In Monday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal, former Georgia senator Sam Nunn has an op-ed piece that might formally be described as an endorsement of Hillary Clinton in the race for president. (For those of you who think he has strayed too far to the left, he has also endorsed Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson for re-election to the U.S. Senate.)
But beneath Nunn’s endorsement of the former secretary of state is his point that nuclear war is the one tiny, all-important sliver of foreign policy that rests not on Congress, but solely on the head of the president. From the article:
Several years ago I sat around a conference table in Moscow with Americans and Russians, including President Vladimir Putin. I expressed concern that neither he nor the American president would have more than a few minutes to decide whether to use nuclear weapons if warned of an attack. The two countries’ militaries, I suggested, should work together to give their presidents more time to weigh the options. Mr. Putin made clear that he was fully aware of Russia’s short nuclear window. “Senator Nunn,” he added, “at some point it becomes automatic.”
What about moral considerations? William Swing, a retired Episcopal bishop, recently offered, in a memo sent to about a dozen leaders, a powerful reminder of the importance of this year’s presidential choice: “Whoever wins will have his or her hand on the weapons that could end life, as we know it, on this planet. We are not so much voting for a president as choosing a god. When you put your hand on the nuclear trigger and become the single agent of the Earth’s destruction that is power beyond human imagining.”
Clinton, says Nunn, “has the experience, judgment and skills to take on this awesome responsibility.” Here’s his assessment of the Republican candidate:
Donald Trump, on the other hand, has unfortunately demonstrated that he is an apprentice in the nuclear arena. Worse, he has no appetite for learning. Mr. Trump seems not to care what he doesn’t know, and he apparently listens to no one. His colossal ego and disdain for military leaders are far from comforting.
In apparently off-the-cuff statements, Mr. Trump has suggested that the world would be safer if more nations, including Saudi Arabia, Japan and South Korea, had nuclear weapons and were willing to use them. This is dangerously off base. Mr. Trump has even suggested that he might deploy nuclear weapons against terrorists, seemingly unaware of the devastating damage this would inevitably inflict on thousands of innocent victims.
Donald Trump’s talk of a “rigged” election has drawn a strange interloper: The Russian government has tried to send poll watchers to state elections officials in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
All three states said “nyet” and the White House called it a publicity stunt. We’re told no such request has come to Georgia officials yet, but we’ll be watching.
Donald Trump scored his first major newspaper endorsement over the weekend. And he has Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson to thank.
Adelson recently purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which wrote in a front-page editorial that Trump was the right candidate to bring change to an ossified Washington.
It ends a string of embarrassing defections from conservative newspapers. The San Diego Union-Tribune, Dallas Morning News and Arizona Republic are among the publications that broke decades-long streaks of endorsing Republicans for president this year.
(And here’s our friendly reminder that the AJC does not endorse candidates.)
Apparently it’s never too early in Washington.
Politico has this take on a cottage industry that’s popped up in D.C. in which people hopeful of being appointed to powerful government posts by a president Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump pay thousands to have lawyers “pre-vet” their backgrounds in order to boost their odds for a nod down the road:
Potential appointees are basically ordering up opposition research on themselves to catch problems like tax calculation errors or financial disclosure omissions early, when they can be fixed quietly.
It’s harder to deal with more significant personal issues, but if an aspiring public servant wants to proceed, the advice is usually to find a way to air the dirty laundry yourself, on your own terms — so it’s old news by the time the nomination and confirmation hearings come around.