Sanders: Trump’s Dangerous Nukes Talk Must be Challenged

By Jon Queally, staff writer | ( | – –

‘Presidents, Republicans and Democrats, have understood that our goal must be to reduce the number of nuclear weapons, not expand them.’

Deriding President-elect Donald Trump as the ‘Twitter-in-Chief,’ Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said recent comments on a nuclear arms race must be challenged by members of both major parties.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has made it known that Donald Trump should not go unchallenged by his congressional colleagues as troubling comments by the President-elect about nuclear weapons this week sparked alarm across the United States and the world.

Following an initial out-of-the-blue tweet Thursday saying the U.S. should “expand” its nuclear arsenal followed by “clarifying” remarks Friday to MSNBC in which Trump said, “Let it be an arms race,” Sanders responded: “It’s a miracle a nuclear weapon hasn’t been used in war since 1945. Congress can’t allow the Tweeter in Chief to start a nuclear arms race.”

Subsequently, he added:

Though Trump’s press team was tied in knots as they tried (but failed) to walk back or explain Trump’s nuclear talk, Sanders far from alone in expressing grave concern over the seriousness of what was said.

“Can a tweet start an arms race? This one may just have done that,” Joseph Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation, told NBC News.

On Saturday, a New York Times editorial argued that by “casually hinting at a seismic shift in fundamental policies, the president-elect is playing a risky game.”

The Times continued, “For decades, American policy has been designed to stabilize relations between Russia and the United States and to deter other countries from acquiring nuclear weapons. Careless taunts risk undoing that progress.”

But is everyone making too much of this?

Laicie Heeley, a nuclear expert at the non-partisan Stimson Center, doesn’t think so.

Heeley told Agence France-Presse Trump’s comments this week are “reckless,” especially without providing details or context for what he said. “To make such a loaded statement without context or follow-up is irresponsible at best,” she explained. “We could be talking about a return to the Cold War here, when the threat of a nuclear catastrophe was very real.”

And Melissa Batchelor Warnke, a contributor to the Los Angeles Times, said that for all the other controversial and troubling things Trump has said and done—both during his campaign and since being elected—these casual and “absolutely frightening” comments about nuclear weapons and proliferation should be treated with special concern.

“Because of the difficulty detecting a signal in the noise, we can lose sight of what’s at stake,” Warnke wrote Friday. While not dismissing his many other troubling statements, Warnke argues Trump’s positions on nuclear weapons are “exceptional” in their implications. “Donald Trump’s prime campaign promise was that Donald Trump would always win. He would win through strength, intimidation and stick-swinging. But nobody wins in nuclear war. It doesn’t happen. The use of nuclear weapons is a sin for which none is forgiven; a nuclear exchange is a potential extermination event.’

She continued, “When nuclear escalation is on the table, every journalist in America should get a new beat, and that beat should be reporting on how to avert nuclear war. We have covered this, but not with enough urgency. Each time the President of the United States speaks cavalierly or competitively about nuclear weapons, that should be a six-column headline in every paper in America. It isn’t; it hasn’t been.”

In turn, many other journalists and political commentators, including Ring of Fire’s Sydney Robinson, welcomed Sanders’ promise to hold Trump to account on the issue.

“Trump’s promise to begin a nuclear arms race is incredibly concerning for the entire globe,” Robinson wrote Saturday, “and we hope that Senator Sanders and others will do more in the future to protect the nation from such dangerous outcomes.”

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

Donald Trump’s Nuke Tweets Cause International Jitters | The Last Word | MSNBC

4 Responses

  1. “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes”

    What the Hell does Trump mean by “comes to its senses”? Is he saying that we must break the will of the outside world to build nukes by building more than they can afford to? Does he mean that the world must accept American nuclear domination and the power to demand whatever Trump pleases? Is there a difference between these?

    His clarification:
    “”Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass.”

    Who’s them? Putin?

    Or is he expecting himself and Putin to ally to blackmail the rest of the world with their enormous arsenals?

    In 1969, Brezhnev made a secret offer to Nixon to launch a joint war on China, using their massive mutual superiority to guarantee the success of a nuclear first strike. I guess bad ideas never die.

    I thought there might actually be one area somewhere where Trump was not worse than Reagan, but I’m out of guesses now.

    • Per the most recent climate studies, it would only take five or so nuclear air-burst over medium sized cities to induce “nuclear winter” where humans will have the “interesting choice” of whether to die from . . .

      – radiation poisoning

      – starvation

      – freezing

      The trumpet has no understanding just how deadly for all mankind a nuclear war is and that the world already has more than enough nukes to destroy the earth for every living thing except maybe cockroaches.

  2. If I were talented as a cartoonist, I would post an image of the next President standing at the edge of an abyss, invisible at his feet, being coaxed by Vlad the Impaler to “puff out your chest, more, more, just a little more…”

  3. Donald J. Trump with nuclear capability is like a curious adolescent boy with his first string of firecrackers, Trump can’t wait to light some off. He has asked “if we have them why don’t we use them?”

    link to

    Apparently, the fact that at this very moment cruising silently beneath our oceans is sufficient combined thermonuclear firepower to kill every living thing on the surface of our planet, three times over – has escaped the President-elect because he has publicly stated he wants MORE.

    Here is why we don’t use them. link to

    Perhaps someone not insane on his transition team could stay up to suggest Trump search the word “pikadon” – whilst during one of his loony 3am Twitter rampages?

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