US Says No Arms Race, But Scrambles to Get More Nukes to Target Russia

Recent wargame shows US fears Russian first-strike with low-yield nuke

If you asked the Pentagon, they would tell you in no uncertain terms that the US is not engaged in any sort of nuclear arms race. At the same time, the US is spending heavily on new nuclear weapons, and is particularly scrambling to get weapons designed to target Russia.

Officials described a recent table-top war game where Russia carried out a tactical nuclear first-strike against NATO territory during a conflict in Europe. This idea of Russia attacking first seems to be informing a lot of US policy decisions.

The exercise saw a low-yield Russian nuke deployed, and the US arsenal, still limited on lower options, ultimately decided that their only response was a much bigger strategic nuclear strike on Russia, starting a civilization-ending nuclear exchange.

Though seemingly the risk of such a war would be a deterrent against a Russian first-strike, the Pentagon is arguing they need more low-yield options so they can engage in tit-for-tat nuclear wars at a lower level.

Analysts have been very concerned about these developments, because the Pentagon very publicly views lower-yield nukes as more usable, and this risks the US deploying them in attacks on non-nuclear states.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.