Trump says U.S. nuclear arsenal should be at ‘top of the pack’

Daily News Article - February 27, 2017


1. How many nuclear weapons do the U.S. and Russia each have?

2. a) In an interview this week, Reuters’ reporters asked President Trump about his December tweet in which he said the U.S. must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capacity “until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”
How did President Trump explain his thinking about other countries (and the U.S.) having nuclear weapons?
b) Do you agree with this belief? Explain your answer.
c) Ask a parent the same question.

3. What is New START?

4. How does President Trump view the New START treaty President Obama signed with Russia?

5. What did President Trump note about Russia’s deployment of a ground-based cruise missile?

6. a) What is the U.S. considering doing about North Korea’s ballistic missile tests?
b) Regarding North Korea’s aggressive tests, President Trump said “it’s a very dangerous situation” and added, “It’s very late. We’re very angry at what [Kim Jong Un] has done, and frankly this should have been taken care of during the Obama administration.”
Ask a parent, or a grandparent: Do you agree or disagree with the president’s assertion? Please explain your answer.

7. Consider the following observations:

In his 2016 interview with DemocracyNow in which he opposes Donald Trump’s assertions about nuclear weapons, Joseph Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund, the anti-nuclear group quoted by Reuters said:

“There is nothing inevitable about nuclear proliferation. For the last 40 years, Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, have had a concerted policy to reduce nuclear weapons in the world. And guess what. It has worked. There are far fewer nuclear weapons in the world now than at the height of the Cold War. We’ve cut the global arsenals by 80 percent. More countries have given up nuclear weapons and nuclear programs over the last 30 years than have tried to acquire them. We’re down to one rogue state, so-called rogue state, North Korea. That’s it. There’s nobody else. So there’s nothing inevitable about this.”

In his commentary “The Disarmament Delusion” Professor Thomas Sowell (currently Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University) wrote:

“Even if every nuclear weapon on the planet were destroyed — and how could we be sure that had happened? — it still wouldn’t destroy the knowledge of how to make nuclear weapons. Countries with aggressive intentions need only choose the time when they would put their knowledge of nuclear weapons to use, and have the world at their mercy.”

In his 2016 commentary “Trump Said the U.S. Should Expand Nuclear Weapons. He’s Right.” Matthew Kroenig, Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University wrote:

"U.S. nuclear strategy cannot be static, but must take into account the nuclear strategy and capabilities of its adversaries. America needs to bolster its deterrence not to start a war, but to prevent one.  The United States needs a robust nuclear force, therefore, not because anyone wants to fight a nuclear war, but rather, the opposite: to deter potential adversaries from attacking or coercing the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons of their own."

Progressives generally believe in reducing/eliminating nuclear arms worldwide as the best way to protect the world from nuclear war. Conservatives hold the view of President Trump and Thomas Sowell.

Nuclear disarmament refers to both the act of reducing or eliminating nuclear weapons and to the end state of a nuclear-free world, in which nuclear weapons are completely eliminated. Do you think this, or President Trump’s plan, is the better U.S. policy?