Politico: Trump Is Terrifyingly Unprepared For The Nuclear Threat Posed By North Korea And Russia

From a lengthy piece published today by Politico Magazine:

Can we rely on Trump to act with diligence, competence, diplomatic skill, reason and restraint? The verdict of a plurality of the electorate who voted for Clinton and of the vast majority of foreign policy experts is one of profound doubt that he can handle the pressure. He has proved himself over and over again to be quick-tempered, defensive, prone to lash out, adamant in dividing the world into winners and losers, and quick to invoke either the use of force or the backing away from U.S. defense commitments. He is ill-informed about nuclear weapons and the policies that govern their role and use.

He offhandedly entertains their use, raising doubts whether he can be trusted with the nuclear codes. The danger exists that the Trump national security team headed by an inexperienced and hot-headed commander in chief will prove too inept to defuse a crisis, and that it will escalate to nuclear conflict with devastating consequences for the country, our allies and the world. Given that unpredictability appears to be the crux of his national security game plan, predicting his behavior is perhaps a fool’s errand. But let’s consider the two most immediate and fraught crises that he will inherit—the U.S.- Russian stand-off and the imminent nuclear threat from North Korea.

First, such a challenge plays to Trump’s cognitive and emotional weaknesses. An imminent threat to the White House from incoming nuclear warheads flying at four miles per second would surely cause intense emotion and unsettle the steadiest of leaders. With only three to seven minutes allowed to assess whether the indications are true or false and decide whether and how to retaliate, any leader could make a bad call. (This system clearly needs to be reformed to greatly increase warning and decision time.) But Trump’s erratic and volatile personality makes for low confidence in his ability to reach the right decision.

Second, a mistake would be irrevocable. If the president gives the order, which takes seconds to convey to his military, missiles would fire from their underground silos within five minutes and from their submarine tubes within 15 minutes. The missiles cannot be recalled or destroyed in flight once they are launched. They would reach their targets on the other side of the planet in 15 to 30 minutes. Game over.

There’s much more at the link.

  • Ragnar Lothbrok

    A national and International crises in the making simultaneously. I think there is something in the constitution, where if the country nominates a royal fuck up, the current president is to become King with his Queen for 10 years, until things settle down. Yes, I think this is true.

    • james1200

      I see you started drinking early, too?

    • The Return of Traxley

      You may have read that bit wrong.

      I believe it states:

      “Should a royal Fuck-Up be elected by the idiots of the populace in some godforsaken manner, the Government of the United States of America is to immediately be rescinded without further ado, and shall immediately return posthaste to the control of the benevolent Monarchy of England, from which it was born. However, should these events ever transpire, FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK.”

      • Ragnar Lothbrok

        Yes,that’s it ! Thanks for the remind.

        • The Return of Traxley

          Not a problem.

      • Acronym Jim


  • bkmn

    I won’t be one bit surprised if Putin launches an offensive on US soil in the first couple of weeks. Anyone can see that Trump is so unprepared and Putin will take advantage of that fact.

    • aar9n

      Probably eastern Europe. Not US soil.

      • Blake Jordan

        Putin is going to rebuild the Soviet Union with violent force!!!

      • Todd20036

        Remember Red Dawn? Rather prophetic, don’t you think?

        • Cousin Bleh


    • Keiffer

      It works both ways. Putin can see Sarah Palin’s house, too.

    • The_Wretched

      Putin will grab former Soviet States first. They are closer and easier to loot. Putin has also shown today that he’s not waiting for Trump to be sworn in. Russians were bombing the ‘rebels’ (US faction) in Syria today. AND Putin is withdrawing from the ICC.

    • Jamie Brewer
      • bzrd

        excellent article, thank you Jamie. Unfortunately our schools aren’t what they used to be so our young people aren’t taught to think nor use resources to educate themselves. Many followers of the golden kaka are home schooled, an oxymoron if there ever was one, but that matters not now, we are doomed.

        • Jamie Brewer

          I was speaking of the Amazon series “The Man in the High Tower” to a now exfriend a few months back. I explained the premise of the series was America lost WWII and was now occupied by the Axis powers. She had no idea what countries fought in the war or that it even took place. She was voting for Trump because she liked the way he interacted with contsetants his TV show and his wife and daughters were pretty.

          • RoFaWh

            She is an ignoramus. You can quote me.

      • thatotherjean

        And I was depressed before I read it. Yep, the world appears to be ripe for—something, again. There are too many strongmen, including the one we just elected, remembering that “might makes right” Unfortunately, the ones who have nuclear weapons with which to assert themselves have forgotten the deterrent: “mutual assured destruction.” We’re headed for yuuuuuge trouble,

    • And Caribou Barbie will see it from her house!

