Ex-Diplomat Explains Why US Nuclear Posture Likely to Fuel Arms Race

Posted February 07, 2018

"President Trump's Nuclear Posture Review is deeply troubling and is a unsafe departure from past reviews".

"Recent Russian statements... appear to lower the threshold for Moscow's first-use of nuclear weapons", the Review claims and sets a priority strategic task in "correcting" the "mistaken Russian perception" that "its greater number and variety of non-strategic nuclear systems provide a coercive advantage in crises and at lower levels of conflict".

The Trump nuclear doctrine breaks with Obama's in ending his push to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in USA defense policy.

Yet when President called on Congress to "modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal" in his State of the Union address last week, he did not mention his administration's rationale: that President of Russian Federation has accelerated a risky game that the United States must match, even if the price tag soars above $1.2 trillion.

It also explicitly rejects Obama's commitment to make nuclear weapons a diminishing part of American defenses.

On Iran, the review said the main goal was to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

To respond to emerging threats to US and its allies' security, the NPR specifically proposed the development for new models of "low-yield" weapons, which it said would be essential for a "flexible" nuclear arsenal that can enhance deterrence.

Nuclear weapons have been a fear and deterrent in full escalations occurring up to this point as the result of just one can cause severe damage of buildings, but nuclear fallout could affect both sides, not to mention the retaliation from the other side would be problematic.

The treaty signed by president Barack Obama was aimed at ushering in a new era in US-Russian relations and promoting the goal of doing away with nuclear arms.

Greg Weaver, deputy director of strategic capabilities at the Pentagon, told Reuters the USA would be willing to limit developing the sea-launched missile if Russian Federation would "redress the imbalance in non-strategic nuclear forces".

"The Americans are shamelessly threatening Russian Federation with a new atomic weapon", Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a pragmatist who opened the way to Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers including longtime adversary Washington, said in a speech.

However, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has put the cost of modernizing the nuclear triad of bombers, land-based missiles and submarines through 2040 at $1.2 trillion. The report proposes two new nuclear weapons: a sea-launched cruise missile and a lower-yield version of an existing ballistic missile.

"Russia considers the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) to be the principal threats to its contemporary geopolitical ambitions", the report said. For example, the policy calls for "the rapid development" of a cruise missile that would be fired from submarines, then become airborne before reaching its target.

"The same people who supposedly believe that using weapons of mass destruction is a crime against humanity. are talking about new weapons to threaten or use against rivals", he continued, according to Reuters.

But the NPR said the United States should start mounting these tactical nuclear weapons on strategic and attack submarines.