No empty threats: US must reform nuclear procedures after Trump

From moment Donald Trump won the presidency, i was worried about the possibility of a foreign enemy making a tragic miscalculation, or of Trump seeing an opportunity to challenge the United States or one of its allies based on his ignorance of America’s unique position in global security. Although it was within his jurisdiction, I did not necessarily think that he would unintentionally start a war, but instead worried that other countries might misunderstand his rude and erratic personality. Now, the forthcoming book by veteran DC reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, aptly named “Danger,” shows that this is not an empty concern.

According to this reports on what appeared in the book In the last days of his presidency, Trump’s erratic behavior has caused serious alarm in the Chinese government, by various news outlets. Washington post reports After reviewing the intelligence reports, Chief of Staff General Mark A Milley called his Chinese military colleague, General Li Zuocheng, “assuring him that the American government is stable and everything will be fine. We will not attack you or carry out any kinetic operations against you.” Milley reportedly highlighted his longstanding relationship with his colleague and even said he would warn him in advance if the United States decided to attack. This phone call reportedly lasted an hour and a half.

After the January 6 uprising, Milley phoned once again to reassure a shocked Li that the United States was not disintegrating. “We are 100 percent stable. Everything is fine. But democracy can be sloppy sometimes.” Really careless.


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Peter Baker of The New York Times and Susan Glasser of The New Yorker reveal in a future book He said General Milley was gravely concerned that Trump appeared intent on launching military action against Iran in the final days of 2020. Woodward and Costa similarly said after a meeting in November that CIA director Gina Haspel was equally uneasy and asked Milley, “This is an extremely dangerous situation. Are we going to attack him for his ego?”

We also knew that Milley was convinced that Trump was becoming more and more unstable and was looking for a “Reichstag Moment” as a reason to disrupt the election. “Milley has been making 8 a.m. phone calls since late 2020. a.m. most days, with Mark Meadows, chief of staff of the White House, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Joe BidenOpening.”

Now “Danger” comes after January 6 and a phone call that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls “crazy” in which Trump wants to know if any measures have been taken to prevent a unilateral nuclear missile launch. Strike – Milley called senior officers to a meeting and told them if there was an order to launch nuclear weapons. “Whatever you are told, you do the action. You do the action. I am part of the action!”

The phrase “I am part of this procedure” caused an uproar along with his contacts with Chinese General Li. According to this experts Regarding nuclear procedures, the Chief of Staff has no role other than advising the president in such decisions, so if Milley meant that they could not proceed without his order, he was clearly mistaken. But Glasser’s earlier reports are a little different, saying that Milley told them to “make sure there are no illegal orders from Trump and not carry out such orders without first calling him.” Pentagon resources He said he never said he had violated procedure. A little more research will probably be required to determine exactly whether or how much Milley defies the normal line of authority.

Contrary to what angry Republicans claim, the calls to Li may not be so unusual.


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ApparentlyFlag officers in these positions talk to each other, although it is unusual to say the least for the President to be uninformed and promised not to give up if the United States decides to attack. But I must say I am grateful Something He honked to reassure the Chinese government that the United States was not on the verge of attacking them. Obviously, none of Trump’s inner circle was keen, despite having the same intelligence reports. However, this erosion of the constitutional requirement for civilian oversight of the military is almost as frightening as Trump’s volatile behavior. Almost.

Milley was convinced that Trump was dangerously mentally unstable and took the task of “pulling a Schlesinger,” referring to the last time a Republican president began to bend under the pressure of his own mistakes, as the “Danger” writers put it. left the office in disgrace. This happened in the last days of the Nixon administration in August 1974, when Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger reportedly ordered the ratification of certain presidential orders – particularly those regarding nuclear weapons – either in person or by National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. (How comforting.) That was supposedly after. Nixon had told him. “I can walk into my office and pick up the phone and in 25 minutes 70 million people will die.” This was a comment Trump made regularly:

And remember that after the election Trump abruptly fired Acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and appointed a loyal man to replace him, along with a handful of other henchmen, on strategic posts at the Pentagon. pushed the others out NSA and CIA and tried to replace them with dudes. No one knew exactly what they were up to, but it was weird for a president to do that in the last two months of his presidency. Even former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo quotes “He is in a very dark place right now” in “Danger.” You can’t blame Milley or anyone else for fearing the worst.

Daily Monster reported Trump called his allies on Tuesday and told them to go on TV and that Milley should be arrested for treason. GOP officials He’s looking for his head. I’ll leave it to the experts if he violated the chain of command so badly that he had to go.

But I will say this: It is a miracle that we managed to survive in the nuclear age with the world’s largest nuclear arsenal in the hands of irrational leaders like Richard Nixon and Donald Trump. We’ve been lucky so far but I doubt the luck will last forever. If we can’t properly rid the world of these terrible weapons, or if we apparently can’t, and always elect sane, competent people for president, what we can do is at least find a way to ensure that an unstable person doesn’t have one weapon. the power to free them. This system must be reformed before the unthinkable happens.

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