Oct 19, 2020
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Verbal Weapons: What is Behind Trump’s Statement of “Ensuring Peace” by Force

"The most advanced" weapons will allow the United States to "ensure the world by force," Donald Trump said in a speech to his supporters. According to him, Russia, China and North Korea “envy” the power of the US military. Earlier, Trump made statements about the US "super-duper missiles" and "secret" nuclear weapons. However, experts believe that such statements are intended exclusively for voters.

US President Donald Trump said that the American armed forces are the most powerful in the world and have weapons that are unparalleled.

“We - to the envy of Russia, China, North Korea, as well as any other country in the world - now possess the most advanced weapons. In terms of weapons, the rest were not with us and did not stand next to us. And again, we pray to God that we never have to use them. But we will provide the world through strength - that's what it's all for ... "- said Trump, speaking to his supporters at a campaign rally in Wisconsin.

It is worth noting that over the past year, Donald Trump has repeatedly made statements about the US allegedly having new weapons. So, in May, the American president announced the development of hypersonic weapons, calling it a "super duper missile." At the same time, he said that the speed of this rocket is 17 times higher than the speed of any analogue in service with other countries.

Soon, the American media, citing sources in the defense department, reported that in fact it was a question of successful tests of a prototype of a hypersonic glide body (Common-Hypersonic Glide Body, or C-HGB), which reached a speed 17 times higher than the speed of sound. The Pentagon reported successful tests of this weapon on March 19.

US officials and American military leaders have repeatedly admitted that the country is lagging behind Russia and China in the development of hypersonic weapons.

At various times, this was voiced by the head of the Pentagon Mark Esper, Acting Secretary of the US Navy Thomas Modley and the deputy head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Hayten. In turn, Lieutenant General Neil Thurgood and Deputy Director for Hypersonic Development in the Pentagon's Research and Development Department Michael White focused on the fact that Washington needs to speed up testing of weapons under development.

In July, the US president's special envoy for arms control Marshall Billingsley also said at a congressional hearing that the US is lagging behind China and Russia in developing hypersonic missiles. According to him, the emergence of hypersonic weapons will require the United States to "rethink the strike potential" of the country's conventional weapons, and ultimately - the "nuclear deterrent forces" against Russia and China.

Nuclear potentials

In September, after the announcement of the "super duper missile", Donald Trump puzzled the media and the expert community with another statement about the new "incredible" nuclear weapons, which were developed at his direction.

“I have achieved the creation of a model of nuclear weapons, a weapon complex, which no one else in this country had. We have at our disposal such means as you have never seen or heard of, means that neither Putin nor Xi Jinping nor anyone else has ever heard of. We have incredible funds at our disposal, ”Trump said in an interview for a book by journalist Bob Woodward.

  • Nuclear tests
  • © National Nuclear Safety Administration

After reporters asked Trump to clarify this statement, the US President stressed that he would keep information about this weapon secret.

“There are complexes that no one, including you, knows about, and we have complexes that no one knows about. And to be honest, I think it would be better if I leave it that way, ”The Associated Press quoted him as saying.

James Acton, a nuclear weapons expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told the agency that Trump may have been referring to a W76-2 warhead with a reduced yield. However, the weapon, coded W76-2, is not known to the general public, but not because of the secrecy or secrecy of this development, but because of its obscurity, Acton added. These warheads are used in the Trident II D-5 missiles, which are armed with Ohio-class submarines.

At the same time, the W76-2 is not a revolutionary development or the only reduced-power warhead at the disposal of the United States, but it is the first significant addition to the American nuclear arsenal in recent decades, The Assotiated Press notes.

However, according to Acton, it is quite possible that Trump was referring to a different type of weapon in such an indistinct way.

“Obviously, the president loves to brag about military capabilities, but doesn't always have even the faintest idea of ​​the details,” he said.

Vladimir Batyuk, head of the Center for Political-Military Studies of the Institute of the USA and Canada, RAS, in an interview with RT, noted that if Donald Trump had in mind new warheads of reduced power, this is a matter of concern, since they lower the possible threshold for the use of nuclear weapons in armed conflicts.

“This American development raises some questions about the American nuclear strategy, for example, is the United States going to use it during local conflicts in which American troops are involved, and thereby sharply increase the possibility of nuclear escalation? Such a development of events would be very dangerous for peace and stability, ”the expert emphasized.

Declining threshold

We will remind, in March 2020, the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova made a statement that Washington seeks to give its nuclear forces new capabilities, which increases the likelihood of their use.

“We note that Washington is not just modernizing its nuclear forces, but strives to give them new capabilities, which significantly increases the likelihood of their use. And of particular concern in this regard are the US actions to increase the range of low-yield weapons in its nuclear arsenal, including the development and deployment of such ammunition for strategic delivery vehicles. This obviously leads to a lowering of the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, ”Zakharova stressed.

  • Minuteman ballistic missile launch
  • Reuters
  • © United States Air Force / Chief Pilot Ian Dudley

In addition, the American side consistently withdraws from all international treaties that ensured the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. Thus, in 2019, Washington withdrew from the Treaty on the Destruction of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty), in the spring of 2020 from the Open Skies Treaty (OST), and on October 16, the United States rejected the initiative of Russian leader Vladimir Putin to extend the START III Treaty on control over strategic offensive arms for a year without additional conditions.

Trump's statement about new weapons and the establishment of peace through force against the background of Washington's behavior speaks of his desire to show himself as a more decisive leader, Sergei Sudakov, a corresponding member of the Academy of Military Sciences, Americanist, said in an interview with RT.

“The less time is left before the elections, the more bright statements in the near future we will hear not only from the incumbent president, but also from his opponent. Trump made this statement solely to show undecided voters that he is more aggressive than Biden, that he is capable of defending the interests of ordinary Americans, and is ready to fight for American leadership at any cost. In fact, this statement means that he feels his vulnerability, ”the political scientist said.

The era when the United States could dictate its own rules of the game with the help of force is gradually disappearing, because now the world is changing in many ways: a rather complex configuration of international relations appears, there is no single center of power that can dictate its rules of the game to everyone, Sudakov added.

“Today the United States is not the leader or the guiding star that leads the rest. They have good weapons and an army, but it is not worth considering that the absolute palm is in their hands, ”the expert concluded.

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