From the editorial board of the New York Times:
It was the sort of nightmare that had only ever been real for most people’s parents or grandparents — the fear of an impending nuclear attack. “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii,” read the emergency alert that residents of the Aloha State received on Saturday morning. “Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”
The authorities quickly announced that the alert was a mistake. But it made tangible the growing fears that after decades of leaders trying to more safely control the world’s nuclear arsenals, President Trump has increased the possibility of those weapons being used.
Until Mr. Trump, no one could imagine the United States ever using a nuclear weapon again. America’s conventional military is more than strong enough to defend against most threats. But Mr. Trump has so shaken this orthodoxy that Congress has begun debating limits on his unilateral authority to launch nuclear weapons.
Expanding the instances when America might use nuclear weapons could also make it easier for other nuclear-armed countries to justify using their own arsenals against adversaries. As the residents of Hawaii can tell you, it’s a risk the world cannot afford.