Sunday, November 19, 2017

A Pressing Concern

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been giving some thought to the disturbing fact that Donald Tr*mp has the power to order a nuclear first strike against North Korea — or, perhaps, Venezuela or Iran or Nigeria (having confused it with Niger.)  Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts has proposed legislation that would limit that power to attacks on countries upon which Congress had declared war.

Don't hold your breath awaiting passage.

Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) protects the United States against nuclear attack just as well today as it did when the Soviets first acquired the bomb — better, since now we can respond with submarine-based missiles even if our ground-based capacity is destroyed in a first strike.  That also means no other country would risk involvement should Our President get it into his head to lob one at Pyongyang.  Kim Jong-un really does need his own bombs and delivery system.

The utility and safety of our submarine-based capacity also makes our ground-based missiles unnecessary and obsolete.  It certainly is not worth replacing them, as proposed, at a cost of $100 billion.  The submarines also make it possible to delay a response to an attack — long enough so that the decision does not have to be made by one person.  The choice to engage in nuclear war, at the very least, should be a decision by a nonpartisan group of trusted individuals.

Yesterday, Gen. John Hyten, head of US Strategic Command, said he would disobey an "illegal order" from the President to launch a first strike.  It's a nice sentiment, but the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs produces plenty of graduates who are both military leaders and Christians eagerly awaiting the Apocalypse.  No matter what Hyten would do, somebody would obey joyfully if an apocalyptic command came from Tr*mp.

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