Trump’s Comments on Nuclear Treaty Raise Concerns

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By Debbie Gregory.

Last week, President Trump made comments about the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty ) Treaty, calling it “a one-sided deal” and a “bad deal,” and pledged that “if countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack.”

The treaty, with the formal name Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, was signed between Russia and the United States in April 2010 in Prague, and entered into force on February 5, 2011. The Treaty’s duration is ten years — until 2021, unless superseded by a subsequent agreement.

Under the Treaty, the U.S. and Russia agreed to limit their deployed forces to 1,550 warheads over 700 delivery systems, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and bombers by February 5, 2018.

According to a Reuters report on February 9, 2017, in Trump’s first telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump denounced the treaty claiming that it favored Russia and was “one of several bad deals negotiated by the Obama administration.”

The independent non-profit Arms Control criticized the president’s remarks, saying “Mr. Trump’s comments suggest, once again, that he is ill-informed about nuclear weapons and has a poor understanding of the unique dangers of nuclear weapons. The history of the Cold War shows us that no one comes out on ‘top of the pack’ of an arms race and nuclear brinksmanship.”

“Any effort to undo the agreement or suggest the administration is not interested in an extension or negotiating a new agreement to replace New START when it expires in 2021 would negatively impact U.S. security and negatively impact an already shaky global nuclear order,” said Kingston Reif, a member of the Arms Control Association.

Expanding the US arsenal with new or additional nuclear weapons could cost approximately $400 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Other estimates put the overall nuclear modernization closer to $1 trillion.

The New START allows the United States to keep enough nuclear weapons to destroy the planet several times over. Without the New START and INF effective, America will be compelled to waste enormous military and financial resources.

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