to ten warheads.
Let's pause a bit, look at this video, and reflect on this.
You are looking at an "aerial oblique shot of a Redwing H-Bomb detonation on a barge at Bikini atoll." Operation Redwing was a "United States series of 17 nuclear test detonations from May to July 1956. They were conducted at Bikini and Enewetak atolls. The entire operation followed Project 56 and preceded Project 57. The primary intention was to test new, second-generation thermonuclear devices [...] Redwing demonstrated the first US airdrop of a deliverable hydrogen bomb -- test Cherokee."
Redwing was also a response to a new Soviet atomic development: RDS-6, the first hydrogen bomb in history tested many years before, on August 12, 1953. It was all part of the arms race of the 50s, which most people thought was over only a few months ago.
Apparently it wasn't. So are these new missiles and tests going start a new arms race? It's too soon to tell. As a result of the warhead reduction bilateral treaties, the United States hasn't been renewing its missile arsenal with new vehicles, choosing to incrementally modernize its arsenal of Minuteman III (ICBM) and Trident II (SLBM, like the Bulava.) Those missiles are decades old. It appears that Russia has been working in new armament all this time. The Bulava was just deployed in Russian submarines in 2013 and it seems they are now in cruisers too.
It's not hard to imagine the war hawks returning to the White House in the next election and pushing for a modernization of the nuclear arsenal. And from there, it's logical to think about the START treaties going to hell. It feels we are getting closer to a precipice.
I don't know about you, but I'm hoping for Putin to get killed by bears, sharks, or piranhas. Any of those will be fine, thanks.