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Politico: Trump Panel May Propose Developing Mini-Nuke

Image: Politico: Trump Panel May Propose Developing Mini-Nuke
(AP)

By    |   Saturday, 09 Sep 2017 12:04 PM

President Donald Trump created a "high-level panel" to review options for the creation of a "low-yield" nuclear weapon that would give military leaders more options against hostile nations such as Russia, North Korea and other countries that currently have nuclear capabilities.

However, considering such a course would also increase the likelihood of a spike in the overall use of atomic arms by the world's nations, Politico reported Saturday.

The move reverses the strategy of the administration of former President Barack Obama which sought to limit the use of nuclear weapons and also prohibited the development of new weapons, the article explained.

"This capability is very warranted," said an unidentified government official about the review.

"The [nuclear review] has to credibly ask the military what they need to deter enemies," another official stated. "Are [current weapons] going to be useful in all the scenarios we see?"

The idea is not new, having been considered during the early years of the Cold War. Trump established the yearlong Nuclear Posture Review by executive order his first week in office.

Funds to pay for any new weapons would have to meet with congressional approval, and the Senate will debate the issue next week when it considers the National Defense Authorization Act.

Critics are questioning the idea of developing new nuclear weapons and the effect that would have as other countries would feel emboldened to further develop their programs.

"If the U.S. moves now to develop a new nuclear weapon, it will send exactly the wrong signal at a time when international efforts to discourage the spread of nuclear weapons are under severe challenge," said Steven Andreasen, a State Department official in the administration's of former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush who was also director of arms control on the National Security Council in the administration of former President Bill Clinton.

"If the world's greatest conventional and nuclear military power decides it cannot defend itself without new nuclear weapons, we will undermine our ability to prevent other nations from developing or enhancing their own nuclear capabilities and we will further deepen the divisions between the U.S. and other responsible countries," he added.

"In today’s environment, if the U.S. were to test low-yield nuclear weapons others might start testing. Russia, Iran, China, Pakistan, India. It would certainly give North Korea reason to test as often as they wanted,” said Philip Coyle, a former Pentagon weapons tester.

That sentiment was also echoed by Alexandra Ball, a former State Department official, who maintained there was "no such thing as a minor nuclear war."

However, "others involved in the deliberations" believed the panel could find a receptive audience among lawmakers, the article explained.

Details of the study, which is being led by the Pentagon, are classified. The Department of Energy, in charge of maintaining the nation's warheads, also supports the review, which will be the first of its kind since 2010.

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President Donald Trump created a "high-level panel" to review options for the creation of a "low-yield" nuclear weapon that would give military leaders more options against hostile nations such as Russia, North Korea and other countries that currently have nuclear...
nuclear weapons review, President Donald Trump, mini-nuke, Nuclear Posture Review
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2017-04-09
Saturday, 09 Sep 2017 12:04 PM
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