A Trump presidency and corollary risks of nuclear war via The Jerusalem Post

Let me be more precise. After four years at Princeton in the late 1960s, long an intellectual center of American nuclear strategic thought, I began to think about offering a suitably authoritative addition to the vital literatures of first-generation nuclear thinkers. Accordingly, by the late 1970s I was busily preparing an original manuscript on this country’s nuclear strategy, and on certain corresponding risks of nuclear war. At that time, I was most specifically interested in US presidential authority to order the use of nuclear weapons.

I promptly learned, of course, that seemingly reliable safeguards were meticulously built into all American nuclear command/control decisions, but also that these same essential safeguards might not meaningfully apply at the presidential level. Immediately, this ironic disjunction didn’t appear to make any intellectual sense, especially in a world where national leadership irrationality was hardly unknown.

Accordingly, I then reached out to retired General Maxwell D. Taylor, a very distinguished former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In response to my query, General Taylor quickly sent me a detailed handwritten reply. Dated March 14, 1976, the general’s informed letter concluded ominously: “As to those dangers arising from an irrational American president, the only protection is not to elect one.”

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