The United States must contend simultaneously with two peer nuclear powers for the first time ever, as China and Russia continue to grow and modernize their nuclear arsenals, according to Maj. Gen. Ferdinand Stoss, director of plans and policy at United States Strategic Command.
“This is the first time ever that we have a three-party nuclear peer dynamic,” Stoss said, according to Air Force Magazine. “And we have no history of this. This is epic.”
The comments were delivered during a talk on the modernization of the United States’ strategic nuclear deterrent capabilities at an annual summit on nuclear deterrence in Washington, D.C.
The remarks underscored a growing anxiety about the Chinese regime and its continued efforts to become a nuclear peer of the United States and Russia.
China’s communist rulership is engaged in a systematic military modernization program, of which a part is alleged to be rapidly expanding the nation’s nuclear arsenal.
Satellite images revealed last summer that Beijing was building over 100 new silos for intercontinental ballistic missiles in the northwestern part of the country, and the Pentagon has warned that China could have over 1,000 nuclear weapons by 2030.
Stoss, who is responsible for the development of the Pentagon’s strategic war plans and contingencies, said that the United States and its allies had not fully dealt with the ramifications of the new balance of power and how it will affect future operations.
Moreover, he said that the combined threat of Russia and China was compounded by the fact that the United States had continuously underinvested in its own nuclear modernization efforts.
Concerning U.S. modernization efforts, Stoss said that the country had “taken the knee” and “accepted these risks.”
Stoss’ remarks echoed comments previously made by Patty-Jane Geller, a policy analyst for the Heritage Foundation.
“Americans should understand that nuclear threats are not a relic of the Cold War,” Geller said in November. “As China expands its arms to become a nuclear peer competitor with the U.S. and Russia, the U.S. will have to figure out how to deter two nuclear peers at once, which we’ve never had to do in our history.”
Of those two threats, Stoss said that Russia was the more imminent, but that the Chinese regime was developing in a way that would allow it to break out of strategic confines in an unprecedented way.
“To be sure, to have this type of a breakout and the capabilities they’re bringing online would have taken them years to plan, to develop, and then to actually build,” Stoss said.
“Why are they doing this strategic breakout? Well, we don’t exactly know … But, you know, perhaps this is just one more brick to put into the wall to cement their capacity to play a much bolder role, certainly in the region and around the world, and they think that they need this nuclear underpinning.”
Stoss also said that the rise of a multipolar world with more than two major nuclear powers would effectively end the United States’ ability to control the level of violence present in individual conflict zones, thereby increasing the risk of conflict overall.
“Today, both Russia and China have the capability to unilaterally escalate at any level of violence, across any domain, into any geographic location, … and to do so at a time of their choosing,” Stoss said.
From The Epoch Times