Nuclear weapons are not a game. They are not a toy for the petulant and ill-informed to boast about on off-handed tweets. They are not gaudy hotels and apartment buildings to line up to make yourself feel stronger and more important. They are a direct shortcut to the very end of life on earth as we know it.
I suspect Donald Trump knows very little about our nuclear posture, its history, and the delicate balance our presidents have been walking since the early days of the Cold War. This was a man who in a primary debate didn’t seem to understand our nuclear triad. And that’s “Nukes for Dummies” level. Now recent tweets and comments suggest he’s thinking of a new arms race. When Mr. Trump suggested that countries like Japan and Saudi Arabia develop nuclear weapons during the campaign his apologists told those of us who were worried, he didn’t really mean it. Where are those voices now? Because whether he means what he says, or even knows what he means, really doesn’t matter at this point. Just by Trump saying it, the world order that we have known is at risk.
He’s not even president yet and he’s plunging us into a potential crisis that no one really thought would come. Surely there are many Republican Senators and foreign policy experts who understand the dangers of his rhetoric. Because the stakes with nuclear weapons are so high, that even slight changes in their status are cause for great concern. What Donald Trump is suggesting is at a level that would have us return to one of the most dangerous chapters in history.