Re­sponses to Trump’s com­ments on boost­ing U.S. nu­clear ca­pa­bil­ity

The Denver Post - - OPINION - Re: Vic Vi­ola, John A. Ol­son, Bob Kropfli,

“Trump wants to ex­pand U.S. nu­clear ca­pa­bil­ity,” Dec. 23 news story.

As a nu­clear sci­en­tist for more than 50 years, many spent study­ing nu­clear fis­sion, I can only shake my head in won­der at Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s naive state­ments on nu­clear weapons. With the U.S. and Rus­sia each pos­sess­ing stock­piles of 7,000 nu­clear war­heads, of which roughly 1,500 are de­ployed by each side, adding more such weapons would be a se­vere set­back for the ef­forts of pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions of both par­ties to re­duce the num­ber of nu­clear weapons. The U.S. is al­ready com­mit­ted to in­vest­ing $1 tril­lion to en­sure the readi­ness of our ex­ist­ing war­heads. And you can be as­sured that Rus­sia will fol­low suit.

If Trump has any per­sua­sive power over Vladimir Putin, he should put it to use to urge mu­tual re­duc­tion of nu­clear weapons in­stead of stim­u­lat­ing fur­ther pro­lif­er­a­tion. Per­haps he should be re­minded of mes­sage of the movie “War Games”: Nu­clear war is like a game of tic-tac-toe — no­body wins!

BBB I am flab­ber­gasted that The Den­ver Post and much of the na­tional me­dia have in­ter­preted a 110-char­ac­ter tweet from Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump on the U.S. nu­clear force as a change in pol­icy. The Post: “… rais­ing the specter of a new arms race that would re­verse decades … .” And: “Trump’s po­si­tion rep­re­sents a rad­i­cal shift in think­ing.”

Front-page news. Hand-wring­ing. Con­fu­sion. Some per­spec­tive: Trump’s tweets are spon­ta­neous, un­co­or­di­nated, usu­ally ir­ra­tional stray thoughts. Ut­ter­ances. Noth­ing more. Didn’t we learn that in the cam­paign? His tweets don’t re­flect a change in any­thing. Ab­sence of tweets sim­ply means he couldn’t find his charger.

These blurts can’t be ig­nored, can’t be dis­re­garded, but cer­tainly shouldn’t be taken as any­thing more than a pass­ing thought. Like the clouds above, or a pass­ing rain shower. Prob­a­bly more ap­pro­pri­ate to call them a gust of wind.

Let’s not over­re­act to the tweets.

BBB Con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans are in the best po­si­tion to keep us safe from an un­fold­ing dis­as­ter. In a shock­ing rev­e­la­tion, Don­ald Trump stated last week, “Let it be an arms race. We will out­match them at ev­ery pass and out­last them all.” He had pre­vi­ously tweeted ap­proval of Ja­pan and South Korea ob­tain­ing nu­clear weapons and dis­ap­proval of the Iran nu­clear agree­ment.

Since Repub­li­cans are in the ma­jor­ity in both houses, they are in the best po­si­tion to hold their leader in check and keep him from fos­ter­ing the global catas­tro­phe en­dorsed by his state­ments.

Trump seems un­aware of how other coun­tries will re­act to his dec­la­ra­tions on nu­clear pro­lif­er­a­tion. Con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans are best able to ei­ther con­vince their leader how dan­ger­ous this is or refuse to fol­low his lead down a very treach­er­ous path. The al­ter­na­tive is ter­ri­fy­ing. We are all in this to­gether and must not let this hap­pen.

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