ProfTalmadge Profile picture
Georgetown professor, Brookings senior fellow, MIT research affiliate ⎮ Foreign policy, mil ops, nuclear weapons, authoritarianism ⎮ Book: The Dictator's Army
🇺🇦🇺🇲☕️Coffee&Robots🤖🌊🇺🇦🇺🇲 Profile picture graffito Profile picture ChopinsHeart_In Flight the Albatross Sleeps Profile picture Brian Branagan Profile picture John M. Talmadge, MD Profile picture 7 added to My Authors
Sep 24 7 tweets 2 min read
Important question. I think Putin might believe he could use tactical nuclear weapons to decimate Ukraine’s best front line forces & perhaps some NATO supply hubs & regime targets. Then he hopes Kyev— or at least its western backers— capitulate rather than escalate. 1/ Is this a safe bet? Of course not. But the key is to understand that once you are *certain* of defeat in the status quo, this sort of gamble can acquire a perverse logic. It’s not dissimilar to why Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941 or Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990. 2/
Sep 24 13 tweets 4 min read
I’ve spent the last several months pretty concerned about Russian nuclear use in Ukraine. Earlier this week I felt like odds had gone down slightly as Putin sought a conventional way out of the conflict through mobilization. Now I’m less sure. 1/… Putin’s mobilization effort has proven immediately chaotic and unpopular. And there are a bunch of substantive reasons to think it just won’t improve military performance in a reasonable timeframe, if ever. 2/
Apr 21 5 tweets 2 min read
Big furor over Russian ICBM test. But it’s a bit overblown imo & actually demonstrates continuing value of arms control, even between 2 nuclear states engaged in deadly proxy war in Ukraine. This is the type of arms control we DON’T have w/ China btw. 1/5… Russia **notified** US of the ICBM test, as it is required to do under New START. So there were no surprises here and little chance US would misinterpret Russian launch. 2/5…
Feb 24 12 tweets 4 min read
Haven’t tweet much on Ukraine crisis for multiple reasons. But developments in the last 24 hours are heartbreaking and a preview of great brutality I fear is coming. A few observations here on the nuclear & conventional dimensions. 1/ Putin’s pointed, not-veiled nuclear threats are really remarkable, signaling a willingness to turn to the country’s arsenal if the West interferes with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 2/…
Oct 21, 2021 6 tweets 1 min read
What are we to make of all these recent revelations about emerging Chinese nuclear capabilities? Is China about to lob a nuclear weapon at the US? No. But context is everything, and the context here is worrisome. THREAD 1/6 China has been engaging in both quantitative nuclear expansion (e.g., new silos) as well as qualitative improvements (e.g., being able to deliver nuclear across more diversified platforms). Not surprising given PRC power. More surprising it hadn’t already happened, actually. 2/