A Trump arms race seems to be in the wings if Donald Trump’s recent tweets and interviews are to be believed. According to an off-camera interview in which Trump addressed a previous Twitter post about nuclear weapons, Donald Trump indicated that he actually wants a nuclear arms race with Russia and China. Even stranger, Vladimir Putin seems to have no problem with it.
Ad-Libbing Donald Trump
Arms race off-the-cuff comments from Trump came following an interview on Morning Joe. According to NBC News, Donald Trump told the show cohost Mika Brzezinski, “let it be an arms race” when asked about his earlier tweet in which he suggested the United States needed to significantly expand its nuclear arsenal and capabilities.
Oddly, statements by Vladimir Putin imply that he isn’t necessarily concerned about Donald Trump’s embrace of the U.S. nuclear stockpile. In response to Putin’s recent letter in which the leader of Russia voiced his hopes for improved relations between the United States and Russia, Trump issued the following strange and somewhat ambiguous message:
“… his thoughts are so correct … I hope both sides are able to live up to these thoughts, and we do not have to travel an alternate path.
Trump’s Nuclear Confusion
It might sound like the ongoing bromance between Trump and Putin is beginning to cool somewhat, but this isn’t necessarily the case. While Trump is apparently enthusiastic about more and bigger nukes, he hasn’t yet indicated who these new nukes might be used against. But certainly, Trump does seem to be more open to actually employing nuclear weapons than any president since Harry Truman.
Trump’s views regarding nuclear weapons and their use differ from those of other U.S. politicians and presidents in significant ways. For instance, during his pre-election intelligence training sessions with his own security advisors, Trump is reported to have frequently asked why the United States couldn’t just use nuclear weapons in this or that crisis.
As reported by Media Matters, even when his trainers explained the rationale behind not using nukes willy-nilly, Donald Trump continued to wonder, “If we have them, why can’t we use them?”
The Trump arms race apparently wouldn’t limit itself just to the United States and Russia. According to the Times of India, Trump has actually indicated that he would like a number of other countries to acquire nuclear weapons — a position on nonproliferation that is contrary to the views of virtually every previous administration — Democratic or Republican.
How Would Such Nuclear Weapons Be Used?
There are a number of possible targets for the nuclear weapons produced by any new Trump arms race. For instance, on the small-scale there are the seemingly endless military engagements the United States sometimes finds itself embroiled in around the world, from Afghanistan and Iraq to Syria.
Presumably, Donald Trump might view the use of nuclear weapons in these cases as a simple and quick way to eliminate our enemies without losing U.S. forces. The counterargument that it might result in a nuclear holocaust doesn’t seem to carry a lot of weight with Trump if his discussion of nuclear weapons in the press and in private are any indication.
Then there’s North Korea. Instead of maintaining military forces in South Korea and guarding against future attacks by North Korean conventional or nuclear forces, Trump might decide to jump to the end of the process and launch nuclear weapons himself against North Korean military installations. After all, we are technically still at war with them — which would provide him with a convenient excuse.
Yes, this would probably result in hundreds of thousands or even millions of deaths — but it’s questionable whether this would serve as a strong deterrent against Donald Trump doing something like this.
Finally, there is Donald Trump’s hated Asian nemesis — and international trade boogie man — China. The Trump arms race in nuclear weapons could be designed to intimidate China as Trump begins what is likely to be a major trade war against the Chinese.
[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]