“Acute threats” from Russia, but China is the biggest challenge: US military

“Acute threats” from Russia, but China is the biggest challenge: US military


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine highlights the “imminent threat” posed by Moscow, but China is the most consequential challenge to the United States, the US military said in a statement of its overall strategy released Thursday.

The Pentagon also made it clear – amid Russian discussions about using a nuclear weapon in the Ukraine war – that the United States intended to use its nuclear arsenal to deter “all forms of strategic attacks,” including those using conventional weapons.

China “poses the most momentous and systemic challenge, while Russia poses an acute threat – both to vital US national interests abroad and at home,” according to the non-classified version of the National Defense Strategy.

“The broadest and most serious challenge to US national security is (China’s) obsessive and increasingly aggressive effort to reshape the Indo-Pacific region and the international system to suit its interests and authoritarian preferences,” it said.

The strategy highlights Chinese rhetoric about self-governing Taiwan — which Beijing has promised to take control, by force if necessary — as a destabilizing factor that risks miscalculation and threatens peace in the region.

As for Russia, it said the threat posed by Moscow was “last demonstrated by Russia’s unprovoked further invasion of Ukraine.

“The Department of Defense will support a robust deterrent to Russian aggression against vital U.S. national interests, including our treaty allies,” the strategy said.

It stressed the need to work with allied countries and other partners to counter threats posed by China and Russia, saying such cooperation is “fundamental to US national security interests.”

In an updated report on the US nuclear stance, released alongside the National Defense Strategy, the Pentagon defined the role of its nuclear arsenal in repelling both foreign nuclear and non-nuclear attacks with strategic implications.

“This includes nuclear operations of any magnitude, and it includes serious attacks of a strategic nature using non-nuclear means,” a senior defense official told reporters.

The unclassified version of the Nuclear Posture Review contains a stark warning to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un against using the country’s growing nuclear arsenal.

“Any nuclear attack by North Korea on the United States or its allies and partners is unacceptable and will lead to the end of this regime. There is no scenario in which the Kim regime could use nuclear weapons and survive,” the strategy said.

Kim has declared the country an “irreversible” nuclear power, effectively ending negotiations over its banned arms programs.

The reports came as the United States and NATO allies pumped arms into Ukraine to help it oust Russian forces after its invasion in February.

It also comes amid heightened tensions over China’s stated intention to potentially absorb Taiwan with military force, as the United States continues to supply arms and provide political support to the self-governing island.

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