“This leaked draft of the NPR is a radical document and terrifying in almost every respect. Trump’s plan to develop so-called ‘low-yield’ nuclear weapons and loosen restrictions on their use is a dramatic departure from long-standing U.S. policy that makes nuclear war more likely. The world is about to get a whole lot more dangerous.
“These policies align closely with Trump’s aggressive nuclear rhetoric and break sharply from decades of bipartisan efforts to reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons worldwide, beginning with Ronald Reagan’s maxim that ‘a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.’
“Trump’s plan, which calls for the rapid development and production of new, more usable types of nuclear weapons, will increase, not decrease the risk of miscalculation and nuclear conflict. Expanding America’s bloated nuclear force will balloon the already bankrupting cost of replacing Cold War weapons systems, and accelerate a global nuclear arms competition that further erodes the norm against their use. There are no upsides.
“Let’s be clear: The options being developed for the first use of nuclear weapons are grounded in stunning naivete. Once we cross the nuclear threshold, all bets are off. If a nuclear weapon is used, nobody on the receiving end is going to stop to measure the mushroom cloud before retaliating. This plan paves a road to disaster.
“The top national security priority of the United States should be to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used. Trump’s plan fails on that score in almost every respect. Worse, it contains the seeds of self-fulfilling prophecy: by actively planning for conflicts in which our nuclear weapons are used first, we bring ourselves closer to that point of no return.
“This plan would be troubling under any Administration, but given this President’s consistent and unabashed displays of ignorance, bad judgment and dehumanizing world views, we should all be on red alert. In light of this plan, every effort should be directed to support legislation that reins in executive power to use these weapons, including the ‘Restricting the First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act’ and the No-First-Use bill currently before Congress.
“If there were ever a time to rally the American public and tie Trump’s hands, it’s now.”