In a curious convergence of superpower opinions, earlier on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for the country to reinforce its military nuclear potential. In a speech that recapped military activities in 2016, Putin said the army’s preparedness has “considerably increased” and called for continued improvement that would ensure it can “neutralise any military threat”.
“We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defence systems,” the Russian president said.
He added that Russia “must carefully monitor any changes in the balance of power and in the political-military situation in the world, especially along Russian borders, and quickly adapt plans for neutralising threats to our country.”
Fast forward a few hours, when just before noon Eastern, Trump again took to Twitter and the president elect echoed virtually every word Putin said earlier, stating “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”
The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016
Aside from this being one of the very first actual policy recommendations proposed by Trump, the fact that suddenly both Putin and Trump are calling for a re-escalation of the nuclear arms race at a time when Russia and the US under an allegedly Russian-friendly Trump administration, are expected to restore relations and find a common dialogue, makes us rather nervous especially since with both countries’ arsenals already vastly greater than any other, potential third power in the nuclear arms race, the implied message is that both superpowers are squarely looking at each other when calling for more nuclear weapons.