Prospects for Nuclear Disarmament if Trump Wins       

MAPA Newsletter October 2020

Modern nuclear warhead, Russia. From: Future of Life Institute.
Modern nuclear warhead, Russia. From: Future of Life Institute.

by Jonathan King

What would another four years of a Trump presidency mean for the prospect of nuclear arms control and disarmament?

President Trump has already withdrawn the US from the painfully negotiated Iran nuclear deal; unilaterally pulled the US out of the very valuable Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement with Russia; and withdrawn from the Open Skies agreement with Russia. He has explicitly threatened the use of nuclear weapons – for example, against North Korea. Given that his finger alone is on the nuclear launch button, his erratic, volatile and often adolescent behavior increases the risks of a nuclear launch, which would be catastrophic for human society and the planet.

In each of Trump’s budgets since he took office, he has cut critical civilian programs and increased wasteful Pentagon spending.

Given four more years, the areas of greatest concern include:

  • Continuing support for outrageously costly and provocative increases in nuclear weapons upgrades; those upgrades could spark…
  • A new nuclear arms race with Russia and/or China, and embolden India, Pakistan and other nuclear-armed states to ramp up their programs;
  • Resuming nuclear weapons testing which would undermine any prospect of ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and also catalyze other nations into resuming weapons testing, which might include atmospheric testing, contaminating the global atmosphere;
  • And, of course, the looming danger of the Initiation an actual nuclear war.

—Jonathan King is co-chair of Mass. Peace Action Board and its Nuclear Disarmament Working Group.