Nuclear Employment Is a Very Real Possibility

The US military and affiliated publications continue their campaign aimed at the justification of the ‘preventive’ usage of nuclear weapons against Russia and China.

In particular, in the recent article published by the United States Naval Institute, Admiral Charles A. Richard, writes that “the U.S. military must shift its principal assumption from “nuclear employment is not possible” to “nuclear employment is a very real possibility,” and act to meet and deter that reality.”

In fact, the admiral proposes to use nuclear weapons in regional conflicts as a tool to “deter” the opponents.

“Faced with Russia and China’s growing threats and gray zone actions, the United States must take action today to position itself for the future. We must start by acknowledging that our most fundamental assumption—that strategic deterrence will hold, even through crisis and conflict—is going to be tested in ways not seen before. This assumption is the foundation on which we built strategies, plans, and capabilities. Unfortunately, our opponents invested in nuclear and strategic capabilities designed to constrain U.S. actions, test our alliances, and, if necessary, escalate past us—to include nuclear use. 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. Consequently, the U.S. military must shift its principal assumption from “nuclear employment is not possible” to “nuclear employment is a very real possibility,” and act to meet and deter that reality. We cannot approach nuclear deterrence the same way.  It must be tailored and evolved for the dynamic environment we face.

On top of this, the admiral complains that the collapse of the USSR did not in fact result on the establishment of the permanent unipolar world order:

“Second, we must wrestle with the relationships among competition, deterrence, and assurance. Despite views to the contrary, successful competition does not result in an “end state.” Great power competition does not span four quarters or nine innings, and our competitors are no less committed than we are. Instead, we should view competition as the mainte-nance of relative advantage over competitors. It is an infinite game, one in which the goal is to remain a dominant player. History offers several examples of competitions that have ended, only to resurface in different, more challenging ways. For example, the collapse of the Soviet Union and end of the Cold War did not result in a singular world order, as many expected.

The position described in the article is not something very new for the US military thought. However, it illustrates the approaches of the current US leadership that is actively preparing for the military aggression (additionally to regularly conducted acts of offensive economic, propaganda and intelligence operations) against the states that it calls its ‘adversaries’.

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