PLOUGHSHARES: “President-elect Donald Trump will soon have to focus seriously on nuclear policy…..”

……………One of the central responsibilities of the new presidential administration will be to address that risk, and this invaluable report from Ploughshares Fund provides a blueprint to achieve that critical mission. The diverse perspectives in this report are united around a common vision, one that Ploughshares Fund has embodied and promoted with exceptional clarity — if we want future generations to inherit a safer world, we must end our misguided approach to nuclear armament.

We can see the consequences of
that approach in our bloated nuclear arsenal. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the United States built tens of thousands of nuclear weapons in an escalating arms race that endangered human survival. Since the end of the Cold War, important progress has been made on arms control. The United States and Russia have both reduced the sizes of their nuclear arsenals. And under the terms of the New START Treaty, an arms control agreement negotiated between the United States and Russia, each country should have no more than 1,550 deployed strategic warheads by 2018.

But this recent progress has come at a cost. In exchange for the support of some Senate Republicans for passage of New START in 2010, President Obama promised to fund a major modernization of America’s nuclear arsenal, encompassing all three “legs” of the nuclear triad — our nuclear forces on air, land and sea.

Since then, the projected cost for modernization has grown substantially. Today, independent estimates suggest that nuclear weapons sustainment and modernization plans could cost American taxpayers nearly $1 trillion over the next 30 years.

Before taxpayers are saddled with a bill for this nuclear weapons spending spree, the next administration and

Congress must ask serious questions about how nuclear modernization will affect U.S. security and global stability. In light of our changing global security needs, we must reduce our nuclear spending, reform our nuclear posture and restrain our nuclear war plans.

To start with, both Congress and the president should reconsider the Pentagon’s plans to create new nuclear weapons, especially a dangerous new nuclear air-launched cruise missile, which will cost at least $20 billion
over twenty years. This nuclear cruise missile, also known as the Long-Range Stand-Off weapon (LRSO), will provide an unnecessary capability that could increase the risk of nuclear war.

The LRSO is the epitome of nuclear weapons overkill. The Pentagon has already committed to building a new nuclear-capable bomber, the B-21, a modernized gravity bomb, the B61, a new land-based ballistic missile and a next generation nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine, the Columbia-class. It is unclear what deterrent capabilities the LRSO would provide that these systems do not. Between our existing and planned nuclear capabilities and our massive conventional arsenal
there is absolutely no justi cation for spending billions of dollars on a new and destabilizing air-launched cruise missile.

The LRSO could also undermine U.S. security. Nuclear cruise missiles are dangerous because they are dif cult to distinguish from non-nuclear varieties. As a consequence, if the United States used a conventional missile in a con ict with Russia or China, it could lead to devastating miscalculation and to accidental nuclear war.

Worse still, the Defense Department has justi ed the value of this new nuclear cruise missile by asserting that it is needed for purposes “beyond deterrence.” The Pentagon explains that the LRSO could be used to respond “proportionately to a limited nuclear attack.” Nothing embodies dangerous Cold War thinking more than planning for a so-called “limited” nuclear war.

There is no such thing as limited nuclear annihilation. Instead of promoting weapons that enable nuclear war fighting, the United States must reafirm that a nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought. –Senator Edward J. Markey

 

President-elect Trump needs to break through the old-think. To get on the right track, here are just a few things that the new administration can do:

  • Don’t hand Russia a veto over US policy. If Moscow continues to oppose cooperation on arms control, Washington can reduce its nuclear forces independently, as President George H.W. Bush did. In the new report, Secretary Perry argues that, “our levels of nuclear forces should be determined by what we need, not by a misguided desire to match Moscow missile for missile.”
  • Don’t waste money on unneeded nukes. Downsize President Obama’s unsustainable, trillion-dollar plans to rebuild the nuclear force. For example, Trump could phase out intercontinental ballistic missiles, as proposed by Perry, and cancel the new air-launched cruise missile, as proposed by Sen. Feinstein and Rep. Smith.
  • Fix North Korea, don’t unfix Iran. Despite statements against the Iran deal during the campaign, Trump would be wise to support the successful agreement once in office and use it as a model for reaching out to North Korea, which continues its dangerous march to develop smaller weapons and larger missiles. Suzanne DiMaggio, senior fellow at New America, argues that, “diplomacy in the absence of trust is hard, but it’s not impossible.”
  • Disconnect the nuclear button. No one human being should have the ability to launch hundreds of nuclear weapons in about four minutes with no checks and balances by Congress or anyone else, argues Dr. Kennette Benedict. Trump won despite the fact that many voters do not trust him to be commander-in-chief of US nuclear forces. He could allay fears by working to expand decision time and get congressional leaders in the loop before any president can decide to go nuclear.

Full Report on:  Bold ideas to help make America safer and more secure 10-big-nuclear-ideas

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