  • paganguy

    Presented without further comment. https://youtu.be/frAEmhqdLFs

    • The_Wretched

      Lehrer was a national treasure. I normally can’t stand piano music but his playing, lyrics and singing is masterful.

      • clay

        My high school Latin teacher had us practice translation INTO Latin (such wonderful mental preparation for when I got internationally famous translator Stanley Lombardo in college) using Tom Lehrer lyrics.

        • RoFaWh

          Sounds like a very good way to improve one’s grasp of Latin.

          I took three years of Latin in high school and to this day, over fifty years later, I’m convinced that a new pedagogical approach is necessary. Vocabulary, declensions, conjugations, grammatical “agreement” all are trivial compared to the assembly of grammatically complex sentences, which depend on the fluent use of an army of small particles that they don’t teach in high school Latin.

          • clay

            When I got to college, it became apparent she was the only HS Latin teacher in the state to require translation in both directions, to teach pronunciation (all three of RCC, British, and German methods from her), or to teach anon-Classical forms. She had us translating archaic and also medieval Latin inscriptions, modern church documents, as well as Ceasar, Catulus, Cicero, etc.

        • Lionel Leston

          Nolete bastardes carborundorum. “Don’t let the bastards grind you down”, I think. From “A Handmaid’s Tale”

      • grimnebulin2

        Was? He’s still alive.

        • The_Wretched

          He is?!

          • grimnebulin2

            Yup! I learned this probably 15-20 years ago, and was as surprised as you.

            He’s reported to have said that political satire was dead after Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize.

      • The Return of Traxley

        You want masterful singing?

        Say no more.

        Darlene Edwards (aka the renowned Jo Stafford) has got this, with my seasonal favorite.


        • The_Wretched

          I couldn’t take the piano.

    • The Return of Traxley

      Thanks! I have it on vinyl somewhere, filed with Vaugh Meader and Rusty Warren.

      Everything old IS new again.

  • geoffalnutt

    I don’t think Trump has the faintest idea what a nuclear bomb is – or what it can do. What’s more, he doesn’t give a shit.

    • IamM

      Maybe Obama should take Trump, Pence, and their families to watch a little 10 kiloton demonstration then explain to them that if it had been one of the multi megaton strategic nuclear weapons it would have destroyed the observation bunker with them in it.

  • Blake Jordan

    What is this fucking idiot prepared for!?!?!?

    • Todd20036

      His next reality show.

      • Chucktech

        Starting January 20, 2017.

    • james1200

      Grabbing Ivanka in the…

    • The Return of Traxley

      Not a goddamn thing.

    • Hunter M

      Bankrupting the country while destroying the world’s economy.

      • RoFaWh

        Also lining his own pockets.

        Really. Drumpf is so self centered and so amazingly ignorant that I could see him firing off a few nukes in the belief that doing so will enhance his cash flow.

    • RoFaWh

      Very little, if anything.

  • John McKee

    I would not be surprised if North Korea does it on purpose just to get Trump to retaliate with a nuke.

    • DaddyRay

      He will get tested as every President does – the only thing we can be assured of is that Twitter will be involved in the response

      • clay

        Twitter, if we’re lucky.

  • Todd20036

    And water is wet.

    • Ragnar Lothbrok

      Vodka too

  • yeah it’s me

    My friend Lisa’s new philosophy is, “Why should I? We’re all going to die in a nuclear blast anyway.” And JFC, after reading that, I swear she’s closer to the truth than I’m comfortable with.

    • Cousin Bleh

      Hmm, I think it would be more fun to go with a “Why shouldn’t I?” approach.

  • james1200
    • Todd20036

      I never saw a shot-pitcher before.

      • james1200

        A shot pitcher is the perfect invention for a Trump presidency. If you’re lucky, your liver will shrivel up and take you out within minutes.

      • DaddyRay

        Where was this last week

        • Mike__in_Houston

          It was out there; it’s just that nobody gave a damn because emails.

        • NancyP

          Politico is a trade magazine. Only politicos read it, and by definition, the general public doesn’t bother with it or with reading any news. They want it spoon fed. Meanwhile, the Republican politicians and political appointees/advisors care more about getting Republicans elected for the next term. Other Republican politicos (big donors) care about getting their financial favors. No Republicans actually care about the US citizenry as a whole. The only people who count are big donors and stupid voters.

          Mainstream broadcast newsmedia were never going to bring up the nuclear issue. You bet there is no editorial freedom in broadcast news. It’s not just Fox – all major broadcast media companies are looking for maximum return on investment and for low taxes.

