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Can Trump Be Trusted With Nukes?

August 24, 2017

America’s future is perhaps in the hands of the generals in his inner circle

Having access to the nuclear “football” is the ultimate power of the American president. With it, you can kill millions inside an hour and perhaps even end the world as we know it. Only one president, Harry Truman, had to exercise that authority when he dropped our first two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 to end the Second World War.

Truman did so with a heavy heart but as a veteran of the last world war – Harry was our only president in the last 100 years to have seen ground combat up-close, in the hell of the Meuse Argonne in the fall of 1918 – he knew he had little choice. Every president since Truman has accepted that he, too, might have to sign off on nuclear release. There is no weightier possibility for any White House.

For months, commentators have wondered if Donald J. Trump is up to such an enormous burden. His sometimes bizarre and combative public utterances have rendered this question in-bounds for the fair-minded. This hardly seems like a man who is mentally configured to take the stresses of, say, the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, when Washington and Moscow came alarmingly close to nuclear release on each other.

Now prominent national security mavens are saying publicly what they’ve been musing privately since Trump’s inauguration seven months ago. This burst into public view in response to Trump’s barn-burning speech in Phoenix on Tuesday night. As the White House circles wagons in the face of mounting inquiries about his ties to the Kremlin, the president has pandered to his hard-core base of supporters that will stick by his side, come what may.

The Phoenix rally therefore witnessed fiery oratory even by Trumpian standards. The president threatened to shut down the Federal government to pay for his promised “wall” on the Mexican border. He misrepresented his controversial response to the bloody fracas in Charlottesville, presenting himself as the innocent victim of media bias and its “sick people.” He attacked the “fake news” in a combative and rambling manner throughout the speech. He repeatedly lambasted “the elite,” which the president explained “are trying to take away our history and our heritage.” In a classic Trumpian outburst, the president compared his housing to theirs:

They’re elite? I went to better schools than they did. I was a better student than they were. I live in a bigger, more beautiful apartment, and I live in the White House, too, which is really great.

Read the rest at The Observer …

From → History, Strategy, USG

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