Trump wants to make nuclear weapons easier to use — and that should dismay everyone

trump nuclear weapons getty shutterstock business insider illustration
it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and
exist them all.”

Getty Images; US
Navy; painting by Business Insider

  • HuffPost has published a leaked, Jan 2018 breeze of
    the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, due out in
  • While the request echoes the Obama administration’s
    nuclear modernization plan, it contains major differences and
    is laced with “dark perspective.”
  • One annulment is a pull for additional “flexible” and
    “low-yield” nuclear weapons in the US arsenal.
  • This change could make nuclear weapons easier to use in
    combat, spur

    nuclear proliferation, lead to
    grave miscalculations, and boost the risk of atomic

A little some-more than a year ago, Donald Trump done two of the most

shocking statements of his domestic career. Now they appear
staid to turn US policy, in light of a supervision document
leaked to HuffPost.

The first matter occurred on Dec 22, 2016, when Trump
tweeted that the US “must
severely strengthen and enhance its nuclear capability until such
time as the universe comes to its senses per nukes.”

Trump’s aides claimed he wasn’t starting a
nuclear arms race. But he tricked their spin the following day.

“Let it be an arms race,” Trump reportedly told MSNBC “Morning Joe” host
Mika Brzezinski over the phone. “We will outmatch them at every
pass and exist them all.”

Both Republican and Democratic presidential administrations have
worked for decades to reduce
US and global nuclear weapons stockpiles, so Trump’s views
represented a annulment of longstanding efforts at
denuclearization. Because he was president-elect at the time,
doubts existed as to either he — once sworn in and surrounded by
presumably gifted and efficient cupboard members — would act
on them.

But what little room for doubt is left has shrunk considerably.

us nuclear viewpoint examination january 2018 breeze 1
first page of a Jan 2018 Nuclear Posture Report

around HuffPost/DocumentCloud

On Thursday, HuffPost comparison contributor Ashley Feinberg published
what appears to be a Jan 2018 breeze of the
Nuclear Posture Review.

An NPR, as it’s also called, is a
roadmap for US nuclear strategy published every 4 years. It is
fabricated by the Secretary of Defense, who is now Jim
Mattis, and other administration officials formed on the
president’s input.

The 64-page request is not a call
for stockpiling large numbers of atomic bombs. However, it
outlines the Trump administration’s aims to not only expand
nuclear weapons capabilities, but also make the inclination eminently
easier for military forces to use.

When asked about the document’s authenticity, Feinberg told
Business Insider around twitter that it “comports
with what attention people/lobbyists/the people quoted in my post
have listened and seen.”

A final chronicle of the NPR is slated for announcement in February,
according to HuffPost, and — given a year of work put into the
report — is doubtful to change much.

And that should dismay us all.

Why Trump thinks the US needs some-more nukes

North Korean personality Kim Jong Un provides superintendence on a nuclear weapons program in this undated photo expelled by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang Sep 3, 2017.  KCNA around REUTERS
Korean personality Kim Jong Un stands before what may be partial of a
miniaturized thermonuclear warhead.


Trump is worried about the nuclear weapons modernization efforts
of Russia — which in 2014
disregarded a pivotal arms rebate covenant — as good as North
intercontinental ballistic barb and
test programs.

His tough-guy opinion echoes Cold War-era logic: outmatch your
adversaries, or risk a nation-destroying preemptive strike.

For example, during a entertainment of inhabitant confidence officials in
Jul 2017, NBC News wrote that Trump said
he wanted the US to boost its active save to 1960s levels (a
tenfold increase). This was reportedly after Trump was shown a
breeze of the US nuclear arsenal given 1945, and how its size
changed over time.

us nuclear save changes breeze graph 2016 obama fas
breeze showing the changes in the distance of the US nuclear arsenal
by presidential administration over 70 years.

of American Scientists

But this not only ignores disturbing contribution about
nuclear weapons and risks their proliferation in foreign
countries, but also threatens to boost the possibility of a nuclear

accidents and catastrophes.

