Why nuclear weapons should be a major focus of the 2020 campaign

By John Mecklin, January 12, 2020

A Minuteman III missile crew on alert. A Minuteman III missile crew on alert.

The proverbial alien beamed down to Earth would find the situation quizzical indeed: The political debates and campaigns involved in selecting the most powerful person on the planet – the US president – scarcely mention the stark fact that any president could at any time be called to decide, almost instantly, whether to order a nuclear attack that would lead to the end of civilization. There is, at present, no significant check on the president’s ability to make that decision. If he orders a nuclear attack, there will almost certainly be one. For a variety of reasons, the chances of nuclear war are not negligible; they are at least as high as they were at the height of the Cold War, according to leading world experts. And a nuclear exchange of even modest proportions would change the world forever, bringing on nuclear winter, degrading civilization in countless other ways, and affecting every person, everywhere. (At least every live person. The tens or hundreds of millions killed quickly in a nuclear exchange will just be dead.)

Yet when it comes to the major American media covering the US presidential election campaign, discussion of nuclear policy seldom happens, and when it does break out, the level of intelligence and sophistication involved is often, to put it politely, wanting.


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Aaron Tovish
Aaron Tovish

[Here are the links to the two pieces on NFU by Holdren  and  Miller — pro and con respectively. I provide them since the transfer links to the full pieces didn’t work, at least for me.] Miller claims to be favor of NFU once certain conditions are met.  I would find that claim more credible if he were to propose a NFU of WMD (including EMP) as a transition to nuclear NFU.  Instead he is content to block progress by citing the difficulties of countering — and thus need to deter — biological and cyber attacks.    Holden dismisses other WMD concerns… Read more »