Hawks up the ante: China is now a nuclear threat, too | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Hawks up the ante: China is now a nuclear threat, too

As part of their campaign to agitate for intensified rivalry with the Chinese government, China hawks are feigning interest in arms control so that they can engage in reckless fearmongering about a mostly imaginary Chinese nuclear buildup.

According to U.S. government estimates, China possesses fewer than 300 nuclear weapons, and there is no reason to think that they are looking to increase that number significantly. Hawks like Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) claim that China is intent on achieving parity with the United States, and that their government is working on a massive secret expansion of their nuclear arsenal, but they have no evidence to support their wild charges. These critics hope to frighten Americans about Chinese nukes in order to build support for a more aggressive anti-China policy and to justify huge, unnecessary expenditures on new nuclear weapons.

The Biden administration will need to tune them out and look for ways to engage China constructively on arms control to stop a future arms race before it starts.

The hawkish interest in arms control with China is disingenuous as always. In the last year of Trump’s presidency, the U.S. envoy for arms control, Marshall Billingslea, was insistent that China be included as part of the discussions related to extending New START, the arms reduction treaty between the U.S. and Russia that was set to expire in February 2021. Including China as part of these discussions never made any sense because of the much smaller size of the Chinese arsenal, and Beijing naturally wanted no part in the negotiations.