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Shift in US Nuclear Policy Endangers the World: Scholar

The US is losing confidence in its conventional forces and likely becomes increasingly dependent on nuclear powers

By Han Bingbin Updated Feb.9

The US is losing confidence in its conventional military and becoming increasingly dependent on nuclear weapons. That’s the underlying message of the nation's latest Nuclear Posture Review, says Jia Chunyang, an associate researcher at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, writing for CRI Online, a news site run by China Radio International.   

Jia says the review augurs a more prominent role for nuclear weapon in America's national security strategy, based on its diminishing military advantage over potential rivals.  

A US move to grow its nuclear options is likely to trigger a nuclear arms race worldwide, Jia believes. The US had been downsizing its nuclear arsenal since the end of the Cold War while nations like Russia have done the opposite, Jia says. But the scholar sees the report as evidence the US will update its nuclear arsenal and the associated command and control system in the coming decades.  

Other nuclear powers will be forced to choose between ceding the US the full strategic advantage of nuclear expansion, or trying to check it by growing their own nuclear arsenals, the scholar said. This makes the US move "very dangerous to the strategic balance between world powers" and likely to trigger an arms race, Jia says. 

The possibility the US will lower its threshold for the use of nuclear weapons is yet another driver of worldwide nuclear proliferation, according to Jia. If the US suggests it could use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that have abided by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, those states will likely be motivated to develop their own nuclear facilities, the scholar said.