In a blatant admission of departure from nearly 50 years of U.S. policy, President Donald Trump said he will keep expanding the country’s nuclear arsenal — and only stop on one condition.
During a meeting with mayors and governors, Trump said, “We're increasing arsenals of virtually every weapon. We're modernizing and creating a brand-new nuclear force. And, frankly, we have to do because others are doing it."
He also said that if other nations vow to shrink their nuclear arsenal, the United States will match them.
“If they stop, we'll stop…I hope they stop, and if they do, we'll stop in two minutes,” he said.
Trump did not name the countries he was talking about. However, it is not a secret the president has openly sparred with North Korea’s equally despotic leader, Kim Jong-un, over his astonishingly rapid testing of ballistic nuclear missiles.
After Trump’s long tirade, which mostly confirmed to the world that he will have no hesitation pressing the nuclear button, the president half-heartedly tried to reassure his audience with, “hopefully we will never have to use it, and hopefully we could reduce it in the years ahead. And that depends really on what other people are going to be doing.”
And that’s not ominous at all.
It is also pretty hypocritical since the United States is a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, an agreement signed by 200 countries that promotes global nuclear disarmament.
According to the Federation of American Scientists, the U.S. nuclear stockpile consists of 4,018 warheads, both in deployment and storage. Every president since Lyndon Johnson had made cuts to the arsenal, with GOP Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush slashing the most. Former President Barack Obama reduced the arsenal by 553 weapons.
However, it doesn’t look like Trump is willing to do the same.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque