The Election and Human Survival

Every election decides the future. This election might decide whether humans have a future. Our survival might depend on electing Hillary Clinton. It is clearly endangered by the conduct and character of Donald Trump.

I write this as a deeply concerned fellow citizen and not in my capacity as President of the Global Security Institute. My concerns run far deeper than my professional expertise.

A matter of the utmost importance is being given inadequate attention in the public debate regarding our next President. The very survival of humanity rests on responsible stewardship of nuclear weapons, stopping their spread, making sure they are not used, and working to obtain their universal elimination. Why? Because if less than 1% of the over 15,000 nuclear weapons were to explode over five tons of debris would rise into the stratosphere dropping the earth’s temperature sufficiently to disrupt agriculture. This means humans will starve and civilization will end. That is why President Reagan said simply: “A nuclear war cannot be won and therefor must never be fought.” That is why such a wide range of world leaders such as President Mikhail Gorbachev,the Dalai Lama, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and former US Secretary of Defense Dr. William Perry work diligently to eliminate nuclear weapons.

There is a legal duty embodied in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to work to eliminate nuclear weapons as well as a legal duty to stop the spread of these weapons.

This Treaty has been fully ratified by the US Senate and all but four nations in the world are participants, effectively ensuring that over 180 nations will not obtain nuclear weapons. The Treaty entered into force under the leadership of President Nixon and it works admirably in stopping the spread of nuclear weapons to dozens of nuclear capable nations. Donald Trump suggested that Japan and South Korea should have nuclear weapons. This violates the Treaty and would stimulate many nations to similarly get nuclear weapons. Nothing could be more irresponsible than the US advocating the proliferation of nuclear weapons to more states. Also, his suggestion violates a treaty which is an affront to the US Constitution.

Our Constitution makes treaties, fully ratified by the Senate, the “supreme law of the land.” Trump either does not understand or doesn’t respect the Constitution. Trump either does not understand or care about the dangers nuclear weapons pose to human survival.

History has shown us that crises have and will happen again. The Cuban Missile Crisis is an example where character was important. President Kennedy used patience and the humility to listen to many different points of view in addressing the crisis. Our military leaders wanted to invade Cuba, not realizing, as we know now, that nuclear weapons were already operational and had they had their way, we would not be here today. Kennedy paused, reflected, bought time, listened, and guided us to safety.

Trump has made clear his lack of humility and patience. These characteristics are necessary in crisis.

Treaties are law and not mere deals to be renegotiated frivolously and crises demand a coolness of character and a sense of humility to listen to different viewpoints. Donald Trump must not be trusted with the ultimate weapon. Hillary Clinton is vastly preferred on this one issue upon which our survival depends.

Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Former US Secretary of Defense Dr. William Perry
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Former US Secretary of Defense Dr. William Perry
President Mikhail Gorbachev
President Mikhail Gorbachev
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