Here you will find an excellent New Yorker summary of a book about nuclear weapons policy in the United States of America. I will not give quotations; you can read it (or not) for yourself. I will draw a few obvious conclusions.
- There have been many false nuclear attack scares. Both for the Russians and for the Americans.
- There have been many accidents. Warheads falling into back yards.
- There have been many near-disasters. A missile damaged by a fallen socket (not the wrench, just the socket) which could have blown away much of Arkansas.
- There have been massive overstatements of the Soviet missile advantage.
- The American military used this to increase their budgets.
- Every attempt to get an advantage, numerical or technical or social, in the USA, has had a mirror action taken by the ‘other side.’
- The so-called football is a very complex device that sets going a very complex chain of events that cannot be recalled or cancelled. The chain of events has no parameters, however: it can only launch an all-out nuclear attack (by the USA on ‘our’ side, and by them, on ‘their’ side.)
- The situation is insane.
You will be told that the Russians walked away from a plutonium reprocessing agreement with the Americans. You may not be told that the Americans decided not to follow it themselves because mixing the plutonium with more ordinary reactor fuel turned out to be expensive. The Russians did, once again, a mirror reaction.
Now we may witness the minor miracle of a man whose main claim to fame, at least today, is how he spoke about a woman in a recorded ‘locker room’ conversation. That several accusing grope-ees have added their chorus doesn’t bother this person. He simply calls them liars. He calls his bankruptcies clever business practice. He calls his opponent a criminal.
The minor miracle is that this man might become president of the United States of America. The US President has access to the nuclear football, and is not answerable to anyone before (or after) pressing the button.
This person of interest, this candidate for US President, is Donald Trump.