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U.S. Stratcom’s Admiral Richard Says China’s Investments in Its Nuclear Arsenal Constitute a Strategic Breakout

Aug. 14, 2021 (EIRNS)—Adm. Charles Richard, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, has been running around yelling “I told you so!” ever since the open-sourced reports about the construction of new Chinese ICBM silos have come out. He described China’s investments in its nuclear arsenal as a “strategic breakout” that will shortly allow Beijing to execute “any plausible nuclear” strategy it wishes to pursue, during an address to the Space and Missile Defense Symposium on Aug. 12. Admiral Richard wrote in an article published in the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, last February, saying that “At the U.S. Strategic Command, we assess the probability of nuclear use is low, but not ‘impossible,’ particularly in a crisis and as our nuclear-armed adversaries continue to build capability and exert themselves globally.”

Richard based his latest warning on the fact that China is boosting all areas of its missile force, including both quantity and quality of its strategic delivery systems. The “explosive growth and modernization of its nuclear and conventional forces can only be what I describe as breathtaking. Frankly, that word, breathtaking, may not be enough,” he said.

If you add up all of China’s modernization efforts, Richard concluded,

“what you get is something that is inconsistent with a minimum deterrence posture. Their actions have long belied a posture more aggressive than their official policy—you’ve got to look at what they do, not what they say. And China has correctly figured out, you can’t coerce a peer—in other words, us—from a minimum deterrent posture. The breathtaking growth and strategic nuclear capability enables China to change their posture and their strategy.”

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