Much attention of late has rightly been paid to Donald Trump’s first budget proposal, which would, among other things, gut federal funding for the arts and public television, cripple the State Department, and decimate funding for the EPA, Planned Parenthood, and regulatory oversight agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Yet more worrying still is what the Trump administration proposes to spend on nuclear weapons.
Under Trump’s budget, federal spending on nuclear weapons would increase by more than $1 billion in the coming year. But, as Tom Collina, policy director at Ploughshares Fund, recently pointed out, “To be fair, Trump did not start this arms race. That dubious distinction goes to former President Obama, who set the United States on a misguided course to spend more than $1 trillion on nuclear weapons over the next three decades.”
Nevertheless, Trump’s casual disregard for the global nonproliferation regime has been made worse by what is perhaps his most alarming cabinet appointment, that of former Texas governor Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy. Perry, who once proposed to eliminate the very agency he is now charged with leading, was even forced to admit during his confirmation hearing that he only just learned what it is his cabinet agency does.