The head of the US Strategic Command believes that a regional conflict involving Russia and China could “quickly escalate” into a nuclear war.
According to Admiral Charles Richard, the United States must be prepared for such a “very real” opportunity.
Admiral Richard outlined his views in a journal published by the United States Naval Institute.
“There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could quickly escalate into a nuclear conflict if they perceive defeat in a non-nuclear conflict as a threat to a regime or state,” Richard wrote.
“Consequently, the US military must move from the principled assumption that“ the use of nuclear weapons is not possible ”to the assumption that“ the use of nuclear weapons is very real ”and act to meet and contain this reality,” he added.
“We cannot use the same approach to nuclear deterrence. It must adapt and evolve to fit the dynamic environment in which we find ourselves, ”he wrote.
The admiral added that the Strategic Command currently assesses the likelihood of using nuclear weapons as “low, but not impossible,” especially in a crisis when US nuclear-armed adversaries “continue to build capacity and emerge on a global scale.”