As President Obama prepares for another round of golf in the Aloha state, President-elect Trump is refining his Christmas wish list one tweet at a time.
On Thursday, Trump tweeted that he wants a Super Hornet with F-35 capabilities. For the less mechanical readers, the Super Hornet is made by Boeing and is a twin-engine carrier-capable multirole fighter aircraft variant with a top speed of 1,190 mph. Trump’s desire for a new and improved Super Hornet with F-35 capabilities is not something that can happen over night. In order to redesign a Super Hornet to meet the same requirements as the F-35 would require years of development and engineering time as well as billions of dollars.
If you’re keeping score, in a span of 24 hours, President-elect Trump has caused Lockheed Martin’s stock to take a dive and put a fire under Boeing to deliver a Super Hornet.
Trump’s Christmas wish list didn’t begin there, though. Earlier on Thursday, Trump, in fewer than 140 characters, called for the expansion of the nuclear capabilities of the United States. Trump’s Twitter threat to upend longstanding U.S. nonproliferation policy came the same day Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Russia to strengthen its nuclear forces. In a turn of events, at a year-end conference on Friday, Putin said he has no interest in an arms race and was not fazed by Trump’s tweet.
Nevertheless, Trump’s tweet has sent shock waves through the national security community and caused ulcers in many national security analysts as they scrambled to decipher what Trump meant. Trump’s comments on Thursday offered the strongest stance to date in support of a nuclear arsenal, and some experts wonder if Trump wants to breach limits imposed on U.S. strategic weapons and delivery systems by the 2011 New START treaty with Russia — or planned to expand the non-deployed stockpile.
Other experts, such as the executive director of the Arms Control Association, Daryl Kimball, are calling Trump’s tweets on nuclear proliferation “completely irresponsible” and amateur hour. Currently, the details of the U.S. nuclear policy changes Trump wants to make have yet to be tweeted.
Is this how the next Cold War will begin, via Twitter? The (first) Cold War began in 1947 with a battle of words when the Truman Doctrine, a U.S. policy pledging to aid nations threatened by Soviet expansion, was announced. Should both Trump and Putin want to expand nuclear weapons, this would end arms control efforts which have been in place since Nixon.
Before you rush to your bunker, it is important to note that nuclear policy has been a cornerstone of defense for America through seven administrations. However, this is the first time a president has taken to Twitter to discuss nuclear proliferation of the United States or to ask for a new fighter jet. And to think, Kennedy, Nixon, and Obama wanted transparent presidencies. Looks like Trump has one-upped them all and is showing no signs of giving up his Twitter habit anytime soon.
Mary Anna Mancuso, Political Strategist and Founder of PoliticalHype.com. She is a regular contributor to Political Storm.