While most Americans watching the conflict unfold in Ukraine following the invasion of more than 100,000 Russian troops last week, most no doubt believe they are doing so in the comfort of believing they are aloof from the consequences.
But that’s not necessarily true, according to the head of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), the division of the U.S. military responsible for America’s nuclear deterrence and response.
STRATCOM head Adm. Charles Richard noted this week that it has become vitally important for the U.S. to develop the capacity to defend itself against both Russia and China at the same time in what appears to be a revival of the Cold War-era ‘two-front strategy’ of fighting and winning two major wars at the same time.
“Today, we face two nuclear-capable near-peers who have the capability to unilaterally escalate a conflict to any level of violence in any domain worldwide, with any instrument of national power, and that is historically significant,” Richard told the House Armed Services Committee on March 1, The Epoch Times reported.
He went on to highlight the fact that while the need to deter both countries simultaneously had only risen to the level of a major concern by April 2021, today it “has now become a reality.”
“That need is now an imperative,” Richard said in a dire tone.
The outlet reported further:
In April 2021, he told lawmakers at another congressional hearing that the United States for the first time in history was “on a trajectory to face two nuclear-capable, strategic peer adversaries at the same time.”
Months later, he said the United States was “witnessing a strategic breakout by China,” adding that the Chinese regime’s “explosive growth and modernization of its nuclear and conventional forces” was “breathtaking.”
“Last fall, I formally reported to the secretary of defense, the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] strategic breakout,” Richard said. “Their expansion and modernization in 2021 alone is breathtaking.”
“Make no mistake; China’s strategic breakout is cause for action,” he said during a speech at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Alabama in August.
“What matters is they are building the capability to execute any plausible nuclear employment strategy, the last brick in the wall of a military capable of coercion,” Richard said, going on to reference China’s rapidly advancing hypersonic capability, which is developing to a point where current U.S. missile defenses “may not be sufficient to detect and track them.”
“In 2019, the PRC [People’s Republic of China] test-launched more ballistic missiles than the rest of the world combined,” he said.
“China has an active nuclear weapons testing program,” Richard continued, citing a new tunnel being built at China’s nuclear testing site known as Lop Nur.
“You add all this up and what you get is something that is inconsistent with a minimum deterrence posture,” said Richard, noting that for decades China’s strategy was only to maintain a nuclear stockpile sufficient enough to deter an attack.
The four-star admiral also said what Chinese officials say in denying their programs is meaningless.
“You’ve got to look at what they do, not what they say,” he said. “The breathtaking growth in strategic nuclear capability enables China to change their posture and their strategy.”
In November, the Pentagon warned that China could deploy as many as 1,000 deliverable nuclear missiles by 2030.
And thus far, Beijing’s military has not toned down in its pursuit of hypersonic weapons, Gen. Glen VanHerck, head of the U.S. Northern Command, said.
“They’re aggressively pursuing hypersonic capability, tenfold to what we have done as far as testing within the last year or so, significantly outpacing us with their capabilities,” he said at the hearing this week.
As for current U.S. military capabilities, Richard expressed optimism.
“I am satisfied with the posture of my forces. I have made no recommendations to make any changes,” he said. “The nation’s nuclear command and control is in its most defended, most resilient lineup that it’s ever been in its history.”
The world is getting more dangerous, and having a doddering, demented old man as our president is contributing.
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