Donald Trump said that the United States needs to increase its nuclear arsenal. But our nuclear stockpiles already have enough power to wipe out all life on earth.
In an interview with Reuters, Donald Trump said he wants to increase America’s nuclear arsenal so that it can be “top of the pack,” because it has fallen behind Russia in its atomic weapons capacity.
Trump said, “I am the first one that would like to see everybody — nobody have nukes, but we’re never going to fall behind any country even if it’s a friendly country, we’re never going to fall behind on nuclear power.”
He added, “It would be wonderful, a dream would be that no country would have nukes, but if countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack.”
This is not the first time Trump has made alarming comments about nuclear weapons. During the presidential campaign, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough quoted an unidentified foreign policy expert who briefed Trump and said he asked three times: If we have nuclear weapons, why can’t we use them?
Trump has also said he would never rule out the use of nuclear weapons to attack ISIS, and in December he tweeted, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” In the 1980s, Trump floated the idea that along with the Soviet Union, the United States should use its nuclear power to “dominate” countries.
And Trump’s current assessment of America’s nuclear might is completely disconnected from reality, and underplays the power to engage in mass death on a scale never before seen in history that America already possesses.
The United States has 7,100 nuclear warheads, 1,367 of which are currently deployed on intercontinental ballistic missiles, bombers, and submarines.
Superficially, Russia has more (7,300 total and 1,796 deployed) but that does not give an accurate representation of the danger.
50 nuclear bombs could kill 200 million people, about 2/3 of the U.S. population.
The entire deployed U.S. arsenal, based on that measure, could kill over 5 billion people (the total world population is currently estimated at 7.4 billion), and that does not take into account the mass destruction, radiation, and starvation that would effectively destroy all life on the planet.
That is why the trend on nuclear weapons, until Trump, has been in arms reduction, not production.
President Obama said that “we have more nuclear weapons than we need,” and signed the New START arms reduction treaty with Russia. This trend towards nuclear reduction has been bipartisan, with former Republican Secretaries of State like Henry Kissinger and George Shultz backing those initiatives.
Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, signed a nuclear reduction treaty with Russia in 2002. Conservative icon Ronald Reagan, working with Russia’s Mikhail Gorbachev, signed the first nuclear arms reduction treaty back in 1987.
Trump’s nuclear dreams are not realistic, they are not normal, and they are as dangerous as it gets.