C) That’s the only scenario for extinction.
(Nick, Professor of Philosophy and Global Studies at Yale, "Existential Risks: Analyzing Human Extinction Scenarios and Related Hazards," 38, www.transhumanist.com/volume9/risks.html)
A much greater existential risk emerged with the build-up of nuclear arsenals in the US and the USSR. An all-out nuclear war was a possibility with both a substantial probability and with consequences that might have been persistent enough to qualify as global and terminal. There was a real worry among those best acquainted with the information available at the time that a nuclear Armageddon would occur and that it might annihilate our species or permanently destroy human civilization. Russia and the US retain large nuclear arsenals that could be used in a future confrontation, either accidentally or deliberately. There is also a risk that other states may one day build up large nuclear arsenals. Note however that a smaller nuclear exchange, between India and Pakistan for instance, is not an existential risk, since it would not destroy or thwart humankind’s potential permanently.
Russia Federalism Bad: Economy (1/2)
A) Current centralization trend key to stability and economic growth
(“EUROPE DOES NOT OBJECT” No 5, February, Natalia Gorodetskaya) Lexis
Without any pressure from official Moscow; After a year of studying federal relations in Russia, European experts published their report last week. The experts claim that centralization of power in the hands of the Kremlin (abolition of direct gubernatorial elections and other suchlike measures) had a "positive effect" on the situation in Russia.Paradoxically, but experts of the European Union drew this conclusion without any pressure from official Moscow. In the meantime, the survey in question had been arranged with help from the Russian authorities. The presidential administration appealed to the EU mission in Russia for recommendations on facilitation of federalism in the country four years ago. The EU was happy to oblige and organized a contest for realization of the project Federalism and Federal Relations in Russia within the framework of the TACIS program.The contest was won by a consortium including companies Arcadis BMB (Holland) and GOPA (Germany), Association of Dutch Municipalities VNG International, and the Russian Institute of Law and Public Politics. Sponsored by the EU, the two-year project worth 2.9 million euros began in December 2004. The first year of studies resulted in appearance of the document titled "Institutional, legal, and economic federalism in the Russian Federation". The Kremlin's Legal Department is studying it nowadays. "Some of the recommendations will take the form of amendments to the acting legislation. Some others will be turned over to lawmakers themselves. Let them think about how they may be used," to quote Oleg Tarasov, adviser to the Legal Department. EU experts are unanimous in their conviction that "the concentration of powers and resources in the federal center that have taken place from 2003-2005 had a positive effect on the sociopolitical and socioeconomic situation in Russia." The conclusion is startling. Authors of the document essentially backed "the new procedure of election of the heads of Federation subjects" which they say "stifled regional leaders' objections" to the new regional policy and "reinforced the center's image." The analysts believe as well that reinforcement of the power vertical led to positive results in the socioeconomic and administrative spheres. Rearrangement of spheres of responsibility for instance helped "with stabilization in the sphere of social grants and subsidies, with realization of major social programs, and with modernization of the whole social sphere." The reforms "formed a more precise, unequivocal, and specific structure of powers on different levels of state management". The process did not always concur with basic principles of federalism (experts admit that much) but it proceeded in what they called "a correct and vital direction."
B) That causes civil war—escalates and goes nuclear.
Steven David, Jan/Feb 1999. Prof. of political science at Johns Hopkins. Foreign Affairs, lexis.
If internal war does strike Russia, economic deterioration will be a prime cause. From 1989 to the present, the GDP has fallen by 50 percent. In a society where, ten years ago, unemployment scarcely existed, it reached 9.5 percent in 1997 with many economists declaring the true figure to be much higher. Twenty-two percent of Russians live below the official poverty line (earning less than $ 70 a month). Modern Russia can neither collect taxes (it gathers only half the revenue it is due) nor significantly cut spending. Reformers tout privatization as the country's cure-all, but in a land without well-defined property rights or contract law and where subsidies remain a way of life, the prospects for transition to an American-style capitalist economy look remote at best. As the massive devaluation of the ruble and the current political crisis show, Russia's condition is even worse than most analysts feared. If conditions get worse, even the stoic Russian people will soon run out of patience. A future conflict would quickly draw in Russia's military. In the Soviet days civilian rule kept the powerful armed forces in check. But with the Communist Party out of office, what little civilian control remains relies on an exceedingly fragile foundation -- personal friendships between government leaders and military commanders. Meanwhile, the morale of Russian soldiers has fallen to a dangerous low. Drastic cuts in spending mean inadequate pay, housing, and medical care. A new emphasis on domestic missions has created an ideological split between the old and new guard in the military leadership, increasing the risk that disgruntled generals may enter the political fray and feeding the resentment of soldiers who dislike being used as a national police force. Newly enhanced ties between military units and local authorities pose another danger. Soldiers grow ever more dependent on local governments for housing, food, and wages. Draftees serve closer to home, and new laws have increased local control over the armed forces. Were a conflict to emerge between a regional power and Moscow, it is not at all clear which side the military would support. Divining the military's allegiance is crucial, however, since the structure of the Russian Federation makes it virtually certain that regional conflicts will continue to erupt. Russia's 89 republics, krais, and oblasts grow ever more independent in a system that does little to keep them together. As the central government finds itself unable to force its will beyond Moscow (if even that far), power devolves to the periphery. With the economy collapsing, republics feel less and less incentive to pay taxes to Moscow when they receive so little in return. Three-quarters of them already have their own constitutions, nearly all of which make some claim to sovereignty. Strong ethnic bonds promoted by shortsighted Soviet policies may motivate non-Russians to secede from the Federation. Chechnya's successful revolt against Russian control inspired similar movements for autonomy and independence throughout the country. If these rebellions spread and Moscow responds with force, civil war is likely. Should Russia succumb to internal war, the consequences for the United States and Europe will be severe. A major power like Russia -- even though in decline -- does not suffer civil war quietly or alone. An embattled Russian Federation might provoke opportunistic attacks from enemies such as China. Massive flows of refugees would pour into central and western Europe. Armed struggles in Russia could easily spill into its neighbors. Damage from the fighting, particularly attacks on nuclear plants, would poison the environment of much of Europe and Asia. Within Russia, the consequences would be even worse. Just as the sheer brutality of the last Russian civil war laid the basis for the privations of Soviet communism, a second civil war might produce another horrific regime. Most alarming is the real possibility that the violent disintegration of Russia could lead to loss of control over its nuclear arsenal. No nuclear state has ever fallen victim to civil war, but even without a clear precedent the grim consequences can be foreseen. Russia retains some 20,000 nuclear weapons and the raw material for tens of thousands more, in scores of sites scattered throughout the country. So far, the government has managed to prevent the loss of any weapons or much material. If war erupts, however, Moscow's already weak grip on nuclear sites will slacken, making weapons and supplies available to a wide range of anti-American groups and states. Such dispersal of nuclear weapons represents the greatest physical threat America now faces. And it is hard to think of anything that would increase this threat more than the chaos that would follow a Russian civil war.