If the London Financial Times' hysteria is any indication, top figures in the British oligarchy are frantic over the Russian government's persistent warnings about the threat of thermonuclear war.
A May 24th article in the Financial Times was headlined "Russia Turns Up the Nuclear Rhetoric," noting that "Mr. Medvedev declared that Russia's younger generation needed positive role models to inspire them towards 'success in literature, art, education, and,'–he paused wistfully, 'nuclear weapns. They may still come in handy,' he said, apropos, seemingly, of nothing. 'We're not going to use them, but let's still keep them around, because we have a big country, a complex country. We must value it and protect it.' Then, wishing his audience 'safe skies,' he signed off. It was an odd demonstration of the Kremlin's even odder relationship to its most prized asset—the one thing that still gives Russia its global superpower status: the ability to blow the planet to kingdom come. In speech after speech this month, Russian officials have tried to out-Dr. Strangelove each other in warning of a potential nuclear conflagration. The rhetoric, which U.S. analysts tend to dismiss as harmless, coincided with the test launch on Wednesday of a new generation of strategic missiles. The nuclear hyperbole seems directed at the U.S. and its allies, who announced at an annual NATO summit in Chicago this week the formal beginning of a much-vaunted anti-ballistic missile system based partly in eastern Europe. This is nominally aimed at Iran but, Russia suspects, intended to neutralise its own beloved nuclear deterrent. If that were to happen, said General Nikolai Makarov, chief of Russia's general staff, it could lead to an 'illusion of security', which could lead to war. Countries allowing the missile defense shield on their soil, Gen. Makarov said, risked a Russian nuclear first strike. 'A decision on pre-emptive use of the attack weapons available will be made when the situation worsens,' he breezily told a news conference this month."
What really has the British flipped out, is the fact that the Putin government has called their bluff, has not caved in on any of the fronts—Iran, Syria, missile defense—where London was looking for a Moscow blink, and is now rubbing it in, by flaunting the fact that Russia still has a formidable thermonuclear over-kill capacity and will not allow anything to ultimately weaken it.