OP-ED | AUKUS & Weapons Announcements Signal Nuclear Escalation in US-China Tensions – Community News
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OP-ED | AUKUS & Weapons Announcements Signal Nuclear Escalation in US-China Tensions

JAMIL RAGLAND
JAMIL RAGLAND

What do Groton, Connecticut and Adelaide, Australia have in common? Soon, both will be home to one of the United States’ best-kept secrets: nuclear submarine technology.

In mid-September, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia announced the trilateral security partnership AUKUS (the acronym AUKUS is the combination of the abbreviation for each country). The key feature of this new security partnership is that the United States will share its knowledge and capabilities in building nuclear-powered submarines with the Australian government. This is a big step as the US has only shared this technology with Great Britain, the other member of AUKUS.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison stressed that these would only be nuclear-powered submarines, not nuclear-armed ones. But when the leaders of the AUKUS nations described their intent to “maintain security and stability in the Indo-Pacific,” all eyes were on China, the nation not mentioned in the comments but clearly the focus. of the new partnership.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian responded by saying the security partnership was “extremely irresponsible”. He went on to say that AUKUS’ cooperation on nuclear submarines “has seriously undermined regional peace and stability, intensified the arms race and undermined international non-proliferation efforts.”

Still, China itself tested a new kind of missile in August, increasing its weapons deployment. Known as a hypersonic missile, this weapon is designed to evade US missile defense systems built to shoot down old ballistic missiles that follow a predictable trajectory after launch. The new Chinese missile enters the atmosphere from a lower point and is maneuverable, making interception much more difficult. And the missile can carry a nuclear payload.

It seems that 50 years of living with “mutually assured destruction” as a de facto policy during the US-Soviet Cold War has taught the leaders of the world’s greatest nations nothing about the dangers of nuclear orientation. After near misses and close calls, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, which brought both countries to the brink of war, it seemed that perhaps a lesson had been learned. Real progress has been made between the Soviet Union (now Russia) and the United States in reducing nuclear stockpiles. At its global peak, there were more than 70,000 nuclear weapons around the world; that number has now fallen to about 13,000.

The key feature of this new security partnership is that the United States will share its knowledge and capabilities in building nuclear-powered submarines with the Australian government. This is a big step as the US has only shared this technology with Great Britain, the other member of AUKUS.

But this progress is threatened by the reckless arms race that the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman warned while his country was taking part. We now have US military personnel bragging about the “wonderful timing” with which they can now detonate nuclear weapons to maximize their horrific destructive capabilities. This is almost certainly a response to China’s new hypersonic missile. And on the ladder of escalation we go.

I’m too young to have experienced bomb drills during the height of the Cold War, but I had teachers who did. My eighth grade history teacher was obsessed with imbuing us with the power of nuclear weapons; he described in detail the blast radius of a 50 megaton thermonuclear bomb. He showed us the movie The day after, which showed the aftermath of a nuclear war between the United States and Russia.

He told us that even though we didn’t live near the nuclear silos like the families in the movies, we still weren’t safe. Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, and of course the naval base in Groton, would put Connecticut on the front lines of nuclear conflict. I had nightmares about my impending vaporization for weeks.

But eventually I realized I was worrying about nothing. The Soviet Union had collapsed and Russia and the United States were not exactly friends, but they weren’t exactly enemies either. We lived in what policy makers and writers called the “unipolar moment,” where the United States stood undisputed in the world. The potential for nuclear war was limited to the movies, however real they seemed.

But now what seemed like fantasy is creeping back into the realm of the possible. New weapons, partnerships and acronyms cannot mask the sense of historical déjà vu we are experiencing now. We even have an island nation that could serve as a potential focal point for Armageddon — in this case, Taiwan, not Cuba. Unless our leaders avoid potential conflict and find a peaceful way to coexist, we may have to live with a day none of us want.

Jamil Ragland writes and lives in East Hartford. You can read more of his work at www.nutmeggerdaily.com.

The views, opinions, views or strategies of the author are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or views of CTNewsJunkie.com.


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