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Is a Better American Nuclear Arsenal Good for the Asia-Pacific?

U.S. modernization efforts risk sparking a nuclear arms race with China. The Diplomat, By Kim Mu Kwan (Harry) 26 Jan 18,  Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has been a leader of nuclear disarmament efforts. It gradually reduced its nuclear weapons stockpile through a series of arms reduction treaties with Russia. In 2009, then-President Barack Obama also affirmed “America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

However, the United States still has an inexplicably large number of nuclear weapons. It maintains an arsenal of 1,393 strategic warheads deployed on 660 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), 240 Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), 20 of which are on 12 Ohio-class submarines, and air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs) equipped on 18 B-2 Spirit stealth bombers and 76 B-52H bombers.

In addition, contrary to global disarmament efforts, the United States recently began modernizing its nuclear arsenal. The Department of Defense (DOD) seeks to maintain and upgrade the country’s aging nuclear triad – IBCMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the current modernization plans for U.S. nuclear forces would cost $400 billion between FY 2017 and FY 2026.

The Trump administration’s nuclear posture review is yet to be published (though a draft leaked earlier this month). However, it is hard to imagine his administration will discontinue this modernization effort. During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly expressed his frustration about the “very terrible shape” of the country’s nuclear arsenal. He also has said he is preparing to have the arsenal in “tip-top shape,” though he denied reports that he wants a tenfold increase in the nuclear arsenal

This modernization effort not only undermines global disarmament efforts but also will force China to reevaluate its nuclear doctrine and reinvigorate its nuclear arsenal in order to maintain deterrence against the United States. China’s response could pose a serious threat to global disarmament efforts, U.S. national security, and regional stability in the Asia-Pacific………

the United States’ modernization of its nuclear arsenal is likely to make China rethink its relatively small nuclear arsenal and defensive-oriented nuclear doctrine. …….


January 27, 2018 - Posted by | ASIA, USA, weapons and war

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