With the Trump administration’s new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) being released Friday 2/2 after being leaked a few weeks ago, Georgia WAND knows there is cause for concern.
The Nuclear Posture Review contains plans to build smaller nuclear weapons that will respond to the threat of cyberattack and there are inaccuracies about the threat of China.
The Nuclear Posture Review calls for the U.S. to build “smaller” nuclear weapons. This is so the U.S. shows that it is prepared to respond to foreign aggression. The reasoning is that no one believes the U.S. will use its large nuclear weapons in response to, say, a cyberattack; instead, we would use “smaller” ones.
The truth, as Alexandra Bell of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation told NPR, is that the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki could both be categorized as “smaller.” A smaller nuclear weapon, she says, “is still a city destroyer.”
And the fact that the Nuclear Posture Review would respond not just to a nuclear attack but to a cyberattack (or a chemical weapons or biological weapons attack) with nuclear weapons is a cause for alarm. Although the threats of cyber attacks are real, the justification for using nuclear weapons is not, and the United States should focus on using diplomatic means to deal with its conflicts.
While the Nuclear Posture review says that the US needs to develop new nuclear because it says “China is expanding and modernizing its considerable nuclear forces,” this is not the case, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
According to China Project manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists Global Security Program Gregory Kulacki, “There is no evidence that nuclear weapons are becoming more prominent in China’s military strategy or that China has changed its longstanding no-first-use policy.”
This justification of building new nuclear is not grounded in fact.
The good news is that this Nuclear Posture Review is just a proposal-the administration will need to get approval from Congress. This may be a difficult task, considering not only some Congress members’ concerns about nuclear, but also considering the immense strain that fulfilling this plan will have on the national budget. As Bell said, the cost of modernizing the U.S.’s nuclear weapons is already projected to cost us 1.7 trillion dollars over the next 30 years. The addition of developing and building new types of nuclear weapons will make this price skyrocket further.
What would you rather have the government pay for than new nuclear weapons? At Georgia WAND we believe that human needs should not be neglected for the sake of building up military strength. We look toward a world where safety and security refer not to the ability of our country to destroy another, but the ability for our country to provide for its most vulnerable populations. We believe that justifying the expansion of our nuclear weapons arsenal by generating fear in the public is irresponsible. We know that any nuclear weapon–no matter if it’s “big” or “small” not only has the potential to kill tens of thousands of people, but also slowly poisons the people and environments in which it is created. When tritium for nuclear warheads is manufactured at the Savannah River Site, across the river from Georgia, for example, the contamination spreads to communities nearby and down the Savannah River, contributing to sickness and uncertainty under the guise of safe government practices.
At Georgia WAND we will continue to stand with the women on the frontlines of communities harmed by both nuclear violence and misdirection of federal resources. We will not back down in calling for actions that will reduce the need for state (especially nuclear) violence. We will not back down in demanding justice for wrongdoings from decades ago, and for hateful actions of today. We will stand, boldly together, asking for disarmament, decolonization, and justice until our voices are heard.
For more information, contact Emily@georgiawand.org.