Yesterday, Trump tweeted on Twitter, seemingly the only way the ‘man’ knows how to communicate:
“must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes”
A few hours earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced, “We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defense systems.”
When I first read Trump’s tweet yesterday morning, my first thought was that we are going into another Cold War. Today, however, after he expounded on the meaning of his tweet, my thoughts are that this will not be a cold war, but that, if allowed to have their way, Trump and Putin will engage in a war for world domination, a war from which there will be no winners. There is no doubt in my mind that these two are aligned with one another, that there has been communication and outright collusion between the two for some time now, and that Putin helped ensure Donald Trump’s win on November 8th. Sounds like a conspiracy theory, doesn’t it? And I am definitely not a conspiracy theorist, but there is far too much smoke here for there not to be a fire raging out of control somewhere.
When asked to clarify his tweet, Trump responded:
“Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”
Newly appointed White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, interpreted Trump’s remarks a bit differently:
“He’s going to ensure that other countries get the message that he’s not going to sit back and allow that. And what’s going to happen is they will come to their senses, and we will all be just fine.”
I can almost feel him patting my hand, and hear him saying “there, there, dear, it’s okay.”
And newly appointed Director of Communications, Jason Miller, tried to spin Trump’s remarks a bit differently, saying Trump was:
“… referring to the threat of nuclear proliferation and the critical need to prevent it — particularly to and among terrorist organizations and unstable and rogue regimes … emphasized the need to improve and modernize our deterrent capability as a vital way to pursue peace through strength.”
Tell that to President Xi Jinping of China, or Kim Jong-un of North Korea. A quote from George Orwell’s 1984 applies here: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”
New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation with the formal name of Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. It was signed on 8 April 2010 in Prague and, after ratification, entered into force on 5 February 2011. It is (was) expected to last at least until 2021. Under terms of the treaty, the number of strategic nuclear missile launchers is (was) to be reduced by half.
It is the supreme irony that the U.S. and Russia, never fully trusting of one another since the days of the Cold War, now seem to be on the cusp of becoming friends and allies to the exclusion of all others.
Recently, three leading legal experts released a report which said Trump should be impeached upon taking office, under the emoluments clause of the constitution, which forbids office holders being beholden to foreign interests. I fully concur. You can read the entire analysis, but this quote sums it up: “The bottom line is simple: Trump stands to benefit personally, in innumerable and largely hidden ways, from decisions made daily by foreign governments and their agents. History teaches that leaders with divided interests cannot be counted on to faithfully serve those who elected them.”
Mike Pence is not a good man, he is a bigot and a homophobe, but at least he is far less likely to try to destroy the planet Earth. At this point, it truly is a matter of “the lesser of two evils”.
What do some of the experts in the field of arms control and non-proliferation have to say in response to Trump’s latest?
- Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association: “It is completely irresponsible for the president-elect or the president to make changes to U.S. nuclear policy in 140 characters and without understanding the implications of statements like ‘expand the capacity.’”
- Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund, a foundation that works to prevent the spread and use of nuclear weapons: “If Trump and Putin both want to expand nuclear weapons, that would effectively end arms control efforts underway since the Nixon administration”
- Miles Pomper, Senior Fellow at the Washington-based Center for Nonproliferation Studies: “The United States needs to do more to prevent nuclear weapons from falling into the wrong hands, rather than creating more materials. Expanding our nuclear arsenal will do nothing to prevent nuclear proliferation or prevent nuclear terrorism. We have more than enough nuclear weapons as it is.”
One final note: This morning (Friday), Mr. Putin had this to say about the effect of Russian hacking on our 2016 election:
“Democrats are losing on every front and looking for people to blame everywhere. They need to learn to lose with dignity. Trump understood the mood of the people and kept going until the end, when nobody believed in him,” Putin said, adding with a grin. “Except for you and me.”