On December 22, while most Americans were Christmas shopping, President-Elect Donald Trump tweeted: “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its sense regarding nukes.”
The Trump transition team insisted he was not talking about starting a new arms race, but was simply reiterating his position against proliferation, even though such an interpretation seems more like wishful thinking than any objective mode of interpretation.
But then Trump told talk show host Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC: “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”
(Clearly we can look forward to this recurring pattern for years to come: Trump says “X,” his staff says he means “Y,” and Trump doubles down on “X.” Why anybody would want to be Trump’s press secretary is astounding to me, because next the press will be asking, “How come you said it was Y when the president says it was X?” That is going to get really old, really fast.)
I remember doing drills in elementary school in case of a nuclear attack. You probably think we ducked under our desks, but that is stupid. That is not going to protect you from an atomic bomb. We went out in the halls and crouched against the walls, which is significantly safer.
President Trump is never going to be the sort who spends billions of dollars on nuclear weapons and never uses them. During the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly questioned why we never use nuclear weapons. Experts and pundits freaked out, but think about it from his perspective: Trump builds these massive hotels with these expensive rooms so people will pay him lots of money. He does not waste money building rooms that he hopes nobody is ever going to use. That would be stupid. Something only a real loser would do.
So expect our current two-bomb lead on the rest of the world to grow. Double figures at least. True, the United States has thousands of nuclear warheads, but I cannot believe that Donald Trump could come up with a thousand places to nuke, even if you let him target places in the U.S. that piss him off.
Still, part of me is worried that Putin is lying about expanding Russia’s nuclear arsenal. Intelligence agencies would report the Russians were lying, but Trump would not believe them. (Remember, these are the “same people” who said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Well, not the same “same people,” but the same companies, which is like saying Republicans are the “same people” who carried out Watergate or the San Francisco 49ers are the “same people” who won a bunch of Super Bowls).
The news media would also point out there was no evidence, but Trump has already established that the news media are dishonest, so their saying there is absolutely no evidence would actually be indisputable proof of the exact opposite, right?
One of the reasons the Soviet Union fell was that their economy fell apart trying to keep up with Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” missile defense shield idea, which never got off the ground, but the paranoid Soviets tried to compete anyhow. If Putin can put a monkey wrench in the U.S. economy by having Trump shift more money to military spending for nukes and lots of them, instead of things like jobs, I think Putin would appreciate the irony.
Then again, Putin could always just lie and report that the Russians built 200 new nukes this week and then Trump could come out and lie and say, “Well, we built 400 new nukes this week, so there.”
Oh, wait, I know. Trump orders all these new and improved nukes and then refuses to pay for them. That would save a hell of a lot of money and allow us to win the new arms race. Win-win, right?
You know, in the wake of the election it was impossible to believe that the nation would ever be unified again, but Trump has found a means to do it. When it comes to terrorist attacks, the concern is for large crowds in big cities. But when it comes to nuclear war, in the words of Tom Lehrer, “We will all go together, when we go.”
No matter where you are on the planet, you will either be obliterated by a nuclear blast, succumb to the effects of radiation, or starve to death because all plant life has died in a nuclear winter.
Just remember, kiddies. Do not hide under your desk. Go out into the hallway before you duck and cover!