Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Kim Jong Un & Donald J. Trump: Buttons, Tweets, Potency, and Apocalypse

"North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the 'Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.' Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!" — Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, 2 January 2018

This is the way the world ends*
(For many humans, and other species);
This is how the world ends
(Worse goes to worst,
"Depending on the breaks"),
This is why the world ends:
From a tweet* and a brag,
And measuring 
Symbolic cocks.
                                    * With thanks to Jeffrey Weinstock (well, and T.S. Eliot and Gen. "Buck" Turgidson)

The Congress of the United States needs to write us a bit of law renouncing the current U.S. doctrine of First Use (nuclear) and restricting the power of the U.S. President to use nukes for anything but proportionate retaliation. I'd also add a provision that in case of nuclear "exchange," the duty station of the Commander-in-Chief is wherever s/he might be, and forbidding spending any money to move the President to safety. If a President gets us into a nuclear war, the very least s/he can do is to get killed in the first exchange.

And on this utterly depressing, apocalyptic subject, I'll pass along the suggestion from a couple or three decades back that the final part of the launch codes should not be in the "football" that accompanies the President but near the heart in the chests of the people carrying the football, and, of course, carrying also a knife. To launch the missiles [etc.], the President would have to cut open the chest of the attaché — the logic being that if the situation warrants a nuclear response, it justifies murdering a single person, and insisting that the murder be up-close, personal, and messy. The logic is that bombing and missile attacks are way too abstract all down the line and that a key part of initiating nuclear warfare should be a death with emotional power and deep-seated inhibitions. Perhaps, though, the code should be in the chest of the President, and s/he should have to order a high-ranking official to do the cutting. I am serious here, following Konrad Lorenz on the dangers of being able to kill at distances that reduce inhibitions.

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