The Biggest Risk of Electing Trump - World War III

As the polls shift and the chance of a Donald Trump presidency rises, I want to share why I believe electing Trump would put us at a high risk of creating a World War III, with devastating damage for America and the world.

On the most basic level, Trump meets any perceived personal slights with an escalation of insult, attack, or aggression. We've seen this throughout the primary and general election and it's consistent with what we know of his history as a businessperson.

This quality has gotten him into hot water in numerous news cycles, from the Khans to Megyn Kelley, as he always hits back harder, even when it would be more dignified, wise, and presidential to take the higher ground.

Trump doesn't practice "turning the other cheek" as Jesus advised but rather two eyes for an eye and two teeth for a tooth. It is, at the core, the pattern of bullies -- to use fear and intimidation to dominate an exchange.

The important thing about this is that it doesn't appear to be strategic or the product of reflection. It is automatic and instinctive, which means he does it literally every time. He can't seem to help himself.

And because he has a high level of self-regard, it is easy for him to react to virtually any perceived slights, even from people who should be his allies, such as in the Republican Party.

This personality characteristic would, I believe, almost inevitably lead us into a World War III for a few reasons.

The nature of being the most powerful person in the world is that a very large number of people are attacking you at any one time. This is true regardless of political party. It simply has to do with the nature of power. Critiques come fast and hard from every direction and many of them are quite ugly. Our political culture is essentially a martial culture in which every day is a skirmish and every exchange a new opportunity for advancing the battle. If he were elected, Trump would be subjected to hundreds of perceived slights every day, much more so than he's faced so far.

Given his compulsion to hit back harder, Trump would be in many cycles of reactivity at any one time, which would lead to a shift in our whole political climate in a darker direction.

And that is only with our own citizens. Given the fear and dismay many world leaders already feel about the prospect of a Trump presidency, we have to assume that, as happened in his exchanges with Mexico's president, Trump would get into adversarial relationships with many foreign leaders as well.

We'd thus have a highly contentious and trigger-happy atmosphere, which in turn would lay the groundwork for a potential World War III, which would most likely result from his provocations of Islam and particularly ISIS.

Islamic leaders are proud of their religion and heritage and would take the election of Trump as a kind of personal affront, given the way Trump has used a Muslim travel ban and Islamophobia to mobilize voters. This would create even more antipathy in the Islamic world and provide for a ripe breeding ground for more terrorism and hostility. As a result, everyday Muslims would feel increasingly isolated in Western cultures - increasingly unwelcome in their home countries. We've already seen an escalation of bullying against Islamic peoples.

This is actually the precise scenario that ISIS wants. In their apocalyptic ideology (read this article for the full story), they are actively working to goad the West into an all-out war with Islam, which would, according to their vision, eventually lead to the promised caliphate.

To recruit more warriors for its cause, ISIS thus wants an escalation of tensions with Western governments, which then radicalizes more Muslims.

With a more aggressive posture towards Islam and Trump's escalation against any perceived attack and an increasingly combative climate American political culture, the kindling would be well-prepared for a massive war to erupt.

Whether the final match came in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Iran, or Afghanistan, the potential for escalation would be high for the simple reason that Trump would be very easy to goad into further escalations. Each terrorist attack or public affront would result in an escalation.

And with 37% of the world's military at Trump's beck and call, including the largest nuclear arsenal, the escalation could happen very quickly.

In short, electing Trump would give command of the world's largest military to a person with compulsive reactivity and who has already begun to generate fear, alienation and antipathy amongst the world's 1.6 billion Muslims.

Lest we forget, World War II took over 60 million lives and devastated the world economy, costing the United States alone approximately $4 trillion in today's dollar equivalents.

The kind of inferno desired by ISIS and made more likely by electing Trump could be even more deadly.

While Hillary Clinton is more hawkish than President Obama and presents some risks herself, she is cool and non-reactive under pressure and attack.

She can take some very hard public shots without retaliation and is known for putting the past behind her, even with Republican leaders who attacked Bill.

While Trump supporters may get excited by his brash, street-brawler qualities in order to shake up the system, we all need to be very sober about the prospect of a World War III and what that would cost every single one of us were it to happen.

Let's choose wisely. Electing Trump would put us at very serious risk of the worst World War in human history.

And that is a risk we simply cannot afford, which is part of why so many national security experts, including Republicans, have rallied to Hillary Clinton's side.