A minimal thaw in relations with Russia is probably all it would take to dramatically diminish the possibility of Armageddon, but that’s not going to happen when the US head of state calls the Russian head of state “a killer.” From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:
During the 20th century Cold War with the Soviet Union, there were US Soviet experts who were concerned that the Cold War was partly contrived and, therefore, needlessly dangerous. Stephen Cohn at Princeton University, for example, believed that exaggerating the threat was as dangerous as underestimating it. On the other hand, Richard Pipes at Harvard believed that the CIA dangerously underestimated Soviet military power and failed to grasp Soviet strategic intentions.
In 1976 President Gerald Ford and CIA Director George H.W. Bush commissioned an outside panel of experts to evaluate the CIA’s National Intelligence Estimates. This group was known as Team B. Under Pipes’ leadership Team B created the perception that the US faced a dangerous “window of vulnerability.”
In conventional wisdom, in order to close this window of vulnerability President Reagan began an American arms buildup. On this point conventional wisdom is wrong. The Reagan military buildup was as much hype as reality. Its purpose was to bring the Soviets to the negotiating table and end the Cold War in order to remove the threat of nuclear war. Reagan’s supply-side policy had fixed the problem of worsening trade-offs between employment and inflation, thus making an arms buildup possible. In contrast, Reagan regarded the Soviet economy as broken and unfixable. He reasoned that a new arms race was more than the Soviets could afford, and that the threat of one would bring the Soviets to the table to negotiate the end of the Cold War.
The Soviet Union collapsed when hardline communists, convinced that Gorbachev was endangering the Soviet Union by giving up too much too quickly before American intentions were known, placed President Gorbachev under house arrest. The Yeltsin years (1991-1999) brought the dismemberment of the Soviet Empire and was a decade of Russian subservience to the United States.