Home News Trump adviser calls for US to test nuclear weapons if he’s elected

Trump adviser calls for US to test nuclear weapons if he’s elected


Donald J. Trump’s allies have proposed that the United States resume underground nuclear testing if the former president is re-elected in November. Some nuclear experts believe that restarting nuclear testing is unnecessary and say it would threaten to end a decades-old ban on nuclear testing by the world’s major nuclear powers.

In the latest issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, Robert C. O’BrienTrump’s former national security adviser urged Trump to conduct a nuclear test if he wins a new term. Washington He wrote“The reliability and safety of new nuclear weapons must be tested in the real world for the first time since 1992.” Doing so, he added, would help the United States “maintain a technological and numerical advantage over the Chinese and Russian nuclear arsenals.”

When the Cold War ended in 1992, the United States give up Nuclear weapons explosion test, and eventually convince other nuclear powers Do the same thingThe United States turns to the experts and machines at its national weapons laboratories to verify the lethality of the country’s arsenal. Today, those machines include room-sized supercomputerThe most powerful in the world X-ray machine And laser system Stadium Size.

In his article, Mr. O’Brien described such work as “just using computer models.” Republican members of Congress and some nuclear experts There is negligence Non-explosive tests were not sufficient to assure the U.S. military of the effectiveness of its arsenal, and live-fire tests were requested.

But the Biden administration and other Democrats have warned that U.S. nuclear testing could lead to a chain reaction of nuclear testing in other countries, adding that resuming nuclear testing could over time lead to a nuclear arms race that would destabilize the United States and other countries. Global Balance of Terror and heightened the risk of war.

“This is a terrible idea,” Ernest J. Moniz“New nuclear testing will make us less safe. You can’t separate that from the global impact.”

Siegfried S. HeckelRobert Oppenheimer, former director of the Los Alamos weapons laboratory in New Mexico Led the development of the atomic bombCalling new nuclear tests a dangerous trade-off between domestic benefits and global losses, he said: “Our losses would be greater than those of America’s nuclear adversaries.”

It is unclear whether Trump will act on the nuclear testing proposal. In a statement, Trump’s co-campaign managers, Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles, did not directly address the candidate’s position on nuclear testing. They said comments by O’Brien and other outside groups and individuals about Trump’s plans for a second administration were “misguided, premature, and likely completely wrong.”

Even so, Trump’s history of nuclear threats and intimidation Tough policy This suggests that he may be willing to accept such guidance from security advisers. Bragging His “nuclear button” is “bigger and more powerful” than North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s force controller.

US explosion will violate Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban TreatyLong considered one of the most successful arms control measures, the treaty was signed in 1996 by the world’s atomic powers to curb a costly, out-of-control arms race.

During the Cold War, China Set off 45 test explosions, including 210 by France, 715 by Russia, and 1,030 by the United States, were conducted to discover flaws in weapon design and verify their reliability.

Nuclear expert explain Testing discrepancies give Washington a military advantage because it prevents other countries from building more diverse and deadly arsenals.

In 2017, Trump’s presidential inauguration reopened the possibility of new testing. Discussion restarthis administration officials called for a shorter lead time for the United States to resume nuclear testing. The federal agency responsible for the U.S. nuclear test sites Orderly The required preparation time was reduced from several years to just six months.

Nuclear experts consider that goal unrealistic because the testing equipment at the sprawling nuclear power plant in the Nevada desert Falling into disrepair or disappearing.

last year, Heritage FoundationConservative think tanks suggest that the United States eliminate the preparation time. Policy guidance Conservative presidential candidate calls on Washington to “Enter test preparation status immediately

O’Brien pointed out in his article in Foreign Affairs that the Biden administration is China and Russia’s Nuclear Weapons BuildupHe said explosive testing of U.S. weapons would strengthen the U.S. arsenal and help deter America’s enemies. His article focused on the safety and reliability of new designs, rather than those tested during the Cold War.

“Deploying a new type of nuclear weapon that we have never tested in the real world would be an oversight,” he said. Christian WhittenHe served as a State Department adviser in both the George W. Bush and Trump administrations and provided background research for O’Brien’s article.

Asked for examples, Mr. Whitten named two new American weapons, both of which he said needed to be tested for explosions. Both weapons were thermonuclear weapons, also known as hydrogen bombs. Both were many times more powerful than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

The first bomb mentioned was W93is installed on submarine missiles. Biden administration Announce Development of the platform will begin in March 2022, with Mr Whiton describing it as “a completely new design”.

But the Biden administration Work Plan But the W93 says otherwise. It notes that the warhead will rely on “currently deployed and previously tested nuclear designs.” Moreover, its makers, at the Los Alamos Laboratory, have persist in Ensure that the warhead can be put into use safely and reliably without the need for further explosion tests.

Charles W. NachlerDeputy Director of Laboratory Weapons Physics, explain A Los Alamos publication noted that the live-fire explosion alternative “would allow us to deploy the W93 without conducting any additional nuclear tests.”

Another weapon Mr. Whiton mentioned was B61-13a variant of the bomb First deployment In 1968, the Biden administration Announce In October, Mr. Wheaton described it as “a major redesign.” Even so, official plans say its nuclear components will be Recycled from old B61 And recycled in new models.

“The idea that this is a major redesign doesn’t hold water,” Hans M. ChristensenDirector of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, a private research group in Washington. “They have tested the explosive part.”

However, Whitten believes that even the smallest changes “should be proven in the real world.” He also believes that the United States must develop new warheads to counter an emerging class of hypervelocity weapons – Known as hypersonic – That China and Russia “It is likely that a new warhead design will be needed,” he said, and new tests will need to be conducted.

Despite conflicting accounts and uncertain election results, nuclear experts say China and Russia Preparations are being made for new nuclear explosions, perhaps to prevent the United States from restarting its nuclear program, or to continue to push forward with nuclear explosions themselves. Dr. Moniz, a former energy secretary, said he was worried that if Trump wins a second term, Washington would take the lead.

Wheaton, a former State Department adviser, expressed skepticism that a U.S. nuclear bomb detonation would set off a global chain reaction, noting that Russia and China have already expanded their nuclear arsenals without conducting new nuclear tests.

“It’s unclear whether existing and aspiring nuclear powers will follow our lead,” he said of the global response. “If they do, the downside is that their capabilities might be slightly enhanced.”

The benefit, Whitten said, is that the United States could look for clues about hidden signatures in foreign nuclear explosions. For example, it could monitor the faint rumble in bedrock during an underground test to estimate the power of a nuclear device.

Mr. Whitten added that such an interpretation would in turn “help us to appropriately update our deterrent capabilities.”

Many nuclear experts say Wheaton’s argument is problematic because it leaves unclear its inevitable outcome: that the world could be stuck in a costly back-and-forth of Cold War-era moves and counterattacks. In this century, they warn, the nuclear arms race is likely to become more global, more innovative, more deadly and more unpredictable.

“Resuming nuclear testing would benefit China far more than it would benefit us,” said Dr. Heck, the former Los Alamos director. “It would open the door to nuclear testing in other countries and reignite the arms race, endangering the entire world. We should not do this.”

Michael Gold Contributed reporting.

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