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It’s chilling when the leader of a nuclear power describes a potential nuclear conflict in terms one might expect from a suicide bomber. But the intellectual foundations of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest geopolitical utterances are even more unsettling: Putin’s policy wonks assume that the world can’t hope for reasonable coordinated action to prevent catastrophic war.
Putin told a session of the Valdai Club, set up as a forum for Russian foreign-policy intellectuals to share their views with foreign colleagues, that Russia doesn’t believe in a preemptive nuclear strike but rather in an immediate, deadly response:
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