02 November 2016

Going nuclear

During yesterday's discussion on the right-wing site Race42016, there was an exchange on the subject of nuclear weapons and Trump's temperamental fitness to be given control of them.  The point was raised that, since Trump is so chummy with Putin, he'd be unlikely to attack Russia.  I responded:

Trump is very erratic and mercurial. If he were President for four years there would be plenty of opportunities for him to have a falling-out with Putin. His judgments of individuals can change in a flash based on how he perceives their attitude toward him. A clash with Russia couldn’t be ruled out.

Aside from that, if a nuclear strike ordered by the elected leader of the US killed millions of innocent people in (for example) the Middle East for no valid reason, the stain of that guilt would cling to our country for as long and as indelibly as it has clung to Germany and Japan. With the great power of our country comes great and inescapable responsibility upon us as voting citizens.

This is, I think, the ultimate issue at stake in the election.  We've had more than a year now to watch Trump on the national political stage and see what his personality is like.  We know his belligerent and impulsive nature and his grotesque ignorance and prejudices concerning the world outside the United States.  And we know, or should, that whoever is President has personal control over an arsenal of about 7,200 nuclear weapons, many of them hundreds of times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb.

What if Trump lost his temper and acted on impulse during a future feud with Iran, for example?  The Tehran metropolitan area contains about sixteen million people.  A single act of rage could produce a death toll two and a half times that of the Nazi holocaust.  And the very name "American" would then be branded with that act for generations.

Or it might be somewhere else, not the Middle East at all.  The man is nothing if not unpredictable.

Electing Trump would mean creating an intolerable risk of an act of mass murder to which we as voters would all be accessories.  This is really not any more complicated than that.

14 Comments:

Blogger Paul Wartenberg said...

Part of me is convinced that if Trump does win... the first thing the Joint Chiefs and half the Cabinet does is find Trump too incompetent to serve as President under the 25th Amendment and bring up Pence to serve as Acting President.

Now Pence will be 20 ways just as bad as Trump and will preside over the destruction of women's health and Obamacare, everyone's voting rights, stacking the Supreme Court with more Scalias, a social safety net cut into rubble, and another economic Depression thanks to massive deregulation and a slash-and-burn federal budget that kills off everything not wrecked from 2008. But at least he won't nuke anything.

02 November, 2016 04:25  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I see nothing in the 25th Amendment that says the Joint Chiefs can remove the President -- that would effectively be a military coup. The cabinet can, but remember they'd all be Trump appointees -- and the President can overrule them and resume office, unless two-thirds of Congress overrules him and removes him, so this is basically another form of impeachment and equally difficult.

Pence would be a more "conventional" wingnut and less dangerous internationally, but he also represents the theocratic tendency which is the original reason I could never support the Republicans in the first place.

It's a fustercluck either way. I'd rather have Hillary.

02 November, 2016 05:44  
Blogger Rosa Rubicondior said...

I'm honestly not sure it's a good idea to warn people that Trump could easily nuke Tehran. A great many of his supporters are probably hoping he will. This only encourages them. The inmates are taking over the asylum.

02 November, 2016 08:35  
Anonymous NickM said...

I have to agree that this is the single absolute deal-breaker. Yeah, there are shed-loads of others but this alone is the absolute.

I have to take issue with one point. Infidel you call him "mercurial". I prefer "capricious"*. Even if you ignore whatever anyone thinks on abortion then Trump infamously changing his position 5 times in 3 days shows this. Assuming this is an important issue (and it is a bigger issue in the US than the UK) then this shows his "moral compass" lives in a 60T electromagnet. Nobody that morally disabled should have the codes.

Can I contact you via email. I carved quite a "nice" Trumpkin. I think you might like.

*Fitting for a randy old goat.

02 November, 2016 10:39  
Anonymous Marc McKenzie said...

Great point, Infidel.

Sadly, I keep reading--and hearing--from those who are farther to my Left that because Trump is chummy with Putin that there is no chance of "the missiles are flying", but that because Hillary is a "warmonger", that she will let slip the dogs of war.

