US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter delivered a speech to “missileers” at the Air Force Global Strike Command base in Minot, North Dakota Monday, defending the massive modernization of the US nuclear arsenal and issuing bellicose threats against Russia.
Carter’s trip to Minot was the first he has taken to a nuclear missile base since becoming secretary of defense in February 2015. It coincided with the steady escalation of conflicts pitting the US against nuclear-armed Russia and China that threaten to ignite a new world war.
The thrust of Carter’s speech was a defense of the Pentagon’s proposed $348 billion plan to rebuild Washington’s so-called nuclear triad of strategic bombers, missiles and submarines. Estimates are that over a 30-year period, this nuclear buildup will siphon fully $1 trillion out of the American economy.
Delivered to the officers and enlisted personnel tasked with launching Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles, each carrying warheads with 60 times the destructive capacity of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the speech at times seemed to echo the title of the satiric 1964 film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.