Friday, 25 January 2019

Nuclear nuanced policy from Trump

Letter sent to The Guardian:

 Your  leader (“With Donald Trump in charge, it is harder to  hold back the arms race clock,” Guardian, 21 January 2019; https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/20/the-guardian-view-on-trump-and-arms-can-the-doomsday-clock-be-stopped) is absolutely correct to point out that John Bolton, the  national security advisor President Trump appointed is known for his visceral opposition to any  kind of  constraint on US [nuclear weapons] capabilities.”

But Trump himself has a personal history of having  much more nuclear nuanced position that is rarely recognized.

He asserted in an interview on 15 December 2015, for instance: “The biggest problem we have is nuclear—nuclear proliferation and having some maniac, having some madman go out and get a nuclear weapon. That's in my opinion that is the single biggest problem that our country faces right now.”

On 23 November 2016 Trump opined : “I would be somebody that would be amazingly calm under pressure.” On 27 April 2107 he tried to reassure worried doubters, asserting:  “To me, always the No. 1 security threat to the United States is nuclear… and we have to be unbelievably careful.”

So where else can we look? An article published in US news web site, Slate, provides an extraordinary insight. ("Trump’s Nuclear Experience: In 1987, he set out to solve the world’s biggest problem," www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/the_spectator/2016/03/trump_s_nuclear_experience_advice_for_reagan_in_1987.html).

Written by senior Slate writer, Ron Rosenbaum the article resurrects an interview originally given to the author  nearly three decades ago for the now defunct magazine, Manhattan Inc.
 Rosenbaum recalled: Trump is not new to nuclear matters. He has been thinking about how he’d handle nuclear weapons and nuclear proliferation for more than a quarter-century, at least since 1987, when he claimed to me that he was “dealing at a very high level” with people in the White House (that would have been the Reagan White House) on doomsday questions. Trump wanted to begin a crusade to find a way to halt a national security policy based on nuclear mutually assured destruction (MAD) “before a wild-card nuke deals death to millions.”

Trump foresaw a situation soon when “hair-trigger” heads of state would have their hands on multiple nuclear triggers. And, Rosembaum observed, it drove him crazy that nobody in the White House sensed the danger.

The "Doomsday Clock"  remains perilously close to disaster ("Nuclear arms threat keeps Doomsday clock  close to midnight," 25 January 2019; https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/24/doomsday-clock-2019-two-minutes-midnight-nuclear-war-new-abnormal). President Trump is now in a position to do something about it himself.



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