President Trump is bringing back the nuclear arms race

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Washington's new nuclear policy was'in violation of the international nuclear non-proliferation treaty. John Thys  AFP

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The Pentagon-led review of the USA nuclear arsenal and the policies that govern it was ordered by Trump a year ago.

The new NPR is the first time since 2010 that the United States military has spelled out how it foresees nuclear threats in the coming decades. Previous administrations, both Republican and Democrat, have worked to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons, and this review breaks sharply from that bipartisan tradition.

He had doubts about an air-launched nuclear cruise missile under development at the Pentagon and questioned whether the United States should have intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silos at all.

His comments came after the Defense Department on Friday unveiled a new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), its first in eight years, which calls for developing smaller nukes in a bid to counter Russian Federation. "I'm afraid this Nuclear Posture Review will be used by other countries to ignore calls for nuclear arms reduction, and in doing so leave the world less safe".

Russian Federation is questioning USA compliance with the treaty, whose limitations on long-range nuclear weapons took effect Monday.

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"On the contrary", Mattis said, the nuclear strategy reaffirms the role of nuclear weapons in national defense "while underscoring continued USA commitment to non-proliferation, to counter nuclear terrorism and to arms control".

Earlier in January, the US president waived a series of sanctions against Iran as required under the JCPOA, but warned the European allies and the US Congress that it will be the last such waiver he signs if they fail to agree to radical changes to the nuclear deal.

The review sought to back up Mattis on how the US nuclear deterrent would be channeled in confronting Russian Federation and China, which are now viewed under the strategy as the main security challenges to the USA, replacing terrorism. The review alleged, among other things, that Russian Federation is "developing and deploying new nuclear warheads and launchers" and would "continue to increase its warhead delivery capacity" in the future.

Despite his predecessor signing a treaty between the US and Russian Federation pledging to keep their nuclear arsenals low, Trump's administration has unveiled new plans for low-yield nuclear weapons following his call to "modernize and rebuild or nuclear arsenal" in his State of the Union address.

The United States would spend $1.2 trillion over the next 30 years on the nuclear weapons. He stopped by a nuclear submarine base in Washington state.

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The report makes "wild guesses" about China's intentions and exaggerates the threat of its nuclear force, defence ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said in a statement.

Perry has also said adversaries could confuse the cruise missile the Pentagon is developing for a conventional missile.

The "tailored strategy" for Russia was meant to "pose insurmountable difficulties to any Russian strategy of aggression against the United States, its allies, or partners and ensure the credible prospect of unacceptably dire costs to the Russian leadership if it were to choose aggression", the document said.

But the diminution of arms control as a central part of the nuclear strategy may be just as striking. The data also revealed that Israel, which has never denied or confirmed having nuclear weapons, has 80 warheads in its nuclear arsenal and North Korea was predicted to have at least 20 of the weapons of mass destruction.

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