Donald Trump Casually Suggests the U.S. Should Lead the World Into a New Nuclear Arms Race

In Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, Politics, War on February 24, 2017 at 10:59 pm

By Elliot Hannon, Slate, Feb. 23, 2017

Donald Trump, after a lifetime of real-estate deals and reality TV show whatever, is now the president of the United States, and as the president, he now gets to have an opinion about things he knows little about, has never shown an interest in, and, unfortunately, affect us all. The latest example of this is Trump’s advocating—in an interview with Reuters Thursday—for the United States to bulk up its nuclear arsenal. Really. “It would be wonderful; a dream would be that no country would have nukes, but if countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack,” Trump said. Russia currently has roughly 400 more deployed nuclear warheads than the U.S., which has 1,367 deployed, according to the State Department.
That’s unsettlingly loose rhetoric after decades of careful negotiation to try to limit the supply of nuclear weapons and their potential for use. Trump went one step further during the interview, suggesting that he was dissatisfied with the New START strategic arms–limitation treaty between the U.S. and Russia, which requires both countries to limit their nuclear arsenals to equal levels over the next decade. “The treaty permits both countries to have no more than 800 deployed and non-deployed land-based intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missile launchers and heavy bombers equipped to carry nuclear weapons, and contains equal limits on other nuclear weapons,” according to Reuters.

At least in December he was only about to be the leader of the free world, he wasn’t the actual thing yet.

If you were watching a news program, say, three years ago on any station, even Fox News, and a discussion about nuclear proliferation came on, and the anchor turned from his panel of guests and said “let’s bring Donald Trump in on this discussion to get his take on things,” you would have lost your mind. But here we are.

North Korea conducted a ballistic missile test early on Sunday morning (local time), the first such test of the new Trump administration. The missile was fired into the sea, a provocative, though not unprecedented move by Pyongyang, in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions banning such tests by North Korea in order to deter the country from developing nuclear capability.

Here’s more on the test from CNN:

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff told CNN that the missile appears to be a modified intermediate-range Musudan level missile. Earlier analysis had guessed it to be a shorter-range Rodong. They ruled out the possibility that it was a longer-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) — which are usually designed to carry nuclear warheads — based on the flight distance. Sources told CNN that the missile traveled 500 kilometers (310 miles) before landing in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, and that it was launched from North Pyongan Province.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the test from Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, stating that it “can absolutely not be tolerated.” “The United States of America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100 percent,” Trump said on Saturday.


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