I recall being lined up with my classmates in the corridor of my elementary school, told to kneel with our heads to the wall as a test siren bellowed. The United States, I knew, was having what the grown-ups called a Cold War, which made little sense as a description for circumstances that could culminate in the incineration of New Jersey.
The hallway exercise was absurd, of course. Sitting a stone’s throw from the tank farms of the Bayway oil refinery, a nuclear strike by the Soviet enemy anywhere in the vicinity would have left our little town in ashes. It was all quite tense and terrifying—even if the leaders with their fingers on the button were presumed to be reasonably level-headed.
Today, two narcissists, concerned only with winning a competition for the World’s Most Dangerous Man, are trading promises of hellfire on the people of Asia and North America. Responding to the news, first reported on Tuesday by The Washington Post, of North Korea’s reportedly successful miniaturization of a nuclear warhead to cap its intercontinental ballistic missiles, President Donald J. Trump responded with characteristic bluster, promising “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Democrat of Maryland, described the president’s remarks as “not helpful,” which is like describing the pouring of gasoline on a fire as not helpful to efforts to extinguish it. Other lawmakers chimed in with similarly cautious remarks. On an Arizona radio program, Senator John McCain, the former Republican presidential candidate who once jokingly parodied a Beachboys lyric with a threat to bomb Iran, took “exception to the president’s comments, because you've gotta be sure you can do what you say you can do.” (Note that McCain’s issue with Trump’s remarks is not what the president promised, but doubt that the president will make good on the threat of annihilation.) Nonetheless, Trump’s rhetoric was “not terrible,” McCain said, and then assessed the threat from North Korea to be at “around a 6 or a 7” on a scale of 1 to 10.
Gee, I feel about as good as I did all those years ago with my head between my knees, crown touching a painted cinderblock wall amid a row of my tiny peers.
North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un also took exception to Trump’s comments, threatening to engulf the island of Guam, a U.S. territory and home to a big military base, in fire.
As nuclear tensions ratcheted up late last month, The New York Times reported that the president is reconsidering his reticence at the notion of maintaining U.S. involvement in Afghanistan’s civil strife, now that it’s been pointed out to him that there are minerals worth extracting. Which seems to be all of a piece with the administration’s hopes of mining the hell out of America’s national monuments. What better cover for Trump’s plunder project than a crisis with a nuclear-armed nation led by a tyrant?
To further obscure all the plunder plans is the continuing war on the press, amped up by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s threat to subpoena members of the media who dare to publish reports based on material leaked to them by government insiders. Sessions made the threat at a press briefing that took place at the Justice Department on August 4, the day before Special Counsel Robert Mueller reportedly impaneled a second grand jury to investigate Russia’s intervention in the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Trump.
It’s time to stop pretending that some other shoe needs to drop before a constitutional process for the removal of a sitting president is set into motion. The intelligence community has already reported with certainty on the intervention by a hostile foreign power in a U.S. presidential election on behalf of the man who ultimately was awarded the highest office in the land. That man has made no bones about his autocratic ambitions and affection for the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, and Trump’s belief that his installment in the Oval Office should naturally serve as a means to enrich his personal coffers, as shown by the use of the Trump International Hotel by foreign dignitaries as the president declines to divest from his businesses. While that may not be enough for a conviction, it’s more than enough evidence to prompt the drafting of articles of impeachment, especially after Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey because the bureau chief continued his investigation of the Russia matter despite the president’s disapproval, all the while refusing to pledge loyalty to the president.
Right now we have a man in the White House who got there with the illegal help of a dictator of a nation hostile to the United States. Now our illegitimate president is threatening nuclear war in the most intemperate of terms, putting the entire nation at risk for the satisfaction of his own ego. His attorney general has set about curtailing the rights of Americans at an alarming pace, while his secretary of the interior is setting the stage for the plunder of our national commons.
The inaction of the House leadership in starting the impeachment process is negligent at best, and traitorous at worst. Donald J. Trump is clearly unfit for the office of president, and cares nothing for the country that Vladimir Putin chose him to lead. He must be stopped.