... it cannot use short of all-out war...

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Korean - South Korea
I was reading an article from the New York Times. I met a sentence that says "... it cannot use short of all-out war,..."
Below is the full sentence. Could anyone tell me the meaning above short sentence?

While there's no way to be certain of the ultimate impact of hack, this much is clear: A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.

Thanks in advance for someone who tells the meaning.
  • Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    It probably needs some punctuation. ..a nuclear arsenal it cannot use, short of (=except in the case of/without resorting to) all-out war,....
    Last edited:

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Hi QNAM CHE', it's meaning 24 in the WR dictionary here:

    "24. short of:

    • less than;
      inferior to.
    • inadequately supplied with (money, food, etc.).
    • without going to the length of;
      failing of;
      Short of murder, there is nothing he wouldn't have tried (in order) to get what he wanted."
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