U.S. Nuclear Commander Hypes Alleged Danger from Russia and China
Sept. 15, 2020 (EIRNS)—Adm. Charles Richard, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, used a press conference at the Pentagon yesterday to hype up the alleged threats from Russia and China, particularly on the nuclear side. “Our competitors have continued to develop both nonstrategic and strategic capabilities in an effort to outpace us,” he said during his opening remarks. “And we are going into a very different world. The—we are on a trajectory for the first time in our nation’s history to face two peer nuclear-capable competitors who have to be deterred differently, and we’re working very hard to meet that challenge.
“I think we all know the threat that Russia poses to us, modernizing strategic, conventional, space, counter-space, cyber, they’re developing hypersonics, and their gray zone actions,” he went on. “And it’s not only what they’re developing, it’s what they’re doing.”
Then Richard turned to China. “China’s similar, right? I think you all have seen the recent China military report,” he said. “I think it’s an excellent explanation in terms of what China’s overall strategy is, and explains the why behind the things that we see them doing, particularly in my mission sets. Again, looking to—we like talking about the fact that they’re going to double their stockpile by the end of the decade.” Richard claimed that China “in particular is developing a stack of capabilities that, to my mind, is increasingly inconsistent with a stated no-first-use policy.”
Richard was asked specifically if he were concerned that the U.S. bomber flights so close to Russian borders were raising tensions and “could lead to actual conflict,” but he completely ducked the question. “I think the bomber task forces are a—an iconic example of how we’re executing the National Defense Strategy in terms of us being strategically predictable yet tactically unpredictable,” he said. The question was a direct reference to the statements made last week by the head of the Russian Aerospace Forces, Colonel-General Sergey Surovikin, who warned that such flights are not in any way friendly in nature.
As for China’s nuclear no-first-use policy, Richard said in response to another question that
“what I look at more is another nation’s capabilities, less about what their stated intentions are, and I see China developing a stack of capabilities that would be inconsistent with a no-first-use policy. It’s not my place to judge whether they intend to honor that or not.”
He argued that a no-first-use policy drives to a minimum deterrent posture “and it just looks inconsistent to me and it’s my responsibility to make sure that I have thought through what we have to do to deter what they’re capable of doing as opposed to what they say they’re going to do.”
Richard also complained that, in his view at least, the American people are not conscious enough of the existential threat that China supposedly presents to the U.S. “I get apprehensive that we are not fully conscious as a nation of the threats that we face, right? China now has the capability—and we can get into the specifics—to directly threaten our homeland from a ballistic missile submarine,” he said. “That’s a pretty watershed moment and that’s why, when I come up here and say that we need to maintain the forces to give us a deterrent capability against that, why we have to go recapitalize our strategic triad, why I say that there’s no margin left and why that’s the most important mission in the Department of Defense, it is—you’re giving me a great example of why we have to go do that.”