The Trump administration’s calculus for the new nukes it wants to build could very well backfire

Policy Analyst James McKeon spoke with ThinkProgress about the Trump administration’s plans for new nuclear weapons. 

“We’re acting like if we ever use one of these [low-yield weapons], then Russia wouldn’t respond in kind,” said James McKeon, policy analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, told ThinkProgress. “And then suddenly you have an escalation ladder… and half the planet is eviscerated,” he added.

To be clear, the Pentagon’s strategy is certainly not to actually start a nuclear war, although their calculus to prevent one is problematic to non-proliferation advocates such as McKeon, who describes the Pentagon’s reasoning as “a strange logic train.”

“The idea is if military commanders have this capability within their arsenal, are they more likely to use it?” he asked.

“We are starting, for the first time, to go in the wrong direction,” said McKeon, “We can’t have a global leadership role by setting the wrong example.”

hich, for some reason, involved a nuclear-reactor powered missile, which would essentially be polluting as it went along. For a hilarious, horrifying take on this, check out McKeon’s interview with nuclear historian Alex Wallerstein on the Nukes of Hazard podcast.

Less hilarious is this sobering reality: “If we ever actually used this low-yield weapon, the chances are, we’d start a nuclear war,” said McKeon. Read more