Tactical nuclear weapons are needed by the United States to contain Russia and the United States does not plan to lower the threshold for its use, said the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy David Trachtenberg at a Congressional hearing, as reported by RIA Novosti.
“The reason why we decided to follow the path of low-power nuclear weapons is that we are looking at what the Russians are doing in particular, and this is of great concern,” Trachtenberg said.
According to him, the US was concerned with the so-called Russian doctrine of “escalation for de-escalation”, which provides for the limited use of nuclear weapons in a military conflict with the use of conventional weapons.
At present, there is a firm conviction in the political and expert circles of the United States that Moscow adheres to just such a doctrine.
At the same time, Russia’s official military doctrine implies the use of nuclear weapons only in cases when weapons of mass destruction were used against it or its allies, or when aggression with conventional weapons against Russia threatens the very existence of the country.
Currently the US is the only country that has a pre-emptive nuclear strike policy.
“We are trying to eliminate any miscalculation on the part of any adversary, which would be that they might think that they have some kind of advantage (over the US) That they can use, challenge us and take the next step, which we do not want them to do,” said a spokesman for the United States Department of Defense.
Trachtenberg added that the United States does not want to cause an “escalation of the highest level.”
“We do this not to lower our threshold for the use of nuclear weapons. But in order to raise the threshold in the minds of an adversary or a potential adversary,” the Pentagon representative said.
The development and deployment of low-power nuclear charges is provided for by the US nuclear doctrine adopted by President Donald Trump.
On May 1st, F.E. Warren AFB tested a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The missile was unarmed.
“The test demonstrates that the United States’ nuclear deterrent is modern, robust, flexible, ready and appropriately tailored to deter 21st-century threats and reassure our allies. Test launches are not a response or reaction to world events or regional tensions,” the US Air Force statement said.
“The test launch is the culmination of months of hard work and preparation that involve multiple partners,” said Col. Dave Kelley, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander. “I couldn’t be more impressed with the team that we partner with to successfully execute this mission. The men and women from the 90th MW, 576th FLTS, and the 30th Space Wing here at Vandenberg (AFB) made this look easy, but it was far from that. It’s a testament to the dedication and professionalism of these great organizations.”
F.E. Warren AFB is one of three missile bases with crew members standing alert 24 hours a day, year-round, overseeing the nation’s ICBM alert forces.
“Members of the 90th MW were selected for this task force based on their demonstrated commitment, dedication to the mission and proficiency in maintaining and operating the nation’s ICBM force,” said Maj. Travis Hilliard, Task Force commander. “I’m extremely proud of the team’s ability to prepare the ICBM for the test and monitor the sortie up until test execution. The tasks they have accomplished here have been done with the same level of precision and professionalism as they are every day back in the missile fields in Wyoming.”
Earlier, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said that the updated military nuclear strategy “reduces the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons,” as it “blurs the line between scenarios in which the use of nuclear weapons is possible and in which the use of nuclear weapons is impossible.”
On April 24th, Viktor Poznihir, First Deputy Chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, said that the US was developing low-power nuclear warheads for Tomahawk missiles, their creation can be regarded as the unwinding of a new arms race.
It should be reminded that the Aegis Ashore system, positioned in Romania among other countries, is an air defense system, but it can be repurposed to launch Tomahawk missiles.
These reported US claims, if true, are a result of the termination of the INF Treaty.
On April 30th, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu warned that the end of the INF meant that the arms race has once again been started.
“There is a return to the offensive arms race, the first step towards which was the US decision to withdraw from the INF,” Shoigu said at a meeting of defense ministers of the SCO states in Bishkek.
According to him, in the modern world, more and more reliance is being placed on the forceful resolution of contradictions, since “our Western colleagues cannot accept the fact that the era of unipolarity is irretrievably leaving and they are trying to contain this natural process.”
On the same day, former Soviet Union president Mikhail Gorbachev said that Russia and the United States need to establish a strategic dialogue, because nuclear deterrence does not protect the world, but puts it in danger.
“Today, the United States and Russia are at a dangerous crossroads. They should stop and think. Cold war veterans have already spoken. Now is the time to act for the leaders of our countries,” Gorbachev wrote in an article in The Wall Street Journal.
The former Soviet leader quoted former US Secretary of State George Schulz, former US Secretary of Defense William Perry and former US Senator Samuel Nunn, who said that “deterrence cannot protect the world from nuclear error or nuclear terrorism” in the absence of a sustainable and Washington meaningful dialogue.
“I agree with them about the urgent need for a strategic dialogue between the USA and Russia. I am also convinced that nuclear deterrence does not protect the world, but endangers it,” Gorbachev wrote.
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