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Today there are around 15,000 nuclear weapons on the planet and although they are owned by a total of 9 nations, 95 percent of them are owned by the United States and Russia. Out of those 95 percent owned by both nations, around 2,000 in each side are on hair-trigger alert status, ready to be launched at military, and civilian infrastructure within 30 minutes or less. This is a Cold War posture that did not end along with the fall of the Berlin Wall. The threat of nuclear annihilation created either intentionally or accidentally is ever more present today as it was in the height of the Cold War-era.
The projected cost of modernizing the US nuclear arsenal is one trillion dollars over 30 years. The stated reason is to upgrade technologically an aging nuclear arsenal. Meanwhile poverty grows across the USA, climate disasters like Hurricane Maria and Irma are met with lackluster responses, healthcare is universally unavailable, schools are underfunded and cities are lacking resources to meet people's needs.
The arms race is also being escalated by the US through "defensive" deployments, like the THAAD missile deployment in Korea. THAAD is opposed by North Korea, China, Russia, and South Korean peace activists alike. A big reason why these so called defensive weapons exacerbate the potential for nuclear war is that they could be used for offensive purposes. For instance it's radar system could be used to track military movements within the borders of other nations. Also, they threaten the doctrine of "Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD)" the idea that none of the nuclear weapons powers will launch a nuclear war since the understanding is that it will result in all sides being totally obliterated. The US deployment of "defensive" systems are a feature of a first strike doctrine, attempting to create the conditions where the US can "win" a nuclear war by developing the capability of shooting down any retaliatory attempts after a US first strike.
Other offensive escalations of the arms race by the US include:
* More than 500 M1A2 main battle tanks stationed and a huge NATO logistical bases in Baltics, right on Russia's borders.
* Huge U.S. THAAD missile bases in Poland and Romania could strike Moscow in minutes
While it apparently has not been done yet, there are reports that the US is considering on preparing to put B-52 nuclear bomber planes on 24 hour alert. Meanwhile 3 nuclear armed submarines are patrolling the seas near Korea each trident submarine can be armed with 12 launchable missiles, each with 12 warheads so one trident submarine could have enough nuclear war power to strike almost 150 cities!
While there is widespread reporting on tests by Korea of long range missiles capable of being armed with nuclear warheads, there is much less fanfare around the fact that the US continues to carry out similar tests on a routine basis.
Recently, President Trump's called for a 10-fold increase in spending on US nuclear armaments.
Russia and China have not sat idly by through all of these developments. Each offers their diplomatic opposition around the deployments of the US as well as taking their own military counter measures. For example, Russia has touted the development of its so called "Satan" missile, an RS-28 with reports that it recently tested this ICBM nuclear armed capable missile at a distance of 3600 miles. The missile is said to be capable of destroying entire nations.
Our antiwar focus needs to be full court opposing any and all continuation to advance US nuclear war capabilities, including modernization, new weapons, deployments of nuclear weapons to potential war theatres (like Korea currently) and the forward placement of "defensive" systems that could figure into first strike strategy. The US needs to join the nuclear weapons ban and take unilateral measures to demonstrate a commitment to nuclear disarmament. It needs to invite all nuclear nations, including Russia, China, Israel, Korea, European nations, India and Pakistan into roundtable disarmament talks. It also needs to halt the practice of using other nation's nuclear technology as a pretext to escalate war threats.
The resources expended upon nuclear weapons by the US need to be rechanneled to meet human needs including the clean up and containment of the deadly wastes stored at various radiation dumps around the US and the rest of the planet that pose an ever imminent threat of leaking out to the environment and possibly causing catastrophes of unknown dimension.
US Itchy Finger on the Nuclear Trigger