US could broaden its use of nuclear weapons, Trump administration signals

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Wider role for weapons to counter ‘non-nuclear strategic attacks’ unveiled as part of Trump’s new security strategy, which also failed to address climate change.

The Trump administration signaled that it could broaden the use of nuclear weapons as part of a new security strategy, unveiled by the president on Monday.

The wider role for nuclear weapons against “non-nuclear strategic attacks” was one of several ways in which Trump’s approach differed from his predecessor. The threat of climate change went unmentioned. The word “climate” was only used four times in the National Security Strategy (NSS), and three of those mentions referred to the business environment. Americans were instead urged to “embrace energy dominance”.

Announcing the NSS, Donald Trump depicted his election victory and his presidency as an unprecedented turning point in US history.

“America is coming back, and America is coming back strong,” the president said. “We are rebuilding our nation, our confidence, and our standing in the world…[W]e will stand up for ourselves, and we will stand up for our country like we have never stood up before.”

On the same day of the NSS launch however, the US found itself isolated on the UN security council, where the other 14 members, including Washington’s closest allies, voted to rescind Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The US envoy, Nikki Haley, called the vote an “insult” that “won’t be forgotten”.

Piling on the insults, the French foreign minister, Yves Le Drian, said on a visit to Washington that US isolation on several global issues “forces President Trump to have a position of retreat on most topics rather than making proposals”.

Under the slogan of “peace through strength”, Trump emphasised the military buildup he had ordered, involving what the president described (wrongly) as a record in defence spending, $700bn for 2018.

“We recognize that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unrivaled power is the most certain means of defence,” he said.

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