US, Russia developing mini tactical nukes for use in conflicts

Donald Trump
The Trump administration’s new nuclear arms policy calls for modernizing the US nuclear triad by developing mini “tactical” nukes to counter China and Russia’s growing stockpile of nuclear weapons including the “Status-6 system of a nuclear-armed intercontinental torpedo that has the capability to strike  US coastal cities.

Ensuring its right to protect United States,its allies and partners, Trump expresses its right to use nuclear weapons first through NPR,a 100 page document justifying the need of  a nuclear deterrent strategy in today’s 21st century by identifying the nuclear policies, strategy and corresponding capabilities for a steady action to strengthen its deterrence.

Nuclear Posture Review (NPR 2018) acknowledges Russia of “developing” a “new intercontinental, nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered, undersea autonomous torpedo” known as the “Status-6” system-a drone-type device fired underwater that can potentially travel thousands of miles and strike US coastal military bases and cities and cause large zones of radioactive contamination.

After”thorough analysis and careful deliberations, the US military plans to quickly develop and deploy sea launched nuclear missiles to ensure a “prompt response option” to counter this threat.

Assessing the global security environment where countries are aggressively contemplating  neo colonialism, US  unveiled the Nuclear Posture Review that identifies Russia and China as direct  threats to international order as they “have added new types of nuclear capabilities to their arsenals, increased the salience of nuclear forces in their strategies and plans, and engaged in increasingly aggressive behaviour”.

It also mentions North Korea continuing its illicit nuclear weapons program and missile capabilities while Iran retains the technological capability to develop a nuclear weapon within one year of deciding to do so.

Another potential threat emanates from non-state actors such as terror groups having capabilities to seize nuclear weapons remains at the forefront.

Thus NPR calls for integration of US nuclear and conventional forces, including training and exercising with these integrated forces, so US forces can fight “in the face of adversary nuclear threats and employment.”

The Pentagon is adamant the Nuclear Posture Review walks the line between maintaining a nuclear deterrence and encouraging controls on nuclear weapons.

“Neither recommendation requires developing new nuclear warheads. Neither will increase the size of our nuclear stockpile. They break no treaty,” said Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan at a Pentagon briefing Friday.

“They align with our non-proliferation commitments. They strengthen American deterrence,” Shanahan said.

Appreciating  and expressing readiness to closely cooperate with the United States, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said “Japan highly appreciates the latest NPR which clearly articulates the U.S. resolve to ensure the effectiveness of its deterrence and its commitment to providing extended deterrence to its allies including Japan,
in light of the international security environment which has been rapidly worsened since the release of the previous 2010 NPR, in particular, by continued development of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.”

US, Russia tensions have extended to confrontational level so much so that Trump administration has named Russia a “rival power,” and decided to give Ukraine anti-tank weapons to help in its fight against Moscow-backed militias.

Washington has accused Moscow for interference in America’s election, destabilizing activities in eastern Ukraine,
intentionally violating de-confliction agreements in Syria, the continued illegal occupation of Crimea, and Russia’s continued violation of other arms control agreements like the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

While Russia has joined us in strategic reductions, including the ongoing implementation of the New START treaty, Moscow retains a large stockpile of non-strategic nuclear weapons and continues to modernize those, as well as its strategic systems.

Under START, both US and Russia may deploy no more than 1,550 strategic offensive nuclear weapons, and deploy no more than 700 strategic nuclear delivery vehicles. The new START will expire in 2021.

The Deployment of the long-range nuclear-capable missile by Russia threatens the US and Nato and violates an international arms treaty which  Trump states as Vladimir Putin’s geopolitical ambitions.

The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) calls for developing smaller, low-yield nuclear weapons to deter Russia. The strategy would challenge the view that U.S. nuclear weapons are too big to be used and therefore no longer an effective deterrent.

“We cannot afford to let [the U.S. nuclear arsenal] become obsolete,” Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said at the Pentagon.

North Korea slammed President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address and said its nuclear capabilities would “deter Trump and his lackeys from showing off on the Korean peninsula.”

In his address last week,  Trump said that “no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea.”

“We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and to our allies,”  Trump said.

“If Trump does not get rid of his anachronistic and dogmatic way of thinking, it will only bring about the consequence of further endangering security and future of the United States,” the official said, in comments carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

US President Donald Trump’s nuclear posture will accelerate the nuclear arms race among the world powers and there is a great risk that nuclear warheads could be used in the event of any conflict.

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By: Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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