Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Russian President Vladimir Puti. Photo: Alexei Druzhinin / TASS via Getty Images

During an annual state address this week, President Vladimir Putin unveiled Russia’s pursuit of new nuclear weapons systems, couched as a response to the increasingly adversarial “American machine.” During the speech, Putin presented animated videos demonstrating how such weapons could successfully target parts of the United States.

Among the capabilities in development are a liquid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile that is more difficult to intercept and a nuclear-powered cruise missile with the ability to penetrate “all existing and prospective missile defense and counter-air defense systems.”

Why it matters: Putin maintains that the decision to enhance the Russian nuclear arsenal is a natural reaction to the evolving threat posed by the U.S. — particularly Washington’s continued development of anti-ballistic missiles that could neutralize Russia’s existing nuclear forces.

Yet there are other factors that may have played into Putin's grandiose unveiling:

  • The Trump administration's Nuclear Posture Review, which details plans to develop new capabilities including “low-yield” nuclear weapons on submarines, and calls for the possible use of nuclear weapons as a retaliatory response to non-nuclear events.
  • Russian presidential elections, just several days away, bring out Putin’s showmanship of national strength to rally support. While he is poised to win the elections, the Kremlin is worried about low voter turnout.

What's next: The White House noted that Moscow's nuclear developments are nothing new and that U.S. defense capabilities remain strong, especially with a sizable budget increase. However, President Trump has not commented directly on the issue, as he has on tense exchanges with North Korea. Nuclear policy experts fear that aggressive signaling between the two countries could spiral into a new nuclear arms race, neglecting opportunities to instead pursue nuclear weapons reductions through arms control agreements.

Lovely Umayam is a nuclear policy analyst and project manager with the Promoting Security and Prosperity program at the Stimson Center.

Go deeper

Republicans gear up for day-of and post-Election Day litigation

Voters wait in line to cast their early ballots Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Republican Party officials say they're already looking to Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Nevada as likely battlegrounds for post-election lawsuits if the results are close.

The big picture: As pre-election lawsuits draw to a close, and with President Trump running behind Joe Biden in national and many battleground state polls, Republicans are turning their attention to preparations for Election Day and beyond, and potential recounts.

Federal Reserve expands lending program for small businesses

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at a news conference in 2019. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The Federal Reserve said on Friday it would again lower the minimum loan size for its pandemic-era small business program.

Details: Businesses and nonprofits will be able to borrow a minimum of $100,000 from the facility, down from $250,000 — a move that might attract smaller businesses that don't need as hefty of a loan. Since the program launched earlier this year, the minimum loan size has been reduced twice.

2 hours ago - Economy & Business

How Trump and Biden would steer the future of transportation

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden would likely steer automotive policy in different directions over the next four years, potentially changing the industry's road map to the future.

Why it matters: The auto industry is on the cusp of historic technological changes and the next president — as well as the next Congress — could have an extraordinary influence on how the future of transportation plays out.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!