Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review: Expanding and Strengthening the Imperial Death Machine

nuclear war


A draft “Nuclear Posture Review” (NPR), prepared under the direction of James Mattis, secretary of “defense” in the Trump/Pence fascist regime, has been posted on the Huffington Post website (Jan. 11).

The NPR, which will be finalized in February, is a strategic document that lays out the direction for the development and use of nuclear weapons. It regards nuclear weapons as the foundation of all political and military undertakings by the U.S.

The Trump NPR calls for massive upgrading of existing weapons and development of new ones. It removes any pretense of nuclear disarmament, and criticizes previous U.S. leadership for putting caps on military spending. It expands the pretexts and conditions for using nuclear weapons.

It repeatedly stresses that the U.S. must be poised to go to any length in any conceivable conflict, and develop the capacity to prevail—whatever “prevail” means in the incinerated, radiated deathscape that nuclear holocaust would create. It is a call for shifting the military’s emphasis from fighting “low-intensity” counterinsurgency wars against Islamic fundamentalist jihadists to nuclear strikes against rivals or perceived threats, up to and including other major imperialists.

A World Filled with Uncertainty and Turmoil

A basic premise of the NPR is that the U.S. now confronts “an international security situation that is more complex and demanding than any since the end of the Cold War.” It states the U.S. now contends with “a return to great power competition. Russia and China both have advanced their military capabilities to act as global powers.”

North Korea and Iran are also specifically cited as posing “proliferation threats.” The NPR claims they undermine stability in particular regions of the world, and endanger the “international security environment” (translation: unimpeded U.S. domination).

A Nuke for Every Occasion

The NPR argues the U.S. must upgrade its existing “triad” of nukes (land-, sea-, and air-based weapons). This means developing new weaponry, improving existing weapons, and modernizing “support infrastructure.” It means fortifying its “NC3”—nuclear command, control, and communications. The NPR says contention among nuclear powers now extends to outer space and cyberspace.

The review calls for development of more “low-yield” nuclear weapons to enhance U.S. nuclear “flexibility.” Low yield does not equal “nukes lite.” The bombs the U.S. dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War 2 resulted in the immediate deaths of over 100,000 people, and tens of thousands more deaths from radiation poisoning. Today similar bombs would be considered “low yield.”

The leaders of the U.S. are moving towards building on the 4,000-plus nuclear weapons they already have with a broader range of weapons so they can “climb the ladder of escalation,” and always be ready to up the ante in whatever conflict they find themselves. And these mass murderers have the audacity to present this as “deterrence”!

The NPR warnings to North Korea concentrate its perverse medley of bloody threats and self-righteous sanctimony. “Our deterrence strategy for North Korea makes clear that any North Korean nuclear attack upon the United States or its allies and partners is unacceptable and will result in the end of that [the North Korean] regime. There is no scenario in which the Kim regime could employ nuclear weapons and survive.”

Global Gangsters Prepare for War

The U.S. has never made a “no first use” pledge regarding nuclear weapons. But it did claim that it would use them in response to specific and immediate threats of nuclear attack. In fact, several times during the era of confrontation and contention between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, the world teetered on the brink of nuclear war.

Now, the U.S. claims the “right” to respond in advance with nuclear bombs to what the NPR describes as “extreme circumstances.” These circumstances include “non-nuclear strategic attacks … on U.S. or allied command and control, or warning and attack assessment capabilities.” The review specifically insists that any force attempting to disrupt or disable the U.S. “NC3” will be “held accountable” and face “dire consequences.”

Only one country has actually used nuclear weapons—the United States. The U.S. has enough weapons to destroy the planet several times over. It has nuclear-armed submarines and aircraft carriers patrolling the seas, and bombers armed with “old fashioned” gravity bombs that can annihilate entire cities. It has ballistic missiles stored in silos capable of crossing continents to hit their targets. It has cruise missiles that can be fired with murderous accuracy from jets or submarines.

But now all this is deemed inadequate. This Nuclear Posture Review is utter lunacy and the depths of moral depravity—and it is a concentration of the logic of capitalism-imperialism; it is a concentration of what “making America great again” means; it adds a whole other dimension of danger to the Trump/Pence regime.

There is an urgent need to build determined, relentless opposition to all the war preparations being made by the fascists in power in the U.S. More deeply, there is a great need to work towards building a movement for revolution that can overturn the system that even considers such horrors, and advance humanity to a society in which its creativity and the resources of the planet are put to use building a world where these horrific weapons of annihilation are remembered only in history books.


Revolution newspaper/, the voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, provides the foundation, guideline, and organizational scaffolding for the whole process of carrying out our strategy for revolution. Through publishing works of Bob Avakian, and through many different articles, interviews, letters, graphics, and other features, Revolution enables people to really understand, and act to radically change, the world.

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