Trump has revived possibility of using atomic weapons tactically

Written by on February 6, 2018

President Donald Trump has revived the dangerous possibility of using atomic weapons tactically in the new U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) that may revive the 1950s-type tensions, former Canadian diplomat Patrick Armstrong said.

The Trump administration announced its new nuclear doctrine on Friday, claiming it would take a tougher stance on Russia.

The NPR outlined that President Trump, just like his predecessor Barack Obama, would consider using nuclear weapons only in “extreme circumstances.”

Armstrong told Sputnik that the new doctrine threatened to increase nuclear tensions to the level they were at in the 1950s when under the Eisenhower administration nuclear weapons were even deployed for tactical use by U.S. forces in Europe.

“It sounds like a return to the 1950s when nuclear weapons were seen as ordinary munitions with a bigger bang.

A dangerous thought,” Armstrong said.

However, the new posture could indicate that Trump was relying on senior generals as allies against his enemies in the U.S. Intelligence Community who were still trying to discredit him and drive him from power, Armstrong observed.

“I believe that this is not the end-state [of US nuclear strategy]. Trump has to clear away the deep state coup…

“He may have surrounded himself with generals as a protection against the organs of state security. So, he has to please them,” he said.

The new NPR could also be the product of warmongers from both the neoconservative right and the interventionist neoliberals who had dominated US policy-making under previous presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Armstrong noted.

“The document may just be the effusions of the delusional neoconservative/humanitarian bombers who remain throughout the system,” he said.

However, in spite of the hawkish tone of the new nuclear review, Armstrong said he believed Trump remained determined to reduce U.S. military deployments and high profile in conflicts around the world.

“I think he [Trump] is trying to cut the United States free from entanglements…

“In that case, he would favour a Fortress America defense policy; quite the opposite of believing that ‘vital U.S. interests’ are threatened everywhere,” he said.

Once Trump’s domestic political position was stronger and he had survived the current wave of attacks to discredit him, he might yet feel free to seek to improve relations with Russia and other countries after all, Armstrong proposed.

“With the spurious Russia collusion story exploded and the responsible punished, quite different defence policies could emerge,” he said.

Armstrong said he did not assume that Trump had been captured by the neocon and humanitarian bomber alliance that formed in the Obama years, but that he still wanted to turn US foreign and military policies into more peaceful and responsible directions.

“Draining the swamp is a long and difficult task that must be accomplished by careful, deliberate steps. It has just begun,” he said.

Until his retirement, Armstrong was a Canadian diplomat who was a specialist on the Soviet Union and Russia.

He previously served as political counselor in the Canadian Embassy in Moscow.

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