For the first time in 40 years, the U.S. Congress questioned a sitting President’s authority to launch a nuclear attack. Democratic lawmakers voiced concerns that President Trump might authorize an attack that is at odds with the country’s national security interests.
During the hearing, while most of the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee stopped short of mentioning Trump by his name, three Democratic lawmakers directly confronted the president.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D) noted that the current president is so “unstable” and “volatile” that the Senate panel is concerned he might order a nuclear strike that will not benefit the U.S. one bit when it comes to foreign policy.
“So let’s just recognize the exceptional nature of this moment and the discussion we are having today,”
Murphy told Senators
Among the witnesses summoned to discuss the issue were Prof of political science Peter D. Feaver, former Pentagon undersecretary for policy Brian McKeon, and retired Gen. C. Robert Kehler.
No One Can tell Trump ‘No’
It is worth noting that:
- Common military interventions need Congress’ approval.
- A nuclear strike can be ordered by the U.S. president alone.
- Such rules have been in place since the beginning of the nuclear era.
During the talks, senators and experts alike noted that a preemptive strike is different from a reactive strike. The latter requires the U.S. to be attacked. Sen. Bob Corker (R) who leads the committee, insisted that the hearing was not about criticizing President Trump. He noted that “nobody can say ‘no’” to Trump, even when there wasn’t a nuclear attack against America.
Sen. Ed Markey (D) insisted that the country’s nuclear arsenal should be used for deterrence purposes only, not wars. The senator added that without a nuclear threat directed at the U.S. no human being should be allowed to “to unilaterally unleash the most destructive forces ever devised by humankind.”
Markey insisted that no one can oppose the president since not even Secretaries Mattis and Tillerson or Gen. Kelly have failed to control his online tantrums.
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