Reports came out regarding Washington’s need to resume nuclear tests. So far, this issue has been mostly discussed within the expert circles and has not drawn the attention of the international audience. Nonetheless, they already caused a reaction from the Russian Foreign Ministry.
On March 7, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mariya Zakharova stressed that these reports leave less confidence that Washington intends to comply with the moratorium on such tests.
“We have drawn attention to the reports in the US media on the need of the US to resume nuclear tests,” she said. “The emergence of such reports should be viewed as the efforts to prepare the US public opinion for the idea that nuclear tests are allegedly an inevitable need, without which the US’ national security may be threatened. This logic follows Washington’s policy towards persistently creating conditions for possible resumption of the nuclear tests.”
Zakharova stressed that the causes for which the United States “refuses to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and has also made a decision on increasing the readiness of the Nevada test range” are becoming clear. She warned that the US stance “opens the way for unleashing a new round of a nuclear arms race.”
It is apparent that the Russian concern is mostly linked to the fact that the US exercises an offensive military doctrine which is reflected in the US foreign policy. Additionally, the US military conducts command-staff exercises to practice its first strike doctrine.
Despite this, the concern demonstrated by the Kremlin seems to be overrated. In the current situation, neither the US, nor Russia are interested in the resumption of the nuclear tests.
The situation may change in the event of further derogation of the international situation, including the global security. In this scenario, the US could initiate the resumption of nuclear tests with military purposes. Most likely, this decision will coincide with some changes in the US military doctrine.
Currently, the core of the US military doctrine is a first strike doctrine which mostly relies on precision strikes with high-tech weaponry. Taking into account that Russia is actively building up its air-defense capabilities and means of asymmetric retaliatory strike, the effectiveness of the modern US military raises serious questions.
Therefore, if the US military leadership seeks to guarantee a success of the supposed first-strike attack on Russia it would consider to return to some approaches employed in the second half of the 20th century. In practice, this means that Washington may adopt a doctrine which includes a possibility of massive nuclear strike on political and military centers of the potential adversary. This strike would be delivered by state-of-the-art means in order to limit the destruction of civic and economic infrastructure, which would be considered as a potential price for the winner of the conflict. In this event, the US will actively exploit protest moods within the Russian society employing the so-called Trojan horse strategy (fifth column).
These measures are designed to cripple the military and political system of the targeted country. In the event of success, the next step will be a start of some “peacekeeping” or “international” military missions in order to establish control over the key civil and economic infrastructure objects.
If the US military is thinking of developing this doctrine further and it gets support in the US foreign policy, this will set ground for the resumption of nuclear tests by the US. The implementation of such complicated operations will need a wide range of preparations and drills which would likely include nuclear tests. However, the scale of these tests will be much lower than those which were made in the 20th century.
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