Trump's Troubling Nuclear Plan

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A nuclear war doesn't have to be the end of the world, according to the USA government's latest Nuclear Posture Review.

The Pentagon announced a major change in USA nuclear strategy.

The Pentagon called for the United States to develop two new types of weapons in an update of its nuclear policy Friday. The review was publicly released on Friday.

The Pentagon is adding low-yield, or less powerful, nuclear weapons to its submarine-launched cruise missile arsenal, and it will also bring back the nuclear sea-launched cruise missile.

U.S. officials have in the past expressed concern over the possibility of nuclear weapons of Pakistan landing into the hands of non-state actors or terrorist groups and thus has been working with Islamabad in enhancing the security of its nuclear weapons.

"President Trump is embarking on a reckless path - one that will reduce US security both now and in the longer term", said Lisbeth Gronlund, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. "It enhances deterrence of strategic attacks against our Nation, and our allies and partners, that may not come in the form of nuclear weapons", Trump said".

Noting that the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, the report said that nuclear non-proliferation today faces acute challenges.

"Recent Russian statements on this evolving nuclear weapons doctrine appear to lower the threshold for Moscow's first-use of nuclear weapons", the review said.

Trump's ambitious plan to "rebuild and modernize" the nuclear program might stumble due to the lack of resources, however, the former chief of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) said.

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The review claims a stronger USA nuclear deterrent is needed to discourage Russia, China, Iran and North Korea from either developing new weapons or expanding existing arsenals. In fact, history shows that the USA reduction of troops in South Korea in the 1970s sparked a covert nuclear weapons program by the military dictatorship then, while the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from South Korea in the 1990s did not provoke a similar response.

In making the case for modernizing the triad, the NPR stated that the US for decades led efforts at eat nuclear arms reduction worldwide and the efforts accelerated with the fall of the Soviet Union.

But it was the suggestion that the USA could launch a nuclear first-strike against a country that causes a serious cyber attack on national infrastructure that really caught my eye.

When asked to provide examples of non-nuclear attacks that the United States considered significant enough to garner a nuclear response, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood declined to respond, saying that the United States needed "to maintain some ambiguity" in order to "reinforce deterrence".

"That's why the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons bans all nuclear weapons, and the threatening of their use".

Under the NPR, the US would pursue "modernization of our nuclear command, control, and communications, all three legs of our triad, our dual capable aircraft, and our nuclear infrastructure", Trump said.

The United States has warned countries against supporting non-state actors and terrorist groups trying to obtain or employ nuclear weapons.

But according to some experts, the plan translates Trump's urge to "greatly expand and strengthen" the arsenal into policy.

"There was a concern that if the other side thought that they could use nuclear weapons in a limited way and we didn't have a viable response - other than destroying human civilization - that they would be able to get away with it", Saunders said.