The nuclear primacy article in Foreign Affairs caused quite a stir in Russia. After hearing little more than boasts about "hypersonic warheads" for the last several years, the Russian public was troubled to discover that there is a real world out there. The authors, Keir Lieber and Daryl Press, were accused of being irresponsible, incompetent, or worse, and the article was declared to be a part of a grand conspiracy of the U.S. government to intimidate Russia. Tells you something about the level of debate there.

This is not to say that there are no problems with the central argument of the article (or with the evidence that is supposed to support it). For those who may have missed it, there is an interesting discussion of these issues in comments to my earlier post, with Keir Lieber and Daryl Press answering some questions posed by me as well as readers of this blog. Feel free to join.

Meanwhile, president Putin held a meeting yesterday, at which he confirmed that nuclear weapons remain the top priority in Russia's security. (I'm surprised that none of the Russian conspiracy theorists declared this meeting "an adequate response" the Foreign Affairs article.) Putin gave no specifics, but mentioned that the nuclear forces should be kept at the level of "minimal sufficiency". He also gave support to CTBT, saying that Russia make sure that it keeps its nuclear weapons effective and safe while being bound by its conditions - important words given that there are voices in Russia that call for renunciation of the treaty.