Trump administration wants new 'low-yield' nukes, leaked report shows

14 January, 2018, 00:26 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Donald Trump Mitch McConnell Paul Ryan

While a massive $1.3 trillion, 30-year scheme to refurbish all the elements of the U.S. nuclear "triad"-intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and strategic bombers-was introduced under the Obama administration, it had always been stated USA policy not to build new types of nuclear warheads".

Leaving nuclear weapons systems vulnerable to cyber criminals could have risky consequences, including them possibly setting off the weapon during a time of crisis through data manipulation.

Jon Wolfsthal: This is certainly very depressing and worrying news that we're hearing today.

The development of the new tactical nuclear weapons would represent a direct violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty reached between Washington and Moscow in 1987. Like Obama, Trump would consider using nuclear weapons only in "extreme circumstances", while maintaining a degree of ambiguity about what that means.

The Trump administration views the North Korean threats, along with what it sees as provocative nuclear rhetoric from Russian Federation, as evidence that security conditions no longer support the idea that the USA can rely less on nuclear weapons or further limit their role in national defense. At the of 2017, 122 countries at the United Nations voted to support a global ban treaty on nuclear so the majority opinion amongst countries in the world is to try take some serious steps in getting rid of nuclear weapons and de-escalating the threat of nuclear war, so it was very much against prevailing an worldwide political consensus. The new administration will likely seek to accelerate and bolster the already unaffordable, 30-year, $1.3 trillion scheme to replace and upgrade all elements of the US nuclear triad and supporting infrastructure at force levels that exceed requirements set by the 2010 NPR Report and follow-on studies.

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"The new policy laid out in this document is risky on multiple levels". The United States already possesses a diverse array of nuclear capabilities, and there is no evidence that more usable weapons will strengthen deterrence of adversaries or compel them to make different choices about their arsenals.

A Department of Defense document obtained by HuffPost calls for adding "low-yield" nuclear weapons to the U.S. arsenal in order to counter Russia, Iran, North Korea, and other countries.

"Russia's belief that limited nuclear first use, potentially including low-yield weapons, can provide such an advantage is based, in part, on Moscow's perception that its greater number and variety of non-strategic nuclear weapons provide a coercive advantage and at lower levels of conflict", the Review states. I think it changes the context - most global opinion is that nuclear war is unthinkable. Furthermore, if new designs are pursued, nuclear testing is more likely. The U.S. arsenal is intimidating enough to deter a nuclear attack by others.

Arms control advocates have voiced alarm at the new proposal to make smaller, more "usable" nuclear weapons, arguing it makes a nuclear war more likely, especially in view of what they see as Donald Trump's volatility and readiness to brandish the United States arsenal in showdowns with the nation's adversaries.

IDN is the flagship of International Press Syndicate.

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