Trump rolls out new policy to modernise nuclear arsenal

Ashley Carr
February 4, 2018

The US accusations against Moscow set out in the latest Nuclear Posture Review "have nothing do with reality", the ministry said in a statement on Saturday as it expressed its "deep disappointment" with the document.

"The U.S. new nuclear doctrine builds up greatly the confrontational component of the U.S. foreign policies, focusing not on cooperation with Russian Federation in this sphere of weapons, but on competition with it".

The review calls for more focus on USA "low yield" nuclear weapons to try to convince Russia that the United States has a credible deterrent against the potential Russian threat.

Officials say the addition of low-yield weapons will counter Russia's perceived belief that it could use its own low-yield weapons against the United States in a limited "first-use" basis that would provide an advantage to Moscow in a low-level conflict without causing USA nuclear retaliation.

It warned the regime would end if it ever launched a nuclear attack against the USA or its allies.

The Pentagon's nuclear review concluded that while arms control can advance American interests, "further progress is hard to envision", in light of what the US considers Russia's aggression in Ukraine and violations of existing arms deals.

The AP reports that the Trump administration "said Russian Federation must be persuaded it would face "unacceptably dire costs" if it were to threaten even limited nuclear attack in Europe".

"Correcting this mistaken Russian perception is a strategic imperative", according to the review.

The new Pentagon policy also outlines longer-term plans to reintroduce a nuclear submarine-launched cruise missile called an SLCM ("slick-em"), which the administration of President George H.W. Bush stopped deploying and the Obama administration ordered removed from the stockpile. Critics worry the new weapons would make the US more likely to use nuclear force and, hence, feed a nuclear arms race.

But, under the Obama administration, the Pentagon had already planned to modernize the nation's nuclear weaponry, which consists of missiles fired from land and sea and bombs from warplanes.

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The US wants to build new nuclear arsenal because Russian Federation now perceives its nuclear capabilities as inadequate, officials told Reuters.

But rather than laying out a plan to halt this slide into a more risky world and working to decrease reliance on nuclear weapons, the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) hastens its rise by accepting the reasoning of US adversaries and affirmatively embracing nuclear competition.

Despite being called low-yield, the weapons are extremely deadly.

The review largely confirms the wide-ranging modernisation programme that Barack Obama approved in exchange for Senate ratification of the New START strategic arms-control treaty with Russian Federation.

It will also seek arms control agreements that enhance security, and are verifiable and enforceable.

Japan will continue to promote "realistic and tangible nuclear disarmament" with the United States as "a leading state toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons". Memories of a smoldering Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the stark fear generated by the Cuban missile crisis or the massive protests sparked in the early 1980s by the deployment of US and Soviet intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe no longer drive or even inform policy. Therefore the Pentagon must increase the number of low-yield weapons.

Both the current president and the Pentagon say the new review treads the fine line between maintaining a nuclear deterrence and encouraging a push for arms control.

Lisbeth Gronlund, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said: 'President Trump is embarking on a reckless path - one that will reduce United States security both now and in the longer term'.

The report follows promises made by President Trump to strengthen the nation's nuclear arsenal.

Other reports by My Hot News

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