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Ukraine crisis a risk to nuclear security

By Li Zhe | China Daily | 2022-04  The risks to nuclear security have increased with the continuation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The geopolitical game involving Russia and Ukraine but also the United States and some European countries poses a big threat to nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear deterrence.

Perhaps a bigger threat is that the nuclear risks will carry with them the hidden dangers to nuclear security in the post-conflict era.

Strategic stability is possible only if the arms race among major powers ends, and the nuclear powers pledge to non-first use of nuclear weapons. That’s why the US and the Soviet Union signed treaties to limit, rather reduce, their nuclear arsenals………….

Ukraine and Belarus respectively are allied with the US and Russia, and both want to repossess nuclear weapons. This shows the political wrestling between the US-led West and Russia has shaken countries caught in the middle and could prompt many of them to develop or get nuclear weapons.

Besides, Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said in a recent interview with German newspaper Die Welt that Poland was open to stationing US nuclear warheads on its soil.

Ukraine and Belarus do not possess nuclear weapons. Under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Guarantees, they transferred the nuclear weapons inherited from the Soviet Union to Russia for decommissioning in exchange for security assurances from the US and the United Kingdom and Russia. Also, despite not being in a position to acquire or develop nuclear weapons, they are caught in the vortex of large-scale political, economic and military confrontations and conflicts between the West and Russia.

With the Korean Peninsula and Iran nuclear issues yet to be resolved, the attempts of Ukraine and Belarus to acquire nuclear weapons could fuel a new round of nuclear proliferation.

Since Biden took office, the US administration’s stance on nuclear nonproliferation has been wavering and ambiguous. Early in his tenure, Biden talked about the necessity of nuclear arms control, including reducing the nuclear weapons arsenal, saving the cost of competition, preventing nuclear proliferation, and maintaining nuclear stability. But of late, he has been talking about great power competition, providing nuclear deterrence to US allies, and has not ruled out the use of nuclear weapons as deterrence.

The nuclear posture review of the Biden administration, too, is unclear, and it is likely to use the Russia-Ukraine conflict to accord higher priority to nuclear weapons in national security, and accordingly increase the defense budget to finance Washington’s geopolitical games. In fact, the administration has already proposed a huge budget including higher spending, of $813 billion, on defense………………

Global nuclear security has deteriorated over the past few years and the Ukraine crisis has made the future gloomier. So it is imperative that all parties make concerted efforts and restrain their respective military actions, and exhibit courage to hold talks on arms control and nuclear nonproliferation.


April 16, 2022 - Posted by | politics international, weapons and war

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