US PRESIDENT Donald Trump’s plan for a “more flexible” nuclear strategy which would involve building lower-yield nuclear bombs rang alarm bells around the world at the weekend.
The Pentagon’s Nuclear Posture Review, published on Friday, argues that the US should invest in smaller tactical nuclear missiles which could supposedly be used without triggering a global nuclear war.
Pentagon policy chief John Rood said the purpose would still be “deterrence,” but Defence Secretary James Mattis suggested the weapons could be used in response to a non-nuclear attack.
US generals have long pushed for smaller nuclear weapons that they hold would give them an edge in localised conflicts, but White House support for the strategy is new. In 2016, US journalist Joe Scarborough reported that Donald Trump had asked three times during one-hour foreign policy briefing why he couldn’t use nuclear weapons.
Joseph Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund disarmament group said the new strategy “greatly increases the risk of nuclear war.
“This strategy gives [Mr Trump] a massive rebuild of the current cold war arsenal, complete with new missions and new weapons, to include responding to a cyber attack with a nuclear bomb,” he told the Los Angeles Times.
China called on the US yesterday to abandon its “cold war mentality” and accept its “special and primary responsibility” for nuclear disarmament as the world’s leading nuclear power.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attacked the “confrontational” nature of the proposals. Moscow hinted at a new arms race, saying it would take “necessary measures” to ensure its security in response.
The “smaller” bombs mooted by the US were described as having a yield of 20 kilotons or less — still equivalent to the bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945 that killed 70,000 people.
Washington, like its Nato allies Britain and France, has always asserted the “right” to make first use of nuclear weapons, something China and India have pledged never to do. The Soviet Union also maintained a no-first-strike policy but this was dropped by Russia in 1993. Only the US has ever actually used the weapons.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.