Concern over nuclear weapons grows with Donald Trump rising in the polls

By Nick Riebel || Staff Writer

I don’t think I have to tell you how serious it is to be the President of the United States. It is the ultimate job, with the greatest responsibility and power in the world. Much of (if not most of) this responsibility and power has to do with our great military, which is the most powerful force of any country. The source of this power is in large part derived from our troops, who protect us every day. But the other part of this power comes from our military technology and weapons. And when I think of our weapons, I think of our most powerful weapon: the nuclear bomb.

In all of millennia of human history, from the invention of the spear to the development of military drones, it is only within the last century that we have developed weapons which are capable of utterly annihilating human civilization and most, if not all, life on Earth. Nuclear weapons have only been used in one war, the greatest war our species has ever known: World War II. The United States, led by President Truman, decided to use two atomic bombs to force Japan to surrender, and finally win the war against the Axis.

This may have been a deadly mistake, and an indelible blight on the morality and judgment of the United States. These weapons were astoundingly devastating, horrific destruction which is still beyond most people’s’ imagination. And the worst part is that our understanding of nuclear physics has only improved since then, and consequently we have been able to develop increasingly powerful and deadly nuclear weapons.

The prospect of a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union meant that the Cold War was only fought indirectly. Mutually assured destruction (MAD) meant that the consequences of direct engagement would result in the death of billions: many instantly vaporized by an atomic blast, the rest slowly and painfully dying due to the radiation and its effects. We came very close during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but fortunately cooler heads prevailed.

Donald Trump is not very level-headed. He doesn’t understand geopolitics or international relations on even a rudimentary level. He thinks that countries such as South Korea, Japan, and Saudi Arabia should have their own nuclear weapons, so that we don’t have to spend money to protect them anymore: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/donald-trump-japan-south-korea-might-need-nuclear-weapons/ . In a world where the threat of nuclear proliferation is very real, you would have to be astoundingly stupid to want more nations to have nuclear weapons: more chances that a nation’s government would use them. (Why he would want Saudi Arabia, of all nations, to potentially have access to them is beyond me).

During an intelligence briefing, Donald Trump allegedly asked three times why we cannot use nuclear weapons if we have them: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/03/trump-asks-why-us-cant-use-nukes-msnbcs-joe-scarborough-reports.html . This man’s ignorance is astonishing and appalling. Do we really want to risk this man controlling our nuclear arsenal, a man who seems so eager to use them, and cannot fathom why we may not want to use them?

The Onion is usually a really funny satirical website. They released an article some time ago that I did not find very funny: http://www.theonion.com/article/un-warns-trump-may-be-7-months-away-acquiring-nucl-53093 . The fact that Donald Trump is well-positioned now to become president, with the possibility that he may have no compunctions about using these apocalyptic devices, should concern every patriotic American. A man with such little self-control should not be trusted with them.

This is not a joke, nor an exaggeration. I watch with alarm as Trump seems to be not just rising, but probably surging in the polls. I hope that the election will be a landslide such as that of 1964, with Lyndon B. Johnson decisively defeating the radical extremist Barry Goldwater, whose ideology and instincts could not be trusted. If you have seen the Daisy ad, you know how seriously they took the threat of nuclear weapons and nuclear war back then.

Although we are not in a Cold War now, and there is not currently an arms race amongst the major powers, we should not risk anything that could lead to a nuclear conflagration. Trump should not be anywhere near the big red button.

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Senior Nick Riebel is a Staff Writer. His email is nriebel@fandm.edu.

Photo courtesy of cbsnews.com.

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