China’s nuclear ambitions…what does it mean for us?

Ever since the Cold War ended, the majority of talk from the five original nuclear weapon states – the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France – has been focused on words such as “reduction,” “control” and “limitation.”

So when China suddenly starts talking about expanding its nuclear weapons capabilities, people sit up and take notice. According to a report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, China is on the cusp of deploying submarine-launched nuclear weapons, adding to an arsenal that already includes land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and air-dropped nuclear bombs. In addition, the commission reports that China is “the most threatening” power in cyberspace and presents the largest challenge to U.S. supply chain integrity.

Take a look at this Reuters report titled, “China Submarines to Soon Carry Nukes, Draft U.S. Report Says.”

During the recent presidential campaign, we frequently heard Governor Romney say that China needed to be held accountable for its actions, but we never heard President Obama say anything of that nature. Is the U.S. going to revisit base closings as a result of this report? Are we going to think twice about downsizing our Navy as China steps up its naval capabilities?

The report suggested that the U.S. State Department integrate China into nuclear arms reduction, limitation and control discussions and agreements, and it recommended treating with caution any proposal to unilaterally reduce operational U.S nuclear forces without clearer information being made available to the public about China’s nuclear stockpile and posture. Let’s hope the right people are listening!

What do you think the U.S. response should be to China expanding its nuclear capabilities while other nuclear nations are in discussions to limit or reduce? Can China really be held “accountable” by the U.S. or anyone else?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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