Please think about nuclear weapons before voting for Trump

Castle Bravo, 15 megatons

This is a hydrogen bomb, 1000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. Here is its immediate kill radius.

Nuclear Darkness Simulator

Right now the United States has around 1,400 hydrogen bombs loaded on missiles and bombers, ready to be launched unilaterally by the president at any time. Russia has around 1,800. Both countries have early warning radar systems that allow them to launch their own warheads as soon as another launch is detected — about a 15 minute decision window.

We tend to think of the president’s power as being limited by our system of checks and balances, but in this respect, it is not. There is no voting or veto system to counter a command from the president to launch a nuclear missile. When the president gives the command, the missile is launched less than five minutes later. The president of the United States really has the unchecked power to destroy the world as we know it during every second of his presidency.

Think about the Cold War for a minute. Now think about putting Donald Trump in charge of it.

We are at the brink of war with Russia in Syria. Donald Trump has suggested using nuclear weapons in Syria on multiple occasions, expressing the attitude that there is no point in having them if we don’t use them. The next president will be repeatedly forced to make nuanced decisions that could lead to nuclear strikes on American cities if they are not carefully thought out. Although Trump’s no-holds-barred attitude is often refreshing, we have to think about what it will mean in this context. It is hard to deny that Trump has a short temper and tends to lash out reflexively when insulted. What will President Trump do if an American plane goes down over Syria? What will he do if he receives uncertain intelligence that Syria or Iran — both Russian allies — have obtained a nuclear weapon?

I understand the reasons that Trump appeals to you — they appeal to me too. Washington is broken, the economy is bad, donations have corrupted our leaders. Things needs to be shaken up, and Hillary Clinton won’t do that. But the alternative is giving Trump the trigger to America’s — and therefore the world’s — nuclear arsenal. This type of shaking things up is like telling your kids to unbuckle their seat belts and then crossing into the oncoming lanes of the freeway.

When you vote in this election, your vote will significantly affect the safety of your fellow citizens, including me and the people I love. If you are considering voting for Trump, I just ask that you give this issue some honest thought first.

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