by Gary Thompson
Are you frightened yet? I am. And, I know things are going to get even more frightening before they get better.
If you aren’t frightened, you certainly should be. In recent weeks, the Commander in Chief of the most powerful military forces on the globe, capable of singlehandedly launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike on another sovereign nation, has done things like taunt the highly insecure, nuclear weapons equipped, absolute dictator of North Korea like a fifth grader on a playground.
Keep in mind that North Korea has tested a hydrogen weapon as well as ballistic missiles purportedly capable of reaching the shores of the United States. Not to mention, some 15,000 conventional cannons and rocket launchers currently pointing directly at Seoul, South Korea, a city of over 25 million inhabitants, could launch at any time.
Mr. Trump has stated recently that many smaller nations such as South Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia should obtain a nuclear arsenal. Remember that 15 of the 19 men associated with the 9/11 attacks were citizens of Saudi Arabia, and that women are still not allowed to drive there. That’s pretty chilling.
The President has also stated that the US should increase its nuclear arsenal by 10 fold. He stated this despite the fact that such a nuclear build-up is illegal under current treaties, or that the United States has one of the largest nuclear arsenals in the world, or that it could well start a bigger arms race with many nations, especially those with small new arsenals. This was an event that prompted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the country’s top diplomat, to call his boss, the President, “… a… moron.”
And speaking of diplomacy, Mr. President wants to cut the State Department’s budget, money spent on diplomacy, by a whopping 32 percent while increasing the Defense Budget by about 9.4 percent. This would have the effect of decreasing the likelihood that international disputes could be solved diplomatically, and increase the chance of military intervention. Don’t forget all those new nuclear weapons.
Mr. Trump has recently decertified the Iran Nuclear Deal. Against the advice of his top cabinet members, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson and Secretary of Defense General Jim Mattis, as well as all other signators of the agreement, the President has chosen to place in the hands of Congress, the decision of whether to impose new sanctions against Iran. This is against the constraints of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as the Iran Nuclear Deal is known.
This is the same Congress whose only major legislation after nearly 10 months is to pass sanctions against Russia for interfering in the 2016 presidential election (backing Mr. Trump), which he has let the deadline for imposition of those sanctions pass unfulfilled. If Congress does not choose to accept the Iran Nuclear Deal, the world risks having Iran back out of the deal also and continue down the path of acquiring nuclear weapons. Guess where they will be pointed.
The last time the world seemed to teeter on the brink of nuclear war was in 1962 when John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev played a game of chicken over Soviet missiles deployed in Cuba. The world was lucky that these two leaders had cool heads and the welfare of the entire world in mind when they chose to stand down.
I am very worried that Mr. Trump and whichever, or whichever, group of world leaders he has harangued to the point of a nuclear showdown will not have cool heads and will not have the welfare of the entire world in mind. Instead, they will only have the welfare of their fragile egos in mind. That is very frightening.