The Doomsday Clock is 2 minutes from nuclear midnight.
President Donald Trump announced Friday that the United States would be pulling out of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, giving rise to fears of a new atomic arms race between the former Cold War rivals.
It’s a move Trump threatened in October:
Until people come to their senses, we will build it up. Russia has not adhered to the agreement. This should have been done years ago– until people come to their senses. We have more money than anybody else by far. We’ll build it up until they come to their senses. When they do, then we’ll all be smart and we’ll all stop. And by the way– not only stop– we’ll reduce, which I would love to do.
Citing years of alleged Russian non-compliance with the landmark Cold War-era nuclear agreement, Trump said the U.S. will suspend its obligations under the treaty in six months until “comes back into compliance by destroying all of its violating missiles, launchers, and associated equipment.”
Democrats in the party establishment, as well as their sympathizers within the mainstream media, have painted Trump somewhere on a spectrum from overly-friendly with Russian President Vladimir Putin, to a total puppet of the Kremlin.
But Donald Trump won’t let his cozier stance toward Russia stand in the way of his nuclear ambitions. As a presidential candidate, and after being elected president, the Donald has startled national security advisors with his cavalier attitude toward the world’s most destructive arsenals.
World’s Best Nuclear Power. So Nuclear, Amazing.
Shortly before the 2016 elections, Trump reportedly shocked a foreign policy expert who went to consult with the Republican presidential candidate, by asking him three times in an hour brief why the U.S. can’t use nuclear weapons.
Several months ago, a foreign policy expert went to advise Mr. Trump… Trump asked three times, in an hour briefing, ‘why can’t we use nuclear weapons?’
Then after becoming elected president, Donald Trump tweeted his intentions with regard to the United States’ governments nuclear armaments:
The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016
Then in the summer of 2017 Donald Trump alarmed the entire national security establishment when he improvised remarks directed at North Korea, saying:
North Korea best not make any threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening beyond a normal statement. And as I said they will be met with fire, and fury, and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.
Did Donald Trump realize what he was saying at the time?
During the Korean War, the United States actually dropped more bombs on North Korea (635,000 tons) than it dropped on the entire Pacific Theater during WWII.
In three years three million civilians died.
The U.S. did it ostensibly to oppose the spread of communism in the world, but that was right after electing Franklin D. Roosevelt president four terms in a row.
We’re lucky no one bombed us.
Dropping Bombs in North Korea
The U.S. actually literally already has unleashed fire and fury like the world has never seen on North Korea, and they have not forgotten. It’s part of why North Korea is extremely paranoid and mistrustful of the outsider world, earning it the moniker, The Hermit Kingdom, because of its isolation in the global community.
Provoking the latest country to acquire nuclear weapons and the ability to deploy them at intercontinental range with a statement like that was reckless in the extreme.
People living in Seattle or Honolulu should resent Trump for exposing them to so much risk to make his brash statements for the camera.
Giving what has happened to North Korea already just a generation ago, and what the Kim family has watched Washington do to Iraq and Libya’s regimes, it’s understandable why they would want a nuclear deterrent.
Though the U.S. has been wargaming a North Korea invasion for years, it’s completely out of the cards now that Kim Jong Un can pop an ICBM off and hit One Microsoft Way.
Frankly, I think this qualifies Kim Jong Un for at least a nomination by the Nobel Peace Prize committee. And as a libertarian worth his salt, I believe in Kim Jong Un’s right to bear arms to defend himself from an oppressive U.S. government just as much as I believe in that same right for Ted Nugent or the Duck Dynasty guys.
Russia has a right to produce and deploy a nuclear deterrent as well and has China to consider as much as the U.S. does, a rising world power that has never signed on to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
The U.S. nuclear arsenal of nearly 7,000 warheads and a formidable array of methods to deploy it globally is already the greatest deterrent to war that any country has ever had in human history. Spending billions or even trillions on more doesn’t make the world any more safe than it already is. It’s just overkill.
A nuclear buildup, as Trump has planned, would waste massive amounts of resources that could actually go toward enriching the people who created those resources and the rest of us. It will likely postpone the day if there will ever be one, that the world completely denuclearizes.
And as AI rapidly takes over the planet, it is more urgent than ever before that we do everything we can to make sure that day comes sooner than later.
The Doomsday Clock is two minutes from nuclear midnight.
After Trump’s announcement, there may only be a minute left to spare.