Communist China and Russia have acquired advanced atomic weapons.
The West must be ready for a nuclear war with Beijing regime or Russia and seek ways to deter both countries’ use of newly acquired advanced strategic weapons, the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command is warning in a major review of the global balance of nuclear forces.
Adm. Charles Richard, writing in the current issue of the U.S. Naval Institute journal Proceedings, offered a blunt and detailed assessment that Americans no longer have the luxury of living in a post-Cold War era without the possibility of direct armed conflict with a rival nuclear power.
There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons, if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state, the four-star admiral wrote.
The Western military strategists must shift from a principal assumption that use of nuclear weapons is nearly impossible to “nuclear employment is a very real possibility,” he said in the survey. Government and military leaders need to better understand the dangers of nuclear conflict and fashion new concepts of deterrence and, if needed, nuclear war-fighting strategies.
The deployment of advanced strategic forces by China and Russia calls for greater action by the United States to bolster deterrence in the face of new threats. Deterring both nations through crises or ultimately nuclear war is being tested in ways not seen before, Adm. Richard said.Moscow and Beijing in recent years have invested in nuclear and strategic capabilities designed to constrain U.S. actions, test alliances and “escalate past us — to include nuclear use,” Adm. Richard said.
Adm. Richard said Beijing buildup of nuclear forces has placed Beijing on a path to be a “strategic peer” of the U.S. military.
Beijing’s forces “should not be mistaken as a ‘lesser included’ case,” he said.
Like Russia, Communist China acts aggressively to challenge democratic values and shape the global economic order to its benefit, he said.
China continues to make technological leaps in capabilities in every domain, he said. Across its conventional weapons systems, it continues to invest significant resources in hypersonic and advanced missile systems, as well as to expand its space and counter-space capabilities.
Space systems now provide Communist China with command and control of forces around the world and better intelligence. China also has deployed multiple weapons systems on disputed islands it created in the South China Sea.
Like the Russians, People’s Liberation Army air force and navy forces harass U.S. and allied aircraft and forces operating in international airspace and waters, he said.Passivity in the face of “sobering” Chinese and Russian strategic threats could result in denying the United States and the Western armies the ability for strategic power projection, a key Western and U.S. advantage.