Reports: Pentagon Preparing for Potential War with North Korea & Developing New Nuclear Weapons

Accurate analysis requires calm. That being said, nuclear war must be noted as an existential threat to human survival, and there are various respected Cold War era analysts who say that these times presents a higher risk of nuclear war than the Cold War. The Doomsday Clock — measuring the likelihood of nuclear war and human annihilation — is at the closest to midnight that it’s ever been since 1953 for a reason.

The New York Times reports the Pentagon is quietly preparing for a potential war with North Korea, with the U.S. military launching a series of war games and exercises from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to the skies above Nevada, to a planned deployment of even more special operations troops to the Korean Peninsula during the Winter Olympics in South Korea next month. The planning for a potential nuclear war comes as President Trump has repeatedly threatened to launch a nuclear strike against North Korea.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal is reporting the Pentagon is also planning to develop two new sea-based nuclear weapons. The report is based on a new Defense Department nuclear strategy review, which says the proposed new nuclear weapons would be to counter Russia and China. Last week, The Guardian reported the Trump administration is planning to loosen the restrictions on the use of nuclear weapons and develop a nuclear warhead for U.S. Trident missiles. This all comes as Trump has proposed building up the United States’ nuclear arsenal and has reportedly asked, about nuclear weapons, “If we had them, why can’t we use them?”

Here’s the link to the referenced New York Times article. This is a reference to a previous report showing that the Trump regime is planning to loosen constraints on nuclear weapons. On what can be done to stop nuclear war, initial recommendations are to raise awareness of the threat, support organized efforts to reform the nuclear launch approval process, and significantly reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles.

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Trump Regime to Loosen Nuclear Weapons Constraints, Further Increasing the Likelihood of Nuclear War

Nuclear weapons are an existential threat to human survival, and so any policy that increases the risk of nuclear catastrophe must be denounced strongly. The human species is quite fortunate that there have thus far been no nuclear attacks outside of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, both of which were more than horrible enough.

The Obama-Trump nuclear weapons program has significantly increased “killing power,” as revealed by an important study in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, and that’s all the more worrying with Trump’s mental deterioration in the White House.

The Trump administration plans to loosen constraints on the use of nuclear weapons and develop a new low-yield nuclear warhead for US Trident missiles, according to a former official who has seen the most recent draft of a policy review.

Jon Wolfsthal, who was special assistant to Barack Obama on arms control and nonproliferation, said the new nuclear posture review prepared by the Pentagon, envisages a modified version of the Trident D5 submarine-launched missiles with only part of its normal warhead, with the intention of deterring Russia from using tactical warheads in a conflict in Eastern Europe.

The new nuclear policy is significantly more hawkish that the posture adopted by the Obama administration, which sought to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in US defence.

Arms control advocates have voiced alarm at the new proposal to make smaller, more “usable” nuclear weapons, arguing it makes a nuclear war more likely, especially in view of what they see as Donald Trump’s volatility and readiness to brandish the US arsenal in showdowns with the nation’s adversaries.

The NPR also expands the circumstances in which the US might use its nuclear arsenal, to include a response to a non-nuclear attack that caused mass casualties, or was aimed at critical infrastructure or nuclear command and control sites.

The nuclear posture review (NPR), the first in eight years, is expected to be published after Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech at the end of January.

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Daryl Kimball, the head of the Arms Control Association, said that the development of new weapons in the US nuclear arsenal was “dangerous, Cold War thinking”.

“The United States already possesses a diverse array of nuclear capabilities, and there is no evidence that more usable weapons will strengthen deterrence of adversaries or compel them to make different choices about their arsenals,” Kimball wrote on the Arms Control Today website.

He also cautioned against moves to broaden the circumstances in which nuclear weapons would be used.

“The use of even a small number of these weapons would be catastrophic,” Kimball said. “Threatening nuclear attack to counter new kinds of ‘asymmetric’ threats is unnecessary, would increase the risk of nuclear weapons use, and would make it easier for other countries to justify excessive roles for nuclear weapons in their policies.”