DATE=1/14/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIAN-SECURITY-US (L-UPDATE) NUMBER=2-258088 BYLINE=JIM RANDLE DATELINE=PENTAGON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: An expert in strategic issues says Russia's decision to make it easier to use nuclear weapons is a sign of weakness, rather than strength. But the Cato Institute's Ivan Eland says he doubts Moscow and Washington will return to Cold War style confrontation. V-O-A's Jim Randle reports. TEXT: Russian leaders made it clear they have lowered the threshold for using nuclear weapons when they published a revised national security policy Friday. The new plan says Moscow could use its thousands of nuclear weapons to "repel armed aggression." Previous plans reserved these ultimate weapons only if the very existence of the state was threatened. Strategic expert Ivan Eland of the private Cato institute in Washington says Russian officials made the change to counter what they see as U-S domination of world affairs. He says Russia has complained bitterly about expansion of NATO eastward toward its borders, the Western bombing campaign against Moscow's traditional ally, Yugoslavia, and U-S work on missile defenses. /// Eland Act /// I don't think the Cold War mentality, we will go back to that. Nor do I think the geostrategic realities are the same as when a powerful Soviet Union was there. Russia is just a shell of the former Soviet Union, both economically and militarily. Their military is very run down and this change in nuclear doctrine is a sign of weakness, not a sign of strength. /// End Act /// Meanwhile, the document published in a military newspaper in Moscow, says the "level and scale" of military threats against Russia is growing. The article says Russia is still important, but says some other states are trying to weaken it and make it irrelevant to world affairs. The published document says the current trend is for a "unipolar" world dominated by the United States. It says a "multipolar" world with a range of regional powers would be better. /// Opt /// Officials at the U-S Defense Department say they take the issue of Russian nuclear doctrine very seriously and that they are reviewing the matter. /// End Opt /// (SIGNED) NEB/JR/JP 14-Jan-2000 15:29 PM EDT (14-Jan-2000 2029 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .