In something of a disconcerting sign for campaigners who are against nuclear disarmament, President elect Donald Trump has hinted that he believes that the US needs to strengthen its nuclear capability. Taking to Twitter Trump said “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes”. It appeared to be very much inspired by remarks made earlier in the day by Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. The Russian President is also a fan of strengthening nuclear capability in the country, had targeted the strengthening of their capability as a top objective of the nation in 2017. Stating that they needed to enhance their missiles to be able to penetrate current and potential defense systems..
He also hinted that Moscow is carefully watching the handover of power in the US, and in the greater world also. He stated “We can say with certainty we are stronger now than any potential aggressor. Anyone!” Both countries are limited by treaties as to what they can develop and this may just be a case of posturing, as the two men take up more traditional positions of leaders of the two nuclear superpowers.
The two countries own 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons, though in recent times attempts have been made to reduce the actual number of weapons they have. Though as relations have remained frosty, and actually seemingly got frostier over the period of Barack Obama’s reign, further disarmament has been slow to non existent as the two countries don’t wish to be seen as weak by the other.
Many will fear that any rapid expansion of developments will heighten worries of another cold war between the two countries, though it had been hoped that the countries would actually get better as seemingly Trump and Putin had something of a mutual respect. That may still be so, but both men have clearly puffed out their chest on this issue, and it will be interesting to see if anyone backs down.
As both men clearly have to appear strong to appease their core voters, and Putin is facing the prospect of election in the next few years, the public facade of their relationship remains frosty, even if there is actually some warmth underneath. Let’s hope for all our sakes that this is posturing and little more, as the two men have a significant responsibility to uphold peace in the world.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.