Over the past six months or so, the actions of North Korea have heightened the world’s fear of a global nuclear war. The Hermit Kingdom has tested at least six nuclear bombs, the last of which was a powerful hydrogen bomb.
The atomic bombs dropped on Japan by the United States to end World War II were 15 and 20 kilotons in strength. (1 kiloton = 1,000 tons or 2,000,000 pounds and the strength is measured in the equivalent of TNT, so a 20-kiloton bomb would be equivalent to 40,000,000 pounds of TNT.) The hydrogen bomb tested was estimated to have been around 120-kilotons in strength or 6 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki.
North Korea has recently threatened to release a nuclear cloud over Japan along with launching a nuclear attack on the US territory of Guam and the mainland of the United States. They have escalated their intercontinental ballistic missile program and claim to have a missile capable of reaching across the Pacific to the US mainland. They are also reported to be building a submarine capable to launching nuclear missiles, placing the threat much closer to the US coast.
Ever since the creation of nuclear weapons at the end of World War II, US presidents have carried the burden of nuclear warfare with them night and day. For decades, the president has travelled with a satchel, known as the ‘football’, with the launch codes for America’s nuclear arsenal. Those codes are the only way to initiate use of an of America’s nuclear weapons.
However, the presidential launch codes ONLY initiates the process. Those codes must then be verified and an order given to military personnel to activate whatever launch procedure is in place.
President Donald Trump has indicated that if North Korea dared take any aggressive action against the United States, our territories or allies, that the United States would react quickly and decisively. He stated that North Korea would be totally destroyed. He did NOT say he would use nuclear weapons, but many have understood his statements to mean he would use them if necessary.
However, neo-com liberals claim they are afraid that Trump will decide to launch a preemptive nuclear strike on North Korea, even though everything Trump as said or indicated is that the US will NOT make the first move towards war, but is ready for if and when North Korea does.
Air Force General John Hyten announced to the world that he would not obey Trump’s order to launch nuclear weapons if he believed that such an order was not in compliance with the laws of armed conflict. In other words, he would need to be sure that such an order by President Trump was lawful before he would allow the order to be carried out. This is only right and sound judgement on General Hyten’s part.
Congressional Democrats claim that they don’t believe President Trump is mentally stable and therefore should not have the authority to access the ‘football’ and launch nuclear weapons without the approval of Congress. Some Democrats are trying to push legislation to strip the Commander-in-Chief of his authority to protect the nation, by requiring congressional approval for the use any nuclear weapons.
Democrats never questioned Barack Obama’s authority to launch nuclear weapons, but then, Obama sough to deplete America’s nuclear arsenal to leave us vulnerable to more superior powers like Russia.
As long as it takes Congress to do anything these days, a country like North Korea could spend days launching nuclear attacks on America and our allies before Congress could get around to passing a bill to authorize the use of nuclear force on anyone.
Their move really doesn’t have anything to do with Trump’s mental ability or the fear of him launching a preemptive nuclear attack, but does have everything to do with stripping Trump of some of his power and authority. Once they accomplish this, they will continue to chip away until they make the presidency a mere figure head with no power or authority.