Nuclear weapons are more dangerous in this era than at quite arguably any other point in human history, but many people still remain unaware of this. There’s a lot that can and should be done to prevent nuclear disaster, including passing the Nuclear Sanity Act in the U.S., which would legally forbid a U.S. president from launching nuclear weapons without the approval of at least a few other cabinet officials.
When the Pentagon on Friday released its new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) (pdf), as Common Dreams reported, peace and disarmament groups in the U.S. and around the world expressed immediate alarm at the document and its implications.
“Who in their right mind thinks we should expand the list of scenarios in which we might launch nuclear weapons?” asked Peace Action in a statement. “Who let Dr. Strangelove write the Nuclear Posture Review?”
In a column for CNN—titled “Give Trump more nuclear weapons and more ways to use them? Not a good idea“—Tom Collina, policy director of the anti-nuclear Ploughshares Fund, noted a recent poll showing that 60 percent of Americans do not trust Trump with nuclear weapons and argued:
The public is right to distrust Trump with nuclear weapons, and we all need to speak up and oppose these new, dangerous policies. People don’t tend to think of nuclear war as a policy choice, but it is, just like health care or immigration.
The Trump administration’s policies are increasing the risk of nuclear war. Sure, you could build a bomb shelter and hide, but that does not lower the risk of war, and it is highly unlikely to save you. Instead, we need to prevent nuclear war in the first place by changing government policy.
Statement from Peace Action:
In response to the release of the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review scheduled for today, Paul Kawika Martin, Senior Director for Policy and Political Affairs at Peace Action, released the following statement:
“Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review runs diametrically counter to the longstanding international and bipartisan consensus that nuclear-armed nations should work to reduce and eliminate their nuclear arsenals.
“Who in their right mind thinks it’s a good idea to make nuclear weapons ‘more usable’? Who in their right mind thinks we should expand the list of scenarios in which we might launch nuclear weapons? Who let Dr. Strangelove write the Nuclear Posture Review?
“On top of increasing the likelihood of nuclear weapons use, the expansion of our nuclear arsenal called for in the Nuclear Posture Review would cost the American taxpayers an estimated $1.7 trillion adjusted for inflation over the next three decades. With the Doomsday Clock now at 2 minutes to midnight, we’re essentially being asked to pay for our own increasingly likely destruction.”
The Trump administration has unveiled its new nuclear weapons strategy, which involves spending at least $1.2 trillion to upgrade the United States’ nuclear arsenal, including developing a new nuclear-armed, sea-launched cruise missile. The Nuclear Posture Review calls for developing low-yield warheads, which critics say blur the lines between nuclear and non-nuclear weapons, meaning they are more likely to be used. It also reportedly seeks to expand the number of scenarios under which the United States might consider the use of nuclear weapons, including in response to a major cyberattack. Trump’s nuclear policy has alarmed arms control experts around the globe and been openly criticized by Iran, Russia and China.