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Primary Concerns Episode 41: Will Donald Trump Kill Us All?

A leading arms control expert assesses the true risks of placing Trump in charge of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

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Donald J. Trump is now the President of the United States. And that has millions of Americans asking themselves...“ARE WE ALL GONNA DIE?!”

This isn’t just partisan hysteria run amok. Trump’s temperamental unfitness for the presidency—to control the country’s nuclear arsenal—was a central theme of the Republican primary, the general election, and then the transition period.

Trump and his administration are openly trying to undermine NATO and the European Union. They are antagonizing China by threatening to overboard the one-China policy. They envision an international alliance of right wing nationalist countries. And Trump is as erratic and impulsive as ever.

The question is: To what extent is anxiety about Trump controlling the nuclear arsenal warranted; and to what extent is it counterproductive hysteria. Jeffrey Lewis is Director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Monterey. He is the founding publisher of the blog Arms Control Wonk, and a respected expert in the field of non-proliferation policy. He joined us from California to sort nightmare from reality.

Further reading:

  • Trump takes power, according to Eric Schlosser, at a time when the risk of a nuclear exchange is greater than at any time in the atomic age—including the Cold War.
  • This former nuclear missile launch officer remains terrified at the thought of the Trump presidency.
  • Jeffrey Lewis argues that Trump’s nuclear recklessness bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the country’s actual nuclear weapons policy.