By Ashima Makhija
These words by President-elect Donald Trump have brought in scepticism about a variety of issues ranging from future nuclear proliferation and wars, an arms race between nuclear weapon states and the nuclear and military strategy of ‘Great America’. Mr Trump brought in a sensitive geopolitical issue like the USA’s nuclear policy on platforms like Twitter and on the TV during interviews and spoke of ramping up the American nuclear arsenal. On his Twitter account he wrote, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”
The US and Russia top the charts ranking ownership of world nuclear weapons. In 2013, the White House worked with Pentagon chiefs to obtain details about the nuclear capacity of the United States.
The report concluded that the country already had a third more strategic weapons than were necessary to ensure nuclear deterrence.
Yet, Trump sees the need for increasing nuclear arsenal.
It is important to note that 35 years of bipartisan policy in the USA has been aimed at reducing nuclear weapons across the globe. Such crass remarks stand in outright contradiction to the philosophy that the country has come to represent. For the past eight years, President Obama has had a firm stance on disarmament. Even though Obama is carrying out a modernisation program for the triad of air, land and sea delivery systems at a challenging financial cost of 1 trillion USD, he has spoken consistently in favour of disarmament.
Leaders like Donald Trump who find it fit to discuss issues of such magnitude on social media need to understand the consequences of their stance.
A vague but strong statement like this prompted a response from Moscow, and the RIA news agency reported that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “Russia has never initiated an arms race and never will.” On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference that:
The need for damage control
Incoming White House Secretary, Sean Spicer, led the damage limitation push and said that Trump’s comments were meant to send a general message of strength to countries like Russia and China rather than indicate that the United States planned to build up its nuclear capabilities.
Donald Trump, once again, not only substantially miscalculated the shock ripples that a single remark or comment can create but also brought the world community into momentary jeopardy with his comments on the ‘arms race’. There is great need to understand the vitality of nuclear non-proliferation. Treaties such as the NPT are holding humanity in place.
It is hardly shocking to see that when leaders like Donald Trump, whose statements require damage control and who witlessly bring in prospects of nuclear arms races and nuclear conflicts, assume the office of the President of the USA, democracy stands challenged.