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President Trump's inauguration is a nuclear "teachable moment"
January 20, 2017
PSR Security Program is assessing how the brand-new Trump Administration will approach nuclear weapons policy. So far, the messages have been mixed, especially if you analyze Trump's tweets. For instance, on Dec 22, the President-elect responded to a speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin with this tweet: "The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes" and the following day told an MSNBC interviewer, "Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all." Contrast that with this excerpt the Times of London ran January 15 from their interview with Trump: "I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially." He went on to speculate about a deal with Russia that could lead to nuclear weapons reductions. We certainly hope a clearer picture will emerge once President Trump's appointed staff get to work.
Amid all the inauguration hullabaloo, we encourage PSR members to take a step back and recognize this as a "teachable moment" on some key points. 1) over 15,000 nuclear weapons remain in the world's arsenals, 93% of them belonging to the United States and Russia; 2) It was never—and never will be—acceptable to authorize one human being to kill millions of human beings in an afternoon, and in so doing put billions more at risk of starvation from 'nuclear winter'; 3) under the PREVIOUS administration, the United States embarked on a 30 year, trillion dollar nuclear weapons spending binge which is likely to trigger a new nuclear arms race; 4) only a tiny percentage of brave U.S. Representatives and Senators have shown a willingness to oppose this spending binge; and finally, 5) a total of about 140 nations have gone on record supporting a treaty to ban nuclear weapons as a first step toward their total elimination worldwide. An international treaty declaring nuclear weapons illegal is likely to become a reality this year.
PSR Security Program remains committed to educating Representatives and Senators about these points and enlisting their support to oppose the trillion dollar nuclear weapons buildup and support a transformational change to U.S. nuclear policy. We are building teams within PSR chapters for this purpose, and we need your help.