Washington: Renowned American philosopher and political scientist Noam Chomsky says he was “frightened” by President-elect Donald Trump’s comments on “strengthening and expanding” nuclear capabilities in the US.
Chomsky, professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), said Trump’s recent tweet about nuclear weapons was “one of the most frightening things I’ve seen recently.”
The scholar has been a vocal critic of the incoming president, comparing his campaign proposals and rhetoric to Nazi Germany.
He also criticized the Russian President Vladimir Putin for his planned nuclear buildup.
On Thursday, Trump called for the country to greatly expand its nuclear weapons capabilities until the world “comes to its senses,” an apparent reversal of a decades-long reduction of the US atomic arsenal.
“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
The Pentagon wants to replace or modernize its nuclear attack force, which is expected to reach the end of its useful life during the next decade. Experts estimate the program will cost $1 trillion over the next 30 years.
The modernization plan has come under criticism from opponents of nuclearization, who warn it may prompt a new arms race with Russia and China.
Trump’s comments came hours after Putin said his country’s arsenal should be strengthened.
The US currently has an arsenal of about 7,000 nuclear warheads, second only to Russia, which has a few hundred more.
Washington and Moscow finalized New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) five years ago. The nuclear arms reduction treaty was signed in 2010. The treaty entered into force in 2011 and is expected to last at least until 2021.
Nearly 26 years after the end of the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union, Washington and Moscow reportedly still have some 2,000 atomic weapons ready to fly at a moment’s notice to destroy each other.