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In Search Of An Arms Race

President Proposal To Hike Military Budget Is "Dangerous As It Is Cruel"

President Trump proposes a $54 billion increase in the U.S. military budget, with sharp cuts in environmental protection, diplomacy, and aid to the poor in the U.S. and globally. The U.S. already spends more on the military than the next seven nations combined. One billion people live on $1.25 a day. 20 million are on the brink of famine. The United States spends less than one percent of the Federal budget on assistance to the global poor. Defense Secretary James Mattis said in 2013: “If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition.” Desperate people also become migrants.

Trump has not said how he plans to spend the $54 billion military increase, leading some analysts to call it “a budget in search of a strategy.” How would costly weapons help in Yemen, facing famine because U.S.-armed Saudi Arabia is blockading its port?

Mr. Trump welcomes a nuclear arms race and says he wants to be “top of the pack.” In conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he rejected Putin’s proposal to extend the START Treaty capping U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals at 1,500 nuclear weapons. Those already represent levels of destructiveness that would devastate both nations and endanger life on Earth. Russia might put its forces on launch-on-warning, increasing the risk of nuclear war by accident or miscalculation.

Trump’s proposal is as dangerous as it is cruel. Congress should reject it.

David Keppel

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