        • Obama made a speech warning that the president-elect is not to be trusted with the nuclear codes.

          Also, one of Clinton’s ads said as much.

      • Butch

        It’s way too small to deal with a Trump presidency.

        • clay

          One day at a time.
          Meaning it’s big enough to deal with 12 hours of a Trump presidency.

          • Mariaddurr

            Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj71d:
            On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
            ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash71TopGreatGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!mj71d:….,……

    • Ernest Endevor

      That’s just good sense.

    • JCF
  • pj

    9/11 happened at the beginning of bushs run because his people decided clinton administration informationn wasent worth acting on. i expect chump will be the same

  • Cuberly

    So now the media decides to vet the Philanderin Mandarin?

    NOW a warning?!?!


  • ralphb

    I’m retiring in a couple of weeks. Hopefully I’ll be able to enjoy it for a while before the end game arrives. Here’s a song:


    • Michael White

      The end game, the loss of Medicare and Social Security. I hope to retire at the end of next year

      • Mike__in_Houston

        I’ll reach full retirement age in September. I can’t afford to retire but I’m hoping that my Social Security, in combination with my decent salary, will enable me to pay off some bills, and that I’ll hopefully get to retire one day. Two concerns now: (1) will Social Security still be out there, and (2) will Trump have blown all of us off of the face of the earth, in which case the rest of this post doesn’t really matter…

        • Michael White

          That is exactly what I am planning on. I turn 66 in march and will start collecting Social Security while I work. I am hoping that those already collecting won’t be screwed as badly by miss ryan and her band of thugs. My husband is 13 yes younger and I hope to stay on his insurance to supplement my Medicare part A. But we can only wait and see at this point. If my health holds and I can continue to work I can do preventive stuff on house: new roof etc. good luck to you my friend as we face the next adventure in life 😘

          • ralphb

            With me it’s the opposite, my husband is ten years older and has been on SSI for 6 years. He’s on my insurance to supplement his Medicare. When I hit 65 we’ll have to look into supplemental benefits. But 3 years from now seems a long way off and the word “certainty” has been erased from my vocabulary.

          • Mike__in_Houston

            Yes, I have some house projects too. I’ve waited too long for this, and it isn’t as though I’m asking to be put on the public dole; I’ve been putting money into Social Security since I started working, except for the brief periods when I worked for the U.S. government. My feeble memory is that government employees don’t have to pay Social Security, but that could be wrong; there was something I didn’t have to pay that most other mortals do.

            I haven’t signed up for Medicare Part A after talking to our HR person and also calling Medicare. I don’t want it messing up the health insurance program I have at work, which I understand is a possibility if I sign up. Anyway, Michael, thank you for your kind words and good luck to us both…

      • ralphb

        I’m taking early retirement (I’m 62) and I hope those things still exist when I reach 65/66. But given the way things are going, I sure as hell ain’t putting it off. It’s all a crap shoot anyway.

  • Silver Badger

    Who cares what Trump thinks. What will Vice President Pence do? Can HE be trusted with these codes? Trump is irrelevant.

    • Ernest Endevor

      Probably. It’s the social stuff – real human lives – about which he’s clueless.

      • Steverino

        Unless he thinks nukes will hasten the return of Jeebus.

      • kareemachan

        i don’t think he can. He obviously doesn’t give a rodent’s derriere about people’s lives – why would people on the other side of the world be any different? He has no heart or soul.

      • Silver Badger

        Trump is irrelevant. Pence is the threat.

    • Uncle Mark

      The current question is: “Can Don Jr, Ivanka & Eric be trusted with the codes?”

      • It looks like the Cardinal Richelieu in this drama is Jared Kushner, I don’t think President Elect Trump, (such horrible words) trust his sons with his nylon weaves, but pretty much trusts Jared and Ivanka..

      • Silver Badger

        Get real Mark. Pence is using the Trumps as his beard. While you busy watching a Trump, Pence is running things.

  • Jon Doh

    Adding to my fears are the chances our missiles will all be out of service in January while the USA lettering on the sides are being painted over with TRUMP.

  • Sam_Handwich
    • The Return of Traxley


      Too bad Trumpanzees have no idea what bookstores sell.

      • boatboy_srq

        Sure they do: except they call it “kindling.”

      • Michael White

        Or what the sign actually says

      • RoFaWh

        In recent years, I’ve read that the last bookstore in El Paso closed. Imagine that, a largish city with NO bookstores!

        What a bunch of losers. But it is Texas, after all.

  • Rex

    Unprepared for nuclear threat – no shit, Sherlock.

  • Ernest Endevor

    This is news?

  • Rex

    Our only hope is that he’s engaged in a Twitter war at the time and that takes precedence.

    • CanuckDon

      Get Rosie O’Donnell on speed dial to distract him.

  • TK

    But we already knew this would be the case with Trump. I’m still waiting for something to be revealed that truly shocks me. I guess at this point it would be to read that he’s actually prepared for something….anything.

  • Treant

    It might be time to re-read Down to a Sunless Sea, On the Beach, and The Last Ship while watching Dr. Strangelove.

    • kareemachan

      Admission here: I love Nevil Shute’s writings, but I had never read ‘On the Beach’. Until recently. God, it was depressing/scary/sad and… prophetic? That is scary.

      • Treant

        The movie (the original, not the remake) is also a masterpiece, and stars Anthony Perkins at the height of his studitude as well.

        • Mihangel apYrs

          I saw it fifty years ago, and the story still haunts me, moreso now because we’ve move and are moving back into a time of stupidity

    • ralphb

      Might also be time to re-read “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis. Because it did happen.

    • Jerry

      And, because Pence is the VP, “The Lathe of Heaven” by Ursula Le Guin.

  • Natty Enquirer

    The greatest threat in the coming months is not from Trump and his band of bumblers, but from those who would seize power in a vacuum. “For the good of the nation,” of course.

    • IamM

      That’s a close (and terrifying) race.

      Off the top of my head if you’re just comparing them in isolation the Trump team might be a little worse at least short-term, but of course what we’d actually face is both at once and a power struggle between them.

    • clay

      I don’t agree– at least they’re concerned with and loyal to the nation, not just their own family and wealth. The recent history of military coups (though not 100%) suggests a military coup results in a free, fair, and open election returning to democracy quicker than a civilian take-over does. And in the US, we’ve kind of seen that in Kansas, orchestrated by Kobach, now on Trump’s transition team.

  • Joe in PA

    Can we rely on Trump to act with diligence, competence, diplomatic skill, reason and restraint?…

    If it weren’t so terrifying I’d say: oh my sides.

  • The bad news is that Trump will be given the nuclear launch codes. The good news is that the codes are too long to be tweeted.

    • Igby

      He wrote them down on a little yellow sticky note.

      • motordog

        I hear Ivanka is going to have a bracelet made with the launch codes written out in diamonds…you can buy it if you want for a mere $100,000.

        • TrollopeReader

          I think you left out a set of ” 000 ” ….

          • motordog

            Woops…sorry! If you act now, you can also get a matching pin!

    • TimG

      There was news a few years ago that, when the military runs drills to test the launch system, the system fails at the last stop, i.e. the poor soldier stuck in the bottom of the tube who actually does push THE button. When they know it’s a drill, they push it. When they think it’s the real thing, there is a large percentage who won’t follow the command. I certainly wouldn’t want the deaths of 100,000 people on my conscience.

  • ByronK
  • Dreaming Vertebrate

    Trump: I’ve had my staff link the nuclear codes to my Twitter account.
    It 3AM, when the call comes, I’ll be ready!

  • Christopher
  • Uncle Mark

    The real question is: “Is the world ready for Trump when he inevitably gets impeached by his republican “allies,” while he still has the nuclear codes?”


    Trump is terrifyingly unprepared full stop.

    • IamM

      In every way, in every area.

  • Brooklyn Joe
  • Paula

    Its not a problem for Trump. He will be nuking North Korea on January 23rd.
    The transition team is working on it.

    • TrollopeReader

      of course Kim is working for a Jan 20 -22 time frame ….

  • The_Wretched

    Politico expresses the consensus of the ‘beltway’. This means the powerful people in Washington DC are well aware of and are afraid of Trump and the nuke codes. What are they doing about it?

    All I’m seeing is Paul Ryan getting ready to pass the end of the national compact while everyone is still in shock.

  • Russia is a corrupt kleptocracy, but I am not worried about their development or use of nuclear weapons, even if they installed medium range missiles in their Kalingrad Oblast. Russia wants strategic power, not to destroy the world.

    My big worried about North Korea is they have a nuclear accident in testing bomb designs, or they start nuking their own country, or nuke South Korea, if the Kim regime falls.

    The big problem for the US is what the article points out, Trump is an impulsive vindictive individual, who will cause many heart attacks as he threatens countries like Iran with nuclear weapons if they don’t comply to Trump’s demands.

    • motordog

      “…if they don’t comply to Trump’s demands.”

      Indeed…and we all know how likely THAT scenario is. Every day will bring more anxiety and uncertainty. I’m reminded of the old Chinese curse; ‘May you live in interesting times’.

  • Lena

    If the EC ever needs just one good reason to vote correctly on December 19, this is it.

    • David L. Caster

      Yup, this would be the moment in history the Founders had envisioned. This is one time when that circuit breaker should trip.

  • Mike C

    Has Trump tried tweeting at NK? Maybe Bannon can get his alt-right army of basement dwellers to send them some nasty FB messages. Surely that’ll work on the international stage. That’ll show ’em!

    • TrollopeReader

      don’t forget the Macedonian Brigade! (or is it brigands?)

    • IamM

      Don’t give stupid people dumb ideas. Competence shaming clearly doesn’t work the way one would hope.

  • IamM

    He’s a foreign policy and military disaster even if you just assume no nukes become involved.

    In addition to being an economic, trade, domestic policy, civil rights,… … … disaster.

  • Mike__in_Houston

    Well, I try to always look on the bright side. We won’t have to worry about Medicare or Social Security, let alone climate change. In another 500,000 years the earth will return to normal and maybe a more reasonable and intelligent race of creatures will eventually take control of it. In the meantime, and in a nod to continuity from the Trump administration, the cockroaches will still be here.

    • Mihangel apYrs

      I’m betting on the rats

      • Lena

        Talking cockroaches.

        • ralphb


  • motordog

    So it seems that…거 대 한 분실 자…is Korean for ‘huge loser’, as I’m sure Trump will find out.

  • Robert Adams

    Trump is terrifying unprepared for 99% of his up-coming presidential responsibilities.

  • “Goodbye and thanks for all the fish.”

  • NancyP

    That’s what I said the first time I saw Trump debate.
    How can the Republicans be so unpatriotic as to prefer a tax cut at the risk of human extinction?

  • TK
    • IamM

      Reading this thread I was thinking there should probably be a watch officer who had to cooperate with the president to authorize a nuclear strike, like the two keys in a nuclear missile silo.

      And reading the other day about how he wants his kids to get security briefings I want the security agencies to be able to refuse such a request from the president and congressional oversight to be informed anytime he orders them to.

      We’ve clearly relied way too much on norms enforced only by social conventions.

    • ralphb

      Any general truly worth his salt would override this president in the event of a nuclear standoff.

    • swimboy

      I have a friend who’s been a lifelong officer in the Navy, and after over 25 years of service is considering resigning his commission because he doesn’t trust the new Commander in Chief to make sane decisions; and he’s not about to wait for one of those decisions to come down the pike and get court-martialed for not following it.

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      When you’ve lost the generals……

    • thatotherjean

      Good for these generals. the world should not be destroyed in a fit of pique by an unstable man.

    • JCF

      Contemplating: military generals trying to SAVE the Constitution vs FBI agents (starting w/ Comey) who want to SHRED it. 🙁

  • Frostbite

    Been nice knowing ya’ll

  • Bared Bear

    I’m desperately trying to take the high road and not wish karmatic-appropriate, grievously gory comeuppances for those who made Trumpunzel-Trumpunzel-let-down-thy-golden-weave our new Dubya. But I’m failing. Failing miserably.

  • Clive Johnson

    Future historian, year 2150: “Basically, some tinpot dictator taunted some other authoritarian’s small hands, and then the human race was almost extinguished.”

  • Bad Tom

    If Trump does destroy us all in nuclear Armageddon, it would give the Earth a chance to start over with something else. Maybe the cockroaches would do better. They certainly can’t do worse.

  • ralphb

    For some reason, this song comes to mind:


  • coram nobis

    “Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.”

  • LookielouE1707

    Donald Trump has the best plan for halting global warming. He won’t tell us the details, but it involves nuclear winter …

  • Blobby


  • JCF
  • B Snow

    Maybe someone can send him a series of tweets explaining the consequences of a nuclear launch.

  • andrew

    He may fuck up big time, but it’s not like the best and brightest of the left under JFK and LBJ, didn’t fuck up big time and get us into a needless war in Vietnam, that caused so much death and destruction and that the best and the brightest Neo-Cons of the right, under George W. didn’t fuck up big time and get us into a needless war in Iraq, that also caused needless deaths and destruction. Who knows where the narcissistic Trump will take us, but with the exception of Obama, he doesn’t have very big shoes to fill.

  • Lionel Leston

    Just one mean tweet from Skynet will be all it takes

  • CA2016

    Trump is super materialistic and likes his stuff. I would think he wouldn’t want to destroy it in a war. That is small comfort.

    I guess the only thing to do is live each day fully and with optimism.