Trump abandons nuclear treaties, invents arms control. Say WHAT?

By Thomas Gaulkin, December 3, 2019

Donald Trump’s take on arms control can be a bit hard to pin down. During his 2016 election campaign, Trump claimed to have special insight about the destructiveness of nuclear weapons. “Nobody understands the horror better than me,” he said. Since then, the administration has called for more usable warheads, treated negotiations with North Korea like a Hollywood premiere, and abandoned the hard-won and largely successful Iran deal and INF treaty. The last agreement standing in the way of a new nuclear arms race, New START, remains active but is set to expire in 2021. There’s no sign Trump has any interest in extending it. Or is there?

A recent interview Trump gave to Fox News’ Sean Hannity left nuclear security experts scratching their heads—including Kingston Reif, Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy at the Arms Control Association, who called Trump’s comments an “arms control word salad.” So for this installment of Say WHAT?—the Bulletin‘s sharp look at fuzzy policy—we asked Reif to digest Trump’s words for us…

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