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.