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Pentagon’s Strategy Won’t Rule Out Nuclear Use Against Non-Nuclear Threats

  • Defense strategy shuns limits on use once embraced by Biden
  • US to face both China and Russia as major nuclear powers
The Pentagon

The Pentagon

Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images 

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The Pentagon’s new National Defense Strategy rejected limits on using nuclear weapons long championed by arms control advocates and in the past by President Joe Biden.

Citing burgeoning threats from China and Russia, the Defense Department said in the document released Thursday that “by the 2030s the United States will, for the first time in its history face two major nuclear powers as strategic competitors and potential adversaries.” In response, the US will “maintain a very high bar for nuclear employment” without ruling out using the weapons in retaliation to a non-nuclear strategic threat to the homeland, US forces abroad or allies.