Last year, we did not really know what President Trump’s election would mean for those of us working to keep the world safe from nuclear weapons. We thought that perhaps we could work with him to reduce the US nuclear stockpile and build new, global nuclear security agreements. After all, Republican presidents have historically led such efforts.
Unfortunately, the reality has turned out to be much grimmer. President Trump is overturning decades of bipartisan efforts that have blocked the spread of the deadliest weapon ever built. New policies coming out of the White House and the Congress threaten the progress we have made in reducing nuclear arsenals at home and abroad.
At his State of the Union Address, President Trump said, “perhaps someday in the future, there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, we are not there yet, sadly.” That statement is profoundly disturbing.
For the first time since President Truman, a US president has turned his back on the promise of reducing nuclear arsenals and lessening worldwide nuclear dangers. Instead, President Trump promised to, “modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal… making it so strong and so powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression by any other nation or anyone else.”
We are pulling back from effective arms control agreements and pouring billions of dollars into new nuclear weapons programs. Harsh threats and bombastic rhetoric are bringing us closer to wars in the Middle East and Korea.
Our policy seems driven more by personal vendettas and narrow ideology than strategic vision. President Trump’s new Nuclear Posture Review outlines plans to build more nuclear weapons, some of them smaller and “more usable,” and creates more missions in which they can be used.
We cannot let this happen. You know the old saying, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Well, we have the toughest grantees on the planet, and they have been rising up to meet this challenge every single day.
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Reducing, and eventually eliminating, nuclear threats will take time and dedication. But it can be done if the people rise up and demand it. Stay up to date on the latest nuclear weapons issues and analysis from Ploughshares Fund, and learn how you can help elevate peace and security worldwide.