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What would be the process, if Trump decides to launch anuclear attack?

President Trump holds the ‘nuclear football’ but what is the process to launch an attack? 9 News, Aug 15, 2017 On January 20 Donald Trump was inaugurated as President, giving the former reality star the sole authority to launch a nuclear attack.

After being sworn in, an aide who had arrived with outgoing president Barack Obama carrying a satchel containing a briefcase, known as “the nuclear football”, moved quietly to Trump’s side.

The symbolism was clear: Trump now had complete control of the launch codes for a strategic nuclear strike.

 It was a moment Trump had been waiting for – indeed, even thinking about for a long time……..

And it seems not all US politicians have confidence in the current system.

Ted Lieu – a Democratic member of the US House of Representatives – has filed a proposal to require congressional approval before the president could launch a first nuclear strike, labelling the current process “unconstitutional”.

“Right now one person can launch thousands of nuclear weapons, and that’s the president. No one can stop him. Under the law, the secretary of defense has to follow his order. There’s no judicial oversight, no congressional oversight,” Lieu said.

But what exactly is the current process to launch a nuclear attack? The current approval process dates back to after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan to end World War II.

The Atomic Energy Act of 1946, signed by President Harry Truman, gave the president full responsibility over the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

That means, the president can use nuclear weapons with a single verbal order – an order that cannot be overridden.

Unlike other executive branch decisions, there are very limited checks and balances to launching a nuclear strike.

While Lie argues the current process is unconstitutional, the answer to that is not definitive – with possible answers lying in murky territory.

The American Constitution allows the president to use significant military force without congressional approval, if it is in self-defence.

That suggests North Korea would have to attack the US, or a US territory, such as Guam, first before Trump could legally pull the trigger on a nuclear retaliation.

However, a wrinkle in that comforting thought is the Korean War.

The Korean War which ran from 1950 to 1953 did not ever formally end – rather it ended with an armistice, with a peace treaty scheduled in Geneva in 1954 never being signed by the two parties.

Therefore, Trump could still attack North Korea first using the argument the US is already at war with the despot regime.While Trump may be able to launch a nuclear strike against North Korea on his say alone, the 1973 War Powers Resolution requires the president to have or to gain congressional approval to send troops to a foreign territory for combat purposes.

9RAW: Trump threatens ‘big, big trouble’ for North Korea

While the president can send the troops without the approval of Congress, the president then requires to get a yes otherwise they must terminate combat within 60 to 90 days.

While the Western world watch the continued exchange of verbal blows between North Korea and the US – a comment made by Trump in 1984, at the height of the Cold War, when the now President told a Washington Post reporter he wanted to be put in charge of US-Russia nuclear arms negotiations.

“It would take an hour-and-a-half to learn everything there is to learn about missiles,” Trump said. “I think I know most of it anyway.”

In March last year, Trump asserted he would be the last person to use nuclear.

“I’m not going to take cards off the table. We have nuclear capability,” he said.

“The last person to use nuclear would be Donald Trump. That’s the way I feel. I think it is a horrible thing. The thought of it is horrible. But I don’t want to take anything off the table. We have to negotiate. There will be times maybe when we’re going to be in a very deep, very difficult, very horrible negotiation.”

It’s a negotiation the world is watching now as North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un continues to move ahead with a plan to strike an area around US territory Guam with four missiles.

August 15 could see North Korea begin preparations to launch four intermediate-range Hwasong-12 missiles near Guam, should Kim follow through on his rhetoric.

The rogue state’s head said today he will watch the actions of the United States for a while longer before making a decision, according to North Korea’s official news agency.

Kim said: “The United States, which was the first to bring numerous strategic nuclear equipment near us, should first make the right decision and show through actions if they wish to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and prevent a dangerous military clash.”The ball seems to be sitting firmly in Trump’s court – and the world watches to see if he becomes the president to open the ‘nuclear football’.


August 16, 2017 - Posted by | politics, politics international, USA

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