The breeze 2018 NPR is distant from a rubber stamp of Trump’s desires.
Its goals resemble former President Barack Obama’s
30-year, $1.2-trillion devise to update the US nuclear
arsenal along with the
sorely old-fashioned command-and-control systems compulsory to use
the weapons. The content also acknowledges general agreements
not to create some-more weapons.

But the report contains critical differences — such as reversing
Obama’s pierce to extent “low-yield” nukes — and is lined with
contradictions and “dark perspective,” arms control experts told

The biggest problem is its proof behind giving the US arsenal
some-more nuclear weapons which container smaller
blasts and are easier to use.

The sleazy slope of ‘flexible,’ ‘low-yield’ nuclear weapons

Tactical Nuclear WeaponsUS
Department Of Energy

The US and Russia have committed to holding thousands of warheads
offline given 2010 (as partial of the New START treaty).
However, technological proliferation can start when the total
series of nuclear weapons decreases.

The new NPR cites the advances in Russia’s battlefield-ready
nuclear arms, then effectively reverses the Obama-era position of
not making identical “low-yield” and “flexible” nuclear weapons to
compare them.

“To be clear, this is not dictated to, nor does it enable,
‘nuclear war-fighting.’ Expanding stretchable U.S. nuclear options
now, to embody low-yield options, is critical for the
refuge of ·credible anticipation against regional
aggression,” the NPR states. “It will lift the nuclear threshold
and help safeguard that intensity adversaries understand no possible
advantage in singular nuclear escalation, making nuclear
practice reduction likely.”

But “low-yield” is a misnomer: This difficulty of weapons can rival
the atomic bombs the US forsaken on Japan in 1945, any of which
led to about 100,000 casualties.

Modern low-yield weapons are also easier to muster and use than
larger, some-more absolute weapons, streamer to a aloft likelihood
that they will be used in what may have formerly been
normal combat. They’re also some-more accurate.

For example, the US military’s
B61-12 sobriety explosve — accessible to warrior jets in 2021 —
will recycle
4 older-style bombs that fell to aim with a precision
of about 300-550 feet. But weapons
experts contend the sobriety explosve is effectively a new arms with
new capabilities, given the
rebuilt bombs will have new pop-out fins and thrusters to
beam them to a aim with a pointing of under 100 feet.

The military can also “tune” the B61-12’s blast yields from
several times aloft to several times revoke than the first atomic
bombs. Submarine journey missiles with “low-yield” warheads are
also in the works, the NPR states.

Contrary to what the NPR claims, such weapons — in further to
obscure the threshold for use
and making the banned against use of any nuclear weapons
likely to tumble detached — are grounds for catastrophic

People and machines are flawed

Right now, hundreds of US nuclear weapons are already primed to
use at a moment’s notice. This
dangerous Cold War-era policy means such weapons can be
launched within a few mins of detecting an adversary’s
preemptive nuclear strike — or a
feign vigilance of one.

Many vital weapons, like Minuteman
III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) deployed
opposite center America, can’t be infirm once they leave a silo.

Yet no human origination is perfect. You can build the world’s
smartest, many clearly foolproof machine, and it will still
enclose flaws. In the case of nuclear weapons systems, such flaws
run the risk of random launch, detonation, and incredible
detriment of life.

Tallying up nuclear weapons accidents is awfully difficult,
generally due to their personal nature, but information that
has been expelled is alarming.

“[M]any dozens of incidents involving nuclear warheads are known
to have occurred in the United States — and likely many some-more that
have not been done public,” according to
a 2015 fact piece by the Union of Concerned Scientists. 

