Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told Congress that China’s latest moves to upgrade and increase their nuclear weapons capability is “disturbing.” But the Chinese part of that equation is only a small part of what is happening on the world stage that concerns experts.
“I don’t think I’ve seen anything more disturbing in my career than the Chinese ongoing expansion of their nuclear force.
For decades, they were quite comfortable with an arsenal of a few hundred nuclear weapons, which was fairly clearly a second-strike capability to act as a deterrent. That expansion that they’re undertaking puts us into a new world that we’ve never lived in before, where you have three powers — three great powers, essentially — with large arsenals of nuclear weapons.” US Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall
A new world we’ve never lived in before
During the ‘Cold War’ only the Soviet Union (Russia) and the United States possessed ‘large arsenals’ of nuclear weapons. Dialogue between the two powers led to treaties that were meant to limit the number of nuclear weapons for each nation. The last treaty, the 2nd START document from the Obama administration, was suspended by Russia just one month ago.
On Wednesday, a Russian spokesman stated that they would no longer share information about their missile launches with the United States. The biannual sharing of nuclear weapons data was stopped as well.
“There will be no notifications at all. All notifications, all kinds of notifications, all activities under the treaty will be suspended and will not be conducted regardless of what position the U.S. may take.” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov (AP)
Now, there are three nations with large nuclear arsenals, with North Korea and Iran working hard to increase theirs. Two of them are more hostile than we realize. The US Military has continually reminded Congress of the threat from China, referring to is often as a “near-peer’ threat. But as they grow their weapons and Russia continues to isolate from scrutiny, we may be moving into Air Force Secretary Kendall’s “new world we’ve not lived in before.”
“Russia’s latest move on the New START treaty is not helping — it’s going in the wrong direction,” Kendall said. “Nobody wants a nuclear war. We do not want to go back to [the Cold War] world of 30 years ago. I thought we would never be in this position again, and here we are. So, we need to be wise. We really need to start talking to them.” Air Force Secretary Kendall
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