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PostDecoding Donald: At the Mercy of a Lunatic? (David Krieger, USA, 11/14/17 7:32 am)
The future of the world and of humanity is at the mercy of a lunatic. His name is Donald Trump, and he alone has access to the US nuclear codes. Before he does something rash and irreversible with those codes, it is imperative to decode Donald, taking the necessary steps to remove this power from him.
Trump tweeted on December 16, 2016: "The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes."
What good would a greatly strengthened and expanded nuclear capability do for the US? We can already end civilization and most life on the planet with the use of our nuclear arsenal. The US has nearly 7,000 nuclear weapons, with more than 1,500 of them deployed and ready for use. By comparison, North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong-un, the subject of much of Trump's venom, have only 10 to 15 nuclear weapons. But those have Trump worried enough to go to the United Nations and threaten to totally destroy North Korea should that country threaten the US.
How many more nuclear weapons does Trump think are needed to keep Kim Jong-un at bay? The truth is that the US already has more than enough nuclear weapons to deter North Korea, assuming they need to be deterred at all. What North Korea actually appears to want is a small nuclear arsenal capable of deterring the US from invading its country, overthrowing its regime, and killing its leaders. Since North Korean leaders believe they face an existential threat from the US, a greatly expanded US nuclear arsenal won't change the current equation.
Nor will more and strengthened nuclear weapons change the equation between the US and Russia, China, or any other nuclear-armed country. It will just start a new nuclear arms race, which will benefit only the arms merchants while making the world far more dangerous. Trump doesn't seem to understand this. His ignorance about foreign and nuclear policy is appalling and frightening.
Further, the world won't come to its senses about nuclear weapons on its own and without leadership. Earlier this year, in July, 122 non-nuclear weapons countries adopted a new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It was a great step forward. But, unfortunately, none of the nine nuclear-armed countries participated, and the US, UK and France issued a joint statement saying they would never sign, ratify or ever become parties to the treaty. Such is Trump's leadership, moving the world toward doomsday. These countries, led by the US, appear to love their nuclear weapons and treat them as a security blanket, despite the fact that these weapons provide no security to their possessors. In fact, nuclear weapons paint a bull's eye target on the citizens of countries possessing nuclear weapons.
Trump is exactly the type of person who should not be anywhere near the nuclear codes. He is not calm, thoughtful, deliberate, cautious, or well-informed. Rather, he is erratic, thin-skinned, narcissistic and self-absorbed. He takes slights personally and likes to punch back hard. He could be insulted and backed into a corner, and decide that nuclear weapons are the solution to what he takes to be taunting behavior. He could be awakened at 3:00 a.m., and make a hasty decision to launch the US nuclear arsenal instead of a tweet.
The world's best hope is that the military men surrounding Trump, particularly Secretary of Defense Mattis, would recognize any order from Trump to launch nuclear weapons as an illegal order and refuse to carry it out. In addition, it should be recognized by Congress that Trump is mentally unstable and unfit for office, and that they must take the necessary steps to remove him from the presidency before it is too late. Impeachment would be the best way to decode Donald.
JE comments: I have missed David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. David was somehow not receiving WAIS posts through our e-mail delivery system, and then Fate brought him back. (More precisely, it brought us back to him.) Great to hear from you, David!
David, if I may be Devil's Advocatey, might some folks interpret these comments as soft on North Korea? If possessing nukes is an outrage, then there can be no justification for having them, even from a tiny despotic regime seeking to guarantee its survival.
Am I Soft on North Korea?
(David Krieger, USA
11/16/17 8:05 AM)
To clarify my post of November 14th, I've always been an advocate of a world free of nuclear weapons and believe this is necessary for human survival.
That said, until we reach zero nuclear weapons, countries will justify their own nuclear weapons on the basis of other countries having them and threatening with them. The US, as the first country to develop nuclear weapons and the only country to have used them, should lead in convening negotiations for nuclear zero. This would be in the interests of US citizens and the rest of humanity.
Thus far, the US has not chosen to follow this path. By failing to do so and continuing to threaten North Korea, the US has provoked a nuclear response from North Korea. Trump and Kim Jong-un are poised to stumble into a war that could become a nuclear war.
JE comments: David Krieger provides another example of "giving a damn" without approval. (See Istvan Simon and Tom Hashimoto from earlier today.) But regarding North Korea, who "provoked" whom? We'll probably never reach a definitive answer.