Under the new review, the US will now be able to develop non-strategic nuclear weapons, develop and modernize its own 'nuclear triad' and deploy bomber aircrafts that could carry nuclear weapons around the world. The Pentagon also said that it doesn't exclude the possibility of using nuclear weapons in case of an attack on the US by means of conventional weapons.
Sputnik spoke to Turkish experts about the US’ nuclear policy and its possible consequences for Turkey and the whole region.
"The US announced its intention to pursue a policy aimed at developing nuclear weapons. In Turkey, at the Incirlik military base, as part of the nuclear deterrence program 50 tactical nuclear bombs have been deployed for a long time now. Thus, the United States has pursued a similar policy of strengthening its nuclear capabilities for many years.
The US has been pursuing a cunning, behind-the-scenes policy based on black propaganda. It's 2018 now and the US have declared the nuclear weapons strategy, while, in fact, they have been carrying it out since 2009. As part of this strategy the 3rd and 4th outdated versions of the B61 atomic bombs located at the Incirlik base have long been replaced by a modern, more powerful version, the B61-12. It's obvious that America has been carrying out this work for the last nine years," he said.
The ex-Major-General also noted that the US wants to confront China and Russia.
"The US has been carrying out a nuclear policy similar to its Middle Eastern strategy in Asia. It's important to compare the nuclear warheads of North Korea and the United States. Let's say that if North Korea has 20-30 warheads, then the US has thousands of them. The true goal of America, which often criticizes North Korea, is to encircle China and Russia in the Asia-Pacific region, to strengthen its positions in this region, as well as to increase the volume of arms sales to countries such as Japan and South Korea, the United States uses North Korea as a pretext."
Karataş pointed out that the US realizes that today it's not a superpower in terms of conventional weapons, so it has officially declared its intention to build up the nation’s nuclear capabilities.
"Under these circumstances, Turkey can become a nuclear target of the United States. Therefore, it is necessary to refuse to follow American policy within the framework of NATO or other organizations. Turkey doesn't have to follow the American political strategy, so it must close the Incirlik base and withdraw all US nuclear weapons from its territory as soon as possible. Otherwise, Turkey will find itself among America's nuclear targets," he stressed.
Political analyst Özdemir Akbal, commenting on the possible international consequences of the announced US nuclear strategy, said: "There is a significant difference between the US statements about the intention to use hard power and real actions. For example, during the Vietnam War, the US military command from time to time would send orders to bomb various enemy positions to members of the peace talks delegation in Vietnam. The military command would in return receive a backlash from the political side, which saw in these demands an attempt to drag the country into war with China. As a result, the demands were rejected. This example clearly shows that the boiling point, the limit of patience of one side is the point of restraint of the other side."
By means of an explanation for what's holding US back, Akbal suggested: "At the moment this restrain is the current economic relations between Russia and China and the United States. America is currently trying to demonstrate its strength, but using force in reality is a completely different matter. History shows us that, despite its potential, the United States, because of various political and economic constraints, is not able to use its power to its maximum. And this factor has already prevented a possible nuclear war."
The review of US nuclear policies was ordered by President Trump a year ago and Washington says that the new strategy is designed to make the use of nuclear weapons less likely but at the same time calls for new warheads and missiles to counter perceived threats from the likes of Russia and China.
The views expressed in this article by Beyazıt Karataş and Özdemir Akbal are solely those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the position of Sputnik.