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World anxiety at Donald Trump in charge of the nuclear weapons codes

TrumpDonald Trump will soon learn the nuclear codes. What will he do with them?, The Age, 27 Nov 16 

Tim Johnson  “……By all accounts, the nuclear briefings a president-elect receives before inauguration are both complex in detailing procedures for a nuclear launch and awe-inspiring in explaining the physical consequences of selecting a target, launching an attack and girding for the fallout.
“These are the aspects that reportedly left President Kennedy ashen-faced,” said Peter D. Feaver, a security and conflict expert at Duke University, who worked on the National Security Council under the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

Those familiar with the nuclear briefings say they demand a sharp focus……..

Mr Trump will learn how a launch order would “send key people to underground bunkers,” Mr Crowley said. “That’s a critical dimension of this. Even for the Strategic Command out in Nebraska, this would send an airborne command up in the air.”

The black satchel operates with a dual key system, and part of the system is for the president to take a card from his pocket to input the correct codes.

“The card itself is critical to begin the process that activates the system,” Mr Panetta said.

While the system is designed with overlapping triggers that ensure that nuclear weapons are not launched by mistake, it is also designed for a president to make a snap decision.

“It’s a very short period of time, measured in minutes,” Mr Feaver said.

After Barack Obama received his nuclear briefings, he laid out a vision of “a world without nuclear weapons.”

“If we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable, then in some way we are admitting to ourselves that the use of nuclear weapons is inevitable,” Mr Obama said in Prague in April 2009, promising to make nuclear nonproliferation a top priority.

In theory, no one stands in the way of the commander in chief and a nuclear launch……..

Some voice concern about what they see as Mr Trump’s imprudence.

“He seems to be quite impulsive. He sends off tweets in the middle of the night,” said Ira Helfand, co-president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, an anti-nuclear advocacy group. “You can’t backtrack a nuclear weapon once it’s been fired.”

During the campaign, Mr Trump offered many points of view, saying limited proliferation was inevitable, nuclear war would be horrific and that the United States should always leave nuclear use as a possibility.

“I don’t think you could predict with confidence where he is going to come down on a question like this,” said Mr Feaver, the Duke University expert……. Whether those proliferation issues are addressed in further briefings for Mr Trump will depend largely on his level of interest, experts said….

November 28, 2016 - Posted by | politics, USA

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