Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

U.S. considers use of first-strike nuclear weapons

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Washington's new nuclear policy was'in violation of the international nuclear non-proliferation treaty. John Thys  AFP US nukes bringing humankind closer to annihilation
| 06 February, 2018, 15:29

The sweeping USA nuclear strategy review issued Friday said Washington wants to prevent Beijing from mistakenly concluding that any use of nuclear weapons, however limited, is acceptable.

The US military has put countering China and Russian Federation at the centre of a new national defence strategy unveiled earlier this month, shifting priorities away from fighting Islamist militants.

The wording of the review indicated that current U.S. policymakers would be more ready to authorize first use of nuclear weapons, even against non-nuclear armed enemies, Freeman observed.

Asked whether the two new nuclear weapons are needed to deter Russia, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said February 2, "We are deterring nations that have spoken about using nuclear weapons".

Both Iran and Russian Federation have also criticised the report, with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, saying that it is bringing the world "closer to annihilation".

Recall that Russia's foreign ministry said it was very disappointed by the document, which, it said, has a confrontational feel and anti-Russian orientation.


Only one country has ever used nuclear weapons against another country.

The 2018 edition of the Nuclear Posture Review "reflects greater reliance on nukes" violating global agreements on non-proliferation, he went on, noting that "no wonder the Doomsday Clock is at its most unsafe since 1953." .

The Pentagon's nuclear review concluded that while arms control can advance American interests, "further progress is hard to envision", in light of what the US considers Russia's aggression in Ukraine and violations of existing arms deals.

Robert Soofer, a senior nuclear policy official at the Pentagon who helped direct the policy review, said Moscow is likely to push back on the US plan for fielding those two additional weapons.

"We hope that the United States will abandon its Cold War mentality, earnestly assume its special disarmament responsibilities, correctly understand China's strategic intentions and objectively view China's national defence and military build-up", its statement said. It specifically points to a Russian doctrine known as "escalate to de-escalate", in which Moscow would use or threaten to use smaller-yield nuclear weapons in a limited, conventional conflict in Europe in the belief that doing so would compel the US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to back down. Berlin does not have its own arsenal, but the Pentagon maintained nuclear warheads in Germany as part of a huge military presence created to deter Soviet invasion of western Europe. Martin Schulz, who challenged Angela Merkel last September, called for remaining American bombs to be removed from Germany. Trump did not re-certify the deal, but extended sanctions waivers, and said he would not do so again the next time they come up for renewal, in May, unless his concerns are addressed.

In his tweet, Zarif also said: "Trump's obduracy in killing the #JCPOA [Iran's nuclear deal with world powers] stems from ... risky imprudence".

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