Of course, Trump's temperament is never mentioned, even though we've had over a year to see just how detached from reality it is. On the other hand, Hillary's temperament has been on display for decades, and we've seen how she has handled foreign affairs as Secretary of State--and for the record, she was a damned good one.

The "warmonger" insult does stick in my craw, because it goes back to the Iraq invasion of '03, but it ignores the fact that Hillary, before reluctantly casting her vote, was calling for the inspections to continue, and that no evidence had been found linking Saddam to 9-11, and that use of force needed to be the last resort after all diplomatic avenues had been tried. It also removes responsibility from those who were truly responsible for the Iraq imbroglio--the administration of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Just my 2-cents.

02 November, 2016 11:54  
Blogger Alessandro Machi said...

My concern is how everything that Trump did would be spun as a victory.

02 November, 2016 13:56  
Blogger Alessandro Machi said...

As for rather having Hillary, the Progressives may lose that chance after attacking her over "Don't Ask Don't Tell", The use of the word Super Predator, and NAFTA. I don't recall the progressive movement ever acknowledging they were wrong or attacking the Clintons on those three issues.
If Progressives cannot apologize for their mistakes, then they become a bizarro version of Donald Trump in a parallel universe.

02 November, 2016 13:58  
Blogger Kevin Robbins said...

I'm trying to picture who would be in a Trump cabinet. Carl Paladino, absolutely.

As you said there's no telling what Trump's feelings toward Putin would be, even a month from now. He used to be friends with HRC, now he's going to put her in jail come January. There's the on-again, off-again relationship with Cruz.

02 November, 2016 16:15  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Rosa: True, but I think the hard-core Trumpanzees (a) wouldn't read this blog and (b) are beyond persuasion anyway. Increasingly US elections are all about motivating voters on one's own side.

Nick: E-mail is fine -- it's in the profile.

Somewhere you once described Trump as "changing his positions like a weathervane in a tornado". Quite apt, I think. His only constant direction is his own ego and his obsessive need to dominate everybody he deals with. Everything else is just impulses or whatever he thinks will benefit him at the moment.

Marc: The doctrinaire extreme leftists are exasperating, but I've pretty much written them off. I don't think there are all that many of them, and in any case they're as unreachable as the Trumpanzees. Saner people with such impulses probably learned their lesson from the Bush-Gore-Nader disaster.

Alessandro: Of course, she should have actually not said those things in the first place. There are things about her I don't much care for myself. But one has to realize there are only two options here, and one is vastly better than the other. There will never be a perfect politician.

Kevin: I imagine a Trump cabinet as including people like Paladino, Sarah Palin, Stephen Bannon, Roger Ailes, Ted Nugent, Phil the Duck (further outreach to the religious nutters, like Pence), maybe David Duke.....there might be a new cabinet-level Department of Threats and Vendettas.

02 November, 2016 18:03  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

I have heard folks talking about both Clinton and Trump being "warmongers" alot, recently some folks asked me here in Dallas, if I thought we'll go into nuclear war under the next President?, I just said ... "no ... both these folks are rich, their friends are rich, their whole lives, especially Trump in particular is about making a buck, their stocks and investments would take a hit, and all their friends and familia would feel it" ... I mean, rich folks like f**k on imported hand woven linens and enjoy sitting on solid gold toilets, etc ... that's their lives. Now ... a war? ... is different (non-nuclear) ... war makes money, but nuclear war hurts economies and rich folks the most. I think Trump would attack maybe (conventional/ ground/ air), Clinton though? ... it depends if banks and oil companies press her to. But Trump's temper has it's limits I think, like most people do ... I get mad myself, but I'm not going to run out and start shooting folks. The ones that I wouldnt trust though with nuclear capability, which is something that concerns me ... I feel like some of these groups like ISIS or some new group, may try to use something of magnitude against the west, many of those folks are true to the bone, in other words they will attack and even kill themselves in a heartbeat and think nothing of it ... besides doing God/ Allah and the Earth a favour ... and be rewarded in paradise after. But, just my opinion.

