After North Korea agreed in principle to get rid of its nukes, the U.S. continues to ignore its obligation under the NPT to also eliminate its nuclear weapons, as Marjorie Cohn explains.
By Marjorie Cohn
A powerful economic incentive continues to drive the nuclear arms race. After the Singapore Summit, the stock values of all major defense contractors — including Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and General Dynamics — declined.
Given his allegiance to boosting corporate profits, it’s no surprise that Donald Trump is counterbalancing the effects of the Singapore Summit’s steps toward denuclearization with a Nuclear Posture Review that steers the US toward developing leaner and meaner nukes and lowers the threshold for using them.
The United States has allocated $1.7 trillion to streamline our nuclear arsenal, despite having agreed in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968 to work toward nuclear disarmament.
Meanwhile, the US maintains a stockpile of 7,000 nuclear weapons, some 900 of them on “hair trigger alert,” according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
“If weapons are used they need to be replaced,” Brand McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network has argued. “That makes war a growth story for these stocks, and one of the big potential growth stories recently has been North Korea. What the agreement does, at least for a while, is take military conflict off the table.”
Moreover, economic incentives surrounding conventional weapons also cut against the promise of peace on the Korean Peninsula. Eric Sirotkin, founder of Lawyers for Demilitarization and Peace in Korea, has pointed out that South Korea is one of the largest importers of conventional weapons from the United States. If North and South Korea achieve “a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula,” as envisioned by the agreement between Trump and Kim Jong Un, the market for US weapons could dry up, according to Sirotkin.
Even so, US defense spending will continue to increase, according to Bloomberg Intelligence aerospace expert George Ferguson. “If North Korea turns from a pariah state to…