I believe the possibility of a nuclear strike in the Trump era will be among its highest peaks since the day FDR received Albert Einstein’s letter encouraging the construction of the atomic bomb. Years later, Hiroshima and Nagasaki each suffered at the hands of one.
But what can we say about those in power who display unstable and reckless attitudes, and happen to occupy the most powerful governments known to man, and are unqualified to accurately sift through the various implications that the thought of a nuclear strike demands?
To answer this question, we must first ask another: What does it mean to be unqualified? Leaders who have a distorted worldview that unreasonably contradict the promotion of well-being, health, survival, and prosperity, I assume, might qualify. Certainly, mental illness, lack of experience, lack of knowledge, criminal intent, criminal behavior, a combination of them, or something similar to those, qualify. In addition, it is important to bear in mind that these are also affected by a myriad of social conditions, and to an extent.
By these standards, the worst atrocities appear to occur when those who are not qualified achieve powerful decision-making roles. And even if this weren’t entirely accurate, I think it’s plausible to assume that these leaders are bound to make mistakes at a higher probability, particularly large ones. What might we say about those who are qualified that nearly avoided catastrophes such as nuclear war? Maybe qualified leaders have a greater sense of reason and judgment, among other things. Take, for instance, the near misses of nuclear warfare under the supervision of what I would judge to be qualified US leaders, which The Guardian nicely illustrates in this short video.
In this conception, right now, and for the inevitable future, we are in an era of heightened unpredictability that is facilitated by alarmingly prominent leaders, with Trump in the West, and Putin acting as the centerpiece. By the wayside, we have Kim Jong-un, the unstable leader who wears a mask that poorly trades his insecurity for strength, and seeks to orient North Korea as a top nuclear power. And in the corner, we have Angela Merkel, who has now taken up the mantle as the leader of the free world, but seemingly stands alone.
Donald, Putin, and Jong-un are not only unqualified, but also ridden with deeply troubling intentions that serve on some continuum to the means of the ends, or the beginnings of something that sways close to a truly unprecedented set of circumstances.
* * *
“I made one great mistake in my life — when I signed that letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made; but there was some justification — the danger that the Germans would make them!” – Albert Einstein