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    March 3, 2002 file photo shows a member of the public watching a US Air Force B 52 bomber arriving at RAF Fairford in western England. Pushing his vision of a nuclear weapons-free world, President Barack Obama returned to Prague on Thursday, April 8, 2010 to sign a pivotal treaty aimed at sharply paring U.S. and Russian arsenals — and repairing soured relations between the nations. With that, they will commit their nations to slash the number of strategic nuclear warheads by one-third and more than halve the number of missiles, submarines and bombers carrying them, pending ratification by their legislatures. The new treaty will shrink those warheads to 1,550 over seven years. That still allows for mutual destruction several times over. But it will send a strong signal that Russia and the U.S., which between them own more than 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons, are serious about disarmament.

    'US Still Reverting Back to the Notion of Military Hegemony' – China Strategist

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    US General John Hyten has said that US submarines can decimate Russia and China. Speaking at a hearing on the 2019 US Strategic Forces Posture, Hyten said that China and Russia can’t do anything that the US couldn't respond to, aside from a massive attack. Sputnik discussed this with Andrew Leung, an independent China strategist.

    Sputnik: What has been China's reaction to the STRATCOM Commander's statement so far, has there been a reaction?

    Andrew Leung: Well the first reaction is not just specifically to this; look, the United States recently released two game-changing strategy papers. The first one is the National Security Strategy, naming Russia and China as [America's] main rival, if not enemy, as revisionist powers challenging the US-led world order. The other one is the National Defense Strategy, [which puts] a lot of emphasis on nuclear weapons, their legality and even suggesting the US should develop militarized nuclear weapons to respond to the so-called threat from Russia and China. So this latest thing from STRATCOM is nothing new actually, because he's merely talking about a credible, survivable second strike; this has been [a] reality [since] after the Second World War, because Russia is a nuclear power and so is China, and during the period of the Cold War all countries developed nuclear deterrents, capabilities leading to so-called mutual assured destruction. 

    READ MORE: US Reportedly Expands Missile Strategy – Here are the Alleged Targets

    Mutual assured destruction means, whichever country dares to strike first, the other would have the capability to strike back, making sure both countries would perish. I think that this has been going on for a long, long time, so what he has been saying is that basically, Russia and China won't be able to find its submarines even if Russia or China prepare to mount a first strike. Well, this is nothing new, but of course, what is new is a kind of renewed Cold War, a kind of mentality where it seems that the only toolbox in international relations, international rivalry or competition is increased military cohesion. 

    Now this is a no-brainer, because [each of] the top nuclear powers in the world, the United States, Russia and China, particularly the United States and Russia, could destroy not only the two [other] countries but the entire world several times over, so merely developing a new type of weapon won't change these dynamics. I think what is worrying is that the United States, with the 'America First' strategy, is still reverting back to this worn out notion of military hegemony, because in a world which is internationally connected,  the mutually assured destruction reality still prevailing between the United States and Russia, and also increasingly China — it's a formula which can boost any countries to hegemony.

    READ MORE: Possible Deployment of Russia's Su-57 in Syria 'a Message' to US – Analyst

    But the hegemony is gone and the world is multipolar, mutually dependent and mutually connected. One's national power and national influence rest on a lot of things, including the military, but also economic power, soft power, and the ability to solve problems for the entire world, earning a lot of respect with one's allies and with most of the world. So I think in a world which is connected by the internet, which eliminates geography and [where] connectivity is instantaneous, no matter what products [are in] most of the countries, even if you take any product that is not made in China these days you're bound to find there's input in it contributed by China, and also China relies on the global network; that applies to other countries as well. What is worrying is that this paradigm, this old mindset, firstly is it's a zero-sum game and secondly, it's going back to the so-called Pax Americana, the American hegemony, America First kind of mentality, which nowadays does not work anymore.

    Sputnik: Are we seeing a shift in China's military strategy? You've mentioned that this is not the first step toward this increased military aggression or stance by the US, but we also had the military posture which talked about Russia and China as major threats to the US. Has China changed its military strategy, has it pushed to upgrade and further develop military capabilities in light of this new position of the US?

    Andrew Leung: Absolutely, I think, that another misread of China is that China used to be following Deng Xiaoping's famous doctrine of hiding one's powers, hiding one's light under the bushel and buying one's time. But when China has grown to be a 10 million ton panda,  even if it's a panda, obviously, you can't hide anymore. Also China is a country with a lot of borders and a very-very long coastline connected to and bordering many other countries and some of them are not as friendly towards China as before, and of course China's history is full of centuries of the reality of China being invaded, China being humiliated and that kind of thing. So as China has grown to become bigger and is now the second largest economy in the world, and is now growing relatively well and is set to reach its first millennium goal, by the year 2035, to become a reasonably rich, reasonably well off kind of economy, then China will have the capability to build up its military, in defense of its own interests.

    The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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