Appearing on MSNBC on Sunday morning, an associate professor at Georgetown University made a pitch for the U.S. to increase its nuclear arsenal while blithely stating there are not near enough nukes in both Russia and the U.S. to kill everyone.
Speaking with host Alex Witt, Georgetown University’s Matthew Kroenig said that the U.S. is currently suffering a nuke gap.
“You know, the United States has a robust nuclear arsenal, but one of the things that’s concerning is that Russia in recent years has been relying more, not less, on nuclear weapons,” Kroenig explained. “It’s violating the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty — a treaty that’s been in place since 1987.”
“Russia is in violation of that, building new nuclear weapons and also, Russia has this ‘escalate to de-escalate nuclear strategy,’ basically that they’ll use nuclear weapons early in a conflict to deter the United States and others in Europe from getting involved and giving them the ability to coerce our NATO allies in Eastern Europe. So the idea would be to develop nuclear capabilities that would allow us to counter these new Russian nuclear threats.”
Pressed by Witt over “why the idea that more nuclear weapons are necessary,” with both the U.S. and Russia already capable of destroying “all of human civilization,” Kroenig dismissed the thought.
“It’s actually not true,” he replied. “One of the things the U.S. does differently than other countries is we comply with the laws of war and so the United States doesn’t plan to use nuclear weapons against enemies. We plan to use our nuclear weapons against an enemy’s nuclear weapons to destroy them before they can be used and that means our number of nuclear weapons depends on proportion to the enemy’s nuclear weapons.”
“I have a new book coming out called ‘The Knowledge of the Nuclear War Strategy.’ I cited colleagues of mine at the applied physics laboratory and they estimate it would take 140,000 nuclear weapons to kill every American citizen,” Kroenig continued before admitting, “Getting ghastly here on a Sunday afternoon.”
“Russia has 1,000,” he continued to explain. “So roughly 1/140th of what they would actually need to kill everyone. Nobody should downplay the devastation from a nuclear exchange — they’re the most powerful weapons on Earth — but nowhere near the ability to destroy the world many times over. And if Russia is going to have more, then we need more to protect ourselves and our allies.”
Watch the video below via MSNBC:
(Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly named Matthew Kroenig as Matthew Crane)