Sunday, 21 June 2015

Trumping nuclear stupidity

This letter was sent to The Times on 19 June:
Justin Webb picks out some of the more egregiously offensive things new US Presidential candidate Donald Trump uttered in launching his campaign in Iowa on 16 June ("Trump's outbursts can only help the moderates, "19 June)
I don't know if Trump meant to make other Republican candidates more moderate, as Webb suggests will be his impact, but on one issue - omitted by Webb - he is terrifyingly extreme.
 One of the criticisms Trump aimed at the Obama White House during his speech was for its handling of the nation’s nuclear arsenal.. proposing "
"Our enemies are getting stronger and stronger by the way, and we as a country are getting weaker ..Even our nuclear arsenal doesn't work. It came out recently they have equipment that is 30 years old. They don't know if it worked. … Boy, does that send signals to (Russian president Vladimir) Putin that they don't know what they're doing."
His solution to this perceived  problem  was, he asserted: ""When I'm president, we'll have the biggest, classiest, most expensive nuclear arsenal" -
However, a lavishly-funded modernization programme of the US strategic nuclear arsenal is already well under way, as the Pentagon and Department of Energy, jointly responsible for the US military nuclear programme,  is engaged in a multi-year, multi-billion dollar project to modernize the US’s nuclear arsenal, including the rebuilding of the Minuteman III system, which would launch intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the Trident II submarine-launched missile systems, as well as the refurbishment of nuclear warheads and construction of new and upgraded facilities, such as a major uranium processing facility at Oak Ridge.
US Presidential candidates often use broad-brush rhetoric in their campaigns, opting  for sound-bites and populist solutions to  purported problems with the incumbent  administration, rather than detailed analysis of policy priorities.
But playing political games with nuclear weapons is dangerous. Mr Trump has hopefully trumped himself into losing this race by his political stupidity.

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