‘Un­sta­ble’ Trump can fire nukes

Daily Mercury - - NEWS NATION & WORLD -

DEMOCRATS in the US Se­nate have warned of Don­ald Trump’s mostly unchecked abil­ity to launch nu­clear strikes, ex­press­ing fears the Pres­i­dent could im­pul­sively ini­ti­ate a dev­as­tat­ing at­tack.

“I would like to be able to tell my con­stituents and the Amer­i­can peo­ple we have a sys­tem in place that pre­vents an im­pul­sive and ir­ra­tional de­ci­sion to use nu­clear weapons,” Sen­a­tor Ben Cardin, a Mary­land Demo­crat, said at the start of a Se­nate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee hear­ing.

“Un­for­tu­nately, I can­not make that as­sur­ance to­day”.

Con­necti­cut Demo­crat Chris Mur­phy told the hear­ing: “We are con­cerned that the Pres­i­dent of the United States is so un­sta­ble, is so volatile, has a de­ci­sion­mak­ing process that is so quixotic that he might or­der a nu­clear weapon strike that is wildly out of step with US na­tional se­cu­rity in­ter­ests.”

Democrats on the com­mit­tee noted the Pres­i­dent’s es­ca­lat­ing rhetor­i­cal bat­tle with North Korea – a nu­clear-armed na­tion he and his ad­vis­ers have re­peat­edly threat­ened to an­ni­hi­late – lent ur­gency to their ques­tions about how, if at all, pres­i­dents were limited in their abil­i­ties to fire nu­clear mis­siles.

“This is not a hy­po­thet­i­cal ques­tion,” Mr Cardin said, not­ing that a nu­clear first strike on North Korea could be an al­ter­na­tive to a con­ven­tional mil­i­tary cam­paign that would pro­duce mass ca­su­al­ties in Ja­pan and South Korea.

Mil­i­tary ex­perts told the com­mit­tee that while pres­i­dents had ul­ti­mate au­thor­ity to or­der nu­clear strikes, there were safe­guards in place to en­sure those or­ders were con­sid­ered first.

For­mer Com­man­der of US Strate­gic Com­mand Gen C Robert Kehler said a nu­clear first strike would need to meet cer­tain le­gal re­quire­ments, not­ing that the mil­i­tary was ob­li­gated to dis­obey an “il­le­gal or­der”.

But they ac­knowl­edged the Pres­i­dent could over­rule the ad­vice of his ad­vis­ers and or­der a nu­clear strike if it was deemed law­ful.

PHOTO: AN­DREW HARRER/EPA

POWER TO DE­STROY: US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump walks across the South Lawn to the White House af­ter re­turn­ing from his 12-day tour of Asia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.