The Washington Post: Trump May Begin a New Age of Nuclear Weapons

“Last week, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN, an organization that fights for nuclear disarmament around the world,” writes The Washington Post.

But the prize was awarded not only for the work already done – the chairman of the Nobel Committee of Norway Berit Reiss-Andersen said that the prize should be a “significant encouragement” for ICAN and similar organizations.

“The news published by NBC News on Wednesday showed how necessary this kind of encouragement can be,” notes author Adam Taylor.

Officials told NBC that President Trump was shown how much the country’s nuclear arsenal has shrunk since the 1960s during a July meeting on US military operations around the world. Back then, Trump reportedly said he wanted a nearly tenfold increase in the US nuclear arsenal, the article said.

The president hastened to issue a refutation, calling it “pure fiction, invented to discredit.” “However, Trump’s position on nuclear weapons has been unclear for a long time,” Taylor said.

“On the one hand, Trump has long recognized the threat of nuclear annihilation,” the author writes, referring to the relevant statements of the future president since the 1980s. However, he also argued that the United States “must significantly strengthen and expand its nuclear capabilities,” the article said, which reportedly asked advisers why it could not use nuclear weapons, and seemed to suggest that other states should think about own nuclear weapons.

And some states apparently heard it. For example, according to former Singaporean diplomat Bilahari Kausikan, now the development of their own nuclear weapons by South Korea and Japan is only a matter of time, given the growing threat from North Korea.

A number of experts warn that if Trump abandons the agreement with Iran, this could lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Another big nuclear problem has to do with Russia, the author continues. President Putin recently spoke of the need to “strengthen the military capabilities of strategic nuclear forces,” while Trump reportedly condemned the Obama-era pact that limited the two states’ deployed nuclear weapons.

“Of course, you can’t put all the blame on Trump,” Taylor admits. Neither the United States nor its NATO allies signed the ICAN Nuclear Arms Ban Treaty, and the Obama administration was one of its leading critics. But now the nuclear codes are in the hands of Trump, and the work of ICAN has become even more necessary, the journalist sums up.

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