Dismantling nuclear test site “a very smart and gracious gesture”

A more conciliatory tone from Donald Trump.

North Korea has announced that they will dismantle Nuclear Test Site this month, ahead of the big Summit Meeting on June 12th. Thank you, a very smart and gracious gesture!

Whether North Korea would have done this with or without Trump’s threats and ridicule this is promising, he may consider negotiating something worthwhile. However he should be cautious about Kim Yong Un’s intent.

But Trump continues his rhetoric against Iran:

Iran’s Military Budget is up more than 40% since the Obama negotiated Nuclear Deal was reached…just another indicator that it was all a big lie. But not anymore!

On it’s own this statement is nonsense. An increased military indicates more military spending, and could have been non-nuclear spending to strengthen their traditional military power in a switch from nuclear.

And have they increased their spending by 40%? I don’t trust any tweeted claim from Trump, he has a history of making things up and making misleading claims.

In fact NY times debunks this claim, saying it just repeats a false claim made by Benjamin Netanyahu: 5 Claims From Trump’s Speech on Iran Deal That Are Misleading or Need Context

The Iran deal was reached in June 2015, but went into effect in early 2016, when the United States and European nations lifted sanctions. Since then, Iran’s military spending has increased by about 30 percent, from $10.8 billion in 2015 to $14.1 billion last year, adjusted for inflation, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

The Congressional Research Service has estimated that Iran’s defense budget was about 3 percent of the gross domestic product, or $15 billion, in 2015 and about 4 percent of G.D.P., or $20 billion, in 2018.

Mr. Trump is referring to documents shared by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

And a week ago Barack Obama pointed out a huge difference between Iranian and US military spending:

“Iran’s defense budget is $30 billion. Our defense budget is closer to $600 billion.”

Politifact: Iran spends $30 billion on defense; U.S. about $600 billion

For the Defense Department alone, the Congressional Budget Office’s summary of the budget bill passed last December shows $520 billion in outlays with another $64 billion (good for two years) to cover overseas contingency operations, such as fighting the Islamic State group. That yields a total of $584 billion.

Laicie Heeley is policy director at the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation. By Heeley’s tally, after you add in $19 billion for nuclear weapons and $7.5 billion in other departments, the total comes to $621 billion.

But Obama may have been too high on Iran’s military spending.

We found several estimates of Iran’s military spending. The Congressional Research Service said the country spends about 3 percent of its GDP, which translates into about $11 billion. Reuters reported that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani plans to spend 282 trillion rials on defense. At the current exchange rate, that equals about $10 billion. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute database has a similar figure.

The highest estimate we found came from the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, a Washington think tank and advocacy group. It put Iran’s total spending at $17.7 billion in 2013.

Iran may well have increased their military spending over the last few years, in part to fund their support of the government in the Syrian civil war, and in part to build their conventional military strength to build their strengthen after shelving their nuclear weapon development (if they have done this).

Last year Trump bragged about ‘historic’ increases in US military spending, another questionable claim. Trump’s Defense Increase ‘Historic’?

President Donald Trump told the nation’s governors that his first budget would include “a historic increase in defense spending.”

Trump, Feb. 27: This budget will be a public safety and national security budget, very much based on those two with plenty of other things but very strong. And it will include a historic increase in defense spending to rebuild the depleted military of the United States of America at a time we most need it.

But defense experts say that’s not the case.

For fiscal year 2018, Trump has proposed a 9.4 percent increase in the base defense budget, which does not including war funding. But Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan enacted double-digit increases in base defense spending in five years in the 1980s — including a whopping 25 percent increase in fiscal 1981.

On Feb. 27, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said Trump’s first proposed budget would contain $603 billion in defense discretionary spending for fiscal year 2018, which begins Oct. 1.

An 11% increase to about $600 billion is still a huge increase in military spending.

I am sceptical of claims by Iran, North Korea and Trump.

 

Leave a comment

12 Comments

  1. David

     /  May 14, 2018

    Its getting a bit picky to label Trump a liar when he is quoting Mossad/Israeli government reports just because they have a different estimate than the congressional people. Logically one should side with the Israeli estimate given a lot of that spending is aimed at destroying them and they probably keep a closer eye on things than a couple of American congressmen.
    30% or 40% does it matter, Iran is a sponsor of terrorism and is a major player in destabilizing an already volatile area.

    Reply
  2. David

     /  May 14, 2018

    Britain is in a ridiculous position in making billions from selling weapons to the Saudi,s and Yemeni,s while still wanting to make money from doing deals with Iran who are arming and supporting the rebel group in Yemen trying to overthrow a democratically elected government. Germany and France are equally dancing on the head of a pin.

    Reply
  3. Loki

     /  May 14, 2018

    Dismantling!
    Realising that the last bomb literally wrecked the mountain and can never be used again.
    Either way it is a good thing, Trump May have actually got one right.
    Doesn’t make up for his Iran play though which is nothing more than a blunt force attempt to help the US domestic shale oil industry recover by forcing crude prices up.

    Reply
    • David

       /  May 14, 2018

      “Realising that the last bomb literally wrecked the mountain and can never be used again.”

      Has NK run out of mountains?

      Reply
  4. David

     /  May 14, 2018

    “An increased military indicates more military spending, and could have been non-nuclear spending to strengthen their traditional military power in a switch from nuclear.’

    That is clearly not true, Iran has always claimed they never intended to make nuclear weapons.

    Reply
  5. Gezza

     /  May 14, 2018

    I’m fascinated with how Kim’s playing Trump & wondering what he & Xi are cooking up in their two sit-downs so far.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  May 14, 2018

      Cynic.

      So am I.

      He’d be a mug if he made North Korea totally vulnerable again. He may, of course, be showing that threats will be greeted with threats, and that may be enough to make the US draw their horns in.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  May 14, 2018

        According to Aljaz all his people know so far is that there will be a meeting with Trump which is the result of Kim’s supreme diplomatic skills and their military strength.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  May 14, 2018

          Funnily enuf, Trump’s people hear the same thing about Trump.

          Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  May 14, 2018

      Xi called Trump after both so he knows.

      Reply

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