The defence alliance NATO has warned Russia and China that it is willing to use nuclear weapons to defend itself if any NATO member is itself struck by nuclear armaments.
The statement on nuclear weapons was made in the latest edition of NATO’s strategic concept document.
The more muscular language than in previous publications by NATO comes after the brutal and illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and after the Russian president Vladimir Putin and several individuals within his core network threatened outsiders with nuclear attack should they become involved in the Ukraine conflict.
Many experts believe the relationship between Russia and the West is by far the worst it has been since the end of the Cold War and is in many ways worse than at certain points during the Cold War itself. This has risen the spectre of a nuclear exchange.
The new Strategic Concept states:
“The circumstances in which NATO might have to use nuclear weapons are extremely remote. Any employment of nuclear weapons against NATO would fundamentally alter the nature of a conflict. The Alliance has the capabilities and resolve to impose costs on an adversary that would be unacceptable and far outweigh the benefits that any adversary could hope to achieve.”
“The independent strategic nuclear forces of the United Kingdom and France have a deterrent role of their own and contribute significantly to the overall security of the Alliance. These Allies’ separate centres of decision-making contribute to deterrence by complicating the calculations of potential adversaries. We will individually and collectively deliver the full range of forces, capabilities, plans, resources, assets and infrastructure needed for deterrence and defence, including for high-intensity, multi-domain warfighting against nuclear-armed peer-competitors.”
Later in the document, the issue of China’s nuclear weapons emerges. It states that NATO believes China is expanding and modernising its nuclear arsenal and that this also poses a serious threat. It reads:
“The PRC (People’s Republic of China) is rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal and is developing increasingly sophisticated delivery systems, without increasing transparency or engaging in good faith in arms control or risk reduction.”
[Based on reporting by: Washington Examoner]