30 August 2017

Can Trump Start a Nuclear War?

My last post got mixed reviews.

It seems that people agreed with the bulk of my argument but I lost them at the conclusion. Trump starting a war to save his presidency was too far-fetched for many of my readers.

Their point was not that the "short-fingered vulgarian" would be incapable of incinerating millions of people: they all agreed that he would do so with glee.

But surely, they said, someone would stop him.

You know, the Secretary of Defense, one of the generals, Javanka, someone.

Instead of replying "don't call me Shirley," as I should have, I Googled the question "can anyone stop Trump if he starts a nuclear war?" and I got 4,600,000 hits.

I am sure not all of them are on this topic but I went three pages deep and discovered that, as early as 1 December 2016, Washington Post had a piece declaring that Trump could start a nuclear attack if he felt like it and no one could prevent it.

More significantly, after his Arizona speech last weekend (where he hinted Arpaio's pardon), former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued a warning about Trump's likelihood to launch a nuclear attack.
Clapper described a plausible scenario with North Korea. “In a fit of pique he decides to do something about Kim Jong-un, there’s actually very little to stop him,” Clapper warned, “The whole system is built to ensure rapid response if necessary. So there’s very little in the way of controls over exercising a nuclear option, which is pretty damn scary.”
Around the same time, dozens and I mean dozens of magazine articles were published on this very topic and they all suggested that Trump was a thin skinned bully who would think nothing of destroying countries and killing millions.

Clearly, I wasn't the only one who had this macabre thought.

The so-called nuclear football was designed to start the launch in four minutes, there is nothing that can be done once the attack is underway and the targets will be hit within 30 minutes.

Trump needs no second person (unlike the military personnel who actually launch the missiles) to sign off on his command and there is no other impediments once he issued the order and entered the code.

Okay, you might say, surely, there would be serious repercussions for him if he did that.

Unsurprisingly, I disagree with that premise. In fact, the point in my previous post was that starting a nuclear war with North Korea had absolutely no downside for a cornered Trump and many upsides.

In case you are under the mistaken impression that America's political leaders would find a nuclear war abhorrent, this is Lindsey Graham talking at the beginning of this month:
“If there’s going to be a war to stop [Kim Jong Un], it will be over there. If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die here. And [Trump’s] told me that to my face,” Graham said. “That may be provocative, but not really. When you’re president of the United States, where does your allegiance lie? To the people of the United States.”
Let me repeat the cold and callous phrase: "it will be over there."

See how easy it would be to defend such a decision?

Think about it, if Trump were to attack North Korea, other than a bunch of hippies, most Liberals would stand behind the president, as they did in the Iraq War.

Trump would suddenly become presidential, just like Dubya.

North Korea would try to retaliate but they can only reach Guam and chances are US anti-ballistic missiles would stop their rockets. And even if they can't, it's only Guam and brown people.

In such a scenario, experts believe that Kim Jong-un would punish South Korea by trying to kill as many of their people with conventional weapons before the radiation clouds get to them.

I firmly believe that, in the US, such a horrific scenario would not make people upset. Asians are killing each other, people would say, we have nothing to do with it.

Just like they had nothing to do with the tens of millions of people who died in the Middle East.

Stuff happens. Let's watch Entertainment Tonight honey!

Breitbart might even present the catastrophe as something beneficial for the US, like you know, Korea's manufacturing jobs might come back to America.  The ones they stole from us in the first place.

And Trump would use this as a talking point in one of his rallies to thunderous applause from Americans of all walks.

I made America great again!

The upside includes the potential damage to be done to China. As a neighbouring country they might get radiation poisoning. Serious pollution and agricultural problems.

Would that bother Trump? Or anyone else?

In short, if Trump is cornered, and he will be at some point, his most obvious move would be (besides first pardoning himself) to start a nice little nuclear war "over there."

Kim Jung-un is the perfect foil. And he will provide the unassailable pretext.

One final thought: What we learned from new leaders like Erdogan or Duterte or Trump is that they will go to places where no decent person would go and no politicians had gone previously.

They do so because there is no penalty for it.

In fact, they are rewarded by a tribal electorate who declared that there is nothing that would change their minds about their Dear Leader.

Surely, fire and fury then.

Yes and at that point you can call me Shirley.

Or Ishmael.

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