Maybe Let's Not Empower Trump to Use Nukes

Hey, remember when I said that today was going to suck in at least three different ways? Yeah, well, here's number one.

Last Wednesday, I linked to a report at the Guardian that the Trump administration was developing a plan "to loosen constraints on the use of nuclear weapons and develop a new low-yield nuclear warhead for U.S. Trident missiles."

On Friday, I linked to a report at the Huffington Post reviewing a draft document of the Nuclear Posture Review, authored by the Pentagon, which indeed called for expanded nuclear capacity.

Today, David E. Sanger and William J. Broad at the New York Times provide additional details on the draft document, under the blunt headline: "Pentagon Suggests Countering Devastating Cyberattacks with Nuclear Arms."
A newly drafted United States nuclear strategy that has been sent to [Donald] Trump for approval would permit the use of nuclear weapons to respond to a wide range of devastating but non-nuclear attacks on American infrastructure, including what current and former government officials described as the most crippling kind of cyberattacks.

For decades, American presidents have threatened "first use" of nuclear weapons against enemies in only very narrow and limited circumstances, such as in response to the use of biological weapons against the United States. But the new document is the first to expand that to include attempts to destroy wide-reaching infrastructure, like a country's power grid or communications, that would be most vulnerable to cyberweapons.

...It called the strategic picture facing the United States quite bleak, citing not only Russian and Chinese nuclear advances but advances made by North Korea and, potentially, Iran.

"We must look reality in the eye and see the world as it is, not as we wish it to be," the draft document said. The Trump administration's new initiative, it continued, "realigns our nuclear policy with a realistic assessment of the threats we face today and the uncertainties regarding the future security environment."
I have a number of significant concerns about this policy, including the fact that the source of cyberattacks is not always immediately clear. Sophisticated hackers can leave digital "fingerprints" that misdirect responsibility at a cursory glance, and it can take a lengthy forensic investigation to reveal the actual source.

I have very little faith that an administration who believes it's reasonable to use nuclear weapons to respond to a cyberattack, even a devastating one, will have the patience to wait for definitive confirmation of the culprits.

Trump's itchy nuclear trigger finger could launch a nuke at entirely the wrong source — and the fact that our adversaries know this means that misdirection of sources is an even more likely scenario.

Indeed, it's a potential scenario so obvious that surely even the dipshits and scumbags comprising the Republican Congressional caucus can recognize it. And still they refuse to remove this dangerous tyrant before he kills countless people.

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