When Donald Trump first announced new ‘low-yield’ nuclear weapons, CND said this would raise the threat of nuclear war. It does so because it increases the number of circumstances in which nuclear weapons will be used.

Last week, the United States conducted a military exercise which demonstrated those new circumstances. It makes clear that Donald Trump has abandoned the approach that nuclear weapons are weapons of last resort in which both sides would face ‘mutually assured destruction’.

Nuclear weapons are no longer viewed as a ‘deterrent’ but weapons to be used because, incredibly, the US imagines it can win a nuclear war.

According to Pentagon officials, the US defence secretary Mark Esper took part in the simulated nuclear exchange with Russia which was described as a “limited response.” NATO is also practicing its biggest wargames for over 25 years this month. 20,000 US troops are participating in the  US’s largest deployment to Europe in over quarter of a century.

It comes after last month’s news that the first US Navy ballistic missile submarine carrying new W76-2 low-yield nuclear warheads had begun patrolling the Atlantic Ocean. Other submarines are now expected to carry the so-called ‘usable’ nuclear weapons, alongside the usual large warheads.

Kate Hudson, CND general secretary, said:

“Nuclear wars cannot be won. The use of low-yield nuclear weapons would quickly escalate to high-yield nuclear weapons and millions of people would perish if such a war took place.

“The US president seems to have no fear of nuclear war. In fact he stated it was ridiculous to suggest that America would not engage in one. It is not just something he talks about, we can see the practical steps he is taking to make it a reality.

“The global community must confront this crisis if we are to maintain a future for people and planet.”

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