Donald Trump promises 'greatest military build-up'

  • 25/02/2017

US President Donald Trump says he will make a massive budget request for one of the "greatest military build-ups in American history" in a feisty, campaign-style speech to eager activists.

Mr Trump defended his unabashed "America first" policies at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), an organisation that gave him one of his first platforms in his journey to the US presidency.

Mr Trump also repeated his criticism on what he called purveyors of "fake news". He referred to a recent tweet in which he said some in the US news media should be considered an "enemy of the people".

"Never underestimate the people. I don't think it'll ever happen again," he said.

"And I want you all to know that we are fighting the fake news. It's fake, phony, fake. A few days ago, I called the fake news, the enemy of the people. And they are, they are the enemy of the people.

Mr Trump has repeatedly chosen to make news media criticism a focus of his public remarks since taking office on January 20.

Arms race

In the speech he outlined plans for strengthening the US military, already the world's most powerful fighting force, and other initiatives, though he again offered few specifics.

He said he would aim to substantially upgrade the military in both offensive and defensive capabilities, with a massive spending request that would make the country's defence "bigger and better and stronger than ever before."

"And, hopefully, we'll never have to use it, but nobody is going to mess with us. Nobody. It will be one of the greatest military build-ups in American history," Mr Trump said.

Russian politicians close to the Kremlin say Mr Trump's aim of putting the US nuclear arsenal "at the top of the pack" risks triggering a new Cold War-style arms race between Washington and Moscow.

In a recent interview with Reuters, Mr Trump said the US had fallen behind in its nuclear weapons capacity, a situation he said he would reverse, and he said a treaty limiting Russian and US nuclear arsenals was a bad deal for Washington.

His remarks were "arguably Mr Trump's most alarming statement on the subject of relations with Russia," Russia's international affairs committee chairman Konstantin Kosachev says.

"Mr Trump's campaign slogan 'Make America great again', if that means nuclear supremacy, will return the world to the worst times of the arms race in the '50s and '60s."

Over the course of the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the US realised that achieving supremacy was dangerous, and accepted the doctrine of parity as the best way to ensure peace, Mr Kosachev wrote on his Facebook page.

"Are we entering a new era? In my view we need an answer to that question as soon as possible."