Sen. Murphy: Trump So 'Unstable' He May Order Nuclear Strike
Sen. Murphy: Trump So 'Unstable' He May Order Nuclear Strike
ATHIT PERAWONGMETHA REUTERS
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15 November, 2017, 03:32
The president, as commander in chief, is the sole arbiter or whether to use the USA nuclear arsenal - an issue that hasn't been debated at the congressional level in more than 40 years.
Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee there were fears the president was so unstable and volatile he might order a nuclear-weapons strike.
Marco Rubio, who ran against Trump in the Republican presidential primary past year, was among lawmakers who were quick to point out that the hearing should not be taken as a reduced USA nuclear posture. "That doesn't mean, over the course of the next several months, one might not develop, but I don't see it today". Kehler, a retired US Air Force general, said the military principles of "necessity" and "proportionality" also apply to decisions about nuclear weapons.
In August, Trump issued an apocalyptic threat to unleash "fire and fury" on North Korea and he took to calling Kim "Rocket Man" after a series of provocative missile tests.
The committee heard testimony from Robert Kehler, former commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, who said in his role he would have carried out a presidential order to use nuclear weapons.
Amid growing anxiety that President Donald Trump's heated rhetoric could trigger a war with North Korea, lawmakers on Tuesday debated for the first time in 40 years a United States president's authority to launch a nuclear strike.
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"I think hard cases make bad law, and I think if we were to change the decision-making process in some way because of a distrust of this president, I think that would be an unfortunate precedent", said Brian Mckeon, former Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy during the Obama administration.
WASHINGTON ― The only people standing between an impulsive and angry President Donald Trump and thermonuclear war would be high-ranking military officers willing to declare a first-strike order "illegal".
Peter Feaver, professor of political science and public policy at Duke University, reminded the committee that "the system is not a button the president can accidentally lean on, against, on the desk and immediately cause nuclear missiles to fly". Mattis was asked whether the president could launch a first strike with nuclear weapons, without consulting Congress, against another nuclear-armed country preparing to attack the U.S.
Only three other Democrats have co-sponsored it.
During the hearing, members of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee questioned longstanding presidential authority to deploy nuclear weapons. In recent months, lawmakers have insisted the president seek Congress's approval before revoking any sanctions against Russian Federation, and momentum is building for a new authorization for use of military force (AUMF) to address the military's current and future operations against the Islamic State and other extremist groups.
Sen. Bob Corker, the chairman of the foreign relations committee and one of Trump's strongest Republican critics, last month accused the president of setting the USA "on the path to World War III". Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) to write Iran-related legislation that could pass with bipartisan support.
Israeli officials are giving a lukewarm reaction to an global agreement laying out principles for post-war Syria. Netanyahu said he told Washington and Moscow Monday that Israel will act according to its "security needs".
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