Russia’s and China’s nuclear buildups, electromagnetic pulse weapons, and cyberattacks put the U.S. homeland at risk like never before

Russia’s and China’s nuclear buildups, electromagnetic pulse weapons, and cyberattacks put the U.S. homeland at risk like never before. By David Pyne.

U.S. leaders have been seemingly unconcerned about the increasingly bellicose and militarily superior “New Axis” powers aligning against it since the end of the Cold War….

Russia and China now lead a military alliance that includes over 68 percent of the landmass of Eurasia, nearly 42 percent of the world’s population, nearly 30 percent of the world’s GDP, and approximately 75 percent of the world’s operational nuclear weapons, with over two-thirds of them deployed by Russia.

Russia developed super-electromagnetic pulse weapons more than two decades ago. These nuclear weapons are designed to greatly enhance their EMP effects. It subsequently shared this deadly technology with its Chinese and North Korean allies. More recently, Russia, China, and North Korea have been assessed as likely having the capability to use EMP and cyberwarfare attacks to shut down America’s electrical power grid and other critical infrastructure, including the internet, financial systems, transportation systems, food, and water distribution systems, communications systems and emergency services in a matter of minutes.

Such attacks could possibly disable the Global Positioning System and military early-warning satellites, blinding Americans to subsequent attacks against the United States and its allies. … Also, it could prevent America’s conventional military forces from being able to communicate with their commanders or coordinate their attacks, making them much easier to defeat. The United States has yet to develop any super-EMP weapons to help deter any such attack.

President Joe Biden was elected, in part, on a platform of protecting the environment from global climate change. However, few people realize that a super-EMP or cyberattack on the U.S. homeland would likely be far more catastrophic for American citizens and the environment. … If such an attack were to occur, then U.S. leaders might not be certain which country attacked us or who to retaliate against. In 2008, the Congressional EMP Commission estimated that such a cataclysmic attack on a national scale could cause up to 90 percent of Americans to die within twelve months due to starvation, disease, and societal breakdown. …

How did America’s leaders allow the country to become so vulnerable? U.S. leaders began a policy of nuclear disarmament at a pace far exceeding Russia’s following the end of the Cold War, naively believing the existential threat had passed. …

By 2016, the U.S. nuclear arsenal had been reduced from 30,000 nuclear weapons to only 1,750 operational warheads. Many of these weapons are deployed on aging delivery systems of increasingly questionable reliability. Today, only 720 of America’s warheads are ready to launch at any given time, of which 50 percent would likely survive a full-scale nuclear first strike. …

Over the past decade, the United States has allowed itself to be overtaken by the Sino-Russian alliance in virtually every recognized measure of strategic military power. This includes offensive nuclear weapon systems, national missile defenses, hypersonic weapons, super-EMP weapons, and cyberwarfare capabilities. America has fallen behind its adversaries in terms of their combined economic and industrial manufacturing might, their ability to produce major weapon systems without foreign components, their hardening of critical infrastructures against EMP/cyberattack, their civil defenses, and overall nuclear war survivability.

The Department of Defense estimated in 2017 that the Russian Federation was in the process of building its own nuclear arsenal to total 8,000 deployed warheads, which is over four and a half times more operational nuclear warheads than the United States possesses. Russia has also deployed six strategic nuclear “superweapon” systems of a type the United States does not even possess that are not limited by existing arms control treaties. Former Defense Intelligence Agency intelligence officer Rebekah Koffler has stated, Putin believes war with the United States is “unavoidable.”

In August, Koffler wrote in an op-ed for The Hill that,

Moscow is prepared to fight a nuclear war over its perceived sphere of influence, on which Russia has relied for centuries as its strategic security perimeter… The Kremlin envisions fighting a limited nuclear war with Washington, over contested areas such as Ukraine and Crimea, the latter of which Russia illegally annexed in 2014… Moscow also has conducted mock nuclear attacks on the U.S. homeland. The Russians regularly practice nuclear launches in simulation exercises, with Putin “pressing the button.” … There is no question that Russia is preparing for a nuclear conflict with the United States and NATO. The only question is whether this conflict can be deterred or fought.

China is building up its forces at a “breathtaking” pace:

Meanwhile, U.S. satellite imagery has revealed that China is in the process of rapidly expanding its strategic nuclear arsenal by up to 4,000 warheads — a number of nuclear warheads up to twenty times greater than recent U.S. Department of Defense estimates of the size of their entire nuclear arsenal. …

Russia and China could field a combined force of 9,000 deployed strategic nuclear warheads within the next few years, 7,200 of which will be on alert and ready to fire at any given time. …

Last month, Adm. Charles Richard, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, said that America was “witnessing a strategic breakout by China.” “The explosive growth in their nuclear and conventional forces can only be what I described as breathtaking. … Frankly, that word ‘breathtaking’ may not be enough,” he said.

Richard characterized China as a “peer” nuclear competitor and noted that we now face two nuclear “peer” competitors, Russia and China, compared to one during the Cold War.