Trump's new nuclear posture review reverses course on arms control

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon left Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette lead a news conference on the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review

China has urged the United States to drop its "Cold War mentality" after Washington said it planned to diversify its nuclear armoury with smaller bombs.

It also included Russia, North Korea and Iran as potential threats. According to data released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), United States of America and Russian Federation are the global leaders of nuclear ammunition and boast a combined total of nearly 14,000 nuclear weapons alone.

"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.

"Motives behind this document are quite obvious: the U.S. military seek to justify the sum of 1.2 trillion USA dollars they request from the Congress in the next 30 years to modernize and develop their reduced nuclear arsenals", Lieutenant General Yevgeny Buzhinsky, a former chief of the Russian defense ministry's global military cooperation directorate, told TASS. It gave a tally of 1,444 strategic nuclear warheads.

The US is concerned about its nuclear arsenal becoming obsolete and no longer an effective deterrent.

In public appearances last fall, Burroughs said, the present and former commanders of Strategic Command stated that orders to use nuclear weapons in violation of the law of armed conflict would be refused.

Washington also "arbitrarily converted" some underground missile launch sites into training facilities, which wasn't spelled out in the treaty, the ministry said. The plan, which calls for the US nuclear arsenal to be revamped with the development of new low-yield atomic weapons, was announced in a policy statement by President Donald Trump's administration released on February 2.

The New START treaty, the State Department said, is "critically important at a time when trust in the relationship has deteriorated and the threat of miscalculation and misperception has risen".

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"Recent Russian statements on this evolving nuclear weapons doctrine appear to lower the threshold for Moscow's first-use of nuclear weapons", the review said.

Needless to say, the role of nuclear weapons is to deter threats. That probably will arise at a House hearing Tuesday featuring Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

The new US posture focuses heavily on what the administration sees as an overdue modernization of the nuclear arsenal.

Moscow denounced what it called the "bellicose" and "anti-Russian" nature of the new US nuclear policy, warning that it would take the necessary measures to ensure its own security.

German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel said the U.S. decision showed "the spiral of a new nuclear arms race is already under way" and added that Europe was, much like during the cold war, especially vulnerable.

"There is no scenario in which the Kim regime could employ nuclear weapons and survive", it says.

"The biggest difference relates to the supposed role of nuclear weapons in American military strategy", Michael Klare, an expert at the Arms Control Association, told Xinhua.

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