Austin warns of nuclear weapons as a “fishing license” for autocrats

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned on Saturday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine offered a glimpse into a world in which nuclear-armed states could threaten other nations, and said Beijing, like Moscow, seeks a world in which force rectifies.

Austin made the remarks at the annual Halifax International Security Forum, which draws defense and security officials from Western democracies.

“The Russian invasion offers a preview of a potential world of tyranny and disorder in which none of us would like to live,” Austin said in a speech. “It is an invitation to a world increasingly insecure and haunted by the specter of nuclear proliferation.”

Because Putin’s fellow autocrats are watching. They could conclude that acquiring nuclear weapons would give them their own hunting license. This could lead to a dangerous spiral of nuclear proliferation.”

Austin dismissed Putin’s claims that “modern Ukraine is entirely a creation of Russia”, describing it as a vision of “a world in which autocrats decide which countries are real and which countries can be eliminated”.

He added that the war “shows the whole world the dangers of chaos. This is the security challenge we face. It is urgent and historic.”

But we will meet her. “The basic principles of democracy are under siege around the world,” he said.

Danger of nuclear “Armageddon”.

US President Joe Biden declared last month that the threat of nuclear “Armageddon” is at the highest level since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Russian officials raised the issue of using tactical nuclear weapons after suffering massive setbacks in the nearly nine-month invasion of Ukraine.

While U.S. officials have warned for months that Russia could use weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine in the face of setbacks on the battlefield, Biden administration officials have said repeatedly that nothing has changed in U.S. intelligence assessments that Putin has imminent plans to deploy nuclear weapons. arms.

CIA Director Bill Burns recently met with his counterpart in Russian intelligence to warn of the consequences of Russia’s deployment of a nuclear weapon in Ukraine.

Austin said that nuclear weapons should be responsibly controlled, and not used to threaten the world.

Ukraine is facing a harsh winter. As Russia’s battlefield position erodes, he said, Putin may once again resort to wildly irresponsible nuclear rants.

Austin also compared Russia to China, saying that Beijing is trying to reshape the region and the international system to suit its authoritarian preferences. He pointed to China’s increasing military activities in the Taiwan Strait.

“Beijing, like Moscow, seeks a world where might is right, where differences are resolved by force, and where autocrats can extinguish the flame of freedom,” he said.

Global Security Path

Austin called Putin’s invasion the worst security crisis since the end of World War II and Austin said the outcome “will help set the course for global security in this young century”.

Austin said the deadly missile explosion in Poland this week is the result of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “favorite war” against Ukraine. “The tragic and disturbing explosion in Poland this week reminded the whole world of the recklessness of the war that Putin chose,” said Austin.

On Tuesday, two workers were killed when a shell hit a grain-drying facility near Poland’s border with Ukraine. While investigating the source of the missile, NATO officials said they suspected it was launched from a Ukrainian missile battery.

Officials from Poland, NATO and the United States blamed Russia for the deaths anyway, saying that a Ukrainian missile would not have misfired had the country not been forced to defend itself against heavy Russian attacks that day.

Russian officials have described the conflict as an anti-NATO struggle – even though Ukraine is not a NATO member even if it receives aid from NATO member states.

Austin said that NATO is a defensive alliance and poses no threat to Russia.

“Make no mistake: we will not be drawn into Putin’s war that he has chosen. But we will stand by Ukraine as it struggles to defend itself. We will defend every inch of NATO territory,” Austin said.

A Polish investigation has been launched to determine the source of the missile and the circumstances of the explosion, with the support of US and Ukrainian investigators.

“It’s not right to say it’s a Ukrainian missile, or a Russian missile, before the investigation is over,” Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff of the President of Ukraine, said in a live interview at the forum.

In its 14th year, about 300 people gather each year for the Halifax International Security Forum held at Halifax’s Westin Hotel, where some 13 Ukrainian refugees now work.

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