I was reading somewheres a couple months back (reading up on Russian/ Chinese joint military operations) ... that China had like a half dozen or so brand new nuclear subs (really high tech shit), and a few of them have intercontinental missile range capability (?)

I dont feel there is any need any more for nuclear weapons, besides having them, because some folks across the street (ocean) have them, for defense. Our technologies have made conventional war more efficient and accurate ... plus the conventional wars a good for business (just saying that on behalf of our rich friends). As far as Trump though, I like some of the stuff he sayz, but would never vote for him, or believe what he sayz any more than I would believe what Clinton sayz ... it is difficult for be to believe without something solid ... I have to have some reason in other words. When Trump talks the making America great again, bringing back jobs ... sounds great, but how realistic in the global economy of today? ... he sayz he wants stronger vetting for some of these muslim immigrants, I feel that's importante too, and no ... I dont feel that is being racist or bigoted (for me it's common sense) ... I want to lessen the chance of folks coming here to have bombing and shoot em up parties ... there are alot of MF's that dont necessarily love us, thanx to their religions and some of our policies and intervention nosing into and babysitting everyone. Enough from me ....

03 November, 2016 04:17  
Anonymous NickM said...

Yup, that sounds like me. What got me was a BBC doc on Trump and his shopping. He likes a shop in FL that sells really expensive junk. The owner was interviewed and said that Donald was indeed a very good customer and especially liked buying mirrors. It reminded me of a much earlier doc I saw about Saddam Hussein. They had a CIA psychiatrist/pschological profiller who said he reckoned Saddam was a "compulsive narcicist"... Hmm...

03 November, 2016 07:59  
Blogger Thomas Everett said...

I'm pretty sure his cabinet will be stacked with nothing but yes-men

03 November, 2016 09:04  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ranch: My point is that Trump -- unlike Hillary or a "normal" Republican -- is so belligerent and impulsive that he's likely to act rashly in a fit of anger without regard to other important considerations, even his own long-term self-interest. He's shown that kind of tendency throughout the campaign.

Nick: Trump is a textbook case of narcissistic personality disorder -- and a pretty extreme case at that.

Thomas: Most likely, or at least anyone who isn't willing to be a yes-man won't last long there.

03 November, 2016 18:04  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh ... your comment to me made me start laughing, when you said ... "like a normal Republican" {:-) ... Trump President would mean "Pence President", like Dick Cheney is how I see it, he dont know enough about what is needed in that Washington environment of today. But another thing from Trump in his own words, that is really hardcore stuff ... he actually said that not only he would toss ObamaCare/ ACA in the trash as first mission if he were President ... he said that we can do away with 80's of the regulations across the board in this country, I was talking about this with a Trump supporter about a week ago, and told him ... "can you imagine if Trump got his way, how pollution may be, consumers products/ services, he thinx that the EPA alone is a waste of money". Many Republicans also want to stop things like Medicaid (or Medicare, not sure which one), replace it with like $7000 vounchers for example, and shop over state lines, long story, but a shaft in our ass though ... they want to set up that money also like a retirement account, telling folks how much they can save of it, what they're not telling you, is who will be managing those accounts and what they will do with the billions collected (long story) ... and some on both sides want to transform Social Security by starting a new tax (I cant remember the guyz name that designed it off hand, but he wants to present this design to Clinton and Democrats too) starting a "new payroll tax", maybe about 3% on the average, but this will go directly into like a supplementary retirement account, replace 401K, and be handled by private investment firms (of course to invest it and get their share ... I have wrote plenty about this though in my blog a few years back, as far as privatization of it, cause I smelled a 'bite' coming), while making cuts/ adjustments to regular SS now, that President Obama even agreed on. Bottom line, there are folks in Washington (both sides), that want to turn over every last thing we have to corporate banking control, and when todayz markets takes hits, we will take the bulk of the hit, and those controlling our revenues will get free ride and no responsibility for errors.

04 November, 2016 05:41  

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