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Nominee To Head Stratcom Engages in Nuclear Saber-Rattling Against Russia and China

Sept. 19, 2022 (EIRNS)—Gen. Anthony J. Cotton, the commander of U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command and President Joe Biden’s pick to replace Adm. Charles Richard as head of U.S. Strategic Command, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee for his confirmation hearing on Sept. 16. In his testimony, he engaged in a lot of nuclear saber-rattling, and used it to make a pitch for an even bigger budget for the U.S. nuclear arsenal, hyping the threat from Russia and China. Cotton said that one of his top priorities if confirmed will be to move forward Stratcom’s efforts to study China’s nuclear strategy and reconsider the U.S.’s own doctrines and strategies in a tri-polar nuclear world, reported Air and Space Forces Magazine. Included in his suggestions of how to “deter” China was the ominous suggestion that a Beijing attack on Taiwan could be forestalled if their forces are prevented from entering the Taiwan Strait and if Beijing is also made aware of America’s nuclear capabilities.

“Minimum deterrence was what we thought of when we talked of China as recently as 2018,” Cotton said. “We have seen the incredible expansiveness of what they’re doing with their nuclear force, which does not, in my opinion, reflect minimal deterrence. They have a bona fide triad now. So we’re going to have to understand more deeply the Chinese nuclear strategy.”

“For the first time since 1945, the first time for us as a nation, we have two near-peer adversaries,” Cotton said of China and Russia. “We have always put together a nuclear defense strategy that has one nuclear peer. We are going to have to roll up our sleeves to ensure that we are doing everything we can strategy-wise within ... Stratcom to ensure that we’re meeting the objectives to be able to have and take care of two near peers. First time in history that we’ve ever seen that.”

Cotton claimed that the U.S. nuclear arsenal is helping “constrain” Russia’s actions in Ukraine and could serve as a bulwark against a Chinese takeover of Taiwan. “I absolutely believe that our nuclear deterrent force held,” he said. “We did not see Russia do anything with our NATO partners. We may have heard the rhetoric, but I think at the end of the day, Russia and China both understand that we have a strong, resilient nuclear force that is offering deterrence to ourselves and extended deterrence to our allies.”

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