With reports that Russia is officially ready for World War 3, and Russian President Vladimir Putin announcing Moscow could equip its new cruise missiles in Syria with nuclear warheads, we are entering a new nuclear arms race.

Vladimir Putin Russia
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

William Perry, who became U.S. President Bill Clinton’s secretary of defense in 1994, which was the most volatile time in geopolitical history – between the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the 9/11 attacks, has published a new book titled ‘My Journey at the Nuclear Brink’, according to The Washington Post.

Back when he was the head of the Pentagon, the greatest threat was the possibility of nuclear weapons falling into rogue hands, and now, two decades later, he warns of the imminent danger: “Far from continuing the nuclear disarmament that has been underway for the last two decades, we are starting a new nuclear arms race.”

And that’s not an exaggeration, since both the U.S. and Russia have been pursuing “monstrous weapons,” beefing up their nuclear arsenals. According to Joe Cirincione, author at the Huffington Post, the U.S. plans to spend $1 trillion over the next 30 years on “an entire new generation of nuclear bombs, bombers, missiles and submarines,” including a number of submarines equipped with a total of more than 1,000 warheads, capable of reducing any country in the world to ashes.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama has recently ordered 200 new nuclear bombs deployed in Europe. But Russia is not sleeping on its nuclear arsenals either. Last month, a Russian television broadcast accidentally revealed details on Moscow’s top-secret nuclear weapon.

Russia’s top-secret Status-6 weapon system is a massive underwater drone designed to carry a thermonuclear “dirty bomb” into enemy ports, according to ValueWalk citing the Discovery channel.

The top-secret weapon is a submarine-launched nuclear-powered drone, capable of traveling more than 10,000 kilometers underwater, and equipped with a megaton thermonuclear device. On impact, the nuclear bomb would create a “radioactive tsunami,” designed to kill millions along an enemy’s coast.

The world is in nuclear danger

When asked what are the chances for a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia, Dr. Theodore Postol, former advisor to the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, a professor at MIT, nuclear technology expert, said in an interview with Global Research that it is “possible.”

“I don’t know how likely it is – anyone who says they know how likely it is, has no idea what they’re talking about, so… But, I think any possibility is too high, and in that sense, I do think we are in danger,” Postol said. “I think the current political confrontation between Russia and the West and, particularly, the U.S. is potentially dangerous too. Both sides are very aware of the catastrophic consequence of nuclear weapons being used by one or the other, so I think both will be very cautious – but I think the danger does exist, yes.”

The current nuclear escalation between Washington and Moscow has originated during the Clinton administration, when the U.S. pushed NATO to expand eastward, knowing that Russia would not tolerate breaking promises that threaten Moscow’s sphere of influence. And according to Perry, the U.S. owns much of the blame for the current nuclear escalation.

Perry played a significant role in the events when NATO was expanding eastward, and has since acknowledged that it was “the first move down the slippery slope.” “It’s as much our fault as it is the fault of the Russians, at least originally. And it began when I was secretary,” Perry said during an event hosted by the Defense Writers’ Group.

U.S. is to blame for nuclear escalation

During the presidency of George W. Bush, the U.S. made even more mistakes with Russia, as for example walking away from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, severely crippling the already fragile relations between Washington and Moscow.

And during the Obama administration, the decision to send arms into Ukraine, in which Russia was allegedly sending its troops, was one of the instances of the U.S. fighting a proxy war, just like it previously did on nearly every continent, according to Perry.

But this time the stakes were much higher, as Russia’s border was just a couple of miles away. And while the Cold War is long gone, U.S. nuclear weapons are still pointed at Russia, while Russia’s nukes are pointed at New York.

Russia’s SS-18, which was named ‘Satan’ by the Pentagon, is capable of destroying an area the size of the New York state. The SS-18 missile carries 10 warheads, each having a force ranging from 750 to 1000 kiloton, while some of these missiles have a single ‘secret’ deadly 20,000 kiloton warhead. And that’s 1333 times Hiroshima.

Obama: Use of nuclear weapons is inevitable

Perry said that one of the great dangers of nuclear proliferation is accidental war, and that’s not paranoia. Back in May 2013, the Pentagon suspended 17 officers from controlling nuclear weapons after an inspection concluded a “breakdown in overall discipline,” including instances of drunken stupor and use of illegal recreational drugs.

“In a strange turn of history,” Obama said during his 2009 speech in Prague, “the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack as gone up.” But, according to Perry, the U.S. is contributing to the increased risk of both.

And it is unclear whether 2016 Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is going to continue Obama’s policy regarding nuclear weapons, if she is elected the President of the United States in less than a year from now. So far, Clinton’s comments have not been encouraging, according to Perry.

Immediately after Russia launched its first airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria, she called for a no-fly zone, a move that would not just risk military encounter with the Russians, it would require it.

Continuing his Prague speech, Obama criticized those who thought nuclear proliferation is an inevitability. “Such fatalism is a deadly adversary,” the President said, “for if we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable, then in some way we are admitting to ourselves that the use of nuclear weapons is inevitable.”

Will Mr. Obama stick to his own words in his final year in office? And will his successor – whether it is Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump – change the way the U.S. views the use of nuclear weapons?