by Richard (Rick) Mills, Ahead of the Herd:
The Doomsday Clock was first used in 1947 (it started at 7 minutes to midnight) as a measure of how close humanity is to destroying our civilization. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists recently moved its iconic clock ahead 30 seconds, taking the world to 2½ minutes to midnight.
The scientists said: “Tensions between the United States and Russia that remain at levels reminiscent of the Cold War, the danger posed byclimate change, and nuclear proliferation concerns – including the recent North Korean nuclear test – are the main factors influencing the decision about any adjustment that may be made to the Doomsday Clock.”
Since its inception, the clock has moved ahead only 18 times. This new time is the closest to midnight since 1953, when the US government added the Hydrogen bomb to its nuclear arsenal.
Russia currently has 7,000 nuclear weapons, the U.S. has 6,800. Winston Churchill, talking about the start of the first nuclear arms race between the US and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) said:
“If you go on with this nuclear arms race, all you are going to do is make the rubble bounce.”
Militarily right now, there’s a lot going on in the world.
Russia is flexing it’s still considerable might, North Korea’s flinging it’s nukes helter skelter, Japan’s rearming, the rest of Asia is arming, South American’s have been on a weapons buying spree, so has the Middle East and Europe is waking up and realizing they cannot rely on the U.S. to protect them if they won’t help themselves by increasing military spending.
It’d be hard to go back in history and pick a period of time, other than WWII, when globally we weren’t so militarized.
“In FY 2017, total US government spending for defense (including military defense, veterans affairs, and foreign policy) is budgeted to be $853.6 billion.”
U.S. President Trump is looking to up the military spending portion of the budget by seeking what he called a “historic” 9 percent increase in military spending.
Trump wants more money for the navy so it can establish “a more robust presence in key international waterways and choke points” such as the Strait of Hormuz and South China Sea.
Trump’s UD$54B military wish list also includes:
- Expanding the Army to 540,000 active-duty troops from its current 480,000.
- Increasing the Marine Corps to 36 battalions from 23.
- Boosting the Navy to 350 ships.
- Raising the number of Air Force tactical aircraft to 1,200 from 1,100.
To pay for his increased defence budget Trump, working with the Republican controlled Congress, will do away with the sequester process that automatically cuts $500 billion in defence over the next decade.
Russia has plans of its own to beef up the countries conventional military forces. “By 2021, we plan to more than quadruple the combat capabilities of our strategic conventional forces, which will fully meet the demands of [Russia’s] conventional deterrence.” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu
Jane’s has the following to say about the next decade of global arms spending: “After a lackluster 2015, global defence spending rose in 2016 to $1.57 trillion, kicking off what is forecast to be a decade of stronger global defence expenditure, according to the annual Jane’s Defence Budgets Report.” 2016’s $1.57 Trillion Global Defence Spend to Kick off Decade of Growth.
Nuclear Arms Race
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty requires the U.S. to pursue the “cessation” of a nuclear arms race between superpowers, and to take steps towards mutual disarmament.
In December 2016 Trump told MSNBC “Let it be an arms race.” He later tweeted that the U.S. should “Greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability.”
Most recently, in February 2017, Trump said: “If countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack.”
In his first call with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, President Trump denounced the 2010 New START treaty that caps U.S. and Russian deployment of nuclear warheads as a bad deal for the United States.
“We need to enhance the combat capability of strategic nuclear forces, primarily by strengthening missile complexes that will be guaranteed to penetrate existing and future missile defense systems.” Russian President Vladimir Putin
What could be the most explosive area on the planet is the hotly disputed Kashmir. “Flexing its nuclear muscles, India carried out back-to-back tests of two nuclear-capable missiles in December and January…Islamabad responded to India’s latest Agni tests by staging its own tests of missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, the Babur-3 and the Ababeel.” South Asian nuclear arms race accelerates amidIndia-Pakistan standoff.
Trump did not start the new nuclear arms race between the U.S. and Russia, Obama did. “The Obama administration is planning to spend over $1 trillion in the next 30 years on an entire new generation of nuclear bombs, bombers, missiles and submarines to replace those built during the Reagan years.” A New Arms Race Threatens to Bring the U.S. and Russia Back to the Nuclear Brink.
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