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Talking about security, U.S. puts Europe at risk of nuclear war

First Voice

The Pentagon is seen from the air over Washington D.C., the United States. /Xinhua
The Pentagon is seen from the air over Washington D.C., the United States. /Xinhua

The Pentagon is seen from the air over Washington D.C., the United States. /Xinhua

Editor's note: CGTN's First Voice provides instant commentary on breaking stories. The column clarifies emerging issues and better defines the news agenda, offering a Chinese perspective on the latest global events.

In response to the "growing threat from Russia," the U.S. is planning to station nuclear warheads – three times as strong as the Hiroshima bomb – in the UK for the first time since 2008, The Telegraph reported.

Senior officials on both sides of the Atlantic are urging for military preparations for a potential war between NATO and Russia. "I think we need to go further and look carefully at conscription," the UK's former top NATO commander General Sir Richard Sherriff told Sky News. Earlier, U.S. Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro called for Downing Street to "reassess" the size of its armed forces.

Shouting security, Washington's nuclear sharing is instead putting Europe at the risk of a nuclear war.

To begin with, to deter the so-called "threat" from Russia, the White House and its NATO allies should at least understand the Kremlin's security demands. From the outset, the Russian government has made its demand loud and clear – the end of NATO's expansion. Established to defend Western powers from the Soviet camp in 1949, NATO has not only continued to exist after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, but even took in countries previously part of the Warsaw pact into the bloc and expanded to the doorstep of Russia

This, without doubt, has tremendously raised the anxiety level of the Kremlin. Largely due to Washington's squeezing Moscow's strategic space to the maximum, the Russia-Ukraine conflict broke out. Facing rising military risks, the U.S. and its NATO ally should have learned a lesson and refrained from further provocations.

De-escalating the tension through diplomatic or other channels should, and could be the most plausible way of talking about security – a security in which all relevant parties' concern should be taken into consideration.

A man walks near a residential building damaged in Mariupol, Ukraine, April 17, 2022. /Xinhua
A man walks near a residential building damaged in Mariupol, Ukraine, April 17, 2022. /Xinhua

A man walks near a residential building damaged in Mariupol, Ukraine, April 17, 2022. /Xinhua

Regrettably, Washington is acting to the contrary. Its plan to move nuclear weapons to the UK will only put the Kremlin on high alert. In this context, Russia – possessing the world's biggest store of nuclear warheads according to Reuters – is highly likely to strike back with more intensity and strength against Washington's repeated provocation. Shouting the need to make European nations safer, Washington is increasing the risk that a nuclear war starts in Europe.

Worse still, the UK, not the U.S., will bear the brunt if the war breaks out. After all, it will be from the RAF Lakenheath base in Suffolk – the UK's territory – that nuclear warheads will be launched. In this circumstance, the UK, not the U.S., will be the primary target if Washington decides to launch a nuclear strike against Moscow. Bragging about its alliance with the UK, the White House is instead dragging its ally into a more dangerous situation.

Washington talks about security, but all it does is bring danger to the region. As a major nuclear power, the U.S. should have played a constructive role in curbing the spread of nuclear weapons, but the country is acting the other way round.

It is worth noting that Washington's nuclear sharing arrangement has also breached the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signed in 1968 to stem the spread of nuclear technology. "Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly," Article I of the NPT reads.

"What is needed now is for the U.S. to engage in serious dialogue with Russia on ending all nuclear-sharing arrangements" just as the Soviet Union and Washington did during the Cuban missile crisis, said Ivana Nikolić Hughes, president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and senior lecturer in chemistry at Columbia University, in an article published on Truthout.

If Washington is sincere about the security of its allies, abandoning the plan to station nuclear warheads in the UK is the first step.

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