A Cold or Hot War Brewing? Trump's Nuclear Deterrence

On Friday 2nd February 2018, Trump defended the recent Pentagon decision to upgrade the US nuclear arsenal. Trump assured Americans as he flexed his muscles at the world, stating, “As part of our defence we must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hopefully, never having to use it but making it so strong and so powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression.” Harking back to the rationale of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Trump relies on the threat of omnipotent destruction to bring aggressors to their senses. What he fails to acknowledge is that acts of political aggression are not only multi-causal but most importantly they are not rational decisions; the decision to attack another country is caused by a lust for power fuelled by fear. It is arguable that armament agreements to date have provided some containment for omnipotent fantasies and fears between political rivals. Mutual agreements can serve the purpose of an overarching superego that enlists the id of each group or nation and creates a brake on acting out destructive impulses. However, with Trump’s open declaration to surpass the armament capacity of other nations, such as Russia, China, Syria, India and so on, he is breaking any such containment. Instead, the fear that the US could be the perpetrator of this omnipotent fantasy of mass destruction, will only foster huge insecurity amongst US citizens – and increased levels of paranoia against those who challenge US supremacy.

On Friday 2nd February 2018, Trump defended the recent Pentagon decision to upgrade the US nuclear arsenal. Trump assured Americans as he flexed his muscles at the world, stating,

“As part of our defence we must modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hopefully, never having to use it but making it so strong and so powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression.”

Harking back to the rationale of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Trump relies on the threat of omnipotent destruction to bring aggressors to their senses. What he fails to acknowledge is that acts of political aggression are not only multi-causal but most importantly they are not rational decisions; the decision to attack another country is caused by a lust for power fuelled by fear.

It is arguable that armament agreements to date have provided some containment for omnipotent fantasies and fears between political rivals. Mutual agreements can serve the purpose of an overarching superego that enlists the id of each group or nation and creates a brake on acting out destructive impulses.

However, with Trump’s open declaration to surpass the armament capacity of other nations, such as Russia, China, Syria, India and so on, he is breaking any such containment. Instead, the fear that the US could be the perpetrator of this omnipotent fantasy of mass destruction, will only foster huge insecurity amongst US citizens – and increased levels of paranoia against those who challenge US supremacy.

Posted on February 6, 2018 .