Nuclear explosion, by FEMA News Photo

One Man Has the Power to End the World

And for a few more weeks, this man is Donald J. Trump.


What would I say to the Joint War Room to launch an immediate nuclear strike?

The question above was asked by John F. Kennedy to his military advisors following the Cuban missile crisis. It highlights, in no uncertain terms, the absolute power of the Office of President of the United States, and the scale of the responsibilities associated with it. On their own, without checks or veto, and in a matter of minutes, the President can order a nuclear strike and put a stop to Humanity’s journey.

One person has the power to end the world, and for a few more weeks, this person is Donald Trump.

There is a logic behind giving the President the power to unilaterally launch an immediate nuclear strike, as twisted as it is. It boils down to a concept called deterrence. In a first strike scenario, in which the US is the nuclear aggressor, a longwinded decision-making process gives the enemy time to gather intelligence and prepare for retaliation. In a second strike scenario, where the US has been hit or is about to be hit by enemy nuclear warheads, retaliation must be immediate to ensure mutual destruction.

We live a few minutes away from doom, 100 seconds away to be accurate, the closest we’ve ever been to total annihilation. All that separate the living from the dead is one man’s sanity.

Once again, the man whose sanity we’re talking about is, for 24 more days, Donald J. Trump.

Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

When he witnessed the Trinity explosion, the first-ever detonation of nuclear fission bomb he had helped build, J. Robert Oppenheimer was struck by emotions. He didn’t feel proud of his achievement, like many of his colleagues. He wasn’t elated for a job well done. He realised that he’d ushered in a new in human history, and all he could do was quote Krishna and the Bhagavad-Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

Every president since then has measured the gravity of their situation and the weight bestowed upon their shoulders. Truman was the first and only…



Nicolas Carteron

I write about politics, business, society and culture on Medium. For startup/business content, check my newsletter: