Carter delivered this surprisingly direct and candid program statement, riddled with accusations against Russia for what he called “nuclear saber-rattling” and “violating sovereignty” of US allies, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, AP reported on Saturday.
The US official once again put Russia and China in the same league as Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) when listing America’s top-ranked bogeymen.
“Terror elements like ISIL, of course, stand entirely opposed to our values. But other challenges are more complicated, and given their size and capabilities, potentially more damaging,” he said.
“Some actors appear intent on eroding these principles and undercutting the international order that helps enforce them… Of course, neither Russia nor China can overturn that order. But both present different challenges for it,” Carter said.
According to AP, Russia and China are challenging “American preeminence” and Washington’s so-called “stewardship of the world order” as they reassert themselves on the international arena as serious military powers.
According to Carter, their “challenging activities” can be seen at every possible level, be it at sea, in the air, in space – or even in cyberspace. “Most disturbing” for the US official, however, is what he called “Moscow’s nuclear saber-rattling,” which in his view “raises questions about Russian leaders’ commitment to strategic stability, their respect for norms against the use of nuclear weapons, and whether they respect the profound caution nuclear-age leaders showed with regard to the brandishing of nuclear weapons.”
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