Happy Halloween! Tonight is the moment when we flirt with the scary and overindulge. If you’re a parent, the scariest moment of the evening will be when you reach the point of too much candy, too much costume makeup to remove, kids who are too tired and a school day coming too early tomorrow.
Halloween is perhaps an aptly analogous day for the Congressional Budget Office to release its report, “Approaches for Managing the Costs of U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2017-2046.” A quick review of the report and a moment of reflection on the geopolitical environment, and you will realize we have reached this scary moment:
We’re spending too much money (over $1.2 trillion in the coming three decades as counted in 2017 dollars) on too many nuclear weapons (with sickening overkill numbers to decimate a dozen countries and still have more than half of the arsenal left),
with too many risks of nuclear conflicts (North Korea, Russia, Iran…),
and too few checks on the President’s sole authority.
I was going for a lighthearted Halloween comparison, but when it comes to overindulgence and nuclear weapons, we are risking consequences much worse than a Halloween hangover or an extra cavity.
The President eschews diplomatic focus with North Korea, Iran and elsewhere, just as trick-or-treaters reject proffered broccoli or carrots. Yet all signs are that President Trump has greedy enthusiasm for expensive nuclear weapons buildup. The President reportedly said this summer that he wanted a 10-fold increase in nuclear weapons, taking us back to the height of the Cold War. The administration is now conducting its Nuclear Posture Review, making plans for the size and strategic role of the US nuclear weapons stockpile. Though the Review is shrouded in secrecy, rumors abound about plans to develop new “mini-nuke” nuclear weapons, and even possibly resume nuclear test explosions. These actions would inflame a new nuclear arms race and certainly drive up nuclear weapons costs and risks.
Thank you to more than 10,400 people who signed our No $ for New Nuclear Weapons or Testing Petition calling on the Office of Management and Budget and Congress to reject budget proposals for the coming year that would fund development of new nuclear weapons, or fund any efforts to conduct explosive nuclear weapons tests. We have delivered the petition and will be watching as plans and budgets develop. We stand ready to stop exploding nuclear dangers and nuclear costs.
Whether parents should assert authority before children overindulge is a parenting question for others to weigh, but when it comes to this scary overindulgence in nuclear weapons, we all have a duty to exercise our authority. Our survival is at stake.