US President-elect Donald Trump’s remarks that Washington should “greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability” could be a ploy to start comprehensive negotiations on the issue with Moscow, some analysts believe.
Trump’s statement to outspend Russia and other competitors in a nuclear arms race to maintain US strategic superiority may just be the opening ploy in what he recognizes will be an extended and serious negotiation with Moscow, but such rhetoric is not unusual and it can and should lead to negotiations and a more reasonable outcome, analysts told Sputnik.
“It’s definitely not wonderful. But it’s early days. Trump has a track record of starting out with an extreme rhetorical position and then negotiating to something reasonable,” Robert Naiman, policy director at Just Foreign Policy, said on Friday.
MSNBC reported on Friday that Trump said: “Let it be an arms race, because we will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.” The network’s “Morning Joe” host Mika Brzezinski said Trump made the statement in a phone call with her.
Naiman explained that Russia and other countries had previous experience with new US leaders who took office expressing maximalist demands, but who then proved willing to compromise and cooperate. “Of course, it’s not only Trump who does this, it’s not an unprecedented approach to negotiation. Reagan came in with wild rhetoric, but eventually negotiated deals with Gorbachev. So this is not the end of the story by any means,” he said.
However, Naiman urged Trump to arrange a personal set of meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin rapidly to establish positive and constructive momentum on addressing the most urgent issues facing them.
“There should be a summit of the two leaders as soon as possible. That’s how these issues were successfully addressed in the past,” he advised. In fact, when Putin announced the latest Russian arms buildup he was only responding to an unprecedented $1.7 trillion nuclear arms modernization program that Obama approved earlier this year, American foreign policy analyst and historian Diana Johnstone told Sputnik. “The fact is that a new nuclear arms race is already underway, but since it was started by the gentle Nobel Prize-winning Obama, nobody noticed,” Johnstone said.
Trump’s comments could still have the value of a wake-up call to avert a new arms race, she suggested.
“Stated by the garrulous Trump… it has what the French call l’effet d’annonce — that is, it may cause people to sit up and take notice. It is indeed time to sound the alarm and this may do it,” Johnstone added.
Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on Friday that Trump wanted to signal with his remarks he would not be weak in responding to other nations taking aggressive moves against US interests.