Monday, April 4, 2016

Trump’s Nuclear World

The Pax Americana has prevented a darker nuclear age.
President Obama hosted the fourth Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on Thursday, and in an ordinary year the headline news might be Vladimir Putin’s decision to skip the event, or Mr. Obama’s decision to snub Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But this isn’t an ordinary year.
So leave it to Donald Trump to crash this nuclear party like Zach Galifianakis at an Easter sermon. Asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper earlier this week whether he favored Japan and South Korea developing nuclear weapons of their own, the Republican front-runner said he wouldn’t mind if they did, and that it’s probably only a matter of time before they did so anyway.
“At some point we have to say—you know what?—we’re better off if Japan protects itself against this maniac in North Korea, we’re better off, frankly, if South Korea is going to start to protect itself,” he said. Pressed by Mr. Cooper whether there wasn’t a benefit to the U.S. in providing (nuclear-backed) security guarantees to our allies in Asia or Europe, Mr. Trump acknowledged “there’s a benefit, but not big enough to bankrupt and destroy the United States, because that’s what’s happening.”
For the record, Japan spends more than $2 billion a year for the privilege of hosting U.S. forces, while South Korea pays close to $900 million, meaning it’s cheaper to the U.S. to keep our forces there than bring them home. Both countries also field robust military forces of their own, with South Korea having more ground troops (495,000) than the U.S. Army (475,000). As for Europe, we currently station some 70,000 troops there, down from more than 300,000 during the Reagan years.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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