Sunday, 27 May, 2018

United States unveils new nuclear weapons strategy

Trump's Troubling Nuclear Plan AP: Trump's Nuclear Doctrine More Aggressive Toward Russia than Obama's
Lillian Steele | 04 February, 2018, 01:34

"Our strategy will ensure Russian Federation understands that any use of nuclear weapons, however limited, is unacceptable", a policy document, "Nuclear Posture Review", by the US Department of Defense said. The report also stated that Russian Federation has over 2,000 "non-strategic" nuclear weapons, including missiles, "gravity bombs", anti-ship and anti-submarine torpedoes.

Kono said Japan, which relies on the US nuclear umbrella, "shares with the United States the same recognition of such a severe security environment".

The sentiment of deterrence was echoed by Defense Secretary James Mattis.

"While just having a flick through the document, one can notice that its confrontational charge and anti-Russian focus stare in the face", the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The first since former President Barack Obama's first term, the updated Nuclear Posture Review says the USA will add weapons to its arsenal.

The Pentagon maintained the USA had to balance the need for developing a plan for nuclear deterrence while at the same time maintaining a "commitment to nonproliferation and arms control", according to Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.

"Expanding flexible USA nuclear options now, to include low-yield options, is important for the preservation of credible deterrence against regional aggression", according to the Nuclear Posture Review. "We state with regret that the USA justifies its policy for a massive buildup of nuclear forces and an alleged increasing role of nuclear weapons in Russia's doctrines". The Pentagon worries that Putin's army could take control of a US ally and detonate a small nuclear weapon to prevent USA troops from responding.

The Obama administration's nuclear posture, released in 2010, also called for modernizing nuclear facilities, nuclear weapons and "investing in human capital", but it asserted the world should aspire to be free of nuclear weapons entirely. In theory, a country (say, Yemen) could attack a Saudi airport (say, in Riyadh) and the United States could consider that an extreme circumstance.

A 74-page report summarizing the review's findings calls North Korea a "clear and grave threat" to the USA and its allies.

"There is no scenario in which the Kim regime could employ nuclear weapons and survive", the NPR said. Alan Robock and his colleagues at Rutgers University - using newly updated climate models and the much greater computing power now available - have concluded that even a limited nuclear exchange (50 to 100 weapons) could create a "mini-nuclear winter" whose effects could last two to three years and create tens of millions of deaths from starvation because of the collapse of grain crops brought on by climate change.

In making the case for modernizing the triad, the NPR stated that the US for decades led efforts at eat nuclear arms reduction worldwide and the efforts accelerated with the fall of the Soviet Union.

Five years ago, the Pentagon's Defense Science Board published a report equating the impact of Chinese and Russian capabilities to launch an "existential cyber attack" against the United States with the impact of a nuclear attack - and recommended that the United States be prepared to threaten the use of nuclear weapons to deter cyberattacks.

The NPR takes the evolving threats into consideration in keeping America safe, he said.

On the campaign trail and as president, Donald Trump has vowed to build up the USA nuclear arsenal and has occasionally spoken flippantly about nuclear warfare.

In addition, "Iran's nuclear ambitions remain an unresolved concern", and "globally, nuclear terrorism remains a real danger", the NPR said. Thus, while these systems may be meant to enhance deterrence, they may instead make conflict and the use of nuclear weapons more, not less, likely.

"The new NPR recognizes that in order to deter these potential threats, we must maintain a variety of nuclear capabilities".

Like President Donald Trump, the Pentagon's new nuclear policy document sees a dark and threatening world.

For the first time publicly, the review also says that Russian Federation is developing a hypersonic, nuclear-powered undersea torpedo.

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