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Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review – quite a mess

North Korea: Trump administration’s ‘sloppy work’ in Nuclear Posture Review   AT FIRST glance you might not see what’s wrong with this map used in Donald Trump’s nuclear review. But it has left some experts , Debra Killalea, 1 Feb 18

A DRAFT report of the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) has been slammed as embarrassing after featuring a graphic showing Debra Killaleaa very different looking North Korea.

The draft report, leaked two weeks ago, omits South Korea and instead shows the whole peninsula represented by the North’s flag.

Experts slammed the “sloppy work” in the report and said they hoped it would be corrected ahead of its final release tomorrow, US time.

Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, raised concerns about the map, tweeting the authors actually want to strengthen tailored deterrence.

The concerns over the graphic were echoed by Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Centre for American Progress, who said the Pentagon could not release a policy document that failed to recognise South Korea.

He also slammed it as embarrassing and unforgivable, adding it was the latest in a series of “avoidable offences”.

South Korea is a major US ally with the two countries forging strong military and economic ties.

Two weeks ago, Mr Mount said the leaked review translates Mr Trump’s impulses into an order for new, more usable nuclear options. He also called it “strategically risky”.

The NPR is used to determine the role of nuclear weapons in the security strategy of the US.


John Blaxland, Professor of International Security and Intelligence Studies and director of ANU’s Southeast Asia Institute, said the mistake was embarrassing but wasn’t worth reading too much into………

There is a growing consensus among academic institutions and civil society organisations that the efficacy of nuclear weapons as a deterrent of state-on-state war has waned, if it ever worked effectively in the first place,” he said.

Prof Blaxland said some people argued it wasn’t the atomic weapons dropped on Japan in 1945 that led to Japan’s surrender but rather Russia’s declaration of war.

He also said the steps being proposed by the US today are likely to be extremely expensive and of dubious additional benefit…….


Critics are already warning the NPR could trigger another arms race and raise the risk of miscalculations that might spark an atomic conflict.

Beatrice Fihn, executive director of International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), said the Trump review raised some serious concerns.

The risk of use for nuclear weapons has always been unacceptably high,” she said.

The new Trump nuclear doctrine is to deliberately increase that risk. It is an all-out attempt to take nuclear weapons out of the silos and onto the battlefield.

This policy is a shift from one where the use of nuclear weapons is possible to one where the use of nuclear weapons is likely.”

She also said there was no such thing as a good nuclear weapon.


The Union of Concerned Scientists has also raised some concerns about the review and has said the gap between China and the US is too wide to argue Washington is lagging behind in a significant way.

While acknowledging Beijing has made significant advances in its nuclear capabilities, it said China’s arsenal is smaller than the US had in 1950.

In a White Paper released last month, they also argue there’s little evidence China is pursuing “entirely new” nuclear capabilities.

The People for Nuclear Disarmament said the leaked NPR made global thermonuclear war more, not less, likely and global nuclear arms racing more probable.

Nuclear disarmament campaigner John Hallam said Mr Trump was looking for ways in which he could differentiate himself from, and take credit for, the immense expansion of US nuclear infrastructure initiated by former president Obama.

Mr Hallam said there is considerable continuity between the Obama and the Trump approach but there was a key difference.

The only important difference — and it certainly is important — is that while under Obama, the direction of the US nuclear arsenal was officially down it is not officially up,” he said.

Trump makes no bones about wanting to expand US nuclear capabilities. Never mind if they don’t need them. Never mind if it initiates an arms race or never mind if it makes an apocalypse more likely.

Obama was also more likely to at least think about risk reduction measures such as de-alerting and no-first-use. Those measures are now clearly not to be considered.”


February 2, 2018 - Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war

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