If you haven’t read this weekend’s WSJ report on the accelerating PRC strategic nuclear-weapons program, you ought to. The Chinese-Communist leadership is investing in a crash nuclear-program expansion for a couple of major reasons. One is the fear that the United States may in fact decide to pursue regime change in Beijing — which is not presently the policy, but ought to be — and the other, secondary (and to some extent post-facto) reason is the observed effect of the Russian nuclear-weapons capability upon American decisionmaking vis a vis Ukraine:
The Chinese observation is accurate. The technical possibility of a nuclear war with Russia has made American policymakers, mostly in the Executive Branch, excessively wary in their deliberations and actions on aid to Ukraine. Major weapons systems whose delivery should have been expedited weeks ago — most notably but not only aircraft, which will be much-missed in the coming battle for the Donbas — had their delivery delayed or cancelled by a White House fearful of an escalatory spiral. The 27 February Russian announcement of a strategic-forces nuclear alert managed to spur comment from a White House apparently more eager to calm perceptions than deter real action. Just two weeks back, the Americans unilaterally delayed a critical ICBM test out of deference to presumed Russian paranoia. Even now, American commitment to Ukraine’s fight is bounded by a genuine fear that nuclear holocaust is just one misstep away.