This morning the Doomsday Clock was moved forward to 2 minutes and 30 seconds to midnight.
Created by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in 1947 to convey the urgent threat nuclear weapons pose -- other threats such as climate change are now also taken into account -- the clock represents how close humankind is to destroying our world. The stroke of midnight is the end of humanity.
Last year, the clock remained at 3 minutes. Today, it moves half a minute closer -- the closest to midnight it’s been since 1953.
The Bulletin cited two troubling concerns in their decision: the growing disregard for scientific expertise and the “cavalier and reckless language” used around the globe, particularly during the U.S. presidential election.
Which brings us to the elephant in the room: Donald Trump, a man who appeared to have called for a new nuclear arms race and has failed to show an ounce of restraint from the election to the White House, now has the absolute authority to launch a nuclear attack. Thousands of nuclear weapons can be fired within 15 minutes of Trump ordering a strike. He doesn’t need permission from Congress, his Cabinet, or anyone else to start a nuclear war.
Just one nuclear weapon has the ability to flatten cities and kill hundreds of thousands of people. The power to launch one, let alone thousands, of these weapons should never be in the hands of one individual. It’s past time for change.
The framers of the Constitution granted Congress the power to declare war to ensure the decision is not subject to the whims of one individual. The president’s autonomy in deciding to launch a nuclear weapons -- a move that would constitute a major act of war -- violates that power.
Enter Representative Ted Lieu and Senator Edward Markey. This week, they introduced legislation (“Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017,” H.R. 669 & S.200) that would prevent Trump, or any individual, from single-handedly initiating a nuclear first-strike.
The law would require a declaration of war by Congress and explicit authorization of nuclear use before the president could order a first-use nuclear strike. In other words, it would take away Trump’s unchecked authority to launch weapons of mass destruction.
Implementation of this bill will immediately make us safer from destruction of our own making.
We have the power to save the world from a thin-skinned, reckless president. But we must act now to roll back the Doomsday Clock before it’s too late.
Show your support: Sign the petition calling on Congress to make it illegal for Trump, and any future president, to unilaterally trigger nuclear war.