AMERICA must now be primed for a full-scale nuclear war with China or Russia, warns the head of US Strategic Command.
Four-star Admiral Charles Richard says the chances of an apocalyptic conflict with the rival superpowers is now a “real possibility”.
His stark World War 3 warning – which came amid mounting global tensions – was made in a major new review of the current balance of nuclear firepower.
“There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons, if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state,” he wrote.
He claimed that both countries have now “begun to aggressively challenge international norms” in “ways not seen since the height of the Cold War.”
The military chief cited a rise in cyberattacks and “threats in space,” as well as their investment in advanced arms including hypersonic nukes, reports Fox News.
In the latest issue of ‘Proceedings’ – the US Naval Institute’s monthly magazine – he said his country’s military now needs to be on its guard.
He wrote: “Consequently, the U.S. military must shift its principal assumption from ‘nuclear employment is not possible’ to ‘nuclear employment is a very real possibility’ and act to meet and deter that reality.
“We cannot approach nuclear deterrence the same way. It must be tailored and evolved for the dynamic environment we face.”
The admiral argued that recent actions by both countries would “increase the risk of great power crisis or conflict” if “left unchecked”.
And he noted Russia was “aggressively modernising” its nuclear arsenal and said China is “also on a trajectory to be a strategic peer” and should not be underestimated.
He then outlined several steps needed to improve preparedness, including a sharpened focus on procurement of weapons systems that would maintain America’s strategic advantage over rivals.
“While this is a sobering picture, it is not intended to discourage; rather, it is meant to highlight reality and reinvigorate a conversation across the enterprise,” Richard added. “Our challenges are not insurmountable.”
“Until we, as a [Defense] Department, come to understand, if not accept, what we are facing and what should be done about it, we run the risk of developing plans we cannot execute and procuring capabilities that will not deliver desired outcomes,” he argued.
“In the absence of change, we are on the path, once again, to prepare for the conflict we prefer, instead of one we are likely to face.”
In September, the Sun Online reported how it was feared China will double its number of city-destroying nuclear warheads in a bid to become a top military power by 2049.
The Pentagon said Beijing’s nuke stockpile is currently in the low 200s, although the Federation of American Scientists estimates the figure to be as high as 320.
In its annual report to Congress, the US Department of Defence said the Communist Party is nearing the ability to launch nuclear strikes by land, air and sea, a capacity known as a ‘triad’.
In their report, American defence chiefs claim China will at least double their nuclear stockpile over the next 10 years in a bid to become a leading military power by 2049.
Last week, China sent a dozen bombers and fighter jets into Taiwan, according to reports from the region.
Taiwan responded by scrambling fighters, broadcasting warnings by radio and deploying air defense missile systems.
China is thought to have been sending a chilling message to Biden just days into his administration.
And just last month we told how Russia is poised to test an “unstoppable” 15,000mph nuclear missile it boasts can beat any defense and wipe out Texas.
The RS-28 Sarmat doomsday rocket is now primed to replace the much-feared R-36 – once dubbed the “Satan” nuke by Nato.
The Kremlin brags it has a range of around 6,200 miles, can carry 16 warheads and is able to dodge any missile defense system.
Its huge payload is capable of destroying an area the size of the Lone Star State according to Zvezda, the Russian defence ministry’s TV channel.
A -nuclear war between the US and Russia could plunge the Earth into a 10-year winter, scientists have warned.
Fires from ballistic missiles would throw a staggering 147million tonnes of soot and dust into the atmosphere – blocking out sunlight for years.
Experts predict it would take ten years for light to return to normal – with average surface temperatures plummeting by 9C.
— to www.thesun.co.uk