Armageddon now? Team Biden must answer nuclear breakouts by China, Russia, N. Korea

by WorldTribune Staff, January 27, 2023

Not only did Team Biden refuse to commit to increasing the U.S. nuclear arsenal in its October 2022 Nuclear Posture Review, it went so far as to cancel the Trump administration’s decision to revive production of the tactical nuclear warhead armed sea-launched Tomahawk cruise missile that would have provided a much-needed survivable tactical nuclear weapon option, an analyst said.

Meanwhile, China, Russia, and North Korea have all expanded their tactical nuclear weapon arsenals.

A deactivated Titan II nuclear ICBM is seen in a silo at the Titan Missile Museum in Green Valley, Arizona.  / AFP / Getty Images

“For 2023 this is the most crucial military question for the United States and the free world: when will the United States begin its nuclear breakout?” Rick Fisher, senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center and contributing editor for, asked in a Jan. 25 analysis for The Epoch Times.

Fisher pointed to “the awful irony” of Oct. 6, 2022, when Joe Biden “casually quipped that Russian use of tactical nuclear weapons could escalate all the way to ‘Armageddon.’ ”

That Biden could even acknowledge this possibility, Fisher continued, “means he must commit now to a larger strategic and theater nuclear arsenal sufficient to prevent Armageddon. The administration’s refusal to do so in response to the ‘nuclear breakout’ from China, Russia, and North Korea is rapidly undermining the credibility of the United States’ extended nuclear deterrent, increasing the risk of war and, yes, even making Armageddon possible.”

In January 2021, the Biden administration extended U.S. compliance with the 2010 New START nuclear limitation agreement with Russia to 2026. That extension limits U.S. deployed nuclear warheads to 1,550.

Team Biden issued the 2022 Nuclear Posture Review “despite early-to-mid-2021 commercial satellite image revelations of communist China’s ongoing nuclear breakout, showing construction in China’s western deserts of up to 360 new silos for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs),” Fisher noted.

In early 2023, China may be close to completing the construction of these 360 ICBM silos.

This, along with submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and existing weapons, could elevate China’s nuclear warhead levels from 400 to 1,500 by the early 2030s, according to the Pentagon.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) could also be on its way to amassing 3,000 to 4,000 warheads if China puts 10 warheads on each of its new 360 silo-based ICBMs.

In late November 2022, U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Sam Paparo disclosed that China had upgraded its six Type 094 nuclear ballistic missile submarines with the JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). It may be able to carry three to six warheads, adding 216 to 432 warheads, and the PLA Navy is now preparing to begin production of its more capable Type 096 SSBN.

The PLA Air Force has deployed its refuelable Xian H-6N bomber armed with a 1,864-mile range air-launched ballistic missile, which, with increasing numbers of Xian Y-20 aerial tankers, enables bomber-missile strikes against Hawaii. The PLA Air Force also may soon reveal its stealthy “H-20” flying wing strategic bomber.

“And there is still more,” Fisher noted. “In 2021, the PLA Rocket Force tested a Long March-2C space launch vehicle with a fractional orbital bombardment system (FOBS) armed with hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) maneuverable warheads capable of a South Pole trajectory, which would evade most U.S. warning radar and missile defenses.”

As for Russia, which Fisher points out “almost always cheats on nuclear reduction agreements,” it likely has more than the 1,550 warheads permitted by New START.

Vladimir Putin is rapidly modernizing Moscow’s nuclear arsenal, and in December 2022, the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that its percentage of modern advanced nuclear weapons had risen from 89.1 percent to 91.3 percent.

Russia could soon be producing its new RS-28 Sarmat mobile heavy ICBM that can carry 10 to 15 warheads or the new Avangard HGV. It has completed 7 of 14 planned Borei class SSBNs, each armed with 16 Bulava SLBMs that can carry up to six warheads. It also has revived the production of the Tupolev Tu-160M supersonic intercontinental bomber.

“Russia is also usually credited with deploying about 2,000 “non-strategic” or tactical/regional nuclear weapons, though some analysts estimate this may be closer to 10,000,” Fisher noted.

On Jan. 19, Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president and close ally of Putin, threatened that nuclear war would follow a Russian defeat in Ukraine.

“This is the strategic nuclear wake-up call for the Biden administration,” Fisher wrote. “We have returned to the 1950s; it is now necessary for the United States to build up to a new level of nuclear weapons that achieves complementary strategic and regional nuclear deterrence.”

The most important strategic military decision the United States can make in 2023, Fisher added, “is to abandon the New START agreement and commit to an American nuclear breakout from 1,550 to 6,000 deployed strategic warheads. This move would assure Russia and China that their use of nuclear weapons will guarantee destruction.”

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