American concern about the potential growth of China’s nuclear arsenal is the current topic in Washington. Some data collected by the Chinese Aerospace Studies Institute, an American institute linked to the Department of Defense, indicate preparations for a substantial increase in Beijing’s nuclear power.
The construction of new bases that received intercontinental ballistic missiles indicates that China is preparing a considerable expansion of its arsenal of 350 warheads, not yet organized, with ample capacity to use the attack. For comparison, the United States has approximately 6,000 warheads.
This change in Chinese posture profoundly affects US nuclear strategy, which has always understood that (in theory) it could eliminate Chinese nuclear forces, provided it had a secure knowledge of its location, without fear of a counterattack.
China, for many years, built its nuclear strategy around the power of reaction against an attack, where they sought to maintain a retaliatory capability, but not necessarily the first strike. With the strategic shift, based on an expansion of ballistic missiles and (potentially) warheads, China could secure the first-strike capability as well as increase its retaliatory power if it kept the location of these missiles out of the US knowledge.
This changes the way the two countries organize themselves militarily in relation to each other. China would hypothetically start to neutralize the North American nuclear disproportionality, being able to focus on obtaining an advantage in the local naval volume (Indo-Pacific).
What happens in Afghanistan is an immediate result of the clumsy exit of the Americans from the country, causing the Taliban to conquer ground in the face of the minimal reaction of the Afghan forces.
Dialogue with the Taliban
China is also directly involved in what is happening in Afghanistan. With the departure of US troops and the Chinese advance in their political influence over Pakistan, China began to dialogue not only with the Afghan government but also with the Taliban leadership in the country.
As the Taliban gained ground, the Chinese government intensified dialogue with the terrorist group (in the Western view, and revolutionary in the Chinese view), offering legitimacy in its advance through Afghanistan that culminated in the takeover of the capital, Kabul.
A Taliban government in Afghanistan treated as legitimate by the world’s second-highest economic and military potential is likely to have direct and complicated effects in the region. It encourages similar groups in other countries with low institutionality, as well as an eventual expansion of the Taliban beyond its borders.
There is still a lot to happen. In Afghanistan, the cards are being dealt and we can see there an essay of the first proxy war (proxy war, in English) between the USA and China.
In the nuclear field, the game has a slower pace. It remains for the US to analyze whether the increase in Chinese military power is also directly related to the confidence that China will have to act in countries in the region, such as Afghanistan.
Source: with Agencies