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All too easy for an American President to start nuclear apocalypse

apocalypseTHE REAL NUCLEAR THREAT  By Lawrence M. Krauss, New Yorker, 13 Oct 16   Donald Trump’s candidacy has been a source of anxiety for many reasons, but one stands out: the ability of the President to launch nuclear weapons. When it comes to starting a nuclear war, the President has more freedom than he or she does in, say, ordering the use of torture. In fact, the President has unilateral power to direct the use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances. Cabinet members may disagree and even resign in protest, but, ultimately, they must obey the order of the Commander-in-Chief. It’s all too easy to imagine Trump issuing an ultimate, thermonuclear “You’re fired!” to China, Iran, or another nation—and perhaps to the whole human race.*……….
 Trump….. genuinely seems to be a man who speaks and acts without significant forethought. He’s also someone who—as his debate performances have shown—responds to slights by lashing out against adversaries irrationally and without thinking about the consequences. And Trump has done little to reassure us about nuclear weapons specifically. He has expressed an affinity for massive bombing, proposing to “bomb the shit” out of oil fields in Iraq to counter isis. During a March interview with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, he said that he would consider using nuclear weapons in Europe, of all places. More generally, he’s disengaged from the realities of international affairs……
there’s no such thing as limited use of nuclear weapons. Retaliation and escalation are extremely likely. Even the use of nuclear weapons in a “local” conflict—say, between India and Pakistan—would have disastrous consequences. Millions would die in the initial nuclear exchange, of course. But the residue from the nuclear blasts would also produce long-term climate changes that would affect global agriculture for perhaps a decade, killing as many as a billion people through starvation. If he acted on his statements, Trump would usher in a chaotic, unpredictable, and dangerous nuclear future.

The fact that Trump has so cavalierly raised concerns about nuclear weapons may have a silver lining. It underscores how dangerous and irrational our nuclear policies already are………

the Non-Proliferation Treaty didn’t just restrict non-nuclear nations from obtaining nuclear weapons but also required nations possessing them to disarm. For as long as we continue to ignore this fundamental reality, we will continue to hover at the brink of Armageddon. It should be impossible for Trump, or any President, to push us over it.


October 14, 2016 - Posted by | general

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