Today is the official deadline by which the United States and Russia must verify that they have met the limits of the New START Treaty, an agreement by both countries to reduce their deployed strategic nuclear weapons to no more than 1,550 each.
The Trump Administration Nuclear Posture Review released today calls for the development of new, more usable nuclear weapons, and expanding the number of scenarios when the first use of nuclear weapons would be considered, including in response to a non-nuclear attack.
Moments ago, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved its iconic Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to midnight, signaling the increased likelihood of a global existential catastrophe. The Clock now stands at two minutes to midnight, meeting the previous high-water mark set in 1953, the year after the United States and the Soviet Union first tested thermonuclear weapons.
Last night, The Huffington Post released a pre-decisional draft of the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review. The document outlined a strategy that includes the development of new, so-called “low-yield” nuclear weapons — expanding the number of scenarios in which the first use of nuclear weapons would be considered, including in response to non-nuclear attack.
In a new open letter to members of Congress, seventeen former nuclear launch officers issue a grave warning regarding President Trump’s unfettered access to nuclear weapons, declaring that the current U.S. nuclear launch process “poses a clear and present danger to the country and the world: No one — not the secretary of defense, not the attorney general, not Congress — can veto that order. There are no reliable safeguards in place to contain this power.”
Over the past two days, President Trump has taken to Twitter to weigh in on North Korea, bragging that his “Nuclear Button” is “much bigger and more powerful” than Kim Jong-un’s, and that direct talks between North Korea and South Korea are a result of his continued antagonism.