MOSCOW, Ru. – Amid preparations for a large-scale military exercise in the Sea of Japan this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that in the event Donald Trump takes office following the 2016 presidential election, both countries will launch a preemptive strike on the United States. Putin called the threat “a humanitarian intervention on behalf of every nation” and said Russia and China are prepared to act unilaterally in the face of opposition.
Speaking from the Rose Garden today, President Barack Obama condemned Russian and Chinese leadership over the threat while calling for increased diplomacy between the three countries. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested an emergency meeting with the U.N. Security Council and reaffirmed Israel’s alliance with the United States. “In the event of an attack on the United States, Israel will not hesitate to use every available asset at its disposal to secure its safety and that of its allies,” the prime minister said.
A high-ranking Russian official speaking on condition of anonymity told Al-Jazeera that neither country has ruled out the possibility of using nuclear weapons against the United States. “There is a scenario calling for tactical [nuclear] strikes on coastal military installations. We are working now to identify the most lucrative targets,” the official said. Russia is currently in possession of an estimated 2,500 strategic nuclear weapons, with ICBMs capable of reaching targets at a distance of 14,000 kilometers. China, respectively, holds around 250 nuclear weapons in its arsenal.
Chinese President Xi said he has instructed his nation’s military to begin positioning a number of its intercontinental ballistic missiles within range of major metropolitan areas along the western United States. Referring to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Xi said, “In 1945 the Japanese had to be stopped. Perhaps in 2017 the Americans will face a similar fate.” The Chinese president said nuclear weapons should only be used as a deterrent but added, “Sometimes terrible things must be done in the name of peace.”
According to a recent CNN/ORC poll, 22% of Iowan voters favor Donald Trump over other Republican presidential candidates. Trump, who is considered to have the best chance of winning the general election, is currently preferred over 3 to 1 on a number of issues including the economy, terrorism, and immigration. Dr. Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, is the second most popular GOP candidate among Iowa voters, coming in at 14%.