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Trump’s Absurd Desire for More Nukes

NBC reports [1] that one reason Tillerson called Trump a “moron” after a meeting earlier this year may have been his exasperation with the president’s ridiculous desire to have a much larger nuclear arsenal:

President Donald Trump said he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation’s highest ranking national security leaders, according to three officials who were in the room [bold mine-DL].

Trump’s comments, the officials said, came in response to a briefing slide he was shown that charted the steady reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons since the late 1960s. Trump indicated he wanted a bigger stockpile, not the bottom position on that downward-sloping curve [bold mine-DL].

It would be difficult to come up with a more absurd idea for a worse reason than this. The nuclear arsenals of the U.S. and the Soviet Union/Russia have been steadily reduced over decades of painstaking negotiations and multiple treaties that have eliminated tens of thousands of destructive weapons that served no rational purpose. Trump reportedly wanted to reverse all of that:

Officials present said that Trump’s comments on a significantly increased arsenal came in response to a briefing slide that outlined America’s nuclear stockpile over the past 70 years. The president referenced the highest number on the chart — about 32,000 in the late 1960s — and told his team he wanted the U.S. to have that many now, officials said [bold mine-DL].

Increasing the arsenal to return it to its mid-Cold War size is an insane thing to want to do. The expense alone would be ruinous. It would require abrogating all of the arms reduction and limitation treaties the U.S. has ratified over the decades. In the very unlikely event that could be done, the arms race it would set off would be extremely dangerous. A huge increase isn’t going to happen, but the fact that Trump didn’t understand any of this and had to have it explained to him is alarming.

The purported reason for Trump’s desire to have a bigger arsenal is sadly typical for him: he doesn’t want to be associated with having a relatively smaller nuclear arsenal, but wants to be known for having the biggest one simply as a way to boost his ego. Since Trump is a militarist, it is not all that surprising that he would want to waste vast amounts of money to build large numbers of massively destructive weapons just for the sake of having more of them. It tells us just how terrible his judgment is that he thought anything like this would be a good idea.

11 Comments (Open | Close)

11 Comments To "Trump’s Absurd Desire for More Nukes"

#1 Comment By Christian Chuba On October 11, 2017 @ 9:11 am

There are Neocon pushers who have visions of the 1980’s all over again. Just look at Tom Cotton who is looking at ways to bypass the INF and there are others who note that tactical nukes aren’t included in any of the current treaties.

Fighting yesterday’s war is quite dangerous. For one thing, our borders are much closer to Russia’s homeland than during the Cold War, so if we stockpile stealth cruise missiles and new hypersonic weapons on their border we will create a hair trigger environment. The Neocons think they will bankrupt Russia or possibly achieve nuclear primacy. Russia’s defense spending pattern shows that they will never let this happen.

Sleep deprived crews on U.S. missile ships in the Baltic Sea manning tactical nuclear weapons, what can go wrong?

#2 Comment By li On October 11, 2017 @ 9:43 am

As Stephen Walt tweeted before the election, Hey folks: it is ok to think #HillaryClinton’s views on foreign policy are wrong/dangerous & also believe @realDonaldTrump would be worse.

#3 Comment By mark_be On October 11, 2017 @ 9:58 am

So, I guess we should be glad that the next slide, showing how the current highest-yield warhead is only 1/20th as powerful as the largest ever fielded by the US, was quickly skipped while the Brilliant Moron was expertly distracted by his aides.

#4 Comment By victory over eurasia On October 11, 2017 @ 11:30 am

I guess Tillerson’s judgement isn’t so bad……

#5 Comment By rayray On October 11, 2017 @ 11:44 am

To what end do we want to bankrupt Russia? What is the goal here? What strategic goal is accomplished by this “ploughshares into swords” nonsense?

Two things:
1. This is part of a larger privatization of the military. Should even a truncated vision of Trump’s stupidity get executed companies like Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, GenCorp Aerojet, Huntington Ingalls, Lockheed Martin, etc. will do very very well. This is ultimately the whole game, these companies are massively supportive of hawks’ campaigns and will continue to be more and more so because the payoff is gigantic.

2. Trump will finally prove that he’s not inadequate in the pants area.

#6 Comment By One Guy On October 11, 2017 @ 12:30 pm

Why do we pay any attention to what Trump says anymore? He just says stuff to get attention. As long as he gets attention, he’ll keep saying stupid stuff. We aren’t going to increase nukes tenfold any more than we’re going to build a wall or lock up Hillary. And can we move from, “What he says is not accurate” to “He’s lying”, please?

#7 Comment By Christian Chuba On October 11, 2017 @ 1:07 pm

I’m just telling you about the Neocon’s magical thinking. They believe they can bankrupt Russia, hopefully breaking them into smaller states and taking their nuclear arsenal this time around. Or at the very least, keep Russia so pre-occupied w/military spending that we can reign supreme on the international stage while they are bottled up in their enclave. I read too many depressing articles from these psycho’s, it’s not hard to pick up on their thinking, it’s not like they try to hide their thinking 🙂

We will lose Cold War 2 if they have their way.
1. Putin is onto that game. He watches Defense spending like a hawk and on the O.S. interviews even made a reference to asymmetric Defense spending as a strategy. Ie. we aint falling for that again.

2. Russia doesn’t have client states like the Soviet Union so they don’t have that siphoning off their life blood.

Ironically, we have both client states and an obsession with power projection and are totally unrealistic about our expectations.

#8 Comment By Ollie On October 11, 2017 @ 1:21 pm

Trump is a moron. Trump is crazy.
Trump is a danger to the world. Trump must be removed. No question about it.

#9 Comment By b. On October 11, 2017 @ 3:01 pm

To be frank, Obama’s trillion dollar ambition to effectively increase the yield of existing warheads by better timing of detonation over target is just the “smart” version of the same fallacy.

I agree that, one some level, for some people, this is just another venue for the conversion of public tax revenue into private profit.

I don’t have any problem understanding why it is the US elites’ long-standing ambition to turn Russia into a failed state – that nation owns the largest contiguous territory on Earth, the value of which only set to increase as climate change kicks in, with ice-free harbors along the Arctic Sea, and a major oil-exporting nation. That, too, is only a profitable perspective for some, a creed of sorts for others.

The tactical nuke idiocy is just more of the same, these were instructive:

[2]

[3]

Specifically to forward deploying tactical nukes around Russia and in South Korea, we have been there in the early Reagan years, and it is this idiocy on steroids:

[4]

It is however questionable that the not obviously insane version of this play would have not aligned very well with Clintonian foreign policy. I have heard about enough about their “damn Russians”.

#10 Comment By DP On October 11, 2017 @ 3:09 pm

Another day, another depressing bit of infantile idiocy.

Sigh.

#11 Comment By Whine Merchant On October 11, 2017 @ 6:02 pm

We need to temper our reaction to these Trumpisms. They are just part of his red meat to his base, keeping their short attention span meth-addicted brains distracted from his lack of substance. Like the investigation into the fraudulent 3,000,000+ votes cast for HRC, nothing will come of it and it will soon fade away…

This is called “modern presidential”.