That paranoia will be the guiding principle of American nuclear policy was never thought of before Trump ascended to the White House. Even at the height of the cold war between Russia and America in the previous century, both Republicans and Democrats made efforts to reduce the then going arms race between the two superpowers. The American obsession to not see another rival power on the global scene is the reason that instead of taking steps towards nuclear disarmament, Pentagon is pushing the world towards a new arms race. The 74-page report declares not only sees North Korea as a “clear and grave threat” but also consider Russia and China as potential adversaries.
The assumption is that American Nuclear Policy will be directed by the recently published strategy stating new measures in arms control are difficult to envision making the strategy self-contradictory in the sense as it also endorses adhering to existing arms control agreements.
While the assumption under the strategy is that international agreements can foster cooperation among states having nuclear capabilities, nevertheless, accusing Russia as a violator of international treaties and regarding China as a potential rival defeat the objective of the strategy. The Pentagon-led review of the US nuclear arsenal and the policies that govern it was ordered by Trump a year ago. In a written statement, Trump said US strategy is designed to make use of nuclear weapons less likely.
However, the hawkish approach towards Iran nuclear deal and threats of using nuclear weapons against North Korea, it was only natural to see a report of this kind. The new strategy can be seen as a deliberate attempt to blur lines between nuclear and conventional warfare. Trump’s administration will follow in the footprints of their predecessors as far as modernizing the nuclear arsenal is concerned.
To maintain the balance of power, China and Russia will also try to modernize their nuclear weapons and facilities. Therefore, fears are that Trump’s nuclear strategy is a dawn of a new era of the arms race. This time it is not limited to two superpowers. More and more countries including North Korea and Iran are likely to be part of the upcoming arms race. The new American strategy will serve the purpose of an action-reaction spiral between the US, Russia, China and North Korea. It was only natural when Russia deemed the strategy as “anti-Russian” and called the review’s propositions as dangerous. Only American citizens can reverse Trump’s nuclear strategy through public protests against American hawkish foreign and nuclear policies.