Time to Retire the Nuclear Footballby Diana Ohlbaum
Speculation about whether Donald Trump can be trusted with his finger on the nuclear “button”, should he be elected president, is a reminder that the world’s survival rests on a hair trigger.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no actual button to be pushed. But the president of the United States goes nowhere without a briefcase (the “football”) containing a menu of targets and list of verification codes (the “biscuit”). Twenty-five years after the end of the Cold War,does it make sense to hold human existence hostage to the decision of one individual, acting alone, on a moment’s notice?
To answer this question, we first need to consider the circumstances under which the use of nuclear weapons would ever be contemplated.
The primary purpose of having a nuclear arsenal is not to use it. U.S. officials view nuclear weapons first and foremost as a deterrent to attacks on America and its allies—if not to threaten mutual assured destruction then at least to impose unacceptable costs. But deterrence assumes three things: that the attack is intentional, that the adversary is rational, and that the threat is credible. Nuclear weapons cannot “deter” an accidental launch, nor can they scare a madman out of his desire to become a martyr. http://lobelog.com/time-to-retire-the-nuclear-football/#more-35359