According to Admiral Richard, Russia or China may decide to do so if threatened with defeat in a non-nuclear conflict
The head of the US Strategic Command believes that the regional conflict involving Russia and China may “quickly escalate” into a nuclear war.
According to Admiral Charles Richard, the United States must be prepared for this “very real” possibility.
Admiral Richard outlined his views in a journal published by the U.S. Naval Institute.
“There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could quickly escalate into a nuclear weapons conflict if they perceive defeat in a non-nuclear conflict as a threat to a regime or state,” Richard wrote.
“Consequently, the U.S. military must move from the principled assumption that ‘the use of nuclear weapons is impossible’ to the assumption that ‘the use of nuclear weapons is very real’ and act to match that reality and deter it,” he added.
“We can’t take the same approach to nuclear deterrence. It has to adjust and evolve to fit the dynamic environment in which we find ourselves,” he wrote.
The admiral added that Strategic Command currently assesses the likelihood of using nuclear weapons as “low, but not impossible,” especially in a crisis in which U.S. nuclear-armed adversaries “continue to build capability and prove themselves on a global scale.”