According to Joe Scarborough on Wednesday’s Morning Joe on MSNBC, during a foreign policy briefing several months ago, Trump asked three times in an hour about nukes, “If we have them, why can’t we use them?”
This is the same Donald Trump, by the way, who said back in 2014 that “the global warming we should be worried about is the global warming caused by NUCLEAR WEAPONS in the hands of crazy or incompetent leaders!”
One of the most meaningful responses to Trump, because of his particular expertise, is that of John Noonan. He is a conservative, which adds further cachet to his speaking out. Currently he is a national security analyst for The Weekly Standard. He was a foreign policy advisor to Mitt Romney in 2012 and a national security policy advisor to Jeb Bush in 2016; in his earlier days he served in the Air Force as a missile-launch officer at a nuclear silo in Wyoming.
Shortly before midday yesterday, and looking back on those days, Noonan embarked on what can only be called a tweetstorm with this tweet:
1. I cant get this in one tweet. So bear with me as I air some laundry here on Scarborough's claim Trump's interested in nuclear First Use
— John Noonan (@noonanjo) August 3, 2016
It was all downhill from there for one Donald J. Trump. Because over the next 15 minutes or so, Noonan issued 20 tweets about Trump and the potential release of nuclear weapons:
1. I cant get this in one tweet. So bear with me as I air some laundry here on Scarborough’s claim Trump’s interested in nuclear First Use
2. Pulled 300 nuclear alerts, 100 ft under the Wyoming turf. Job is serious and full of serious people.
3. When we went into ICBM training, we went through a battery of tests and interviews. Are you sane? Are you willing to turn your key?
4. I see how those might sound at odds.
5. But the whole idea behind nuclear deterrence is that you don’t use the damn things. So I thought the mission credible and worthy.
6. There are a hell of a lot of bad actors out there who have nukes. They are restrained only by our ability to instantly lay waste to them.
7. The nuke triad, which Trump doesn’t have a clue about, has been the single greatest contributor to global peace for decades. You heard me
8. I dont know if Scarborough is telling whole truth here. Anonymous sources suck. BUT… if he is… buckle the hell up.
9. Because Trump would be undoing 6 decades of proven deterrence theory. The purpose of nukes is that they are never used. Trump disagrees?
10. This would be the single greatest strategic shift in US national security in decades. In a Trump Presidency, our foreign policy
11. ….would be this. “Leave our alliances, fall back on a nuclear first use policy.” Does he understand just how F’ing dangerous that is?
12. But what really concerns me, as a former nuke guy, is the idea of a narcissist walking around with nuclear authenticators.
13. I could sit 100ft underground, on alert, knowing that the POTUS would not make me do my duty — not unless it was absolute last resort
14. But imagine having to turn launch keys not knowing if we were under attack or if it was b/c foreign leader said a mean thing on twitter
15. The power is there to kill millions. Permanently alter the geopolitical landscape. It is a sacred, sobering responsibility.
16. Idea that nukes would be used, say over Raqqa or Mosul, simply because we have no more allies and it’s a simple, easy fix is nauseating
17. Simply signaling that you’re open to using strategic weapons as a tactical solution rewrites the rule book. Russia, China, others will
18. respond. Nuclear deterrence is about balance. Trump is an elephant jumping up and down on one side of the scale. So damn dangerous.
19. But geopolitics aside, I can’t get my mind off the young officers on nuke alert right now. Wondering if they’ll soon answer to a madman.
20. And be asked to do a duty that should morally be asked of no human being, ever. //end
Noonan says if Scarborough’s sources are accurate, “buckle the hell up.” It is important to note that while Paul Manafort is denying the whole thing, Trump has previously stated,
“I’m never going to rule anything out — I wouldn’t want to say. Even if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t want to tell you that because at a minimum, I want them to think maybe we would use them.”
Worse for Trump and Manafort, as CBS’ Sopan Deb reminds us, Trump actually said much the same thing in an interview with Chris Matthews on MSNBC:
“Then why are we making them? Why do we make them?”
I think at this point, even without Scarborough’s revelations, we’re all pretty sure you would.
This is an old poster from Cold War days, from when I was growing up, and it used to be readily available. If Trump becomes president, I predict it will become very popular again:
As Noonan said, nuclear deterrence is about balance and Trump is upsetting that balance. Noonan speaks of “sacred, sobering responsibility,” and those are words than cannot in good conscience be attached to Donald Trump. He is a madman – a madman who doesn’t understand the consequences of even the smallest actions, let alone one that can destroy our entire species.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.