Thursday, August 04, 2016

Now hear this

Anyone who still feels sanguine about Trump's finger on the nuclear trigger needs to read what a former nuclear missile officer has to say about it.


Publius said...

Yawn. This "finger on the nuclear weapons button" argument is as effective as the civilian body count as an argument against war. That is, not effective.

Don Geddis said...

The new Trump nuclear doctrine: "I would never take any of my cards off the table."

I get where he's coming from. As a seasoned negotiator, you never give up any of your position, without getting concessions. What benefit do you get by one-sided voluntarily reducing your options?

So: "Somebody hits us within ISIS, you wouldn't fight back with a nuke? ... But would there be a time when it could be used, possibly, possibly? ... Then why are we making them? Why do we make them?"

The problem, of course, is that the game theory of nukes is pretty well understood by this point, and a delicate international strategic game of Mutually Assured Destruction has been the norm for decades. Even just saying "I'm going to take it case by case, and decide whether any given situation warrants nukes" is a huge change of nuclear strategy -- for the entire world!

I suspect Trump is simply uneducated about the subtleties of nuclear strategy, and simply responded to the topic as though he were talking about any other concession, in any other ordinary negotiation. He seems quite unaware of the special circumstances that nukes warrant.

I would hope, if he becomes President, that somebody would map out the strategic game theory for him, and that he would actually listen and learn something. But he certainly doesn't seem to be in that place yet.