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Trump still has the awesome power to launch America’s nuclear arsenal

By the Way, Donald Trump Could Still Launch Nuclear Weapons at Any Time The president’s responsibility for the US nuclear arsenal is a Cold War anachronism. The Trump era shows why it needs reform,   Wired, .GARRETT M. GRAFF, SECURITY, 11.17.2020 
THE NATION IS entering a particularly dangerous period of Donald Trump’s presidency. Still refusing to concede his election loss and angrily tweeting at all hours of the night, Trump faces the dwindling days of his administration, with all the authorities of the office intact and nothing left to lose. Among the authorities he’ll retain until his final minutes in office? The awesome and awful power to launch the United States’ nuclear arsenal on command.

Donald Trump’s “fire and fury” presidency has exposed all too clearly the intellectual fallacy at the heart of the nation’s nuclear plans: that the commander-in-chief will always be the most sober, rational, and conservative person in the room.

Many people assume, wrongly, that some other official has to agree with a presidential order to launch nuclear weapons; surely the White House chief of staff, the secretary of defense, the vice president, or maybe the general in charge of the nation’s nuclear forces has to concur with a presidential launch order, right? Nope. The president can choose to consult with those officials, or whoever else he may like, but from the dawn of the atomic age in the 1940s and 1950s, there has been no procedure to require any such second, concurring opinion in order to authorize a nuclear strike.

The nation’s hair-trigger alert system is an anachronism of the early days of the Cold War, when the limited size of the US arsenal and its comparatively primitive technology meant that if the weapons weren’t quickly used, they might be destroyed by an incoming attack—and with them, the country’s nuclear deterrent.

Advancing technologies and expanding arsenals have negated that fear; today’s nuclear submarines ensure a so-called “survivable deterrent” such that even under the most extreme surprise attack scenarios, the US could still destroy dozens of foreign targets and kill tens of millions of people.

Even as the underlying technology and need changed, the US has never revisited its launch strategy. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. There’s simply no need for the nation’s weapons to be placed on routine high-alert and left in the hands of a single individual. We shouldn’t have to worry whether presidential whims endanger our world and human civilization.

This isn’t the first wake-up call for the US. In the final days of Richard Nixon’s presidency, as Watergate consumed his administration from within, his top aides worried what he might do. Nixon was despondent and drinking heavily. Those around him raised fears about his mental state; during one meeting with members of Congress he’d reportedly emphasized the world-ending powers at his fingertips …………

The impending end of Donald Trump’s presidency and a new Biden administration provides an important opportunity to reform the nation’s launch authorities. The country should insist upon a new command-and-control system that ensures the same checks and balances that we insist upon elsewhere in the nuclear system, as well as the same checks and balances we insist on other aspects of government power. Such a move would dramatically improve the safety of the world.

Policymakers have sketched out some ideas for what a new system might look like in recent years………..https://www.wired.com/story/donald-trump-nuclear-weapons-system-reform/

November 19, 2020 - Posted by | election USA 2020, politics, weapons and war

2 Comments »

  1. I posted fair criticism of this article and it was removed. Nice censorship, guys. Sure encourages me to trust your objectivity,

    Comment by jeffgolin1 | November 19, 2020 | Reply

    • Understood. I regret that I can’t at this moment, recall your post. But no, you can’t trust my objectivity. I don’t try to be objective, knowing how much money the nuclear lobby puts in to its propaganda, – if your comment was pro nuke – plenty of other forums around for that. If it was pro Trump – the same. I can’t stand that bastard.

      Comment by Christina MacPherson | November 19, 2020 | Reply


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