Trump says US must ‘ex­pand its nuclear ca­pa­bil­ity un­til . . . the world comes to its senses’

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL -

P res­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump turned to Twit­ter on Thurs­day to call for the US to in­crease the ca­pa­bil­ity of its nuclear arse­nal.

“The United States must greatly strengthen and ex­pand its nuclear ca­pa­bil­ity un­til such time as the world comes to its senses re­gard­ing nukes,” Trump wrote on the so­cial me­dia plat­form.

Russia on Thurs­day also called for strength­en­ing “the mil­i­tary po­ten­tial of strate­gic nuclear forces” in the coun­try.

Trump’s procla­ma­tion comes one day af­ter he met with top Pen­tagon of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing the Air Force deputy chief of staff for strate­gic de­ter­rence and nuclear in­te­gra­tion, a post that broadly over­sees the Air Force’s nuclear weapons ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

He tweeted af­ter the Wed­nes­day meet­ing that he was im­pressed with the peo­ple he met.

Ear­lier this year, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion pro­posed a $348 bil­lion plan to up­grade the US nuclear arse­nal over the next 10 years to im­prove the mis­siles and war­heads and im­prove de­liv­ery sys­tems aboard sub­marines and air­craft.

Trump’s tweet wasn’t the first time he’s pro­moted ex­pand­ing nuclear weapons broadly.

Dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, Trump said he could sup­port coun­tries like Japan and South Korea de­vel­op­ing their own nuclear weapons, a move that many ex­perts said could cre­ate a strate­gic arms race in Asia and the Mid­dle East.

Kingston Reif, the di­rec­tor for dis­ar­ma­ment and threat-re­duc­tion pol­icy at the Arms Con­trol As­so­ci­a­tion, called Trump’s pro-pro­lif­er­a­tion stance “ir­re­spon­si­ble.”

“The US needs to be play­ing an even more ac­tive role than it is cur­rently play­ing in re­duc­ing nuclear buildup, and Trump’s com­ments will not make that job any eas­ier,” Reif told Busi­ness In­sider in March.

Trump’s po­si­tion on nuclear weapons has been in­con­sis­tent.

He said dur­ing the cam­paign that he wants to be “un­pre­dictable” in his de­ci­sions re­gard­ing nuclear weapons, but has also said that he would like “ev­ery­body to end it, just get rid of” nuclear weapons. He said in Septem­ber that “once the nuclear al­ter­na­tive hap­pens, it’s over,” but that he still didn’t want to “take any­thing off the ta­ble.”

And last month, he tweeted that he “never said” that more coun­tries should ac­quire nuclear weapons.

On Wed­nes­day Pres­i­dent-elect Trump tweeted: “I met some re­ally great Air Force Gen­er­als and Navy Ad­mi­rals to­day, talk­ing about air­plane ca­pa­bil­ity and pric­ing. Very im­pres­sive peo­ple!”

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