Republican President Donald Trump’s call for an “arms race” among world leaders to increase their military spending was “insane,” according to Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.
“It seems like President Trump’s desire to increase military spending a n ‘arms race’ is insane and an inappropriate response to Russia’s aggression. Focusing on a nuclear arms race distracts us from countering Russia’s advances,” she said in a statement Friday morning.
In April, the president announced in a televised speech that he’d upped the defense budget and stated that his administration would be pushing for countries like Japan and South Korea to acquire their own nuclear weapons, too.
According to The Hill, White House officials claimed that Russia’s threats of mass hacking and the launch of nuclear weapons to restore its “god-like power” in 2015 prompted this new policy.
“We cannot in good conscience give Russia a veto over the ability of America to defend its people,” Trump said.
“We have opened a dialogue with North Korea – not to talk about negotiations but to talk about a cooperative approach that will end a decades-long nightmare. We will not accept North Korea as a nuclear threat,” he said.
Critics of this recent increased policy claim that more spending on military might could not only effect the development of more weapons but also drive the country further into debt.
Those in support of the “arms race” are more concerned with its intentions and its ramifications.
“This is blatant demagoguery, even by the standards of Trump. What may be most bizarre is that he would elevate government over the United States’ diplomatic and economic tools of foreign policy,” said Gabbard, adding that Trump’s “insane behavior” was either “insane, a sociopath or a sadist.”
Gabbard, a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a 2020 presidential candidate, said she was grateful to Trump for “unleashing” other countries to get rid of nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons programs.
However, if they actually did that, the demand for resources in the military would be “uncontrolled,” she said.
“It is dangerous to encourage countries to abandon legitimate mechanisms of deterrence while inflation rising and potentials of conflict heightening,” she said.
Both Japan and South Korea have been increasing their defense budgets. In April, the United States agreed to give about $38 billion in new military equipment to Japan in an effort to deter Pyongyang. Japan currently maintains about 230 U.S. military troops in the country.
South Korea has about 28,500 troops stationed in the country, with many stationed in the country’s border with North Korea. The Americans have maintained this presence in the Korean Peninsula, ostensibly as a deterrent to North Korea, since the 1950-53 Korean War.
On Friday, a South Korean lawmaker said that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, has told Chinese officials that he will not use nuclear weapons unless the United States attacks.
Click for more from The Hill.