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US nuclear policy reflects a hypocritical Cold War mindset

US nuclear policy reflects hypocrisy, Cold War mindset

By Jiang Tianjiao | China Daily | 2021-08-21 09:29  US arms control experts, including former secretary of defense William Perry, recently wrote to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, asking him to support the “no first use of nuclear weapons” policy the Joe Biden administration is likely to propose. But despite the good intentions of people like Perry, it is difficult to change the stubborn conservative thinking and offensive nuclear strategy of most US politicians.

After the end of the Cold War, the US nuclear arms control policy has undergone periodic fluctuations, but on the whole, it is still dominated by conservative forces not averse to fighting a nuclear war. In the 1990s, with the collapse of the bipolar world order, the Bill Clinton administration tried to promote arms control, but the conservative forces, using the possibility of some countries possessing weapons of mass destructions as a pretext, helped build an overwhelming public opinion against it………….

In its latest “Nuclear Posture Review Report”, the US not only called for a comprehensive upgrading of the nuclear arsenal, but also said that in case it faces a “major non-nuclear strategic attack”, it will actively respond with nuclear weapons.

Although the Democratic Party has always supported arms control, “first use of nuclear weapons” has become the politically correct strategic stance for the Biden administration for three key reasons.

First, the “first use of nuclear weapons” policy has become part of the strategic culture of the US. During the Cold War, the US prepared for a possible nuclear war with the Soviet Union and accordingly engaged in capacity-building. But even three decades after the end of the Cold War, the US is still preparing to fight and win a nuclear war. As such, it cannot give up the “first use” policy.

Second, the “first use of nuclear weapons” policy is the keystone of the US’ deterrence strategy and the basis of its global alliance system. Since the beginning of the Cold War, the US has provided its global allies with a nuclear umbrella. If it abandons its “first use” policy, it can no longer provide the nuclear umbrella for its allies, which would increase the possibility of nuclear proliferation among its allies such as Japan and the Republic of Korea and could eventually lead to the collapse of the US alliance system.

Third, the “first use of nuclear weapons” policy is what gives the US asymmetric advantages in any

strategic competition and conflict with another country. The US is also worried that rival countries could acquire asymmetric means, thanks to the rapid development of the new military technology, to launch sudden attacks against it………       The author is an assistant director of the Center for BRICS Studies, Fudan Development Institute. http://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202108/21/WS61205711a310efa1bd66a3c9.html

August 23, 2021 - Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war

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