Racing Towards a Low-Yield Armageddon

Photo by James Stencilowsky | CC BY 2.0

On February 3 the Washington Post observed that “the United States can deliver a [nuclear] strike anywhere in the world in 30 minutes with astounding accuracy” and questioned the need for “a new generation of low-yield nuclear weapons,” quoting the commander of the strategic force, General John Hyten, as saying “I’m very comfortable today with the flexibility of our response options.”  But it appears that no matter the quantity and world-destroying capability of the US nuclear arsenal, there is always room for more — and more devastating — weapons of mass annihilation.

General James Mattis, the US Secretary of Defence, discussed Washington’s recently composed Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) with the Armed Services Committee of the House of Representatives on February 6.  He was attempting to justify the upgrading and huge expansion of the US nuclear arsenal which the Congressional Budget Office has estimated  will cost some 1.2 trillion dollars over the next 30 years, and described in detail some of the projects that have been planned. The entire exercise does not fit well with the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in which it is agreed by almost every country in the world that the nuclear arms race should be halted and that all possible measures should be taken towards achievement of nuclear disarmament.

But Washington’s notions of global nuclear disarmament are curiously…

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