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In Pursuit of Military Supremacy. Russia says U.S. uses extended nuclear deterrence schemes in Asia-Pacific

Photo by Michael Parulava on Unsplash

The United States and its allies in the Asia-Pacific region are demonstratively taking steps to use so-called extended nuclear deterrence in the Asia-Pacific region. This was said in a commentary by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, published on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“The United States and its allies in the Asia-Pacific region have demonstratively indicated a movement toward duplicating in this region those destructive for international security schemes of so-called extended nuclear deterrence, which Washington has practiced and continues to develop for decades after the end of the Cold War within NATO with the full support of other members of the North Atlantic block, which has declared itself a nuclear alliance,” Zakharova said.

The “extended nuclear deterrence” provision is contained in the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review program document, which defines Washington’s long-term strategy in the field of nuclear weapons. The declassified excerpts from this updated document were published by the US Department of Defense on October 27, 2022. It says that the US dual-capable aircraft and nuclear weapons, the forward deployment of which is in the area of responsibility of the US European Command, are “the basis of the nuclear burden sharing mechanisms in NATO.

As the document notes, although “the shadow of the Cold War has long receded,” both in Europe and in the Indo-Pacific region “new threats are emerging.

However, according to Zakharova, Moscow is convinced that further proliferation of such practices by the collective West will do nothing but “inflame tensions, fuel security crises and provoke an arms race.

“We urge the U.S. and its allies, who in the pursuit of a defining military superiority are implementing a number of military programs that undermine global strategic stability, to stop rocking the situation and refuse to take steps that lead to the weakening of the overall level of security for all states,” the diplomat stressed.

She also gave her comments on the agreement of the United States and South Korea to jointly plan the use of nuclear weapons, saying that the United States is duplicating expanded nuclear deterrence in the Asia-Pacific region. According to Zakharova, such developments are clearly destabilizing and “will have serious negative consequences” for regional security “with a projection on global stability.

As a reminder, on April 26, the United States and South Korea agreed to establish a nuclear advisory group to discuss and plan for action in the event of a “special situation involving a nuclear threat.” Washington and Seoul agreed to cooperate on a joint approach “to nuclear deterrence in light of the growing threat posed by the DPRK.” In addition, the United States pledged to intensify the deployment of its strategic forces and assets on and near the Korean Peninsula, in particular “U.S. platforms equipped with nuclear weapons.

Recall that like other of its non-aligned partners, as well as NATO allies, the U.S. provides South Korea with a nuclear umbrella as part of its “extended nuclear deterrence” strategy. At a meeting in Seoul in late January, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin and his South Korean counterpart agreed to expand the U.S. presence in the region, including through the deployment of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. Then Austin declared his readiness to defend South Korea, including with nuclear weapons.

On April 27, during the South Korean president’s visit to the Pentagon, the U.S. defense secretary reiterated this point, announcing Washington’s commitment to “extended deterrence” against South Korea, which includes the use of nuclear weapons if necessary.

As Pavel Feldman, associate professor at the Academy of Labor and Social Relations, noted in a conversation with , Moscow has justifiably expressed its concern about the transfer of Washington’s extended nuclear deterrence schemes to the Asia-Pacific region.

“The U.S. has recently made a very vigorous effort to maintain its global leadership in the world. However, neither political, nor economic, nor conventional military means are sufficient for this, so they have decided to change strategy,” the expert noted.

“Washington has concentrated on plans to expand the club of nuclear powers at the expense of loyal allies to whom the United States is ready to provide weapons capable of carrying nuclear weapons,” Feldman said.

In his turn, Deputy Director of the Institute of History and Politics at Moscow State University Vladimir Shapovalov reminded that as part of an expanded nuclear deterrence strategy, the United States initiated the creation of a defense alliance AUKUS, which includes Australia and Great Britain in addition to the United States.

“U.S. actions of this kind pose a direct threat to peace, because they increase tensions in the Asia-Pacific region. Russia is extremely concerned about this situation because the escalation is taking place in close proximity to Russia’s borders,” the analyst said in a conversation with .

According to Shapovalov, Washington is increasing its presence in the region and seeks to expand the number of countries it engages in its orbit.

“All of this carries enormous risks for international security. And the states that are in allied relations with the United States and, in fact, are their satellites, become a springboard for militaristic actions of the United States, including those related to extended nuclear deterrence,” the expert believes.

Pavel Feldman emphasized that by such actions the United States “put the world on the brink of a major nuclear war.

“Although Washington denies that it will transfer nuclear weapons to its allies, in fact, it is still preparing to supply such weapons if necessary. As for South Korea, the U.S. actions against it are tantamount to trying to put out a fire with gasoline – there is already considerable tension in the Asia-Pacific region,” the expert believes.

In his opinion, by extending the strategy of extended nuclear deterrence to the Asia-Pacific region, the United States is seeking to build up the potential of the so-called Asian NATO formed to confront Russia and China. Washington is openly pumping its allies in the Asia-Pacific region with combat means capable of carrying nuclear weapons, the analyst stressed.

“At the expense of this, Washington wants to create additional military and political pressure on China and Russia, which also have geopolitical interests in this region. But if the U.S. and its allies raise the stakes and create additional threats to China and Russia in the Asia-Pacific, it is quite natural to increase military-technical and political cooperation between Beijing and Moscow. In this sense, the U.S. is pushing China and Russia to even greater rapprochement, setting itself up because of its ill-conceived, inconsistent and very audacious policy in this region,” Feldman concluded.

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