The Threat That Lingers

The threat once posed by the Soviet military machine has vanished along with the Soviet Union, but Russia still has thousands of nuclear weapons that could destroy the U.S. in less than an hour. As President and commander in chief, Boris Yeltsin has the power to use them. In a political crisis, the West naturally seeks reassurance that the finger on the nuclear trigger is steady and that the missiles are under control.

"We are monitoring that very closely," Bill Clinton said last week. "We have no reason to be concerned that the command-and-control procedures have been interrupted." That process is...

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