Thirty-two famous incidents were “broken
arrows,” when a nuclear arms was incidentally launched,
fired, detonated, stolen, or lost. Eleven are weapons the US
military never recovered, including one of two powerful
thermonuclear bombs it incidentally forsaken and scarcely detonated
over North Carolina.

titan ii 2 barb usaf.JPG
test launch of a Titan II intercontinental ballistic


Writer Eric Schlosser has chronicled some of these all-too-common
misadventures in “Command
and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the
Illusion of Safety”. The 2014 book closely follows the story
of a Titan II ICBM that exploded in its silo,
scarcely environment off a absolute warhead that could have laid
rubbish to Arkansas and circuitously states. (The cause? A maintenance
worker who incidentally forsaken a tool.)

In light of Trump’s statements as president-elect in December
2016, Schlosser revisited some of his book’s element in a recent
piece for
The New Yorker, in which he described alarming, ongoing
technical problems with “aging and obsolete” nuclear weapons and
their command-and-control systems.

Schlosser also highlighted the risks of being human. Using
Minuteman III complement as one example, he wrote for The New Yorker:

“[In 2014], almost a hundred Minuteman launch officers were
trained for intrigue on their inclination exams. In 2015,
3 launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base, in Montana,
were discharged for using illegal drugs, including ecstasy,
cocaine, and amphetamines. That same year, a launch officer at
Minot Air Force Base, in North Dakota, was condemned to
twenty-five years in jail for streamer a aroused street gang,
distributing drugs, sexually assaulting a girl under the age of
sixteen, and using psilocybin, a absolute hallucinogen. As the
pursuit pretension implies, launch officers are entrusted with the keys
for rising intercontinental ballistic missiles.”

National leaders who can sequence nuclear strikes are also fallible

Take Pakistan’s invulnerability minister, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, who

publicly rattled his nation’s nuclear sabers in late December
after reading (and apparently believing) a feign news article
about Israel melancholy his country with nuclear weapons.

Making some-more lower-yield nukes in any country — either Pakistan
or the US — would also worsen the risk of a smaller weapon

descending into the hands of terrorists and
aggressive a city.

What is the solution?

nasa apollo 11 earth africa 1969 AS11 36 5352HR
perspective of Africa taken by Apollo 11 astronauts on Jul 20,


The some-more nuclear weapons that exist — and the easier they are to
use — the some-more likely they are to intentionally or accidentally
raze and lead to catastrophe, maybe a global one.

As Alexandra Bell, a former
comparison confidant at the State Department and stream comparison policy
executive at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation,

told HuffPost: “[W]e have 4,000 nuclear weapons in the active
stockpile, which is some-more than adequate to destroy the universe many
times over … we don’t consider you can make the case that this
boss needs any some-more capabilities.”

The solution is not easy but straightforward: Do not enhance any
nuclear arsenals or their capabilities. Instead, continue to
revoke weapons stockpiles, ideally until they are all gone, while
making the ones that sojourn safer.

Plenty of non-nuclear alternatives exist to keep adversarial
countries in check until the universe rids itself of nukes.

Take cyberwarfare. Given the artistry and range of Stuxnet,
a mechanism pathogen that took down Iran’s uranium-enriching
centrifuges, it’s not irrational to advise growth and
preemptive attacks on nuclear weapons systems themselves are
probable or even ongoing.

Diplomacy, sanctions, embargoes, and treaties may not always be
popular, but they have helped forestall countries
like Iran from receiving nuclear weapons. They’ve also helped
revoke weapons stockpiles by some-more than a cause of 10.
Conventional crusade can also help strip a republic of its nuclear
weapons facilities.

Most importantly, however, as Schlosser and others argue, it’s
past time that we stop presumption nuclear weapons are protected and
irrelevant corpse of the Cold War.

Instead, we all need to have straightforward discussions — in the homes, at
work, and with inaugurated officials — about the reality of nuclear
weapons, including their numbers, risks, cost, and imminent
hazard to the future of humanity. Every arms we idle is
one step divided from the misfortune kind of fumble imaginable.

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