Wednesday, November 09, 2016

"You Want To Be Unpredictable"

"I am not going to dive into the argument about whether Western civilization is facing an existential threat from the forces of progressivism. But I do agree that civilization does, indeed, tremble on the brink of destruction. We have been clinging to that precipice with shaky fingers since August 6, 1945, when the first atomic bomb was dropped on a human population."
"Since that day, our world has been one in which the death of millions, even the extinction of all human life, became possible."
"I recently asked a foreign policy expert what sort of mechanisms there are to stop a future president from launching nuclear weapons unwisely. He gave me a weak smile and said: 'I'm sorry to tell you this, but the system is optimized to allow the president to launch without much interference."
Megan McArdle, Bloomberg News
People protest Donald Trump outside Trump Tower in New York.
People protest Donald Trump outside Trump Tower in New York. Photograph: Andrew Kelly/Reuters

Ms. McArdle, in her thought-bending article, mentions then-presidential-candidate Donald Trump's 'fascination by the possibility of using nuclear weapons'. That he expressed his singular opinion when he was interviewed by John Dickerson on Face the Nation, that when the use of nuclear weapons are considered he stated ambiguously, "You want to be unpredictable". Well, this is just the person to qualify. For unpredictability, that is.

He does have ample company, however. Think North Korea, Pakistan and Iran, as example. All of which countries have, or aspire to possess nuclear arsenals and the appropriate long-range ballistic missiles to go with those nuclear weapons. As far as president-elect Trump's statement is concerned, think back to Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking to members of his Russian military:
"More than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles able to overcome even the most technically advanced anti-missile defence systems will be added to the make-up of the nuclear arsenal this year."
"If someone puts some of our territories under threat, that means we will have to direct our armed forces and modern strike power at those territories, from where the threat emanates. It's NATO that is coming to our borders and not us moving somewhere."
Russian Topol-M missile on mobile launcher
A Russian Topol-M ballistic missile launcher during a parade in Moscow (Reuters: Sergei Karpukhin)
The world, alas, is a tinder-box. There are more than sufficient numbers of nuclear weapons in the arsenals of the world body to render life on Earth untenable at some date in the future. Unstable, volatile leaders of unstable, volatile nations will remain a threat as long as nuclear weapons are in their possession. And who, which influential individual of great stature, or administration with enforcing power will attempt to secure those weapons and destroy them to save humankind? Unlikely, we're agreed, as a possibility.

That genie has no intention of being sweet-talked back into his confining bottle, he enjoys his status as a blighting background concern to all thinking, imaginative people who decry the destruction that humans have succeeded in imposing on the world with conventional weaponry; the use of atomic, fusable or fissionable bombs with their monstrous capacity to destroy is beyond contemplation, residing in a nightmare world of the possible, impossible to imagine.Yet we do have one example striking Hiroshima and Nagasaki and that was an American decision.

There was a time when mutually assured destruction (MAD) worked because during the era of the Cold War, two world powers whose polarizing ideologies opposed each other as representatives of lesser nations' political dependency and who had at their helm men who experienced no difficulty imagining the unspeakable breadth of the horror they were capable of unleashing, and the untenable repercussions resulting from a first strike. That knowledge kept their index fingers estranged from a red button of wholesale devastation.

But it is telling that while Ms. McArdle, writing her apocalyptic piece for Bloomberg News, veers past recent history to focus as a democratic loving American on the repugnant Republican candidate who has just led the polls in a national vote to become the new President of the United States. When the soon-to-depart President, Barack Obama, led the 'free world' in arranging an 'agreement' with the Islamic Republic of Iran, forgiving its mendacious plans to acquire its own nuclear arsenal. Essentially giving the nod to a terrorist-sponsoring, Islamist jihadist nation to proceed.

"It's not safe to assume that Trump will keep his finger off the red button", she writes. "He is aggressive, has poor impulse control and is not bound by normal conventions along any dimension, nor does he show any evidence of listening to his advisers. In addition, he seems to see everything he touches -- his businesses, his primary supporters, the Republican Party -- as extensions of himself...."

The 'he' she discusses so disparagingly and with well-earned reproachful disdain, could be substituted for Kim-Jong un, Vladimir Putin, Sayyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei, or Nawaz Sharif, all of whom are impulsive, aggressive, possess poor impulse control, are clearly unbound by 'normal' conventions. But it has been the leader of the free world who under the Obama administration that has held out his hand in friendship to Iran, consolidated a regional partnership with Pakistan, parried with Russia and China, and tolerated North Korea. 

Remember that old axiom 'you break it you own it' that Colin Powell iterated of the Middle East? America voted this man into the presidency. Now the world has to live with that reality. So heaven help us all. The question is, is he more dangerous to the world than his predecessor, far more skilled in his own brand of diplomacy, who abandoned America's status in the world along with its traditional allies and who managed on his very own to polarize Americans before Trump even got the chance to trump him on that front?

Oh yes, he most certainly is!

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Follow @rheytah Tweet